Thursday, March 8, 2018

Discovery Season 1 Recap

Star Trek: Discovery, Season 1

The first new Star Trek television series in what seems like forever was... divisive. From its paid online distribution model (Netflix for the rest of the world, a la carte CBS service no one demanded in the US), to its radical shift in tone (nipples! disembowelings! F-words!), this show rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but at the same time won some fervent fans and a fair amount of internet buzz. So what's the story?

 Hmm, communicator? Vulcan salute? I guess this checks out!

Matthew's Thoughts

I'm going to try to be fair and positive when warranted. This show is slick and well-produced. The effects are superb. The casting was almost uniformly excellent.

But there are problems. Lots and lots of problems. So here goes:

- Characters

If there is any benefit to the serial format of this show, it is in the ability to introduce and develop character arcs. On this score, the result is... mixed. Michael Burnham is obviously the character who saw the most development. She is given a family history, a huge personal tragedy and failure, and then a chance at redemption over time. I am not a big fan of the Sarek angle, but at least her responses to it were organic and believable. The ultimate resolution indicates that she did not trust Federation ideals (which were basically unexpressed or demonstrated on screen) but that her final decision was based upon realizing that those ideals are sacred. I guess that's fine, but we weren't really shown any of this, especially as we spent lots of time in the Mirror Universe and on her relationship with Tyler.

Speaking of Tyler, we are given an interesting PTSD story angle that is then undone by a Major Twist. Instead, Tyler doesn't really exist, he is really Voq altered by surgery and the Tyler personality was "implanted," whatever that means. Hope you didn't care about him! But wait, then Voq is "removed" or something by some glowing finger tool. So Tyler's back! But now he is going to stay with... L'Rell? His captor and rapist? Sigh. Tyler's character development had him cease to be a character, only to come back and act completely out of character.

Tilly had a fun, small arc, going from socially maladroit dweeb to slightly less maladroit and more confident junior officer.

Lorca went from conflicted PTSD sufferer with a different vision of what a good captain needs to do  in the present war time situation to... well, to being erased by a SHOCK TWIST. He was Mirror Lorca all along, with no complexity or shades of value, instead just a violent person with an inordinately complex plan for political conquest. Hope you didn't care about him!

Georgiou is an interesting character who.... Whoops! Killed in a SHOCKING TWIST! Hope you didn't care about her!

Culber and Stamets were great fun to watch as a couple. Neither one was really developed much on their own. And then Snap! in a SHOCKING TWIST, Culber gets offed. Sigh. Hope you didn't care about him!

Sarek is completely out of character from the outset, which makes it very hard to empathize with his journey.

Saru gets a bit of development here and there, but basically remains static - the best representative of Federation ideals, to be sure, but under-utilized.

- Incoherence and "the Dum-Dums"

So much of this series did not make sense. We might as well start with the giant, lumbering mushroom in the room. The spore drive was magic. That they tried to clothe it in pseudoscientific gobbledeygook made it worse, because then it was magic that wasted our time. They tried to indicate that somehow the mycelial network permeated not only our universe, but was a biological entity that crosses all universes, and is somehow responsible for all life within them. Why did they do this? Apparently to create a bit of dramatic tension while Stamets was stuck there, battling Mirror Stamets, who was poisoning the network for some reason. How long was the threat apparent? For about two lines of dialogue. How quickly was it solved? Within one third of an episode. Huh?

Tyler/Voq made no sense. A potentially extremely interesting sci-fi idea was completely magled and garbled in execution. So Voq was surgically altered and changed into a human? It was such a good job that it was basically undetectable by normal scans. OK. But where in heaven's name did the Tyler persona come from? It was "grafted on" so Voq's brain. From where? How? Where is Tyler's body? Was it his brain? Some pattern of information or synapses? What? Sorry, no answers to be had here. Just two lines of dialogue split across two separate episodes.

Then we get to "the Dum-Dums." How many times should the protagonist of a scene (Usually Burnham) simply have been killed? I count at least four - Burnham beaming onto the Klingon ship and standing up in the middle of a firefight. Burnham and Tyler walking upright through a rebel bombing range dressed in enemy Terran gear. Burnham and Mirror Georgiou waltzing up to Mirror Lorca's position in a firefight. Burnham pointing Mirror Georgiou's phaser at herself and telling her to "just do it." Characters tell each other things they shouldn't just to advance the plot. Grand plans to tech the tech or put the thing in the thing have absolutely no internal logic.

This show is dumb. Pretty to look at, but vapid in the extreme. Is that enough for you? It's not for me. Have previous Trek shows suffered from intermittent cases of the Dum-Dums? Of course. But those are leavened by episode after episode of tightly plotted story, or are at least ameliorated by advancing a fascinating or brain-bending science fiction plot. Discovery is not saved by these. The plot is an absolute mess and science fiction ideas dissipate like farts in the wind. Which brings me to:

- Superficiality
and Brevity

I will not attempt to claim that there are no science fiction ideas or moral quandaries in this show. What I will claim is that every single one of them is brought up and then dismissed within five minutes of screen time maximum, and usually far less.

Take, for instance, the planet Pahvo. Don't remember it? Of course you don't. The Disco crew went to Pahvo because there was some sort of crystal spire that could... Jesus, I don't know, uncloak the Klingons or something. But see, the Pahvans, who were some sort of blue astral fart whisps, lived in complete harmony with their planet. Would they allow Starfleet to use their giant crystal to win the war with the Klingons? Who the hell knows? They only talked with Saru, and he didn't really mention their feelings on the matter to us. And then the missing didn't matter any way, because it didn't work for some reason. There are a lot of interesting areas to explore here. What does it mean to be non-corporeal? Would a non-corporeal being wish to be involved with corporeal conflicts? What are their ethics like? Do planets exist as unitary organisms with some manner of consciousness or spirit? If so, how does Earth feel about our bullshit? Do you know how many of these questions were answered, or even explored in a cursory manner? None. Zero. Saru kicked Burnham in the chest, she pressed some buttons next to a spire, and nothing happened. Then the Klingons showed up to destroy the planet (can you destroy a planet of non-corporeal beings? Would they care?). And then, next episode, the plot completely dispensed with the Pahvans and moved the hell on.

This same pattern was rinsed, lathered, and repeated for every idea the series touched on. The tardigrade creature. The physical alteration of a being from one species and the implantation of another species member's personality (?) into their brain. The existence of a biological entity that can span not only galaxies but transcend the barriers between universes, AND has the capability of destroying all life within them. The consciousness of persons existing within that biological entity's network after death.

The mass destruction angle in the final episode was something that really suffered for this. This is supposed to be the major ethical point of the season, and the pivot upon which Burnham's character turns. How much development is it given? About three lines of dialogue worth (one of which is about a "hydro bomb," whatever the hell that is). We are told to feel that this is a Big Deal. But we're not shown it. There is no debate over it. Apparently Cornwell and Sarek agreed that destroying the Klingon homeworld was imperative. Off screen. Then they were convinced to reverse their decision in about 20 seconds. It's all paper thin and light weight.

Everything of interest was sacrificed on the Sacred Altar of Plot Advancement. No more than two minutes were allowed to transpire on screen without the Plot Being Advanced. Faster! Faster! No time to explain! Now, that might work if your plot is inordinately clever, but this plot was a mess. The Klingons want to kill us for some reason. Time to fight! Oh wait, let's go to the Mirror Universe for a bunch of episodes. And have Harry Mudd destroy the ship a few dozen times. Which story is being told here? Either serialize the fucking show and dispense with the pro forma gestures of "being Star Trek," or ditch the overarching plot and tell good stories. Trying to do both serves neither goal.

- Lack of originality

Now, someone might argue against this and say "Matthew, you're being unfair. There are only fifteen episodes here. There hasn't been time to do what you want this show to do." Oh no? Let's look at fifteen episodes of TOS and see what they accomplished. Here are the fifteen I'd choose:

Where No Man Has Gone Before
Mudd's Women
Balance of Terror
Dagger of the Mind
The Galileo Seven
The Menagerie 1
The Menagerie 2
The Squire of Gothos
A Taste of Armageddon
Space Seed
This Side of Paradise
The Devil in the Dark
Errand of Mercy
City on the Edge of Forever

Can you see the difference here? TOS, in the 1960s, with network pressure, with minuscule budgets, without years of lead time to create story lines, created both memorable individual sci-fi stories as well as first class world-building. It created the Starfleet and Federation of Planets, and demonstrated those organizations' values consistently. It told allegorical science fiction tales that mapped directly onto the political and ethical questions of our day. It introduced two indelible villain species who were three dimensional as cultures and were great fodder for future stories. It introduced three individual villains who easily stand among the best in any Trek series. It developed three protagonist characters extremely well. How many dramatic twists were there? Zero. How many world-breaking contrivances? Zero.

Discovery, on the other hand, has introduced precisely zero new villains. In fact, it has relied on two villains that TOS pioneered, the Klingons and Harry Mudd. It has hinted at more than a few pretty good science fiction ideas, but left them largely undeveloped. It spent several episodes in a realm created by TOS and only did anything terribly interesting in one of those episodes. And with all the time it spent dicking around in TOS continuity, it did not add anything meaningful to it or explain any of its gaps. It dredged up one protagonist character in Sarek and retconned the hell out of him, making him wholly inconsistent with his TOS representation. Then, just to show how unoriginal it is, It leaned on the Enterprise showing up a mere 15 episodes in (and redesigned it for no goddamned reason, to boot). It really makes you appreciate Roddenberry's dictum that TNG not use TOS characters or situations as drivers of the story.

At the end of this season, I just have to ask: what the hell was the point? I'm willing to grant some points for putting a black woman in the protagonist's seat here. But at the end of the day, they didn't do a whole hell of a lot with her except make her sad.

- SHOCKING TWISTS!, fan service, and lazy writing

The writers and show runners of this show are like teenagers who think they're extremely clever. They want to shock and surprise you. If you end up being neither, I suspect they would sneer and say you just don't "get it."

The problem with having a SHOCK TWIST every episode is that
1. They cease to be surprising, instead you just wait in dread;
2. They interfere with building characterization and the viewer caring about characters, because the show conditions you never to believe any given fact about a character;
3. Because characters and story worlds can never be consistent, the viewer can form no realistic expectations that can later be subverted.

Shock twists are the lazy writer's antidote to the slower, more difficult work of world building. They also demonstrate a level of disrespect for the viewer, as if viewers are simpering troglodytes who need surprises to shock them away from their smartphones, and nipples and swear words and disembowelings to boot.

The amount of "fan service" (scare quotes included because "fans" will likely disdain most of the "services" offered here) is also disturbing. Do you know something I didn't need more of? Sarek. His story was perfect. He married an earth woman, had an interracial son, and was conflicted in his relationship with him. His son tried hard to please father, but could never eliminate the parts of himself that seemed to cause the tension. They reached a sort of rapprochement, but he ended up dying filled with regrets because bridging the cultural gaps was just too hard. This was a perfect story. Now, I'm not going to gloss over Sybok here. Star Trek V monkeyed around with some retconning. But it was relatively believable once. Adding a fully human "ward" who also wants to please father, but receives in return all the love that Spock would never enjoy? Give me a fucking break. Harry Mudd, psychopathic murderer, is another example. Did they think we would enjoy this?

All in all, the show was badly written and badly constructed. There were scenes in a vacuum that worked, actors that did a fine job with the drek they were given, and pretty effects. But the show is not good. It briefly talks about but fails to explore any meaningful ideas. Its plot is convoluted and difficult to remember when an episode is done. Character development is undercut by lazy SHOCK TWIST writing.

Kevin's Thoughts

Okay. I didn't love Discovery. I wanted to love it. I hoped I would, but I don't That said, there are things I like about it, and I'm not nearly as fatalistic as Matt is about the show's future prospects. I agree with most of the overarching problem Matt identifies, but I don't balance their effects in nearly the same way.

I think you are undervaluing what it means to have a stable of great actors all turning in fleshed out characters consistently from day one. There is not a Harry Kim of early Bashir in this group. Sonequa Martin Green and Doug Jones are really, really good. I've sung Martin-Green's praises enough here, so I'll focus for a second on Jones. He really inhabits the universe and presents a fully realized complex character through a ton of make-up. Looking back over season 1, he's easily up there with any of the TNG/DS9 era Klingon actors in terms of ability to emote through the latex. (Though the design does admittedly make the terrible job on the Klingons here even worse by comparison.) When they let Anthony Rapp do something other than squint and be annoyed, he was really compelling. I think we may have been spoiled by the Golden Age of television to expect top notch acting from every person from the first frame and forget that its not a given.

Setting aside what they choose to do with some of the effects budget, you can't deny it looks movie quality consistently. Episodes like Cause and Effect and Yesterday's Enterprise stand out in our memories, but there were plenty where you could see the zippers and the styrofoam. Though in TNGs defense, the overwrought job on the Selay and the Anticans only lasted one episode instead of 15. (I really hate the design of DSC's Klingons.) On top of a high and consistent level of technical execution, there does appear to be something of a conscious hand at work in the design of those effects. I like that they drew inspiration from the Next Phase ship design. Except for the gold/bronze problem, I like the uniforms, in that they looked liked uniforms. There was a minimum of lens flare. Even in the fight scenes, there was a fair minimum of Trek Fu. The fights in the emperor's ships were clearly expertly choreographed. I may not have enjoyed the decision to include so many fight scenes, but I can't deny that they were well done.

I'm leading with this because I want to point out, that even using our own very particular criteria, this show has done a good to very good job in every episode on 2 out of our 3 main categories. I would agree with a general sense that writing gets weighted more in our heads, almost 50% of the final analysis with production and acting sharing the rest, but let's not dismiss what the show does well because it doesn't do the other thing well.

I can also muster a small defense of the writing here. I agree the TWISTS keep getting in the way of the character work, but the character work they steamrolled was really good, it was part of what made the twists so infuriating. The writers actually did write a subtle and nuanced exploration of two traumatized people exploring a romance. They actually did manage to imply a real, vital romantic relationship between Culber and Stamets in a comparatively small period of time. We know they know how to do that, we saw them do it. The frustration comes not from an inability to write credible human drama, but from the constant choice to keep setting that good work aside.

And even some of the plot devices don't bother me to the extent that they do Matt. Take the mycelial drive. It's magic. I agree, but frankly, so is warp drive. Alcubiere didn't posit his drive until the 90s. It was magic, and treated as such in TOS. They literally crossed the galaxy in the first episode. By the way, that episode posits that there is a visible 'energy barrier' that surrounds the entire galaxy and passing through it makes you basically a Q. That's magic too. Now, Where No One Has Gone Before is a good episode because it drives dramatic heft not from the Galactic Barrier itself, but the captain having to choose to kill a friend. I appreciate that Discovery would have made the episode about the TWIST of whatever the barrier does and doesn't do, and I'm not letting the show off the hook for its twist obsessed writing, but I am pointing out that to the extent the mycelial drive is gobbledygook, it's by no means the first time or even the worst iteration of it. And that leads me into my next point. I mean, even in its successor Where No One Has Gone Before, the show posits that all of time and space and thought are connected. I don't see that as being rhetorically that far off from all life is biologically connected blah blah blah. Sure, Discovery's version sounds dangerously close to Star Wars' The Force, but my point here is that to the extent the science fiction is a little (or a lot) hand-wavey, I don't think it's that much different than other shows' versions of it. Though as I said in the individual reviews, when the show can land its plot on some realistic(ish) piece of science fiction, that is GOOD, but its absence doesn't necessarily make it TERRIBLE for me.

Even our critiques about too neat solutions and escaping what should be OBVIOUS DEATH for the characters, that has happened a lot on the other shows too. Why send Sisko to Qo'nos? Why send Picard and Crusher on the mission to Cardassian space? Why doesn't the villain just shoot Bond instead of explaining his plan. I think the key difference is that, even in the early and uneven seasons of TNG and DS9, those kind of writing shortcuts were surrounded by earnest attempts to tell a bigger story, and I think it colors our analysis, and not unreasonably so. When the show is nothing but a chain of plot points, the defects in the plot points are more glaring. To be fair to us, we tag pretty much all those kinds of plot problems when they happen in other series, but they have the tone of 'nitpicking' in which we acknowledge the problems, while present, don't derail an episode, and almost kind of enjoy hunting for tiny inconsequential problems. When the show is not reaching for bigger ideas or a fully realized character arc, the problems in the details of the plotting are more apparent and unrelieved, but I want to make sure that we are not over-weighting the problems we let slide with a slap on the wrist in episodes whose philosophical underpinnings we liked more.

There are problems with the show. Without rehashing individual episodes to death, the biggest problem is that nothing mattered. The war and the mirror universe and the drive are all disposed of and the character arcs for Burnham interacting with her Captain and her lover and her redemption arc have all been disposed of as well. Neither of the men she formed a bond with were who they appeared to be and are gone, and hey, look, she's been redeemed. It does make the first season a use of the reset button and that is annoying. The use of Pike's ship only further implies the show has not found its own stories.

That all said, I didn't dislike watching this show while I was watching it. The premiere hit a lot of bumpers for me. And even through the episode, there was enough interest (sometimes created by the force of will of the actors) to keep me engaged. I was angry at the Abrams movies. The only time I got that that mad this season was Culber's death (which still makes me mad). But overall, I'm not mad. I'm not thrilled, but I'm not mad. Like I was at the midseason break, I can at least say they quickly jettisoned the stuff that was really not working. Of course they eventually refilled it with other things that didn't work, but given the slack we cut early TNG and really cut early DS9, I don't feel like my slack cutting muscles have been strained to any breaking point unique to this show. That's some pretty faint praise, but by relative comparison, it's practically an Oscar.


Matthew: After all is said and done, and taking into account which aspects of various episodes have been invalidated by subsequent ones, the best episode overall by a pretty good stretch is "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad." It was largely self contained, which insulated it somewhat from the stupidity that dominated the rest of the season. It had a good (if not altogether original) sci-fi conceit, and it allowed the crew to be competent and clever in overcoming Harry Mudd's murderous revenge scheme. Unfortunately, the romance between Burnham and Tyler, which was a highlight of this episode, was ultimately ruined by twists and bad dialogue.

"Context Is For Kings" worked for me. It took Burnham and played out pretty reasonable consequences for her actions in the prior episodes. I enjoyed seeing how she was treated by the crew, how Tilly stepped forward to be friendly, and I also enjoyed the brief but relatively substantive manner in which Burnham treated the tardigrade. It also largely sidestepped the Klingon garbage that dominated the first two shows.

"Despite Yourself," which is likely the most ironically appropriate title in this season, because the episode suffered from some of the series' worst tendencies, was still a surprisingly good treatment of the Mirror Universe. Like the best Mirror episodes, it focused on the crew and how this world was difficult to be in for them, and threatened to change them. It was diminished by a stupid twist (literally) in the death of Culber. But it was still pretty tight and solid.

Kevin: I liked the premiere a lot. Given that Lorca is gone, there's actually not that long a trip to just pretending the intervening season didn't happen and we just go back to that. Burnham and Saru forming the core of a command staff on an orthodox Federation starship. It was the show the premiere implied and it's one I wouldn't mind watching.

I liked Magic, like Matt, for its ability to tell one story all the way through. And I am less grudging in my praise of Despite Yourself. Focusing on the soul-stripping experience for Burnham was a great way to breathe life into the Mirror Universe idea and Captain Killy was actually really funny, which is not something you can say for a lot of pun work in this entire franchise.


This is the hardest part to write, because I can't say "everything else." The first two episodes don't make this group, because although they were weighed down by interminable Klingon shit, they were anchored by a nice relationship with Georgiou and Burnham. But of the rest, "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" is definitely bad, and in that particular way that this whole season is bad. It briefly glosses on a few interesting ideas, but gives none of them the space they need to actually become interesting. Who are the Pahvans? I dunno. What's Tyler's deal? I dunno. It also featured a plot that only made sense because we were told it did. There's... music or something? That uncloaks ships? From many light years distance? And we have to use a... crystal tower? Or something. I don't care. And given that this episode had no ultimate effect on the overall plot, I guess the writers and show runners didn't care, either.

"What's Past Is Prologue" is an interminable fight scene between bad people whose motivations don't interest me. It suffers from extreme dum-dum plotting, featuring multiple points at which our "heroes" should just be dead. It also introduces the horrendously stupid idea of the fungal network being capable of destroying all life across all universes. Then it has the crew decide to sacrifice themselves to stop this stupid-storm, only to yank it out from them and just solve the problem in some other way in about ten seconds of dialogue. So, pretty much the Platonic Form of Discovery episode.

Kevin: The more I think about it, the more I think it's less effective to discuss individual episodes, since so few are their own contained story, and more useful to discuss the various threads. The Klingons did not work. Full stop. They were not interesting and I did not care about what they were doing or what happened to them. The Tyler and Mirror Universe plots worked right up until their TWISTS. I know I've been defending the show to various extents, but when you get right down to it, none of the shows arcs really worked, and worse, none really had a lasting effect on the story. All of them were resolved by wiping them away.


Kevin: Well, this is interesting. The season gets just shy of a 6. By our definition, average. And for comparison purposes, the first 15 episodes of TNG got a 5.4. The entire season gets a 5.7. There are no 10 in this season, but there were no twos. Even the finale which was deeply annoying in what it glossed over didn't fall into that category. I think that's largely on the strength of the acting and production that a show never sinks to a straight 1, but maybe it also says something that with no risk of your idea blowing up, your idea can't ever be great. But I think this underscores my point that I don't think this season is enough to say that Discovery is irretrievably broken even with this creative team. They set aside the good character work and quiet moments in service of twists, but they were actually capable of writing them.

Matthew: Your point about none of the narrative arcs of the season really working is well taken - and is indicated in the distinct downward trajectory of ratings after episode 10. Since those episodes were tasked with wrapping up stories that were fundamentally broken, they could not help but be subpar.



I think I gave this show a fair shot. Look at my comments from early season reviews. They're brimming with "I'm interested" and "I'm encouraged" and  "there is enough here" and "It's Real Star Trek." By episode 4 I started to say things like "this is the last 3 I'll be giving to an episode that puts off investigation of an ethical question or a science fiction idea to blow shit up." By episode 8 (Pahvo) I was saying things like "I kind of feel like this is what we're going to get. Quick cut scenes that occasionally feel like Star Trek, but deliver none of the depth or substance we are accustomed to." I still held out hope, and gave it a 4 as late as episode 10. But things just fell off a cliff. Dum-dum plotting, paper-thin follow through on story ideas, SHOCK TWIST storytelling, and an utter lack of any science fiction content conspired to remove my ability to care about the story or to appreciate anything they were doing.

This season started with some strong character dynamics in the Burnham story. Her interactions with Georgiou and then with Lorca were interesting - those captains seemed to represent two different poles of character and willingness to sidestep ethical principles in service of a goal. But even the characters, which are definitely the show's strength, started to unravel about halfway in. Burnham's romantic interest, who had interesting problems of his own, was ruined by a baffling storyline that went no where and did not really affect the overall plot. Lorca went from being an interesting, conflicted person to being a stupid villain with MAGA dreams for his universe. Then the whole show wasted tons of time in the Mirror Universe to no real effect after the first episode, tons of time that could have been spent on the Big Ethical Dilemma that was the focus of the finale.  It's a mess, and there was no point to it. The main character ended the season in exactly the position she started in. Interesting characters were either killed or revealed to not be the interesting characters you thought they were. No new worlds were explored, no big questions were asked or answered, and overall, all we got was some incoherent rehashing of TOS stories and characters - Sarek, Klingons, Harry Mudd.

To call this season a manifest disappointment is an understatement. It looks beautiful, the actors are uniformly excellent, but it was all undone by superficiality, stupidity, and lack of originality.

This show could become better in the next season. But Pike's Enterprise is not an encouraging start, and I'm rating the 15 episodes we've been given. My early optimism is utterly extinguished. I don't like this show as it is today.

Kevin: I'm not really taking issue with almost any of the specific substantive critiques you have. The character work that was good definitely got steamrolled by a plot that had to hit certain marks every 45 minutes come hell or high water. A plot that could have been a touching examination of trauma and romance and a plot that would have been enjoyable in and of itself and for what it meant for queer representation both got obliterated by the twists. I agree I don't like twists, but if you set those aside for a moment, the writers do actually know to write those scenes and those characters.

I agree that that is not good and certainly not a problem I normally tag Star Trek with. It's usually the opposite. It's if anything, too many big ideas stumbling over technical limitations or actors not having found a groove in the first season. I'm not saying the problems aren't problems, I'm saying that I don't think there is a basis to dismiss the show or even the season based on them. Every Trek show exceot TOS has stumbled out of the gate. At both breaks, the show at least managed to quickly (if not elegantly) dispose of the plots that were not working. The characters that remain got good development, even if it was only through sheer force of will of the actors, but that's not a resource to sneeze at.

I guess my question to you is this. If you believe everything you've pointed out is terrible and unfixable, or at least not capable of being fixed by the people in charge, why are you coming back for season 2?

Matthew: I've invested thirty-plus years in this thing. I can't very well ignore the only iteration of it being produced, can I? (And have you heard of the sunk cost fallacy?)

At the end of the day, I agree that this is not irredeemable and that it could improve, despite my lower estimate of how likely this outcome is. And I've already paid for a year of CBS All Access. I'm happy to keep watching the show, whether it's hate-watching or wistful "what could have been" watching. I just sincerely doubt I will ever wish to watch it a second time.

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