So we’re a few episodes into the first season of Star Trek Discovery on CBS All-Access and already camps are starting to form and factions are beginning to rise.

The “It’s not canon” camp have circled the wagons around the fact that there are technologies on Discovery that do not show up in the Federation until much later, specifically holographic communication. There are other camps that have popped up to oppose the changes in the timeline and even the main character Michael Burnham’s relationship to Sarek and, by extension, Spock. Personally, I have let many of those things fall to the side and given the show the opportunity to be its own entity in the Star Trek universe.

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Unfortunately, there is one element of the series that I cannot seem to get past as a fan. One element that continues to take me out of the story every time I see it; the Klingons.

The Klingon species has always been a part of Star Trek since the beginning. Traditionally used as an allegory for Cold War Russia, the Klingons have always been portrayed as ultra-violent, aggressive and tribal on-screen. None of those things bothered me about the Klingons. Even on the new series, where they’ve changed Klingon society into tribal isolationists, it didn’t bother me. What bothers me about the Klingons on Discovery is just how bad they look.

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On the original Star Trek series, Klingons were more or less humanoid in appearance with huge eyebrows and fu manchu style facial hair or goatees. While they were menacing, they weren’t particularly alien in their overall appearance.

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In Star Trek The Motion Picture, the Klingons are given a new look. Instead of the huge eyebrows, darker skin and goatees, the new Klingons would incorporate those traits with prominent cranial ridges that covered the top of the head.

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The facial ridges became canon and the look only evolved slightly moving forward. The look was incorporated into future Klingon movie appearances as well as Lt. Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

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An episode of Star Trek: Enterprise attempted to explain the lack of facial ridges in the Klingons by having removed as a side effect of a cure for a deadly disease affecting the Klingon race.

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When the movie series was rebooted, Star Trek Into Darkness introduced us to the new look for the Klingons. The ridges were still there, but they were less pronounced. Then we get Discovery.

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Everything About You Looks Uncomfortable.

My biggest problem with the look of the Klingons on Star Trek Discovery is how impractical they look. Every time I see them on-screen, I think how uncomfortable the actors must be with all that crap slapped on their faces. What’s worse is that it looks so fake and uncomfortable that you can barely see the actors mouths moving when they speak and any sense of emotion in their performance is gone.

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At their worst, they look like a bastardized version of the Engineers from Prometheus with their featureless faces and dead eyes.

I completely understand the want and desire to try something new with both makeup and prosthetics, but the team behind Discovery completely missed the mark with the Klingons. Which is a shame because the rest of the makeup effects, specifically Saru, work for me. Hopefully this is an evolving process and things will change between the first and second season, but right now the Klingons on this show are painful to look at.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @superpoweredfan.

2 Comments

  • TheMonkeyKing

    October 30, 2017 - 2:36 pm

    I think it’s going to be their “big reveal” during the series. It is going to show that the Federation is willing to do anything to win a war. You get the first franchise as, “go forth in peace and let’s discover the Universe.” But since we’ve been going through all of our original programming with dark and gritty reboots, Star Trek is no different.

    The Federation is going to develop a bio-weapon to kill off the Klingons. It will be genetically targeted to only their race so that it ensures that no other races are affected. So with either botched science, or we get a hero who alters the formula (because they can’t stop the payload or make it totally ineffective because the bad guys will redo the formula) we get a weapon that morphogenetically alters the makeup of the Klingons. So now we get a matchup of previous canon stories mentioning this “dark time” in the Klingon racial history. It’s all because the Federation is responsible.

    Now as for all the rococo design of the Klingon starships, I don’t see how that is ever part of a well-designed ship of force. Maybe at one time they were kick-ass and then fell out because they went for ornamentation to show their tribal affiliations. But…I really think it’s from someone at Paramount felt like they needed to go “Full Dune” on the costumes and sets.

    • Deron Generally

      October 30, 2017 - 2:38 pm

      It’s an interesting theory. Thanks for sharing it. My only problem with the Klingons on the series is how impractical the makeup looks but everything else I’ve been enjoying

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