The 'Star Trek: Discovery' Transporter Room Looks Wonderfully Retro

Thursday, 22 June 2017 - 7:28PM
Star Trek
Star Trek Discovery
Thursday, 22 June 2017 - 7:28PM
The 'Star Trek: Discovery' Transporter Room Looks Wonderfully Retro
CBS
If Star Trek: Enterprise taught us anything, when we weren't pretending that the entire series was an extended episode of Scott Bakula's Quantum Leap, it's that making a sci-fi prequel can be difficult in terms of technology.

There are a lot of fantastic Trek technological advancements that make up part of the mythos of the show - Enterprise has to come up with a convoluted way to feature the Holodeck, as this wasn't standard Federation tech at the point in the timeline that the show takes place. Similarly, the artificial gravity breaks a lot, to show the novelty of space travel in general, and the teleporter isn't always very accurate.

With the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, we'll run into those problems once again. As a prequel, in order to adhere to the timeline, the show's technology can't appear to be more advanced that the stuff available back in Captain Kirk's day. This, apparently, means making the Transporter Room look a little bulkier, as a new photo from EW clearly shows: 




There's two things worth noting here - the first is the color scheme of the ship. While it's worth assuming that this is probably Michelle Yeoh's ship, the USS Shenzhou, rather than the yet-to-be-revealed USS Discovery, the golds and yellows are deliberate to make things feel dated and old. The original Star Trek is sleek and white to denote that it's the future, while a lot of things in Discovery appear to be almost sepia-tinted to remind viewers that this is ye-olde-space from the days before Kirk and Spock.

The second interesting thing is that these transporters, designed to look chunky and awkward because teleportation technology isn't yet perfected. It's certainly not as perfected as in the J.J. Abrams movies, where starships could be made obsolete by transporters capable of beaming a person anywhere in the universe within seconds.

It's also probably not a coincidence that they look slightly like the titular time machine from the classic movie based on the H.G. Wells novel. The radar dish design suggests that these teleporters aren't all that accurate, and drawing on sci-fi iconography makes them look especially retro.



Another subtle way the show will make the Discovery's technology feel dated is through the use of body armor for crew members on away missions, although this could just as easily be an attempt to make the show feel more exciting and action oriented - it's certainly something redshirts in older shows would've appreciated. It wouldn't make sense for Starfleet to stop issuing its redshirts with armor unless everyone figured out that away missions had evolved beyond a need to protect disposable crewmembers, so perhaps later in the timeline, it becomes cheaper to just hire new redshirts than to manufacture body armor?

Either way, Discovery is using some pretty smart tricks to make the show's technology look just a little bit older than what we've seen before in Star Trek. Even if the transporter does look ever so slightly silly as a result.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24, 2017 on CBS and CBS All Access.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Star Trek
Star Trek Discovery
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