With its emphasis on serialized storytelling, character driven narrative, and exploration of darker themes than are typically associated with the franchise, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ has been doing its part to push ‘Trek’ in new directions and cover new ground. So far, it’s fair to say that it’s been a mixed success in those regards. Though it’s not the first ‘Star Trek’ to feature a serialized, character-focused wartime narrative (that distinction goes to ‘Deep Space Nine’), ‘Discovery’ has nonetheless done so in its own way, and pushed the boundaries of traditional ‘Star Trek’ storytelling while doing so.
But there’s one boundary the show hasn’t yet pushed: music. Of course the series has a score, I haven’t lost my mind. No, I’m talking about show tunes! You see, there’s a bit of musicality in the DNA of ‘Discovery’, as stars Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz both have backgrounds in musical theater (in fact, the two first when co-starring in the Broadway run of ‘Rent’), a fact which has passed unnoticed. Speaking to Syfy Wire, Cruz shared his own thoughts on how their backgrounds might let ‘Discovery’ do something truly different:
“I don’t know. I do know that I think it was brought up. We were chatting about it one day in jest but it’s not completely out of the question for Anthony and I. There have been musical performances in ‘Star Trek’ in the past, and I think if it’s appropriate and part of the story is served by it I think we would be down for that.”
Yep, a musical episode! Talk about going where no one has gone before! As Cruz notes, there is a history of musical performance in ‘Star Trek’. Even as far back as the original series, Gene Roddenberry often found excuses for Nichelle Nichols to demonstrate her singing talent, to say nothing of the numerous musical digressions in ‘The Way to Eden’.
Realistically speaking, do I expect it to happen? Of course not. ‘Star Trek’ can get plenty weird when it wants to, but this isn’t ‘Buffy‘. The show’s premise doesn’t include a convenient reason for a ship full of Starfleet officers to suddenly start bursting into song and dance numbers with the potential to become breakaway pop hits.
But suppose things do take a turn for the lyrical. The show certainly has the talent to make a go of it. Though not for the first time, I find myself lamenting the show’s poor treatment of the Klingons. After all, their fondness for song and story is well established. Or at least it was.
The debut season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ returned from its recently returned from its midseason hiatus. The show stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Shazad Latif, and Mary Wiseman. New episodes air exclusively on CBS All Access on Sunday nights.