James Kirk took command of the Enterprise in 2265 for a single 5-year mission, a period that is now referred to as The Original Series (TOS) era.
Star Trek: Discovery is supposed to be set 10 years before TOS which sets it in 2255.
But looking at the recent trailers for the new show, it doesn’t look like it’s set in the TOS era.
Here’s a thought: What if the TOS era didn’t begin with Kirk’s command?
We know from The Cage (the original Star Trek pilot) that Spock was serving on the Enterprise in 2252 with Captain Pike 13 years before Kirk’s time as Captain.
Do does TOS include the The Cage era?
The bridge of the USS Enterprise in 2252 commanded by Captain Christopher Pike
If it does, then maybe Discovery is actually set in 2242.
Pike took command of the Enterprise in 2251 (for two 5-year missions), so maybe that’s when the TOS era actually begins. And that would put Discovery‘s events in 2241.
The original Constitution-class Enterprise was commissioned in the early 2240s and Captain Robert April took command in 2245.
Is that part of the TOS era or are we definitely straying into the pre-TOS era?
Should the construction date for the NCC-1701 Enterprise be the marker for the beginning of the TOS era?
If it is considered the beginning of the TOS era, then that would set Discovery in 2235.
Jonathan Archer took command of the NX-01 Enterprise in 2151, remaining in command until 2160/61. If Discovery is set in 2235, then that’s about 75 years after ST:Enterprise‘s (ENT) time, so that could explain why Discovery‘s uniforms look more like ENTs (the primary-color velour uniforms only coming into fashion on Constitution-class ships in 2245).
Discovery’s transporters look nothing like those on the Enterprise
It would also explain why Discovery‘s transporters look so different. While Archer did get transported a few times on ENT, the technology was new and used to transport non-biological matter. Discovery‘s transporters would then be a transitional stage between those of ENT and TOS.
Being set in 2235 would also remove the shackles and continuity issues of having the new series set in the TOS era as we’ve come to know it.
So what do you think of my analysis – on the ball or way off the mark?
Tagged with: Captain Christopher Pike • Captain James Kirk • James Kirk • Jonathan Archer • NX-01 • Star Trek Discovery • star-trek • The Original Series • tos • TOS-era • Uss Enterprise
Filed under: Star Trek Discovery
9 thoughts on “Here’s a Thought: Do We Have Discovery’s Era Wrong?”
The trailer clearly says “Before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise” not “Before the original series” or “Before Pike”. You are way overthinking this.
The “TOS Era” starts at the beginning of the first episode of TOS and ends with the last episode of TOS. It’s just a way to refer to the show, not a specific time period in Federation history. 🙂
Would have to say you’re off the mark. Recent ads clearly said ten years before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise. That clearly puts it in 2255. This could be considered the TOS era, as The Cage takes place before this, since that pilot was part of The Menagerie, which may make it retroactively part of the TOS era.
“Before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise” is open to interpretation. It could refer to a time before all three of them existed; i.e. before 2230 (when Spock was born). There’s no official definition of what the TOS era is and how far it might extend before or after Kirk’s 5-year mission. If you say that the TOS era ends with the “Turnabout Intruder” episode, then the era ends 3 years into the 5-year mission. That doesn’t make sense. At least to me. The events of The Cage were encapsulated in the 2-part “Menagerie” episode, so that makes The Cage part of the TOS era as far as I’m concerned.
Actually, the TOS era is a way to refer refer to a specific time in Federation history in the same way that we refer to The Victorian Era or the Time of The Old West. None have definitive start and end dates but people understand what you mean when you refer to them.
I am probably overthinking this, but that’s part of the fun! 🙂
“Ten years before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise” is open to interpretation as I point out in my previous reply. It can read as a time before all three existed, not 10 years before the three were together. If the computer logic definition of AND is used, then Discovery would be set in 2220. Now Harry Mudd being around puts the kibosh on this as he’s supposedly born in 2219. His appearance (which I forgot about) invalidates my 2235 hypothesis as he’d only be 16 years old then, a bit of a stretch for Rainn Wilson to portray! 🙂 However, and I’m reaching here, maybe Mudd’s a long-lived entity in human form and his birth cert has been forged or he’s a time traveller who’s gone back in time. 🙂
It is going to fail for the same reason Enterprise did. Star Trek has always been about looking forward, not backward. This show should have been about a 25th Century Enterprise and a new crew.
Enterprise didn’t fail. It was killed off with the demise of the UPN network. It’s now my second favorite series after TOS. I wrote about my feelings on Enterprise here. I didn’t like it initially, but when it aired we’d had 14 continuous years of Star trek on TV. I was Trekked out, so were a lot of the audience. And the writers certainly were having been moved from Voyager to Enterprise without a break. For me, Enterprise got back to what Star Trek was all about – exploration of a new frontier and an optimistic outlook for the future of humanity. I liked seeing those early days of exploration and events that would eventually lead to things like the Romulan War and the foundation of the Federation (we never got to see those unfortunately because of the series cancellation).
I don’t like the idea of a 25th century Trek. Tech gets too magical and it would be more of a science fantasy show than hard science fiction. The tech would be so magical, it would be hard to relate to. And it would be too easy to have a technological solution to resolve whatever issue is dealt with in an episode. That leads to lazy writing.
Enterprise, while set 150 years before TOS, still looked forward, not backward. Star Trek, at its best, is about examining current real-world issues through a science fiction lens. It allows us to see ourselves from outside the box. TOS did that brilliantly, though obviously it had its fair share of stinker episodes. Enterprise did it very well in the third season with the Xindi arc. TNG was not so successful in that regard. There are a handful of standout episodes that do examine sensitive issues but mostly it was bland, mediocre television. It pulled its punches in some cases too. Having watched the entire 7 seasons again recently made me realize just how dated TNG has become, surprisingly more so than TOS. Voyager had a great concept but it was ham-fistedly delivered. I watched it at the time. I can’t remember a single episode. That’s how bad it was (the writing on the show, for the most part, was appalling).
So I’m glad that Discovery is set in the TOS era (I’d have been happy if the new series had been set anywhere between the end of Enterprise and the time of the original movies). The 24th century didn’t appeal to me and beyond it doesn’t either. I’m probably in a minority in that opinion though.
Gary, apart from the fact that I have enjoyed every series (currently on S7 again of Voyager atm), your comments on Enterprise are spot on. It was a fantastic series and the fact that they couldn’t just touch a control to fix everything made it even better. The episode where they are trying to grab the crashed shuttle pod with the cables would have been extremely short if they had magic light show tractor beams. Almost a shame that the Valcans did – but they needed to be shown to have better tech anyway. I’m looking forward to the new show and personally, I don’t care what the Klingons look like.
Interesting theory. How do you explain the casting for a younger (40s/50s) Harry Mudd, originally introduced in TOS?
Harry Mudd’s the fly in the ointment for my theory. He was apparently born in 2219 and was 47 at the time he encountered Kirk. He would need to be 37 in Discovery (if it’s set 10 years prior to TOS). It’s a bit of a stretch for Rainn Wilson to play a 6 year old if my theory is correct! 🙂 Of course, with Harry being a conman, he could have faked his ID and maybe he was born earlier than believed. Or he’s a long-lived alien posing as a human. Yeah, I know…I’m reaching! 🙂