Star Trek: Discovery

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Star Trek: Discovery TV Poster Image
 Popular with kids
Darker, more violent Trek still has positive messages.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

A welcome addition to the Star Trek franchise, with women of color in roles of power. Strong themes of acting on your ideals even when it contradicts popular opinion. Also teamwork, individual responsibility, and being inspired by mentors. Brief mention of race and prejudice, but no follow-up. The idea that violence can be used to keep peace is broached.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Michael is a trailblazer both as the first human to have attended the Vulcan Science Academy within the story and (along with her superior) as a woman of color in a lead role in the Star Trek franchise. She's logical, fearless, and strong under pressure, willing to do what needs to be done even when the decision is difficult. Even so, she engages in mutiny on her own instincts alone and possibly exposes them to more danger in the process.



Explosions, fires, and other dangers to starships. Personal weapons like phasers are used in combat. Some scares and surprises, and constant threat of danger. Also some gore, including a distorted human face after a disturbing alien attack. Klingons are quite a bit more intimidating in this iteration than in past ones. Main characters die. A human character is raped and abused by a Klingon female. 


Gay and straight couples live on the ship together; their relationships include kissing. A Klingon has a sexual relationship with a human that's based on a power differential and is not consensual. 


In a mid-season episode, ship scientists use "f--king" to exclaim about a successful project. Swearing also includes occasional uses of "s--t," "goddamn," etc.


This series joins the prolific Star Trek franchise of entertainment and merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Trek: Discovery is a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series. The story is set 10 years before Kirk and Spock first embark on the USS Enterprise and sees the start of the battle between the Federation and the Klingons. Expect plenty of violence in the form of explosions and phaser fights, with multiple prominent character deaths. The story also raises questions regarding authority and subservience in war. Happily, there's a strong female lead in Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), who's unflappable under pressure. This series benefits from modern visual effects and diverse casting and is likely to have appeal even for sci-fi fans who aren't Trekkies yet.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydn1 January 16, 2018

Not a Family Friendly Show.

I know how important it is to recognize free will and allow people to live their lives the best they can according to their personal way of life and speech.
The... Continue reading
Parent Written bynuenjins October 7, 2017

Original take on 'Trek' universe lacks that old charm and wit to balance the action.

The female lead is engaging enough and movie level CGI and design move the competent storytelling along at a fair pace. This prequel to the 60s Star Trek origin... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous November 14, 2017

Star Trek takes a darker turn... but is that really a bad thing?

Star Trek has always been ahead of its time and dealt with some mature, modern themes. Discovery is no exception, but in today's world, which is pretty dep... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySmartGirl63 November 30, 2018

Maturer Star Trek

This may be a suprising contrast to the original Star Trek series but don't let this put you and you're slighty older kids off. I watched this with my... Continue reading

What's the story?

In STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, a routine mission takes a fateful turn when the Starship Shenzhou encounters a mysterious presence near a damaged Federation probe. Determined to learn more, Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) persuades Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) to let her check it out. In so doing, she engages a member of the Klingon race not seen or heard from in more than a century, and inadvertently gives away Starfleet's proximity. This launches the crew into an epic battle with their longtime enemy and its formidable leader, T'Kuvma (Chris Obi).

Is it any good?

Set 10 years before the story told in the original TV series, this sci-fi adventure gets a boost from two modern factors: absorbing special effects (including Klingon makeup) and cast diversity. The story doesn't break much ground -- save for a few surprises here and there -- but it does an excellent job linking itself through Michael to the tale of the Enterprise and its crew that's no doubt indelible memory for Trekkie fans.

Its arrival as a prequel to the classic series that boldly went where no man had gone before is fortuitous for non-Trekkies whose introduction to the events of the mid-20th century is Star Trek: Discovery. Rather than feeling like you have to backtrack to understand who's who and what's what, with a few basic facts (Sarek is Spock's dad as well as Michael's mentor, for instance), you're able to see connections between the two stories start to emerge.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of right and wrong in a story like Star Trek: Discovery. Is it always easy to identify the good guys and the bad guys, or is that distinction subjective? Does this story allow the Klingons to be sympathetic characters? If so, does that change your impression of the Federation's actions?

  • What qualities make Michael a role model? Do her actions ever contradict that distinction? How does it feel when someone you look up to disappoints you by what he or she says or does?

  • If you have seen other Star Trek shows or movies, compare them to this one. Besides the modern advances in visual effects, does this story eclipse the others in another way? Does it do enough to make connections between itself and the original series, or does it work better as its own show?

  • How do characters in this series show courage? Why is this an important character strength

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

Character Strengths

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