A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Star Trek's messages are as they have always been: tolerance and compassion towards those who are different (and there are plenty of different creatures in Star Trek's world).
Positive Role Models
Since these short films are one-offs, some of the quirkier characters in Star Trek's universe are explored, like Ensign Tilly, a sarcastic, smart outcast type who loves sugar, science, and serving in Starfleet. As is typical in Star Trek shows, the cast offers extensive racial and ethnic diversity, and women take on central roles.
Violence & Scariness
Violence will vary with each episode, but the intent of these shorts is not to horrify -- violence is confined to sequences like one in which an otherworldly visitor accidentally showers a break room with food and then hisses and raises sharp hackles.
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Infrequent, but a hair more sensitive than on network TV: "hell," "holy s--t," "damn."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Trek: Short Treks is a collection of standalone short films set in the Star Trek: Discovery universe. The vibe of these shorts is a little lighter than the regular show -- violence is confined to non-scary moments like when a trapped alien destroys a Starfleet break room -- and other content is dialed down too: no sex, more innocent language ("hell," "damn," one "s--t"). Positive messages about showing kindness to and helping others are common, as is typical on Star Trek-related shows; the cast is also characteristically diverse.
Is It Any Good?
Exploring some of the lesser-known corners of the Discovery universe, this series of standalone shorts is fun, but asks a question: Why weren't these just B-stories on regular episodes? Take the inaugural episode, Runaway, in which a lower-ranked officer has a meal interrupted by a shape-shifting alien on the run from her home planet. There's nothing about what happens next that wouldn't fit into a regular Discovery episode. Tilly and the alien bond over ice cream, talk politics in the sketchiest of terms, emit some science-y gobbledygook, and then resolve to Do the Right Thing for the Good of Your People. It's not bad Trek, it's just regular old Trek, instead of taking viewers somewhere out of the ordinary (using Trek standards).
The brevity of Short Treks' episodes also subtracts time for nuance. Tilly convinces her alien to change the course of her life in about four lines of dialogue -- yet there's still time for a line in which the alien swiftly figures out how the transporter works: "Does it function by compensating for the position and direction of the subject's subatomic particles?" Uh, okay, yeah, thanks for breaking that down for us. Rabid Discovery fans -- and they are out there -- will be eager to watch this to get more of their chosen world, but the so-far non-converted aren't likely to be particularly won over by this one.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.