Besides that, I think this over-exerted effort to make this series seem grittier and darker than Star Treks before it might be betraying what makes Star Trek unique to other science fiction shows. There's a certain element of Star Trek being a "feel good" TV show that I don't see having much room to exist in this incarnation. In previous Star Treks there's always been this underlying notion that people's pasts don't define their present character (Tom Paris, Belona Torres, for a couple examples ) and it appeals to the idea that people are good and will aspire to do the right thing. With this you get the distinct feeling that there is no certainty that Star Fleet is on the moral high ground, or that there really is any avenue for the character to redeem themselves in what's basically a war. Again not to sound overly critical, but resting on the theater of war to point out human and moral conflicts is played out too.
I do understand this fear, or concern rather, but I hope (and think) that we will see that hope and optimism isn't something that we need cheery lighting and warm, neutral color pallets for. My opinion after 3 episodes isn't super-well informed, but I'm on board. If this show goes south, I'm willing to admit it and to call it for what it is, but I still have hope that we're seeing a new way to present the same message, one that is more in-line with all the other shows that it's competing against, as that one of the main reasons for the changes, so it can be a competitive product.
"Context is for Kings" feels a lot more like a standard Trek episode, it has a beginning, middle and an end and they solve a problem. They answered a bunch of questions, used most of the released clips, and still planted even more deeper mysteries to explore over the next months. I think meeting Lorca, Stamets, Landry and Tilly is really coming home for the first time, in a lot of ways this was the "true" pilot as the other 2 episodes were more like prequels, background info that you don't necessarily need to be a prime witness too (however entertaining that witnessing was).
The more I watch the more I do honestly wish this had been set possibly 100 years after Nemesis. They wouldn't need any changes, the new uniforms, tech and ships would just be accepted and the Klingons could have gone into isolation for the last hundred years. But this isn't what CBS gave us, and i can only hope that with the success of Discovery we get more opportunities to explore different timelines for Star Trek.
Yeah I think I'm seeing a lot of similarities with Voyager in the whole "Context is King" subtext. Reminds me of the Tuvix incident. I think that's a pretty contentious part of the show with most viewers, but basically the pragmaticism of Janeway deciding to end a sentient, individual life because she couldn't afford to lose her first officer is probably one of the major "flaws" people have pointed out with Janeway, but I think this series is going to show a lot more of Star Trek in a "by any means necessary context".
Another way to think about it is looking at TNG when Picard had the chance to destroy the borg but didn't. He chose the altruistic high road at Gainan's behest. But in TNG, the borg was basically the only substantial enemy and it didn't really pose that significant a threat to their survival because the federation was still so powerful in that setting. There basically wasn't a way to reconcile a decision like that with the federation being on the supposed "moral highground". I think that's what Voyager was trying to pick away at, especially with the Macqui ( sp?), but it just never got executed well.
Maybe this is a chance of a do-over. I just hope they don't lose side of the fact that even though this is the formative years when Star fleet was young, that there still had to be some kind of "founding principles" to have lead to what they were in the TNG and TOS.
You know what I find most awkward still when I really think about it? Michael Burrman is the main character... I don't think there's really been a Star Trek with a "main character" before, and even if you could consider someone a main-character, they were usually in the main leadership position. Meanwhile you have all this subtext about her supposedly being such a great officer, being groomed by her former captain, and then of course the fact that she's a "mutineer" and their current captain on the Discovery doesn't seem well liked. I feel like the theme of mutiny will crop up again.