Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Star Trek: Discovery, a weird conglomeration of good impulses and bad choices. What is it about Tribbles that everyone feels the need to include them in their prequels?
At a press conference, executive producer Alex Kurtzman teased the return of the furry balls with “Yes, Tribbles, yes.” Which is blatant fanservice, yes, but also not the good kind. Prequels keep trotting out Tribbles and, were I a Tribble, I would be very concerned by all this slandering of my people.
Tribbles are beloved because because their original appearance — and the first time the Federation encountered them — remains one of the gold-standard original series episodes. Tribbles transcend Star Trek to be something instantly recognisable. And, being round balls of fuzz that can be easily inserted into the background of anything and popular with fans and regular people alike, they keep popping up.
Was it kind of cute when Scotty had one in a cage in Star Trek (2009)? Sure. Was it annoying when they popped up in Enterprise season 2? Yes. Was the magic, bring-back-to-life Tribble blood actually a hell that I am still living in? YES. Was Alex Kurtzman involved in those last two? *Screams “Yes” endlessly into the void*
Stop putting things in prequels simply for the recognition factor. We have Amanda, Sarek and Harry Mudd already popping up in Discovery. We do not need Tribbles. Plus, this show is heavily invested into delving into the history of Klingons, and their relationship with Tribbles is not known for its dignity.
In a recently published interview with EW, former Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller described his original view of Discovery. It was, according to that article, “multiple serialized anthology shows that would begin with Star Trek: Discovery (a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series), journey through the eras of Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Jean Luc Picard, and then go beyond to a time in Trek that’s never been seen before.” “Never seen before” is a key phrase there as it screams invention and exploration — key Star Trek values. This recycling of old things is not that. Another idea that CBS reportedly tossed was a “heavily allegorical and complex storyline”. Or, you know, we could have Tribbles instead.
I love Tribbles. I own too many expensive balls of fur sold to me by Star Trek booths. But, please, god, not here. No more. This far and no further.