The debut series of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ appears to be breaking new ground all over the place – with an openly gay character, a poignant (sadly topical) plot around male sexual assault, and the show’s first black lead actress – but some have baulked at its latest move.
In the fifth episode, released by Netflix in the UK and called ‘Choose Your Pain’, the F-word was used for the first time in the show’s 51 year history. And not just once, but twice.
“We were aware of it, we embraced it, and we had a blast with it,” said Anthony Rapp, who plays Lt. Stamets, utterer of one of the f-bombs, in an interview with Indiewire.
“These people just put their brains to work in a really tough way and they had a breakthrough. And I imagine there are scientists in their labs who might do that any time. We didn’t drop the F-bomb in ‘Star Trek’ by telling somebody to go f**k themselves. We did it by saying, ‘this is f***ing cool.’”
Bot not everyone’s cool with it. In fact, the overriding feeling is that it was a step too far.
— Dennis (@campbeduk) October 16, 2017
Swearing in Star Trek?! Set your mum to stunned! #TheProjectTV
— The Project (@theprojecttv) October 17, 2017
Very disappointed and shocked to hear 'f-word' in #StarTrekDiscovery. This is not Star Trek. The franchise has just ended in my mind.
— Brain Room (@room_brain) October 16, 2017
#StarTrekDiscovery Disappointed, I grew up watching Star Trek with my Dad. I watched it with my son. The episode had f-word & gay characters
— PZMedic (@Paul_Zilio) October 16, 2017
If the Star Trek f-word isn't "Ferengi", your script writers and directors are D-grade hacks.
— Raven King (@RexCorvinus) October 17, 2017
— Friends Call me Dom (@Duke_Silverback) October 16, 2017
Star Trek: Discovery uses the F-word twice in episode 5 and it feels like something has broken.
— Shane Hegarty (@shanehegarty) October 17, 2017
Sorry, but the f-word has NO PLACE in Star Trek. Ever. #StarTrekDiscovery
— GothBoyUK (@GothboyUK) October 16, 2017
They said the F-word on Star Trek! Twice!
…call me uptight, but I don’t approve.
— Allison MacDougall (@allisonmacd) October 16, 2017
Hearing the f-word on an episode of #StarTrek just feels wrong on so many levels.
— J. Leonard Dietz (@The90sKid89) October 16, 2017
Star Trek discovered (sorry!) the f-word last night. In trying to be clever it just felt wrong.
— Robert Scott (@rascottdotcom) October 17, 2017
The F-word has no place in Star Trek. It is lazy. @startrekcbs
— FilmScoreFans (@FilmScoreFans) September 24, 2017
— Jeremy (@ThePhoenixJ) October 16, 2017
Some did enjoy the profanity, but on Twitter at least, they’re rather in the minority.
I love that the new Star Trek Discovery uses the F-word. It goes where no network show has gone before.
— Edward Patterson (@EdwPatJadeOwl) October 17, 2017
I’m totally okay with F-word Star Trek.
— Mad Bastardson (@batmasterson) October 16, 2017
Showrunner Aaron Harberts has further tried to justify it, however, telling Entertainment Weekly: “Every writer’s impulse when you get to work on the streaming shows with no parameters is to go crazy.
“But then you look at things like: How does nudity play on Trek? Eh, it feels weird. How does a lot of [profanity] on Trek? Not so great. Are there moments where it merits it that we’re trying to push here and there?
“I would say we’re trying to push more by having the type of complicated messed-up characters who aren’t necessarily embraced on broadcast.”