The incredible Doug Jones plays Saru, a being from a race of prey. He's genetically predisposed to understand risk and know when to save his own ass. This is a stark contrast to the heroic ideal of Commander Riker and his beard, who straddled chairs and humped space ladies with impunity.
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"Ladies, please. There's enough goatee to go around."
Captain Lorca of the Discovery is pretty much a sociopath who literally has to live in the dark, because in the future, mysterious space injuries make you kind of a vampire. He has no moral compass, keeps a menagerie of death on par with the Governor's tank of heads from The Walking Dead, and he murdered an entire ship full of people to save them from Klingons. That's some rough shit. That's also a perfect analog for every cynical idea you've ever had about power. Kind altruists don't become CEOs; psychopaths do. Remember how shitty Lorca is as a person, 'cause we'll come back to it later.
Cadet Tilly may be one of the most dynamic characters in Trek history, the lowest person on the totem pole who's socially awkward, has a snoring issue, and is the first person to ever say "fuck" in a Trek series. She's brilliant in her realistic simplicity, one of the few characters ever who seems not just plagued by doubt as a necessity for the plot, but who just seems out of their element and trying to fit in. You know, like actual people do. It's also worth noting that a good part of the reason these characters work is ...