It's been close to twelve years since Star Trek has existed as a television show, and JJ Abrams' more mainstream approach has shifted the franchise onto a different set of rails, and with that comes a different set of expectations from it.
There's no denying that when approaching Discovery, just about everything surrounding it is likely to put the hardcore Trek audience on edge. For one, Bryan Fuller - himself a former Trek writer on Voyager - left under a cloud of "creative differences", and was replaced by a number of writers that included Akiva Goldsman of the Transformers franchise. On top of that, you had huge production delays and when footage finally arrived, it looked like Abrams' Trek - all glossy design, lens flares and Dutch angles.
For all of the components borrowed from Abrams that make up Discovery's visual palette, it's vintage Trek underneath. You have Sonnequa Martin-Green as the impulsive, single-minded first officer Michael Burnham (yes, that is typically a man's name) who plays off Michelle Yeoh's calm and considered Captain Phillipa Georgiou. In a lot of ways, their relationship - such as it is - is not unlike Kirk and Spock from the original series. However, the end of the second episode effectively puts the kybosh on that dynamic and leaves it open for the approach of Jason Isaac's Captain Lorca in the third episode.
In a lot of ways, it makes sense that Discovery is jettisoning the idea of standalone episodes and instead committing to a serialised format. While this might be common enough nowadays in the era of peak television, Star Trek has always been associated with the latter. Some of the best episodes in the entire franchise were self-contained stories that existed in and of themselves, like The Next Generation's The Inner Light or Deep Space Nine's Far Beyond The Stars. Yet, Star Trek is big and broad enough that story arcs can exist and have been successful. Voyager was, in essence, working on the idea of a serial story whilst Deep Space Nine's final two seasons were made into a continuous storyline. Discovery's first two episodes are place-setting for a story that'll join from week to week and reward return viewers rather than those who choose to dip in and out.
What's clear from the two episodes so far is that Discovery is striking out in a completely new direction for Star Trek, both in terms of its casting and its villains. The Klingons here are not the honor-obsessed warriors we knew from before; here, they're more closer to religious zealots. While it offers a unique perspective on them, it's hard not to think that basing an entire series around battling a single species is going to become dry and repetitive. Granted, it's early days yet and who's to say what'll happen in the coming episodes.
Overall, Discovery manages to update Star Trek to the tastes and sensibilities of the day, what with its season-wide story arc and willingness to defy and subvert expectations. It may take some getting used to, but there's more than enough here to make for a promising future.