Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres on Paramount+ on Thursday and we will have our regular detailed and spoiler-filled recap and review up that morning for the first episode. Paramount has shared the first few episodes with members of the media in advance and there are a few SPOILER-FREE thoughts worth sharing about this highly anticipated new series that should have fans applauding. (NOTE: if something has been in a promotional video or interview, this is not considered a spoiler).
Something old and something new
Strange New Worlds follows Discovery and Picard in this new streaming era of live-action Star Trek under executive producer Alex Kurtzman. And for many fans, this third time will be the charm as the series hits its stated target to bring back beloved elements of classic Star Trek, from both the TOS era and the TNG era. But Strange New Worlds isn’t just an exercise in nostalgia, it is also a very modern series. And the show doesn’t forget where it came from, as the new series carries over plotlines and character arcs from Star Trek: Discovery season two. In fact, the series kicks off with the USS Enterprise leaving spacedock for the first time following the battle in the Discovery season two finale.
From the first standalone episode, you get the sense this series has a lighter tone. While taking the job of exploring space seriously, this show remembers to have some fun, along with maintaining a healthy level of optimism and even wonderment. Each episode also finds its own balance, allowing for variety. You see this too with the style of each episode. While the pilot strikes a middle ground, following a somewhat standard get-the-band-back-together for a vital mission structure with plenty of action and adventure, follow-ups vary including one episode that plays as an intense submarine-style cat and mouse thriller, and the next turns to an almost slapstick character comedy, but it works. Each of the stories of the early episodes will feel familiar and perhaps even too familiar at times, yet there are still moments where they find some unique scenarios and solutions.
Strange New Worlds does not shy away from making commentary on important issues. As is traditional with Star Trek, the show uses alien drama to explore contemporary issues, with varying degrees of subtlety, not unlike TOS. What shines through each episode are the essential Star Trek themes of a hopeful future, cooperation, scientific curiosity, and family. Speaking of which, this is a show that can be shared by the whole family. While this is a prequel to The Original Series, one does not need to be steeped in Star Trek lore to follow the stories, especially as the show is making good on the promise to be exploring fascinating new worlds and interesting new aliens each week.
A crew worth knowing
While each week the crew faces a new sci-fi challenge, the character stories are highly-serialized. Each episode tends to shine a light on one or two characters, giving them a little arc for that week, all of which ties into their larger season arc. And this is where, even with all the trappings of to TOS era, the show feels more like the TNG-era shows or the modern Trek shows, with very nuanced explorations of these characters. In fact, you learn more about most of these characters in the first five episodes than you would for most characters in a full season of a classic Trek show, especially for characters outside of the big three (Pike, Spock, and Una/Number One).
Each member of this ensemble feels unique, and each has their own quirks and issues. Some of the issues they struggle with can be quite serious, notably Captain Pike himself has his arc dealing with learning his eventual fate through a time crystal (as seen in Discovery season two). And while the various backstories can be tragic, and even downright horrifying in one case, these are not broken dysfunctional characters wallowing in their pain and overindulging in their problems. Each is a dedicated professional, who is good at what they do. This comes through starting with the pilot episode which spends just as much time showcasing the crew as it does telling a first contact story and contemporary allegory. Like the other modern Trek shows, this strong ensemble is enabled by an exceptional group of actors, each perfectly cast for their roles.
Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn already impressed fans enough to mount a campaign that got the notice of the powers that be, but each comes to this series raising their game even more. Peck may be a standout here as he is threading the difficult needle of creating a Spock that has grown since Discovery but isn’t yet the one we know in TOS. He also has some new angles to explore: adding a struggle between his personal life and Starfleet duty to the classic battle between his Human and Vulcan sides. The rest of the cast is also quite impressive, either creating their new roles, or adding new angles to established roles. It’s hard to know which characters will pop, but a guess at a potential favorite would be Hemmer (Bruce Horak) the Aenar engineer, a lovable gruff in the style of Odo. Celia Rose Gooding should also be a favorite, especially for younger viewers, with a recognizable Uhura, but one still finding her way in Starfleet.
On the frontier
Where Strange New Worlds is entirely a modern series is in the production. The USS Enterprise is very much a character on this show (as it should be), and it looks fantastic inside and out. While evoking the designs of The Original Series ship, this show takes advantage of modern techniques and a significant budget to give the ship a sense of scale previously only seen in the feature films. Although some fans may be taken aback at the size of a few of these sets, from the cavernous cargo deck, to Pike’s big bachelor-pad quarters, to the well-sized restaurant/lounge with beautiful views from the front edge of the saucer.
The most modern element is how effectively this series is using the AR Wall technology, improving on the work started in the fourth season of Discovery. In this series, the virtual sets are less obvious and more dynamic. This is a game-changer for this show, bringing us breathtaking alien environments almost every week.
Jeff Russo’s opening theme can already be heard, but the real musical star of this series is episode composer Nami Melumad, who brings a lot of the active style of the TOS-era scores and combines it with the cinematic scope of the modern Star Trek feature films. She honors what has come before but shows freedom to have some fun too. And that is the sense you get from every element of the production, a love for the source material combined with a master level of their crafts.
Worth the wait
Like any television series, and certainly a Trek TV show, results from episode to episode vary. Strange New Worlds is not perfect by the first half of its first season. Most of the laughs lines and bits land, but some fall a bit flat. Canon is respected, but sometimes it is strained. The commentary is thought-provoking but in at least one case approaches the preachy. But what matters is that Strange New Worlds is always fun, entertaining, exciting, heartwarming, inspiring, and most of all, very worthy of the name Star Trek.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts on Thursday, May 5 exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia and the Nordics. The series will air on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave in Canada. In New Zealand, it will be available on TVNZ, and in India on Voot Select. Strange New Worlds will arrive via Paramount+ in select countries in Europe when the service launches later this year, starting with the UK this summer.
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So, like any given episode of any Star Trek series since TOS, in other words.
I was already excited for Strange New Worlds, but this review makes me even more excited. I hope that this is the series that draws in those who felt disenfranchised by Picard or Discovery.
Well said, plus I also hopes it draws in those who felt disenfranchised by Lower Decks and STID.
Granted STID is pure crap but Lower decks is awesome. It seems to be embraced by the majority of the fandom like it or not. Theres a few outliers like yourself and ML31 but that’s the same with all the other shows. You just have to accept it’s quite popular. It is what it is.
I tried watching Lower Decks for 10 minutes. Hated just about every second. I found the dialogue and voice-acting juvenile and cartoonish, in sharp contrast to TAS, which I fortunately have on DVD.
I agree it is a bit juvenile but in a lot of ways it’s the best of the new Star Trek (up until SNW I hope!) and definitely the truest to cannon.
I really don’t like Lower Decks either. It’s the hyperactive,somewhat obnoxious style of humour, which is very popular in the US these days, but which I wish could be dialled back. I almost stopped watching it after four episodes, but it’s grown on me a bit since, but I would be bothered if I never saw another episode.I think it’s basically so popular because it’s a beginning to end fan wank for those who pine for the 90’s era. I’d be really interested to know what non-Trek fans make of it.
Lower Decks has an audience that goes far beyond the core of 90s fans.
While I can understand why you (and I for that matter) might have drawn that conclusion, the facts of audience viewership don’t back that hypothesis. Mike Mahon may be a Trek fan who made a comedy based on his own love of TNG, but he’s also an established producer of adult animated comedies.
Just take a look at major social media platforms to see the number of posts saying “I really like Lower Decks. What Trek should I try next?”
As a parent of teens, I can also say in our household of Trek fans, that it’s Lower Decks and Prodigy that have kept our kids interested in the franchise after they’ve cycled repeatedly through classic Trek series.
With the existence of (belated) Nielsen numbers for people who watch streaming series in the US through setboxes, it’s established that the numbers for Lower Decks from social media monitoring like Parrot Analytics are valid.
I don’t think its expanding the audience to kids like Prodigy is doing. The social media comments you are talking about are more of the internet fanboy types, who are made up primarily by single males in their late teens through twenties…some of them are obviously watching, I will agree, and that’s a good expansion of the franchise to that demographic, so yeah, that’s a win for P+.
Prodigy though is on Nick. That’s a huge difference, and really is expanding the franchise to kids. And it a kid’s-appropriate show, unlike LDS, which promotes nepotism, rewarding the loudest voice, disobeying adults, and making everything into a joke.
Great to see you back man! :)
I been wondering where you been since I don’t think I’ve seen you post for any of the new episodes of Picard. Are you enjoying it?
I agree with you about LDS. I think it’s catching on with fans new to Star Trek too or have been watching mostly the new stuff. This is just based on posts I see on Reddit and YouTube but the show seems to be getting more popular for both old and new fans. How much, obviously don’t know but it’s definitely becoming more well liked and it’s only two seasons in! That poses well for future seasons.
You know the phrase, “don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”’?
That’s a bit of what I have thought in the time you have taken a break from posting. Just the other day, I said the following as it relates to the new SNW opening titles: “Where is TG47???? This forum needs him commenting on this stuff!”
Thinking about Shat’s famous quote now in relation to what I have just said: get a life! I am working on it.
Yes I know there are greater, more real, and more serious issues taking place in the world, and in our families. But that’s precisely why one can be justified in valuing an informed, kind voice of reason that takes a joke well, and offers a welcoming contrarian view.
Anyway, I do hope you are ok. Nice to to see you back. Looking forward to your thoughts on SNW S01 Ep01.
Thanks for mentioning the greater, serious issues in the real world Tarnwood. Canada has the largest historic diaspora from Ukraine, and it touches many of us here.
With that going on, I found I needed a break from “Saving the Galaxy/Universe” stories in Trek in March. So, I took a hiatus.
I’m now working through the end of Discovery S3 and moving on past episode 2 of S2 Picard.
I’m hoping that SNW fulfils the promise of a more hopeful, aspirational Trek show. We could really benefit from that just now.
“I really don’t like Lower Decks either. It’s the hyperactive, somewhat obnoxious style of humour, which is very popular in the US these days, but which I wish could be dialled back.”
Lower Decks is the most uneven Trek since Voyager. There are some episodes that are awful, but some are simply outstanding.
At first I thought so too and in fact it was very difficult for me to sit through most of season 1 of Lower Decks as I am not into the juvenile, childish humor of the series but I decided to give it a second chance in the second season and guess what? I enjoyed it so much more. I think in the second season the show managed to effectively grow and have its own identity. With Lower Decks I think you need to be patient and try to give it a chance. It worked better for me like that.
Agreed. In my opinion, it’s just loud, silly and claims it’s canon, while taking canon-based characters and Starfleet norms to an adolescent level of behavior that would simply not fly on a true, live action Star Trek series.
Disenfranchised by Lower Decks? It’s an extremely popular and well-received show.
That doesn’t change the fact that some people feel disenfranchised by it. To quote Nomad: “Non sequitur.”
Bravo! (clap, clap)
the perfect Trek nerd post of the day!
Well done, sir!
Agreed, I could not have said it better myself. I would only add this Kirk response to to your response:
“You are in error. You did not discover your mistake.” :-)
That’s why we have 5 different shows right now. It should cover most grounds and nobody feels like they didn’t get the attention.
(Using the word ‘disfranchised’ to describe not having a TV show catering a group of people is nonsense and devalues the true meaning of the word.)
Using the word ‘disfranchised’ to describe not having a TV show catering a group of people is nonsense and devalues the true meaning of the word. Misusing words like this is exactly how we cheapened the concept of democracy over the past few decades.
Dude, we are all not English Professors here. Take a chill pill.
Sure, it’s not the proper use the word, but Star Trek is a “franchise,” and so Shatterhand2049’s use of the word being used in this non-standard way kind of cleverly fits. And no, this won’t lead to support for Trump…that’s really quite a ridiculous thing to imply here…LOL
Maybe we can disenfranchise any potentially good new TREK from the existingTREK franchise so that it doesn’t have to hew to lowest-common-denominator or politically-correct leanings?
TV shows can take away your right to vote?
I think you might mean “disenchanted.” :)
This tease has done its job. I’m excited!
Nick Meyer said it best around the release of STAR TREK VI, that TREK is built on “the extra-terrestrial quality known as charm… which these characters possess in abundance.” By all accounts, with the substantial press push by Paramount, and in reading this review, it seems like SNW is giving its cast a chance to connect with the audience. Just an aside, I usually don’t care about actors posting on social media, but everyone who’s been doing so from this cast has been wonderful. There’s a real sense of excitement and humility across the board, and I think Anson and Rebecca are leading that tone. I am excited to see them all soon.
Mr. Pascale, thank you for the great review that does not give anything away…this just gets me more excited!
Question — for the first few eps you saw, is the runtime in the 50+ min level, or is it more towards the kind of disappointing approx 40 min length that we are getting on a lot of Picard eps?
More in the 50s range. Just one out of five with less, about 45.
Awesome — that’s what I want to hear. I am enjoying Picard, by I feel like it should really only be about 8 eps given most eps are about 40 min — like they forced an 8 ep season into 10 eps by shorting each ep unnecessarily.
Definitely agreed. It’s highly disappointing that Picard season two didn’t take advantage of the timing flexibility that streaming offers.
In Canada, Picard is broadcast on the CTV SciFi channel. Most eps are an hour with commercials. Not everyone is watching it on a Geofenced American streaming site.
Dude, I want to give you props for this post. You somehow turned getting to watch this in a one hour format with lots of commercials as “Canada getting over on the U.S.” since fans in the USA are forced to unfortunately watch it commercial free (for those of us that pay the additional $4/month) in the inferior 40-min length format.
Congrats, you guys win this one in the ages-long battle for North America sf tv supremacy!
Since the CTV-Sci-fi Channel is a premium cable channel, we definitely pay for it here.
That said, there are fewer commercials/ad minutes per hour. Better yet, CTV has flexibility in how it distributes the add minutes across a premium cable and will crunch them down on some episode and doesn’t hesitate to run over the hour to ensure the entire episode is broadcast. After all, what’s up next is an episode of Classic Trek.
And you know this how? Just curious,since you didn’t write the review,lol.
I think the sensible option is to make it in the 50 mins range since TOS episodes were 50 mins if I remember correctly and since this show is episodic, I think episodic stuff work better in a 50 min timeframe.
So what the reviewer is saying is the crew of the Enterprise is the exact opposite of the crew of the Discovery who are broken dysfunctional characters wallowing in their pain and overindulging in their problems season after season. This is good news.
No, that’s not at all what they’re saying. That’s what you’re saying.
He overstated this. I think he mean to say implying, not saying. And I tend to agree with him on this point (please see my direct response to him).
Ah sure, obviously the “broken dysfunctional characters wallowing in their pain and overindulging in their problems” is mentioned there for absolutely no reason.
Agreed Eric. What I loved about TOS and TNG was bar an occasional,episode, the show wasn’t about the crew per-se, but the crew cooperating and problem solving etc. This over-indulgence with EMO level over-emoting characters in both Discovery and Season 1 of Picard felt like bad teen level fan fiction. Hope there’sca level of maturity to this new show in regards to how the crew acts whilst on duty.
TNG was very much about the crew.
For Picard, I think it’s more of Picard himself in Season 2 that we are seeing this, not in season 1. In DSC, it’s been several characters in different seasons that they’ve gone a bit overboard with this in my opinion. But that’s OK as I love those series…but it’s good to hear that we are going to be getting away from that trope in this new series. It kind of works in those two shows, but I am glad for the break.
Eric, you didn’t read the review if that is your takeaway.
I am usually a staunch defender of DSC and Picard, but I do think you are likely right in that the writer is alluding to a bit of a comparison to what have seen with some of the characters in DSC, and with Picard himself this season. You overstated this though — I think you meant to “implying,” not “saying.”
Again, I love and will continue to defend these, shows, but your point is valid — and it fits with some of what we have seen from Picard himself these season on Picard.
It’s really sad when some people do any and everything they can to take shots at Discovery and I’m seeing it happen in a lot of reviews for SNW (not this one) where in praising the new show, reviewers are taking shots at Disco. You don’t have to like it. Actually, that’s the beauty of modern Trek – there’s literally something for everyone that’s different in tone and story but let’s be clear. Discovery speaks to a large swath of fans who are trying to navigate their daily lives processing surges of emotions and social issues that a lot of older fans didn’t deal with in their time. They’re a progressive section of fans who want to see themselves represented in a franchise that’s always clung to the ideal of looking ahead and being diverse. I’ve loved Star Trek for decades now and I can say that Discovery has handled representation racially, sexually, physically, and emotionally better than any Trek show before it. I’ve felt more “seen” through Book and Burnham’s pairing than I ever have before in Trek and yeah, that means something special. Those fans are part of the family and they deserve their seat at the table. Discovery leans into the modern of modern Trek pretty heavily but that’s good. That’s an evolution. Again, it’s totally ok if it’s not your jam, just don’t watch it but I’m soooo sick of other areas of the fandom being condescending towards it and the fans of the series just because they don’t like it. I watched people do that with Voyager and DS9 and I watched the vocal majority of the fandom gang up on Enterprise when they all aired. Can we all just chill out?
Sorry for the rant, but this has really been getting under my skin for a while.
I love DSC and Picard as well, but I agree that they have used the damage characters thing a lot — why can’t we all admit that? And now its apparent that SNW will be using less of an approach…and I would bet I am going to like that series as well.
Thanks for the preview. If I wasn’t already bursting with excitement and anticipation (and I was) I sure am now. The world is so dark right now I feel like we really need a show like this.
I’m a night owl, so I’ll be staying up to find out for myself on Thursday. This sounds promising, though!
A question! Is the premier pilot episode on May 5th going to be a one or two hour show?
Since modern Trek shows rarely do 2 hour pilots anymore, except Discovery, I think its safe to say that it will probably be a one hour show.
It’s an hour.
I hope each season ends on a cliff-hanger two-parter. That would build momentum and interest for the fans between the long seasons.
Paramount is really pushing the narrative of the episodic nature of SNW so I doubt we will be seeing 2 parters this season. Thats just my op of course.
Sounds great I’m really looking forward to seeing the show Thursday and I’m glad they are keeping the connections to DSC. Alot of people on various youtube/facebook groups thought that SNW would not have any connections with DSC S2 and they also hoped it would erase it from the Franchise. Glad they are all wrong. If SNW can match the writing quality of DSC and have the great character arc’s that the DSC characters got it will be a great show.
I’m mostly looking forward to seeing Rebecca Romijn as Number 1 as I’ve been a fan of hers since X-men and the TV show Liberians. But I’m also looking forward to seeing and getting to know the rest of the characters.
As a person who has been up and down on Discovery literally every season I too am glad that this show isn’t trying to wipe it out of existence either. Canon is canon! Fans who are constantly trying to erase stuff like the Kelvin movies, Discovery, Lower Decks, DS9, whatever, needs to just accept you’re not going to like everything in the franchise but STILL recognize that every aspect of it has their fans and needs to be respected as such.
Telling a fan their favorite show, movie, etc doesn’t count because they don’t like it is not only what defines gatekeeping in the worst possible way but you’re also alienating a big part of fandom. That and it’s all fiction anyway, so get over it.
Fair enough but, let’s face it, Discovery has pretty much erased away TOS and retconned a lot of of other stuff so that it all fits within the overall premise and visual reboot of Discovery. TOS is now a footnote, with TMP as the hard start visually for Star Trek as a whole. We’re reaching a point where Spock’s relationship with Kirk, McCoy and the crew of that Enterprise is yet another footnote, though long established as the years which had the greatest impact on his life.
At least until the re-imagined/updated TOS kicks off on Paramount+ later this decade.
I think it’s eventually coming, folks. At least if P+ keeps expanding.
Yeah we agree Discovery has done a lot of damage in terms of its visual and story canon. I have certainly shouted enough about that myself and why it never should’ve been placed in the period it was. I’m glad they finally came to their senses on that at least but it may have already done too much damage for some fans to accept it and they have to like it as a show.
But to say it isn’t canon at all for fans who do like it doesn’t help either. I agree with you TOS does feel more and more like a footnote thanks to all these more advanced and updated looking prequels. It’s another reason I wouldn’t have made any prequels prior to TOS but that’s just me. Still, Discovery is canon, we just have to reconcile it’s made for a more modern audience 50 years after TOS. The problem was they just went waaaaay too far with it and alienated a lot of fans in the process. SNW at least looks and feels like it take place in the TOS era and the direction they should’ve gone in with Discovery instead of basically making it a quasi-reboot.
But yeah, TOS does feel more and more in the background ironically even though the point is to highlight it with these prequels. I love having Spock back and happy we have SNW but if it was up to me we never would’ve gone this far back in the first place.
Truth be told I don’t think they ever came to their senses. The whole point of jumping to the 32nd century was to stop messing with canon. But now they are doing something just as bad. They are creating brand new horrific canon. The very first thing they do when arriving in the 32nd century is to blow up almost all of Starfleet
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Discovery pretty much spit on the canon of TOS trek. Its disrespectful and disgusting.
Agreed. Someone had a wacky post last week proclaiming that canon was meaningless…no way!
The trouble with Star Trek Discovery is that it seems to be written by talentless children with no life experience. This next generation seems determined to destroy every artistic construct we’ve been enjoying all these many years. Instead of them adapting to the world we live in, they seem determined to force all of us to capitulate to their self-absorbed whims.
i’m personally not trying to erase DIS from canon but I wish I could. Because DIS certainly did its best to break every aspect of canon it could so it’s only fair. What they did with the Klingons and the red angel suit could not be forgiven. It was beyond STID levels of bad.
Oh and I’m really hoping we see L’Rell this season! But still with hair. ;)
“What shines through each episode are the essential Star Trek themes of a hopeful future, cooperation, scientific curiosity, and family. Speaking of which, this is a show that can be shared by the whole family.”
Music to my ears. Fingers crossed this is maintained throughout the series. Kids really need a show which show-cases optimism and cooperation for the greater good, in today’s very troubled times, so good that this may be a show that can be enjoyed equally by all age groups, like TOS and TNG did. I hope they stick to this, and leave the casual violence and 21st century cussing to Picard & Discovery…
This just shows that the showrunners, are LISTENING to some of the core demographic. After 4 years of people raising criticism of DSC and Picard, some valid, some just nitpicking. Look at how varied the Trek community is. There is a whole subgroup who are mainly interested in the props and prop design. Stuart Foley and his partner, Samuel Cockings, have a successful YouTube Facebook channel discussing the design of the ships. There is a group of fans who consume all the fan films with enthusiasm. Each character on each show has it’s own following. Now, I’m just guessing but I think Anson was the last cast member to sign up. I’ve been a fan of him since Hell On Wheels, I follow his podcast and read most interviews that pop up. He expressed his dislike at being on a soundstage for 12-14 hours a day. Most of Hell On Wheels was location shooting. Ethan Peck, on a Twitter post was saying (I paraphrase) Whatta you say, Captain? You wanna do this? The first scene on the trailer was of Anson, riding his horse, while a shuttle flew overhead. To me, it was an obvious nod to Hell On Wheels and the Cage Pilot. If Pike’s horse has a different name than the one in the pilot? The slaves to canon will make noise on the interwebs. I think some people won’t like SNW just because they simply don’t want to, even before it airs.
I approach each show in the franchise with an open mind. I must admit, I am MOST excited for this series. The fact that Picard season finale is airing the same day is a bonus.
TNG is the most profitable show in the Trek franchise. Picard is the most popular Captain. While the Picard series was different artistically? The suits at Paramount most likely panicked, thinking they’d broken their merchandising golden egg. That’s why we will see the Enterprise D back, along with the original cast, in S3. The last season of Picard will have more of a TNG feel. Doug Drexler made a post about “how you can go home, again” and the Okuda’s are back on board.
Don’t you mean that we will see the Enterprise E back?
Id say either are possible though I’m with Denny here, I’d suspect that we will see the D again before we ever see the E, also they already have a cgi model of the D from season 1, but I guess there were several sovereigns in the premier episode so who knows? We shall see!
We’ve already seen flashes of the D in the first episode of Picard season one as you said, but also Lower Decks and Prodigy. So yeah, while we haven’t gotten it in full form yet I have a feeling it may make a real appearance again.
I still think if an Enterprise appears on this show it would be the E-E since as far as we know it hasn’t been destroyed or decommissioned.
True enough but man at this point the E would be old. And if we do see the E Worf had better be Captain.
To the contrary. The horse had better be named Tango, or the show will be an epic fail.
Excited for the show… It would be nice if Enterprise’s hull was a bit lighter in color… I realized it is a steel grey, and it isn’t the lighting that is making it look darker than TOS or the movies… and the aztec patterns are a little overdone. But that’s just me… I’ve obsessed over Enterprise colors and aztec patterns as I struggle to build models of the ship. lol.
It sounds like we may finally have a live action show that lives up to classic Star Trek. One that is about exploring both the galaxy and the ideals of this franchise we all love. If its mission is about seeing what’s out there with a sense of optimism, adventure (and actual solid writing) then I’m fully on board.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to be a mega-fan after a couple of episodes (I been down that well too many times at this point) but if at least keeps to the elements that I feel has been missing in Star Trek since Enterprise went off the air, this can be a great show in the end! I’m just happy we got the big E back full time again! It is a bit odd we have all these shows now but none of them stars an Enterprise! And the original at that.
Although I have watched Discoverg, Short Treks and Picard with varying degrees of disdain as well as some appreciation, the early returns on SNW have been pretty positive.
I didnt read any detailed reviews and did not watch yesterday’s trailer. Will wait for Thursday with some anticipation…. even for the finale of Picard.
T-minus 4 days and counting!!!!
Yeah definitely wait DeanH since we’re so close now!
And I been seeing a lot more reviews pop up on YouTube since this article came out. Most do seem positive on the five episodes but a few have pointed out some of the stories may feel a little TOO standard for Star Trek these days. Still it’s just starting and everyone seems to be saying it’s a more positive, upbeat and fun show, especially compared to the more dreary Picard and Discovery. It’s probably why LDS is more popular, its the first new show where it’s OK to just have fun and enjoy the adventures and not feel so weighted down by them. It’s also the reason I can barely watch first seasons of Picard and Discovery. Their later seasons at least lightened up a little even if still far from great.
Thursday is going to be a fun day though! Even though I have been bitterly disappointed with Picard this season (again) I’m still crossing my fingers we’ll get a TNG cameo like a Worf or Geordi in the finale to head into season 3. That will give us nerds something to drool about!
It’s still a great time to be a fan!
Haha I see on Monday morning they just released previews, photos and trailers for both Picard and SNW. So far, i have managed not to click on either one! Haha should be a fun week!
T-minus 3 days and counting!
How could the Enterprise still be in Spacedock after the DSC season 2 battle? It was already repaired in time for the DSC end credits and number 1 was also on the ship. The promo videos suggest they are looking for her in episode 1. I had assumed the crash ship in the promos might be the ENT. I can’t believe they would hand wave this away.
Reserve your judgment until you watch the first episode. 👍
Yeah, prepare to make some head canon on this… not a big deal, though.
Hand waving away stuff is kind of their thing.
What’s the point of a show being preachy? Who is it preaching to? Most people who watch the show already agree with the points being made. Those that disagree are almost certainly not watching it. I don’t get it. Is it just some weird form of cognitive masturbation?
It’s what Star Trek has been doing since 1966. You’re complaining about it now?
This is how Star Trek has operated since pretty much the first episode in 1966.
I see this kind of revisionism in Dr. Who fandom as well. So sad…
Seriously have you not watched the show before 2017 or something? Star Trek has been standing on soap boxes for over 50 years now. It’s been doing everything from criticizing things like war, race and religion to even reminding us, hold on, Nazism is bad!
Did you need an episode to tell you why having an entire planet take after the Third Reich was wrong? Well you got an episode about it anyway and with Kirk and the gang reminding us that anyone having too much power can create it again some day.
It doesn’t take long to realize that when you, well you know, watch the shows.
Since what I said is a hundred percent factual, there’s no revisionism here.
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
The Omega Glory
A Private Little War
Bread and Circuses
The Counter-Clock Incident
Star Trek IV
The High Ground
Half a Life
Far Beyond the Stars
And that’s just TOS, TAS, the films, TNG and DS9, off the top of my head. If I were to look closely at a list of episodes, I’m sure I could pick many more. Many of these are great stories, but they’re also preachy. And in some cases, it’s their preachiness that makes them so important.
I’d like to point out that you listed 13 episodes out of close to 500, counting movies. That’s about 3%.
Jam packed, I tells ya!
In any event, I’m not talking about episodes with a moral message. That’s not the same thing as being preachy. Duet, just to pick an example, is not at all preachy.
Preachy is telling you what to think.
He said off the top of his head and only pointed out a few shows and one of the films. There are dozens more.
In fact I’ll add another episode to the list. Ironically I just finished watching the Enterprise episode ‘Chosen Realm’ earlier today. That one is all about what happens when religious fervor goes to the extreme and basically ends the same way Let That Be Your Last Battefield did with both sides sticking to their dogma and hate to the point they end up destroying their own planet.
I always thought this episode was kind of an homage to ‘Battlefield’. Only instead of race, swap it out for religion with the crazy freaks taking over the Enterprise and ending up on the same dire note because they couldn’t get passed their own flawed prejudices and beliefs. That was made nearly 20 years ago now and yeah pretty preachy. And as an atheist, I’m not bothered by the message and agree with some of it (especially when religion tries to push misguided spiritual beliefs over basic science as this episode focused on). If you are religious, it may get your back up a little.
This is just how Star Trek rolls man. And proves for the umpteenth time it’s a more liberal based show. What’s funny is you’re getting defensive over a show you haven’t even seen yet and may not even have more than a few episodes like that a season. I highly doubt it will have any more than all the classic shows did being a much less episode count. So relax.
Agreed about “Duet” actually. I would hardly call an episode like Duet preachy. It gets its points across and it actually makes the audience think from both sides of the perspective and how not everything you see are the hard,cold facts and that sometimes the background might be very different to what is seen or done.
You must be trolling or saying this semi tongue-in-cheek! In addition to the TOS episodes already mentioned, take a look at episodes like Let This Be Your Last Battlefield or even Devil in the Dark. The same goes for TNG episodes like The Outcast or The Host.
Then put yourself into the way the world was back in the 1960s and 1980s. Todays world looks at racism, prejudice and gender politics very differently than people did 40 and 60 years ago.
Btw, if you need a reminder of the way the world was back in the 1960s, just a heads up – Back in the 60s, most people laughed at Asians when they were depicted as bucktoothed nearsighted simpletones like the Japanese soldier on Gilligan’s Island. That was considered acceptable mainstream entertainment in the 1960s!
The last thing I will say is go back and watch the DS9 episode Far Beyond the Stars to see the way people of colour were treated in the 1950s and 60s. Sadly, some of it looks eerily familar to the videos we have all seen in the news in the last few years.
You’d think so, but in fact there are plenty of people who purport to love Trek but disdain its (mostly) liberal politics, or like to pretend that those politics are something new the franchise. As to why, you’d have to ask them. It certainly wasn’t the case when fandom was getting its start in the early ‘70s.
In any case, you shouldn’t base your content on an assumption as to what your audience currently believes. Challenging assumptions (as opposed to preaching) is a hallmark of good writing, in any genre.
I guess what I’m trying to understand is why one would want to watch a show that moralizes exactly what one already believes. What does that do for people? Is it some need to feel safe with an opinion? A fear of hearing something that challenges one’s preconceptions?
Back in the TOS days, the show was aimed at middle America, which was pretty conservative. So it was risky for it to slip in some anti-war or anti-racism or anti-sexism messaging. But nowadays the vast majority of people who watch Trek already agree with its progressive principles. Having an episode that, I dunno, says you should treat people the same regardless of race or sex or whatever is just going to get enthusiastic nods from the target audience. Don’t you find that boring and pandering? I do.
I don’t want to watch a show that tells me my beliefs are safe and unworthy of being challenged. I want them challenged. I want ambiguity, so I can come away with something to think about. I want to learn something new. I want to be told I’m not as smart as I think I am. I want to be given stimulus to come up with my own defenses for my beliefs instead of being given something to parrot.
Star Trek, at its core, has always been about the human condition. That’s been lost a bit over the past few years.
I am hereby assigning you 66 hours of fan remediation viewing of TOS and 132 hours of fan remediation viewing of TNG. Please complete these viewings and then revise your post here as needed.
I am so excited for this series! Here’s my one question: are viewers expected to have seen Discovery season 2, or will they catch the audience up on anything they need to know?
There are several reviews up now and from all of them it seems that the show was designed as an on-ramp for new Trek viewers to watch Star Trek. That likely means that everything you need to know will be in the show from the start.
As someone who has seen the first two episodes of SNW and none of Discovery season 2, I can tell you that you’ll be absolutely fine without having watched Disco! I of course have known about the events of season 2 for some time, and the moments in SNW that harken back to them made sense to me because I already knew about them, but I still think there’s enough in SNW on its own for you to know exactly what’s going on. They did a good job alluding to and explaining what happened without making it feel like exposition.
Sounds great and I’m so looking forward to this.
To paraphrase Captain John Christopher in TOS episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, “thanks Trekmovie for the look ahead”.
Thanks very much for this, Anthony.
Goldsman’s comments on CNN today about Kirk are very telling — he is ‘printing the legend’ rather than reflecting what we saw, especially early in TOS.. It’s also not reflective of the Pike we saw in CAGE at all either, since Pike seems pretty arbitrary there, rather than a consensus-builder:
“Jim Kirk is a young boy’s fantasy of a ‘Star Trek’ captain,” Goldsman says. “He’s brash, impulsive — he knows the rules but doesn’t follow them. He’s a swashbuckler. Pike is a thoughtful man of reason who builds consensus.”
They also seem to be trying to distance this to a degree from DS9 … I find it interesting whenever folks think that is such a thing apart from TOS, as opposed to being a more sophisticated distant followup. Would be neat to actually group comments by folks — like me — who find TOS and DS9 the only ‘winners’ in Trek history and could easily do without all of the rest, to see what the values are that we find so compelling about these two series, separated by decades but united by storytelling that — when well-executed, which isn’t ever a given — delivers the goods in a memorable yet often rewatchable fashion.
Going by Goldman’s quote about Kirk, it would seem like he never saw Balance of Terror. Or any of the other numerous TOS episodes which portray Kirk as the opposite of brash, impulsive, or being a swashbuckler.
Well, if you had never seen James Bond films prior to these Craig monstrosities, you’d figure that character was always operating on his own initiative against orders. They managed to invert things rather quickly this century, whereas previously, you have only one (major) departure from form over the first 40 years, in which the decision to go rogue comes out of doing the character justice, when he acts out of personal loyalty in LICENCE TO KILL. If he does that kind of thing in every movie, then it becomes a shtick, and that seems what so many are intent on reducing Kirk (and Trek) down to.
It’s like the old bit about Kirk v Picard, They hold a phaser and count to three, dif being that Kirk shoots on ‘1’ or ‘2’ while picard just keeps counting. It is baloney, Kirk would be just as likely to set his phaser down and offer himself up as a solution, either sacrificially or sexually. All of this lowest common denominator characterization is such an insult to what has gone before and the talent that went into making that what it was and remains.
I don’t disagree much with either of you here, but I will point out that this is the view of Kirk that Rodenberry himself largely held by the 80’s when he became dead-set on introducing a more careful, controlled and erudite type of Enterprise Captain — and he then gave us exactly that type Captain with Picard…and Rick Berman largely bought into it as well, hence the mediocre Captains we got with Janeway and Archer.
Goldsman is simply parroting Rodenberry’s and Berman’s later in life views on Kirk — and a lot of TNG fans have this same opinion. And Berman took his dislike of Kirk so far as to not give a shit about giving Kirk a proper hero death. Akiva is carrying on the Berman-era tradition of diminishing Kirk.
Personally, I would rate Kirk as the best Captain, and I would rate Sisko my 2nd.
I think it’s funny that they turned Picard into an uber-Kirk after Generations; putting him in over the top action pieces that were very un-Picard like. Although I thought Stewart had something to do with that too.
Yeah Picard was pretty much the anti-Picard in First Contact and to a lesser degree in Insurrection.
I agree with you about your rankings, and I won’t dispute what you had to say about latter-era GR … though I don’t know how much of that is age-inspired revisionism vs just too many drugs or too many disputes with the actors!
+1. People who reflect on Kirk like this or talk about him being a womanizer or things like that don’t really know kirk at all. He is such an over exaggerated character by modern audiences.
I like the people who dismiss the character of Captain Kirk and get him so wrong because it’s like they’re raising their hand to boast how dumb they are and how easily they can be ignored. What a buffoon Akiva Goldsman has turned out to be. Oh well, he’s more successful than most human beings will ever be in recorded history.
I suppose you could substitute the word Trump for Goldsman and have it all play just as well, if you maintain that same view of what being successful entails.
Well he was behind Batman & Robin…
Sometimes I think the best thing he was deeply involved with was the LOST IN SPACE movie. Talk about damning with faint praise … (does anybody else think the bespectacled actor from SPORTS NIGHT and THE WEST WING oughta play him in a movie? Not that I’d want to see a movie about him.)
Dude won an actor for writing A Beautiful Mind, which was a great movie. I Robot (truly underrated), I am Legend and Cinderella Man are also movies I liked. Lost in Space, not so much.
No doubt you will respond that these movies stunk, but it’s a fact that these movies are liked by many.
I think ROBOT was on par with his trek work, as in, unwatchably bad and especially when compared with what could have been (i.e. the Ellison script, which while not perfect, at least aspired to greatness.) Haven’t seen CINDERELLA, and won’t see LEGEND based on a fellow Matheson fan’s view that it makes the previous attempts look good by comparison (that, and the fact that the trailer looked like a computer game.)
I’ve seen MIND, was disappointed by it and don’t understand how it would be considered Oscar-worthy, but won’t comment further on that except to say John Logan has an Oscar too, even though his last bit of writing on THE AVIATOR was done something like six years before it filmed and probably doesn’t actually resemble what wound up on screen. And after all the damage Logan did to Bond, that should have been enought for folks to demand he give any and all awards back.
But what do I know? None of my choices for best pic between 1973 and 1990 won (few were even nominated) and I’ve disagreed with most of the noms and winners since as well. How THE WRITINGS ON MY BALLS and SKYMALL won Oscars for song is as big a disgrace as APOLLO 13 losing VFX to BABE, or BLADE RUNNER losing same to ET. I guess that all jives with what you say about movies liked by many, but I’ve never seen quality and b.o. success as going hand-in-hand, though it’d be nice if that were more often the case.
Love the THE WRITINGS ON MY BALLS and SKYMALL cracks.
It would be fun to be at a bar with you discussing movies. Maybe we would at least agree that the 60’s-70’s was the true golden age of cinema?
Absofrigginlutely on 60s-70s stuff, and I’m a total devotee of 70s political paranoia cinema!
On the Bondthing, I’ve actually written Weird Al style lyrics for both of those, will have to dig them up sometime.
Kmart, do like I do: when you know you’ve been infected with franchise fatigue, skip over to the Criterion Channel. All original, nary a sequel. World Cinema. Almost none will win an Academy Award.
For curated new genre work,, Alex Proyas has started a short video channel you can subscribe to for a year for the price of one movie ticket. It’s called Vidiverse.
I’ve never heard of the Proyas, thanks for the tip.
I sometimes go the opposite direction from Criterion and watch unbelievably bad crap that I can find funny. This last ten days or so, I watched a TV movie (John DeLancie as worm like guy) called DEATH FLIGHT on Amazon that was called SST DEATH FLIGHT 45 years ago and is just as bad now as it was back then, but by watching in 15 minute increments, I had a grand old time. I offset that by, during the same period, watching BAND OF BROTHERS and THE PACIFIC for the first time (blown away by former, found a lot of value but not as much entertainment in latter.)
I’ve actually got several Criterion Kurosawas on DVD and am making my way through them, along with a couple of Antonioni pics, so I keep trying to expand my repertoire to more foreign stuff, but I still seem to lean toward Amercan filmmakers who embrace a more artsy or European aesthetic, like Kubrick and Lynch. My alltime faves are still 2001, APOCALYPSE and ALL THAT JAZZ, but I’m thinking HER and CHILDREN OF MEN may get added to that list soon (would consider UNDER THE SKIN, but am not fully convinced that was actually made by a human being, it feels like it was directed by an extraterrestrial.)
Then again, I also love ACTION JACKSON, which is probably an indefensible position for any filmgoer, but … so there.
He and Alex Kurtzman are two of the most prolific and successful filmmakers of all-time and that is not in any way an exaggeration. It is a fact of life. None of that, however, has led to memorably good Star Trek while the IP has been under their management. Maybe SNW will reverse that trend!
As I said elsewhere here, his opinion is largely the same view that later life Rodenberry and Rick Berman had on Kirk, so I really don’t see that warranting calling the man a buffon. And I know a lot of TNG fans who feel the same way.
BTW, I don’t buy this either — Kirk and TOS are my fav Trek Captain and series, respectively. I just think you guys are having way too much a knee-jerk reaction on Akiva here to something that GR and Berman started decades ago. He’s just the latest person in power in the franchise to carry on this distorted view, which is also pretty pervasive in Trek fans that came up through TNG era.
It’s tough because I came up through TNG, too, and I just don’t see what these people are talking about. Captain Kirk of The Original Series is a pretty terrific captain, and Spock is not Spock without Kirk, and Kirk is not Kirk without Spock and McCoy (who always seems to get lost in these revisionist histories and reexaminations of older Trek).
Rick Berman always hated Kirk because I think he was jealous that TOS was not his Trek. But its sad to see that in his later years Roddenberry didn’t seem to understand his own creation.
Had a chance to see the first episode last night in NY and couldn’t make it. Told some friends about it, and they got the tickets. So I am jealous of my friends LOL
I have been having dreams reliving playing with models, making my own sixth grade Star Trek screenplays, and finally we get to be back! Plus I am a very serious adult.
I’m with eveyone here, very excited. And happy to be able to share this time with our Trekmovie family. How long have we been commenting here? So many years…. Thank you Anthony, Laurie, Matt & everyone …
Very well put and I agree with your Trek movie comments 100%.
Hey, I was at the NY premiere! We should totally meet up sometime if you’re in the city. There’s a local Star Trek meetup group called Away Team that you can find as a group on Facebook, and if you join it you can hear about screenings and gatherings! It’s a great little community and the only reason I even knew about the premiere in the first place. I hung out with my fellow Trekkies at the bar for 6 hours after the screening picking every nit, and it was a wonderful time.
! I will join it…!
I want to like this show and will give it a shot. I quit watching DISCO after season 3 and find PICARD barely watchable. (LD and Prodigy are not too bad) We simply need good stories and characters written by writers who are actual, mature adults. 90s Trek should be used as the inspiration, IMO. And allegory can be great if done well, but when the character turns to the camera and preaches politics to the viewer, it breaks the 4th wall and seriously damages the show.
But I will give the show a chance.
Sadly there is a bit of fourth-wall-breaking preachiness in SNW, to a degree I almost found cringy when I saw the first episode, but it isn’t enough to break the show. It’s nowhere near as bad as it’s been in Disco or Picard. Because I agree – all modern Trek series are basically unwatchable. This is the first one I’ve seen where I didn’t want to just throw on TOS instead.
“Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn already impressed fans enough to mount a campaign”
I see what you did there.
Will it be possible to buy episodes of SNW on Amazon?
Cool beans. Thanks for the review, Anthony!
I just read a review on another site by someone who has been very critical of new Trek, and they loved SNW. (At least the first five episodes they were allowed to see.) They said it’s a return to form, or words to that effect, and the synopses of the episodes sounded intriguing as well.
We shall see. But I’m excited.
I’ve been seeing that in a lot of reviews too, and as someone who has almost universally loathed new Trek since Disco season 2, I agree – SNW [at least the first 2 episodes] is the best Star Trek I’ve seen in maybe decades.
[[the show uses alien drama to explore contemporary issues, with varying degrees of subtlety, not unlike TOS]]
“Cheron? That’s in the southernmost part of the galaxy, isn’t it?”
Waiting for something like this to air:
I am red in the face, but he … he is red in the neck.
I’m so excited for this series, I might simply explode. :-)
And what has trekmovie to do With the anouncement of the actors?
Excited for this!!! I’ve enjoyed each of the modern Trek shows in different ways. I’m confident this show will be another thumbs up for me!!! A golden age for Star Trek indeed! Alex Kurtzman gets a lot of hate from angry people online, but personally I think he really helped save the franchise. I haven’t been this excited about the franchise since DS9 went off the air. And I’ve had this excitement for a while now
Yeah I have to agree with you on many levels. Yes, there have been incredible misses with each of the shows and I have been dismayed by much of the writing in Discovery and Picard, but like it or not, IMHO reality is – Kurtzman got CBS and P+ to greenlight Picard, Short Treks, SNW, Prodigy and LDs. He was also involved with JJ and the gang that ressurected the movie franchise back in 2009, which apparently is leading to Star Trek 14.
Could he have done a better job? Of course, but he is ultimately the one who is responsible for 5 current tv shows and partially responsible for starting the events which led to the upcoming 14th franchise movie.
Yeah but like why are we in the quantity over quality mindset? Who cares how much new Trek we get – how much GOOD new Trek do we get? For me, SNW is the first series that has really gripped me since Enterprise. I’ve only seen 2 episodes, but they’re off to a better start than either Disco or Picard at the same point in their runs.
I’m torn. I really, really want to love this show, and I yearn for a Trek with this general approach, but I really really hate the whole idea of the visual reboot, I hate recasting so iconic a character as Spock, and I’m not heartened by the presence of apparently multiple Noonien-Singhs and the story implications. I’ll watch it, though, probably viewing it as an AU production rather than part of the Prime universe I know it’s officially part of.
I’m looking forward to the launch of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Cinco de Mayo.
Good. I’ve about had my fill of the TV-MA Trek. That’s never what the franchise was about.
So when all is said and done, this new show, it’s Star Trek.
That is all I care about.
Takeaways from early reviews:
Slashfilm: No qualifications are needed any longer. “Strange New Worlds” is, quite simply, the best “Star Trek” show in decades.
San Francisco Chronicle: By contrast, a few continuing subplots notwithstanding, these are episodic, one-and-done stories. And man, does it feel nice.
Gizmodo: If you’ve missed some of the classic Star Trek feeling that other contemporary shows have moved away from to explore their own strengths in other niches, then Strange New Worlds will feel like a missing piece of a much larger puzzle being slotted into place at long last—with all the satisfaction such a feeling entails.
TV Line: Both Discovery and the Next Generation sequel series Star Trek: Picard started out strong before running into narrative quicksand in later seasons… It’s a throwback, to be sure… and a welcome one.
Thanks for these, Denny. Much appreciated. And encouraging.
I agree across the board, this is a great new series and you’re gonna love it.
No love for one of Star Treks biggest markets Germany. What a shame
Yes I know. Same or us here in the UK. Hopefully we’ll both not have much longer to wait.
“We” just need to wait a little while