This made me so happy.
When Star Trek: Discovery debuted back in 2017, it sought to do something no Star Trek show had ever done before: It introduced season-long serialised arcs. Gone was the Star Trek of old. Contained, single-storyline episodes that would reboot every week - they were the ways of old. Discovery was built for streaming, which meant arcs got longer. And that’s fine, but we learned something about Star Trek from this experience:
Star Trek fans kinda prefer single episode, contained storylines.
With Strange New Worlds, we have a return to the mission statement of the original Star Trek show. It’s about boldly going where no person has gone before. But this is actually set prior to the original series. We are back on the Enterprise, but with its original captain: Captain Christopher Pike. Some of the crew are familiar. Spock is on board, and Uhura. But Captain Kirk won’t be Captain of this ship for a few years yet. Until then we have Captain Pike - a relaxed, very human guy who might just be the most desirable man in the 23rd century.
What works about the attitude of the crew in this show is how reflective it is of the modern era. Where the 90s Trek was a bit more corporate with an adherence to a faux military structure, this embraces where society is at right now. More chill, more acknowledging that people bring their real selves to the workplace, baggage and all. This is a Star Trek that has ditched the ties and has an open collared shirt uniform code. So to speak.
It is also quietly the most political Star Trek show we’ve seen to date. There isn’t much that will get folks upset about the show being quote unquote woke, but the first episode ends with references and visual representations of the wars that took place on Earth prior to the planet getting its shit together. The footage we see is based very much in modern day politics from the US showing the collapse of structural democracy.
The best Star Trek always has something important to say. And it feels like this one has the most important message of all: Sit back, chill the heck out, and acknowledge that we all share more than we have things that divide us.
This new Trek has an engaging attitude, cool, sexy as hell cast, and it was a blast to watch. I’m ready to blast off with this new Trek show big time.
Warp Factor 2. Hit it.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is streaming now on Paramount+