Some long time fans of Star Trek might investigate the latest, Strange New Worlds (SNW). It’s almost a return to form. Not everyone will take to it, and I’ve spoken to a few of my friends who are steadfast in their opinion in our nerd chats. To be specific, since it’s part of the rebooted Kelvin timeline, there’s no true link with Gene Roddenberry’s creation.
Co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers wanted to produce Star Trek in the way it was originally done, and this series honours that aspect. The stories have given Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Spock (Ethen Peck) and crew more backstory to character development to appreciate. At least the direction is off to a good start.
The supporting cast still needs to present itself with future episodes, and I’m severely questioning including La’an Noonien-Singh. These kinds of tie-ins aren’t needed. Anyone who knows the classic series will know that Singh is a relative of Kahn.
The first episode is rough along the edges. Its attempt to provide a social commentary about interfering with planetary development, world wars and all out devastation felt abrupt. What’s said was with a blunt hammer instead of having that panache the original series had when reflecting on what went wrong, and moving on to the next mission. Hopefully, not all the episodes are like that.
At least with the second episode, it’s not dealing with a lot of debate. It deals with good old-fashioned space exploration, finding a comet that’s seemingly about to destroy a planet, and doing something about it. The formula is recognizable and we have a threat–a new alien species tasked to follow the said ball of ice wherever it goes and to protect it. I think the battle could’ve been avoided had Pike not been resilient, but somebody had to shoot first.
The highlight of this episode is that we get to see how Uhura (Celia Gooding) becomes a valued member of the crew, and how beautiful her voice is. There’s a subtle Easter egg I noticed in how music factors in. She’s a terrific singer, and harmonics help play a factor in how she figures out to save the day. Although she’s a cadet in this episode, she’ll quickly earn her commission in no time.
This episode may well also hint about how one of the first races of the galaxy–the Progenitors–continues to spread their influence across the galaxy. But only time will tell if we’ll see more references of this lost culture. We have seen references in TOS and TNG about a species seeding the universe with their DNA for shaping worlds throughout the galaxy, and Strange New Worlds is ready to add to this canon.
Try as Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet might to appease a part of fandom, it’s doubtful we’ll ever get a presentation that’s truly reflective of the era unless another fan film gets made. The best way to revisit it, Star Trek’s Picard included, is to get the original show runners back and resume the series like it never left the air.
3½ Stars out of 5