Strange New Worlds: Star Trek can still be fun

With 10 episodes, Paramount’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds ended its first season last Thursday (July 7). First impression: very nice, but not without weaknesses.

Most of the Star Trek series are now continuous narratives which are served to viewers in weekly chunks. Starship Enterprise: The Next Century (1987) started this trend with returning characters like Q and Borg. The sister series / successor to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1992) consistently built on a continuous, framework story from season three that continued to develop with each episode.

Successive Trek series such as “Spaceship Voyager” (1994) and “Enterprise” (2001) consistently continued the idea of ​​the following voluminous story arcs. Advantage: Loyal viewers who watch, even if the quality of the episodes fluctuate, to see how things will turn out. The downside: if viewers didn’t want to lose touch, they had to remember all sorts of details. Anyone joining in the middle of the season quickly lost their way.

Discovery (2017) and Picard (2019) are more cinematic miniseries whose ramifications lead from one end of the cliff to the next, like chapters in books. This is not the case with “Strange New Worlds”, where each episode satisfactorily finishes at least one storyline.

However, the episodes are not completely independent: there are broader storylines here as well to keep the viewer in suspense. Some bows will be disbanded during the season, others remain open. After all, shooting for the second season has now been completed; is to take place in 2023.

The order of “Strange New Worlds” is complicated: the story begins after the rejected pilot episode of the first Starship Enterprise series “The Cage”, ties directly to the second season of “Star Trek: Discovery” and must end before the “classic” series from 1966. So far everything is okay?

The basis of the new series is the starting point for the entire series, the flagship of Starfleet, the USS Enterprise. Many famous names echo in the corridors: Mr. Spock, Lt. Uhura, the nurses’ chapel. And also less known: in T’Pring, Lt. Kyle and Sam Kirk are skilfully clicking their tongues, especially among veterans of Trek.

The central triple constellation on the bridge was recently introduced in the second season of “Discovery”: Captain Pike, the number one and very young Spock.

Strange New Worlds Central Triangle: Rebecca Romijn as Number One, Anson Mount as Captain Pike and Ethan Peck as Spock
(Photo: Highlights)

Anson Mount plays Captain Christopher Pike with an intriguing mix of authority, charisma and empathy. Rebecca Romijn as Number One seems strict and inaccessible at first, but has a soft core – and finally a final name: Una Chin-Riley. Ethan Peck reprises his role as the immature half-volcanin Spock, who even smiles at first – but his Discovery season beard is history.

Nyota Uhura is still at the very beginning of her career here: despite all her technical skills, she is still not sure if Starfleet is really a good fit for her. Like the great uhura Nichelle Nichols, the new iteration shows her singing voice early – actress Celia Rose Gooding is a famous Broadway star.

The new Christine Chapel makes a much more independent impression than her ancestor: while Ur-Chapel (Majel Barrett) continued to care for her hair-pinned patients with a tight skirt, the current incarnation (Jess Bush) wears a platinum blonde curly hairstyle and a white one-piece suit.

The rest of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds crew are all new characters: the playful security chief La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) is counterbalanced by the sarcastic helmsman Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia). Widower Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), around the engine room the blind Andorian Hemmer (Bruce Horak), and around the transporter the young chief Kyle (André Dae Kim).

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