After consecutive disappointing second seasons from both “Discovery” & “Picard” “Strange New Worlds” is a welcome breath of fresh air to the Star Trek franchise. Blending nostalgia with modern sensibilities, SNW further explores Captain Pike who is haunted by his future death but is lured back to Starfleet once again to Captain the Enterprise.
Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn respectively star as Pike, Spock, and Number One, all characters from The Original Series. These actors were cast in the roles in 2019 for the second season of Discovery, and, after a positive fan response, Kurtzman expressed interest in bringing them back for a spin-off series. Development began by March 2020 and it was officially ordered in May. The lead cast, title, and creative team were confirmed, with Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers as showrunners. Jess Bush, Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding, Melissa Navia, Babs Olusanmokun, and Bruce Horak also star.
Like the classic Trek series, each episode is its own separate adventure. As the Enterprise goes deeper into space they encounter old and new aliens some familiar while others are reimagined for this series. Particularly the Gorn who fans only saw in one episode of the TOS (The Original Series). The Gorn here are drastically changed as we see their claw like spaceships tear through space as they savagely attack the enterprise. Their appearance is also overhauled as they appear like a cross between the Xenomorphs from “Aliens” and the Raptors from “Jurassic Park.”
Speaking of character overhauls, both Peck & Gooding really add a lot of depth and purpose to their interpretations of Spock and Uhura. Spock is (like always) learning to balance his human and Vulcan side but seems more at ease around Pike than he ever was around Kirk. Meanwhile Uhura comes into the series as a wide eyed recruit learning how to adjust to the crew of the Enterprise. Other character stand outs are the badass security officer La’an Noonien-Singh (Chong) who is haunted by memories of the Gorn (and is also about to be the new crush of EVERY male Trek fan); Erica Ortegas (Navia) who is the helmsman of the enterprise who Navia described as a “highly skilled pilot [and] a veteran… she can handle a gun and also crack a joke;” and the albino subspecies of Andorians, Aenar, Hemmer (Horak) who is the Enterprise’s Chief Engineer.
While the Prime Directive might be boring to sci-fi fans who like big bombastic action, SNW manages to create engaging stories around it. The Enterprise is all about discovery new worlds not conquering them. But the crew and the ship aren’t above throwing down when they need to either. SNW has some spectacular action scenes that look and feel cinematic.
In conclusion, SNW has the appeal of classic trek with the modern sensibilities for today’s audiences. Fans of Trek old and new will find something to love about SNW.
HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience highly recommends checking out the first season of Star Trek Strange New Worlds streaming now on Paramount+.