By Nick Sergi
On May 5, the new star trek television series titled Strange new worldswill stumble upon the Paramount Plus streaming service and could pave the way for the future of the hiking franchise. In the current state of affairs, the star trek property is at a crossroads. Many longtime die-hard fans of the franchise have become critical of the direction the producers have taken and how the show’s main timeline seems to visibly break continuity with episodes set a generation ago. Can a new show unite the fanbase?
It’s possible. With Strange new worldsthe showrunners (Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman) have promised to return to a more episodic format, avoiding season-long one-shot stories that can run anywhere from ten to thirteen episodes. hiking started out as an episodic show, with each new episode bringing a new planet or adventure and ending at the end of the hour. Most shows, especially those exclusive to streaming services, have a more serialized structure, and lengthy storyline resolutions are often not reached until the last episode of a season. Certainly the two most recent live-action star trek offerings, Star Trek: Discoveryand Star Trek: Picard, subscribed to this style. It may be a return to an old style of Trek storytelling to see a return to a more episodic format.
The older style of storytelling certainly won’t be the only throwback. Visually the show has lots of bright colors and the overall visual look that made the original star trek separate series. Sure, they updated it with better sets and more interesting control panels, but the producers were clearly going for an aesthetic reminiscent of the original series. Why? Because this show takes place before this show.
To clarify: Strange new worlds is set around 2260 and is a spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery. In the second season of this show, the Discovery meets the famous ship, the Enterprise, which was then under the command of Captain Pike. After temporarily taking command of the Discoveryhe returns to the Enterprise, and this new show, Strange new worlds, will follow these adventures. Captain Pike is an important character in the history of star trek, but until recent years it has not been widely used. The original unaired Star Trek pilot episode “The Cage” (completed in 1965) had Jeffrey Hunter playing Pike, as captain of the Enterprise. Under his command were the female first officer, known only as “Number One”, and Spock, a lieutenant. This episode did not air, but creator Gene Roddenberry had a rare chance to try again. Its second pilot featured the familiar Captain Kirk in the lead with Spock as first officer, and the events of “The Cage” were told in a flashback during a second season episode. So just to be clear, Pike was the captain of the Business for about 14 years before Kirk took command, and that Strange new worlds will chronicle some of these adventures.
The show’s greatest strengths are the cast cast for the lead roles, with the three main ones having already been introduced in Discovery. As before, Pike is played by Anson Mount. He personifies the professionalism of a true star trek captain while still having the Star Trek-appropriate Kirk swagger. His performance is in the same vein as Bruce Greenwood’s performance of the same character (albeit in an alternate timeline), as shown in the films star trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Ethan Peck reprises his role as the iconic Spock, which he played in the second season of Discoveryand Rebecca Romijn also returns as number one (her first name, we learn, is indeed Una.)
The rest of the cast is made up of new actors playing mostly new characters. However, we do see the familiar character of Uhura (now played by Celia Rose Gooding) and a character named La’an N Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong), who will no doubt be a hit with old-school Star Trek fans. due to an obvious connection to the iconic villain Khan Noonien-Singh, of whom the Enterprise has no knowledge until Kirk encounters him.
The main cast of this show know their roles and the showrunners seem to be well versed in the legacy this show has to honor. We are now days away from seeing if Trek going back to his past is the best way for him to move forward.