Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is what Star Trek should always be.
To say that Star Trek has been divisive since its 2016 return to television shows would be an understatement. The first three shows have all met with great criticism. Discovery was lambasted for its changing of established lore, Picard for its dark and depressing tone, and Lower Decks for making a mockery of things Gene Roddenberry held dear. They were the worst possible shows that Paramount could create to appeal to Star Trek fans. Then Star Trek: Strange New Worlds comes along.
Like the scene from Dumb & Dumber where Harry and Lloyd meet on the side of the road, I feel like saying the same thing to Paramount; …just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!
Strange New Worlds is what Star Trek is meant to be. Fun, but sincere. Entertaining yet thought-provoking. Presenting a situation with no moral correct answer, and seeing how the crew deals with it. These were all lost in the first three shows but came back with a vengeance in Strange New Worlds.
I won’t go deep into the plot of the episode, but basically, it’s First Contact from the perspective of the aliens Starfleet meets and it’s a great idea. Captain Pike has to figure out a way to solve a problem with these aliens but may have to break the rules to do so. That’s really it. Pike deals with post traumatic stress disorder or….future traumatic stress disorder? That’s a thing, right? All while dealing with a new crew, and some lingering personal issues.
There will be a “five things I liked and five things I didn’t like” set of articles coming, so keep an eye out for that. With that said, let’s grade the first episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be graded on five criteria
Acting: Brilliant. Superb. Anson Mount is making everyone forget he was Black Bolt in the Inhumans or that he was on Discovery. Ethan Peck isn’t as fitting a Spock as Zachary Quinto but he’s good. Rebecca Romijn is underutilized but Christina Chong, Jess Bush, and Celicia Rose Gooding all shine. The rest of the cast was fine but wasn’t given much in this episode. An issue all Star Trek deals with.
Writing: Mostly, the episode is great. There was one scene that felt really forced, and it was when La’an Noonien Singh starts trying to explain her backstory to Pike. It wasn’t a bad back-story but it was almost abrupt in how it was delivered. The only issue I had with the episode.
Design: The movies failed in instances because it valued style over substance. The movies are very stylish, however, and this is the first show that balanced the substance of the series’ and the style of the newer films.
Special Effects: The show’s going to cost more than most of the Star Trek films, the special effects better be amazing.
Enjoyability: I loved it. They made characters feel strong but flawed. Christine Chapel chasing down the alien but failing at first, only to get an unexpected assist from Uhura was maybe my favorite scene. It showed that Chapel is an over-achiever and not just some superhuman like other characters have been presented and it showed you Uhura really takes her time to get to know the aliens she may encounter. It was a great snapshot of what this show can do.
Overall: 24/25 (96%)
Minor flaws cannot derail a great first outing.