Star Trek: Strange New Worlds found a nice groove with season one, but major changes may ruin the show.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was a smash hit in season one. It helped Star Trek and Paramount+ start climbing the rankings among streamers. It was the catalyst for the uptick in viewer turnout that continued into Prodigy and eventually Picard’s final season. Now with Picard over, and Strange New Worlds the standard bearer, the pressure is on to deliver in season two.
To do just that, they have to remember what worked in season one, and what worked in season one was staying true to the tried-and-true Star Trek formula. Getting away from that will doom the franchise and hinder the show’s ability to grow, attract new viewers and keep the Star Trek brand healthy.
Getting away from that will cause fans to turn off the product for fear that the show is falling back into old habits that other shows in the franchise have adopted. And while that may not be in the works right now, there does seem to be cause for concern.
Speaking at the MCM Comic Con in London (via TrekMovie) at the end of May, Rebecca Romijn, Melissa Navai, and Celia Rose Gooding all spoke about how season two was going to take some big swings. So much so, it felt like it was part of the marketing for the season. And that’s potentially a problem.
Especially since Romijn herself said that they’re expecting fans to not like what they’ve done;
"We really took some very big swings with genre in season 2. And not everybody–it might not completely be embraced by all fans, but we tried a lot of things. And we’re very proud of it, and very excited to share it with fans."
Navia followed up, saying that season one gave them a proof of concept for season two and how they’re going to do more of certain things;
"Pretty much around when we started filming season 2, season 1 was coming out. So we had definitive proof that what we were doing was working and the fans embraced it and the world was as excited to get it as we had been to make it the year prior. So it just really energized the set. We were like, ‘Yeah, they like this, let’s do more of it.’ And so it kind of gave us the push to take big swings and to go all out and say the fans have our backs."
Gooding concludes that the “swings” will center around the genres;
"Celia Rose Gooding: I think what we’ve done with season 2 was really take some big genre swings. I think pretty much everyone is trying something that we weren’t expecting to do, myself included. Especially with [Uhura], we’re charting some uncharted territory."
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds earned back the fans’ trust, it can’t betray it with season two
It baffles me often when people don’t get that franchise entertainment is made for fans. If they don’t respect what the fans want from a property, the knee-jerk reaction is to call the fan ungrateful. Yet, if you go to a restaurant and order a cheeseburger and get back green eggs and ham, are you just supposed to shut up and eat it? No. Star Trek isn’t one show, it’s a brand. It’s so big that even the creator, Gene Roddenberry, lost the right to have a say.
The fans, not the creatives and actors, ultimately get to dictate what they want. If the folks who make Strange New Worlds are going to start ignoring fans and force things they don’t want on them, then the show’s reputation will nose-dive.
I’m worried about anyone who outright claims that fans won’t like what they’re doing. And to be fair, it may be great. It may be the best thing ever done. It also may fall flat and ruin the show. Star Trek works best when those that run a series realize that we want episodic content. We want tight, contained stories that conclude with the credits.
Star Trek, like any chain in the world, is a brand with an image. While some will argue it shouldn’t be, the fact is that the majority like Star Trek for what it was, and should be. Deviating too far from the roots of the show and what it was meant to be; a thought-provoking conversation of various ideas and challenges that left fans wondering who really was right, will only hinder the growth of the franchise.