Movie Reviews

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Review

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Review
Having now watched the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, I have only one complaint: I wish there were more of it.
The show, start to finish, is fantastic – the writing, the directing, set design, visual and audio production, plot, pacing, and every other aspect of the show is of better quality than any other ST property to date. Each self-encapsulated episode tells its own classic Trek tale, but leaves enough room for progressive character development and a season-long story arc. Drawing on deep Trek lore, there’s plenty of references for us nerds to pick up on without overwhelming a neophyte audience with homework, and a mix of narrative retellings and new stories – about the real present, but taking place in an imagined future.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Review
The characters – some familiar, some entirely new – are robust, memorable, and deep, and there is a sense of real relationships between them. Even though we’ve only known this crew a short time, one can feel a strong sense of attachment and emotional investment (all without melodrama and over-the-top OMG STAKES….DISCOVERY). There were a few times I choked up in touching or heartbreaking moments, aided by the contrast against the generally lighthearted, sometimes-goofy tone of the show.
(mild but insignificant spoilers below)
The tonal range itself is what I liked most about this show. Each episode is wildly different – from Hunt-for-Red-October-but-Star-Trek, to Aliens-but-Star-Trek, to everybody-pretends-they’re-characters-in-a-childrens’-book, to an unselfconscious Freaky-Friday-but-Star-Trek comedy episode). The finale capitalizes on this range to present a gutwrenching exploration of Pike’s character arc – and introducing Kirk in a clever way.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Review
In my review of the first two episodes I mentioned how much I appreciated the subtle inclusion of diversity and progressive politics, and this trend continued. In classic Trek fashion, the world we *want* is displayed as a simple matter of fact – unremarkably true in the fabric of the setting. To illustrate what I mean: in one episode of the original series, Uhura is asked to take over for the helmsman who is needed elsewhere. She switches seats and the camera lingers on her pressing buttons for a few moments. This is insignificant to our 21st century sensibilities, but to audiences at the time it was remarkable if not shocking that a black woman would be put in charge of something important so cavalierly. Seeing a (likely recurring) badass gender nonbinary character midseason without any mention of gender is exactly the way to go about this messaging – and I dearly wish Dicovery/Picard would learn this lesson (and others).
In summary: more please. I would gladly forego some of the incredibly high production values in exchange for more episodes in a season. There’s a lot of potential to leveraged here, in a setting and format that has served us well. Hats off to the SNW team: A+.
By Eric Shepperd
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