I’ve been very busy with family matters so I haven’t been able to post much here lately. But I wanted to throw in a few good words about the latest Trek venture Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. (SNW)
Of course I LOVE IT! In our upside down real world, it is so nice to have this little respite of a new, yet familiar Star Trek world to still give us a little hope for the future. And how beautiful is The Enterprise!
If you don’t know, this exclusive Paramount + series, focuses on the early adventures of The USS Enterprise. With the crew of Captain Christopher Pike, Number One, and Lt. Spock, and it takes place a few years after the events of The Cage and 10 years before the command of Captain Kirk.
I am delighted to see how Strange New Worlds carefully crochets together elements of TOS classic with tweaked, more insightful backstories of characters new and familiar. Surprisingly, a few times so far the story would start in a very familiar place, for example:
- Two characters stranded on a planet during an Ion storm, but if they’re beamed up, we know they might end up in a mirror universe?
- The Enterprise Crew encounter Gorn ships!
- Spock appears to be on Vulcan about to fight Ka-li-fee?
But none of these initial premises go where we ‘mature’ Trekkies think they might:
- The two characters end up stranded on the planet throughout the storm.
- We never actually see the Gorn.
- Spock’s battle on Vulcan is merely a dream about his dual identity.
This is very clever and fun on the writer’s part. I really appreciate it!
I am also enjoying more back stories about TOS favorites that we knew little about in their first appearances 55+ years ago, as well as new characters.
For example, First Officer Number One‘s actual name is Una Chin-Riley, with a surprising backstory.
Uhura is a very promising Cadet, and the series is leaning wisely into her language and musical abilities.
Nurse Chapel is a no-nonsense medical pro with sharp humor, yet a subtle vulnerability.
Lieutenant Spock not only is involved with T’Pring*, but is perfectly capable of romantic canoodling without the benefit of Pon Farr. Indeed, in the most recent episode, (The Serene Squall), SNW gave Spock lovers the greatest ‘fan service’ I have ever seen! THANK YOU!!!
It’s a joy to have lesser-seen characters, Like Dr. M’Benga and Mr. Kyle resurface. We even find out that Jim Kirk’s brother, Sam, is serving on the Enterprise in the Sciences, although we haven’t seen much of him. We’ve even briefly seen the legendary Captain April! Ifind M’Benga’s story especially poignant.
However, the drama in SNW doesn’t mean that it takes itself too seriously (like TNG often did in its first season). One episode even hilariously mimicked the body transference we saw in the classic Turnabout Intruder, to a hilarious effect. Indeed, this series is full of humor: At one point Pike says ” I love my job!”
Speaking of Pike, It’s important to note that if you have followed Discovery, it’s known in this series that Pike knows his fate will involve becoming disabled sometime in the next decade, yet this doesn’t keep him from being the best Captain he can be. And who can argue with that killer quiff!** I look forward to Pike and Spock’s budding friendship, and watching Spock grow throughout this part of his life which leads him to be the First Officer we know in TOS.
Among new intriguing characters are:
Chief Engineer Hemmer, who is an Aenar, which is an albino subspecies of Andorian. He is legally blind, but this is not a deterrent to his abilities. He can be curt and a bit harsh in his mannerisms sometimes, but we’re only just discovering him.
Lt. Erica Ortegas is chief Helmsman. She is fiercely loyal to her duties, the crew, and Captain Pike. We are still learning about her.
And finally there is La’an Noonian-Singh, who’s last name will be very familiar most of us here. Yes, she is a descendant of THE Khan Noonian Singh, and she is friends with Number One, who rescued her when her home was being destroyed by The Gorn.
In a contrary nod to the original plot The Cage, I have to say it is a pleasure to see Captain Pike surrounded on the bridge by a mostly female crew. He’s come a long way from the Pike who said “I can’t get used to having a woman on the bridge.” (Thank God!!)
Also, this new series is ‘episodic’, like the Original Series, which means that like it’s predecessor, it ties up every adventure with a neat little bow. It does not have a season long story arc that has dragged down some of the other recent Trek series. This leaves the writers freedom to truly enjoy the adventures of exploring strange new worlds! I like this aspect so much, I don’t even watch previews of the next episode! Let it surprise me!
To me this latest iteration of the Star Trek Universe is as comfortable and as warm as a fuzzy tribble and tasty as plomeek soup! The next new episode airs today, Thursday, June 23 on Paramount Plus, May it Live Long and Prosper!