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5 Things We’d Love To See In STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS

Five Things We'd Love To See In STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS

From the moment Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck landed on Star Trek: Discovery, viewers have been clamoring for a spin-off focusing on the adventures of the pre-Original Series Enterprise crew. The audience’s demand for the show began on social media comments, amid confessions of crushes on Anson Mount. Then came the bearded Spock “controversy” that had its moment before being eclipsed by worldwide love for Ethan Peck’s portrayal of the half-human/half-Vulcan officer. We all had a feeling (something Spock would disapprove of, probably) that the farewell we saw between him and his sister at the end of the second season of Discovery was not the last time we’d see him.

Then came the Short Treks featuring the crew right as an online petition demanding a spin-off show with this cast gained serious traction, and with every subsequent castmember interview whole-heartedly endorsing a spin-off, the warp dial kept spinning up, getting us closer and closer to the show.

Recommended reading: our review of “Ask Not,” which predicted the Short Treks episode being an undercover new character mini-episode of the upcoming series.

All this has led to the announcement of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, bringing great joy and cheer. There will be fan speculation, wild theories, endless deconstructions of every little detail of every scene featuring this crew, but for now: here are five things that we would love to see in Strange New Worlds.


5. Make practical effects great again

Part of the old world charm of TOS and to a certain extent, TNG, was the extensive use of practical effects. In today’s television landscape shooting a sci-fi series on a green screen makes the most economic sense but the tsunami of digital backgrounds that have taken over our TV has come at a cost: an abandonment of practical effects. What better a show to welcome back the power of practical effects to the forefront than the successor of a show that, using cardboard doors and styrofoam rocks, inspired people to go to space? There’s a humility and, dare I say it, a magic in knowing that Nomad, for all its unmatchable intelligence, was a simple cylindrical setup with a voice box. Even though we visited a different world, do we not profoundly remember the humble flute most of all from “The Inner Light”? Discovery and Picard have made every starry background and interstellar vista look like a million bucks, but if Strange New Worlds aims to be truly original and different, a reduction in the use of green screens and an emphasis on smaller sets and real environments would be a great place to start.


Ethan Peck as Spock
Ethan Peck as Spock

4. Not going where we’ve been before

J.J. Abrams’ “Kelvin Timeline” was a reimagining of aspects of The Original Series. Discovery features Original Series characters heavily. Picard continued the story of the TNG’s Enterprise-D Captain. All of these have been greatly enjoyable but the criticism of reliance on already existing characters and tropes is justified. Strange New Worlds stands at a unique juncture in the space-time Trek Continuum. Standing on a ground mostly unexplored we hope that the stories it tells end the cycle of dependence on what has come before. We’re fully aware that at the show’s center is the franchise’s most recognizable character but, for inspiration on telling new stories with him, Discovery’s second season handling of Spock as dyslexic and mentally burdened is a great example. We know very little about Number One and Pike and the world they inhabit. If the show aggressively stuck to keeping the trio as the only tether to already told stories and forces themselves, and us, to head out into unseen directions, then the creators have already begun earning the moniker of strange and new.


3. A return to all-ages-friendly Star Trek

We live in a television universe where darkness seems to reign supreme. Discovery and Picard have both committed to telling stories about mature, complex, adult themes. That makes the shows necessary and watchable but the hunger for a “WHERE’S MY OPTIMISM IN TREK?” grows with each passing day. When Pike stood on the bridge of the USS Discovery and declared that he was not Lorca, that was not only a welcome change for the crew, it was the turn to a path of hope and light for the show. Strange New Worlds can take this to a whole new level by telling stories that regularly fuel hope and family-friendly brightness back into the Star Trek universe. Since Pike was able to do it effortlessly in the second season of Discovery, Strange New Worlds should place this burden of telling stories that forgo gore and cussing for all-ages inclusive storytelling on the broad and sturdy shoulders of Anson Mount and his crew.


2. A persistent and irredeemable villain

The Original Series introduced the Romulans. The Next Generation gave us the Borg. Deep Space Nine terrified us with Cardassians. Every great Star Trek series has introduced an evil so great and horrible, that just the thought of them becoming a reality makes one shudder. It wasn’t the way Romulans looked that made them terrifying, it was the metaphor of Cold War era Soviet Union and the unease they brought to our heroes that made them so formidable. In spite of the instantly iconic look of the Borg, we remember them so starkly because they came at a time when mankind’s growing connection to technology seemed unstoppable. Their “Resistance is futile” war cry served—and continues to serve—as a strong warning. Strange New Worlds should focus on building a new villain – in the form of a civilization, a species, a single unit – that would make these previous iterations’ villains proud. One that not only would look great and horrifying, but also becomes an antagonist that serves as a strong metaphor for where we are in the world today and what our greatest threats are.


Rebecca Romijn as Number One
Rebecca Romijn as Number One (CBS)

1. Episode-of-the-week stories

The roots of TOS and TNG lie deeply in the world of early-to-mid 20th century pulp fiction magazine short stories. Tales that are intriguing, exciting, and brief windows into enchanting worlds. The power of season-based storytelling clearly has great strengths as proven by Discovery, Picard and most current television series. The entire appeal of binge-worthy shows is owed to the episodes’ cliffhanger nature that keeps us hooked. A return to episodic storytelling puts Strange New Worlds in an interesting position.

First, by telling focused, compact stories through single episodes it relieves viewers of the pressure to have seen every episode of the show prior to the new one. It makes onboarding a show easy.

Secondly, with episodic storytelling, SNW will go back to the roots of Star Trek. Most TOS and TNG episodes were designed to be great short stories that play out on our screens. By bringing back episodic storytelling Strange New Worlds might lose viewers that come for the binge but what it has to gain is far greater: the seemingly unattainable and profound power of standalone episodes that have changed television like “The City on The Edge of Forever,” “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” “The Visitor,” etc.

What do you hope to see in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds? Tell us in the comments below.


Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Short Treks. Connect with us at @TrekNewsNet on Twitter, @TrekNews on Facebook, and @TrekNews on Instagram.

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Written By

An immigrant from India living in the Deep South, Shashank takes breaks in between dreaming about life on a starship to write comic books, co-host PoliTreks and role-play Captain Varun Rai on Faraday. You can follow Shashank on Twitter @gutter_hero.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. David Zane Taylor

    May 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    The secondary characters will be interesting.

  2. Shiner

    May 16, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    No. TV evolved, the world evolved. If I wanted all of the above, I’ll watch 60’s reruns.

    So much of the “let’s return to this” in the article was because of the times, not because of intention.
    No cussing? It would not have been aired otherwise.
    Less gore? Try watching TNG: Conspiracy again.
    Effects? It was the limitation of the time. Each new series had new special effects and not all of those were practical.
    Episodic was because of the times. That need disappeared with streaming services and shorter seasons.

    All the gatekeepers will probably disagree but Star Trek has to keep evolving, keep pressing forward if it wants to stay relevant.

    • spr8364

      May 16, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Cheaper sets probably would mean more episodes. Back in the day, a season had 20 to 25 episodes. Now we are lucky to have 10 or 12. I would gladly exchange more bling for more story.

  3. jeff

    May 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Please no more LGBQT BS, and make every episode different no more movie length series. Also don’t use the word,”Fuck” it totally degrades what Star Trek is about!.

    • WSSNW

      May 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm

      LOL where do they find you people? Crying for what Star is about right after you have a statement pretty much proving you don’t align with what Star Trek is about.

    • nerdrrage

      May 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm

      Frak that feldercarb.

    • JesseDavis

      May 19, 2020 at 7:32 pm

      What Jeff is saying sounds a lot like what people said about having an interracial crew in the 60s.

      Jeff, please, stop watching Star Trek, you didn’t get the point.

    • ZOD

      May 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      IDIC.

  4. Robert Lowndes

    May 16, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    We all know where Pike’s story begins and ends, but nothing is known between those to incidents. Some suggestions are:

    Pike taking command from Captain April.
    Updating the initial “The Cage” episode
    Pike accepting his fate as seen in Discovery, being promoted to fleet captain and Kirk taking command from Pike to end the series.

    • Darrell S

      May 17, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      No need to rehash and update. That’s what’s wrong with Trek today.

  5. nerdrrage

    May 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    Hire real sci fi writers. That way you can maybe avoid the risk of standalone episodes, that they’re just going back to the same old tired tropes – Romance of the Week, character has a personal problem they try to hide, time travel hijinks, aliens take over the ship (with embarrassing ease) – that seem like they just dusted off an old Voyager script.

  6. Darrell S

    May 17, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Nail on the head 100%.

  7. Eric Cheung

    May 21, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I mean, people are free to look for what they want in a new show, but I don’t personally view any of these as priorities.

    5.
    One of the things that stunned me about the Kelvin films was how far
    along CG has come. A lot of it is indistinguishable from model work,
    yet has the dynamic movement of CG. The future of
    safety-conscious filmmaking is going to involve a lot more CG. I think
    we’ll look back at Sky Captain as a particularly influential film.

    4.
    Going where we haven’t before is a subjective thing, especially in a
    prequel. It’s a YMMV thing. So, I just hope that whatever we see is
    just well-executed. Newness will be an inevitable by-product.

    3.
    All-ages Trek is something I’m really agnostic about. Frankly, all the
    older shows are ones I’d love kids to watch, but they should all be
    watched with an older person to place them in historical context. Even
    as recently as Into Darkness, the gender and sexual politics of Star
    Trek has aged badly. So, even those shows aren’t really appropriate for
    youngsters without any guidance.

    2.
    Irredeemable villains are the polar opposite of what Trek’s about.
    Even the most implacable foe has had some form of humanity to them. The
    Borg have the xBs, the Cardassians sought Bajoran help to overthrow
    their Dominion oppressors, the Romulans and Klingons have both had
    plenty of periods of easier, if tense relations with the Federation.
    Some of my favorite episodes to use to introduce people to Trek are The
    Corbomite Maneuver, Errand of Mercy, Devil in the Dark, Arena, Balance
    of Terror. And looking at the chronology of Trek, it’s a history of
    species having adversarial relations with humans before learning to
    coexist and thrive together, from the Vulcans, to the Xindi, to the
    Klingons, to the Ferengi, to the Cardassians, to the Borg.

    1.
    Episodic Trek is another thing that’s merely an aesthetic choice. I
    don’t really care. I just want to be engaged by the show. I want it to
    have characters I care about that are well-acted, and provided with
    great dialogue. Anything else, whether it’s intricate plots, simple
    plots, self-contained episodes, sprawling epics, are all basically like
    watching someone else do a crossword puzzle. It’s all an intellectual
    exercise devoid of emotion. Fiction is an emotional medium. The
    plotting is merely a setting to showcase that emotion, a series of
    consequences that comes from the choices those characters make because
    of who they are and how they feel in a given circumstance.

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