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Series / Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

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"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before!"
Captain Christopher Pike, the Opening Narration

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the eighth live-action television series in the Star Trek universe. Featuring Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck reprising their roles as Captain Christopher Pike, Number One and Spock from the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, the series depicts Pike's tenure as Captain of the iconic U.S.S. Enterprise in the five years before the succession of James T. Kirk to command of the ship in Star Trek: The Original Series.

As a sequel to Star Trek's original Pilot, "The Cage", it features the return of several characters last seen on television in The '60s: Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M'Benga, Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel, and Celia Rose Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura. Newly-created characters include Melissa Navia as Erica Ortegas, Bruce Horak as the Aenar note  Hemmer, and Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh.

The series premiered on Paramount+ on May 5, 2022. It has already been renewed for a second season, which will feature Paul Wesley as Kirk. Season 2 will be released on June 15, 2023 with a third season greenlit.

A five issue mini-series, Star Trek Strange New Worlds The Illyrian Enigma, is also being released, bridging the gap between Season 1 and 2.

Previews: Casting Announcement,Teaser, Trailer, Character Trailers

This series contains the following tropes.

  • Adaptational Diversity: The Original Series was already fairly diverse according to human ethnicities, but in part due to budget Spock as a Half-Human Hybrid was the only alien. It filtered into the general lore for the Next Generation era that despite an open door policy Starfleet still remains largely human-centric or human-like. Other shows, starting with Star Trek: The Animated Series which by virtue of being animated could show Kirk's Enterprise with more diverse alien crewmembers (particularly a pair of recurring Caitian and Edosian bridge officers), would make an effort to display Starfleet as much more exotic, which has filtered into this show by including Lt. Hemmer, an Andorian Aenar, as the Chief Engineer and Una, an Illyrian, as the Executive Officer. Even beyond that, there are more female than male cast members, which is a first for any series. Episode five also has one unnamed Bolian female in a science division uniform.
  • Adapted Out: Absent from the Enterprise crew are Phil Boyce, J.M. Colt, and Jose Tyler. Only the former has a replacement in the form of Joseph M'Benga. As the series takes place 5 years after the events of "The Cage" they presumably did not return to the crew for the 2nd 5 year mission.
  • Apocalypse How: Planetary. Captain Pike shows aliens footage of what happens when a planet goes full nuclear exchange... by showing them documentary footage from Earth, circa the 2030s to 2060s. The Second American Civil War coincides with the Eugenics Wars in South Asia, eventually spiraling into the 27-year-long World War III that triggers a global thermonuclear exchange between the Western states and the Eastern Coalition sometime between 2040 and 2060. We see Paris, Washington D.C. and New York vaporized in fireballs visible from space. Pike states that a third of the human species dies in the conflict. (Don't worry, the Vulcans make first contact in 2063 and uplift humanity out of the ashes.)
  • Art Evolution:
    • The Enterprise retains its rework design from Star Trek: Discovery, which is a(n anachronistic) halfway point between the TOS design and the TMP redesign.
    • Season 1 is utterly devoid of Klingons, but when the ship appeared on Discovery, Klingons had the redesign from that show. Season 2's trailer depicts Klingons using the makeup introduced in TMP and used throughout the 24th-century shows, which is not the orc-esque head-bulge look used for DISCO or the TOS "Ambiguously Brown with distinctive hairstyles" look.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the season finale, soon after Captain Batel beams off the Enterprise with Una, Pike looks right at the camera.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Possibly doubling as a Development Gag: in the first episode, Pike has The Day the Earth Stood Still playing in the background as he cooks. Robert Wise, the film's director, would go on to direct the first Star Trek film a couple decades later.
  • Central Theme: In a return to Star Trek's morality play roots, each episode hangs on a central theme, which each subplot explores in different ways.
    • "Strange New Worlds" asks whether Pike and the civilization of Kiley 279 can escape their fate or whether they are doomed to suffer painful and disfiguring events. (By extension, it's also asking this question about the audience, many of whom will be around to be vaporized in the global thermonuclear exchange in the 2050s.)
    • In each plotline of "Ghosts of Illyria" the crew encounters the negative consequences of trying to be someone they are not.
    • In "Spock Amok" the characters are forced to practice empathy and see things from a different perspective in order to succeed.
    • In "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" Pike and M'Benga have to grapple with how much to sacrifice in the pursuit of a worthy goal.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Several elements of TOS and even Discovery get this treatment.
    • In TOS, the Gorn were depicted as Anti Villains who, while unfriendly to the Federation, are otherwise are a civilized race with a government, diplomatic relations, etc. In this show, they're a race of Always Chaotic Evil Social Darwinists who raid ships and colonies for prisoners to use for reproduction or kill for sport. "All Those Who Wander" is a blatant Whole-Plot Reference to Aliens, with a trio of Gorn hatchlings standing in for the xenomorphs. Admittedly, Strange New Worlds is set eight years earlier in the timeline, where formal first contact hasn't occurred and the Gorn are still Inscrutable Aliens, but it's still hard to reconcile these two depictions of the species.
    • In the Short Treks episode "Q&A," Number One advised Spock to "keep your freaky to yourself" if he wants to climb the ladder to command — and when he asked what she has been hiding, delivered a flawless rendition of "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major-General." But here, it turns out that what she's actually been hiding is her Illyrian heritage and associated genetic modifications, which if detected would have her drummed out of Starfleet and imprisoned.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The first episode presents Captain Pike riding on horseback, as "The Cage" and "Q&A" presented as being a hobby of his. One of the promotional posters even shows Pike on a horse as the Enterprise hovers in the background.
    • The full trailer features a few sound effects from TOS (such as the medical bay beeps), and the musical cues include snippets from the TOS theme.
    • In the first scene Pike is watching The Day The Earth Stood Still on what looks like an anachronistic plasma TV. In "The Cage", Pike is shown to collect antique technology, including an ancient TV.
    • The opening of the first episode shows Pike at home, and many of the things Pike seems to enjoy and surround himself with tie with other Star Trek leads. He's shown to have a lot of items who by his time would be antiques (Rotary Phone, Mortar and Pestle, Flatscreen TV) - Contrast with Picard who was an amateur archeologist, and Kirk who was established as an antique collector in the films. His home's a wooden cabin in the wilds which compares with Riker's in Star Trek: Picard. He enjoys 50s science fiction, like Tom Paris. He loves cooking for people, like Ben Sisko. And he rides horses, like Picard and Kirk do. And of course Pike collecting Antiques was itself set all the way back in TOS.
    • The shuttle bringing Pike to the Enterprise is named Stamets. While the fate of Discovery may be classified, clearly its crew is not entirely forgotten by Starfleet.
    • Dr. M'Benga keeps his daughter's pattern in the transporter buffer to save her from an incurable disease, noting that doing so essentially keeps her in suspended animation as long as he rematerializes her once in a while so her pattern doesn't degrade. In TNG's "Relics", Scotty pulled a similar trick to store himself in the pattern buffer of the Jenolan after it crashed, though he had to rig the transporter's diagnostic mode to maintain their patterns to avoid the need to rematerialize and further drain the ship's limited power. As Scotty and Dr. M'Benga served on the Enterprise together — M'Benga actually appears in two episodes of TOS — the implication is Scotty learned the trick from him.
    • Pike's quarters features a photo of himself and Robert April in "The Cage" uniforms.
    • "Memento Mori" purposefully evokes elements from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" in its plot - both of whom drew heavily from classic submarine movies. The Enterprise is ambushed with its shield down by an enemy, grievously damaged, forced to escape in a space phenomenon where sensors and shields are rendered useless to even up the score, where a game of cat and mouse ensues - all heavily resembling the plot of Star Trek II. And like "Balance of Terror" the plot is kicked off by the Enterprise responding to the distress call of a colony under attack, where the survivors have been used as bait to draw the Enterprise, and feature an enemy that the crew has not encountered before.
  • Cool Starship: The Enterprise is still as beautiful as ever, featuring a bright, spacious and welcoming interior. As per being a Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel with modern production values, technical effects, and a better budget, the original 1701 Enterprise has been reshaped to more closely resemble the Movie-period refit, such as the more robust inter-hull neck, more curvy engineering hull, and backswept nacelle pylons (making the refit far less drastic than compared to the TOS rendition of the Enterprise) while still retaining the classic 1960s Sci-Fi Zeerust appeal, with the tubular red-capped nacelles, gold-plated externalized deflector dish, and white glowing dorsal/ventral domes on the Saucer hull. She also has hull section proportions far closer to the TOS model than the JJ Abrams movies' Enterprise (particularly the engineering hull).
  • Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel: Like its predecessor, SNW is presented as taking place before TOS, but its costumes, set design and visual effects are much more advanced than the Original Series. It definitely provides an interesting contrast with both the Kelvin-timeline films and DSC, especially in how it adds warmer tan and maroon coloring to evoke the color scheme of the ships interior from the original show, all while using more modern fiberglass paneling and LED lights.
  • Costume Evolution: The uniforms have been redesigned from their appearance in Discovery to hew closer to the TOS era, removing almost all costume quirks of the previous show (particularly a high, asymmetric collar) and focusing more on the classic look of black pants and boots with colored tunics. The primary new addition is the embroidery moved towards the shoulders, along with the tunics having visible zippers.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Majalis is full of gold and silk and shine, looking like a royal palace from Star Wars. There is no poverty, and no disease, even though it is suspended above a hostile surface of lava and acid. But the hidden facility where the "First Servant" is hooked up to the power generator for this paradise has a grim Used Future look, not having been altered since it was built by the ancients.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Almost every character.
    • Captain Pike has seen his own near-death 10 years in the future.
    • Commander Chin-Riley concealed her identity to get into Starfleet. (And apparently this has worked for decades.)
    • Lieutenant La'an Noonien-Singh gets a twofer: not only is she the direct descendant of one of Earth's most notorious warlords and therefore the target of bullying as a child, she's also the sole survivor of her colony ship which was abducted by the Gorn.
    • Cadet Uhura was orphaned in a tragic accident, joining Starfleet to escape the grief of her family's death.
    • Doctor M'Benga's daughter contracted a terminal illness and he keeps her suspended in a transporter to stall its progress in the hopes that somewhere in space he'll find a cure.
    • Lieutenant Spock's adoptive sister was fired into a wormhole to the future. Also, his dad Sarek practically disowned him when he joined Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Science Ministry. Also, he was mind-boggled by the experience of viewing time non-linearly and regressed to a near-catatonic state. Spock's had a rough year.
    • Starfleet observes "Remembrance Day" in which officers wear a pin that commemorates a lost ship or shipmate. Everyone is wearing these pins, which statistically has dark implications for Starfleet personnel.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Used in an unusual way. Majel Barrett played Number One in the original pilot episode and later played Nurse Chapel in a few episodes of the actual show. The series shows both as part of the main cast, and played by separate actors with different takes on the characters. Likewise Sam Kirk, or at least his dead body, was played by William Shatner with a moustache in the original series, while Sam and Jim Kirk are played by two different actors in the show.
  • Dramatic Irony: Pike is haunted by the vision of his future that he was shown by the Time Crystal, believing it to be how he dies. However, the audience knows that not only will he survive, but be taken to live out the rest of his life on Talos IV.note 
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Episode 9 establishes that the Gorn, despite being the franchise's most iconic example of Lizard Folk, reproduce like parasitic wasps: they implant their eggs in captured humanoids and the hatchlings eat their way out.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Pike is well aware of his eventual Fate Worse than Death, and it haunts him. As the trailer shows, Spock assures him that the future is not written in stone, and it can be whatever path we chose. Unfortunately, the audience knows as well as Pike that he will not be able to avoid this. S1 finale “A Quality of Mercy” really hammers this home, as a time-traveling alternate future Pike shows current Pike any attempts to avert his fate will result in disaster for the entire Federation and/or galaxy, and the deaths of Spock in every timeline. Yikes.
    • While Spock and T'Pring are (evidently happily) engaged at the start of the series, the relationship will eventually fall apart by the time he becomes Enterprise's First Officer, leading to the events of "Amok Time". The series appears to be taking advantage of the previously established flirtation between Spock and Nurse Chapel to create a Love Triangle where Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder.
  • Hope Spot: Majalis' medical knowledge is so far ahead of the Federation's that the Enterprise's sickbay might as well be a medieval barber's, and could treat M'Benga's daughter—but they are bound by a Prime Directive-like stricture not to share their knowledge with "less advanced" civilizations.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Present, but downplayed. The series premiere has Pike and Captain Batel in the wake of a sexual encounter at Pike's home in Montana, while shortly afterwards, Spock and T'Pring get a case of Interrupted Intimacy when Pike calls to inform Spock that the Enterprise is returning to service early. It's certainly more explicitly present than earlier Star Trek series, while not at the sex-appeal level of, say, Enterprise (with its infamous decon chamber scenes) or the recent trio of alternate reality films.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Spock and T'Pring are interrupted by an emergency call from Starfleet. T'Pring proposes marriage to Spock and he accepts, but the very same night he is called away by a Starfleet emergency. This event in 2259 foreshadows their estranged relationship and eventual split in 2267, culminating in the events of "Amok Time".
  • It Will Never Catch On: When told that the prohibition against interfering with pre-warp civilizations will be renamed the Prime Directive, Pike comments "Well, that'll never stick".
  • Lighter and Softer: The series as a whole when compared to its immediate predecessors Discovery and Picard. The showrunners consciously chose to produce a more upbeat, classically styled episodic action-adventure show in the vein of The Original Series and The Next Generation, with more talking-out of problems and less gratuitous violence.
  • Mythology Gag: Erica Ortegas got her surname from Gene Roddenberry's first pitch for the original series; in that pitch, the character that became Lt. José Tyler was named José Ortegas.
  • Opening Narration: The classic "Space, the final frontier..." narration is back, as shown in the page quote. It uses the phrase "Its five-year mission" from the original version in TOS, while keeping the updated "where no one has gone before" from TNG.
  • Plot Armor: Pike's In-Universe future fate appears to give him this. It's part of how he knows the Enterprise won't be crushed by the black hole in Episode 4.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: For reasons unexplained, the founders of Majalis designed the mainframe of the system keeping their civilization literally afloat to require the developing neural pathways of a child. A process that is explicitly said to cause the child agony and will eventually leave said child a desiccated husk. Unsurprising, given the episode's inspiration.
  • One-Steve Limit: Played with. We have Christopher Pike and Christine Chapel on board, with the nickname for both names being "Chris".
  • Retcon: During the original series' runs, the Eugenics Wars and World War III were distinct, separate events, the former beginning in the 1990s. Strange New Worlds changes it so that they are a single, prolonged series of events, with multiple namesnote .
  • Revisiting the Roots: Hard to be closer to "the roots" than taking characters from the original pilot episode and finally giving them a full series, complete with the original Enterprise. The show has also chosen to avoid the heavy Myth Arc driven narratives that contemporary shows had skewed towards in favor of more episodic adventures like the original series.
  • Saved by Canon: Owing to the fact Strange New Worlds is a prequel series to the original Star Trek series, whatever else happens in the series Pike, Spock, Uhura, Kyle, Chapel, M'Benga, and the Enterprise herself will survive the series.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: With only one episode to their name (until one cameoed in late Enterprise), much of the Gorn was developed by Expanded Universe materials, which have been self-contradictory and were never officially canon to begin with. Gorn in EU run the gammut from misunderstood good guys to brutal-but-noble Blue-and-Orange Morality. None of this EU material is compatible with the Gorn as presented in this series, where they are described by the writer as "totally evil."
  • Series Continuity Error: Everyone referring to George Samuel Kirk as "Sam". It was a brief but significant plot point in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" that only Jim called him Sam.
  • Soft Reboot: The second season of Discovery was something of a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for this show, especially the last two episodes which ends with the Enterprise repaired from the climactic battle and heading back out to explore. The first episode of this show reimagines the events, saying it took much longer for the Enterprise (over a year compared to 4 months in DSC), Pike is still recovering emotionally from the events of Discovery, the supporting cast is overhauled and some other changes are made to set design and costumes. It is pretty standard when it comes to pilot-to-series development, but this is unique when applied to a Star Trek series.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: In the first episode. The medical bay and indeed the rest of the ship is not locked and one of the prisoners is allowed to run around the Enterprise.
  • Title Drop: Inverted. The series subtitle is derived from a portion of the Captain's Monologue heard in the title sequence in previous series set on the Enterprise, with SNW being the latest to use the monologue.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The teaser for season 2 has several scenes with Una serving as the first officer, suggesting that the season 1 cliffhanger is likely to be resolved fairly quickly and the status quo restored.
  • True Companions: Each of the trailers have shown that everyone on the Enterprise views one another as family, and have faith in one another's abilities. She wouldn't have the finest crew in Starfleet otherwise.
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: Strange New Worlds explicitly calls back to this formula embodied by TOS, TNG and Voyager, as opposed to the more Myth Arc based recent series like Picard and Discovery.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" is based on Ursula K. Le Guin's short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas". There is an entire colony of people who have walked away.
  • World War III: While Star Trek has long established that World War 3 was a devastating nuclear war that occurred sometime before 2063, we have never seen footage of the conflict until Strange New Worlds. Pike states that a third of Earth's population dies as a direct result.
  • Zeerust: Played with. The production design is intentionally adopting elements of classic 1960s and 1970s Trek. The Enterprise is extremely 70s in its decor: cream and red with polymer appliances and recessed lighting. The control panels are almost as goofy and sparkly as the original. There are crisp OLED screens instead of 70s transparencies, but they kept the same font as the 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But the CGI Enterprise exterior shots are quite modern.


Video Example(s):


Captain Pike's Speech

"Strange New Worlds". After a first contact operation goes badly awry due to faulty intel, Captain Pike makes a second attempt. He lays out to the Kileans the violent history of Earth that led up to World War III (which uses stock footage of civil unrest from the 2010s and early 2020s), and tells them that's where they're headed if they can't put aside their differences. But they have another choice: be better, and join the United Federation of Planets.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / PatrickStewartSpeech

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