- Broken Base: The show retconning the Gorn into Always Chaotic Evil Xenomorph Xerox has divided the fanbase between those who like the new, scarier Gorn and those who feel that this detracts from their depiction in "Arena" as violent-but-civilized Lizard Folk. This being a prequel series, there's also some debate as to whether this constitutes a Continuity Snarl or whether it can be excused by proper First Contact not having happened yet.
- Complete Monster: The Praetor from "A Quality of Mercy" is the monstrous leader of the Romulan Star Empire in this alternate timeline. As in the original timeline, the Praetor orders one of her commanders to destroy several Federation outposts along the Neutral Zone. Christopher Pike tries to stop the Romulan Commander but is confronted by the Praetor and her fleet. The Romulan Praetor has the Commander and his crew destroyed for being caught by the Federation and declares war on the Federation, declaring them to be weak. The resulting war kills millions of people.
- Fanfic Fuel: How M’Benga went from being Chief Medical Officer in this era to second in command under McCoy in the TOS era.
- Fan Nickname:
- La'an Noonien-Singh has been referred to by some fans with the nickname "Drummer", a reference to the character Camina Drummer on the recently finished The Expanse, due to their similar physical appearance and their Contralto of Danger, Action Girl role involving being in charge of fighting space battles.
- It's not uncommon to see Transporter Chief Kyle being referred to as "Transporter Twink."
- Magnificent Bastard ("The Serene Squall"): Captain Angel is a pirate captain who has replaced Dr. Aspen, a Federation scientist, abandoning the real Dr. Aspen to a barren planet. Angel as Aspen makes up a story about human colonial ships being attacked by pirates. When Pike and the crew investigate, Angel lures them into a trap and has pirates capture the Enterprise. Angel tricks Spock into lifting the computer lockdown on the Enterprise so they can take over the ship. Angel wants to use Spock as a bargaining chip with Spock's fiancee T'Pring, wanting T'Pring to free their husband, Sybok. When Angel is foiled, they manage to escape, leaving their crew in Federation captivity.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Paul Wesley with a fake moustache Explanation note
- Spock does not talk about family Explanation
- Pike's Peak.note
- Narm Charm: The long, melodramatic reaction shot when the Romulans first appear to the bridge crew in "A Quality of Mercy" should, by all accounts, be cheesy—but it's so reminiscent of the original series it comes off as incredibly endearing instead.
- Spiritual Adaptation: Although it isn't mentioned, the episode "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" is clearly based on the Ursula K. Le Guin short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, a philosophical piece about a utopian city whose prosperity is entirely dependent on the constant suffering of a single child.
- Unexpected Character:
- Having Uhura, M'Benga, and Nurse Chapel appear on the show serving on the Enterprise before Kirk came along is definitely a shocker to those expecting an entirely new crew under Pike's command.
- Kirk himself is set to appear in the second season, to the surprise of many who weren't expecting such a solid connection to the TOS era. It will be the first time Kirk has appeared on any series other than the ones on which his character was a regular (TOS and TAS), other than in reused footage from those series.
- There is a Kirk in season one, but it's not the one anyone expected. Jim's older brother Sam (who died in "Operation: Annihilate!") is working under Spock in the science division.
- Let's just say nobody expected T'Pring to appear or her relationship with Spock, for that matter.
- In terms of species, few expected the Gorn — who appeared once in TOS and have since been limited to single Continuity Nod episodes in subsequent series — being elevated to a major recurring antagonist faction deeply tied to the back story of a main character.
- Sybok, Spock's half-brother, appears briefly at the end of "The Serene Squall", marking his first appearance since Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Sybok just being mentioned is a shock in itself, given Star Trek V has a reputation of being ignored by virtually all other canon material, beyond a few vague references.
- With all the hype surrounding the appearance of Captain James T. Kirk in season two, who could've predicted that he'd actually debut in the finale of season one? And in the same episode, who would've expected that the Chief Engineer of Pike's Enterprise would have a familiar Scottish accent and claim to not be a miracle worker?
- The San Diego ComiCon 2022 had a major bombshell with the reveal of a crossover with Star Trek: Lower Decks in Season 2!
- What The Hell, Costuming Department?: After rank structure being fairly consistent in the other newer series, this series gives us Lieutenant Commander Una Chin-Riley wearing the braids of a full Commander, Lieutenant Hemmer, wearing the same, and Lieutenants Spock, Noonien-Singh and Ortegas wearing the braids of a Lieutenant Commander, not to mention both medical personnel (M'Benga and Chapel) wearing full Commander braids even though there's next to no way they actually are (and Chapel has been explicitly described as a civilian). As script/dialog always trumps costuming, we can chalk these up to costuming errors, but when did the costume designers forget such basic stuff?
- Win Back the Crowd: The viewer reaction to Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard was mixed at best, but one thing nearly everyone agreed on was that Anson Mount's performance as Christopher Pike in DSC season 2 was enjoyable. Strange New Worlds capitalizes on that, putting Pike in the driver's seat and veering back to a Lighter and Softer, more classically styled Planet-of-the-Week exploration/adventure ensemble series from the heavily serialized Darker and Edgier format of its immediate predecessors. While accepting a special award for the show from the Hollywood Critics Association in August 2022, executive producer Henry Alonso Myers summed up the pitch for the show as, "What if we just did Star Trek?" Based on critical and viewer reactions to the first season, this move was apparently quite successful.
YMMV / Star Trek: Strange New Worlds