Why Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Is The Perfect Entry Point For New Fans
Now is the time to jump in.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will soon be available for Paramount+ subscribers, and if you’re a fan of Star Trek, I’m confident you’ll love it. The show features many things that get fans excited, with easter eggs, character development and surprises just around every corner. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a game-changer in the new era of the franchise, but even saying that isn’t speaking to its greatest strength. This show is the perfect entry point for anyone looking to get into Star Trek, which is truly the best thing about it.
I know that’s a statement that might rattle a few readers, but let me clarify by saying there’s something for everyone in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, regardless of the amount of time you've spent in the fandom. With that said, watching the first five episodes led me to the realization this might be the best chance in the modern era to bring a completely uninitiated person into Star Trek. As such, that’s what I’ll be focusing on here and pointing to the key elements that make this the best starting point for anyone to show that friend who still hasn’t gotten into the franchise.
There’s Limited Foreknowledge Required To Enjoy Strange New Worlds
There’s a ton of knowledge any Star Trek fan can rattle off that’s relevant to Strange New Worlds. 95% of it, outside of referencing an article of some key events that occurred in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, isn’t required to enjoy the show. Sure, fans will want to google and reference every mention and character that appears in the Paramount+ series, but it does a great job of incorporating these references without requiring a lot of background to understand the significance of it.
I noticed this most in regards to character development. There are members of the crew with histories relevant to key moments in Star Trek lore, but if there’s something that absolutely needs to be stated, the episodes do a good job of working it in. Newcomers can come in, enjoy the show at its base level and have a blast, though I’d still encourage them to dig into some of the characters and species mentioned once they get into the swing of things.
Each Episode Is Largely Self-Contained And Its Own Story
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds returns to the episodic nature of the past shows, and although I’ve grown accustomed to serialized Trek, I can appreciate that. This isn’t to say that all Trek needs to go back to episodic, but there’s something to be said for a story that is told front to back in roughly an hour. Massive stories mean massive stakes, but there’s a little more wiggle room in the episodic format.
Fans will see episodes of Strange New Worlds where the stakes are high, and it’s a tense affair from start to finish. There’s also a return to lower-stakes adventures, meaning that a story can center around some weird night on the job, and it still is awesome and ok that happened. There’s a real freedom in the self-contained story in that there’s no endpoint the season has to arrive at, which is a big difference from serialized Star Trek. Classic Trek fans will love that, and they’ll also love that characters actually retain their memories from episode to episode, which makes every episode also feel consequential. No more people gaining or losing a loved one in one episode and being completely being fine in the next one!
The Tone Frequently Shifts To Highlight The Best Of Star Trek New And Old
One brilliant thing about Star Trek is that it cross with many genres and still be great. Star Trek can be sad, thought-provoking and optimistic. It can also be silly, pulse-pounding and devastatingly deep. I’m happy to report that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is all of these things, though thankfully, as Rebecca Romijn hinted in our interview, not all at once. Each episode (that I’ve seen) carries a specific tone with it that sticks around from start to finish.
This is another strength of the episodic format: the tone doesn’t have to be consistent to help serve the story. Strange New Worlds can chase a devastatingly sad episode with some zany premise, and it doesn’t feel weird because of how self-contained each adventure is. In terms of how it feels overall, it doesn’t feel quite like the old shows, but it also doesn’t feel like the new shows either. It’s a new happy medium, and I think a lot of people will jive with how that feels.
The Visuals Are Spectacular
If you’ve kept up with Star Trek in the past few years, then this goes without saying, but this needs to be laid out for newcomers. Star Trek has some of the best visuals of modern science-fiction television, and man, is it on full display in Strange New Worlds. Be prepared for some jaw-dropping landscapes, beautiful ship interiors and stunning new species. There are also some familiar ones, but I’ll leave it at that rather than go into spoilers.
There’s a real emphasis on color in Strange New Worlds that somewhat flies in the face of modern sci-fi norms. So much color is dulled in Marvel, DC and projects from other franchises that it’s cool to see such vibrant colors frequently present in Strange New Worlds episodes. It’s also great to see this show strike a balance between CGI and practical makeup work for species, though that’s something the franchise has done well for some time. I could go on about this forever, but it’s not something that will really be understood until viewers see it for themselves.
The Cast Is Immediately Lovable
I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek, and I think others can relate to my experience that a crew always takes time to grow on me. Star Trek: Discovery fans might remember, though, that it didn’t take long for the fandom to latch onto Anson Mount as Captain Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock and Rebecca Romijn as Number One. I’m here to say Star Trek nailed those castings, and the same is true for every new actor included in the show as well.
Of every Star Trek cast I’ve seen, I’ve never found one as immediately likable as the Strange New Worlds characters. I don’t think there will be any definitive favorites of the bunch, but that’s only because they’re all so immediately likable in their own ways that it’s so hard to choose. I also think the performances and chemistry of this cast will make it more welcoming to newcomers, who will quickly find themselves invested in the lives of these characters.
In short, there’s a lot to love about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and anyone even slightly curious will want to be ready for the premiere on Paramount+ this Thursday, May 5th. New fans who sign up will have access to a lot of Star Trek, and rest assured, there are more Star Trek TV shows arriving in 2022 and beyond.
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Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
By Nick Venable