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How Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' Episodic Structure Will Differ From Past Shows

Captain Pike in the captains chair Star Trek

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will evoke many classic Star Trek elements that long-time fans have missed, especially with its episodic structure. At the same time, Strange New Worlds’ episodic structure won’t be entirely the same as it was on the classic Star Trek, as we learned recently from Akiva Goldsman, a co-showrunner for the upcoming Paramount+ series.

Akiva Goldsman spoke to TrekMovie.Com about the series and how the show’s modernized episodic structure will work. Goldsman said that while the self-contained stories will return, there will be an important distinction in how Strange New Worlds handles its storylines compared to past Star Trek past shows. As he put it:

We are returning fundamentally to episodic storytelling. What is unique about this particular Star Trek show in the current Star Trek Universe is that it is fully episodic. Now, when I say “fully” I’m slightly exaggerating in that the character arcs are still serialized. It’s not like Jim Kirk will see Edith Keeler die one week and be fine the next week as it was in The Original Series. Our characters will carry with them what they suffer from or what they learned from episode to episode. But the stories are episodic. And that allows us to do something that The Original Series is quite good at, to give you slightly different tones. And to give you—for lack of a better word—hidden morals of the story. Like an O. Henry turn, like a Twilight Zone that gives you a kind of pop that really is the province of episodic storytelling.

Similar to Doctor Who and other modern shows with an episodic structure, the character arcs of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will continually be acknowledged, as will past events. Some could argue that it’s still serialized in a way. However, as Akiva Goldsman pointed out, being truly episodic like the classic Star Trek made for some odd moments in which significant events transpired only never to be referenced again. It sounds like Strange New Worlds won’t do that, which should come as a relief to many fans excited for this show.

Akiva Goldsman also noted that while Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will use its ensemble cast, there will certainly be episodes that highlight one character with much more frequency than the rest. This, of course, is nothing new to Star Trek, but given how Star Trek: Picard has mainly focused on stories through Jean-Luc’s perspective and Discovery through Michael Burnham's, it will be nice to see some more minor characters get their chance to shine. I’m hoping for a few standalone Spock episodes, though I’m certainly interested in seeing more of Uhura and the rest of the original Star Trek characters audiences are familiar with.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds still does not have an official release date at this time, though there has been speculation it will arrive sometime after the premiere of Star Trek: Picard Season 2 in 2022. Stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime for more details on the world of Star Trek, such as what Akiva Goldsman had to say when asked about whether or not Whoopi Goldberg would re-appear in the franchise anytime soon.

Mick Joest

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.