Note from Marvelous Geeks’ Team: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the [series/movie/etc] being covered here wouldn’t exist. We stand with and for them.
Star Trek, like Star Wars, is an extensive world. There’s a lot of it out there, and not enough time to catch up on everything if it’s not a property you grew up with. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not a Trekkie (or maybe you are, and you’re out here judging me; please don’t. I’m fragile). In a nutshell, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is relatively simple to understand and wholeheartedly intriguing right from the start. I’m sure most Star Trek properties hold the same value, but again—time.
For those wanting an effortless tug toward a big, bold world, Strange New Worlds is the perfect show to start with. There’s history that could probably fly by you, but it’s not so much that it defeats the purpose of the story. There’s no part of it that’s hard to understand. It’s a sphere brimming with rich, gripping, and intelligent stories at every turn.
Strange New Worlds’ Bright Tone Is Worth Everything
I probably love Obi-Wan Kenobi more than any other show, but I don’t love how dark it is. And this is the case with most Star Wars and other properties nowadays. For some reason, we’ve decided light diminishes a story’s grit and edge, but we’ve not factored in the fact that it’s maybe also hard to see. The same can be said about the sci-fi series I compare everything to—The Expanse. Yet, blue-ish hazy lighting aside, there’s a brightness in Strange New Worlds that isn’t just tied to colorful costumes and locations but also the overall story’s tone.
There’s something warm and inviting from the get-go that makes it easy to invest in. It’s a space (physically and metaphorically) that’s easy to stay in, re-watch, and understand. It helps that there’s also a stellar soundtrack and a cast featuring way too many attractive people than necessary in a single show, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s vibrant. It’s alive. And it’s so effortlessly welcoming.
As it happened to me with The Expanse, appreciating the characters from the beginning is seamless. Who are they? Why are they like this? What’s their position? There are not only answers to the questions that viewers will ask, but their compelling and complex natures make them utterly engrossing in every episode. You can’t be a film or TV connoisseur without knowing who Spock and Kirk are—the originals. Whether you’re a fan of Star Trek or not, you know who Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner play.
In Strange New Worlds, we have two excellent actors bringing those characters to life, and the reasons I personally started—Ethan Peck and Paul Wesley. And while the original stars remain untouchable icons, the new actors bring their A-game consistently to every episode, layering their characters exceptionally. Wesley doesn’t show up until later in Season 1, but all is right when he does. Still, they aren’t the only ones, and it’s no exaggeration to say that every character in the series is intriguing and nuanced in gratifying ways.
Science fiction TV or films are almost always full of the best relationships. Star Wars will forever stand amongst the greats for bringing Han Solo and Leia Organa to our screens. The Expanse’s Rocinante crew is one of the most extraordinary depictions of a found family, just to name a few. And from the very beginning, Strange New Worlds cements that the crew aboard the Enterprise care for one another beyond measure. Season 2 takes it to tremendous new heights when Una Chin-Riley’s Illyrian identity comes to the forefront, proving how far and wide Captain Pike is willing to go for his Number One.
At the same time, Season 2 brings in a surprisingly fascinating time-travel romance worth every minute of the exploration we get. While viewers might not get what they want as an endgame, there’s plenty in the series concerning wholesome platonic relationships. So much so, where everyone’s hot and no matter what you ship, it’s nice having all these people in the same space to simply marvel at.
The best part of Strange New Worlds for a newbie Trekkie is its anthology structure. When every episode focuses on a specific character, it allows viewers to get to know them far better than they would’ve if it followed a more linear plot. There’s still undeviating progression, yes, but this structure works for closer examinations.
If this weren’t the case, an episode like “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” probably wouldn’t have occurred. And while such forms of storytelling are more common today, the place it carves out for a plot and character-driven showcase is still a rarity. Thereby, this structure gives viewers plenty of opportunities to spend ample time understanding the world-building that’s concurrently taking place.
Like many science fiction properties, Star Trek relies on the real world to tell stories that feel both innovative and familiar. More often than not, the allegories within the genre are some of the best depictions of the heartaches in the real world. And Strange New Worlds is no outsider to this. It uses each of its characters for authentic, honest representation, and it tells stories that reflect the world we live in today.
The genre has explored nuanced, thought-provoking narratives since its origin, allowing it to grow and expand with the times. It’s always been ahead, even when it’s behind, crafting careful narratives to break barriers and molds. Strange New Worlds might not be everyone’s jam, but if you’re a fan of science fiction, then it’s a must-watch. Trust the non-Trekkie, I imagine those who know more could word everything better, but still—it’s brilliant in every way.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
First Featured Image Credit: Pari Dukovic/Paramount+