Home Entertainment Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will bring back The Original Series’ episodic storytelling

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will bring back The Original Series’ episodic storytelling

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Star Trek: Discovery, and in fact all of what has been nicknamed by some fans as “Nu Trek”, has undoubtedly been divisive. There was one aspect of Discovery that just about all fans can agree on though: Captain Pike is awesome. Anson Mount’s incredibly charming appearance in the second season of Discovery as James T. Kirk’s predecessor in the captain’s chair of the USS Enterprise (previously only seen in the initially abandoned pilot episode of Star Trek: The Original Series) was met with such an massive wave of praise that it led to the announcement of a brand new spinoff series. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will see Mount’s Pike, Ethan Peck’s young Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as the terse Number One as they explore… well… strange new worlds in the early days of the Enterprise’s tenure.

And it’s not just the show’s timeline that will be set in those early days as Strange New Worlds’ overall approach to storytelling will be harking back to an earlier form of Star Trek. That’s according to producer Akiva Goldsman, who co-created the new series with current franchise architect Alex Kurtzman after working on both Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. As Goldsman told THR though, whereas those two shows follow the more modernised TV series approach of telling long-form serialized drama stories, Strange New Worlds will go back to standalone adventures that offer more variety.

It’s unlike the other shows in that it’s really episodic. If you think back to The Original Series, it was a tonally more liberal — I don’t mean in terms of politics, but it could sort of be more fluid. Like sometimes Robert Bloch would write a horror episode. Or Harlan Ellison would have “City on the Edge of Forever,” which is hard sci-fi. Then there would be comedic episodes, like “Shore Leave” or “The Trouble With Tribbles.” So [co-showrunner] Henry Alonso Myers and myself are trying to serve that. We’ve all become very enamored, myself included, with serialized storytelling. And I’m talking to you from behind the stage where we’re shooting Picard, which is deeply serialized. But Strange New Worlds is very much adventure-of-the-week but with serialized character arcs.

Continuing on, Goldsman explained that the influence of TOS will be felt even more starkly just in how Strange New Worlds looks and feels, which is being tweaked since we last saw these characters.

It’s a fine line because obviously, we want to keep continuity with the storytelling and the style, but we also want Strange New Worlds to be a different show. It’s not Discovery. There are a few more reach-backs (to The Original Series) and the uniforms have been adjusted slightly, the sets are slightly different. Remember the Enterprise existed as a little piece of [the show Discovery], but now it’s its own object. When you close your eyes and think of the key sets and situations that you think of The Original Series, that’s what we’re looking to do.

With all this connection to TOS, as it’s essentially a prequel, should you have watched that classic series before hopping into new adventures with Pike and co? That’s a resounding “Nope!” as Goldsman explained that the new Star Trek shows all try to be as inclusive as possible to franchise newcomers. And that will be even easier with Strange New Worlds.

Early on we made the choice to be agnostic when it came to the audience’s knowledge of Trek. We want to welcome somebody who knows Trek and make it even better because of the things we have, but we don’t want to alienate those who don’t. If you know Next Gen, Picard is more fun, but you don’t have to have watched Next Gen to watch Picard — but by the time we get to episode six, you better have watched episodes one through five or your eyes are going to cross. That’s not true with Strange New Worlds, where you can drop in, watch one, drop out, then watch another one later.

Personally, having my love of sci-fi really born in the late 1980s and 1990s, I’m a sucker for episodic sci-fi television. This was the Star Trek itch that The Orville scratched even better that modern Star Trek itself, but now hopefully Strange New Worlds can carry that torch for this iconic franchise.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds doesn’t have an official release date yet, but the pilot episode has just finished filming. Hopefully, we’ll hear something further soon.

Last Updated: April 15, 2021

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