Star Trek: Strange New Worlds…Midpoint, Season 1 Thoughts

So I wanted to take a few minutes here and give an update on how this first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is going since Paramount gave them a ten episode first season and the fifth episode was just dropped yesterday (June 2nd), which of course, I watched last night. The following paragraphs contain a few spoilers for the first five episodes of Strange New Worlds, so consider yourself warned!

All-in-all, I think it’s off to a good start. Is every episode a home run? Of course not, but they’ve all been entertaining so far. But what I really want to touch on here is the development of all the various characters on the ship and the great job they’re doing in explaining who they are, what their motives are and giving us a window into their various personalities…which has been a pet peeve of mine as it pertains to Discovery.

Also, due to the show being episodic in nature, you can have an episode here or there that maybe doesn’t fire on all cylinders and it doesn’t screw up the rest of the season because by the time we’re onto the next episode, whatever happened in that episode largely doesn’t have any bearing on the ensuing episodes.

So far, we’ve learned that Cadet Uhura isn’t sure that Starfleet is where she wants to be, but is a very skilled linguist who has impressed Spock. Also, while talking about Spock…he’s got quite an interesting relationship with Nurse Chapel, whom he turns to for advice in dealing with his relationship with T’Pring and his own acceptance of being half human.

Going back to Season 2 of Discovery, I wasn’t real keen on Ethan Peck’s portrayal of Spock, however here on the Enterprise with Pike, Una, Uhura & the rest of the crew, he really is a terrific Spock. I’d have to go so far to say that I prefer his version of Spock to that of Zachary Quinto from the rebooted Star Trek movies that started in 2009. When first announced as being cast as Spock, I was super excited to see him play the part since I had loved his Sylar character from Heroes.

Meanwhile, just as most previous Star Trek series have had a set of “buddies”…i.e. Geordi & Data, Bashir & O’Brien, Tom & Harry, Trip & Malcolm, Burnham & Tilly, etc… the buddy pairing in this series seems to be Una (Number One) and La’an. Their characters have a pretty cool background as Una was part of the crew who had saved her from the Gorn while also, in the first episode, La’an was acting first officer to Pike on the rescue/first contact mission to save Una, who had been captured by the species they were observing. It’s still early, but there’s good chemistry there so far.

The helmsman, Erica Ortegas is probably the one bridge officer for whom they haven’t really explored her background or expanded on her character much yet. She’s certainly not been forgotten since she’s active in each episode, but is just a bit of a background character for now. They still have 5 more episodes this season to get to her. Also, Hemmer, the Aenaran Chief Engineer seems to be an interesting character who also needs to be expanded on. For now though, his gruff exterior has been quite amusing in his interactions with other crew members.

Doctor M’Benga is an interesting character with a cool story that I won’t spoil here involving his daughter that was just weaved into the story a couple weeks ago. But his interactions with the quirky Nurse Chapel are always fun to watch since they’re really the two sides of a yin-yang that occupy the medical department of the ship.

Finally, the Captain…Anson Mount’s portrayal of Christopher Pike is terrific! For a character that we honestly hadn’t really seen much of in Star Trek, the lines written for him and his delivery are really a highlight of the show for me. His level-headedness along with his matter-of-factish explanations are always a treat. He keeps everyone grounded and is an excellent face for Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets to the new species he comes in contact with. Even when faced with odd circumstances, he’s cool under pressure while also giving great facials towards other crew members to help illustrate just how much he is really just flying by the seat of his pants and for the most part, just winging it as best he can. He’s a joy to watch!

Also, it wasn’t lost on me in the latest episode that the Admiral he’s reporting to is Robert April…Christopher Pike’s previous Commanding Officer onboard Enterprise, when he was the first officer. Nice touch!

Well there ya have it, some quick thoughts on how Strange New Worlds is going so far. Paramount has hit my sweet spot for Trek with this series, I just hope they continue on down this path and keep churning out more content like these first 5 episodes!

Thanks for reading!

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