Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, The First Season

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If you follow this blog, you know I’ve been reviewing, episode by episode, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Basically, it’s Kurtzman NuTrek designed to appeal to the old school “Star Trek” fan like me. Did it work?

Sort of.

First of all, let’s be clear that you can’t make a television show (or any art form) in 2022 and have it seem like it was created in 1966. All art is a reflection of its time. If you remade films like Casablanca (1942) or Gone With The Wind (1939) today, they wouldn’t be anything like the original classics because approximately eighty years have passed.

So expecting SNW to be like the original Star Trek starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy is completely unrealistic.

That said, I totally miss that era in science fiction and in television in general.

There’s almost no way to compare the two shows and yet, it begs the question was SNW “Star Trek?”

What makes Star Trek “Star Trek?”

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep10, “A Quality of Mercy”

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Scene from the Star Trek Strange New Worlds episode “A Quality of Mercy”

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This is it. The final episode of season one “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” A Quality of Mercy. Yes, it was good. Yes, it had problems, big fat furry ones.

We start off being reunited with Captain Batel (Melanie Scrofano) who we saw in bed with Pike in the series pilot. They’re near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Batel has a mission some distance away while Pike, Spock, and Number One meet with one of the Commanders of a Neutral Zone outpost Cmdr Hasen Al-Salah (Ali Sassan). Things seem to be going well until the Commander’s young teenage son bursts in to meet Pike. Pike recognizes him as one of the two cadets he doesn’t save during his fated accident just seven years in the future. He internally freaks out and leaves.

Una follows him and yes, it’s another “my fate is haunting me” scenes.

Back in Pike’s quarters, he meets his older Admiral self, complete in the Rear Admiral’s uniform (maroon monster) we saw Kirk (William Shatner) wearing in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. He still has the Johnny Bravo hair, as big as ever for both of them.

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep9, “All Those Who Wander”

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Scene from Star Trek Strange New Worlds episode “All Those Who Wander”

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Finally got to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds ep 9 All Those Who Wander. We’re near the wrap up of the first season. This one is the horror movie, monster episode. It’s been compared to Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Predator (1987), and if you factor in the cold, to The Thing (1982).

The Enterprise is already on a priority mission to deliver materials to space station K7, without which, all the station’s systems including life support will shut down. Now they’ve been ordered to find a lost starship, the USS Peregrine, which isn’t a Constitution class starship but sure looks like one. It transmitted a distress signal four days ago before crash landing on a desolate L class planet and has not been heard from since. The planet’s atmosphere blocks communication and transporter functions.

Pike decides to lead an away mission in two shuttles, allowing the Enterprise to complete it’s task at K7.

This is also a farewell party, complete with Pike’s cooking, for the cadets, Uhura plus two we haven’t met before, one receiving a promotion to Lieutenant. That means they are the “red shirts” and are sure to die.

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep8, “The Elysian Kingdom”

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Scene from Star Trek Strange New Worlds ep8 The Elysian Kingdom

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What can I say? Episode 8 The Elysian Kingdom of Star Trek Strange New Worlds is my absolute favorite. I loved that everyone got to play different, and quite frankly, far more interesting characters than they normally do on the show.

Actually Ortegas (Melissa Navia) played pretty much the same character as the warrior fiercely loyal to the King (M’Benga). Pike as the foppish Chamberlain was perfect and I loved that his hair was different. He was a coward and a traitor or, more or less, as ineffectual as Pike is as a Captain most of the time.

Uhura as the evil queen was delicious as was Spock as her Wizard.

It was implied that Ortegas’ character and Number One as the Druid archer were lesbian lovers, but that was momentary and played for comedy.

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep7, “The Serene Squall”

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Scene from Star Trek Strange New Worlds “The Serene Squall”

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I just finished watching “Star Trek Strange New Worlds” E7 The Serene Squall which I think was more unintentionally humorous than anything else. It also rivaled E5 Spock Amok as the lamest show to date.

We start off at a Vulcan penal colony where T’Pring is entering a personal log. Log entries are a great way to give the audience insight into what a character is thinking, but they’re also a very Star Fleet thing. Since T’Pring works for Vulcan law enforcement “rehabilitation,” why would they have a parallel process.

Anyway…

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep6, “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”

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Scene from Star Trek Strange New World “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”

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I just finished watching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds S1, E6 Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach. I knew about the topic and the climax ahead of time and it still made me angry.

The Enterprise is on a routine mission to the Majalan System when they are hailed by a shuttle that’s come under fire. The shuttle had been traveling from a nearby moon to their world when an alien cruiser attacked.

Uhura is doing her security rotation and La’an is riding her pretty hard. The attacker refuses to break off after Pike contacts them and fires on the Enterprise. Pike gives the expected order to target their weapons and propulsion. Uhura is at the phasers and the enemy shifts course suddenly. She brings the spacecraft down instead. If it was that important, I probably wouldn’t have put an inexperienced cadet in that position, so it’s really La’an’s fault. Continue reading

Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep5, “Amok Spock”

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Scene from Star Trek Strange New Worlds “Spock Amok”

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Just finished watching Star Trek: Strange Worlds E5 Spock Amok. I’m fairly certain that Theodore Sturgeon, who wrote both Amok Time and Shore Leave, is spinning in his grave.

Oh, they did use the same “combat” music in the dream sequence as we heard when Kirk and Spock were fighting in “Amok Time.” It was kind of cool.

This was supposed to be the “comedy” episode of the season. The original Star Trek had several including I, Mudd and The Trouble with Tribbles, but in the case of “Spock Amok,” it wasn’t funny.

I mean I can see how Goldsman and Kurtzman tried to make it funny. I think they believed it was funny. But the best they got was “awkward.”

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep 4, “Memento Mori”

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Scene from the Star Trek Strange New Worlds episode Memento Mori

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Just finished watching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode 4 Memento Mori. This one has elements of Balance of Terror which actually closely mapped to the 1957 submarine film The Enemy Below starring Robert Mitchum and Curd Jürgens. During World War Two, “an American destroyer discovers a German U-boat, and in the ensuing duel the American captain must draw upon all his experience to defeat the equally experienced German commander.”

Bonus points because David Hedison (as Al Hedison) had a role in the movie. He later played Captain Lee Crane of the nuclear submarine Seaview in the 1960s Irwin Allen TV show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

As a child, I watched this film before Star Trek debuted, so when I saw Balance of Terror, I immediately recognized how writers Paul Schneider and Gene Roddenberry had “borrowed” from the movie’s plot.

At the beginning of the episode, we see scenes from prior shows revealing things about La’an, Uhura, and Hemmer.

Uhura is doing her engineering rotation and Hemmer is critical of her. Then again, he’s critical of everyone, so that’s not saying much. The Enterprise is taking a very powerful, very dangerous, and highly glorified air filter to the colony world Finibus 3 before their air becomes unbreathable. Heck of a place to settle down.

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep 3, “Ghosts of Illyria”

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Pictured: Rebecca Romijn as Una of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

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I watched Star Trek: Strange New Worlds S1, E3 Ghosts of Illyria last night. Not a bad episode as things go, and I did find some connections to other Star Trek shows from the past.

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Scene from the Star Trek Strange New Worlds episode Ghosts of Illyria

Pike, Number One, Spock, and a landing party are on the surface of an Illyrian colony world that’s apparently been abandoned. No one is comfortable being there since the Illyrians were eugenicists, tinkering with their DNA to adapt to various environments. Ever since Khan and the Eugenics Wars, gene manipulation has been strictly outlawed.

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep2, “Children of the Comet”

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Scene from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds “Children of the Comet”

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I just finished watching Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season 1, Episode 2, Children of the Comet.

The show starts on the surface of a desolate planet with a sparse and impoverished population of humanoids barely surviving. One of them looks up and sees what appears to be a comet in the sky.

Meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise, Uhura has been invited to join the senior staff in the Captain’s quarters for dinner. Ortega advised her to show up in dress uniform, but when she arrives, Uhura discovers that everyone is dressed very casually, including the Captain. In fact, dress is so casual, that Ortega looks like the 23rd century version of a “homie in the hood” complete with belly button reveal. On an actual Naval vessel, even if dress for an event were casual, it wouldn’t be that casual.

Ortega is shaping up to be a class A jerk which she continues to display as the episode progresses. In fact, both she and La’an seem grumpy most of the time, but the former because she’s arrogant and the latter because she’s depressed.

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