‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ takes the old-school approach : NPR

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Cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) is assigned to the Enterprise on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Marni Grossman/CBS


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Marni Grossman/CBS


Cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) is assigned to the Enterprise on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Marni Grossman/CBS

Today hiking the fan manages to get their teeth into a buffet filled with a range of options; there is a flavor for everyone.

There are Star Trek: Prodigy for kids.

And Star Trek: Lower Decks for yucks.

And Star Trek: Picard for some old familiar faces.

And of course Star Trek: Discovery for… uh. Space mushrooms, I think? Oh and time travel, a lot of that. And heavily serialized scenarios that tend to become way more complicated than strictly necessary.

And now comes yet another option, stacked right next to the others, shimmering under the sneeze guard – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, on Paramount+. And all still hungry hiking fans should know they can come Star Trek: Strange New Worlds For good.

For star trek.

Old school star trek, It is. Original recipe star trek.

A team of optimistic space explorers travel back and forth across the galaxy. Which are led by a handsome, charismatic and deeply empathetic captain. Who speak of a grand game of never interfering with the development of other planets, constantly invoking this “main directive”, only to happily trample holy hell wherever they go. Who encounter an endless chain of strangely humanoid aliens whose species differ from each other only in skin color and/or any specific arrangement of nodules were slapped on the actor’s nose and forehead in the strip – make-up announcement.

Yeah it is that old school.

“Fan service!”, some will say. “Retread! Cynical cash grab!”

Maybe so, but it’s not mere nostalgia that fuels strange new worlds’ warp core is also the simplicity of its premise: The Enterprise Before Kirk.

Ten years before Kirk, specifically, when the ship was under the command of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount). Also in the game: a first officer alias Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and science officer Spock (Ethan Peck). The three actors made their debut in these roles in Star Trek: Discovery (see above, in re:lots of time travel) but if you don’t follow this show, don’t worry; Strange new worlds seems determined to ignore Discoverycontinues muddy and traces its own space trail.

Which isn’t to say the show doesn’t equip its characters with emotional baggage emitted by Starfleet. Pike knows exactly when and how he will meet a grim (and firmly entrenched in canon) fate, Spock struggles with his half-human, half-Vulcan nature (it must be Tuesday), and Number One is hiding a secret. But these actors have become fan favorites for a reason – Mount’s take on Pike as a wry, charming leader who always seeks consensus before acting creates a nice contrast to the hot-headed, impulsive asshole who, we know, will take the captain’s chair a decade later.

But it takes a whole village to fly a spaceship, so the Strange new worldsThe crew also includes a no-nonsense security officer (Christina Chong), a flight doctor who (wait for it) is hiding a secret (Babs Olusanmokun), a school-cool nurses’ chapel (Jess Bush) and, in the biggest swing of the series, a youngster fresh out of the Academy Cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding).

Fans who didn’t bat an eyelash when Peck stepped into the boots (and ears) of Leonard Nimoy might still whitewash at the thought of another actor reprising Uhura from Nichelle Nichols, given the iconic nature of Uhura’s portrayal. Nicholas. The series seems to understand this, and Gooding wisely has no intention of adopting Nichols’ ways. Son Uhura is a wildly overachieving young woman who isn’t yet convinced she’s destined for a career in Starfleet. It’s true that in the first five episodes made available to the press, Uhura often comes across as the kind of uber-wunderkind that historically follows the franchise, and although the character risks becoming Full WesleyMT, the net effect is to convince us that this Uhura might not become the Uhura viewers know. If she can do anything, like she does here, then who knows if she’s still destined to end up rocking that signature headset?

which joins the general theme of Strange new worlds — the nature of fate. In different ways, this crew of the Enterprise struggles with their assigned roles and constantly questions themselves and others. And while there are, in those first five episodes, a few recurring narrative threads that will likely run through the season, the show seems more comfortable telling the old-school, strictly episodic story. hiking stories – the kind that resolves at exactly the 50-minute mark, rain or shine.

Contemporary visual effects (and a Paramount+ budget) gave the Enterprise a facelift. Her hull is now dotted with hundreds of tiny, warmly lit windows, her deck is sleeker and more interactive, her infirmary more Apple Store-chic, and her crew cabins far more luxurious than you might remember.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds does not apologize, which is its charm. It doesn’t particularly care which version of the Enterprise or its crew you hold in your head and heart or not. He just means hiking stories as they were once told – one space battle, one diplomatic summit, one alien virus, one space anomaly, one carrier crash all at once.

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