Hey, there’s still another 4+ years left on this mission – give ’em a chance.
My thoughts on Strange New Worlds after five episodes:
I’ve got to admit, while the show has many many flaws that I am critical about, I am finding some small things about it that I like, and that’s what’s keeping me watching. I’ve given up hope of seeing anything up to the level of TOS or the Berman-era Trek, especially under the current stewardship, because they just don’t get Star Trek.
But with SNW, I’ll give them some credit… not a lot… just a little… for trying.
Five episodes in and we’re still treading on familiar, treaded before, grounds… absolutely nothing new. Every episode seems to be calling back to a previous, and better done, episode of Trek and at times it can get infuriating. The showrunners are obviously banking on member-berries and nostalgia to bring in the viewers, especially fans of older Trek.
The lirpa duel in the latest episode pissed me off, especially when they also brought back that iconic TOS lirpa duel music… it was blatant and shameless. By comparison, aside from De Kelley’s appearance in the pilot and the space virus in The Naked Now, TNG tried its best to stand on its own two feet in its maiden season.
And I hate the frequent callbacks to Star Trek: Discovery (ST:DISC) … it’s as if Kurtzman wants to keep reminding us that we wouldn’t have this show if not for ST:DISC. What he doesn’t realize is that STD is so bad that’s why fans wanted a show like SNW that feels more like the Trek we know.
While SNW still has a long way to go to prove itself, you can’t deny there is a tiny bit of effort to streamline it into the Trek we’re familiar with.
The writing is just all over the place. We’re a long way from the quality writing by the likes of DC Fontana, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, or even Ron Moore and Naren Shankar, and I do hope that will change, as this show would benefit a lot from people who actually know and have written sci-fi. In the latest Critical Drinker After Hours, Marc Zicree told the Drinker that he’s been in contact with the SNW showrunners offering his writing services and I do hope they take him up on that offer.
I don’t like how Pike runs his ship; the chain of command is questionable. Whereas Kirk commanded his ship in a militaristic way, and Picard ran his like a no-nonsense CEO heading an 80s/90s multinational corporation, Pike runs his like a millennial running a tech startup… too casual for my liking.
Last week’s Gorn episode could have been a good one if not for Pike having his command decisions questioned almost every time by Discount Drummer and quip-a-minute Discount Vasquez. And the latest episode’s nonsense with the Enterprise Bingo – Kirk and Picard wouldn’t have put up with such things on their ships.
And of course, the worst part is the continuing retconning of Trek canon by Kurtzman and co.
But like I said earlier, there are some positives. The show is just gorgeous to look at, obviously, they’ve spared no expense when it comes to production value (just the writing). Every shot is cinematic… compare this to the latest episode of Obi-wan Kenobi in which the confrontation in the third act was shot un-cinematically and it looked like it was taken from a fan film.
I do like some of the characters. Anson Mount (what a great pornstar name!) is the reason why I watch this show in the first place… he made Season 2 of STD watchable. And he’s certainly good as Pike… I just wished he was stricter and not trying to be more buddy-like with the crew. Ethan Peck may be miscast as Spock but you gotta admit he’s trying his best with what he’s given. I like Rebecca Romjin as Number One and Nurse Chapel is quickly warming up to me.
One thing this show has in common with TOS is the beautiful women. Both Discount Drummer and Discount Vasquez are actually stunners in real life without the ridiculous haircuts and the permanent scowl.
Is SNW a better show than STD and Picard? Also-frackin-lutely, but not by a huge margin. I just hope it will start to stand on its two feet rather than keep calling back to previous Trek episodes. And I do hope they bring in quality writers.
For now, I’ll keep watching, and maybe someday I will be surprised by what I see.
– S’wak Props
Editor’s Note: I ran across an interesting breakdown of ST:SNW and how writers on this show (and others) lean too far into fan service at the expense of story-telling. I thought it made an interesting companion video to go with this post. Thanks again for the great post, S’wak!
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