TV Party Tonight! #123

TV Party Tonight! #123

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Wednesday, 26 April 2023
DVD/Blu-Ray

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Season 1
[DVD]

What can I possibly say about Star Trek that hasn’t been said already. If you don’t know what it is, get a clue and get on board. I was very late to the party but have since gone very deep. Star Trek is a warm fuzzy place I don’t think I’ll ever want to leave.

For a franchise that has done so much over so many years the idea of this Strange New Worlds spinoff sounds like a breath of fresh air. The reason for its creation is obvious: Captain Pike and his crew were the only lighthearted and fun presence in an otherwise dour and way-too-serious Start Trek Discovery show. Discovery is such a downer that no wonder the Enterprise crew stole the show. It was full of characters that were created by more inventive and talented people.

Look, Star Trek has gotten weird over the years ever since Alex Kurtzman took over. There was a feeling with that show that the creator and writers have no clue what makes Star Trek so great. The show has rhythm, but no soul. Same with Star Trek Picard. And, unfortunately, Lower Decks suffers from a lot of the same pitfalls. The long-form format can work perfectly well, but with every iteration in nutrek, it’s led to contrived and overly complicated and exhausting plots. Strange New Worlds does away with all that and goes back to the episodic style of the original series. Like Akiva Goldsman said, alarmingly, “Why don’t we just do Star Trek?”

The results are…hopeful, to be overly-positive here. I say this because it’s still obvious that the showrunners have no idea what makes an interesting show or engaging characters. The premises are often interesting as a flavor-of-the week problem that needs to be solved, but the characters are painted with very broad strokes and are not nuanced at all. It’s clear from the very beginning who the show will only portray as a faultless hero (Uhura, Ortegas, and Noonien) and who gets a little breathing room to develop. Also, they are trying to incorporate traditional TOS lore here yet have no clue what makes them compelling. The Gorn, for example, are not meant to be savage mindless killers. The whole point of them was that they were responding to a direct massacre the Federation caused, so really it’s more nuanced than just “monsters are bad.”

Right now, Prodigy, strangely enough a show for children, is the best version of nutrek out there. Strange New Worlds has lots of potential and can surpass that, with its episodic approach, interesting characters, and some compelling plots. It just needs to stop trying to go for superficial reasons for applause and stick to something with actual substance. It can do that. Will it?

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