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24 May 2020

Strange Old Worlds

I can't remember any Star Trek announcement of the past two decades that was so well-received in the fan community as the one of Strange New Worlds, the Discovery spin-off series with Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn).

As much as I personally hate the prospect that the reckless reboot of Star Trek continues, Strange New Worlds (SNW) is proof that the people at CBS are listening to the fans, and willing to revise some of their errors they made with Discovery and, to lesser extent, with Picard:

  • Like TOS end every other classic Star Trek series, SNW is going to be episodic again. This is a clear departure from the heavily serialized concept of DIS and PIC, which at the time these two were announced was deemed the only way to produce a "modern" TV series.
  • As per Akiva Goldsman's affirmations, the new show is "going to try to harken back to some classical Trek values, to be optimistic." This is an implicit confession that these values were not present or not perceptible enough in Discovery and Picard.
  • The example of Captain Pike and his classic virtues illustrates what is wrong with the "edgy" characters of Discovery, most of whom are eccentric, obstinate, deceitful or otherwise unlikable - and simply not Trek-like. The moment Pike comes aboard in DIS: "Brother", it is obvious he is designed as the savior of Discovery, and is well-received by fans and "haters" of the show alike.

On the downside, SNW will be the creatively most limited Star Trek series ever produced. It will have the reboot look and the anachronistic technology of Discovery (at least the one whose existence Starfleet doesn't lie about). It will feature the characters of Pike, Spock and Number One we already know. It will have to fit into the barely eight years from Discovery to the Kirk era. This does not sound at all like the premise Star Trek needs to boldly go and explore strange new worlds (at least not without giving rise to even more major continuity errors).

In this regard, SNW is the logical culmination of a trend. For some reason the producers of new Star Trek are obsessed with "going back to the roots", with reducing the complex universe to a very simple formula and with focusing on known characters from the TOS era.

  • Abrams did it in "Star Trek (2009)" with the formula "Star Trek = Kirk + Spock + Enterprise". An alliance forged by destiny in this alternate universe, and against all logic.
  • All Star Trek movies of the past 20 years did it by designing a villain similar to, or even identical to Khan, because "Star Trek movie = fight against a villain who wants to destroy the Enterprise, Earth or the galaxy" and "ultimate Star Trek villain = Khan".
  • Discovery initially tried something new and brutally anti-nostalgic, I'll give them that. The story would have worked infinitely better in the far future and with a race other than the Klingons, but it was forcibly squeezed in the pre-TOS era, with the only benefit that it could use the punchline "Back to the roots, before Kirk, etc.". When the series went downhill, it was decided to throw in the usual high dose of token nostalgia, because "Star Trek before Kirk = Pike + Spock + Enterprise", which now becomes the premise of SNW.

The people at CBS fail to see Star Trek as a whole, as a universe that has a future and not just a past, that waits to be further explored. Picard is a small step in the right direction but it too lives too much in the past. Strange New Worlds may become a success because of its likable characters and the return to classic values. But it is further sad proof that the Star Trek Universe has become a canvas that no one wants to extend anymore, and that simply gets painted over.

Bernd Schneider


Recent EAS Updates
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    Just a note that I'm recovering from a severe injury. There will be no site updates and no replies to inquiries for at least six weeks.
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  • 29 Dec 2020
    EAS is available on Google News now. Click the Google News icon on the top right of every page to view and (provided you have a Google account) to follow the EAS site news. If this is not your thing, there are more options to follow EAS. This is just a one-time reminder. I will never bother visitors with obtrusive pop-ups to subscribe.
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Latest Comments on EAS Articles (Overview)
  • 22 Feb 2021
    Grudge ("She's a queen!"): Although there were a few hints that Grudge may be more than just a cat, this doesn't seem to be the case.

    Queen IS a common term for a female cat (particularly if pregnant or nursing). Perhaps what is significant about Grudge is she is a viable breeding queen in an age where domestic cats might be android replicas or clones?

  • 20 Feb 2021

    This is pretty clearly erroneous:

    When the USS Enterprise-D transporter room had to be transformed into the USS Enterprise-A transporter room for "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country", the wall behind the transporter console was removed and the alcove thus recreated and the transparent partition was put in place again.

    The back wall was in fact not removed, and rather than adding back the glass shield (which would have been closer to that wall, basically attached), they created a new, freestanding curved booth. The Enterprise D transporter room is actually shallower than the TMP-TSFS refit one with that back wall brought forward to where the original console was (this can be clearly made out via the angle bracing on the side walls which remained in place). The original doorway and the space it led into which in the refit set included the booth and the space behind it was converted into a separate room connecting to the sickbay rooms for TNG. The TFF and TUC sets were simply redresses of the resulting TNG set with the new booth created for TFF and reused in TUC. Other than the booth and console (and some changes to the area around the pads), the TFF set was basically the TNG set unmodified. For TUC, they reused it in that configuration, but repainted it (not shown in this article).

  • 16 Feb 2021

    Best wishes for your recovery.

  • 16 Feb 2021

    Wishing you good health and recovery in due time.

  • 16 Feb 2021

    I honestly think it doesn't matter. Its all fine with me.

  • 14 Feb 2021

    Akiva Goldsman...

  • 14 Feb 2021

    I wish you a speedy recovery, and good health, Bernd.

  • 14 Feb 2021

    That's awful, Bernd! I hope for a speedy recovery.

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  • 10 Dec 2020
    A ship with specialized surveillance antennas and defensive buildout.
  • 02 Dec 2020
    Emblem of the Fenris Rangers.

    The Star Trek franchise is owned by Paramount and CBS

  • 04 Dec 2020
  • 05 Sep 2020
    The bridge of the Enterprise as seen in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery under the command of Captain Christopher Pike.

    This image was commissioned by vagarcia74 (with a few minor modifications not shown here).

    Assets used (available to purchase on CGTrader):
    Modelled and rendered with Blender. Computer display textures made with Inkscape.
    Based on and inspired by original designs from:
    -Star Trek (CBS)
Screen Caps@ Flickr
TNG Remastered

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