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Editorial
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

Archive

Recent EAS Updates
  • 22 Jan 2021
    Star Trek: Lower Decks should be available for streaming in many countries today. Without much ado, here are my reviews of all ten episodes of the first season of the new animated series.
  • 08 Jan 2021
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    Happy New Year 2021! We won't miss you, 2020 (although for me personally, the year was not that bad in several regards). I have nothing special to report in this log entry, other than a couple of updates to articles, such as Visual Bloopers and Star Trek Clichés.
  • 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.
  • 27 Dec 2020
    I have added dozens of orthographic views and other pictures to the Starship Gallery, and most notably a new page for Discovery Alien Vessels.
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Latest Comments on EAS Articles (Overview)
  • 22 Jan 2021

    CBS declared it canon in the mid 2000s as part of promoting the DVD release. And the creator of Lower Decks (and CBS) has said LDS is canon.

  • 22 Jan 2021

    I honestly thought the Badgey episode was going to be your lowest ranked just because of the violence.
    Meanwhile I thought Veritas was one of the most fun episodes.

    I'm not sure how censoring the swearing is hypocrisy. This is a different creative team, different writers, different producers and a different medium altogether.

    The beeping is for comedic effect, and I honestly find that funnier than not censoring it.

    Regarding the registries, Mike has said the California class has been around for a long time (yes we've never seen it before but that doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't existed tucked out of the way just off camera), it's possible it's a class that is constantly refitted/upgraded or rebuilt.

    I'm curious how you're going to sort the new ships and species in Lower Decks, their own section like TAS?

  • 22 Jan 2021

    According Mcmahan that was a completely coincidence, he had no idea Picard was doing that.

  • 22 Jan 2021

    That's not too far from my estimation of a bit less than 600m, assuming 20 decks of 4 meters height.

  • 22 Jan 2021

    Eaglemoss has listed the length of the Inquiry at 630.94

    Which is interesting, according to the STO devs, CBS didn’t have a number for them. I wonder if eaglemoss calculated this themselves, or CBS came up with one later.

    https://twitter.com/trekcor...

  • 20 Jan 2021

    Some very good thoughts here. We have all the evidence that no money in a traditional sense exists, that all essential things in life are for free but some form of currency still exists for accounting and for trade. This, plus the idea that socialism may work once there is no scarcity of common goods. I like your analogies!

  • 14 Jan 2021

    This is of course pure speculation on my part, but this really depends on how you define 'money'. Obviously, the only person who really knows is Gene Roddenberry, but since he isn’t around to tell us, here is my take on it, based on a real world precedent.

    The Federation is a mostly post-scarcity economy and doesn’t use money. However, some goods and services are limited due to scarcity or energy requirements. This is why we hear about “replicator rations” and “transporter rations”.

    Like I said, there is a real world precedent which I strongly suspect the Federation’s finances are based on.

    Behold the replicator/transporter ration:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c...

    This is one Soviet ruble as used within the USSR. This isn’t money; this is more like company scrip. You could buy food, clothes, booze, pay utilities, pay for transportation, in some cases even buy the right to use (not own) real estate for personal purposes. You certainly couldn’t buy anything remotely similar to means of production, such as industrial machines, trucks or aircraft. Nor could you buy land or buildings, although you could use rubles to pay lease for these. You could certainly not buy foreign currency (as a matter of fact, this was a crime with rather harsh sentences), so this “currency” was not convertible. And of course, you could never buy a company (or the Soviet equivalent) no matter how many of these you had.

    However, the USSR had to deal with other countries, both socialist and capitalist and needed to pay for stuff. For this, other currencies were used.

    Behold the Federation credit:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c...

    This is a cheque for 5 foreign exchange rubles (not the same ruble as above) to use in specialized stores in USSR. Unlike the ruble above, this currency is convertible.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c...

    This is a traveller’s cheque for 100 rubles that used to be issued to Soviet staff on trips abroad. If I am not mistaken, this is yet another kind of convertible ruble, but not the same as the previous one.

    There were actually several kinds of convertible rubles, but all of them had the same fixed exchange rate. Some were used for foreign trade based on bilateral agreements; some were used for trade with socialist countries and yet other were gold-backed and used for trade with capitalist countries. Some of these didn’t have coins and banknotes, they existed simply as records in banks. However, the few people who actually came into contact with this system got some kind of cheque that was exchangeable to foreign currencies. Different kinds of cheques actually had different “market value” (or rather black market value), because you could purchase different things with them upon return to the USSR.

    Yes, the Soviet system was rather insane, but then again, the Soviet Union was very much a scarcity society, had a rather meagre influence on international markets, manufactured consumer products of such quality that many citizens were prepared to pay ten times the price for a foreign equivalent and simply did not allow direct contact with foreign economic systems. Any foreign transaction had to go through Vneshekonombank (Foreign Trade bank) and this was not an option for a private citizen.

    The Federation, on the other hand, seems to provide a much higher quality of life than other states (by the way, how come there are barely any Romulan, Klingon or Cardassian migrants in the Federation?), seems to have an economy at least as large and developed as that of the other major powers and engages freely in foreign trade. This means that there is no need to put artificial constraints on foreign currency ownership, which simplifies the system to a single convertible currency: the Federation credit.

    While there is a difference between the prosperity of the Federation and the USSR, to say the least, the principle is probably the same: the Federation credit is not normally paid to your average citizen, because the average citizen only rarely acquires something directly from an entity in a foreign economic system. Instead, the citizen simply walks up to a replicator and gets whatever he needs (probably within the constraints of his replicator ration). If the citizen is a Starfleet officer stationed either outside Federation space or is in contact with foreign economic systems on a regular basis, this is where the Federation credit comes into the picture.

  • 14 Jan 2021

    Really? I have it in my mind that there was one episode outside of Short Trek where we have seen the same effect. I might be mistaken though...brain tends to forget trauma...

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  • 21 Jan 2021
    Reviews of the First Season of Lower Decks: Star Trek: Lower Decks should be available for streaming in many countries today. Without much ado, here are my reviews of all ten episodes of the first season of the new animated series. Star Trek: Lower Decks season 1 episode guide and reviews
  • 09 Jan 2021
    Review of DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 2": The third season of Star Trek Discovery concludes with an exciting but overall rather average episode, whose main purpose was to tie up some loose ends. Here is my review of DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 2". Star Trek Discovery season 3 episode guide and reviews
  • 01 Jan 2021
    As the Discovery is in the hands of the Emerald Chain, Michael Burnham struggles to regain control of the ship. But Osyraa comes up with a surprising proposal. Peace to the galaxy? Read my review of DIS: "There Is A Tide". https://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/episodes/dis3.htm#thereisatide Star Trek Discovery season 3 episode guide and reviews
  • 01 Jan 2021
    New Year and Article Updates: Happy New Year 2021! We won't miss you, 2020 (although for me personally, the year was not that bad in several regards). I have nothing special to report in this log entry, other than a couple of updates to articles, such as Visual Bloopers and Star Trek Clichés. Here is a collection of small filming or editing mistakes of the Star Trek TV and movie productions that in almost all cases were not meant to be recognizable. They were either not recognized in time or considered minor, so they were not reshot or edited out. We deliberately picked some lesser known...
  • 01 Jan 2021
    EAS Subscription Options: 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. Ex Astris Scientia maintains a site update log with all significant changes and other news in the form of an RSS feed. If you like to stay informed or like to let other fans know, you have the following options.
  • 31 Dec 2020
    New Year and Article Updates: Happy New Year 2021! We won't miss you, 2020 (although for me personally, the year was not that bad in several regards). I have nothing special to report in this log entry, other than a couple of updates to articles, such as Visual Bloopers and Star Trek Clichés. Here is a collection of small filming or editing mistakes of the Star Trek TV and movie productions that in almost all cases were not meant to be recognizable. They were either not recognized in time or considered minor, so they were not reshot or edited out. We deliberately picked some lesser known...
  • 29 Dec 2020
    EAS Subscription Options: 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. Ex Astris Scientia maintains a site update log with all significant changes and other news in the form of an RSS feed. If you like to stay informed or like to let other fans know, you have the following options.
  • 29 Dec 2020
    The slightly updated list of Star Trek clichés. Anything that I should add? https://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/cliches1.htm Star Trek, like any fiction, is not quite like the real world. Some oddities would not really qualify as inconsistencies, and it isn't always helpful or necessary to explain them away. Still they are typical of Star Trek, especially as they occur frequently and become clichés.
  • 27 Dec 2020
    New Starship Images: I have added dozens of orthographic views and other pictures to the Starship Gallery, and most notably a new page for Discovery Alien Vessels.
  • 25 Dec 2020
    Review of DIS: "Su'Kal": The Discovery finally arrives at the place where the Burn originated and where someone is still alive, after as many as 125 years. Here is my review of Star Trek's first Christmas episode, DIS: "Su'Kal". Star Trek Discovery season 3 episode guide and reviews
  • 24 Dec 2020
    Happy Holidays!
  • 24 Dec 2020
    Many Observations Added: Once again, there are several new TNG Observations, especially late in season 1 and early in season 2. You can follow Jörg on Twitter to stay updated. Also, I have reworked the old code of all Observations pages to be CSS compatible and not such a nightmare to edit. If everything looks exactly the same as before, this is just a sign that the conversion worked perfectly. This section contains observations about sets, props, visual effects and bloopers in TNG episodes (season 6 in progress but halted until further notice). We also compare each original TV release with the remastered version on Blu-ray. Furthermore, we will review all Star Trek: Picard episodes with t...
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  • 10 Dec 2020
    A ship with specialized surveillance antennas and defensive buildout.
    thumbnail
  • 02 Dec 2020
    Emblem of the Fenris Rangers.

    The Star Trek franchise is owned by Paramount and CBS

    thumbnail
  • 04 Dec 2020
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  • 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)
    thumbnail
Screen Caps@ Flickr
TNG Remastered

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