Boldly going

Published date10 May 2022
Publication titleSignal
STAR Trek: Strange New Worlds, the 12th series in the franchise — yes, 12th — boldly goes into familiar territory, following the space adventures of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck), and Number One, aka ‘‘Una’’ (Rebecca Romijn), all of whom we last saw at the end of the second season of Star Trek: Discovery in 2019

Pike, Spock and Number One — along with Strange New World’s Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) and Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) — first appeared aboard the USS Enterprise on NBC’s original Star Trek (1966-69), for which Strange New Worlds serves as a prequel.

The Enterprise’s five-year mission might be the same, but there’s still some newness to the landscape — a new theme song; more intimacy between characters; a gender-neutral title sequence intro changing its final phrase from ‘‘where no man has gone before’’ to ‘‘where no-one has gone before,’’ and new people to meet.

The structure of Strange New Worlds is also more reminiscent of the original series, a contrast to the more sweeping, serialised storytelling in other recent Star Trek entries. There will be character arcs, but most adventures in the episodes will be self-contained.

Mount, a lifelong Star Trek fan, says the structure inspired the name of the new series.

‘‘We wanted that sense of excitement from the top,’’ Mount says. ‘‘Not just because you didn’t know where the Enterprise would end up, but because you don’t know where the Enterprise is going to start. That’s what the original series had. You never knew where they’re going to be in the galaxy and what new thing was going to be discovered.’’

When Strange New Worlds starts, Pike is home in Bear Creek, Montana, watching the 1951 film The Day The Earth Stood Still and seeming to question whether he will return to command the Starship Enterprise. An unexpected visit from an admiral comes with a direct order. Pike’s first officer Number One is missing, and the Federation needs his help to find out what happened to her.

Pike is haunted by what he was shown by the Klingons about his tragic future in Discovery, a future we’ve seen partially played out in The Cage and The Menagerie episodes of the original series — the latter of which originally aired 56 years ago. But he’s trying to continue on despite where his destiny leads.

In his relationship to his crew as captain, Pike has some Kirk-like moments where he follows a hunch, but none of it seems spontaneous.

‘‘When we...

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