Action-packed, goofy-fun Star Trek is back. In the latest big trailer for the upcoming series Strange New Worlds (May 5, Paramount+) Captain Pike, Spock, and the crew are running around boldly having fun. As with the teaser trailer, this might remind you of your parents’ Star Trek, and that seems like the point. Strange New Worlds doesn’t look like an underfunded 1960s sci-fi show, but the zeal and hyperbole of the classic show is on full display.
In the 1960s, and later, in reruns in the ’70s, the mainstream appeal of the original Star Trek wasn’t that it was a thoughtful, ruminative science fiction show tackling big political issues. Yes, all of that social and progressive thinking was baked into the series, but that’s not really how creator Gene Roddenberry sold the series to the studio, TV network, or the audience. Instead, Star Trek delivered its big ideas with a lot of over-the-top action. If it’s been a second since you’ve watched The Original Series, you might have forgotten just how often there’s a fistfight. This isn’t to say Star Trek is pro-violence, it’s very much not, but the structure and design of the classic show had more in common with westerns and nautical swashbuckling novels than anything else. And, that kind of big, crowd-pleasing style is on full display in the new trailer for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. (Watch above!)
Lots of alien conflicts. Lots of humor. Lots of anachronistic fight scenes — Spock (Ethan Peck) swinging his Vulcan Lirpa, Lt. Ortegas (Melissa Navia) brandishing a sword Sulu-style, Number One (Rebecca Romijn) as an archer, and Captain Pike (Anson Mount) getting slapped around by some gruff aliens. In short, if you’ve been feeling slightly tired by some of the more serious, dystopic, and dramatic aspects of contemporary science fiction TV, Strange New Worlds is here to bring back the fun. It even seems like that old-school theme music is back, too.
There’s a wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of thing happening in this Strange New Worlds trailer, which makes it seem like the show will be welcoming to casual fans. What remains to be seen is if the series delivers on the other promise of Star Trek; the smart social commentary that gets passed from generation to generation. Star Trek often says: come for the big, fun, and slightly over-the-top action, but, stay for the thought-provoking stories. Strange New Worlds seems like it’s nailed the first part. Vulcan fingers crossed it can deliver on the second.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds hits Paramount+ on May 5, 2022. It will consist of 10 episodes, which have promised to be more episodic, just like the old shows.