May 9, 2022

Random Thoughts-Strange New World's

When it comes to the newest Star Trek shows, I am firmly in the "it's not my Star Trek" camp. I don't have a problem with them existing or anything, but I feel the same way my parents felt when TNG first came on. Namely, it's not the Trek I love and can't get into it.

I watched the pilot for Discovery and thought it was ridiculous. I never went back and things I have heard did not exactly make me regret that choice. Picard is..passable. I like that it's a continuation not another damn prequel series. But the episodes drag and some of the choices made are..head scratching. I find it funny how these shows respect and disregard continuity all at the same time. I have not seen the animated shows.

Strange New Worlds is the latest show and it focuses on Captain Pike. Yeah another prequel about 10 years before the original series. The premise is good, taking us back to the planet of the week concept Trek used before becoming serialized. But is it good?

So I watched the pilot. And on the one hand, the story is classic Trek. Starfleet inadvertently created a problem that the Enterprise has to solve. No I wont spoil it here. And Pike's speech at the end was great. I could have easily seen Kirk do the same speech in classic Trek. The action was fine and the characters seem pretty cool. It was a good pilot that did what good pilots are supposed to, get us familiar with the characters while setting up the premise of the series. The action didn't do much for me but I don't watch Trek for the action. And I admire the way it acknowledged its parent series, Discovery. 

However, on the other hand there are two problems which irk me. Well, two big problems. The first is that its a prequel, yeah that still bugs me. This was a couple years after the Talos IV incident but at least ten years before Kirk would take over command so it's not so bad. And they make it clear Pike's fate in the original series will still happen eventually. The second, and bigger problem, is the same we all have I hate to say. The aesthetics. I tried, I really did, to ignore how different the Enterprise looks here but I just can't. Couldn't the have at least kept the basic layout?  Even worst, that it has technology never dreamed of on the old show. That this show is a prequel to!

I get it, I really do. Of course they are going to update the look, what 1966 got away with isn't going to work in 2022. And there are touches of the classic look here and there, like the captain's chair on the stylized bridge or the classic communicators and tricorders. But it still bugs me. The tech drove me nuts They have a medical transporter, huh? And how in the world did the Enterprise enter lower orbit like that?? And do not get me started on what they had to do in order to disguise themselves on the planet, talk about ridiculous. The Enterprise on the old show was as much a character as the actors were and this ship is bland. And no it's not an alternate time line these aren't the Kelvin movies. The worst part is if they stopped setting these shows in the past they could do all of these things just fine and no one would care! 

But that's not enough to annoy us purists, they have to mess with the characters too. They have Uhura on the show for reasons and Chapel who barely resembles the character on TOS. Number One makes sense obviously and while well played also didn't feel right. I didn't get to know most of the others well. And then there's Spock. Spock is just..awful. What Zachary Quinto pulled off this guy cannot. I take part of that back, he makes a good Vulcan character I wouldn't mind seeing more of. He's just not Spock and he'll never convince me that he is. Oh and can someone explain why that new characters is descendant of Kahn? Why do people act like Kahn was akin to Lex Luthor or James Bond's Blowfeld? We don't need constant call backs to him. Captain Pike is pretty good I can see why he was popular enough to earn the show. It does feel like the character Jeffrey Hunter played just a litlte older and less impulsive. 

So is this a show I will accept like Picard or one I will loathe like Discovery? I think it's in the middle. The story was good and I had no major problem with the characters. And aesthetic aside nothing struck me as offensive or something that is just NOT Star Trek. Well ok seeing Spock almost making love came kinda close! Eww.  I'd be willing to give it a chance, if I can just shake the baggage from TOS off. New viewers who barely ever saw the old series can do that, but to us who grew up with and loved that series it's harder to appreciate it. Even though its clear that the new series are respecting the old despite the updates. It comes down to one thing, if the stories are good and well told in the end that is what matters. Because that is what Trek is, not special effects, cool technology or sleek designs on ships. It's good stories told with really good characters. And from what I have seen so far, that describes "Strange New Worlds"

By the way the opening is absolutely wonderful, no complaints there. What are your thoughts? Comment and let me know. 

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