There are two kinds of Star Trek shows. The first, defined by The Original Series, sees the crew getting into a new sci-fi conundrum or situation each week. Over the course of an episode something unexpected will happen, we’ll explore the consequences, and when the credits roll, everything will be neatly wrapped up (most of the time, anyway). The other kind is heavy serialization. We saw the beginnings of this in Deep Space Nine, but Discovery plunged headfirst into season-long arcs that had many missing the classic style.
Both have their benefits, though as a firm Next Generation fan, I’m a sucker for a good monster-of-the-week tale. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably be very pleased with CBS’ upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which aims to capture that old school Trek feel. The show is a spinoff of Discovery and will follow Anson Mount’s Captain Pike, Ethan Peck’s Spock and Rebecca Romjin’s Number One on their adventures aboard the USS Enterprise.
In an interview with Collider, Mount explained why Strange New Worlds had to be episodic, saying:
“Well, I think that Star Trek is, by nature, episodic. Now, that doesn’t mean that Star Trek can’t be other things. Star Trek can be a lot of things, as we’ve seen in every iteration of it. But classic Trek is really founded on the big idea of the week, and the big idea of the week needs room to breathe. In serialized structure, you’re trying to take care of so many relationships that there doesn’t tend to be a lot of room for that. Now with that said, I think Discovery does a phenomenal job with that structure and I was very fortunate to be a part of it. Normally, serialized is my taste, as an actor, but this really felt like it needed to be episodic.”
My hopes are high that this format can provide some cool new Trek stories, with the Short Treks series feeling like the writers were itching to break free from the constraints of serialized storytelling. Star Trek EP Alex Kurtzman is also excited about the prospect, telling Deadline:
“I think Strange New Worlds, under the guidance of Henry Myers and Akiva Goldsman, it’s going to be a return in a way to TOS [Star Trek: The Original Series]. We are going to do stand-alone episodes. There will be emotional serialization. There will be two-parters. There will be larger plot arcs. But it really is back to the model of alien-of-the-week, planet-of-the-week, challenge-on-the-ship-of-the-week.”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is currently filming in Canada and reports indicate that it will feature new versions of almost all of the iconic Enterprise crew. Production is expected to wrap in July, meaning it’s likely that we’ll see it debut on Paramount+ in late 2020 or early 2021. More on a release date and what monsters the gang might encounter as we hear it.