Friday, May 13, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

© by Gerald So | 4:30 AM

I enjoyed J.J. Abrams's 2009 Star Trek film and its bid to capture the optimism and possibility of the former franchise. I thought TV's Star Trek: Discovery would be a similar attempt, but it opted to shoot into the 32nd century, long after Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, filling in Christopher Pike's time as captain of Enterprise, promised to be an earnest throwback. I watched the first episode yesterday on YouTube, and it delivers.

Pike (Anson Mount) is called back to duty for a mission to rescue his XO (Rebecca Romijn), gone missing after a first contact assignment. Investigating, Pike and crew find the planet Kiley 279 has reverse-engineered warp technology after observing the event that time-displaced Discovery. Instead of limiting contact from there, Pike decides to appeal to Kiley 279's two main factions to use the technology wisely. In a stirring address, he outlines how his peaceful, united Earth rose from the devastation of nuclear war.

Some say this isn't true to Gene Roddenberry's vision, that it messes with lore to appeal to the sensibilities of today's audience, but I think you have to appeal to today's audience to have the most impact. You have to show why people today should care about a science fiction TV show set in a far-flung, optimistic future. Pike showed in his speech that a peaceful, united Earth can rise from the worst division. We'd prefer things not get that bad, but cooperation is possible even in the worst of times. That's the hope Star Trek represents, a message people will always need.

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