Friday, May 13, 2022

Strange New Show

As regular readers know, I've been a Star Trek fan for the vast majority of my life— and I have the books, blu rays and action figures to prove it! I loved the Original Series of course, but my fandom really kicked in with The Next Generation. It was everything I ever wanted in a Trek series, and I anxiously waited for each new episode to air back in the day.

That's why it pains me to see how far the franchise has fallen with NuTrek. Gone are the epic adventures, metaphorical plots and social commentary of the various old series, as they've been replaced with identity politics, maudlin histrionics and nonsensical "End Of The Universe" serialized storylines.

I gave Star Trek: Discovery (or STD, as I like to call it) a fair shot, as I watched the first three episodes before realizing it was a woke nightmare that wasn't made for me. Picard (or Puke-Hard) was somehow even worse. It was a massive dumpster fire, and I only got fifteen minutes into the pilot episode before I noped out.

It's clear to me that the current crop of creators don't understand Star Trek or what made it work in the past. In fact I hate these new series so much that I consider them to be nothing more than expensive fan fiction, which can be safely ignored. 

That's why when CBS first announced Strange New Worlds, I had absolutely ZERO expectations, figuring it would just be more of the same. For some reason I decided to give it a shot though, and watched the first episode this past weekend.

So how was it? Welp, I can't believe I'm saying this, but... I didn't hate it? In fact it actually wasn't that bad! Believe me, no one's more surprised than I am to hear me saying those words.

Anson Mount is terrific at Captain Pike, lending the character a sense of authority mixed with some badly needed humor. Rebecca Romijn was great as the efficient and capable Number One as well.

But then there's Ethan Peck as Spock— arguably the most important character in the series. Oy, gevalt! He's EXTREMELY miscast in the role, as he seems to lack the talent and gravitas to pull off such a demanding character. I don't think he quite understands Spock or Vulcans in general, as he seems to think "emotionless" means "dull and boring."

At this point Danny DeVito would have been a better choice for Spock! He'd certainly have been more interesting in the part! Heck, even Todd Haberkorn would have been better— he does a great job as Spock in Star Trek Continues— and that's a fan-made series!

I'm worried that this Spock misfire could end up harming the series in the long run.

The rest of the crew didn't have much of a chance to show their stuff yet, but so far I'm not seeing any potential problems. Hopefully they'll get more to do in subsequent episodes.

From what I gather, this series will be more episodic than the previous serialized ones. I think that's a wonderful idea, as it harkens back to TOS and TNG. I know ongoing storylines are all the rage these days, but there's nothing wrong with good old fashioned standalone plots.

STD and Picard also suffered from an overabundance of "Threat To The Entire Galaxy" arcs. If you blow up the universe every week, the audience is eventually gonna get bored. Strange New Worlds' back to basics approach seems like the way to go to me.

I've noticed another potential red flag, this one concerning Captain Pike. As all good trekkies know, Pike's character eventually suffers a horrific accident involving exposure to delta rays, leaving him a crippled husk that trundles around in a motorized chair.

This NuTrek version of Pike knows about his grim future, and is understandably weirded out by it. Unfortunately the writers milk this for all it's worth, as he sees visions of his maimed body at least THREE times in the first episode alone. 

I get how something like that could affect a man, but if he's going to freak out about it every time he sees himself in a reflective surface, it's gonna get old reeeeeeeeeal fast.

So far Strange New Worlds isn't near as insufferably woke as STD, but there are still a few hints of it. Take the character of Hemmer, for example. He's an Aenar— an alien species who are all blind. Of course since this is 2022, it's required that Hemmer be played by an actual visually-impaired actor. 

I don't begrudge the guy a gig, but... why is it people are only allowed to portray what they are now? What happened to, you know, acting? I shudder to think what NuTrek would do with Geordi LaForge if his character was created today.

Strange New Worlds is also lousy with continuity errors that contradict previously established canon— something which has plagued ALL the NuTrek series from the beginning. I really don't understand why they insisted on setting these shows in the Prime Universe, instead of just doing a hard reboot or saying they take place in an alternate timeline.

That's the way I'm handing this show— it's set in a parallel universe. It's the only way I can watch it without my head exploding.

So far The Orville is still the only real Star Trek we have right now. Strange New Worlds has potential, and I like what I've seen so far. But we're only one episode in— my opinion of it could change any second, depending on how the rest of the season plays out. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I'm not gettin' my hopes up too high.

Better enjoy this series while you can, because even with all its faults, I have a feeling this is probably the best that NutTrek is ever going to be. 

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