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"Recapturing a TV Classic"


What You Need To Know:

STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS is a science fiction series on Paramount Plus about the command of Christopher Pike, the captain of the Starship Enterprise before James Kirk. The first season, which consists of 10 episodes, shows Pike, Mr. Spock, a young Ensign Uhuru, and other crew members facing different obstacles while trying to protect colonists from storms, pirates and aliens, establish peace with new civilizations and explore the galaxy. Meanwhile, Spock has relationship issues with the Vulcan woman to whom he’s betrothed. Also, Captain Pike has prescient visions of a future accident that will change his life drastically.

The first season of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS has many exciting and uplifting heroic moments, and good humor. Of all the recent live action Star Trek series, STRANGE NEW WORLDS seems to come closest to the spirit of the original series. However, the episodes sometimes have brief foul language. Also, three episodes involve light sexual references, there’s some extreme violence in Episode Nine, and Episode Five contains a reference to bisexual dating. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children for STRANGE NEW WORLDS.


(H, So, BB, C, P, Ho, PC, L, VV, S, N, A, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
A humanist, utopian worldview overall favoring a globalist, multicultural attitude with some occasional, light socialist leanings, but often mitigated by strong moral, heroic elements and values and, sometimes, by some solid redemptive elements extolling sacrifice, duty, courage, and liberty with biblical allusions such as the main hero says, “The best miracles are born from truth” in Episode 104, but the heroes are unable to stop a human sacrifice in Episode 106, and a woman says in Episode 105 she’s dated both women and men, plus some occasional political correctness

Foul Language:
Zero to seven obscenities in 10 episodes

Lots of strong and light, sometimes scary, action violence includes military team fights to free crew members of spaceship who’ve been kidnapped, a huge ion storm threatens two men on a planet and spaceship above planet, crew members are infected by a genetically induced sickness from planet, colonists trying to reverse their illegal genetic modifications have been transformed into scary energy beings, a weapon blasts a makeshift connecting tunnel between two spaceships, intense spaceship battles occur in Episodes 104 and 110, bloody and mutilated dead bodies are discovered in Episode 109, heroes must fight off vicious young lizard creatures in Episode 109, gunfight occurs between pirates and members of a military starship crew, explosions, and heroes are unable to stop a human sacrifice in Episode 106

Implied fornication in Episode 101 and Episode 105, a woman says in Episode 105 she’s dated both women and men, and an engaged couple from another planet briefly mention learning more about human exuality because the man is half human

Upper male nudity in one or two episodes

Alcohol Use:
Brief alcohol use in two or three episodes

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Light miscellaneous immorality such as lying, kidnapping and deceit in Episode 107, deceit in Episodes 106 and 110, and an alien entity takes control of people against their will in Episode 108.

More Detail:

STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS is a science fiction series on Paramount+ about Captain Christopher Pike, the captain of the Starship Enterprise before James Kirk, as he, Mr. Spock, Ensign Uhuru, and other crew members face various obstacles while trying to protect colonists, establish peace and explore the galaxy. The first season of STRANGE NEW WORLDS, which consists of 10 episodes, has many exciting and uplifting heroic moments, and some good humor, but the episodes sometimes contain brief foul language, three episodes involve light homosexual references, some extreme violence occurs in Episode Nine and brief politically correct elements, including a reference to bisexual dating in Episode Five.

In the first episode, Captain Pike is reluctant to return to the Enterprise, because his encounter with a “time crystal” at Klingon religious monastery when he was captain of the Discovery gave him a vision of the tragic accident he suffers seven years in the future that will paralyze his whole body. However, here, he’s compelled to return as Captain because his first officer, Una, has been kidnapped by people on a planet engaged in a global war.

Captain Pike learns the global war is similar to the one that almost destroyed Earth in the 21st Century. The people who kidnapped Una have accidentally reverse engineered Federal warp technology after seeing the Discovery spaceship. However, they have decided to turn the technology into a weapon to destroy their enemy. They kidnapped Una and some other crew members when they tried to stop them from developing the weapon. Now, Pike must rescue the crew members and convince the people that the global war they are waging could destroy their planet.

In the second episode, the Enterprise tries to stop a comet from smashing into an inhabited planet. The crew discovers the comet has a force field! Upon further investigation, they find that the comet is actually an artifact with a hollow center. Cadet Uhuru must use her communications, language skills to help Spock turn off the force field so that the Enterprise can steer the comet away from the endangered planet.

However, another starship appears and interposes itself between the comet and the Enterprise. The beings on the starship inform Captain Pike that the comet is a supernatural being that is an arbiter of life and death. They say they are shepherding the comet through space and, if it destroys the planet, that destruction will be a sacred, ordained inevitability. Of course, Pike and the other Enterprise crew members don’t accept such metaphysical thinking. In the end, however, they are forced to reconsider their judgmental reaction as they learn more about the artificial intelligence behind the artifact inside the comet.

In the third episode, the crew investigates the disappearance of a colony of genetically modified humans called the Illyrians. Starfleet on Earth has always banned genetic modifications of humans because of the genetic war in the 21st Century that nearly destroyed humanity. However, the Illyrian colony is trying to reverse their genetic modifications so they can join the Federation.

Captain Pike has beamed down to the colony with some crew members to investigate the Illyrian’s disappearance. A terrible ion storm approaches the colony, however, and Pike and Mr. Spock get stranded. Also, the Illyrians have accidentally created a virus that causes humans to be addicted to light. The virus threatens to render the Enterprise crew unable to save Pike and Spock’s life.

The fourth episode begins with the Enterprise trying to deliver a powerful air filter to a Federation colony. However, when they arrive, they find that many of the colonists have been killed.

Security Officer La’an Noonien-Singh, a distant descendent of the infamous Khan, helps rescue the survivors and recognizes they are the victim of an attack by the Gorn, a mysterious, ruthless race of aliens. She warns Captain Pike, but the Gorn arrive in some spaceships and seriously damage the Enterprise. To make matters worse, a large Gorn mothership arrives. The Enterprise is clearly no match for the Gorn.

So, Pike orders a retreat into the dense atmosphere of a dying star near a black hole. Can he lure the Gorn ships into the star’s dense atmosphere, where both sensors and shields are useless and where Enterprise can be on more of an equal footing?

The fifth episode opens with Spock having a nightmare about the human half of himself having to fight his Vulcan half to marry T’Pring. Back in reality, Spock and T’Pring decide they need to spend more time together to better understand one another. However, it doesn’t go so well, so they decide to share minds using the Vulcan mind meld. Meanwhile, Captain Pike is asked to engage in negotiations with a strange humanoid race to convince them to join the Federation instead of the Klingons or the Romulans. The negotiations are endangered when the mind meld between Spock and T’Pring accidentally causes them to transfer their minds into the other person’s body.

In the sixth episode, the Enterprise gets a distress call from a shuttlecraft under attack from a warship. Enterprise destroys the warship, and the shuttlecraft personnel are beamed aboard. They include a boy designated the “First Servant,” his father, Gamal, and Alora, a leader on Majalis who’s an old flame of Captain Pike’s. Pike agrees to return them to Majalis. Gamal tries to fake his son’s death to keep him from returning to the planet but is thwarted, and the boy goes to Majalis with Pike and Alora for his “ascension ceremony.” Pike is allowed to witness the ceremony, which turns out to be a case of human sacrifice to a mechanical contraption.

The seventh episode begins with a female psychologist, Dr. Aspen, traveling with the Enterprise to a far-flung colony under attack from space pirates flying a rogue spaceship named “The Serene Squall.” Pike and a boarding party beam over to the ship, only for its crew to board Enterprise at the same time. Pike uses his culinary skills and some manipulative tactics to encourage a mutiny on the “Serene Squall,” allowing him and his boarding party to gain control of the ship. Meanwhile, Aspen reveals herself to be Angel, the “Serene Squall’s” true captain. She wants T’Pring to release her lover, a Vulcan rebel, in exchange for Spock’s life. Only some quick thinking by Spock and Nurse Chapel can turn the tables on the pirates.

In the eighth episode, the Enterprise crew is trapped inside a sentient nebula. Doctor M’Benga reads a bedtime story for his disease-ridden daughter. When he reports to the bridge, the crew members dress and act like the characters from his daughter’s fantasy book. He discovers the nebula is responsible for brainwashing his friends. Doctor M’Benga plays along with the charade until he figures out how to undo the nebula’s effects.

The ninth episode shows the Enterprise being ordered to rescue a starship that’s crash landed on a frozen planet. When they get to the crash site, they discover that the crew has all been killed by vicious, newly hatched Gorn lizards. There are two survivors, a young girl and an alien who escaped from a Gorn prison planet. It turns out the alien is sick, because his body’s been invaded by Gorn eggs. The eggs hatch, and Pike and the other crewmembers, including Uhuru and the engineer, must kill the young Gorn lizards while preparing crashed ship to take back to Starfleet.

In the 10th episode, Captain Pike gets a chance to warn the two ensigns whom he saw die when he suffers his future accident that totally paralyzes him seven years in the future. This incident is discussed in “The Cage,” a two-part episode from the original series with William Shatner. Pike is just about to write a letter to one of the ensigns, when an older version of himself appears to stop him. Future Captain Pike carries a Klingon time crystal, the kind of device that have Pike the ability to foresee his accident.

Pike’s future self tells Pike that, if he tries to warn the two ensigns and change his destiny, it will have terrible consequences for the future of the galaxy and the Federation. Pike is skeptical, of course, so his future self tells Pike to touch the time crystal and see for himself.

In his vision of the future, Pike is thrust forward to a classic, brilliantly written future episode of the original series, “Balance of Terror.” In the original episode, Captain Kirk must decide how to react when a cloaked Romulan ship makes a violent probe into Federation territory across the Neutral Zone. Pike’s response is different from Kirk’s and ends up starting an all-out war between the Federation and the Romulans. It also puts Spock’s life in danger.

The first season of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS has many exciting, uplifting heroic moments, and some good humor. Of all the recent live action Star Trek series, it seems to come the closest to the spirit of the original series with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly. They capture the fun, drama and heroic idealism of the original series. The writers and actors do a good job reimagining the familiar characters from the original series, including the characters that appeared in the first pilot episode written for STAR TREK, where Jeffery Hunter played Christopher Pike, the captain of the Enterprise before Captain Kirk. The new characters added to the ship include a female helmsman named Ortegas, a female security officer named La’an, and a blind alien engineer named Hemmer. Anson Mount is perfect as Captain Pike, and Ethan Peck is appealing as Mr. Spock, though he plays Spock as a younger Vulcan who has yet to submerge his human half with total emotionless Vulcan logic. In the original series, it was always fun to see what it would take for Spock to abandon his logical Vulcan persona.

Of course, as with other series, some episodes are better than others, and Star Trek fans often argue about which is which. Two of the best, most inspiring episodes are the fourth episode and the last episode. For example, the fourth episode has a strong redemptive worldview with biblical allusions and positive references to miracles. At one point, Captain Pike says, “The best miracles are born from truth.”

That said, STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS has some issues of concert. First, the first season’s episodes sometimes have brief foul language and reflect a humanist, multicultural attitude. Also, three episodes involve light sexual references, there’s some extreme violence in Episode Nine, and Episode Five has a reference to bisexual dating.

So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.

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