Strange New Worlds Returns and Wants the Ship to Go… Now!
When Season 1 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premiered last year to great fanfare, it breathed new life into the age-old formula of Star Trek: seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where no one had gone before. Returning for Season 2, Strange New Worlds brings back the crew of the Starship Enterprise and does so spectacularly, with a few new and familiar faces.
As of this writing, only the first six episodes have been provided to reviewers. One of the many benefits of streaming services is that episodes don’t have to be a set duration in order to accommodate commercials. The length of episodes is one of the best things about the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Most of the season’s installments are over fifty minutes in length.
Something that Star Trek does best is courtroom dramas. One of the second season Strange New Worlds episodes — from which a clip was released by Paramount recently — showcases the trial of Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn) for the revelation of her Illyrian heritage. This episode is one of Star Trek‘s finest hours, as it has inklings of the great courtroom drama episodes, like “Court Martial” from TOS, and “The Measure Of A Man” and “The Drumhead” from TNG. The characters participating in the courtroom drama wear dress uniforms that harken back to ones from throughout TOS, but obvious updates are made for 21st-century audiences. Special kudos to Strange New Worlds‘ costume designer, Bernadette Croft, as her updated dress uniforms are showcased quite frequently in the episode.
Another of the episodes involves La’an Noonien Singh (Christina Chong) and James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley). Wesley’s portrayal of the would-be-legendary Starfleet captain was met with some groans by fans when he appeared in the Season 1 finale, some comparing his performance to a couple of Jim Carrey-led comedy sketches in the TV series In Living Color. Thankfully, Wesley’s portrayal of Kirk in this season is toned down significantly compared to his first appearance.
To put it simply, Season 2 of Strange New Worlds establishes that the episodic nature of the series is not lost and that the “emotional serialization” aspect is still intact too. This combination was a tried-and-true format during the days of The Next Generation, and I’m pleased it’s included in the second season of Strange New Worlds. The storylines this time around are much bigger than they are in Season 1. The second season does have an overarching story arc, but the episodes’ main stories don’t tell this arc as much as it is included as part of the background of the season.
The Enterprise‘s new chief engineer, Pelia (Carol Kane), is amazing. Kane’s acting skills show her to be a brilliant comic foil for the rest of the cast but also eventually make her a valuable addition to the ensemble. Pelia is fairly interesting, and it will be fascinating to see how the character will develop as the ten-episode season progresses.
The Klingons appeared in the trailers for this season, and the way they are played so far is nothing short of excellent. We’re back to the old familiar black hair and bumpy-forehead Klingons, and they are a great improvement from what audiences saw back in 2019, in the Season 2 finale of Star Trek: Discovery.
Humor is an essential part of the Star Trek formula, helping to diffuse the tension in otherwise dramatic situations, and it’s definitely in evidence here. Spock is shown having fun with the Klingons, as portrayed in the trailers. This appears to be rather unique for the character… but also understandable, considering we’re still with the character before he becomes possessed of the highly logical mind we know he has in TOS.
Overall, Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is just as good as Season 1. The season is shaping up to be one of the strongest in the Kurtzman era. So, set a course for the final frontier, because you’re in for a fun ride!
The second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will premiere on Thursday, 15th June 2023 on Paramount+ in the US, UK, Australia, Austria, Latin America, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.
Wes Huntington has been a Star Trek fan since he was born, thanks to his parents (both of whom are still very much alive and are big Trek fans themselves). He lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, with his wife and cat. He is also a co-host of the Twin Cities Trekkies podcast, which launched in February 2021 and talks about all things Star Trek. You can find Twin Cities Trekkies via Facebook, Instagram, or anchor.fm/twincitiestrekkies.