Taking a look at Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Gizmodo takes a peek at the next series in the seemingly inexhaustible Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (premiering May 5 on Paramount+).

On the surface Strange New Worlds, set to premiere May 5 on Paramount+, sits at a peculiar crossroads. It is, technically, a spinoff-prequel-sequel to the second season of Star Trek: Discovery—a show now waiting for its fifth season on the horizon—which introduced the main trio of Enterprise officers Strange New Worlds returns to: Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Ethan Peck as a younger Lieutenant Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as "The Cage" pilot episode character Number One, now finally named all these decades later as Lt. Commander Una Chin-Riley. As Discovery went on after its second season to blaze a path in a future farther than any Star Trek show had seen before, Strange New Worlds inherits that show's original legacy as a predecessor to the titan of all Trek, the original series.

That is the other shadow that Strange New Worlds finds itself in, perhaps even more explicitly so than Discovery ever was. Where that series juked away from the aesthetic and tonality of the original Star Trek to differentiate itself, Strange New Worlds wholeheartedly embraces it from top to bottom. Not just because it is set on the Enterprise mere years before Captain Kirk will sit in its command chair—hell, Kirk's meant to appear in the show's second season in some capacity. But because Strange New Worlds' earnest embrace of the retro-cool look of the original Trek is worn on its sleeves with pride. Modernizing a Technicolor '60s aesthetic that balances the lavish streaming-platform budgets of its contemporary shows with everything from bright-colored classic Trek uniforms to dazzlingly, gleefully retro knobs and switches, all lit up across the Enterprise's rainbow-colored bridge, Strange New Worlds maybe sets a gold standard for Star Trek trying to provide a contemporary imagining of its earliest history. And that translates into the vistas the crew visits week in, week out on their adventures: dangerous, beautiful space anomalies, stunning landscapes, alien cities, or even sumptuous Federation star bases. Strange New Worlds feels like it's just gagging to show you a big and often eventful universe, and hopes you have as fun looking at it as its heroes are meant to.

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Image: Paramount promotional image