With few exceptions, the majority of the Star Trek franchise consists of standalone episodes; sure, there are larger arcs, character growth, and plenty of call-backs, but the franchise has largely followed the adventure-of-the-week model. With Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, the franchise moved to fully embrace serialized storytelling, but for those of us who desire a return to more episodic stories, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds might be just what the doctor ordered.
The upcoming Star Trek series recently started filming and will focus on Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck), and Number One (Rebecca Romijn). Akiva Goldsman serves as co-showrunner on Strange New Worlds, and the writer/producer recently spoke with THR to describe how it compares to the other Star Trek series out there.
It’s unlike the other shows in that it’s really episodic. If you think back to The Original Series, it was a tonally more liberal — I don’t mean in terms of politics, but it could sort of be more fluid. Like sometimes Robert Bloch would write a horror episode. Or Harlan Ellison would have “City on the Edge of Forever,” which is hard sci-fi. Then there would be comedic episodes, like “Shore Leave” or “The Trouble With Tribbles.” So [co-showrunner] Henry Alonso Myers and myself are trying to serve that. We’ve all become very enamored, myself included, with serialized storytelling. And I’m talking to you from behind the stage where we’re shooting Picard, which is deeply serialized. But Strange New Worlds is very much adventure-of-the-week but with serialized character arcs.
Akiva Goldsman is also directing the pilot of Strange New Worlds, which is almost complete, and he added that there have been some tweaks to the Enterprise set designs and crew uniforms we saw in Star Trek: Discovery season two. “It’s a fine line because obviously, we want to keep continuity with the storytelling and the style, but we also want Strange New Worlds to be a different show,” Goldsman explained. “It’s not Discovery. There are a few more reach-backs (to The Original Series) and the uniforms have been adjusted slightly, the sets are slightly different. Remember the Enterprise existed as a little piece of [the show Discovery], but now it’s its own object. When you close your eyes and think of the key sets and situations that you think of The Original Series, that’s what we’re looking to do.” Star Trek: Strange New Worlds doesn’t have an official release date yet, but we’ve got a lot more Star Trek on the way, including the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks on August 12, 2021, the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery later this year, and the second season of Star Trek: Picard in 2022.