Having spent some time recently unashamedly trying to compare the current nightmare that is Star Trek to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Akiva Goldsman seemed to allude to massive, connected story threads. This would require a narrative through-line and an overall arc, plus a plan.
So it is somewhat surprising then to learn that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is going old skool with an episodic approach. Deep Space Nine switched to a serial towards the end of its run, as did the second half of Enterprise. Before this, it was largely stand-alone adventures.
They had multi-parters and callbacks, linking guest stars and so on, but it was still very much standalone TV. Discovery and Picard are both serials, but that hasn’t helped them.
In an interview with Heat Vision, Goldsman says:
“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… you can drop in, watch one, drop out, then watch another one later.”
Anson Mount and his castmates return as Captain Pike and the crew of the USS Enterprise after being one of the only successful things in Discovery. So, of course, we can probably expect the current showrunners to ruin this too. Goldsman again:
“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. 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.”
Rebecca Romjin and Ethan Peck return as Number One and Spock. The cast is built out with Christina Chong, Babs Olusanmokun, Celia Rose Gooding, Jess Bush, and Melissa Navia.
Production started in February and will continue until July for a likely late 2021 or early 2022 release.