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‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 Review: Bold and Ambitious Storytelling

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 is bold, ambitious, and some of the best science fiction writing on television right now. The show’s new season is packed with everything fans love about Star Trek, from engaging characters and intelligent storylines to stunning visuals and plenty of action. The team behind the show took all the best parts from season 1 and amped them up. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds follows the adventures of the USS Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike. Akiva Goldsman show runs the series. The show has a talented cast, including Anson Mount as Christopher Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock, Rebecca Romijn as Una Chin-Riley, Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel, Christina Chong as La’An Noonien-Singh, Celia Rose Gooding as Nyota Uhura, Melissa Navia as Erica Ortegas and Babs Olusanmokun as Joseph M’Benga.

I found Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 thought-provoking and a ton of fun. Continue reading below for my a spoiler-free look at the first six episodes.

In praise of Strange New Worlds‘ cast and acting

The cast of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds faced a daunting task in the first season: to make us care about their characters, both individually and as a team. They succeeded admirably, thanks in large part to their charisma and chemistry. This continues to be the case in the second season, as the talented actors continue to mesh together seamlessly. It is often difficult to believe that they have only been playing these roles for a short period of time.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2
Anson Mount as Pike in the trailer of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+)

Season 2 of Strange New Worlds deepens the “unbreakable” bonds between the crew and reveals depths to the characters only tantalizingly hinted at in season 1. Relationships, both professional and personal, are at the heart of the show and help to make Strange New Worlds special.

Carol Kane as Pelia

There are new additions to the cast that elevate the show. First, there’s Carol Kane. The Academy Award-winning actress has an enviable career, which now includes a role as Pelia, a starship engineer. I was surprised when she was announced, given the Scottish voice at the end of season 1 after Hemmer’s death, captured on-screen by Bruce Horak.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2
Carol Kane as Pelia in the trailer for season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, (Paramount+)

Kane joins a list of comediennes like Tig Notaro on Star Trek: Discovery and Amy Sedaris on The Mandalorian. She brings a cool and chaotic energy to the role and pulls it off. I can’t wait to find out what we learn about her.

Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk 

Season 1 of Strange New Worlds also introduced us (again) to the iconic James T. Kirk, played by Paul WesleyWesley returns this season, oozing a young, rakish charm, as he effortlessly captures the complexity of Kirk. There’s nuance and vulnerability, a new take on the Starfleet icon. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2
Christina Chong as La’an and Paul Wesley as Kirk in the trailer for season 2 (Paramount+)

It is not easy to step into the role of such an iconic character, especially one as beloved as Kirk. There are great expectations, particularly from the passionate Star Trek fandom. Just ask Anson Mount, who stepped into the role of Christopher Pike, or Ethan Peck, when he suited up with his Vulcan ears as Spock. But Wesley has risen to the challenge, and he has given us a Kirk that is both faithful to the original and his own unique creation.

Brilliant cinematography of Strange New Worlds season 2

This season has a decidedly cinematic feel, and it’s hard to put my finger on why. But it works. Things feel big. And they are so much more emotionally engaging because of the way they’re shot and edited together. Moments on board the USS Enterprise are visually arresting, making the show so much fun to watch.

Allegory for today

There is a particular technique in screenwriting and writing in general where you’re talking about one thing but are really talking about another. In Strange New Worlds, the writers pull off this allegory skillfully. The show offers a mirror to the world of today. 

Strange New Worlds has been criticized for this, but Trek has always used science fiction to highlight political and societal issues. Star Trek has something to say, and it hasn’t shied away from that when it’s been controversial. Rodenberry’s Trek tackled racism, sexism, and more. Trek’s moral underpinnings are part of why the show has such a universal appeal. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 holds true to the optimism of the original Star Trek, using all the tools that science fiction has to offer and even stretching the genre beyond its typical means. It’s the perfect mix of the simmering darkness from Discovery and hope for the future. While Strange New Worlds may not be able to save the world with its writing, it can certainly help to make the world a better place. 

Classic Star Trek episodes

Fans of Trek have come to expect certain types of episodes and certain relationships. Endless internet lists are dedicated to “the best time travel episodes” or “the best bottle episodes.” Without giving away spoilers, episodes from this season of Strange New Worlds are likely to make several best of Trek lists.

If you love all things, Temporal Mechanics, there’s an episode that will make you very happy this season. There’s even an episode that will make fans who count themselves honorary members of the Klingon Empire happy.  

Strange New Worlds season 2 a return to greatness

It seems clear that a Star Trek renaissance is upon us. Fans watching during the golden age of The Next GenerationVoyager, and Deep Space 9 know this feeling of anticipation and excitement well. The new season of Strange New Worlds is a shining example of what makes Star Trek so special: its message of hope for a better future. Strange New Worlds offers a beacon of light in a world that is often filled with darkness, reminding us that there is still good in the universe.

Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is worth watching for fans of Trek and those who want a new sci-fi adventure with a side of optimism. Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres on Paramount+ on Thursday, June 15th. Watch the new season on your TV, computer, phone, or tablet, or however you beam in your streaming video. 

A note about the writers of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

On another broader note about the current climate, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds would be an unrealized dream from someone’s imagination without the writers (and the actors and the other talented crew.) As the writers’ strike is ongoing and the AMPTP refuses to negotiate with those who so poignantly explore the world and our humanity, I want to reiterate: There is no Strange New Worlds or Star Trek without the writers. The writers are the ones who dream up the stories. They create the characters and the worlds that we love, starting with a blank page. The studio forces behind Star Trek would be wise to note this and give them a deal equal to their worth. 

Are you excited for more Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+ ? Join the conversation with us on Twitter @MyCosmicCircus or our Discord. And if you need a refresher of where we are heading into season 2, check out our review of the Strange New Worlds season 1 finale.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Review

Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS.

 

Book Review: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds The High Country

Strange New Worlds: The High Country BannerThe

 

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Ayla Ruby

I am a writer and interviewer based somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant. I love all things nerdy - but Star Trek and Spiderman have special places in my heart. Find me at @TulinWrites on Twitter. And visit my other website for more reviews and interviews: movieswetextedabout.com

Ayla Ruby has 166 posts and counting. See all posts by Ayla Ruby