Star Trek: Strange New Worlds reminds you filler TV is fantastic - The Verge
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the latest Star Trek show appearing on Paramount Plus. Unlike other modern Star Trek shows, this one actually knows how to have fun.
In the age of thunderingly loud blockbusters and hyper-serial prestige television, Star Trek has struggled. The J.J. Abrams films tried to reinvent Star Trek for the mega action film era, and Star Trek: Discovery tried to reinvent it for serial TV. And others, like Picard and Lower Decks, have just tried to play to the fans with intense nostalgia and in-jokes. They’ve all been Star Trek, but they haven’t had quite the same impact as the original series or the Star Trek series of the ‘90s. Watching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds feels like watching The Next Generation or Voyager or even The Original Series. It’s Star Trek updated pitch perfectly for 2022, and that’s in large part because it knows what we want: filler episodes.
The franchise is enormous at this point — as big as Star Wars or Doctor Who, but it often feels like it has been at odds with itself and kind of embarrassed by its own existence in a way those other franchises aren’t. It’s like a petulant teenager who really wants to go trick or treating with the family but doesn’t want to run into any friends in case they get made fun of.
Strange New Worlds isn’t like that. This show understands that you can be earnest and you can be goofy and you can still tell really good and entertaining stories. It's not embarrassed to exist. And, yes, a lot of that is down to a terrific cast — helmed by Anson Mount as Christopher Pike and Rebecca Romijn as his second in command, Una Chin-Riley (or Number One if you’re familiar with the original Star Trek show). But beyond a great cast appearing in a great-looking show, what’s really captivated me is how Strange New Worlds is happy to embrace the filler episode.