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Season Two [Premiere]

Aired On: Paramount+

Release Date: 06/15/23 
Action. Adventure. SciFi.

"A distress call from Lt. Noonien-Singh compels Spock to disobey orders and take the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew into disputed space, risking renewed hostilities with the Klingons in a bid to aid their shipmate. "


When Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuted in July of 2022 the spin-off was a surprise hit – both critically and with an extremely ardent Trek fanbase. The episodic nature of the show led by the charismatic Anson Mount and his incredible coif beamed in a return of light-hearted wonder to the often-weighty mythos of Star Trek.  

During season one, the stalwart crew of the Enterprise dealt with an onboard contagion, Spock’s betrothed, goofy space pirates, and the deadly return of the Gorn while a through-line showed Captain Pike silently dealing with the knowledge of his grisly future. The finale’s mid-credits zinger concluded with the arrest of Pike’s Number One (Rebecca Romijn), who had withheld knowledge of her Illyrian (and Federation-branded illegal) heritage. 

Strange New Worlds’ season two premiere has Una in Starfleet detainment but the episode’s main story boldly goes in a different direction. In “The Broken Circle,” former security chief La'an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) is undercover on a dilithium mining world near the Klingon border. She runs deep into a conspiracy and reaches out to her Enterprise friends for help. With Captain Pike head-scratchingly absent, Spock and the Enterprise command crew pull a maneuver directly out of the Star Trek III script and warp off to save their friend. Hijinks ensue as badass Dr M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush), with her badass anime hair, fight off Klingons, Spock imbibes on blood wine, and Carol Kane (!) make a glorious cameo.  

The premiere offers entertaining action and deepening characterization but the overall story is more-than-a-little cornball. Yet, writers Henry Alonso Myers and series exec Akiva Goldsman manage to provide some fan service spoilage: La’an returns; Spock’s lute make its SNW debut; and most importantly, the Klingons resemble their TNG brethren and not the xenomorph-hybrids from Discovery.  

Although Strange New Worlds made its mark with episodic adventures, the season two premiere is too episodic and feels like a mid-season bottle episode. Not featuring the star of the show in the season debut? Bold. But also questionable. 

This season of Strange New Worlds quickly follows the highly-successful Picard season three. Picard was a tightly-focused, single story whose main emphasis was the reunion of the Enterprise-D crew. Beginning this SNW season with plots on individual characters instead of the entire crew (Una’s trial is the centerpiece of episode two while La’an gets her own arc on ep 3) seems fractured. This slow-ish start is more than reminiscent of the mediocre tracking that led Ted Lasso season three. Lasso ended strongly, though. Here’s hoping the tales of this earlier Enterprise team jumps back into Warp 9.  

Another similarity with Ted Lasso? Alongside the Mumford & Sons song to that particular show, Jeff Russo’s title score to SNW is the best opening on current TV. 

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