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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, ‘the longest pilot-to-series pickup' ever, returns to TOS' episodic roots

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Sep 8, 2020, 10:35 PM EDT (Updated)

The creators of CBS All Access’ upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds have promised that the show will be a return to The Original Series’ episodic storytelling roots, exploring the galaxy one weird planet at a time, while its characters’ emotional development will drive the season-long narrative. 

“We want to do Star Trek in the classic mold,” series executive producer Henry Alonso Myers explained at today's virtual panel for Star Trek Day (check it out below). Simply put, it's the U.S.S. Enterprise "traveling to strange new worlds. And we’re going to tell 'Big Idea' science fiction adventures in an episodic mode, so we have room to meet new aliens, see new ships, visit new cultures.”

Strange New Worlds will focus on the U.S.S. Enterprise adventures of Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn), and Spock (Ethan Peck) in the decade before the events of TOS, when James T. Kirk became captain.

“My favorite thing I’ve read about this show has been that if you think of ‘The Cage,’ the original pilot, as being the actual pilot, [then] this is the longest pilot-to-series pickup in the history of television,” joked Myers. 

Myers added that despite doing weekly adventures in the Star Trek: Discovery spinoff, the Strange New Worlds creative team still plans to maintain “a modern character sensitivity to classic episodic storytelling.” Meaning, if a character suffers a deep, personal loss in one episode, it’s not forgotten about in the next. 

Fellow Strange New Worlds EP Akiva Goldsman agreed that while the series is “turning to a more episodic model ... the character arcs are stretched in some more serialized continuity.”

Series writers Akela Cooper and Davey Perez also said that the adventures will be episode to episode, but the main characters will continue to grow and evolve over the course of the season. 

“While we’ll have individual one-off plots, the character arcs are what’s going to carry us through in a more serialized fashion.” said Cooper.

Perez added that “what’s really cool” about “going back to an episodic style” is that the writing team can look at each episode and ask, “What is the thing we’re saying? What is the audience going to experience? What kind of thing will we walk away from in a closed-ended way? And that’s the episode of the week.”

At the same time, Perez hopes that audiences will “fall in love with” the show’s core trio of characters (Pike, Spock, and Number One) and enjoy watching them “grow and devolve and evolve.” 

Despite the show being more episodic in nature than, say, Discovery, Cooper teased that there will be “one plot point that we will be sprinkling through the series,” but declined to go into further details.

No word yet on when Strange New Worlds is set to debut, but once it does, it will premiere on CBS All Acces. 


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