Season 2 poster for Strange New Worlds, with the cast posing against a multicolored background. Behind them are various planets and starscapes.

‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 Is Off to a Rollicking Start—and Includes a Poignant Tribute

It seems more and more TV lovers are feeling fatigued from series that feel like 10-hour-long movies, with myopic storylines that turn the joy of long form storytelling into an exhausting marathon. Those viewers will find a breath of fresh air in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2. Like the first season, Strange New Worlds season 2 feels like the vintage Star Trek so many of us grew up with: every week presents a new, weird adventure, with longer story arcs that gradually gain momentum in the background before bursting into the spotlight.

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Reviewers were given access to the first six episodes, which are a delightful grab bag of all the tropes that make Star Trek so much fun: time travel, extra dimensions, undercover missions, space horror, mind-bending alien encounters, and more. At the heart of each episode, though, is an exploration of the human (or Vulcan, or Klingon) condition. Like the best classic Star Trek stories, the show’s science fiction elements are vehicles for its characters to delve deeply into questions of grief, love, ambition, and friendship.

The cast continues to breathe new life into the standard Star Trek bridge crew formula. La’an (Christina Chong) and Nyota (Celia Rose Gooding) both blossom as complicated, layered characters. Una (Rebecca Romijn) fights for her rights as a genetically modified Illyrian. The love story between Spock (Ethan Peck) and Christine (Jess Bush) sizzles, just as the trailer promised it would. And Carole Kane joins the cast as Pelia, the wry and irreverent new chief engineer.

What I especially love about this show, though, is its comedy. Remember the madcap shenanigans in last season’s “The Elysian Kingdom”? While season 2 doesn’t quite reach those heights in the first six episodes, it’s not afraid to be unabashedly funny—especially when one crew member’s difficult family members come to visit.

However, the series is just as bold when it explores social issues. At the end of season 1, Una was arrested for failing to disclose her heritage to Starfleet. Arresting a Starfleet officer for the crime of existing as herself opens up a huge can of worms for the supposedly enlightened Federation. As always, the most engrossing themes in Star Trek feel all too relevant today.

Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in the original series, died in July 2022, just after SNW season 1 finished airing. The season 2 premiere features a brief tribute to her, which is especially moving because the show itself is a pitch-perfect homage to Star Trek‘s beginnings. It might seem, at first, that including classic characters like Uhura, Spock, and Kirk is yet another way for studios to recycle tried-and-true IP instead of coming up with something new, but the characters’ younger counterparts are so fun and interesting that it works. Celia Rose Gooding’s performance as a young Nyota is a celebration of the groundbreaking work that Nichols did to make the character so beloved and iconic, just as Peck’s portrayal of Spock is a loving tribute to Leonard Nimoy.

Strange New Worlds shows that there’s still plenty of life left in the classic Star Trek format. There’s a whole galaxy full of planets, nebulae, and other space oddities out there for the Enterprise to explore, and I’m so glad we get to join the crew while they do it.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 premieres Thursday, June 15.

(featured image: Paramount+)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>