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What Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Does Better Than The Franchise's Other Series

With "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," the legacied space-exploration franchise saw a return to its roots. After years of expanding the tone and scope of "Star Trek" with ambitious series such as "Star Trek: Discovery" and branching into animation with shows like "Star Trek: Lower Decks," the Anson Mount starring "Strange New Worlds" returned to the classic, episodic format that defined "Star Trek: The Original Series" and its successor, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

While character relationships do progress across the existing first season, each episode is a self-contained adventure, a common structure in the days before DVRs and streaming, but which is now a rarity that gives "Strange New Worlds" an air of anachronism. It is "Star Trek" unafraid to be "Star Trek." But that alone only promised enough to get fans in the door. For them to stick around, the series had to deliver compelling stories with a familiar "Star Trek" sensibility.

Deliver, it did. When Season 1 premiered in 2022, "Strange New Worlds" was instantly embraced by fans as a return to form. According to fans, the series exemplifies the spirit of progressivism that has made the franchise so timeless without any airs of self-congratulation. In the "Star Trek" subreddit, user u/lekoman succinctly described the show's vibes thusly: "I love that it's inclusive without having to be after-school-special-y about it. No teenage angst."

Strange New Worlds takes progressivism as a given

At its core, "Star Trek" has always embraced a radical vision of equality. Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets exist in a world unencumbered by the shackles of racism, sexism, and even capitalism. That utopian ideal has created real-world change — simply look at the accomplishments of the late Nichelle Nichols for proof. But while that bold vision has remained the background radiation of the franchise in the current era, "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" returns it to center stage.

The crew of the Enterprise is as diverse as fans have come to expect from a Starfleet bridge, and their identities are often touched upon. But crucially, the series uses those identities organically in service of stories exploring the nature of humanity rather than simply paying lip service to them. As u/dunhamhead said on the Reddit thread, "I don't need zero friction between crewmates, but I do want my [S]tarfleet to have default inclusiveness and tolerance. I love that in SNW it feels organic to the setting that things are inclusive, not like they are making a big deal about differences."

Fans are undoubtedly already looking forward to the wealth of inclusive stories that will boldly go to air when Season 2 of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" transports onto Paramount+ starting June 15.