Warning: SPOILERS for the 8th episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” — “The Elysian Kingdom”.
Episode 8 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds illustrates what Star Trek has been missing since the franchise’s heyday more than 20 years ago. Episode 8 of Strange New Worlds, The Elysian Kingdom, is a fantastic episode in which a powerful cosmic entity in the Jonisian Nebula turned the crew of the aircraft carrier Enterprise into characters in a fairy tale story that Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) reads to his terminally ill daughter Rukia (Sage Arrindell). The bizarre romp of the “Elysian Kingdom”, which contained a touching message about the possibility of “writing your own ending”, is the latest example of the amazing variety of genres and storytelling styles presented in the first season of “Strange New Worlds”.
“Strange New Worlds” brought back the classic episode format first used in the films “Star Trek: The Original Series” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Fans love the “issues of the week” style for the huge variety of storytelling opportunities it provides in Star Trek. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was ahead of its time using a more serialized and character-oriented format, but in every other Star Trek series, the spaceships USS Enterprise and USS Voyager travel to a new planet or meet a new alien in almost every episode. . When “Star Trek: Discovery” abandoned the episodic format in order to bring the franchise in line with such series as “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead”, many trekking fans were not very happy, although “Discovery” and a similar series “Star Trek: Picard” brought new views on the franchise and expanded the capabilities of Star Trek. But especially “Discovery” is an exciting and thrilling ride that lurches from crisis to crisis as the galaxy is exposed to existential danger every season.
In episode 8 of Strange New Worlds, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) mused to Spock, “I could get used to this. No fighting, no chaos.” It was like a meta moment when Pike voiced what the Trekkers thought about how well the series fits the episode format. Indeed, it was a quiet moment for the Enterprise when Pike’s team completed a scientific study of the Jonesian nebula. Of course, Pike spoke too soon, since Nebula was reasonable and quickly turned the Enterprise crew into fantastic characters from the Elysian Kingdom. But even then, episode 8 of Strange New Worlds was a refreshing change of pace that was purely character driven and non-violent. “Elysian Kingdom” joins the 5th episode of Strange New Worlds, “Spock Amok”, as hilarious comedy episodes that represent wonderful tonal shifts from the intense space battle of the Enterprise against the bugles in “Memento Mori” and the ethical puzzle of “Lift Us Up to Where the Suffering Is.” Can’t reach.”
Looking at the vastness of the first season of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” as it nears its end, it becomes clear that its episodic format really works and delivers the “Star Trek” stories that viewers have been craving since the early 2000s. Ever since J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” films refocused the franchise on exciting space battles and galactic threats, “Star Trek” has lost the simple intellectual stories that many travelers loved. Discovery and Picard touched on different storytelling styles, but not consistently. Strange New Worlds brought back the best aspects of episodic stories, as well as a delightful variety of episodes where you never know what to expect from each episode.
In addition, neither Discovery nor Picard explore the galaxy, which is a principle at the heart of Star Trek and the literal mandate of Strange New Worlds. Before the premiere of Strange New Worlds, the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” brought back the episode format and brought back the spirit of TNG with its bright comedy and cute characters. But the game side of “Star Trek” sorely lacked the franchise’s ability to cover any sci-fi stories up to “Strange New Worlds.” Episode 8, “The Elysian Kingdom,” is the latest example of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” proving that constant universal threats and mind-blowing space battles aren’t really what “Star Trek” is about. Now there’s a “Star Trek” series for every type of fan, but “Strange New Worlds” really brought back the original spirit on which “Star Trek” was built.