Star Trek: Discovery‘s final season doesn’t arrive until 2024, but Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has already supplanted Disco as the flagship series of Star Trek on Paramount+. Disappointingly, Discovery’s upcoming season 5 was announced as the end of the show. Although Discovery season 5 wasn’t intended to close out the series, reshoots will commence in 2023 to craft a definitive and appropriate ending to the show that re-ignited the Star Trek franchise in 2017, a year after the last movie entry, Star Trek Beyond, and 12 years after the cancelation of Star Trek: Enterprise.
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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds launched in 2022 after the wildly popular appearances of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck), and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) in Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Pike and Number One were legacy characters who were central to the original failed Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, in the 1960s, and they hadn’t been seen in canon since Star Trek: The Original Series’ “The Menagerie.” Pike, Spock, and Number One were so well-received, the audience actually clamored for them to receive their own spinoff aboard the Starship Enterprise. After testing the waters further with the trio appearing in a pair of Short Treks, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds became Paramount+’s third live-action Star Trek series – and it quickly became a runaway hit.
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Strange New Worlds Became Star Trek’s Flagship In Season 1
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds surprised and delighted audiences by reprising the episodic voyages of the Starship Enterprise and bringing it all to colorful new life. Strange New Worlds vividly evoked the optimistic, New Frontier feeling of classic 1960s Star Trek, but modernized for today’s audiences. The results were something the Star Trek series on Paramount+ hadn’t quite encountered with Star Trek: Discovery or the first two seasons of Star Trek: Picard: widespread critical acclaim and positive word of mouth from viewers. Strange New Worlds season 1 boasts a 99% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, garnered awards and nominations, and appeared on many critics’ Best of 2022 lists.
The warm and enthusiastic response to Strange New Worlds eluded Star Trek: Discovery and even Star Trek: Picard, although the cinematic Picard season 3 is currently the darling of fans and critics. As the first new Star Trek show, Discovery was a success that bolstered the CBS All Access streaming service before it became Paramount+, but it never received the wholesale audience support Strange New Worlds enjoys. As such, Discovery’s status as Star Trek’s flagship series was already suspect when Captain Pike began appearing in Paramount+’s commercials, especially 2023’s Superbowl ad. With Discovery season 5 about to close out the series, and Picard about to end in a matter of weeks, the torch has already been passed to Strange New Worlds as the flagship show of Star Trek.
Strange New Worlds Is One Of Discovery’s Best Legacies
Of course, there would be no Strange New Worlds, or any other show including the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks (which was also represented in Paramount+’s Superbowl ad) and Star Trek: Prodigy, without Star Trek: Discovery leading the way – and taking the hits from critics and fans. Discovery laudably raised the bar for action and drama, led by the phenomenal performances of Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, and Disco brought Star Trek in line with modern streaming prestige TV series, testing the boundaries of what a Star Trek series in the 21st century can be all throughout.
Two legacies Star Trek: Discovery can be proudest of are its progressive push for greater LGBTQ+ representation, and for setting the stage for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Of course, Discovery isn’t done yet as there is the final season still to come in 2024, and exactly how Disco will choose to end its story is certainly intriguing. In the meantime, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will take center stage this year with its hotly-anticipated season 2, as Captain Pike’s Enterprise now carries the banner as the new flagship series of Star Trek on Paramount+.
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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 premieres in 2023 on Paramount+.
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