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10 Best “NuTrek” Star Trek Episodes To Convert Any Doubtful Trekkie

From Discovery to Picard to Lower Decks, Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds, there's a lot of New Star Trek to love.

The Enterprise and the Discovery team-up in 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2.
Star Trek

Seven years ago, in 2017, after a 12-year absence, the Star Trek franchise returned to TV. On Sept. 24, 2017, the two-episode debut of Star Trek: Discovery was risky, bold, and, up until it dropped, shrouded in secrecy and more than a little bit of behind-the-scenes drama.

But, the Star Trek franchise survived this rocky start. After all, The Next Generation had several different writing staffs and production teams until it finally stabilized around 1990. And of course, The Original Series had its fair share of big production pivots across its three seasons. Radical change is built into the DNA of all Star Trek, though for some haters, the “NuTrek” that began with Discovery wasn’t what they wanted. Maybe it was the paywall on CBS All-Access. Maybe it was those all-blue uniforms in the first two seasons of Discovery. Or it was a million other, totally unfair complaints trolls had against the new Trek regime under Alex Kurtzman.

But, now, we’re nearly a decade into this brave (and strange) new world of Star Trek on TV. And, even for the most stubborn Trekkie, there are, in fact, episodes of so-called “NuTrek” that can convert a hater into a lover.

With representatives from every single new series, here are 10 episodes from the new era of Star Trek, all of which are just as good as great episodes from the classic eras that came before. Very mild spoilers ahead.


Lower Decks Season 4, Episode 2: “I Have No Bones, Yet I Must Flee”

The Moospy is coming!


With a title liberally stolen from Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” the sci-fi deep-cuts in this brilliant Lower Decks romp are never-ending. When the USS Cerritos encounters an alien zoo (classic!), the most deadly creature may also be the cutest.

Brilliantly, this Lower Decks takes a common Trek trope about misunderstood monsters and flips it on its head. The most dangerous creatures in this episode aren’t the aliens, but instead, well, you can guess.

This Lower Decks episode is also essential because it introduced the aforementioned bone-sucking (but otherwise adorable) alien monster known as the Moopsy. Forget facehuggers from Alien. Moopsy will destroy all of them.


Prodigy Season 1, Episode 13: “All the World’s a Stage”

The kids of Prodigy discover the shuttlecraft Galileo from the classic USS Enterprise.


Can Star Trek do a version of Galaxy Quest? The closest proof that the answer is yes, exists in the form of this extremely charming episode of Prodigy.

In “All the World's a Stage,” the kids of the USS Protostar roll up on the planet in which the inhabitants are all pretty much cosplaying as members of Starfleet from The Original Series. But, something has been lost in translation, because these folks call themselves “Enderprizians,” and refer to Starfleet as “Star Flight.”

Eventually, we learn that Ensign Garrovick, a redshirt Kirk saved in the episode “Obsession,” crashed a shuttle on this planet over a century prior. The Protostar tweens have to band together with these in-universe TOS fans to save the planet, and themselves. It’s a smart cross-generational story that sends a love letter to 1960s Trek fandom, while telling a great story that non-Trekkie kids can love, too.


Discovery Season 2, Episode 14: “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2”

Spock gets ready to send his sister Michael where no Trek time traveler has gone before.


With Discovery Season 5 taking place roughly in the year 3191, it’s hard to remember that the first two seasons happened in the 2250s. While Season 1 alternated between the depression of the Klingon War and the bleakness of the Mirror Universe, Season 2 was the moment in which Discovery actively moved closer to the ethos of The Original Series, with a dash of J.J. Abrams-reboot zest.

While the universe-destroying killer AI called “Control” feels like a rough draft of several other Trek villains, the emotional core of Discovery Season 2 — mostly focused on Spock and Burnham — truly delivers in this epic finale. When the classic USS Enterprise has to team up with the USS Discovery, the sensibilities of various Star Trek aesthetics collide. This was the moment when Discovery jumped into a new future to reboot itself for Season 3, and the moment that Discovery also created what became the proto-pilot episode for Strange New Worlds.


Picard Season 3, Episode 6: “The Bounty”

All your favorite characters await the arrival of even more of your favorite characters.


Midway through Picard Season 3, just when you thought the sweet nostalgia couldn’t get any sweeter, we get this episode. Even explaining why this episode is called “The Bounty” is, oddly, a really cool spoiler.

While it's fashionable to complain about fan service in a big geek franchise, “The Bounty” (and Picard Season 3 in general) proves how fan service can be done well by making massive Easter eggs integral to a real and heartfelt story.

Bottom line: between the Fleet Museum of awesome starships and the Daystrom Institute’s vault of strange devices and creatures (and apparently, the bones of Captain Kirk!) this episode has so many Star Trek goodies in it that it feels like opening a pack of trading cards or something. Did we mention the holographic Moriarty is in this one and an HD flashback to the first Next Generation episode, ever? If ever even had a passing interest in Star Trek, this episode will remind you why just the basic stuff in this universe is so damn cool.


Strange New Worlds Season 1, Episode 5: “Spock Amok”

Chapel and Spock discuss just how bad Spock is at being engaged.


Star Trek meets Freaky Friday in perhaps the most tender and hilarious body-swap sci-fi TV episode, ever. In order to work out their relationship problems, Spock and T’Pring decide to swap katras, and briefly inhabit each other’s bodies. But, of course, the swap seems permanent, and so, Spock has to pretend to be T’Pring, while T’Pring has to convince everyone’s she’s Spock.

While Ethan Peck’s take on Spock has been pretty much spot-on since the ending of Discovery, Gia Sandhu was put in the unique position of not only having to play T’Pring in this episode, but Spock too! Sandhu was more than up to the challenge, and this episode solidified her as one of the most memorable Strange New Worlds recurring guest stars.

But “Spock Amok” isn’t just about body-swapping shenanigans. There’s also a great subplot here involving Pike trying to work out a bizarre diplomatic problem, while another delightful storyline focuses on La’an and Una playing “Enterprise Bingo.” So, come for the body swap that leads to the Chapel-Spock-T’Pring love triangle, but stay for an episode that will give you all the warm and fuzzy Trekkie feelings.


Short Treks Episode 5: “Q&A”

Number One AKA Una (Rebecca Romijn) shines in a one-of-a-kind minisode.


Although the anthology format of Short Treks seems to have not stuck long term, the fifth episode, “Q&A,” represents perfectly why the concept is so great. Do we need an entire episode that explores Spock’s very first day on the USS Enterprise in 2253? Probably not! But, in the anthology world of Short Treks, this small, very specific story could be told without too much fuss.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (and Picard co-creator) Michael Chabon, “Q&A” finds Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) trapped together after a turbolift malfunctions. Here, Michael Chabon specifically attacked a real-life truth and combined it with a slick retcon. In Gene Roddenberry’s original conception of Star Trek, Number One would have been more like Spock. But when “The Cage” was rejected as a series pilot, and Roddenberry retooled the concept of Spock, many of Number One’s personality traits were given to Spock.

So, how does that work in canon? “Q&A” provides the answer. Spock clearly looks to Number One as his North Star when it comes to balancing his outward persona with his innermost feelings. Strange New Worlds has slightly walked back some of these themes more recently, but then again, several years have passed between “Q&A,” “The Cage,” and the most recent Number One-centric episode, “Ad Astra per Aspera.”


Discovery Season 1, Episode 7: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”

Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson) stops by Discovery to shake things up with a time loop.


Despite being the NuTrek series that launched the entire franchise, the serialized nature of Discovery makes it difficult to pick out just one episode, since so many episodes rely on dense season-long arcs. However, smack-dab in the middle of Discovery’s first season is a wonderful stand-alone episode called “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.”

In it, Rainn Wilson makes his second appearance as Harry Mudd, a reboot (pre-boot?) of an actual mustache-twirling villain from Star Trek: The Original Series. This version of Mudd has time crystals, which allow him to turn the whole episode into a delightful time loop story. If more Discovery Season 1 episodes had been like this one, the show probably wouldn’t have faced such early opposition from fans and critics. This was an instant classic in 2017, and it holds up still.


Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 10: “No Small Parts”

The Easter egg in this opening scene is one of the deepest, and best cuts in all of Lower Decks. You either know who Landru is...or you’re not of the body.


Although you could populate this entire list with Lower Decks episodes that would convert cranky or confused fans, the Season 1 finale of the show might remain the most impressive. Although the internet will tell you that Lower Decks is just Rick and Morty with Trekkie jokes, nothing could be further from the truth. With “No Small Parts,” showrunner Mike McMahan took the structure of a TNG season finale and married that sensibility with the ethos of what the series is all about.

The crew of the USS Cerritos is often doing the mop-up chores of Starfleet, so it makes sense that their greatest nemesis would be an extremely silly alien species from TNG. And yet, when things really start to hit the fan, Lower Deck pulls out the big phasers with an unforgettable cameo that will put a smile on the face of even the most casual or jaded Star Trek fan. After you watch “No Small Parts,” you’ll immediately want to watch the next season, and guess what? You’ll find most Lower Decks episodes are just as good.


Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 9: “Subspace Rhapsody”

Captain Pike, seconds before hearing Klingons burst into song.


Although the notion of a Star Trek musical episode might sound like the ultimate example of NuTrek jumping the space shark, the truth is, the zany premise of “Subspace Rhapsody” is exactly the kind of concept The Original Series would have floated if it had had the budget.

When the Enterprise gets hit by an improbability field from a subspace fold, suddenly, they’re enveloped in a kind of reality that operates on the rules of a musical. Getting to the end of this musical reality is the goal of the episode, meaning the musical premise is what drives the entire episode.

That said, “Subspace Rhapsody” does an incredible amount of character work for nearly every member of the crew. This episode establishes the canonical fact that Nurse Chapel has to leave the Enterprise at some point in order to make sense of her wonky TOS chronology. Plus, Chapel dumping Spock in the song “I’m Ready” leads to Spock’s lament “I’m the X,” which effectively retcons the more emotional Spock we’ve seen throughout this series, Discovery, and the 1964 pilot episode “The Cage.”

All in all, “Subspace Rhapsody” represents what Strange New Worlds does best: it takes a huge risk by playing it safe. Or maybe it's the other way around.


Picard Season 3, Episode 10: “The Last Generation”

Raffi and Seven take charge of the USS Titan, which may have a totally different name now, but no spoilers!


The series finale of Picard is a weird episode to watch as your very first episode of NuTrek but, for longtime fans of the 1990s version of the franchise (which is an era that lasted from 1987 to 2005), this big, bold episode will remind you of all your favorite Star Trek toys.

While watching this episode out of context with the rest of Picard Season 3 could be disorienting, combined with its predecessor — the penultimate episode “Võx” — you’re getting a TNG movie that is much better than most of the actual TNG movies. Heartfelt, action-packed, and with nods to all corners of Trek fandom, “The Last Generation” is also a not-so-secret backdoor pilot for yet another Trek series that has yet to materialize. Fans and showrunner Terry Matalas have dubbed this hypothetical spinoff show as Star Trek: Legacy. Will we ever see it? There are always possibilities, but for now, the most crowd-pleasing NuTrek episode of them all will remain this absolute banger.

Picard, Lower Decks, Strange New Worlds, and Discovery all stream on Paramount+. Prodigy streams on Netflix.

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