You will be assimilated ... into a streaming subscription. Resistance is futile!
Now that CBS All-Access has officially rebranded as Paramount+, this new streaming service is looking to nab new viewers by giving out a fairly large sample of the Final Frontier, for free. As of right now, Paramount+ has put three different premiere episodes from three different Star Trek series on YouTube. There's no paywall here. The series premieres of Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Lower Decks are streaming for free right now.
Here are the three episodes, plus why each one is pivotal and worth a watch, or, if you've already seen it, why each of these episodes is worth a rewatch.
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 1, Episode 1, "The Vulcan Hello" (2017)
Although Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 was greeted with skepticism and a massive amount of pushback from various aspects of the Trek fandom, the debut episode of Discovery, "The Vulcan Hello" is singular for how much it actually gets right about introducing the concept of Trek to a new audience.
What's more, "The Vulcan Hello" looks amazing. Aesthetically, it may be the slickest and most visually impressive Trek season premiere of all time, from Burnham's spacewalk to the look and feel of the USS Shenzhou, to the binary star system itself. Seeing the crew of the Shenzhou almost makes you want a prequel series set before this episode — or, at least, maybe a few more Short Treks.
Star Trek: Picard
Season 1, Episode 1, "Remembrance" (2020)
The very first episode of Picard is a mixed bag, mostly because it almost feels like half of an episode.
There's also a lot of exposition flying by at warp speed, while the mystery plot of the new Patrick Stewart series tries to establish itself. Taken together, the entire 10 episodes of Picard are probably the tightest season of any of the new shows. That said, "Remembrance" has some wonky pacing, particularly right at the beginning.
If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil the controversial twist at the very end of "Remembrance," but I will say that if you don't at least watch up through episode 4, you're not really giving this show a fair shot. Picard is more like a short novel than a TV show. You have to be patient.
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Season 1, Episode 1, "Second Contact" (2020)
The series premiere of Lower Decks is hilarious. We've always been told that "First Contact" was a big deal in Starfleet, but we never really knew what happens when other starships have to go back to those planets and kind of set-up shop.
In "Second Contact," Lower Decks not only delivers a love-letter to the entire franchise, but it also introduces possibly the best ensemble of all the new Trek crews. Tawny Newsome's Mariner is as unforgettable as she is hilarious, while Jack Quaid's Boimler will remind you of a million people you've worked with — and, reluctantly, learned to adore.
The strength of Lower Decks is it approaches the Trek mythos like a workplace sitcom. The results are very funny, and often bold.
Every single Star Trek series is streaming on Paramount+