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Strange New Worlds teaser reveals a surprising change for Star Trek TV

Do you like upbeat optimism in your Star Trek? Captain Pike and the gang are here to bring the light.

Star Trek is happy. In the first teaser trailer for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) looks sad for about five seconds. And then, the upbeat optimism goes to Warp 10.

While the new trailer is very short, the message of Strange New Worlds is very clear. This incarnation of Star Trek will not be dark and gritty. Watch the new teaser, and read our breakdown of how the show’s refreshing tone and what we hope to expect when the series premieres this spring.

Strange New Worlds teaser trailer

So far, we haven’t had an actual trailer for Strange New Worlds. Other than a brief feature that revealed all the new characters and actors for the show, there hasn’t been any footage released — until now.

The new teaser runs for just a minute and a half and gives us some stirring footage from the new series. We see a bearded Captain Pike looking a little angsty, riding a horse in the snow as Starfleet shuttlecraft seemingly comes to pick him up. This is briefly reminiscent of Captain Kirk in 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, complete with Pike not answering the chirp from his Starfleet communicator. (In the Final Frontier, Kirk didn’t even bother to bring his communicator with him!)

At the beginning of the trailer, Pike seems like he’s not the Captain of the Enterprise. That’s probably because, in Discovery Season 2, he found out he’ll get hit with radiation and be totally trapped in mechanized life support system in his future (which we know about from The Original Series). The big change for Discovery was that Pike now knows about this fate, which we didn’t know in The Original Series. This is slightly dark, and yet, the Strange New Worlds teaser rapidly turns away from that ruminative darkness into something much more upbeat.

The cast of Strange New Worlds is ready for action.Paramount/CBS

A return to optimistic Star Trek

Although there are plenty of examples of old-school Trek not being upbeat and optimistic, the franchise overwhelming has a reputation for happy, hopeful science fiction. Nearly everything about the Strange New Worlds makes it clear that this Star Trek is designed to be almost a straight-up remake of The Original Series. We see beautiful space vistas as the narration tells us, “our first visit from the stars is always the province of children’s stories or science fiction... until it isn’t.”

This notion speaks not just to the aspirational quality of Star Trek’s hopeful future but also to the escapist nature of what the franchise can be. Star Trek gets a lot of points for its political and socially progressive values. But sometimes what gets left out of that conversation is how The Original Series was so fun that countless episodes actually conclude with the crew having a huge laugh on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. This isn’t to say The Next Generation or even Discovery aren’t having fun. But the overall tone of each and every Star Trek series since The Original Series has been specifically different than TOS and often very different from each other.

This teaser for Strange New Worlds doesn’t feel like that. Complete with cues from the Alexander Courage main theme music from TOS, the sweep and tone of the series feel like a big happy space adventure — the opposite of dark or gritty. This show is not trying to create a new tone for Star Trek. Strange New Worlds is old Star Trek but somehow filmed yesterday. It’s got the same zip as the first J.J. Abrams movie, but it’s not a reboot. And that retro approach feels fresh.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds hits Paramount Plus on May 5, 2022.

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