Streaming & TV
STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS | A Nostalgic Exploration
Today the 22nd of June is certainly an important date for UK-based Trekkies as the highly-anticipated streaming service Paramount+ finally lands on our shores and with it comes the first three episodes of the latest iteration from the Star Trek universe, Strange New Worlds. A show that truly harkens back to the original ideology and themes of episodic exploration. This is the twelve TV show in the franchise’s history and the sixth one to arrive on the streaming service. After Discovery’s innovations and Picard’s personal mind-bending adventure, creators Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet have stroked gold as Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has perfect action, humour and heart. These are the founding principles of the show that Gene Roddenberry started, it’s a show that features a deeply personal story of the captain at its centre.
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations. To boldly go where no one has gone before. Before this review, I was lucky enough to see the first three episodes thanks to the Paramount+ team.
Based on the year’s Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds follows Captain Pike (played by Anson Mount), Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) in the decade before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy.
It’s truly been a long time coming for Paramount+/Star Trek content in the UK as fans like myself are eager to see the new adventures of Pike, Spock and the Enterprise crew. With Picard’s both seasons, Lower Decks and Prodigy now on our screens it was only a matter of time before the Enterprise landed and successfully today is that day, so get ready to boldly go to uncharted territories. The self-titled premiere initially picks up with everyone we originally met on Discovery, and the series showcases where their stories have gone. Strange New Worlds introduces Pike as a man who’s haunted by his inevitably, as he’s foreseen his death ten years into the future, this is a key event in Star Trek lore, one that launches the career of Captain Kirk. This makes him very reluctant to return to space, but its Number One’s (Rebecca Romijn) disappearance on a mission that brings Pike and the Enterprise crew back to space, though slightly earlier than originally scheduled. This introduces us to the rest of the series’ main cast, which includes a mixture of new and familiar faces.
Intergalactic Cast of Characters
Everyone will definitely know Spock and how his vulcan knowledge made him famous across the galaxy. Spock has had serval appearances in Star Trek from television and film. We as viewers gradually learn more about him and as Spock entered Star Trek: Discovery we learned that Michael Burnham was his adopted sister.
Una Chin-Reilly might not be a name you may recognise, but Number One most certainly is. She is the second in command to Captain Pike and Strange New Worlds perfectly broadens her story.
There’s Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) the show’s new take on the younger version of the iconic character portrayed by Nichelle Nichols. The character was a Lieutenant and Chief Communications Officer in the Original Star Trek series. Now in Strange New Worlds, she begins her Starfleet journey as a Cadet. She’s also an incredible linguistic prodigy who is deeply anxious and excited about all the adventures that await her.
Dr M’ Benga (Babs Olusanmokunn) is a character who first appeared in the original series for only two episodes. He interned on Vulcan which is certainly good news for Spock. He’s running things in Sickbay alongside Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) who also worked for Dr McCoy in the original series. She demonstrates smartness and the ability to think outside the box to any solution.
New Security Officer La’an Noonien-Singh is a character new to the franchise but also a character that has a familiar name and a dark history of her own. feisty helmsman Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia) has the coolest job of all steering the Enterprise. Lastly, another new character in the franchise is Hemmer played by Bruce Horak, he’s an Aenar, which is a type of albino Andorian species.
Set Phasers to Stun
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds does a phenomenal job of incorporating modern visual effects with the original materials, costumes, and gadgets. I love the 1960s influence which is nostalgic to the Original Series as the clunky hand-held devices are here such as the phasers, communicators, and tricorders, all are futuristic but certainly not dated. I also love the use of practical and visuals, technology is so advanced now that Strange New Worlds, as well as Discovery, use an AR wall to help create the alien worlds but also create virtual backdrops and sets for the U.S.S. Enterprise. Thanks to Pixomondo who utilise this technology through Unreal Engine. I’m also a big fan of the costuming as the Starfleet uniforms are simple, yet minimal and updates the classical look.
The first three episodes take time to build up moments for main cast and all the supporting players as the quality of writing in this show is outstanding. Strange New Worlds truly delivers a narrative-driven plot and can leave feeling like you on the edge of your Captains Chair. Nami Melumad’s score is otherworldly and ethereal which is beautifully connected to Jeff Russo’s epic main theme with Mount’s opening narration. The show is truly something special and will continue to be a joy to watch.
The first three episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be available to stream exclusively on Paramount+ UK from 22nd June 2022. Then expect new episodes weekly every Wednesday.
‘1883’ Spinoff Series ‘Bass Reeves’ Adds Dennis Quaid to Cast
Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven, The Day After Tomorrow) is the latest star to join the cast of Bass Reeves, a new drama series coming from Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone, Tulsa King) and Paramount+, according to Deadline. Bass Reeves was announced as a spinoff to the Yellowstone prequel, 1883 back in May 2022 with David Oyelowo (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) attached to star as the legendary lawman.
Bass Reeves will follow Oyelowo as someone who is known to many as “the greatest frontier hero” in American history in his own series on Paramount+. The streamer already houses so many Sheridan-fronted programs, most recently, Mayor of Kingstown starring Jeremy Renner returned for its second season while CIA drama, Lioness added to its cast with Nicole Kidman and Morgan Freeman. Some believe that Reeves served inspiration to “The Lone Ranger” having worked as a peace officer for Indian territory capturing over 3,000 criminals on that land. Quaid will play Sherrill Lynn, a Deputy U.S. Marshall within the show.
Quaid most recently voiced the character Jaeger Clade in Disney’s animated feature Strange World which is currently available to stream on Disney+. He’ll also star in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming HBO Max series Full Circle alongside Zazie Beetz, Claire Danes and Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome.
Anthony Hopkins to Lead Peacock Gladiator Drama ‘Those About to Die’
Peacock is one of the streamers that has yet to break through in terms of their original content getting recognized for awards contention. One such series that might change that fate for the streaming service is Those About to Die and it’s starting to build out its cast. According to Variety, 2-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, The Father) is the first to join the drama series which comes from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat will script the series.
Hopkins will play the character known as Emperor Vespasian in the series which is set in the world of gladiatorial battle. It will be an ensemble drama following many different Roman characters that will set forth for violent affairs in the arena among other complexities such as political power and corruption so expect a starry cast for this Peacock drama. Hopkins’ character is described as “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get. Vespasian became the Roman emperor after a ten-year civil war. We expect to get more casting news soon as the show will begin filming in Rome in March.
Anthony Hopkins is coming off a terrific performance in James Gray’s Armageddon Time in 2022 after winning his second Academy Award for his role in The Father the year prior. He’ll next voice a character in Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon for Netflix and also will star in British drama One Life alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce. Emmerich is coming off directing the sci-fi disaster film, Moonfall in 2022.
Meryl Streep Joins the Cast for Season 3 of Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building
Many were surprised when the Season 2 finale of Hulu comedy, Only Murders in the Building revealed that Paul Rudd would be joining the series for its upcoming season, however, it seems his casting may have just been topped. According to a tweet from the show’s Twitter account, it appears that Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep (Out of Africa, August: Osage County) will join the cast led by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez for Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building.
One can believe that Streep stumbled into the series similar to how she did for Season 2 of HBO’s Big Little Lies. With the latter show, Streep was a fan of the mysterious female-led drama and was written into the sophomore season. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to believe that Streep was probably a fan of the beloved comedy series and might want to join in the hijinks along with friends, Steve Martin and Martin Short. Streep will also appear in the upcoming AppleTV+ anthology series, Extrapolations in March.
The original tweet revealed that the third season of Only Murders in the Building has just begun filming. The show has been nominated for tons of awards thus far and with growing popularity as well as the additions of Streep and Rudd to the cast, anything can happen in the murder mystery program. Season 2 released back in June so we can probably expect Season 3 to begin streaming in Summer 2023.
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