Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

"Ghosts of Illyria"

3 stars

Air date: 5/19/2022
Written by Akela Cooper & Bill Wolkoff
Directed by Leslie Hope

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Ghosts of Illyria" continues SNW's trend of repackaging classic, old-wine Trek themes in shiny new bottles. It's true there are not a whole lot of points to be earned for originality here, but the style and execution continue to be top-notch, and the use of familiar devices and themes continues to service these specific new characters in worthwhile ways.

This week in Trekkian Golden Oldies, we have: (1) the violent planet-side ion storm that prevents transport and endangers the away team, (2) the mysterious contagion running amok aboard the ship and contaminating the entire crew, and (3) the taboo issue of genetic engineering in the Federation. These are all connected in a single plot that's relatively straightforward, so the threads never threaten to become a muddle. It's nice, solid stuff.

The away team is investigating on a planet's surface an Illyrian colony that has been wiped out. The Illyrians, known for their genetic modifications, are "outcasts" among the Federation, as noted in Una's first-officer's log. But an ion storm is approaching and the mission must be cut short. The storm makes for a great CGI visual in all its dust-cloud and lightning-infused glory, and it serves as the device for inhibiting the transporters, allowing part of the away to return to the ship while Pike and Spock remain stranded for the duration.

Aboard the ship, members of the away team begin experiencing strange symptoms and behavior, which quickly spread to the other crew members, and before long, Doctor M'Benga has a shipwide epidemic on his hands. Everyone affected exhibits a bizarre addiction to light and just can't get enough of it (at one point, in the most bizarre and extreme example, Hemmer beams up a piece of the planet's mantle in a force field because it's so ... bright). Una also appears to have been infected, but after her entire body briefly glows, she seems to be cured. She's less than forthcoming about this incident.

The Contagion That Makes the Crew Crazy episode seems to be a rite of passage for a Trek series early in its run. Witness: "The Naked Time" (TOS), "The Naked Now" (TNG), "Babel" (DS9) and "Strange New World" (Enterprise). "Ghosts of Illyria" does a perfectly fine job of replaying the formula and making it specific to its set of characters.

Along the way, we have some intriguing revelations, most notably, learning that Una is actually an Illyrian (although not from this colony) who has herself been genetically enhanced, a fact she has been hiding since she joined Starfleet. (After the crisis, she offers to resign but Pike naturally won't have it.) "Ghosts of Illyria" is a showcase for Una and Rebecca Romijn, and it's a solid one. Una's conversations about genetic enhancement with La'an reveal La'an's own deeply held personal feelings on the dangers of the matter, with her being a distant ancestor with the last name of the most notoriously famous genetically enhanced human in history — known here for his role in the Eugenics Wars as opposed to resurfacing in the 23rd century, which won't happen for another decade or so. (Although I wondered, if she had been fleeing this identity since childhood, why hadn't she changed her name long ago?)

Una's not the only one with a secret. In the fallout from the contagion crisis, M'Benga also reveals something he has been hiding for personal reasons. His daughter, who has a terminal illness, has been suspended in the transporter buffer (she must occasionally be materialized) to keep her illness from progressing while M'Benga hopes to find a cure out here exploring the galaxy. The power used to keep her in the buffer actually unknowingly led to the compromised bio-filters that allowed the contagion onto the ship. Una pays forward the idea of forgiveness by also looking the other way and giving M'Benga dedicated transporter technology that won't interfere with ship operations. There's something touching about the sci-fi idea of this man's daughter being mostly frozen in time while he looks for a way to save her (although it further opens the can of worms that is the transporter as a miracle device).

In the B-plot on the planet surface, Spock and Pike make discoveries about the ill-fated Illyrians that show just how much the prospect of joining the Federation meant to them. They were willing to reverse their genetic engineering to do so, which ultimately led to their own demise.

What I'm liking about this series is its focus on being an ensemble character show in the TNG mold while dealing with sci-fi ideas in a straightforward TOS fashion. It remains to be seen how long the show can remain interesting while retelling classic themes. But classic themes are classic for a reason, and originality is not the end-all-be-all when you can filter such ideas through new character perspectives for new audiences. For Strange New Worlds, it continues to be so far, so good.

Previous episode: Children of the Comet
Next episode: Memento Mori

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◄ Season Index

179 comments on this post

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Jaxon
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:13am (UTC -5)
So Una gets the Julian treatment, but by Episode 3.

If TNG S2's Unnatural Selection is to be believed, emitting antibodies outside the body should cause rapid aging in others, but since that was hokey I'll dismiss it.

A very interesting but somewhat disjointed episode...three episodes in and we have a trio of 3 star outings.
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AMA
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Not quite as good as either of the last two episodes. The episode had the potential to offer an intriguing morality play, or some horror/suspense, but it didn't commit to either. The message at the end of the episode was strong, but the means by which the story got there was not particularly so. An okay episode: not great, but not bad. Intrigued to see what character is fleshed out next.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:44am (UTC -5)
Decent enough episode. Not as good as last week . . . but that’s okay!

Know what I love? I love that we’re three weeks in, and at the start of the episode, we understand just from Anson Mount’s acting that Pike went after Spock himself when the ion storm was approaching rather than sending Number One because he thinks that if he’s with Spock then Spock can’t die. No one said it out loud. No one had to say It out loud, because we know his character well enough. And also, the writers trusted the viewers enough to understand and didn’t insert some big discussion of it just to make sure we didn’t miss what they did. That last part, especially, I appreciate. I’m not sure the Disco or Picard writers would show the same restraint.

So Number One is a genetically modified humanoid. (Not human, right? I didn’t feel like that was 100% clear, but I think the intent was that they were a non-human species deeply into genetic engineering who would love to join the Federation but are barred due to Earth’s trauma from the Eugenics Wars and prejudice against genetically engineered sapient species.) I’m sure most of the people who will read this know that for years among the fandom, when nothing more was known about Number One than what we learned in The Cage, it was speculated that “Number One” was in fact her name and it was because she was the “best” example of her society or species. That she was the most exceptional of them in every way. I feel like this Illyrian, genetic engineering “superwoman” character decision is a bit of a nod to that. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn in a future episode that she is, in fact, a “Number One” among her species as far as what they’ve accomplished with their genetic engineering. A top-level example.

I wasn’t surprised at all when she picked Hemmer up and threw him over her shoulder like a ragdoll. Not surprised in the slightest.

For everyone wishing that Star Trek would tackle issues of prejudice and bias through allegory like it used to in the old days . . . well, here we go! They are now tackling it through the allegory of genetic engineering. Number One’s personal log at the end, and wondering if Pike would take the same attitude toward her if he’d discovered that she was genetically engineered without being a hero, is a particularly salient observation and commentary. On Discovery, everybody would have hugged it out, and Una would have made a log entry about how wonderful it is to be “seen.” Or some shit. Here, Una recognizes in an understated manner that she’ll never truly feel secure or like she she isn’t an imposter as long as Federation culture as a whole holds a bias against her people, even though that society (through Pike and M’Benga and Chapel and La’an and the rest of the crew who knows) have decided she is acceptable as “one of the good ones.”

This is fertile allegorical ground and, frankly, one that’s underexplored in Star Trek. For everyone asking for “new stories”, well, here we go! Genetic engineering as a sci-fi concept as a whole has been underexplored in Star Trek, I hope we can all agree, as is the Federation’s attitude toward a culture that includes values they are uncomfortable with, that has arguments for holding those values that might be interpreted as every bit as valid from a moral and ethical standpoint as the Federation’s against them, as examined through the perspective of a series regular character. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do it.

It’s quite a bit different from just another “crazed genetic superman” story. Speaking of . . .

. . . it turns out La’an is NOT genetically engineered. Which begs the question: if she’s not . . . then why? Why La’an Noonien-Singh and not La’an Smith? I think I know the answer.

I think they want La’an to be, essentially, La’an Hitler. La’an Stalin. La’an Amin. La’an Pot. You follow? Khan is remembered and reviled as one of the worst human beings in history. La’an’s character, the intent there, is that she has been conceived of by the writers as someone who has to carry that. That’s the angle on her character they want to tell stories from. Obviously naming her La’an Hitler or La’an Stalin is too charged and engenders feelings of revulsion too strong from the audience to ever empathize with her if they had gone that route; so, La’an Noonien-Singh it is, because it’s Star Trek’s own answer to that as built up through decades of worldbuilding. On the one hand, cool? But on the other hand . . . she’s been in three episodes so far, and I didn’t really “twig” to that as their intent until just now. La’an Noonien-Singh doesn’t engender the visceral gut reaction of a La’an Hitler like the writers clearly want.

So M’Benga’s daughter is ill and he’s storing her in the transporter. Yes, okay, transporters don’t really work like that. Even if they included a nod to that by saying he has to materialize her periodically before the pattern degrades too badly and essentially “reset” the timeframe she can be stored. But listen. You all want to have new stories—new types of stories—then we need to give the writers a little bit of leeway here on things like this. Because honestly? It’s such a small sacrifice for what has the potential to turn out to be a really compelling story.

I don’t know about you, but when M’Benga was giving his speech about serving on the flagship of Starfleet, about traveling lightyears in minutes, because somewhere out there is the answer he needs . . . yes. Yes. THAT is Star Trek. That attitude, that hope, that optimism, that drive, that sheer belief in the rightness of what they’re doing by exploring, to learn and find what they can to make lives better (and in this case, save lives) . . . yes.

And Babs Olusanmokun acted the hell out of that scene.

I also appreciate that his daughter might be the plot “out” for why M’Benga isn’t CMO under Kirk, but is instead serving under McCoy. It’s nice to think the writers might have thought of that consideration already and written it into his character how they conceived him.

Okay! So the plot was a standard rote TOS plot. There’s pleasure in seeing one of those play out on a modern Star Trek show, too. The homage of it. But the plot clearly wasn’t the point of this episode. They’re setting the stage with the characters, letting us get to know them before they go more for the big idea, plot heavy episodes. I’m 100% on board with that plan and approach.

You can argue that it’s possible to do both simultaneously. You’re not wrong.

I don’t know about you all, but the show continues to be a real highlight of my week.

Other thoughts: it’d be neat if Ortegas and Uhura became one of those Star Trek buddy friendships. You know, like Geordi and Data, Bashir-O’Brien, Tom & Harry. They only shared a glance on the bridge when the ion storm hit the fan, but it felt like the easy camaraderie could be there.

Pike asking Spock if he could use the records as a weapon and Spock’s response was perfectly Spock and banter-with-Spock.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:47am (UTC -5)
@ AMA

That's spot on. I'm impressed by your ability to be so accurate so succinctly, heh.
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dave
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:57am (UTC -5)
Quite amazing the character development of secondary crew in 3 episodes outstripped Discovery Seasons 1 -3

I am still floored that this series has come from the same people that gave us Disc and Picard.

This is what we have been seeking for a long time.

I know they will have crappy episodes here and there, some are 2 stars some are 3.5 stars. But damn this is a really nice enjoyable Trek series.
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dave
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:59am (UTC -5)
I guess my only big plot hole question here is how Number One was able to hide that she is not Human. All the scans and tests she would have to go through to be in Starfleet and they couldn't detect she was an alien species? I hope they explain that at some point as it does seem like a loose end right now.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, May 19, 2022, 3:08am (UTC -5)
@ dave

Yeah, it begs the question. I think we can explain it that Starfleet doesn't regularly screen for genetic engineering markers. They do at certain times--admission to the Academy, let's say--but once you're through that, you're relatively safe. After all, if you've been screened once (or twice, to be sure), it isn't like you are suddenly going to become genetically engineered afterward. So Una must have figured out how to pass those screenings. As smart and capable as she is, I can believe that of her.

It does raise the question of what species they think she is, because any medical test in the course of her service you would think would reveal that, even if not that she's a genetically engineered member of that species. Perhaps there's a "base" species the Illyrians are an offshoot from that she can pass as on routine testing. Like Vulcans and Romulans.

. . .

It's much more surprising to me that Number One has been able to hide it from Pike for nine years until right now. There was never an away mission where the landing party was in danger and the only way to avoid imminent death was to bend the iron bars of their cage, or anything like that? Given what we know of the Enterprise's missions and how their landing parties usually go, that seems more unlikely than her not knowing how to fool a blood test or medical tricorder scan! Heh.
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AMA
Thu, May 19, 2022, 4:21am (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube

Thank you for the kind words. I would simply add that I don't think the allegory need be specific to genetic engineering; rather, it could apply to various forms of 'closeting,' or hiding oneself for fear of persecution, rejection, or confrontation. My mind went to Simon Tarses and Picard's "That is not a crime!" Unlike 'The Drumhead,' however, there was a little less focus on and consequences resulting from the matter in this episode.

The episode also led me to consider one other potential allegory: although I doubt the writers intended to make any inference to the following, the scene between Una and Chapel brought to mind the restrictions that exist in many countries on gay, bisexual, and transgender men from donating blood. Chapel, like many medical practitioners, was in favour of the donation. This allegory may not have been intended, but that is where my mind went, particularly in light of the fact that restrictions have recently fallen in numerous countries.

This episode was not without some substance, and that's not half bad.
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Tim C
Thu, May 19, 2022, 5:31am (UTC -5)
This was alright. I could see what the writers were going for, but the execution left a bit to be desired. I think this may have benefited if we'd been told from the outset of the story that Number One was Illyrian, rather than leaving us to wonder why she wasn't being affected by the virus. That would have allowed the episode to focus more on her conflicting desires between keeping her secret and saving the crew, and the pressure she's been under for so long to keep it hidden.

Instead, we got an episode that leaned harder into the old Trek standby, "Mysterious Illness Infects The Ship And It's A Race Against Time", than it probably should have, given how often we've seen it deployed across the legacy shows. It still gave us interesting insights into the characters but came across as a little ho-hum to me overall.

Pike and Spock's material on the surface was decent, but also nothing particularly noteworthy. The revelation that the ion-storm-demon-thingies were the colonists was absolutely the least surprising plot twist I've seen in awhile.

A two-star outing overall methinks. Not bad but not good. Of course, the beauty of this show is that a middling outing like this is not going to have a longer-term impact on how the rest of the season plays out. Episodic format, baby! It really is nice to have it back.

Final thought: now that Number One knows M'Benga's secret, is it going to be revealed to the rest of the crew? I mean surely they'd all be willing to pitch in and help find a better solution than him just constantly tying up the medical transporter.
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karatasiospa
Thu, May 19, 2022, 5:49am (UTC -5)
for me that was the best episode until now!
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SlackerInc
Thu, May 19, 2022, 5:50am (UTC -5)
This episode was...okay. Definitely the weakest so far, but still better than the median nuTrek episode. 2.5 stars.

When the landing party is known to have only spotty communication, shouldn't each side send pre-recorded logs to each other?
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Galadriel
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:14am (UTC -5)
Surprise! The third good outing in a row. I don’t think live-action new Trek ever gave us that be­fore. While this epis­ode was no­thing special, it was enjoy­able enough to watch.

After the first few minutes, I feared it would just be another rip­off of “The Na­ked Time”, as they occur in al­most all Star Trek shows. But the the epis­ode took a turn to the better, and I liked it fo­cus­ed on cha­rac­ters and not on the rather trite Riddle of the Week.

I found it ballsy that they made Number One basically an illegal immigrant to the Federation and an impostor. Is that the reason why we never hear of her after the Pike era? Did they find out and remove her from service?

For continuity reasons, I find it problematic that apparently every­one on board knows the ancestry of La’an. Wouldn’t that have been brought up during “Space Seed”? Also, the question whether she is aug­men­ted or not re­mains some­what open; it is diffi­cult to imagine that she shares Khan’s name but none of his genes (she also calls him an “an­ces­tor”, which implies gene trans­fer un­less she were ge­ne­ti­cal­ly re­edi­ted). May­be she avoid­ed de­tec­tion like Una did. I hope this comes into focus later.

Best quote: “I hope that someone with your last name would know that snap judge­ments made on genetics are faulty at best”. Ad­mit­ted­ly, it comes in the middle of a dis­join­ted dia­logue scene, but it captures the spirit and theme of the episode.

The terminally ill kid of M’Benga was too much, at least for me. Now only Ortegas and Chapel need their own trauma, and then they can rename the show to Trauma Rehabilitation Center NCC-1701.
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StarMan
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:57am (UTC -5)
Average.

Una's log entry with accompanying soaring music was a little too Burnham-esque for my liking - ditto the slow-mo with Hemmer in tow.

Did Laan always know Una's true heritage, or are they suggesting she found out in this episode? If the latter, she was nowhere near sickbay; how did she know (if she didn't already)?

I didn't really care for the plot. I know some are giddy over the return to the adventure-of-the-week format - and I thought I'd be a fan after years of trudging through overwrought / under-baked serialized twaddle. But, this isn't really spinning my wheels either. This story in particular was very paint-by-numbers and simplistic. I just want more from my entertainment and nothing Trek is pumping out is hitting the mark. Okay and not-terrible isn't going to be enough to keep me engaged.

At this juncture, first episode was good. Second was reasonable. This is firmly mediocre. Different kettle of fish to the other series where everything hinges on how the season coalesces around the major plot. Here, we have multiple chances to hit the mark. Given we only have ten episodes, I need something to really knock my socks off soon-ish.

If this weren't Trek, I'd already be considering tapping out. Sensing some of Disco's DNA intermingled in this production - not the clean break I was hoping for. The writing has underwhelmed with overly quippy dialogue - again, not what I was hoping for. I fully expect to be in the minority here. If sentiment does begin to drop off then I'm just a little early to the party; if not, then hopefully I'll have reconsidered jumping off the bandwagon.

So for episode 3 - meh. Oh, and the Doctor's daughter. Double meh.

** out of ****
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Lt. Broccoli
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:19am (UTC -5)
I assumed Illyrians were a human colony (pre-Federation I suppose) that had experimented with genetic engineering after leaving Earth. Apparently these aren't the same Illyrians that Archer stole a warp coil from in Enterprise?
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:30am (UTC -5)
I dunno what to think of this episode, because the vast majority of it was an utterly mundane (but serviceable) Trek "medical mystery hour" but some of the final 10 minutes or so are better than anything we saw in the first two episodes in terms of the use of themes and emotionally moving elements.

Once again, the episode keeps a close focus on a single episode, with the POV character clearly Una, who even has framing log entries at the beginning and the end of the episode. Pike and Spock are stranded in a B plot specifically in order to give Una a chance to shine. This B-plot is largely useless plot mechanics, since the realization the two of them have about what happened to the Illyrian colonists is something which would be self-evident from the A-plot, but hey, sometimes you just structurally need these, like when Sisko just hangs in his office for three minutes.

Looking at it from a meta perspective, the writers played a very good bait/switch on us. We were all expecting that La'an would be the augment, and although she might have some fractional augment ancestry, that's clearly not salient. Instead Una is...and apparently an alien too? Or are the Illyrians (since it's the name of an ancient country in what's now Yugoslavia) some lost human colony? The played kinda fast/loose with whether Una was really an alien here, which I think is deliberate on the part of the showrunners. Whether Una is an alien or another type of human augment isn't important. What is important is that she's discriminated against, and has been living closeted to hide that ancestry and serve in Starfleet. While there's forward movement for her here, with several key crew members (Pike, M'Benga, Chapel, La'an) now knowing the truth about her, I love that in her closing monologue she notes there really is no closure, because a lifetime of insecurity about identity can't be overwritten because a few friends accept you for who you are - not when society as a whole does not. This is incredible allegorical storytelling - I just wish they didn't wait until the very end of the episode to get here, instead spending all the time with the magical light virus!

Other characters of course got some more time to shine here as well. La'an has a few layers of the onion peeled back, as was noted, we get to see a little more of Chapel (though she's still mostly a quippy cipher), and Hemmer comes more into focus. But the unexpected co-star is M'Benga, who unveils his deep dark secret - a dying daughter kept in the transporter buffer. This is manipulative as hell on the part of the showrunners, but as a father every time that Star Trek does these sort of things it gives me the feels - not just in fantastic episodes like The Visitor, but also in mediocre ones like Prodigal Daughter and Real Life. Babs is acting his heart out here as well, so this was a highlight of the episode, though I'm left wishing they did an entire episode about this instead.

The problem with the episode is aside from Una's character journey and the last-minute reveal regarding M'Benga's daughter everything else is mediocre as hell. This is a very tropey, TNG-like episode. The expository dialogue was quite clunky in places compared to the first two episodes, and holy hell was there a lot of technobabble here. Almost everything genuinely good happened in the third act, leaving the first two just...serviceable.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:32am (UTC -5)
Ack, should have read close focus on a single character.

Using Jammer's star system, I would say this is on the cusp of 2.5 or 3, depending upon how much the third act overshadows the issues of the first two.
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modulum
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:20am (UTC -5)
feels like a mid-season Voyager or TNG outing that's pretty good but mostly gets forgotten in the grand scheme of things. in one respect I find it really cool that we finally got one of those for the first time in 17 years and I mean, we all tend to be more forgiving to those filler eps twenty years later; on the other hand there being only 10 episodes instead of 20+ does change the situation a bit.

but yeah, it's alright, and I don't hold that against the show at all! not even the orville was firing on all cylinders every episode.
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SlackerInc
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Interesting, @Karl. I largely share your view of the greater part of the episode, but then we diverge on the last act. I really don't want that sort of mawkishness in my Trek (I do appreciate quietly dramatic fiction if it's done super well, but in Trek I think it's only happened once: "The Inner Light").

It reminded me, as someone else mentioned, of some of the Burnham stuff, as well as an aspect of DS9 that I didn't love, when two characters would go sit somewhere and talk about their feelings.
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Lord Garth
Thu, May 19, 2022, 9:10am (UTC -5)
It’s a classic Trek episode, nothing more nothing less. One of the episodes you turn on and relax to. There will be episodes like these like they were back then. It’s still way better than STD or Picard. Hope there’ll be some genius episodes though that’ll make me go wow.

What I don’t get, if you look at the old Trek, TNG and DS9 especially, there were 2~3 stories within one episode most of the time. The main story of the episode and how one or a couple of characters deal with it, revealing more about themselves, other species or social, philosophical and political ideas and then 1-2 side stories that focused on minor things but those were about character development.

This episode felt kinda like they were trying to imitate that but didn’t really know how. SPOILER ALERT: That Number One is secretly one of these genetically engineered species is thrown out there waaay too early and way too clumsy and on top of that the only verbally established friendship with Khan’s granddaughter (?) is being put to the test and she is going on about how people picked on her, then the doctor suddenly has his daughter in the buffer because she has some disease and in the end the captain said that there are a lot of prejudices they have towards the Illyrians.

Breath people, breath. You don’t have to rush it. It’s like it would be Season 1, the 3rd episode of DS9 and we’d get punched in the face with all the information about Kira’s personal issues while Odo tells us his backstory during the occupation and Dax is reminiscing her other life times. You gotta let those damn tannins breath before you drink the wine. ;) I don’t know who the writers are on this one but it all seems late millennial early gen Z, everything has to be done now and in your face, no waiting, no subtlety. It’s like bad sex tbh.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, May 19, 2022, 9:55am (UTC -5)
As I've said in the past, my presumption is they're going to have an "introduction" to each of the nine main characters in the first 10 episodes. Una needed an introduction, and this served as one.

I really wish they hadn't unloaded the M'Benga stuff though, since that would have made a great core of an episode all by itself.
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Dahj' Digital Ghost
Thu, May 19, 2022, 11:22am (UTC -5)
This episode was okay, enjoyable enough, but nothing great. Two stars.

Just some random thoughts here.

Una is an Illyrian, which are described as humanoid. Well, Klingons are humanoids, too, but Dr. McCoy was able to quickly identify Darby as one with a sweep of his tri-corder. Therefore Illyrians must simply be human augments, because, surely, Una has had plenty of medical scans and physicals performed on her over her time with Star Fleet and has passed as human. (The half-Romulan that was on the Enterprise in "Drumhead" was able to pass for a Vulcan precisely because they are of the Vulcanian species, as are Mintakans). Maybe the Illyrians were colonists from the former Yugoslavia who left Earth in the early 22nd Century...?

Re: La'An. So her surname is Noonien-Singh, making her path back to Khan entirely patrilineal. My question is: Why didn't the augmented genes make their way down to her, along her father's line? How was it that one of Khan's sons remained on Earth and has a long list of descendants? There are some interesting stories that can be explored with this character, I think.

I also thought M'Benga's story was interesting, too. Will it ultimately be the focus of this season's story arc, while Pike's reckoning with his own disfigurement be the series' story arc?
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Quincy
Thu, May 19, 2022, 11:30am (UTC -5)
The first two episodes were pretty good. This one, however, needed a serious rewrite. Too many egregious flaws to get into or this would turn into a Great Wall of Text, so I'll leave it at that.


@StarMan
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:57am (UTC -5)
"Una's log entry with accompanying soaring music was a little too Burnham-esque for my liking - ditto the slow-mo with Hemmer in tow.

Did Laan always know Una's true heritage, or are they suggesting she found out in this episode? If the latter, she was nowhere near sickbay; how did she know (if she didn't already)?"


At least somebody is acknowledging SNW has some of the same overly emotional issues as Discovery. Most other people will be too busy pretending it doesn't.

As far as Singh is concerned, she didn't know squat. That's what they were arguing about. She was indeed in sickbay. They literally show Singh waking up and sitting up in sickbay behind Chapel, who was busy at a computer screen or something. Number one then finds Chapel unconscious on the floor when the computer announces that a warp core breach is eminent. Who do you think knocked Chapel out?
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karatasiospa
Thu, May 19, 2022, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
i really liked the end of the episode did pike saved numper one because she saved the crew or because it was the right thing to do? an open question
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karatasiospa
Thu, May 19, 2022, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
and it was the closest to TOS THAT I CAN REMEBER AFTER TNG AND THAT FOR ME IS A GOOD THING
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Jessiscah23
Thu, May 19, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
I liked a lot about the episode, but it kind of felt to me like it had 5-10 minutes of footage cut from it. The payoffs didn't feel like they were adequately set up, the pacing felt very flat throughout, there were some weird bits of editing and scenes that didn't quite flow how you'd expect.

Still - growing pains, and the episode didn't fall into the traps that make me dislike Discovery & Picard. Did not regret watching!
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Jaxon
Thu, May 19, 2022, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Karl Zimmerman said:

"Using Jammer's star system, I would say this is on the cusp of 2.5 or 3, depending upon how much the third act overshadows the issues of the first two. "

Yeah I've given all three episodes 3 stars so far, but the 1st and especially the 3rd were definitely after rounding up.

I like the SFDebris method where a rating is based upon the median of its own particular show, or in this case, nuTrek in general. Save for a stray episode, PIC and this are all the nuTrek I've watched, and this is leaps and bounds better than either season of PIC.

In an absolute scoring system including all legacy Trek, these three episodes would each be down a star at least.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, May 19, 2022, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Average
Still good
Good characterisation of Number 1, Dr m'Benga
I suppose we will get slow episodes from time to time
Still, it is good
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nacho Picard
Thu, May 19, 2022, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
solid 8/10 episode for me, the weakest of the three but still good.

Great thing about episodic television: Next week we get a whole new plot.
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nacho Picard
Thu, May 19, 2022, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
I was told by someone who saw the first five episodes (press screenings) that episode 3 is the weakest of the bunch. If so, that's good news as this was hardly a bad episode at all. It felt like a "solid if unspectacular" TOS episode with modern production values. It wasn't an epic "event" episode, but it was a solid, fun, forty-five minutes of Trek.

I kind of wish we were getting 25 of these per season, like in the old days...
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nacho Picard
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
My problem with the Una revelation: The episode stakes its dramatic claim on the fact that I'm supposed to care that she's an Illyrian but I simply couldn't.

It never works when a show (any show) introduces a potentially-damning bit of backstory to a character, threatens said character with it, and then resolves it all in the same episode. The intended drama rings hollow.

In this one episode we learn (A) Illyrians are "bad," (B) Una is an Illyrian, (C) Una's secret is outed, (D) Una decides to resign, (E) Pike says "nah," and that's that. It's not a "resolution" so much as it is a "nevermind."

It would be one thing if the secret was played out in the background of several episodes and then came to a head here, or if the longstanding illegality of the Illyrians was known and established before this episode; that would have provided genuine dramatic stakes. Instead, it's brought up and resolved all at once, undercutting whatever dramatic weight that it was supposed to carry.
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Jaxon
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, legacy Trek gave us 26 hour seasons, pretty good when you consider that most of them involved some visual effects...even if it was just a phaser firing.
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Mal
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
season 1 episode 3

Ghosts of Illyria

Mal’s review before Jammer's

“I’m immune. ... I’ve already come down with it. … I didn’t tell you earlier.”

- Number One

* * * (out of 4)

A moody and effective meditation reflecting humanity’s last two years.

This is Trek’s second pandemic allegory. I really enjoyed the first one: Prodigy’s “Time Amok”. Prodigy used that episode to flesh out the character for Rok-Tahk and tackled how isolation can make time seem like it stretches for an eternity. It examined loneliness. I know @Jammer gave Time Amok only two stars, but I gave it three. If you like Ghosts of Illyria, I would recommend you check out my Prodigy review,

https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-prodigy/s1/time-amok.php#comment-90815

Ghosts of Illyria is SNW’s first Number One episode (get it!), and takes a look at touchy issues like privacy, pure blood, and suspicion, in a way that is evenhanded, believable, and most importantly - entertaining television.

The hardcore scifi aspect of the episode ending is a riff on one of my favorite scifi novels, “Desertion" by Clifford D. Simak, which I mentioned in my write up for Voyager’s “Demon”

https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-voy/s4/demon.php#comment-75176

Rather than give away this twist ending, since this is only a minor part of the episode, that’s all I’ll say about it for now.

The core of the episode revolves around a contagion that the away team picks on on a planet of genetically modified humans known as Illyrians. Federation law bans the mixing human and Illyrian blood. Illyrians are outcasts. They are augments - an offshoot of what we saw back in Enterprise ("Cold Station 12”). Like the rest of the away team, Number One picks up the contagion.

The contagion spreads by light, and so it makes people crave light. Like a junky.

Two morbidly hilarious scenes illustrate that craving - one with Engineer Hemmer beaming a piece of the planet’s molten core onboard (!!) and the other with La’an setting the warp core to breach (!!!). This contagion is kind of the opposite of the Protomolecule in The Expanse season 1, where Julie Mao was trying to get away from all sources of light. But the effect - like the effect of every contagion - is the same: isolation. Like Julie Mao suffering in her quarters alone, Number One also fails to report that she is infected and chooses to suffer alone.

The episode runs through the knee-jerk reactions we have come to expect over the last two years. Contact tracing. Isolation. Does this stuff ever work?

Only “essential crew” are allowed at their stations - appropriately distanced from each other of course. All the while Number One wanders the ship, feeling oh so guilty that she may be infecting her friends along the away. Rebecca Romijn is not as good an actor as Pike, but she does a fine job here all the same.

A few scenes really stand out as compelling television.

There is one scene reminiscent of nBSG’s "The Woman King.” People have a natural suspicion of doctors. In nBSG is was Sagitaron suspicion of a doctor played by Bruce Davison - who is always a sketchy dude.

The suspicion is far more nuanced here.

We don’t really know Dr. M’Benga very well at this point. The only thing I can really remember about him is him slapping the shit out of Spock in “A Private Little War.”

In this episode, there is a beat where Chief Engineer Hemmer, the blind Andorian, comes into sickbay because there is something funky going on with the medical transporter. M’Benga is way over the top with Hemmer. “Please stop messing around in here! You’re only making things worse.” M’Benga turns the light in sick back up. Could it be that M’Benga is controlled by the contagion? Our suspicions are aroused.

The episode does a good job of staying believable and subtle. Dr. M’Benga is after all the Chief Medical officer of the Star Fleet flagship Enterprise. Turns out his reasons are merely human. All too human (is that from Andromeda or Nietzsche?).

The second stand out scene is when M’Benga is basically giving up, and it is time for Number One to put him down. In resignation, his words to Number One are full of pathos,

M’Benga: I have nothing left to synthesize and antidote from. … You better put me out. … There is nothing to come up with. … You put a lot of faith in Star Fleet. That must be hard.

Number One: Star Fleet is right about a lot of things. But not all of them. Not about us.

M’Benga: I understand. Prejudice has kept people from helping each other for centuries with no scientific justification. And after met our neighbors in the galaxy, we found new bigotries. Human and Vulcan blood. Now it’s human and Illyrian.

I really like the actors portraying M’Benga, Hemmer, Chapel, and Uhura. Even though Chapel and Uhura have smaller roles than you might think, they do a great job.

The show is just wonderful to watch. The shots are wide open. The camera lingers. We get a wonderful view of the bridge. In engineering, the music and Hemmer’s view-screen are both just so pleasing. I love the way the show feels.

The only scenes that don’t work as well for me are between La’an and Number One. Obviously La’an Noonien Singh has strong feelings about genetic engineering. But the exposition between her and Number One is lack luster. The girl-fight is better, but not exactly epic. They just don’t have what The Orville had with Alara Kitan and Kelly Grayson.

I know that critics have said episode 3 is the weakest of the first five. If that’s the case, I am very confident about this show!

The episode ends with Pike making a judgment on Number One similar to what Julian went through in DS9’s “Doctor Bashir, I Presume.”

You see, Number One is Illyrian. She is the descendent of genetically engineered people. But unlike augments (and Khan), Illyrians don’t exactly try to enhance themselves. They terra form themselves to suit a planet - an alternative to terra forming a planet to suit people. They are the Belters of Star Trek, making the Federation, the Inners. Fascinating.

Illyrian philosophy is banned by the Federation. Number One had to lie to get into the service (just like Julian). But Pike doesn’t want to hear it. She is a valuable member of his crew, and that’s really all that matters.

Pike is the captain we’ve all been waiting for.
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Jimmy
Thu, May 19, 2022, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
I’ve skipped reading the above to avoid spoilers, but at least up to the 17:00 mark, I’m finding this much better than the previous two episodes. Why?

The complete lack of quippy humor! NOT ONE SO FAR.

The nature of the ailment (and relation to Vit D) may stretch credibility, but I’ll forgive a lot in favor of the crew acting like adults for the first time in the series.
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nacho Picard
Thu, May 19, 2022, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
The best thing about the episode is how it was CLEARLY an allegory for Covid but at no point did a character stop, turn and face the camera, and lecture us for ten minutes on proper quarantine procedure. The show didn't even mention "There was once a pandemic on earth in the year blah blah blah." None of that blunt, stupid, cringy writing. It was obviously inspired, but they trusted the audience to pick up on it and move on.

That's good stuff.
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Descent
Thu, May 19, 2022, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
Surprised to see people saying this one was their least favourite yet. I thought it was a very solid hour of Star Trek, boosted by the character work. The ship contagion plot is old hat but it was executed fine. Not as good as last week's episode, but last week's was a real winner.

The M'Benga plot is fascinating. I did think "hang on, you can't leave someone trapped in the buffer for anywhere near that long" but I don't really care about the exact in-universe specifics of transporters as long as we get a good plot out of this daughter-in-the-buffer scenario, which I think we will.
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Jimmy
Thu, May 19, 2022, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
Okay, 40:00 mark and close enough. I’m going to give this 3.5 stars. That’s 2.5 stars plus a full star bonus for literally REVERSING every bad trend in the first two episodes.

Welcome adulthood, we missed you.
Welcome Nurse Chapel acting professional.

Swap out a few characters and race names, and this easily could have passed for an episode of TNG. Granted, it might have been rated lower as a TNG episode as it harkens less to serialization, and more to “problem of the week” scripts in the early seasons. I was ready to hate this. Primed to hate it. But I absolutely LOVED IT.

Two scenes subtracted points: 1) the Uno - Discount Drummer scene in the bar was entirely unnecessary. Professionals don’t carry grudges. 2). Very minor quibble, but the scene where Uno entered the bridge with Spock/Pike on planet had a vague sense of “she’s both awed and appreciative of the responsibility of being in command”. When in reality, a first officer would take command so often for routine reasons (like this one), that it would hardly have emotional resonance.

If they can keep up this mix level, I think they have a hit on their hands. Story is turned up more, and the quippy humor is NON EXISTENT. We saw professional adults, not unstable children constantly wink-winking their way through stressful story beats.

3.5 out of 4
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SlackerInc
Thu, May 19, 2022, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
One thought that belatedly occurred to me is that this virus ought to do very poorly in terms of natural selection, given that it spurred at least two crewmembers to do things that would get everyone killed.

@Dahj: Don't be so quick to assume that people in the 23rd century are still following the archaic patriarchal practice of passing names down only through men. My parents, liberal college professors in the 1970s, gave me and my sister hyphenated names; my wife and I took it even further and just gave our two children her last name.
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John
Thu, May 19, 2022, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
What kind of masochists insisted on keeping the Noonien-Singh name through the centuries? Yeah, blah blah I shouldn't have to hide who I am, but it's guaranteed to cause yourself and all of your kids endless troubles. It'd be like one of Hitler's relatives keeping the name just for family pride.
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Chris L.
Thu, May 19, 2022, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
@slackerinc-

My neighbors flipped a coin with each kid to see whose last name they would get. I told my wife that I thought any baby girls should get her name and boys should get my name. She disagreed and fought me over it, saying that society being what it is, that all kids should have their father’s name. She was mostly thinking about things like school pickups, hospital visits, and other things where it might be difficult to explain that, yes, I am this person’s father. I didn’t think it would be as big an issue as she made it out to be, but I finally relented. Then she gave me two girls. :)

Anyway, glad to see there are others willing to do these things out there. I thought it was just my neighbors and I.
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Latex Zebra
Thu, May 19, 2022, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Yay, back to random infections on the ship. And I don't mean that sarcastically. Good to get back to this kind of Star Trek episode after a couple of Prime Directive type episodes and continues to give me hope that this will remain the best NuTrek series there is.
3/4 for me.
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Leif
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube in what way was this a standard rote TOS episode? Weren't the Ilyrian light beings a unique and original alien life form we haven't seen before. I think this is the first time we've seen tbat..Weren't the Lights of Zetar aliens non plasma and a different kind of light thingy I hope? And we've never seen bioengineering aliens who can ADAPT themselves to an environment..isn't that unique and original? Akin to bring bioformed like innthe Ambergtis Incident episode of TAS or what we thought happened to Paris and Kim in Demon on Voyager? I honestly don't give a shit mostly about Trek exploring social political issues or all that reality rot stuff...or characters bloody emotional issues unless they are alien and cool.. I Watch it for the hard sci fi and would rather they explore unique alien life forms and planets and phenomenon more deeply..so like last week I was disappointed we didn't learn much about the Shepherd aliens or the purple ppl on Planet Comet, this week I was a bit disappointed we didn't learn much about the unique nature physiology culture of the ilyrians besides the bioforming or the new plasma based species they basically eng-evovled into? What is their nature? Are they connected to the mantle on the planet that the engineer tried to beam up? Do they LIVE IN THE ION STORM?? This is not too derivstive of Kes evolving in Voyager or John DoE in Transfigirations right since those were different and not plasma based..?? I hope notI don't like when it's derivative or too similar at all. Inwant to learn more about the PLASMA GHOSTS!!
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Ilsat
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Through 3 episodes, my ratings out of 4 are: 2.5, 2.5, 2. We've almost broken into the higher end Trek. Not quite. SNW is playing it safe and by the numbers. It's also not particularly original. But the character development is pretty solid and Mount's Pike is far and away the best thing to happen to Trek in a long time.

We need a home run. Haven't got one yet but I feel they'll get there.
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Yanks
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
The best episode yet!!

Una is Illyirian???

M'Benga is hiding his daughter? I'm postulating that the reason McCoy is CMO on Enterprise under Kirk is that M'Benga is off somewhere saving his daughter?

Una can seriously kick some ass!!

What's not to love about all this?

More please!

I'm truly grateful to be part of a forum where some say this is the worst episode of the season and some say it's the best and everyone isn't at each other's throat.

Una deleting the recording of course reminds me of Sisko doing the same at the end of 'In the Pale Moonlight'.

It is so refreshing to watch live-action Trek and not get pissed off at something during the experience.

3.5 stars from me.

I wonder if Una would have had to lie to get into Star Fleet? She obviously was a "practicing" Illyrian.

All good thoughts.

I'm going to watch this again!
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skyelord
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Not bad, not bad at all. Again nothing particularly new or groundbreaking but certainly an enjoyable episode.

Rebecca Romijn finally gets some more meaty stuff does it with style and gravitas. Anson was great as aways. Spock was very "Spocky" The engineer and doctor were pretty damn good too. La'an (?) was still a discount version of Drummer (Expanse) but maybe that's her limit and cocky shaved-head helmsperson was terrible again.Uhura didn't have much to do this time round. So all in all the characters are mostly shaping up to be a pretty decent bunch that I look forward to spending some time with each week. And that in itself is an achievement.

The show definitely captures the "mystery of the week" feel of shows like X-Files, SG1 etc and does it mostly very nicely.

The story itself was decent sci-fi if rather obvious but what I really enjoyed were the smaller stories (Una being an Illyria, the doctor's daughter) and character work.

Great stuff. Please keep it like this. We don't need a galaxy wide threat. We just don't.

Hmm. I feel like it's a slight dip from last week but not enough to go below 3 stars from me. I guess that makes it 3, 3, 3. All threes.. That can't be right.
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skyelord
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
@nacho Picard

"My problem with the Una revelation: The episode stakes its dramatic claim on the fact that I'm supposed to care that she's an Illyrian but I simply couldn't."

I agree it would have worked a better if they'd left this revelation a lot later in the series like with Bashir in DS9 ("Doctor Bashir, I Presume?") which for me was a big dramatic shock. With Una it was interesting but that was about it.
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EventualZen
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
@Jaxon
>I like the SFDebris method where a rating is based upon the median of its own particular show, or in this case, nuTrek in general.

I rate sci-fi as absolute rather than relative to the show, does any body know how Jammer rates episodes?
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Derek
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
"You are deliberately missing my metaphor in order to indulge your anxiety." Four star Spock line delivered perfectly by Peck.

Overall an ok episode but didn't fully come together. I'd call it a high 2.5 or a low 3. Still better than nearly all of Disco and Picard. Can't wait for more.
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SlackerInc
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
@Chris, interesting. There's no perfect solution.
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Derek
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
Also, I forgot to add - the "previously on Strange New Worlds" is completely superfluous. They just keep showing us snippets of "here's this character, remember how you just met them two weeks ago?" It's not like we forgot everyone already, and there's not an overbearing SEASON ARC™ or a BIG BAD'S MASTER PLAN™ to keep track of. I'd like to see them cut those out and just have another minute of actual episode...this isn't Lost or BSG.
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Leif
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
@akyelord and @Ilsat why do you guys say this episode wasn't original or new..what aspect of it did you think wasn't original other than maybe some of the genetic engineering?
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StarMan
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy "At least somebody is acknowledging SNW has some of the same overly emotional issues as Discovery. Most other people will be too busy pretending it doesn't."

I suspect there's a bit of "this is as good as it gets" going on, so for those disenfranchised by previous NuTrek content, this is last chance saloon. For me, I can't tell you what I want beyond strong, mature writing with character depth and an engaging story - serialised or episodic, I don't really care. Good writing!

This feels like an attempt to capture the spirit of classic Trek, but it's still passing through the same Paramount+/Kurtzman filter.

I'm at a point where I'm happy to let it go or simply take a passing interest in it. If this doesn't hit my expectations, it's no big loss. I think I've got the bar set quite high. It's only been three episodes; I guess after the Disco/Picard run I'm pretty impatient for something to knock my socks off.

I suppose one thing with this format is we have another chance next week! But ... those familiar elements from other NuTrek productions bleeding over have me on guard.

Further comments re: this episode - I'm glad others have raised a flag regarding Una's admission into Starfleet. I assumed the Illyrians were alien. Others are suggesting they might be an offshoot of humanity? They were featured as an alien race in Enterprise, so I'll stick with alien until otherwise stated on-screen. Does her bio-engineering allow her to mimic other species, perhaps? It would be quite a feat to avoid a bio-scan from Academy admission through to taking the post of First Officer on board The Federation's Flagship.

Final comment: drop the "previously on ..." and give us a "next time on ..."
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Species 10-Forward
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
I agree with those who think this will likely fall into the “enjoyable to watch but not inclined to rewatch” category of ST episodes. Strange New Worlds hasn’t yet been so compelling as to engage my complete focus when I watch, but I am genuinely impressed by the well-defined characters, more professional Starfleet attitude, and accessible stories so far.

The light addicts were a cool trippy but scary feature of this episode, along with the ion ghosts. I like La’an but thinking she would change her name. Is La’an Hitler taken? The questions about Una’s medical records are warranted, though Bashir skated through that as well. The emotional weight of M’Benga hiding his daughter in the pattern buffer and the way Una handled it overcame the klunkiness of its place in the plot for me.

I would like fewer Easter eggs/superficial links to the Trek IP universe. Christina Chong has already provided a terrific darkness to explore in La’an without having to twist/retKhan her family history. I’d love to see her go on Maury to learn that “Khan is NOT your grandfather!” so they could ditch the inevitable villain relative storylines, but I don’t think I’m going to win that one.

Watching DS9 for the first time (this year!), other than the Pilot, I really had to keep myself pushing through Season One until I got to Duet. I’m not pushing myself at all with SNW. I think I would like it even more if not for my goodwill being so depleted by the bowel movement that was Picard Season 2. For now, I’m happy to enjoy the new ride.
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Ensign Deathbound
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
An enjoyable TOS romp. I like how they are sticking to the episodic format, sprinkled with a bit of personal storylines.

A bit annoyed at Khan being described as a mass-murderer. This may be my penchant for TOS lore, but Kirk and the others did confess to having a particular liking for "that" particular tyrant (Scottie mentions that there were no massacres under his rule). Yes, Khan was/is very much a villain, one who “offered the world order” by taking away freedoms, and who was willing to execute people in order to get what he wants once he’d taken over Kirk's Enterprise in Space Seed, but he was never meant to be a Hilterian figure.

Of course, opinions may differ, and it’s possible the schoolkids who tormented La'an weren’t as versed in historical minutiae.

The thing about the rating system for me is that the meaning or strength of the rating varies from show to show. Granted, good writing is good writing, but two stars on TNG or DS9 doesn’t quite feel like two stars on Discovery or Picard (to the latter's detriment). I find myself wanting to give out extra credit for SNW managing to hit the right TOS notes, and especially for not screwing up. “Ghosts of Illyria” was enjoyable, it was a perfect fit for the TOS format, and it didn’t screw up. It's kind of a huge relief, truth be told.

I’m going to rate it two and half Dilithium crystals; it’s clearly establishing a baseline for “story of the week” on SNW, but it somehow feels like something stronger than the run-of-the-mill episodes we’ve seen in other NuTrek ventures.
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Rahul
Thu, May 19, 2022, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Overall another very good episode that felt like classic Trek, particularly TOS. Again it's borrowing elements from episodes like "The Naked Time" and perhaps "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" etc. and this time about prejudice, acceptance. There were some minor drawbacks, though they're not fundamental. This is an excellent episode for No. 1 Una as she takes command, saves the day and has a mystery box revelation -- the latter is a device I'm not a fan of. Romijn showed she's a capable actress -- you can see the maturity in her portrayal as compared to how Bush portrays Chapel, which lacks a certain integrity and still doesn't sit well with me, though Chapel is obviously meant to be much younger.

The story of the Illyrians is decent -- trying to de-engineer their genetic modifications. One thing that is emphasized is how desperate folks are to join the Federation -- the extent the Illyrians go through basically wipes out their colony. Also I think La'an said she was desperate to join Star Fleet, as was Una.

Una's logs were OK, maybe spelling things out too much -- liked how she deleted her log a la Sisko in ITPML -- after talking about people always like to hide things. I think the writers like to make their characters hide things about themselves. And La'an says she hates being a descendent of Khan and being an augment -- why did the writers even have to go there?? The amount of times Trek keeps going back to Khan is absurd.

It gets a bit farfetched with how the radiation magically creates the antibodies in Una, the Illyrian (big mystery box reveal) and Chapel whips up the cure. But classic Trek has been known to be farfetched when it pulled similar stunts.

The fight between Una and La'an was ridiculous, though one can understand why it arose. I could not help thinking of the fight between Burnham and the Osyraa from "That Hope Is You, Part 2" -- and that's not a good thing. Also, La'an headbutts Una in the face but there's no blood, no broken nose. The fight was just stupid and unrealistic and might have just been thrown in to appease a certain demographic.

Got some development for Hemmer -- he's a character for sure and I wonder if his attitude will rub Pike/Una the wrong way at some point. As for M'Benga, sometimes I could not make out what he was saying...

Enjoyed Pike and Spock on the planet -- they're good together and a real strength of series is having strong actors/characters playing Pike, Spock, and Una.

3 stars for "Ghosts of Illyria" -- a good story here with the Illyrians though the desperation to join the Federation is a bit hard to grasp. Liked how Pike handled Una's big revelation, but can see some admiral down the road being a hard ass about her lies. I'm quite liking SNW thus far and the characters that the series is managing to develop incrementally with each episode seem interesting. It's as if SNW somehow listened to one of the criticisms of DSC and is actively doing something about it.
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Peter Howie
Thu, May 19, 2022, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
Any other Torontonians get giddy over seeing the Ontario Place pods?
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NachoPicard
Fri, May 20, 2022, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Agree with what others are saying regarding the ratings.

For me, a DS9 episode getting an 8/10 is not the same as SNW getting an 8/10

This episode would have been a 6 or 7 on DS9. Fine, but nothing to write home about. Likewise a solid but unspectacular DS9 8/10 episode would be a 10 on SNW.

It's a sliding scale. I grade Trek on a curve.
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, May 20, 2022, 12:51am (UTC -5)
I’m not going to jump on board (heh) until I’m 100% sure that they haven’t found some way to goof this up
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SlackerInc
Fri, May 20, 2022, 1:10am (UTC -5)
@StarMan: "Final comment: drop the 'previously on ...' and give us a 'next time on ...' "

Oh, hell no. I hate spoilers, and those are spoilers. You might say those who don't want to see them can just skip them, and believe me I do. But then if they are out there, people inevitably bring them up on discussion forums like this one.
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drew
Fri, May 20, 2022, 2:10am (UTC -5)
Another episode where Starfleet regulations turn out to be more like guidelines, in the words of Captain Barbosa
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C.T Phipps
Fri, May 20, 2022, 2:37am (UTC -5)
I think one of the most interesting things about the ending isn't even the fact that Una nicely subverts the "everything is good, emotional problems resolved" ending Star Trek tends to have about characters. Una saying, "I'm one of the good ones" as a way undercutting the situation is both true to life and highlights the issue. It's also the fact that it shows how prejudice and systemic racism (genetic engineering bans here) destroy personal relationships.

I 100% believe Pike does not give a crap about Una being an Illyrian and his reaction if this had come out the day before would be identical--possibly because he feels immortal but not at all because Una saved his ship. He's always been half in love with her from "The Cage" but know Pike is also the Paragon Shepherd of the setting before Captain Kirk. At least from DISCO onward. However, Una can't allow herself to be comfortable with that and allow herself to trust the person that probably cares for her most. Because that way can burn you.

I give this episode slightly higher marks than the other two that felt fairly inconsequential in terms of character building. Honestly, they felt both more like THE ORVILLE than Star Trek so I'd say 3 1/2 out of 5 in terms of my rating (I noticeably like Nu Trek a lot more than many fans here). Here, the issue they confronted had real weight and we got big insights into major characters.

I also like the bait and switch with La'an. She's someone who has gone ALL IN on trying to assimilate to the greater culture to the point that she considers Augments to be monsters. Her ancestors either had their own genes degraded or they lost that over generations of interbreeding. Her fighting Una was basically like Wolverine fighting Scrappy Doo and that was good visual storytelling. It wasn't even a contest. Una just was playing keep away the entire time. It's a way of illustrating people dealing with generational trauma.

Doubly so the accusation Una was lying due to the fact she "passes" as a human being.
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PM
Fri, May 20, 2022, 2:54am (UTC -5)
Fellow Torontonian...saw the outpost and thought...ha ha, they filmed the whole thing at Ontario Place. (The roof is in such awful repair they likey didn't even have to CGI in all the debris....Otherwise a super cool place like Canada Place in Vancouver etc.. The Epcot-like dome called the Cinesphere contained the world'sfirst IMAX theatre) Also I had my, university formal in the indoor place they were in w all the windows. So cool that everyone else thinks it was probably a matte painting or CG.
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ned the hyena
Fri, May 20, 2022, 4:28am (UTC -5)
Feel so confused by this but maybe am just dumb yena. Why everyone need to lie like there's this BIG CHAIN OF SECRETS? Una lets the mumble doctor hide daughter in transporter cuz Pike lets Una hide her true identity from starfleet cuz Uno hides Pike's secret that he's going to melt in ten years... maybe lies are okay if you pay them forward, or is it 'you scratch my back, I scratch yours'?

And is federation really so mean to not let in GMO people even if they're not evil like Khan? It makes sense that they not want EVIL EXPERIMENTS but who is to say that a person must undo what they are before they join? These people wanted it so bad they killed themselves for it so either they think the federation must be TO DIE FOR or federation is just really cruel to put stupid idea in their heads. Maybe both.

Camina only has strawberries to eat but she needs more meat if she wants to grow up and not be little runt that gets slapped down by all the other womens.

At least Una is like Captain Marvel now so can be super and save the day whenever now. But wait... if Pike and Spock stuck on planet, why even come back for them now that they finally have all-woman crew led by Strong Female Superwoman? Just say "no sorry but its too dangerous cuz these ion storms I AM THE CAPTAIN NOW."

Whoop! Whoop! Whoo-!

(2 1/2 whoops out of 4)
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C.T Phipps
Fri, May 20, 2022, 5:36am (UTC -5)
[[Feel so confused by this but maybe am just dumb yena. Why everyone need to lie like there's this BIG CHAIN OF SECRETS? Una lets the mumble doctor hide daughter in transporter cuz Pike lets Una hide her true identity from starfleet cuz Uno hides Pike's secret that he's going to melt in ten years... maybe lies are okay if you pay them forward, or is it 'you scratch my back, I scratch yours'?]]

Well protecting a child and protesting a "Dont Ask, Don't Tell" law about genetic augmentation is hardly immoral.

[[At least Una is like Captain Marvel now so can be super and save the day whenever now. But wait... if Pike and Spock stuck on planet, why even come back for them now that they finally have all-woman crew led by Strong Female Superwoman? Just say "no sorry but its too dangerous cuz these ion storms I AM THE CAPTAIN NOW."]]

This is a very odd complaint. If there's one thing anime has taught me about scifi, it is the very rare male captain who dislikes having a female crew.

And yes, that is spoken tongue firmly planted in cheek.
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Yanks
Fri, May 20, 2022, 5:46am (UTC -5)
@ StarMan

"Further comments re: this episode - I'm glad others have raised a flag regarding Una's admission into Starfleet. I assumed the Illyrians were alien. Others are suggesting they might be an offshoot of humanity? They were featured as an alien race in Enterprise, so I'll stick with alien until otherwise stated on-screen. Does her bio-engineering allow her to mimic other species, perhaps? It would be quite a feat to avoid a bio-scan from Academy admission through to taking the post of First Officer on board The Federation's Flagship."

I'm in this camp as well. We need more info which isn't a hard thing in SCI-FI.
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KDalton_69
Fri, May 20, 2022, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Little torn by this episode.

I really enjoyed the focus on Number One. The fact that she is an Illyrian, while put to bed for the moment, is bound to come back to haunt her, and, I suspect, Pike. That's why I can forgive the introduce-damning-background-on-a-species-then-reveal-leading-character-is-a-member-of-said-species-all-in-one-episode resolution.

I mean, it's not like she's a Cylon. ;-)

Dr. M'Benga's dilemma is heartbreaking. If someone is in the buffer, though, how can the medical transporter be used for its intended purpose???? I will let it go to a technobabble explanation.

No one has died on this crew by my reckoning in three episodes - not even Ensign Lance. Discovery had slaughtered whole fleets and worlds by episode three.
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StarMan
Fri, May 20, 2022, 6:58am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc "Oh, hell no. I hate spoilers, and those are spoilers. You might say those who don't want to see them can just skip them, and believe me I do. But then if they are out there, people inevitably bring them up on discussion forums like this one."

Good call. I was more about getting rid of the "previously on ..." than adding "next time on...", really.
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Rahul
Fri, May 20, 2022, 9:15am (UTC -5)
@NachoPicard

For me, I don't grade Trek on some kind of sliding scale with say 2.5* meaning something different depending on the series.

So for me 3* is 3* regardless of if it's TOS, DS9 or DSC or even "Prodigy". This way everything is directly comparable. So if a DSC episode gets to 3*, it would have had to have enough strong material to compensate for the crap that is fundamental to the series (or that crap would have had to have been greatly minimized in the episode in question).
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Alienatbar
Fri, May 20, 2022, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Ensign Lance. Lance? What the fuck did I just hear? Lance?

I’m a bit on the fence with this one. It wasn’t original enough or intense enough to keep my attention so the distractions kicked in.

Una carrying Hemmer away and when in the corridor he was basically a pair of straw legs over her shoulder.
Una tearing her uniform. C’mon, Spock’s had his shirt off.
The engineering fight. Was La’an thrown in the next room. Took a looong run up stage right.
Engineering? How big is this ship? Has anyone seen any cutaways? I always thought Enterprise was a compact ship?
Pike was little too spooked in some scenes. He doesn’t die for… ten years?
Cool ghosts. Show us more.
Uhuras cool bunk. My wife won’t let me get one.
Uhuras bunk mates. What? Were they having a rave? (Still called that?)
CHiPs style leather jackets. Cool but… Star Trek?
Leslie Hope directing. Is that Jack Bauers wife?
Lance? Ensign Lance?

I did like the transporter buffer piece but maybe that was a time for a little more emotion from the Doc and it was right at the end.

Hopefully just a blip.
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Dreubarik
Fri, May 20, 2022, 11:03am (UTC -5)
This was ok, but they tried to cram too much stuff into one episode. The plot about the doctor's daughter really didn't need to be in this. I see what they were going for but it ended up making it a bit absurd that so many crewmembers are being let off the hook for their enormous transgressions (not to mention it doubled down on the "very character has a tragic backstory" NuTrek trope to a hilarious extent by doing it TWICE in 45 minutes).

As someone mentioned, it also felt that the "medical mystery" element dragged the episode down by getting too much runtime (plus it doesn't make a lot of sense to talk about transmission by light and not EM waves in general. Why the visible light spectrum specifically?). Cutting down to focus more on Una and her society would have made this a winner. The bones of an excellent episode were here, but the execution is just too disjointed.

Still, SNW keeps surpassing my expectations. Here I feel it is fair to use "first season leniency" and allow the show time to find its footing and polish the rough edges. At this point of its run, it need not be perfect. My only request is to please cut down on tragic backstories from this point on, they induce way too much eyerolling and take me out of the show. Come on, just let it rest.
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TheRealTrent
Fri, May 20, 2022, 11:07am (UTC -5)
What scales are Yanks, Jimmy and Rahul using? Yanks and Jimmy give this 3.5, and Rahul, Jaxon and Karl gives this 3, but is that out of 4 or 5?

If I recall correctly, critics who were granted access to the first six episodes said this was the weakest one, and yet the comments here are still very positive. Mal gives this 3 out of 4. NachoPicard gives his 8/10. A couple people here have given the episode 2 and 2.5 (Ned, Ilsat etc), but generally the comments seem much more optimistic than any comment thread here for Disco/Picard.
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SlackerInc
Fri, May 20, 2022, 11:11am (UTC -5)
I agree that it would be better to cut the tragic backstories, but I doubt we'll get our wish on that.

@Rahul: "So for me 3* is 3* regardless of if it's TOS, DS9 or DSC or even 'Prodigy'. This way everything is directly comparable."

Agreed. My head hurts imagining trying to approach it any other way.
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Rahul
Fri, May 20, 2022, 11:22am (UTC -5)
BTW, I've always used the 4* Jammer scale. But for me this episode's 3* is a 7/10 whereas last week's was a 7.5/10. I'd say the 1st episode was the weakest of the three (6.5/10), though not weak in absolute terms.

Bottom line is SNW is off to an impressive start on its own (without having to compare it with DSC/PIC). When the writers' job doesn't include a season-long arc and they can just focus on 1 episode at a time, focusing on 1 or 2 characters and a certain premise, the job is much easier and the end product is much cleaner. However, I do sense some bad writing habits in SNW that are inherent in nu-Trek writers.
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Lodged Torpedo
Fri, May 20, 2022, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Just curious, but do you think Una being a genetically enhanced alien takes away from the original and progressive idea (at the time The Cage premiered) of a brilliant human female being able to not only hold her own but excel to the point that she was the 2nd most powerful/important member of The Enterprise?
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, May 20, 2022, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
SPOILER ALERT

Number One is an Illyrian? Wow. Really amazed. Didn't see that coming, and thought it was a brilliant move. Any talk of genetics immediately had me thinking La'an would be in focus - and yes, she was, as well! I loved the way the two characters' personal stories were intertwined via the Augments arc. More evidence that SNW ploughs the same quality furrow as Manny Coto's run on ENT more than anything else - something I have zero problem with.

But this was Number One's episode, and Romijn blew it out of the water. What a performance! Exemplary storytelling too - particularly a so, so welcome (and unexpected) return to 'show, don't tell' when Number One effortlessly lifted Hemmer and carried him all the way to Sickbay. I thought that was a DSC/PIC style cop out at first - but no, it was a set up to reveal a completely unforeseeable aspect of her character. And tie it back to the colonists. Outstanding.

And then when Number One accepts her 'fate' only for Pike to reject it and find a new solution - which is neatly and movingly mirrored later when M'benga accepts *his* fate only for Number One to reject it and find a new solution. And then onto the scene with M'benga and his daughter - classic Trek. What a packed episode full of twists and unanticipated character development! And truly brilliant performances from Number One, M'benga, Pike and Spock, and Hemmer. Hemmer was particularly good here.

I am genuinely stunned. And very happy: I actually thought this episode was better than last week's. The quality continues, it seems.

(The only point I disliked was Ortegas' irritating 'Tweak your freak, pal' line - which stood out so badly. The writers can't quite restrain themselves fully, and Ortegas seems to be set up for the wise-cracking role, alas. A pity. I hope there's more to her character than that.)

Anyway, a wonderful episode in my view.
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C.T Phipps
Fri, May 20, 2022, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
[[Just curious, but do you think Una being a genetically enhanced alien takes away from the original and progressive idea (at the time The Cage premiered) of a brilliant human female being able to not only hold her own but excel to the point that she was the 2nd most powerful/important member of The Enterprise? ]]

As I understand it, Number One was always an alien. Gene Roddenberry and DC Fontana had envisioned her as one and when she got kicked off the crew by executives, moved a lot of the super-smart alien thing to Spock.
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ned the hyena
Fri, May 20, 2022, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
[[Well protecting a child and protesting a "Dont Ask, Don't Tell" law about genetic augmentation is hardly immoral.]]

I understand protecting a child, but not keeping it a secret ... or else maybe problem that caused episode happens again. Can Una really say "this is okay, keep her in there" all on her own? I think not, so its like "I not tell anyone if you don't."

Same thing with what happen between Pike and Una with her ILLEGAL GENES. Did Pike say "it's okay, I will tell Starfleet as is my duty but I will defend you"? Noo, they acted like it will be their little secret which means it's not just Una's job at risk but Pike's too.

It's the lies and secrets that are problems, not the things they lying about. Did Picard not say the first duty is always to the truth or you don't deserve to wear that uniform?

[If there's one thing anime has taught me about scifi, it is the very rare male captain who dislikes having a female crew.]

Nooo, I know that, and I say it too before. Am I the only one who think Una should be big boss if she the biggest and strongest female? Thats how hyenas do it and works just fine. And does she not secretly want to lead the ship if she acting like she has authority to hide children in transporters? Plus, if she do that, no chance of losing her job cuz of her genes.
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Jaxon
Fri, May 20, 2022, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
nachoPicard said:

"For me, a DS9 episode getting an 8/10 is not the same as SNW getting an 8/10"

same

If I regrade these first three episodes on an allTrek scale rather than a nuTrek curve, where **** now means The Best Of Both Worlds or In The Pale Moonlight rather than Nepenthe or The Stargazer, its:

Ep 1: **

Ep 2: **.5, barely

Ep 3: **, barely
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The Queen
Fri, May 20, 2022, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
For some reason, I haven't been able to get on board with Una yet. I'm not sure why. I'm afraid some of it is her hairstyle , which just looks snaky to me (so sorry for my shallowness). I can see that she's a good actor, but I guess what's not coming across for me is emotional content/personality. It must be at least partly due to the writing. During her ending log entry, I noticed favorably that instead of relaxing into a chair at a table or leaning back on her bed, as Pike for instance would have done, she sat bolt upright on the edge of the bed. This told me that she's a strongly contained person, which fits very well with her hiding her true nature for so many years. In contrast, her reaction to Mbenga's confession about his sick daughter had very little expression in her voice. I can't quite put her together yet. The last thing I need is to see her as Supergirl carrying a full-grown man like a sack in slow motion. I wasn't a fan of the direction in this otherwise fine episode.

Also, PLEASE get rid of the "previously on."
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Mal
Fri, May 20, 2022, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
@EventualZen asked "does any body know how Jammer rates episodes?"

LOL. No one knows, not even @Jammer ;)

@Jammer had very solid star ratings for DS9, VOY, ENT, and nBSG (+Caprica) - probably because those were rated as the show was airing - but TNG is inconsistent, and TOS is frankly ridiculous (it was done is haste). But that's ok, cause his write ups are great. And I'm perfectly happy to disagree with him (or anyone else) on star ratings.

I did give all three SNW episodes 3 stars so far.

The pilot is easy - @Jammer just gives all modern pilots 3 stars (VOY, ENT, DISC, Picard, SNW). For me this was the best pilot I've seen (and to be fair, I only compare it to the first hour of Emissary and Caretaker).

The second episode was very strong, but 3 1/2 stars is reserved for all-time Trek classics (e.g., TNG's "A Matter of Honor"). There was nothing fundamental to Trek, like binars or the borg, that the second episode added.

The third episode dragged a little at the end, with Number One and M'Benga discussing his daughter. But it was overall a valuable addition to Trek, so 3 stars it is, though I can see @Jammer giving it a 2 1/2 if he wasn't in as good a mood as I was when I watched it.

So the first three episodes of SNW have been as good as Enterprise. But then Enterprise crashed and burned for episodes 4 and 5. DISCO didn't crash, but it definitely fell in quality at 4 & 5.

By most accounts, for SNW, episode 3 was the weakest of the first 5, so I am really looking forward to next week!
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Chrome
Fri, May 20, 2022, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
I liked this one for the most part. The light disease proved for a fun enough mystery, while Pike and Spock got some diverting buddy time on Illyria. The main conflict was people’s bias towards genetic manipulation, and this episode does a good job of showing why it could be both bad (the disease) but also helpful (Una was able to cure others thanks to her genetic gifts). Not really a breakthrough message, but the interpersonal discoveries made by Una-Pike, Una-Nina, and Una-M'Benga were heartwarming.

That the Illyrians were so dedicated to the dream of joining Starfleet they went as far as renouncing genetics at the cost of their own lives gives us some food for thought. Even if genetics were banned for a good reason – Khan was brought up through his obvious connection to La'an – it’s clear also that not all the augments were bad. Indeed, Una shows us that genetic manipulation can be practiced in a moral and thoughtful way. It’s akin to contemporary arguments about using gene therapy, though the technique is far from perfected in present times.

There were a few points segments that meandered for no real reason which makes me wonder if the episode couldn't have used another story. We’re also beat over the head by how amazing Una is, especially with the random scene of her carrying Chief Kyle with some over-the-topic heroic music. All and all seeing the crew out of its element and fighting for survival on the Enterprise itself made for a good show.
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Chrome
Fri, May 20, 2022, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
@The Queen

"Also, PLEASE get rid of the 'previously on.'"

Yes, it bothers me too. On my stream at least, there is a SKIP button for both the recap and the opening credits which I now push religiously.
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Trek fan
Fri, May 20, 2022, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
I’ll give this episode 3 stars. This series is still an over budgeted retread of episodic Trek that isn’t offering anything new in terms of plot. But this episode has a pleasant tone that’s decently paced. It’s not the turgid mess of recent Discovery, and it’s not the anxious disjointed thrill machine of early Discovery, but something in between that’s tonally consistent.

I still hope Paramount cancels it swiftly, as I think remaking TOS in this way is unnecessary, but this is the first episode of Star Trek I’ve found watchable since early in season 2 Picard.
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C.T Phipps
Fri, May 20, 2022, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
[[I still hope Paramount cancels it swiftly, as I think remaking TOS in this way is unnecessary, but this is the first episode of Star Trek I’ve found watchable since early in season 2 Picard. ]]

I mean, "unnecessary" is a weird complaint. I just find it fun and take it on that level.
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Del_Duio
Fri, May 20, 2022, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good, but the worst of the three so far. Rebecca Romijn is great.

I’d think the practice of putting terminally ill people in transporter suspension would’ve been used a lot more. I mean it seems to work, and can hold a pattern for a very long time (like Dyson Sphere-flavored Scotty)
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Capt. Kenobi
Fri, May 20, 2022, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone notice that this planet is just like Kamino from Star Wars? Genetic engineering, planet covered with water, giant domes, and constant storms? Kinda weird but still a good episode.
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nacho Picard
Fri, May 20, 2022, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
I'd be okay if they just canceled Discovery, never moved forward with a Section 31 show, and diverted the budget to Strange New Worlds getting a proper 21-episode season. Obviously Paramount wants Star Trek all year round, but you've still got Lower Decks for 10 episodes. That still leaves 21 weeks in the year, so do another episodic show set in the post-Dominion War late-24th century, something new with a new crew.
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Gorn with the Wind
Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:31am (UTC -5)
2.5 stars.

The guy playing M’Benga is a stellar actor who steals the scenes from Number 1 and Chapel (neither of whom are slouches).

I enjoyed this despite the plot holes, rushed resolution, and too many tragic backstories. Unlike Picard season 2, I did not hate myself, the universe, or god at any point while watching.

One thing I’d like to call out in particular is the return of fun sci-fi concepts, such as how the chief engineer tried to transport a fragment of the planet’s mantle onto the ship. I don’t recall anything this inventive in the 4 seasons of PIC or DSC I’ve watched, and it was just a throwaway scene.
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Bryan
Sat, May 21, 2022, 1:10am (UTC -5)
Several people have praised M'Benga's performance but I just don't see it. Someone said they had trouble making out what he's saying and I think it may have something to do with that since I struggled with that too. I don't think it's just his accent. There have been a ton of people with accents on Star Trek, but usually you can clearly make out what they're saying. I dunno, I think the guy doesn't enunciate very well, as if he has mothballs in his mouth and he lacks a compelling stage presence that commands your attention in the first place. He's either whispering or shouting and not much in between. Kinda like Burnham who has that same tendency, except it's not as dramatically effective since, whether you like her or not, Burnham at least has a captivating presence even when whispering.

This all would have been fine if M'Benga was more of a background character, but alas, it seems he is more central and you'd want a stronger actor especially if the show is now going to try to elicit pathos from the situation between him and his daughter.
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SlackerInc
Sat, May 21, 2022, 1:40am (UTC -5)
@Mal: "3 1/2 stars is reserved for all-time Trek classics"

You're saying he never awards four stars?

@C.T. Phipps: "I mean, 'unnecessary' is a weird complaint."

Yeah, "three stars out of four, now please hurry up and cancel it" definitely gave me whiplash.
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StarMan
Sat, May 21, 2022, 2:53am (UTC -5)
@Bryan

I didn't mention it, but I struggled to understand him as well - especially when things started getting technical. I skipped back in two scenes to catch what he was saying and gave up (again, I think it was just technobabble).
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Mal
Sat, May 21, 2022, 4:45am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc, four stars is not just great Trek, it is some of the best TV ever. Period. Episodes that define the franchise.

Think of The Enterprise Incident (TOS), BoBW (TNG), In the Pale Moonlight (DS9), Living Witness (VOY), Dear Doctor (ENT). Peaks so high they define Star Trek. nuTrek has none of those franchise defining moments. Sure @Jammer might have given 4 stars to nuTrek here and there, but they are mostly for rehashes of old stories like If Memory Serves.
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Tapestry
Sat, May 21, 2022, 5:28am (UTC -5)
Weakest of the 3 so far despite the interesting beat that starfleet indirectly caused the Illyrians downfall. Still an enjoyable watch.

I haven't warmed to Una and this episode didn't help. Like someone had said previously I can't quite put my finger on why. But really enjoying Pike, Mbenga, Chapel and Spock.

Biggest gripe of this episode and the series so far is why do the writers think tragedy/trauma=depth? Every character now has a tragic backstory. Does Starfleet hire based on personal traumas? Each new tragedy/trauma lessons the impact of the last one. Less really is more.
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TheRealTrent
Sat, May 21, 2022, 7:59am (UTC -5)
CT Phillips said: "As I understand it, Number One was always an alien. Gene Roddenberry and DC Fontana had envisioned her as one and when she got kicked off the crew by executives, moved a lot of the super-smart alien thing to Spock. "

Does TOS actually mention that she's an alien? I always thought Number One was human.
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Mal
Sat, May 21, 2022, 8:52am (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent, Number One was only in one episode of TOS, The Cage (which found its way into The Menagerie as the best clip show ever!).

In The Cage, Number One was explicitly used as a human female, not an alien:

Talosian: Each of the two new specimens has qualities in her favour. The female you call Number One has the superior mind and would produce highly intelligent children. Although she seems to lack emotion, this is largely a pretense. She has often had fantasies involving you.
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Top Hat
Sat, May 21, 2022, 8:55am (UTC -5)
Which raises the question: if the Talosians could read her mind, why did they keep her secret identity secret? I guess it was just extraneous info at that point?
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Rahul
Sat, May 21, 2022, 9:15am (UTC -5)
Glad to hear I wasn't the only one who could barely make out what M'Benga was saying -- the whole sort of tacking on about his sick daughter in the transporter buffer wasn't needed in this episode. It was as if that part was added to make the episode 1 hour long (for television).

I wasn't particularly impressed with the actor portraying M'Benga either and I would also echo those griping about more tragic backstories for characters. It seems all the nu-Trek characters have them -- either that or they are mystery boxes.
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JSylvester
Sat, May 21, 2022, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Where Trek Has Very Much Gone Before ---

It's okay, but that's damning with faint praise. I want to see something new and amazing. I want "The City on the Edge of Forever" or "Darmok" or "Duet" and this episode, like the other two is a very pedestrian retread of ideas that lie on a well-worn path through the franchise.

It's visually beautiful (but whatever happened to the NCC-1701 to make it the little 'garbage scow' of 1966 will remain unexplained). Some of the acting is quite good -- I particularly like Ethan Peck's Spock -- but without an engaging story nothing matters.

There's an ion storm. That by itself is enough to cue: "there will be a problem with the transporters and some of the crew will be stuck on the surface. Check. Check. Been there, done that.

Then there's some mysterious malady or condition that threatens everyone on the ship, but some single individual finds an antidote, but only as the computer counts down the percentages to oblivion, and voila! everyone lives happily ever after. That's "The Naked Time" (TOS), "The Naked Now" (TNG), "Babel" (DS9), and probably another 3-4 shows that don't immediately come to mind. "Dull," "lacking in imagination," "predictable" are the words I have for this story.

As to the Doctor, he should be fired., i.e. court-martialed and sentenced to the brig for a few years. Tossing off a serious violation of protocols with "It won't happen again" is absurd. THE major risk of going to an unknown world is that someone is going to pick up something that is incompatible with the crew's biology and threaten everybody. But "heroically tweaking the rules of Starfleet" -- been there, done that too. He's such a noble rebel ... in screwing up totally.

I figure what I'm seeing is "To boldly create content for Paramount Plus." Why else do they even do another "Enterprise remake"? I want something new and awesome, and this isn't it. I suppose it's more engaging than "Discovery" and people like it more than "Picard," but it's weak compared to the material that went before. If the scale is 4 stars, give it a 2. If the scale is 10, give it a 4.

I await something special.
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peet
Sat, May 21, 2022, 10:29am (UTC -5)
I wanted to know more about the huge ion storm the size of half the planet. How virusses can be 'carried by lightwaves'.
Then we get khans decendant, number one is a fraud, doctor is illigally housing his daughter in the medical transporter. Each one could have been the focus of an episode. But instead these events come across as a passing remark.
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Bryan
Sat, May 21, 2022, 11:58am (UTC -5)
I was a bit puzzled by the ion storms too. These are not just like isolated thunderstorms. They are nasty, deadly, window-breaking storms that cover large swaths of the entire planet and seem to occur frequently unless Pike and his crew just had very bad luck. Why would the Illyrian colonists even choose this world as their home?

Hmm... "Illyrian"... kinda reminds me of "Ayran"... coincidence?

I appreciated the "bio-filters would filter out anything they don't recognize" line. None of that Discovery BS where their 29th Century technology can't filter something out unless it recognizes it first.
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Gorn with the Wind
Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Regarding M’Benga’s lines. I had no trouble understanding him thanks to the subtitles. Ever since the LoTR trilogy introduced the “rasping whisper” style of line delivery, which has gone on to infect all corners of sci fi and fantasy, I’ve kept the subtitles on for everything I watch.
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Gorn with the Wind
Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan

“In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyrians. Illyrians spoke the Illyrian language, an Indo-European language, which in ancient times perhaps also had speakers in some parts of Southern Italy”
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Maq
Sat, May 21, 2022, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
I need to rewatch it with other glasses. It was not a wow. I did, to be honest, not catch how Chappel solved it really.

What I liked, Uhuras mixed quarter and her bunk.

Nevertheless, a free standing episode where all actors did talk.
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theBgt
Sat, May 21, 2022, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
I actually enjoyed the episode until starfleet officers decided to allow illegal actions, like not reporting Una is Ilyrian and the Doc secretly keeping his daughter pattern in the ship, an action that almost took the ship down.

The doc should be out of Starfleet. A family tragedy should not endanger a starship. After all he made it clear he is in Enterprise only cause he hopes he will find a cure for his child.

I see Burnham behavior pattern here.. and that worries me. The most ST thing would be Pike managing to persuade Starfleet that is ok for Una to be his no 1, not keeping it a secret.
Not good.
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Trek fan
Sat, May 21, 2022, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
@CT what do you find fun about this series? Other than some occasional winks and smiles, and the fact it’s more laid back than most of Discovery, I find SNW relentlessly serious and generally humorless. Feels like I’m watching first season Enterprise, not first season TOS, which was colorful and fresh.

Unnecessary is a wonderful complaint, in my mind, insofar as it refers to a franchise’s lack of creativity. Instead of pushing forward into something new, we’re just getting the TOS series format reheated with a few different characters. I guess that’s interesting for people who never saw the original and for those who think it needs to be improved, but I’m not among them.

First season Discovery was nuts and also shouldn’t have been set in the 23rd century, but at least it tried to be unpredictable and new. This episode is just another Naked Time, well executed but without the lighthearted fun. This show needs more original plots, but it’s painted itself into a corner by being a remake.
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Maq
Sat, May 21, 2022, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
@theBgt

The episodes sofar have been good but I agree with you. The apperances of secrets and conspirations are irritating. Some other mentioned all traumas everyone have had to go through. Two more this episode.

Next episode perhaps Ortega and Hemmer get outed.
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Mal
Sat, May 21, 2022, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul said, "could barely make out what M'Benga was saying.”

I suppose I watched way too many foreign-language tv shows during the pandemic that I don’t even notice strong accents any more.

In any case, I appreciate a return to a classic aspect of Star Trek I’ve really enjoyed - the obviously nonAmerican accent.

TOS had Scotty, TNG of course had Picard, DS9 had Julian and actually Odo too if you think about it. And then I guess they just forgot with VOY. ENT gave us Malcolm. DISC has the incredible Admiral Vance - I could listen to his accent all day.

Picard of course has Picard, but Christobal has a wonderful Spanish accent, and Elnor also has an obviously nonAmerican accent. That’s important if we’re to believe that Star Trek represents a unified Earth and not just America.

So yes, I do enjoy Dr. M’Benga’s accent, even if it makes it a little tough to understand what he’s saying.

I don’t know anything about Nigeria (except their prince tends to email me from time to time…), but the actor is from Nigeria, so this might be his real accent. In any case, the actor is very good, and gets the meaning across even if you miss the details.

@JSylvester said, "As to the Doctor, he should be fired., i.e. court-martialed and sentenced to the brig for a few years.”

Totally agree.

Not sure what Number One is thinking.

Maybe Number One wants to keep the Doc close since he knows she’s an Illyrian and he doesn’t seem to have any problem with that. He’ll be useful to Number One if Star Fleet comes after her (and you know they will eventually). If the short-term cost is a dedicated power line from engineering for his daughter, then so be. I wonder what Pike would say if he found out?

Sketchy shit.

Given that Number One deletes her log at the end of the episode, it makes this hour much closer to In the Pale Moonlight than I realized.
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C.T Phipps
Sat, May 21, 2022, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
@TrekFan

[[@CT what do you find fun about this series? Other than some occasional winks and smiles, and the fact it’s more laid back than most of Discovery, I find SNW relentlessly serious and generally humorless. Feels like I’m watching first season Enterprise, not first season TOS, which was colorful and fresh.]]

SNW is many things but "relentlessly serious" and "generally humorous" are about the last things I would describe them as. In fact, I've personally been worried the series is way TOO goofy and reminds me more like a PG-version of the Orville. We've got pranks, Spock's hilarious Vulcan date, Spock in shorts, Pike screwing the Prime Directive in an awesome way, Hemmer's ridiculously fun attitude, and Nurse Chapel. The cast are ridiculously cheerful at all times save a few broody moments.

[[Unnecessary is a wonderful complaint, in my mind, insofar as it refers to a franchise’s lack of creativity. Instead of pushing forward into something new, we’re just getting the TOS series format reheated with a few different characters. I guess that’s interesting for people who never saw the original and for those who think it needs to be improved, but I’m not among them.]]

There's a Penny Arcade comic where they satirize someone being upset a dog isn't a cat: https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/09/06/arms-arent-even-that-cool

Strange New Worlds exists because there was a demand by fans to do TOS-flavored Star Trek stories updated to the modern 2020s in terms of culture as well as production values. There were a lot of people who wanted this from Discovery and its production values. It is designed as an episodic feel good Pulpy story. A little goofy and a lot of fun.

I feel like your problem is not liking what they've set out to do, which they are doing very well.
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Quincy
Sat, May 21, 2022, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
@JSylvester
Sat, May 21, 2022, 9:48am (UTC -5)
"As to the Doctor, he should be fired., i.e. court-martialed and sentenced to the brig for a few years. Tossing off a serious violation of protocols with "It won't happen again" is absurd. THE major risk of going to an unknown world is that someone is going to pick up something that is incompatible with the crew's biology and threaten everybody. But "heroically tweaking the rules of Starfleet" -- been there, done that too. He's such a noble rebel ... in screwing up totally."


Hilarious. Pike violated General Order 1. He then sat the crew down on a planet with a fearsome "ion storm" raging and failed to issue the proper orders to get them off safely, when the dangers, heading, and timeframe of the ion storm were well known. He failed to have a contingency for the transporters (like a shuttle?) and almost got himself and his science officer killed. He's now hiding whatever Order his number one is violating, which apparently is so important species can't even join the Federation if they run afoul of it. At this point, the captain could execute Order 66 and get away with it and nobody would have anything to say about it. No wonder his last name is "Pike." That's apparently how magnificent his junk is.

Meanwhile, the doctor is supposed to be fired and jailed for trying to save the life of his daughter? The doctor couldn't have foreseen his transporter interfering with transporters elsewhere on the ship. He's not an engineer. That's the blind guy's job to know that and make it known to the captain. How it did interfere is something that's incredibly stupid in the first place. Why would you network transporters together for emergency power? Since transporters are life saving devices that's like networking all of your life support respirators together in a hospital because if one goes... they ALL got to go!

Why did Pike allow him to NOT upgrade his transporter if it's a critical system that has to be networked in a way that can interfere ship wide? That's Pike's fault in case you hadn't noticed. Why didn't Pike insist that if he weren't going to upgrade his transporter that it NOT be networked with the rest of the transporters? That's also Pike's fault and/or the Chief Engineer's fault. Make sure you have all three of them sitting on the unemployment line and in the brig right next to one another in your scenario.
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lizzzi
Sat, May 21, 2022, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
I have enjoyed the first three episodes. I'm just taking them at face value as pure entertainment, and not analyzing things too closely.

I went back and watched The Cage and The Menagerie (not really necessary to watch The Cage, as Menagerie encompasses it), and also season 2 of Discovery, to kind of put my mind in sync with what was going on with Captain Pike. I have all the some complaints about Discovery that everybody else does, but I do think Anson Mount elevates the show, and makes a great Starfleet captain.

Thank goodness we've got some decent Trek again. I am not going to nitpick it to death.
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SlackerInc
Sun, May 22, 2022, 4:21am (UTC -5)
@Mal: "TOS had Scotty, TNG of course had Picard, DS9 had Julian and actually Odo too if you think about it."

I can't believe you blew right by Chekov! "Wessel". 😆 And more seriously, that was actually kind of radical in the middle of the Cold War.
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Ilsat
Sun, May 22, 2022, 9:03am (UTC -5)
I guess the crew needs to return to space dock where they can be summarily executed for crimes against continuity.
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Maq
Sun, May 22, 2022, 9:11am (UTC -5)
@Mal regarding accents. I have several myself and are dayli confronted with people who do not articulate the words as the natives where I live do.

As well as the non native speaker might need to work on diphtongues for centuries, a receiver can practice listening.

I have watched several episodes of star trek synchronised into German. German is not my mother tongue it is mostly easier for me to understan them as they are better articulated. I prefer english because it is the complete work of the actor.

What I liked in Picard was Christobel's useage of English and even Spanish. M’Benga is slightly mumbling. A better articulation would be appreaciated but I like the sound of it.

A tips for those who are intrested in language plays is Inglorius Bastards.
Brad Pit and Cristoph Waltz conversation in Italian is a joy even if you do not understand it.

Regarding the characterisation, I never really liked Trip in ENT but now I miss him a very no nonsens engineer who simply just liked catfish. Malcom was also quite booring but somehow it still worked.

I have no problem with the invented science in trek but that Nr One manage to be an undetected Illyrian is not realistic. I assume this will be used later on in an episode.

but wtf, I also liked the 3rd episode after the rewatch.
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Maq
Sun, May 22, 2022, 9:59am (UTC -5)
and the movie is of cource Inglourious Basterds. I have got a slight problem with my universal translator sinc the last ion storm.
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Hat
Sun, May 22, 2022, 10:51am (UTC -5)
The episode was okay, but easily the weakest of the three thus far. The detail that bothered me the most, was the revelation that our Doctor is keeping a child in the pattern buffers for days at a time. The transporter has always been a plothole, but Trek has done a decent job giving rules to its usage... or an explanation for its unique usage when needed. In Voyager, the episode Counterpoint, Janeway is hiding people in the pattern buffers from racist search parties. The tension is that the computer can only hold the pattern for a short period of time, and the longer it takes, the more likely these people will be lost. The idea in ST - Strange New Worlds, 100 yrs prior to Voyager, you can keep people in there indefinitely is ridiculous. If you can keep people in there indefinitely, why not make copies of your best personnel across every ship? Or hold a back-up incase people die? Silly.
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Mal
Sun, May 22, 2022, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Shhhh @SlackerInc, the past is a different country. We can’t be bringing up Chekhov in these intolerant times - best to pretend the whole thing didn’t happen ;)
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JSylvester
Sun, May 22, 2022, 11:09am (UTC -5)
@Quincy -- I agree Pike is incompetent and unworthy of command. Had Una's concealed biology not miraculously saved the day ("deus ex machina" for the traditionalists), Pike would have fared miserably at the Inquiry that would have dissected his actions that led to the loss of the entire crew and the flagship of Starfleet: "Captain, you were aware there were ion storms on the planet, isn't that correct?"

I stand by my condemnation of Dr. M'Benga. Given the almost unlimited resources of the Federation and Starfleet, it would have been trivial to set up a system to keep his daughter in the pattern buffer, as Una allowed at the end of the episode. All he likely needed do was to ask. Instead, he took matters into his own hands which created new unknown risks. Messing around with critical systems for personal reasons, no matter how compelling those may be, is bad.

(But my real reservation here is that "keeping someone in the pattern buffer," is straight out of "Relics" of TNG. There's next to nothing that's original about this episode.)

I'll agree that Hemmer doesn't come off well either (yet, it's impressive that Hemmer is played by Bruce Horak who himself is blind).

So, yes, all three don't look like careful, competent Starfleet officers.
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Nick
Sun, May 22, 2022, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
The special effects in SNW are so much better than Discovery or Picard. The ship battle in the second episode is a great example, I could actually see what was happening. No shaking camera, spinning ships, ridiculous amount of blue or other cheap nonsense. The series has me on this alone.
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Walding
Sun, May 22, 2022, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
@JSylvester

I don't think Dr. M'Benga can simply ask. Technically there should be no need to use the transporter, cryogenic freezing should be able to solve problem and the technology is known to be available at the time (see TNG "The neutral zone").

That would indicate that ethical issues/guidelines are preventing him from doing it openly which would also explain his secrecy.
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Yanks
Sun, May 22, 2022, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent

"What scales are Yanks, Jimmy and Rahul using? Yanks and Jimmy give this 3.5, and Rahul, Jaxon and Karl gives this 3, but is that out of 4 or 5?"

Jammer's scale here is based on 4 stars. I'm probably grading a little high, but I don't care. I'm having too much enjoyment watching this. I guess I'm rebounding after getting slapped by Discovery and Picard.
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TheRealTrent
Sun, May 22, 2022, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Yanks said: " I'm having too much enjoyment watching this. I guess I'm rebounding after getting slapped by Discovery and Picard. "

Many comments here seem to be enjoying this.

"Picard" and "Discovery" also soured me on Trek, but I think I may start watching SNW this week, unless Jammer's next review is especially negative.
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Marc
Sun, May 22, 2022, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Not a bad episode overall, but I really hate the idea that no one seems to suffer consequence for their actions. The doctor putting the entire crew at risk like this should be completely unacceptable. And how has he been hiding this, all this time? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold his daughter in a stable location like Starfleet Medical HQ, and not on a ship exploring the galaxy encountering all sorts of threats?
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MajorMayhem
Sun, May 22, 2022, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
My problem with this series is why does everyone have such a crappy backstory? Is everyone in this show cursed or have crappy karma? Enough already.

The Enterprise is not run a ship in service. There is a hierarchy that is not followed. The snarky remarks are rewarded. That bad behavior is not only ignored but praised what bullshit.

Would someone please push hemmer out an airlock. What a dick!
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Nick
Sun, May 22, 2022, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
I echo all the comments disliking the doctor / daughter sub plot. Not only did it feel out of place in this episode, it also didn’t make sense on many different levels. I have no idea why the writers thought this was a good idea. But, it’s the only thing I haven’t liked so far.
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Bryan
Sun, May 22, 2022, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
"Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold his daughter in a stable location like Starfleet Medical HQ, and not on a ship exploring the galaxy encountering all sorts of threats?"

Yes, but that's assuming he's not selfish. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. Stay close to his daughter, give her the best hopes of survival, put the needs of "me and mine" first AND adhere to the Hippocratic Oath in general....in that order of priority. Then pray that no one else gets hurts along the way. Maybe he knows there's something shameful about it and that's why he hides it. It's also why he doesn't make excuses for himself when he's found out. He's ready to accept the consequences.
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Trek fan
Sun, May 22, 2022, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
@CT

I think glib and fun are two different things. This series evokes the glibness of TOS (the pat and carefree resolutions) for me, but not the fun, which for me consists partly in wonder and originality. There’s precious little of either in SNW. To illustrate the difference, there are lots of plodding quiet scenes in this Shipboard Disease (TM) episode that are more like Miri than Naked Time.

Which reminds me that TNG’s third episode Naked Now (much like this third SNW) was also a retread of the same tired epidemic plot, and TNG season 1 was roundly criticized for feeling too much like a retread that hadn’t quite come into its own. That was and remains a valid complaint for Star Trek series. And it’s not in fact a complaint that the show is X rather than Y, because I have no particular “Y” in mind. It’s rather a complaint that SNW doesn’t yet have a single original thought in its head. It’s a complaint of creative bankruptcy, self-plagiarism. And yes it’s unnecessary to do this with TOS; it’s quite possible to recapture the spirit of a show without reusing all of its ideas. There were moments when early Discovery had a bit of that thrilling TOS-style freshness to it before it felt the need to pointlessly retcon Spock and other old elements, leading to this revisionist prequel.

If you want a real example of nostalgia-reviewing that constantly accuses more recent Star Trek episodes (X) of not being like older Trek shows (Y), some of Jammer’s reviews will do: Jammer doesn’t like Picard (see his comments on young Guinan) when it’s not doing episodic universe-building like TNG, his gold standard Trek series. He generally doesn’t seem to care how much Discovery does the same to Spock, since he doesn’t like TOS as much, but at other times he points out correctly how the latest Trek shows tend to throw out elements/characters as fan service without them making much logical sense—a shrewd comment that may also apply to the shows overall.

Other than Picard, and Discovery’s recent foray into a distant future Federation, my complaint is that these new shows don’t move the Star Trek narrative forward into territory we haven’t encountered before. I in fact have no preconceived notion of what that territory should look like. It just feels we’re watching Reimagined Old Worlds more than “strange new” ones. Very little about these new shows is new.
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Maq
Mon, May 23, 2022, 1:57am (UTC -5)
Enjoy and embrace the good things. I feel that many of us are afraid of that this quite promising begining will screw up later. Are we just "paranoid" or is there a real threat?

I share most of the objetions that have been mentioned. How do I deal with it?
Star Trek is a fantasy product. It is also not written in a chronological order. It does also seem as if som writers and producers ara not aware (or does not care) of the fact thate state of the art in the future seems to be revritten for this past. I.e. the writers and producers seem to have some sort of freedom to change things. They do of course risk mean comment from some of the true fans.

As a public we embrace the fantastic graphics and imrovemt of the set. Why do we not complain about that STN and DIS have much more fancy bridges than Kirk had? We love these kind of improvents but it is logically a contradiction.

Yes, I am worried that SNW might lose the grip even more but I try to like whats good in everes show.

Why then all this nitpicking? Well, it is quite fun.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Mon, May 23, 2022, 4:03am (UTC -5)
Some of these comments are downright miserly.
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Dr. Frank A. Booze
Mon, May 23, 2022, 4:56am (UTC -5)
I thought it was hilarious when Hemmer was trying to beam in a chunk of the planet’s core.
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Booming
Mon, May 23, 2022, 6:07am (UTC -5)
Ok, but did he say

"It's HEMMER TIME!" ???
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C.T Phipps
Mon, May 23, 2022, 8:29am (UTC -5)
@Trek Fan

My basic view of the subject is defined with the assumption that the majority of Nu Trek is made for people who have never watched an episode of Star Trek in their life and this is all new for them. My wife is watching TNG with me and watched the entirety of Deep Space Nine because she was a Star Trek: Discovery fan. She is watching Strange New Worlds with me now and will never watch an episode of TOS so it is all new for her.

Stan Lee said something to the effect of, "Sometimes a story will get pitched and it get shot down because, oh the Fantastic Four already did that. I'm like, well it'll be new to new fans." I don't believe you can self-plagarize and reimagined and reinterpretations of older plot threads is one of the greatest things you can do with a long running franchise like Star Trek.

Part of the thing that I wish they had done much earlier was something like Prodigy because the important thing is to make a new fandom to replace the old and carry on the torch. Superman and Batman have generations of fans stretching back a hundred years--Star Trek is bound to make that way as well but that;'s because there was a Next Generation, a Kelvinverse, and now New Trek.

True fans will celebrate the next incarnation like a new Dax.
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Ubik
Mon, May 23, 2022, 9:13am (UTC -5)
The problem with the claim "well, this is new to some people" is that Netflix now exists. Instead of watching decent, fun, warmed-over Star Trek, a person can start watching TNG season 3. Yes, SNW is mostly pretty okay so far, although I agree that the 3rd episode was the weakest of the bunch, but when TNG season 1 was unoriginal and rehashed, it got (rightly) criticized. And, in fact, when DS9 season 1 was still mostly trying to do episodic TNG-type episodes, it also rightly got criticized. Why? Because the copy is never going to be as good as the original. Deep Blue Sea is never going to be as good as Jaws. TNG season 1 was nowhere near as good as TOS. DS9 season 1 was nowhere near as good as TNG. TNG and DS9 only both got really good when they each discovered their own path, their own stories, their own voice.

SNW is fine, so far, which neither Picard nor Discovery are. So, credit where credit is due. Fine is a start. But the show deserves the same skepticism, so far, as TNG or DS9 season 1. It's competently and reasonably entertainingly repeating old stories. Okay. But it won't be good until it finds its own voice, and its own story approaches. Which it might. But we shouldn't all have our standards so lowered by Picard that we mistake fun mediocrity for excellent drama. Star Trek is capable of TNG seasons 3-4 and DS9 seasons 4-5. When it gets that good, we'll feel the difference, believe me.
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Ilsat
Mon, May 23, 2022, 10:19am (UTC -5)
No one here is paranoid, miserly, or overly critical. Nu-Trek has a clear track record of starting strong before completely cratering. SNW, with its episodic format, is hopefully a different enough animal to avoid that fate. But the fact remains that Ronald Moore, Ira Steven Behr and writers of this caliber are nowhere to be found. So, who the hell knows.
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Jaxon
Mon, May 23, 2022, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Booming said:

"Ok, but did he say

"It's HEMMER TIME!" ??? "

Yes, Explorers had one of the more cringy DS9 moments.

This episode did it too with "whatever tweaks your freak" or somesuch.

Best to leave this out...contemporary jargon hopelessly dates a Star Trek episode.
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Dzumhur
Mon, May 23, 2022, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
SNW is a much better show visually than TOS, TNG, and Voyager, albeit offering more of the same storytelling as what those did. I only liked TNG out of those three, I prefer a combination of serialized and episodic storytelling like DS9, or serialized Trek like Discovery or Picard (I like DSC much more than PIC).

I'll continue to enjoy watching SNW since it takes place in the Star Trek universe and the acting is very good, but I can't really get excited each week knowing that the same old menu that had been around for six decades will be offered.
Plus, it's a prequel, which was Discovery's problem in its first two seasons.
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Drodizur
Mon, May 23, 2022, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Stumbled across an interview with Ira Berh given in 2019. https://gizmodo.com/star-treks-ira-steven-behr-looks-back-on-the-complex-le-1834401786

The interviewer asks Behr if Behr has watched Discovery.

Behr: I have not. But one of the things I’m not in approval of—I do hear a lot of negative comments about Discovery. And I don’t really get it because I don’t know the show, but I can tell it sounds like the same harping about not being in the right pocket of what [Star Trek] can be, and it’s like, “Jesus Christmas, let it be.” Change is okay. Different is not necessarily bad. Now, execution is everything, that’s a whole different thing. I can’t speak to execution, because I haven’t watched the show. But the desire to not repeat and try to do something different should be embraced as important. But every time I hear something is not Star
Trek, I start thinking, “Well...maybe that’s a good thing.”

"I was very, very, very disappointed at the time of the bad responses to Deep Space Nine. I really was shocked, it took me by surprise. I thought science fiction fandom was much more brave and bold, and willing to accept the challenge. And then I realized they just want to do the same old thing. And then with season three of The Next Generation, it was the same thing. The year I was there, you know, they were still bitching that Picard wasn’t Kirk and, you know—“where’s Spock? Where’s McCoy?” It was only after that they became the crown jewel of the franchise, So, I don’t pay that any mind."

Try something "different" and encourage the wrath of fans for its not being "Star Trek."

And, as we've seen from the comments here, try to come up with something that is recognizably "Star Trek," and regardless of grade of execution, incur the wrath of fans for not being "different enough."

Heads the fans win, tails the fans lose. What writer who did such a great job on Trek once would want to put up with the fans' crap?
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Bryan
Mon, May 23, 2022, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Maybe Ira Berh should refrain from comment until he's actually watched Discovery. I remember being skeptical about DS9 when it came out and I decided not to follow it. Based on the snippets I'd seen, the stories seemed too dark and cynical...most characters were disaffected and grumpy with not enough levity to balance that out. Definitely not what I was used to with TNG.

Then some years later my friend lend me his DVD collections for DS9 seasons 4 and 5 and I thought it was great. I wouldn't say that watching it "proved me wrong". It was still different from what I was used to. It was still darker and more cynical than TNG. The characters were indeed a bit rough around the edges, but there was more to than than meets the eye. Most importantly however, the storytelling was at least on par, and sometimes even better than TNG.

Meanwhile, some of us have watched every single episode of Discovery and, while it has gotten less bad during this past season, the show never really redeemed itself at any point. And that's because the storytelling and characters still aren't quite good enough. Ira prevaricates when he says he can't really speak to execution. But it's ALL about execution. We don't care if Nu-Trek has good ideas or unused "potential". We need to see those ideas executed properly before we'll stop complaining about it.

So Ira's counter-whining speaks to nothing but his own resentment regarding audience reception to DS9. But unlike Discovery, DS9 is actually good, has decent characters, and even better storytelling. It actually has very little to do with finding some elusive Goldilocks Zone between "too similar" and "too different". Either way, if the show is good, the fans will come around to what ever it is, however similar or different from what has come before. If the show sucks, they will never come around to it no matter what.

It's as simple as that. Case closed.
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Trek fan
Mon, May 23, 2022, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
@CT thanks for your comments, I get where you’re coming from.

I do disagree with you about self-plagiarism: People and franchises rehash their greatest hits all the time. My problem is that as Star Trek ages, the accumulation of tedium from poorly down remixes vastly outweighs the rare occasions — like TOS Wink of an Eye vs VOY Blink of an Eye — where the remake executes the concept better than the original.

So we get endless shipboard disease episodes that fail to outdo Naked Time, shuttle crash episodes that fail to outdo Galileo Seven, etc. As a fan, I watch all of them, but I can’t pretend to find the tropes as fun the 40th time out. And a lot of the Trek shows become repetitive and dull over time. First season TOS was a pure thunderbolt of creativity anthology science fiction with sympathy for the alien “other” that television has never seen before or since. DS9 found originality in a very differently formatted show that on a whole may surpass the original show because it found a different groove. I wish most of the other series would learn from that by exploring other possibilities for stories in the Star Trek universe.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Mon, May 23, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
@Drodizur

On the other hand, 20 years later the reception to Enterprise is still that it's bad. I think the reputation for Discovery among fans in 20 years will be, at best, at around the level of Voyager. It will be more liked than not, loved fiercely by some, and hated by a sizable (and vocal) percentage.

I feel like the legacy of Picard will live and die on the third season. If it creates something fantastic as a send-off for the TNG crew, I feel like all will be forgiven. It will vastly overshadow the questionable first season and shitshow of the second season. If it doesn't deliver, I expect its reputation to tank far below where it is currently. Especially as we have more time with the second season and it gets picked apart more and more.

So, this isn't your point exactly. Your point is: "Give them what they want, they hate it; give them something other than what they want, they hate it." Fair enough. And agreed. There's a ton of that going on here.

But Behr's point of "oh they will hate it NOW if you do something different but later they will love it so just go ahead do whatever you want and don't even think about it" isn't the answer either. That may be how you get DS9, but it's also how you get Enterprise. It's only when they STARTED listening to the fans and giving them what they want in Season 4 that that show became any good. And Season 4 is the only part of that show that now has any positive legacy at all, 20 years later.
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Booming
Tue, May 24, 2022, 12:30am (UTC -5)
@Jaxon
Woah, I didn't even notice that at the time! And a father during a space camping trip saying to his son "Hammock time" is kind of cute.

Still, the comedic opportunities are endless with a character called Hemmer.

"Hemmer it out"
"Bring the Hemmer down on them"
"If all you have is a Hemmer, everything looks like a nail"
"It's better to be the Hemmer than the anvil"

As I said. Endless.
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Ilsat
Tue, May 24, 2022, 2:05am (UTC -5)
DS9 is good. Nu-Trek is not. How difficult is this to understand?
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Dreubarik
Tue, May 24, 2022, 4:08am (UTC -5)
Those who I do find hypocritical are the many reviewers (for example many prominent YouTubers) who love The Orville but so far hate SNW for being unoriginal. You can't have it both ways.

Personally I find both shows kind of enjoyable but
also forgettable because they are indeed simple rehashes. There is of course the hope they can grow up to be more than that, as TNG and DS9 did, but I am skeptical because The Orville is headed by a talented egomaniac who simply wanted to re-enact and old show and SNW is headed by the worst generation of talentless hacks who have already proven they are unable of any modicum of intellectual production.
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Booming
Tue, May 24, 2022, 4:39am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I haven't seen it but the comments feel oddly similar the the force awakens. The Star Wars crowd was really depressed because of the prequels and then the force awakens came around and sure it was old wine in new bottles but it gave everybody a nice warm feeling but after a while people realized "that's it" and became really grumpy. Hopefully this will be different.
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C.T Phipps
Tue, May 24, 2022, 9:28am (UTC -5)
The Orville interesting has its own break among its fans and defenders. There were plenty of people who initially defended it as "Star Trek done right" (with perhaps some critics giving it too much of a boost) but gradually the fandom split between those who wanted to watch THE OFFICE IN SPACE basically and were irritated by Seth's increasing attempts to turn it into a serious sci-fi drama and those who felt it was getting better by shedding its comedy trappings. I'm one of the people who felt that it was in no way a good idea to move from being a Star Trek parody to more serious and Seth's handling of serious complex social issues was...."good intentioned" at best.

Strange New Worlds is something I like purely on its own merits because I want to watch Pulpy, fun, action-adventure space opera that doesn't take itself too seriously. I admit I'm generally favorable to Nu Trek as a whole with my opinion of Picard being favorable enough I'm greatly annoyed by the ditching of its cast for TNG's in season 3. It turns out that Elnor, Soji, Rios, and Jurati DID have fans and throwing them away wasn't a great idea.

Basically, I'm willing to accept the show on its own merits. More than as a part of a decades long franchise, it has to be fun by itself.
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JSylvester
Tue, May 24, 2022, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Additional thoughts on SNW's "Ghosts of Illyria" being a replay of where Trek has gone before --

TOS, at least its first two seasons, was something we'd never seen before. (I was 14 in 1966). TV was "Bonanza," a scattering of variety shows, and a slew of sitcoms. It was the golden age of comedies -- Green Acres, Bewitched, Beverly Hillbillies, Gomer Pyle, Gilligan's Island, etc. As a result, when TOS premiered in September 1966, it was unique and new. It had more in common with the 1956 film "Forbidden Planet" than anything on TV at the time, yet it's noteworthy Roddenberry pitched the show to NBC as "Wagon Train to the Stars" in keeping with the times.

In short, TOS had no competition. And then it presented a cross-over to the world of sci-fi authors. Put on stories written by Sturgeon and Spinrad? Yep, more of that, please. To this day, 56 years later, a bevy of episodes remain legendary and well-known for their compelling originality.

The visuals may have been hokey, but we were two years short of 2001: A Space Odyssey and a decade away from Luke, Leia, and Han. But that intervening development of sci-fi properties was important. Along with Trek's latent popularity, those efforts opened the door to the Trek movies starting in 1979 and then on to TNG in 1987.

But the point is that pretty much *anything* on TOS was original. It was truly a show where TV had never gone before. (I give a nod for creativity to Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" (1959-1964) and to "The Prisoner" which showed up from the UK in 1967), but they weren't "space operas.")

That's not the way things are today. There are more scfi, fantasy, superhero series, films, and other projects than can be readily listed. Each major franchise has a built-in constituency but it's a struggle for them to transcend the inertia of remaining familiar but presenting something new and compelling.

As an example, I think Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back, and Rogue One were very good, but that the rest of the films are trash. How many times can you blow up another death star, or death moon, or death whatever? The temptation to fall into well-worn formulas that have not just worked, but that have sold at the box office (it's very important) is huge.

But Star Wars is doing some interesting things with its streaming shows on Disney+. "The Mandalorian" feels different and new. I've enjoyed it tremendously.

Another example of novelty is what the folks at Marvel Entertainment are doing with the MCU. I think the their streaming shows, especially "Wandavision" and "Loki" are tremendous. They are MCU -- but then they're not. They are both fresh novel takes on a foundation of the several dozen films.

So how does Star Trek: Strange New Worlds compare to that competition? I'm concerned that rather than bringing a new approach to the Trek franchise, Kurtzman and Goldman are falling into the trap of "It worked before, let's give them more of that -- only with updated visuals."

There are times one can get away with telling old stories again, only with a new flair. Shakespeare was great at it. But if it's just another death star, just another "save the earth from yet another alien invasion" (consider the epitaph on Buffy's grave; "She Saved the World, A Lot"), it can get predictable and tiresome.

Squeezing yet another show into the timeline, Stardate whatever, with characters that have been presented before, in some cases three times but by different actors, with the same premise as TOS ("to boldly go .. etc.) seems risky. But I'll only give up when Pike encounters the warrior Clangons, establishes a "Negative Zone" as a buffer to the Remulans, and discovers a stable wormhole next to a planet named "Been There."
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Ilsat
Tue, May 24, 2022, 10:59am (UTC -5)
JSylvester, good stuff.
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Jaxon
Tue, May 24, 2022, 11:27am (UTC -5)
I wanted a show that was set immediately after DS9/VOY ended. LOts of stories to tell there by competent writers.

There are two shows that are set then, but they are the animated Star Trek: Urkel and the pixarish Star Trek: Goonies.

No thanks.
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Kevin Nostrand
Tue, May 24, 2022, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
This show sucks.
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Swayvish
Tue, May 24, 2022, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
JSylvestor, a lot of truth in your post. I'm a little younger than you and really became aware of Trek during it's resurgence in syndication in the 1970s.

For that time, your expectations for VFX on TV were pretty low because even feature films struggled with presenting sci-fi realistically. But you could suspend your disbelief and say , "yeah, but the story was so good!" Nowadays we get much more "the story wasn't that great, but did you see how cool it looked?"

Admittedly, all the Trek shows in the past struggled in their 1st seasons to find their footing, but it seems the current showrunners can't decide on what they THINK Trek should be for a 21st century audience. It's odd, because you have decades worth of a framework for Trek--just tell GOOD stories--everything else is already in place.
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Lynos
Tue, May 24, 2022, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
The best episode of the show so far. I really liked that one. Yeah, it's a riff on the "virus on the ship" trope and No. 1 is suddenly something else than a human (bold move or stupid move, you decide), but the character work is excellent here and Rebecca Romijn nails it. Also the final revelation with Dr. M'banga and how it ties to the ship's crisis is both clever and touching.

Sure, there are nitpicks, when aren't there any? The solution to the problem was not done by deduction but by coincedence, and I wish Pike wrestled with his decision to go against Starfleet protocol at least a couple mintues more. I know he isn't Picard and his style of command is much looser, but still...

The scenes with him and Spock on the planet worked because if the dynamic between the characters and less because of the weak peril aspect. I enjoy seeing the show explore their relationsip since Pike would inspire Spock in the future to steal a spaceship and risk a cout martial. That's gotta be some serious loyalty and showing how it's built is an opportunity this show must not waste.
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Jammer
Tue, May 24, 2022, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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Chris
Tue, May 24, 2022, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
The real highlight for me is that in 3 epsiodes they made the crew more likable, relatable and interesting than "Discovery" has managed to in 4 seasons. Not to speak of the atrocity "Picard" has become.
I really enjoyed each episode so far!
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C.T Phipps
Tue, May 24, 2022, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
[[It's odd, because you have decades worth of a framework for Trek--just tell GOOD stories--everything else is already in place. ]]

Star Trek's various series wildly vary and are completely different in format as well as style. TOS to TNG to DS9. The attempts to do something similar to TNG was also one of the biggest criticisms of ENT and VOY.

Every Trek is unique and the better for it.
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nacho Picard
Tue, May 24, 2022, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
I appreciate Jammer describing the show as TNG's emphasis on the crew combined with TOS' emphasis on a pulpy sci-fi story. It's basically what the first two seasons of TNG tried to be but never quite nailed the execution, either because the overall trappings were too kitschy (TNG s1) or the writing was too ham-fisted (much of TNG s2). The show got much better starting with Michael Piller and season 3 but that came at the cost of making the show crew first, plot second, almost on a 70-30 ratio. The plot of the week was typically of secondary concern to the character-driven story. It made for good TV but, again, at the expense of it being pure, pulpy sci-fi.

TOS, on the other hand, was usually plot over character, on a 70-30 ratio going the other way. An episode strictly about one of the crew, like Amok Time, was rare, just like an episode purely about the plot was rare on TNG after season 2 (something like Yesterday's Enterprise).

Strange New Worlds seems to be trying to hit a 50-50 balance between character and plot. I commend them for it and hope it continues.
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Sven
Wed, May 25, 2022, 1:32am (UTC -5)
I haven't seen anything of SNW (no Paramount+ here in my neck of the woods), but judging by Jammer's scores, the show seems on a streak Picard hasn't had over the past two seasons. Maybe something to look forward to once they decide to bring Paramount+ or some of its content to Belgium. I'm even concidering to put on my eye patch again (which I haven't worn since the late days of Enterprise). Nudge nudge, wink wink.
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PM
Wed, May 25, 2022, 1:59am (UTC -5)
In other words, this series continues to delight anti-nu-Trek fanatics because they are FINALLY being served up EXACTLY what they seem to want...exactly how Star Trek was, right "before it started to suck" (NO substitutions) somewhere between Season 1 of TOS and ...Season 1 of TOS, all of DS9 (as if "Move Along Home" or "Let He Who Is Without Sin" never existed) + m a y b e WOK even that might be snubbed for being too woke for some reason 🤣
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PM
Wed, May 25, 2022, 2:01am (UTC -5)
Anyway, I loved this episode too..SNW really is joyful, well-thought out TV. But so are Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks...sometimes.
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Tim C
Wed, May 25, 2022, 2:23am (UTC -5)
Jammer, your review got me thinking. How much of our positivity for SNW thus far has been its return to the episodic format after Disco and PIC have overloaded us with padded serialisation?

You could potentially call it "format fatigue". I went back and read over your first-season recap for Enterprise, and I'm wondering how much of this you're going to be able to copy-and-paste when we get to the end of SNW's debut:

"Thus, I suppose one theme for this freshman season of Trek's fifth series is Derivative Plots Decently Executed. Lots of mediocre, middling, or kinda/pretty-good episodes; only a handful of obvious clunkers or reaches for excellence. Reading over the capsule reviews seen above, I notice the high frequency of phrases like "another routine plot" or "standard-issue plot" or "ho-hum plot" and so forth. I almost want to go back and rewrite so I don't sound so much like a broken record. But, no — that would be dishonest, methinks; if I had that recurring qualm with the shows this year, the brief recaps should reflect as much.

So, then. If there's an obvious drawback to Enterprise right now, it's that many stories feel like they've been done before. But of course they have; before the cameras for Enterprise even started rolling there were already 24 seasons of Star Trek in the can, which, without wasting time on precise arithmetic, I quickly estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hours, all of which I've seen at least once (and in most cases more than once). That's kinda scary.

Anyway, the point is: There probably is very nearly no such thing as a new plot. There are only plots that seem new. Part of why I liked "Shockwave" is that it felt fresh and interesting, despite the fact time travel has been done about a million times. So I guess what Enterprise should have as a goal is to seem new and interesting as often possible."

This was always going to be the biggest hurdle for a new episodic Trek series to get over, and I'm not yet convinced that SNW is going to. I *do* think they are doing a better job of fleshing out a cast of interesting characters (albeit, only based on three episodes' worth of evidence).

But maybe it's a lower bar to clear for SNW that it was for ENT, which was continuing an unbroken, 14-year streak of episodic Star Trek that was clearly running on creative fumes by the time VOY ended. Maybe the simple fact we've had nearly twenty years' break from the format will be enough to keep this show feeling fresher, longer?

Should this show continue for years, I think I would like to see an approach more akin to ENT's fourth season, where we get some longer-form stories that use the extra time to dive a bit deeper, while still having some one-offs. We don't need an entire season of serialised storytelling, but neither do we need to lock ourselves down to just 45-minutes-and-done.
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Bryan
Wed, May 25, 2022, 2:27am (UTC -5)
I don't understand the fixation with TOS, unless one was raised on it all those many years ago and looks back fondly on it with rose-tinted nostalgia...

Not saying it's terrible necessarily but it never appealed to me particularly, I think mainly because I'm just not from that generation. And I suspect that most fans that are still alive and well resonate more with the TNG/DS9/VOY era. So I'm a bit puzzled when people talk as if the critics of nu-Trek really just want to go back to the days of TOS and relive that nostalgia. I think they just want good stories, good science fiction and good characters, even if they're new ones.

It may appear as if the showrunners are propagating this misconception too, with the revival of all these legacy TOS characters but I'm not sure if it's intentional. All they're really doing is repeating formulas that worked before and keeping what continues to work and subtracting what doesn't. A lot of people seemed to gravitate toward Abrams films so they tried to replicate that success with mixed results. They rightfully doubled down on aspects that people responded positively to (Pike) and tried to improve upon some of the things that didn't work so well.

Maybe there really is some appeal to legacy characters and repeating what's familiar, but it's not as if this is precisely what fans demanded in the first place and then the showrunners granted their wish. All this is incidental because everything we are seeing were the showrunners' ideas first, and merely refined later based on feedback. It could just as well be that the more original ideas comparatively sucked and so the audience gravitated to the familiar not because they demanded the familiar, but because those aspects were less bad than the alternative offerings. Do you understand what I mean?
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Sven
Wed, May 25, 2022, 3:54am (UTC -5)
"In other words, this series continues to delight anti-nu-Trek fanatics because they are FINALLY being served up EXACTLY what they seem to want...exactly how Star Trek was, right "before it started to suck" ...."

I'm not anti-NuTrek per se, I just don't think it's that good. It's very hit and miss. Classic Trek was hit and miss too, but almost all the time there was a sense of wonder and intrigue and - dare I see - [think Spock] fascination. I din't feel that - at all - in PIC-S2, and only sporadically in S1 (like with the giant flower thingies in the final episodes). Discovery has a slightly better - visual - track record in that regard. But all the NuTrek shows up till now miss the intellectual complexity that Classic Trek brought to the table. The issues addressed in NuTrek are valid enough, but handled too much 'on the nose' and over simplified.

The problem with serialization is that if you don't like the basic premise, you're not likely to start appreciating the rest of a season. I think a serialized season is much harder to pull off than an episodic one. Season 2 of Picard in my opinion could have been better if they had sliced some of the plotlines into separate episodes. There probably would have been a stinker among the episodes as well, but at least the storytelling could have profited from it. In clarity, that is.

I'm basing my opinion on what I've actually seen of course and I haven't been able to see DIS S4, Prodigy or NSW.
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John Harmon
Wed, May 25, 2022, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Doesn't the crew here knowing who Khan was make the entire Enterprise crew in Space Seed look like morons for not immediately knowing who he was? Especially Spock?
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Jason R.
Wed, May 25, 2022, 8:37am (UTC -5)
"Doesn't the crew here knowing who Khan was make the entire Enterprise crew in Space Seed look like morons for not immediately knowing who he was? Especially Spock?"

My recollection from Space Seed was that Spock did figure it out pretty quickly. Khan didn't give them much to go on other than his first name.
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TheRealTrent
Wed, May 25, 2022, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
I was curious to see how Jammer historically ranked the first 3 episodes of Trek. Unless my math is wrong, if you combine ENT, TNG, DISCO, PICARD, VOYAGER, TOS and DS9, Jammer has reviewed 34 seasons of Trek.

Within these 34 seasons, 7 seasons start with 3 episodes which he's given higher ratings than he gave to the first three episodes of SNW (2 for Voyager, 2 for TNG, 3 for DS9, none of which were first seasons).
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Quincy
Wed, May 25, 2022, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
Not sure where to post this so I'll post it here. Does Jammer have any plans to make a forum for the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series? I think it premieres in 2 days.
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Jammer
Wed, May 25, 2022, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
No plans for that. There was very limited interest even in The Mandalorian, so I think the experiment for Star Wars shows on this site ended there.
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Quincy
Wed, May 25, 2022, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Okay. Thanks for replying, Jammer.
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Mike
Wed, May 25, 2022, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
I really like this show so far. Love the sets, the costumes and the look. It feels very fresh and very vintage Trek at heart. I think it is much better so far than Discovery or Picard. In this new batch of shows..
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Leif
Wed, May 25, 2022, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
JAMMER How can you say this episode is not original..don't you thinkntje plasma based ion storm lifeforms are a unique and original alien life forms..andnthw new twist on green etic engineering of having ppl.adapt themselves to different environments?? GUYS aren't these things original and make this an original story and not just a retelling of classic Trek like Jammer suggests?
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Shannon
Wed, May 25, 2022, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Great review, Jammer! I wasn't as on the edge of my seat with this episode, but as Jammer said, it was a good remake of some classic Trek themes. The special effects are Hollywood blockbuster movie quality, so I continue to enjoy that. I love Rebecca's portrayal of Number One, and the relationship she has with La'an that is now a bit strained. I can't say I was a big fan of the whole M'Benga keeping his daughter in the transporter storyline. That actually flies in the face of TNG canon, where we learned that unless you are an engineering genius like Scotty, you can't stay in the buffer longer than a few minutes. Anyway, I can tolerate that, because it's an emotional subplot that allowed for a nice scene of pay it forward forgiveness with Number One... I agree with the 3 stars. This series is off to a great start!
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Quincy
Thu, May 26, 2022, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon
Wed, May 25, 2022, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
"I can't say I was a big fan of the whole M'Benga keeping his daughter in the transporter storyline. That actually flies in the face of TNG canon, where we learned that unless you are an engineering genius like Scotty, you can't stay in the buffer longer than a few minutes."


All that was stated was Jordie and Riker were surprised that someone could survive for 75 years inside a transporter buffer. No one said anything about only being able to survive for a few minutes. The other dude died not because this was an impossible feat, but because the ship was massively damaged and one of the inducers failed suddenly when Scotty was materialized causing his pattern to degrade.

In fact, "Realm of Fear" a couple of episodes before "Relics" indicates that something similar happened accidentally when the crew of the Yosemite became trapped inside the transporter for days and possibly weeks. I don't recall either episode stressing that it should've happened for only a few minutes, just that people surprised it could happen.
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, May 27, 2022, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Smashing. I do get the feeling that someone finally said “Ok enough is enough. I wanna do a REAL Star Trek Show.” And it seems they got their wish. Thank you, mystery person, this is quite good.

If anyones interested, here’s a random bit of trivia; there was a post-TOS show called Space 1999 in the 70’s, a “Trek-Alike” if you will. The 2nd episode of the show had this same plot device, where the crew starts to contract a disorder that makes them addicted to light. So, it’s not only a classic Trek plot (disease which makes crew crazy), but also a homage to this actually fairly good show, which only ran for two series on the BBC.
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TheProfessor
Sat, May 28, 2022, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Good 3rd episode, though not as good as the first two.

I don't find Number One to be an interesting character.

I can't understand a word the Doctor says.

The rest though, pretty good!
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SlackerInc
Sat, May 28, 2022, 8:51am (UTC -5)
I too really appreciated @JSylvester's post, and am excited to see someone who basically agrees with me about Star Wars movies (although I also thought Revenge of the Sith was pretty good).
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mosley
Sat, May 28, 2022, 5:46pm (UTC -5)
I found this episode really fascinating in a very special way. And that is :

I did not care for the plot. The quantity of recycled trek tropes was just a bit too much for me.

But did I still enjoy the episode? Yes, I did. And that's because it's a good cast, good actors, likeable characters and an ensemble approach where the entire show does not rest on the shoulders of a single character (that you may or may not like).

This episode wonderfully proves how a strong ensemble can equalize plot weaknesses. It reminded me a lot of TNG in that regard. Lots of TNG episodes have plots that I don't much care for. But I enjoyed them anyway, because I like the ensemble so much. Not interested in the nebula of the week? Whatever, hey, look, a nice Data/LaForge moment!

That's how this works. That's why voyager, despite the many rightful critiques regarding the plots always was also enjoyable for me (and seems to be among the most rewatched trek despite its many conceptual weaknesses). It's not even the best cast with the best characters. But it always had a very natural, effortless feel to it in that regard. Same for DS9. Not so much enterprise.

Makes me really optimistic. Dare I say, the cast alone may get me through the surely coming weaker plots. It's the same people who did Picard and DSC after all. But if the cast stays as likeable as it is right now - I don't dare.

Now if only, please pretty please, the writers resist from stuffing some forced "trauma in the past" BS into every single character. It's clearly their go to mechanic to produce character depth, and you can already see traces of that trope here. I hope they realize that this cast is strong enough to not need these forced character depth placebos. These characters are fine the way they are. Let them grow naturally over time.

Pretty please. Don't jinx this with DSC style "everybody gets his personal PTSD" crap. It's not needed!
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Elise
Sat, May 28, 2022, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
This... 5 years of New Trek and this is the first new episode to crack my top 10. Not only do we see amazing character interaction that actually feels earned and fleshes out classic characters, but the jeopardy premise is handled in a way that let's everyone be reasonably confident and professional. That would get it a 3.5 star rating from me, but Una's final log entry and her explicit interrogation of the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" style of diversity inclusiveness is incredible. Among our heroes so far, IDIC has too often meant "infinite diversity if capable". Examples- It's ok to have a physically blind engineer because he uses a VISOR that lets him actually see better than a sighted person would. It's ok to have an Augment doctor because he's so valuable he can't be lost. It's ok to have an autistic cadet because she's also a world-class genius. And when the franchise shows us someone who isn't so competent to overshadow their disabilty, they're a mockery of the people they represent in-story, like Barclay.

By daring to ask if she would still be accepted if her biological distinctiveness wasn't what saved the day, Una is doing more for inclusion than any token representation. Ironic for a character who was originally just "the woman XO who's so tough she doesn't count as a woman". This gets my vote as best episode of new Trek, and I really think it's cracked my top 10.
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MidshipmanNorris
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Has anyone noticed how blastingly alive with color this show is? That may be my favorite part.

Is it too soon to say Star Trek: Outta The Darkness? Maybe.

Is this a good set of eps of Trek? Yes definitely.
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Ilsat
Mon, May 30, 2022, 11:05am (UTC -5)
I see your point Elise. But I should ask this - shouldn't everyone on the flagship of Starfleet represent the very best and brightest, IRRESPECTIVE of background, race or other diversity factors? Do I want diversity on Seal Team 6? If I'm an Amazon investor, do I want Bezos's "warroom" - those elite few who must solve "bet the company" level problems - comprised of diversity picks. For those best-of-the-best positions, just like the few hundred out of probably millions serving on the Enterprise, I want competency and skill above all else.

That doesn't mean a candidate with identical scores, leadership qualities, etc. to others, but who also has a unique point of view because of their species's tendencies, wouldn't be a logical choice for a mission to encounter galactic unknowns. But it does mean that flounder shaped, methane breathing, pan-sexual pacifist better be insanely good at math, or diplomacy, or making out with alien representatives. That last quality is reserved for the top brass of course.
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zanki
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
@TheProfessor

Agreed, I find the big plot twist with Una as more detrimental than interesting, it feels like a Julian Bashir light and a plot trope that seems to be the ''soup du jour '' for trek in general, it's like Kurtzman and Goldman have this obsession over everything Khan (ST Picard , Khan project reference) and super beings.
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TheBonesOfMyPeople
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Good not great. Would have been much better without the main plot, which as many have pointed out, is nothing new at all. But the revelations about the characters are some MAJOR reveals that are mixed in as subplots. Why? The fact that the first officer is an Ilyrian or the Dr. is hiding his terminally ill child in the transporter buffer - these are stand alone episodes. Imagine if the way we found out Data built a daughter was because some virus was taking over the ship and they searched his room and found her and just briefly commented on it as an afterthought. That's kind of what this episode felt like.
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Chrome
Sat, Jun 4, 2022, 11:50am (UTC -5)
Ah, too bad to hear Jammer's not reviewing Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's really good so far. The prequels (and sequels) always lacked detailed depictions of what Jedi and Sith beliefs are and so far Obi-Wan is doing very well telling us that part of the story while being a ton of fun.

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