The Star Trek franchise has produced some iconic television over its long history. Since the first utterance of “Space, the final frontier,” we’ve seen the adventures of Kirk and Spock, the triumphant return of the franchise under Captain Picard, the darker storytelling of Deep Space Nine, and everything that followed. However, according to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds tops it all.
Star Trek: The Original Series is an important piece of American television, not just science fiction. It’s a quintessential piece of 1960s kitsch that perfectly encapsulates the hopes and dreams of those living thought the Cold War. Star Trek: The Next Generation also became a cultural touchstone, with Krik’s confrontational style replaced by Picard’s more cerebral diplomacy. As Generation X audiences became jaded throughout the 1990s, Deep Space Nine became darker and grittier, further removed from the original vision of creator Gene Roddenberry.
Many might say that the franchise peaked with Deep Space Nine, as Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery have all received mixed reviews. Discovery, the first Star Trek show to debut on Paramount+, in particular got a lot of criticism for how it updated the Star Trek formula, dispensing with much of what had worked so well for so long. Star TreK: Picard has likewise gone in new directions, and was spared much of the wrath directed at Discovery because of the nostalgia factor.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds returns to the classic Star Trek formula
With Anson Mount (Captain Pike) and the Enterprise crew receiving such a joyous welcome from Star Trek fans during their time on Discovery, Paramount got the message that viewers missed the classic Trek style and finally gave audiences what they wanted: Strange New Worlds.
Overly relying on nostalgia can be dangerous for any franchise. However, the tactic seems to have paid off for Star Trek, with Rotten Tomatoes revealing that Strange New Worlds is the highest-rated Star Trek show of them all by critics. While there have only been two episodes so far — things could change — it’s still an impressive achievement.
- 98%: Strange New Worlds
- 93%: Prodigy
- 91%: The Next Generation
- 91%: Deep Space Nine
Rotten Tomatoes scores are an average of critics’ responses to a show. Audience reaction is gauged separately. Interestingly, the audience scores for Trek series are quite different, although Strange New Worlds still performs respectably:
- 89%: The Original Series
- 89%: The Next Generation
- 87%: Deep Space Nine
- 86%: Strange New Worlds
Prodigy, meanwhile, only receives an audience approval rating of 73%.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is off to a stellar start, but whether audience reception will remain as strong for the rest of the season remains to be seen. In any case, Paramount has such confidence in the show that season 2 was confirmed before the first had even aired!
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds continues every Thursday on Paramount+.