Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had a pair of surprise announcements at San Diego Comic-Con today. First, the show is stepping out of its weekly release schedule with a new episode tonight — a crossover with Star Trek: Lower Decks will debut on Paramount Plus in a few minutes, at 7PM ET, Deadline reports. And that’s not all — the series is also getting a musical episode in early August called “Subspace Rhapsody.”
Deadline points out that this is the first musical episode in Star Trek history, and the publication isn’t wrong, but the franchise has boldly gone there before… sort of. There was a Deep Space Nine episode, called “Chrysalis,” where a group of eccentric, genetically-engineered people break out into an a capella song after one of them has an operation to restore her speaking voice.
It looks like the tone of that DS9 sequence is basically going to be this entire episode, from the delightfully silly teaser:
The updated release schedule for the season, per Deadline, is now:
Saturday, July 22 – Episode 207, “Those Old Scientists”
Thursday, July 27 – Episode 208, “Under the Cloak of War”
Thursday, August 3 – Episode 209, “Subspace Rhapsody”
Thursday, August 10 – Episode 210 (Season Finale), “Hegemony”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is my favorite live-action Trek series since Deep Space Nine. Anson Mount is a perfectly charming stand-in for Captain Kirk, Ethan Peck is settling into his Spock role nicely, and the introduction of Carol Kane this season as a new species of long-lived, I-don’t-have-time-for-your-shit engineer is inspired.
But beyond the characters, the show has done a great job taking the series back to its episodic filler TV format, with moral parables or entertaining jaunts that tie up (mostly) neatly at the end, while also setting up continuity that the show reliably comes back to later. It’s not perfect — sometimes, the crew gets itself out of a tight spot with too-convenient coincidences or remarkable and unjustified logical leaps — but it can feel like a breath of fresh air after Discovery and Picard each explored a darker version of Trek, with more intrigue and a perhaps more cynical take on the potential for mankind to really shake its darker impulses.
That’s not to say there’s no place for that in Trek, and both shows are good, even great, in their own right, but it’s nice to get back to an old-timey version of the space drama that doesn’t take itself so seriously all the time.