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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2.9

The Operetta

By Paul LevinsonPublished 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 3 min read

Here's my one-line, non-spoiler review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2.9, which was, literally, an operetta: I liked a lot of it.

[And there are spoilers ahead ... ]

Here's more:

I thought the story was excellent, ingenious, and original: the Enterprise encounters some kind of quantum force-field that has the effect of making the crew put into song their most personal thoughts. The addition of the Klingons added more tension to the story, and their singing number was actually pretty good.

I'll get to the singing of our crew in a moment. But sticking with the story, the resolution, of sorts, of the romantic attractions/relationships of La'an/James T. Kirk, and Chapel/Spock was powerful narrative, and fine writing and acting, but I would have rathered see both relationships go in a more positive direction. In particular, James T. Kick didn't have to be already involved in a relationship with Carol, who is pregnant, and Chapel need not have seen her upcoming time away from the Enterprise as ending her relationship with Spock (though, I suppose, maybe it's possible that she doesn't). As I've said before, I'm a hopeless romantic. And it seems that Strange New Worlds, encumbered by what we know of the future of these characters from the original Star Trek -- which is, no relationship between Spock and Chapel, and James T. Kirk not being attached to Carol, La'an, or anyone -- had no choice but to put the brakes on these budding relationships on the Enterprise under Pike. Speaking of which, it was good to see his relationship still on track with Captain Marie Batel (Pike's future in the original series certainly doesn't preclude that). And it was great as always to see James T. Kirk on the Enterprise, in any case.

Now as to the songs. I thought the singing and songs of Una, La'an, Spock, Chapel, and Uhura were top-notch -- not only in and of themselves, but working well in the story. The rest were ok, but at least to my ears sounded at times like a parody of an operetta, whatever exactly that means.

Now, I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Gilbert & Sullivan, anyway, though I think The Who's Tommy is great, and I always regretted Paul McCartney saying no to the story he had asked Isaac Asimov to write for a musical McCartney had in mind. In Strange New Worlds 2.9, the brief Klingon performance had the best beat, and the songs of the Enterprise crew would have gone down better, in my never humble opinion, had they more in common with rock 'n' roll, rock, hip-hop, and rap, than well, Cole Porter, even though I think he was one of the best lyricists of all-time.

Speaking of Cole Porter, my friend Ken Hudson brought this to my attention: Uhura in the original Star Trek singing (privately to herself) a few lines from Porter's "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" to, of all people, Spock, in an outtake from the "Who Mourns for Adonis" episode! We did see, in episode 2.9 of Strange New Worlds, Uhura looking romantically at Spock (he's seems totally unaware), and we've seen glimpses of this in earlier Strange New Worlds episodes. The outtake clip from the original series tells us that the makers of episode 2.9 of Strange New Worlds were likely inspired by this scene from the original series, and gives a nice unexpected meaning to the inclusion of Gene Roddenberry in the writing credits (though if Nichelle Nichols came up with this on her own, then she deserves a little of the writing credit for the Strange New Worlds operetta as well).

Anyway, on balance, I'm very glad I saw this episode of Strange New Worlds, and I'm looking forward to the season 2 final next week. And hats off to all of the singing crew, who actually sang, and had fine voices!

More on the McCartney-Asimov musical that was never written, at the end of this story .... "It's Real Life" ... an alternate history of The Beatles ... read the story FREE here on Vocal ... get the Kindle or paperback here... listen to the radio play FREE here ... winner of The Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work (story and radio play) ... and a recent review

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About the Creator

Paul Levinson

Novels The Silk Code, The Plot To Save Socrates, It's Real Life: An Alternate History of The Beatles; LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up; nonfiction The Soft Edge & Digital McLuhan, translated into 15 languages. Prof, Fordham Univ.

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    Paul LevinsonWritten by Paul Levinson

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