Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes Nailed It In Explaining Why Strange New Worlds Is Arguably Fans' Favorite Show Since The Next Generation

 Anson Mount in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Anson Mount in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

From the time it premiered, critics and audiences alike praised Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and the series has won over enough for Paramount+ to have the confidence to renew it for Season 4 before Season 3 has even aired. Even as a fan of every show that's been released, I would say it's arguably the most popular show of the franchise since The Next Generation, though it took a conversation with director Jonathan Frakes to really drive that home for me.

I had the honor of speaking to Frakes ahead of the arrival of the latest Discovery episode he directed, "Lagrange Point," which will be available to watch with a Paramount+ subscription. I mentioned Strange New Worlds to Frakes, knowing he recently completed work on an episode for Season 3, and in response to me asking if he believes the wait for the new episodes in 2025 will be worth it, he said this:

Certainly. The one I just finished is spectacular. They take big swings on Strange New Worlds. I think that the fact that they are stand-alone episodes has made this, arguably, the favorite Star Trek since Next Gen, probably.

When it comes to Star Trek, everything is debatable. That said, it does seem as though Strange New Worlds has the most fans on board compared to the other shows of the new era. Taking big swings certainly plays a part in that, as Jonathan Frakes said, and I don't think there's any denying its done that.

Whether it's pushing forward the franchise universe's timeline of World War III or when exactly Khan Noonien Singh was born, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has not only done that, but found ways to reconcile it with the previously existing canon. Jonathan Frakes said some people deserve credit for that and listed them by name:

And that's attributed to Alex [Kurtzman] and Akiva [Goldsman] and Henry Alonso Myers and Chris Fisher and all the people who have encouraged it. They try to assign a director to an episode that they believe will be able to enhance whatever that particular 'movie of the week' episode is. And it's, I think, pretty effective. The one I did last year, 'Those Old Scientists,' with the crossover of cartoon characters coming in? That's a big chance to take, and it worked wonderfully. The musical, again, worked wonderfully. I'm very proud of and impressed with the swings that the producers of Strange New Worlds take.

It's no surprise to see Frakes mention any of those names listed above. Akiva Goldsman initially pitched the idea for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds in the Discovery Season 1 writer' room, and top brass Alex Kurtzman paved the way for it with the story while acting as showrunner in Discovery Season 2. Of course, Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers share showrunner duties for SNW, and Fisher is an EP on the series, along with the rest.

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Georgiou and Ortegas
Georgiou and Ortegas

I would love for this to be true.

It remains to be seen if Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will still be the franchise's golden child in the future as Seasons 3 and 4 arrive and other upcoming Star Trek shows pop up on the scene. For now, however, it holds the top title, and while Jonathan Frakes has admitted the praise can be bittersweet to see sometimes, we're lucky as fans to see him contribute to it as often as he has.

Strange New Worlds Season 3 will presumably pick up where the end of Season 2 left off. After a tense conflict with the Gorn escalated, Pike was faced with the decision to retreat and avoid engaging the species further, or to try to save the crew members left on the Gorn ship. I would reckon there's not much suspense on what decision he's going to make if you watch the show, but I'm eager to see the new season finally arrive in 2025 all the same.

Those who are counting the days until Star Trek: Strange New Worlds returns can watch old episodes right now on Paramount+. I'd also recommend anyone check out the final season of Discovery while they're there, as this season has arguably been the best one yet.