The Showrunner Of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Has One Small Regret About Season 1

The first season of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" was lauded for its back-to-basics approach. Every episode was just that, an episode, with self-contained stories, characters' journeys, and messages. This episodic approach mixed a healthy dose of optimism brings the series more in line with the "Star Trek" ethos than its parent series, "Star Trek: Discovery."

Of course, not everything is like the old days. During the initial 1960s run of "Star Trek," plus the franchise's "Next Generation" heyday in the 80s-90s, seasons were much longer. The first ever season of "Star Trek" ran 29 episodes, while six out of seven "Next Generation" seasons had 26 episodes (minus the truncated 20-episode season 2).

"Strange New Worlds" season 1, on the other hand, had only 10 episodes. Nowadays, streaming is the name of the game, not syndication. Since Paramount+ doesn't need a high volume of episodes to endlessly rerun as networks did for syndication, quantity is less a concern. Mixed with higher budgets and logistical concerns about Covid-19, a shorter season makes pragmatic sense. However, co-showrunner Henry Alonso Meyers does have some regrets about how that limited screen time was distributed.

Not every character was spotlighted

Meyers was interviewed by for Star Trek Day 2022. Asked if there was anything he wanted to "correct" from season 1, he had this to say:

"One of the things that I wanted to do a correction on was that I feel like we weren't able to really touch on every single character. We've worked really hard to try to give every character their moment in the show... I wish I could have more episodes for everyone. Because we have this incredible cast. And I would love to write stories for all of them. I know that everyone in the writers' room feels that way."

Meyers specifically mentioned that Enterprise navigator Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia) will get her moment in the sun come season 2. While not every character got equal focus in each episode, most of the main cast had running stories (Captain Pike's premonitions of his eventual doom, Spock's relationship with his fiancee T'Pring, La'an's past with the Gorn, etc.). Ortegas and dearly departed chief engineer Hemmer got no such storylines and felt extraneous in comparison.

Making every episode count

One episode that Meyers seems proud of is "The Elysian Kingdom," which was done in the style of old budget-saving bottle episodes on past "Star Trek" episodes. While the episode had a small scope, it went all out on the costume design; the episode involves the Enterprise crew being turned into fantasy characters from a children's storybook, with Dr. M'Benga (or "King Ridley") having to solve the mystery.

Despite the abundant goofiness, "The Elysian Kingdom" ends on an emotional note. Resolving one of the season-spanning stories, M'Benga realizes the only way to save his terminally ill daughter Rukiya is to let her go. Meyers says that balance was key to the episode working:

"That was an episode that was both silly and gut-wrenching. I think all episodes – whether you are doing 25 or just 10 – really do have to deliver on that. I think it's really important that we're not wasting the time with the audience. We want to make sure that it feels like you're actually having an emotional experience; that the characters actually go through a journey that means something."

There's another way "The Elysian Kingdom" struck a good balance: giving every character a shining moment. The episode debuts the crew's alternate personalities one by one, meaning each has a chance to show off how different their fantasy self is from their normal personality. From Meyers' words, it sounds like balance, both of tone and the ensemble, will continue to be a goal of the "Strange New Worlds" team in season 2.