Grading The New Versions Of Classic Star Trek Characters On Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The new Enterprise crew has officially taken to the skies. "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" debuted this week with a premiere that introduces the team that explored the galaxy before Captain Kirk ever stepped on board the Enterprise. Yet despite being primarily a "Star Trek: The Original Series" prequel, the new series has still found a way to incorporate plenty of familiar faces from Gene Roddenberry's original vision of the series.

So, how do these newbies match up to their classic counterparts? Well, pretty dang well, actually. "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" is a fun, crowd-pleasing show that quickly won over myself and plenty of other Trek-heads here at /Film. Part of that is thanks to the series' willingness to flesh out and reimagine favorite characters and minor players from the original show. Of course, core crew members like science officer Spock (Ethan Peck) and cadet Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) have especially big Starfleet-issued shoes to fill, but the entire new cast is immensely likeable so far. Here's how the new crew measures up after the series premiere.

Christopher Pike: A

Originally introduced in the series' unaired (and now widely available) pilot episode, Christopher Pike was later brought back for an intense "Star Trek: The Original Series" two-parter. As played by Jeffrey Hunter in TOS, he's a strong-jawed but world-weary leader who possesses little of William Shatner's series-shaping campiness. 13 years after he served with Spock (Leonard Nimoy), we meet an older, disabled version of Pike (Sean Kenney) Pike who can only communicate via brainwaves in the classic original series episode "The Menagerie."

The version of Pike we meet in "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" is already haunted by a vision of his potentially tragic future (see: "Star Trek: Discovery"), but that doesn't stop him from being a total delight. Anson Mount is a charmer through and through, maintaining a playfulness that allows his crew to think of him as a friend, but also guiding them through would-be disasters with a steady hand. He possesses the sense of experience and wisdom we see from Roddenberry's original take on Pike, but he's also got a big heart, a head for collaboration, and a rebellious, jokey energy that calls to mind not Pike, but the best parts of Abrams-era Captain Kirk. A ship is only as good as it's captain, and Pike is already a fantastic one.

Nyota Uhura: A-

The premiere episode of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" only gives fans a brief look at Gooding as cadet Nyota Uhura, but rest assured, she has a major role in episodes to come. As one of the core members of the USS Enterprise crew, the original officer Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) was a groundbreaking character in more ways than one. When the show premiered in 1966, Uhura was one of the most prominent Black women on television, and an unprecedented hero to boot. The communications officer had a knack for linguistics, and was always ready with a dossier's worth of intel and a knowing twinkle in her eye that said "I could save your ass anytime."

Gooding's take on the character is just as capable, albeit still in the early stages of her career. The actress, who's best known for her role in "Jagged Little Pill" on Broadway, puts a fresh spin on the character. Her Uhura is much less experienced and sure of herself, but she's also obviously a genius. She also, thankfully, gets a wardrobe update. No longer subject to the impractical micro-miniskirts of the '60s series, Uhura sports a smart suit uniform and a striking, close-cropped haircut. The only reason she's not all A's right out of the gate is because she's largely a background character in episode one.

Spock: B

As perhaps the most beloved figure in all of "Star Trek" canon, any version of Spock that isn't Leonard Nimoy will surely get some fans' knickers in a twist. But luckily, Peck is coming into "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" with some experience, having already embodied the beloved half-human Vulcan in nine episodes of "Star Trek: Discovery." Spock leaves his "Discovery" beard in the past for the new series, in which he once again takes on the role of science officer under Captain Pike.

Like the rest of the Enterprise crew, Peck's version of Spock is a little less seasoned than Nimoy's, but he's already a valuable asset to the team. At times so logical as to seem robotic, the new Spock is both a clever ally and an excellent straight man character against which all the quippier crew members can shine. The series clearly cares about cultivating his relationships, too, and presents his connection with Gia Sandhu's T'Pring (and his co-workers) as in no way antithetical to his reason-loving mind. I only hope he gets the chance to make us feel something, too: Nimoy's Spock was often wryly funny, and all his best moments let his all-too-human side shine through.

Number One: A-

Another character who was first introduced in the scrapped "Star Trek: The Original Series" pilot, Number One was also played by Nurse Chapel actress Majel Barrett in Roddenberry's version. Despite only popping up in footage used in the Pike-centric episode "The Menagerie," the character has had a rich post-original series life. She's appeared in comics and novelizations, and Rebecca Romijn, who plays her in the latest series, also popped up in three episodes of "Star Trek: Discovery."

In the new show, Number One is presented right off the bat as an integral member of the Enterprise. In fact, the reason the gang gets back together in the first place is because she's been kidnapped by aliens. This means Number One is sidelined for a good chunk of the premiere episode, but when she is around, she's a level-headed counterbalance to Pike's dreamier idealism. "We can't make them care about the stars, that's not our job," she tells him when he starts to worry about intergalactic PR issues. Unlike everyone else on this list, Romijn's version of Number One has already become the predominate on-screen portrayal, appearing in four episodes of modern "Trek" as opposed to Barrett's single episode appearance.

T'Pring: B

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" seems determined to beef up the roles of some previously minor Trek characters, starting with T'Pring. Franchise purists were aghast to see typically sexless Spock seemingly getting down with a woman in the trailer for the new show, but there's precedent for his relationship with T'Pring. The character appeared in just one episode of "Star Trek: The Original Series," but it was extremely memorable. In the season 2 episode "Amok Time," Spock starts getting antsy and weird, and Kirk soon finds out it's because he's essentially in heat. The poor guy has to return to Vulcan for Pon farr, his species' mating season, and ends up in a battle to the death for the hand of the woman (Arlene Martel) who was chosen as his future mate when he was young.

As juicy as this premise is, "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" seems to be doing away with it for the time being, in favor of a more, well, human sort of relationship. T'Pring (Sandhu) and Spock get engaged just before he rejoins Pike's crew, and though they're a lot less lovey than your typical earth couple, they do seem to be two consenting adults who are really into each other in their own way. In the premiere episode, T'Pring proposes to Spock, but when he leaves with Pike, she makes it clear she's not hyped about it. "I won't chase you across the galaxy just to get married," she declares. Sandhu makes a strong impression as T'Pring, but for some reason I have a feeling these two aren't endgame.

Christine Chapel: A

If there's one "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" upgrade that seems sure to be a crowd-pleaser, it's Nurse Chapel 2.0. The character of Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett) was a sort of periphery crew member in "Star Trek: The Original Series," often helping Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) with medical procedures and taking over herself as needed. She was skilled, quick-thinking, and loyal, but across the three-season original series, she was more a supporting player than a true main character.

Here's the good news: the new Nurse Chapel, played by Jess Bush, is downright awesome. In the premiere episode, we're introduced to the platinum blonde medical officer, who gets to wear an ultra-cool white suit, when she supplies the team with an injection that will alter their genetic code to disguise them on an alien planet. This Chapel is fun-loving, energetic, and geeky, and her idea of a good time is chasing down a rogue patient for sedation by sprinting through the halls of the Enterprise. In the coming weeks, Nurse Chapel will get plenty more screen time to win audiences over, but honestly, we're already half in love with her after only knowing her for a few minutes.

Sam Kirk: A-

As a walking, talking inside joke for longtime Trek fans, Sam Kirk (Dan Jeannotte) isn't exactly thoroughly introduced in the "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" premiere, but would it be weird to say we already like him? Captain Kirk's brother appeared briefly in "Star Trek: The Original Series," introduced as a nice family man before being unceremoniously killed off before we get the chance to know him. In the episode "Operation — Annihilate!" the Enterprise crew answers a distress call on Sam's planet of residence, only to find the guy dead — and played by William Shatner with a fake mustache.

There's no telling whether the new Sam Kirk will also have a short Trek tenure, but he definitely has that same groovy 'stache. He also just seems like a friendly and decent dude, greeting Captain Pike by his first name and shooting the breeze with him very briefly before being assigned as a science officer under Spock's command. Maybe it's just my surprised joy at seeing a Kirk this early in the game, but this guy has decidedly good vibes.

M'Benga: B+

Another previously minor character getting a major upgrade, Doctor M'Benga only appears in two episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series." The character, played by Booker Bradshaw, was a Starfleet doctor who served as McCoy's backup in the event of emergency. As a Black Starfleet doctor saving the day on primetime TV, M'Benga was undoubtedly an inspiring figure, but he very rarely got the chance to step up. "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" is due to remedy that, though, making M'Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) the Enterprise's number one medical officer.

So far, Doctor M'Benga has only appeared in a brief supporting role, but as with the rest of the Enterprise squad, he's left a good impression. Captain Pike introduces him by noting that the two toured the Mojave and Kenya together, and M'Benga makes a joke about salad dressing. Aside from Sam Kirk, M'Benga gets the least screen time of anyone on this list in the premiere, so it's tough to get a handle on what his character will be like in the new series. Rest assured, though: like everyone else on the new team, he's got a unique backstory of his own locked and loaded for a future episode.