Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Is Now The Top-Rated Star Trek Series Ever On Rotten Tomatoes

As much affection as longtime Trekkies have for this particular franchise, most would readily admit that the mere existence of a new "Star Trek" series doesn't necessarily guarantee a must-watch event. For every "Deep Space Nine" or "Lower Decks," there are large swaths of shows — especially in their early going — that would have to be considered entirely skippable before finally getting to the good stuff. (Looking at you, extremely plodding early seasons of "Voyager"!) "Star Trek: Discovery" premiered to much fanfare back in 2017 and went on to justify four seasons of varying degrees of quality ... but it was the very obvious potential of its spin-off series, "Strange New Worlds," that wound up demanding the lion's share of attention from fans eager for a more old-fashioned approach to "Trek."

That potential has since blossomed into reality with the recent series premiere, anchored by the performance of Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike and further buoyed by Ethan Peck's Spock, Rebecca Romijn's Number One, and a cast of brand-new characters that include Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh, Celia Rose Gooding as Nyota Uhura, Melissa Navia as Erica Ortegas, and more. /Film's own review by Witney Seibold was positively glowing, lauding the series as "the best 'Star Trek' show in decades." That praise has translated to relatively more tangible results, as "Strange New Worlds" now boasts the best Rotten Tomatoes score of any of the dozen "Trek" shows to come into being through the franchise's 50-plus year history with a pristine 98%, placing it ahead of the likes of "Prodigy" (93%), "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine" (91%), and "Discovery" and "Picard" (86%).

That fascinating nugget of information comes courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes, charting the top 10 shows in terms of their score percentages on the "Tomatometer." Now, a couple caveats: Of course, Rotten Tomatoes scores aren't some foolproof measurement of quality or even a fully reliable gauge of how audiences are responding to a certain work. But with the crucial context that the site is merely an aggregate, gathering together the critical consensus and applying generalized numbers to them, it can become a helpful tool for figuring out just where a new installment of a storied property fits in among the grand scheme of things.

With "Strange New Worlds," the early returns would clearly — and emphatically — place it at the top of the list.

A return to form

Hit it. By all accounts, "Strange New Worlds" is living up to the hype so far, with five total episodes made available to the press ahead of time and all of them displaying the strengths and core appeal of "Star Trek" with a refreshing blend of tradition and progressiveness. If you haven't yet jumped on board for various reasons, be it an (understandable) wariness of fan-service or fatigue over the endless commodification of IP, let this be just the latest attempt to disabuse you of that notion when it comes to "Strange New Worlds."

Even setting aside its impressive Rotten Tomatoes score, "Strange New Worlds" has earned the benefit of the doubt through its ability to channel classic "Trek" while resisting the urge to simply become a "The Original Series" redux.

Thanks to Anson Mount's portrayal of Captain Pike (who has a long and complicated history in the series, despite remaining on the sidelines for so long until now), this feels like a very different character than someone like William Shatner's Kirk or Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard. Picking up the loose threads from "Discovery," where Pike was cursed with his preordained fate as laid out in "The Original Series," the initial episodes of "Strange New Worlds" have each found clever and meaningful ways to depict the Captain's struggle in coming to terms with the dark path ahead of him and his mortality. But in a change of pace from "Discovery," each of the Enterprise's supporting crew members all feel like natural and purposeful extensions of every (thankfully episodic and self-contained) story told. Combine the sheer "watchability" of these new characters with the loose tone and adventurous spirit of the series, and it's clear why even just the premiere has fans so excited about the show's future.

"Strange New Worlds" airs new episodes on Paramount+ every Thursday.