Here's How To Watch The Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Series Premiere For Free Right Now

The half-century-old "Star Trek" franchise is boldly going somewhere it's never been before: back to the beginning. The newest Paramount+ series serves as a prequel to Gene Roddenberry's seminal sci-fi classic, "Star Trek: The Original Series." Despite the tall order, the new show has already won over plenty of fans–the /Film team included–and garnered the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any "Star Trek" series to date. Now, the show's premiere episode is free to stream for anyone, not just Paramount+ subscribers.

The series premiere, which is itself titled "Strange New Worlds," is available for free on the official Paramount+ YouTube channel beginning today. This isn't the first time the streamer has let viewers sample the product before they subscribe: after its official rebrand last year, the show shared a whole host of pilot episodes, including those for "Star Trek: Discovery," "Star Trek: Picard," and "Star Trek: Lower Decks" for a limited time on their channel.

This is a can't-miss debut

With due respect to all the other 21st century "Trek" shows, "Strange New Worlds" is the one you can't miss. The series follows Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), the Starfleet commander who led the Enterprise before Captain Kirk stepped aboard, as he leads a team of intrepid explorers on their own five-year mission.

Among them are familiar faces, like half-Vulcan science officer Spock (Ethan Peck), cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush). The crew also includes several lesser-known Trek characters in newly expanded roles, including Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Dr. M'Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), with Spock's fiance T'Pring (Gia Sandhu) also appearing. Original characters including Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia) and La'an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) round out the cast.

I mention the full cast list by name because each and every one of them is a hit so far. There's not a weak link among the crew, and the show's writing is as sharp as the actors are endearing. The premiere episode gets the gang off-world and out in the depth of space quickly, when Captain Pike gets a call notifying him that Number One's been captured during a first contact mission. The group goes undercover on the planet Kiley 279 in an effort to get her back, while medical officers stay back to handle unexpected repercussions aboard the Enterprise. It's a fun and breezy introduction to the newbies that also manages to incorporate some major "Trek" mythology right off the bat. Check it out above.

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" streams new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+, or you can check out the premiere on the Paramount+ YouTube channel now.