Back when Star Trek: Discovery was previewed on CBS I took a look at the various intros of the Star Trek franchise (not counting movies, fan series, and video games) up to that point. Discovery didn’t hold a candle to those shows and that’s kind of the case for the show. The pilot hit me with a resounding “meh”, and from I hear it’s basically devolved into the Michael Burnham show so I have less reason to care.
Still, I needed a fourth article for this week so I figured with four new shows calling themselves Star Trek sitting on the Paramount Plus servers why not check out their intros in order to keep this all complete? We have two new animated shows and two new live-action shows. I’ve seen the pilots for the animated shows and nothing from the live-action (I’m not even sure one of them is out yet) but we’re here to judge their intros.
I watched the first episode of this show and while I didn’t come out of it with the rage fit some others did I wasn’t all that impressed either. However, one of the praised I gave it was the intro and I stand by it. Set in some variation of the TNG, DS9, and Voyager period of the franchise (and from what I hear the show loves to remind you of this by referencing those shows) it’s a parody, focusing on a crew so messed up the Orville looks like the Enterprise in comparison. This intro captures the style of those intros, most notably Voyager, while showcasing just how bad these people are at their job. It may be the best intro on this list just for that.
You know what a good Star Trek intro should NOT do? Lull me to sleep. Guess what Picard does. Even the meh intro to Discovery was just boring. This is supposed to be an action show that also makes you think as it touched on general moral discussion. I hear this show on the other hand just wants to preach at you while ruining every good thing about the Federation that Roddenberry put into this show. We have an intro here that seems more interested in being symbolic than draw you into a fun yet thought-provoking science fiction series. So I guess it matches every review, commercial, and clip I’ve ever seen of this show, but that’s hardly a good thing. The season two intro seems to be trying to hit a balance.
Emphasis on “trying”. It’s a little less boring but still more interested in being symbolic than getting me hyped. This actually makes me less interested than the stuff I hear about it.
Strange New Worlds
I’m not sure why Paramount Plus adds in the open captions, this being their official post unless they took it down by the time you’re reading this and I had to find another source. They seem to be taking cues from The Original Series, Voyager, and Discovery with at least one shot. This makes all kinds of sense. Voyager was the final evolution of the intro, and you also see that influence in Lower Decks, the show takes place just before the Prime timeline version of TOS and is a second attempt at the Star Trek we didn’t get because NBC didn’t like the original pilot and called for changes. It’s not bad though not really perfect either. Still, it’s better than the other two live-action shows they’ve got. Though I do wonder why the only sign of a logo is at the end, which doesn’t appear to be from the intro but an end card ad for the show.
I’ve changed my mind. This is the best intro on the list, and if you add in Discovery from the first list it’s the best of the Paramount Plus intro altogether. It takes the best parts of all the intros we’ve seen from P-Plus (as the kids don’t call it) and then builds on it. The symbolism of Picard is replaced with representations of the cast. We see Prodigy flying around and looking cool, like Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds, and it takes Discovery’s far shots, which SNW also uses, and makes them look good.
So what does this prove? That animation still produces the best intros but live-action can at least get close when they actually care about what they’re doing. Sadly that seems to be their problem. Even some animated shows are using truncated intros so at least credit for trying to make something that draws the viewer into their world rather than just showing a logo and some cast names so you know who to worship and confirm you’re watching the right show. Maybe we’ll do this again in a few shows to see what if anything they’ve learned from this set.