There’s a Spock. There’s a Captain Pike. And there’s even a USS Enterprise.

Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery arguably has more in common with the franchise’s fan-favorite 1960s original series than any other TV iteration of the Trek brand — and the similarities don’t stop with familiar characters and ships.

After last year’s intense Klingon war and inner-crew power struggles, this season lightens up and energizes its episodes with some classic Trek camaraderie and humor.

“Now that we’ve achieved peace, there’s more room for levity,” says Sonequa Martin-Green, whose rebellious Comdr. Michael Burnham has to adjust to another new captain, Pike (Anson Mount), who takes control of the USS Discovery to investigate seven “red bursts” of unknown origin.

Star Trek: Discovery
Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS

Expect Pike to restore some civility to the big chair after last season’s traitorous Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), and come across rather different than previous captains.

“Kirk has a swagger, and is good at thinking outside the box because he’s a rulebreaker,” Mount says. “Pike is very by-the-book. He refers to the Starfleet code of conduct more often than not. What sets him apart from other captains, especially from Lorca, is he knows like any good leader the most precious resources is his crew. when he’s stuck, he’s not afraid to say, ‘I’m lost, anybody got a better idea?’ He uses the bridge as a bigger brain.”

For hardcore fans, the biggest mystery is: What’s Spock (Ethan Peck) even doing here? And how can he be Burnham’s adopted brother when the iconic character has never mentioned her in all of the Trek canon? Showrunner Alex Kurtzman says the Spock we meet here is rather different than the Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto version.

Star Trek: Discovery
Credit: Michael Gibson/CBS

“The Spock we meet in season 2 is not the one we know yet,” Kurtzman says. “He’s really struggling. But if it were not for his relationship with Michael, he wouldn’t become the Spock we know today.”

Which is to say: sans hipster beard.

Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access on Jan. 17.

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