How to watch
After struggling to recapture the magic of the first few Star Trek series for the better part of two decades, the franchise has finally returned to its original formula of self-contained space adventures, progressive politics, and an unabashedly hopeful tone—all to magnificent results. Strange New Worlds is classic Trek in every sense: from its truly out-there, ’60s-style sci-fi stories; to its warm sense of humor; to its welcome focus on sentiment and emotion even amid large battles and dangerous situations. The series accomplishes all of this while keeping every member of its crew unique and charismatic, crafting powerful character moments for them even in the thick of things—elevated by uniformly brilliant performances from its cast, led by a commanding Anson Mount. It’s Star Trek for old and new fans alike, and a great reminder of the distinct strengths of episodic TV.
Paramount Plus Essential is a video-on-demand service that replaces its predecessor, CBS All Access, and is currently available in the US, Canada, and parts of Latin America. This ad-supported tier costs $5.99, while Paramount’s premium, ad-free tier costs $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year, with an optional 7-day free trial.
Essential subscribers used to have the option to bundle the service with Showtime, but ever since the Paramount-Showtime merger in June 2023, the latter is now only available to Premium subscribers. But to its credit, Essential still has 40,000 episodes and movies to its name, plus live feeds on NFL on CBS and the UEFA Champions League.
You can access Paramount Plus Essential via web browser, while the app is supported on a wide range of TV and mobile devices.
You can buy nearly everything on Amazon, including movies and TV shows. Amazon’s video storefront (not to be confused with its on-demand streaming service Amazon Prime) allows you to either rent or buy thousands of titles, including new releases, blockbuster hits, niche indies, and international gems.
You’ll have to sign in using your Amazon account to start renting or purchasing, and Amazon allows you to redeem gift cards, promo codes, and points if you have them upon checkout. Like most video stores, Amazon gives you 30 days to start watching a rental and 48 hours to finish it, while unlimited access is granted to purchased titles. Lastly, you should know that a rented title is only viewable on one device, so sharing options will be limited.
iTunes is one of the oldest media apps currently in use. While many people know it as a music player, iTunes has since evolved to offer digital movies and TV shows for rent or sale. The bigger and newer releases can cost up to $20 to purchase, but iTunes also has past hits, modern classics, award-winning pictures, and even local films you can rent for as low as $2. Purchased films and TV shows are available for as long as the studio allows them to be, but rentals are a different story. Once you’ve rented a particular title, you have up to 30 days to start watching it. And after you start watching it, you’ll then have 48 hours before it expires. iTunes comes pre-installed on Apple devices, but it’s also available on Windows PCs and Android Smart TVs.
Microsoft is most known for its computer and gaming services, but the tech corporation also has a streaming service under its belt. Microsoft’s media store allows you to rent or purchase a host of films and TV shows, many of which are still up in theaters or being broadcast on network TV. The good news is that Microsoft often puts up sales and specials that slash prices up to half, and the even better news is that Xbox Game Pass holders are entitled to many of these discounts. So for instance, a Game Pass holder can pay just $7 for a film that costs $20 to rent. Now, the not-so-good news is that Microsoft’s rental store is only available for Xbox and PCs and mobile devices that run on Windows. Anything outside of these devices, unfortunately, won’t be able to access the store.
Google Play Movies & TV, or simply Play, is a video-on-demand store that allows you to rent or purchase various films and TV shows online. A rental can cost as low as $1 (these are usually TV movies and old films) while purchases can cost up to $20 (these are often blockbusters that are fresh from theaters). Play lets you watch on most major streaming devices, but you have to remember to log in with the same account you used to purchase the titles. On your smartphone, you can access the titles via the Google TV or YouTube app, while on your smart TV, you can use access them via the Play, YouTube, or Movies Anywhere apps. You can also watch them via the Play website but do take note that Play doesn’t offer HD and 4k viewing on PCs.
Vudu is an on-demand streaming service that allows users to rent or purchase more than 200,000 new releases. Founded in 2007, it’s one of the first companies to offer digital films in HD. Vudu’s main strength is its ease of access and jam-packed catalog of movies and TV shows, but it also boasts free content, which they run on ads. In 2020, media and ticketing firm Fandango acquired Vudu and merged both companies’ streamers into one. They decided to keep the Vudu name because of its large and loyal customer base.