This morning, CBS announced that January 2017 would bring us something Star Trek fans had been waiting for: a new television series. Produced by Alex Kurtzman, the series will… wait… CBS didn’t really say what it would be at all, just that it won’t tie into Paramount’s Star Trek Beyond.
The network also said that only the pilot would be available on broadcast television. Each subsequent episode would be exclusive (for a while) to their online streaming service, CBS All Access, which launched late last year at a cost of $5.99 a month.
Using Star Trek to herald a new mode of consumption isn’t new for Viacom, CBS’ parent company. Even Star Trek the Motion Picture was a revamped pilot script for a series revival that died when Paramount’s 1970s plan for its own television network died. Star Trek: The Next Generation changed the landscape for syndication. Star Trek Voyager launched UPN, which eventually merged with the WB to become The CW.
It’s also not the first rumored series over the past few years. Bryan Singer had been interested in producing a revival along with Bryan Fuller. Perhaps that failed when they couldn’t get Bryan Cranston. Michael Dorn, who played the Klingon Worf in two series and three movies, has been pushing to revive the character and put him in command of his own ship. But this is the first time CBS has confirmed plans for …something.
So is this as yet vapor series worth paying $5.99 a month to watch? You would get access to every other Star Trek series ever made. It could provoke a greater appreciation for Enterprise.
And that’s my concern, people. I bear that series no ill will, but at the time, fans hated it. It’s the only one of the sequel series not to last seven seasons, and it died an ignominious death, turning out to all be Pam’s dream. Or something like that.
But the new series could turn out to be great – barring that, I would settle for fun. Which approach to take? Set it in the new movie universe, which does not really have Gene Roddenberry’s dictum that humanity has everything pretty much worked out? Set it sometime after The Next Generation, and acknowledge the rich history that CBS would like you to explore? At least that way, maybe Michael Dorn could get his Commander Worf series. Or get really wild and fast forward another couple of centuries…
We shall see. Be excited. And if you know more about the Federation and its possibilities, weigh in! I’m just being wary of how many quatloos I bet on this series.