New ‘Star Trek’ Series Coming
CBS Television Studios announced that it is producing a new Star Trek TV series that will premiere in 2017, but not on TV. It will be on CBS All Access, the digital subscription video service from CBS.
Alex Kurtzman will be the executive producer for the new Star Trek TV series. Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the last two star Trek reboots, 2009's Star Trek and 2013's Star Trek into Darkness.
So, are we excited or turned off by this? For me, I’m leaning towards being turned off. I have three issues with this whole idea. Well, four if you count the January 2017 launch. Why tell me about it now? Over a year away? I mean I know why; they're going for The Force Awakens level geek-hype. But, this wait will be worse than the mid-season Walking Dead break.
Issue number one. The Trek reboots were pretty good movies, but they were missing an essential flavor of the universe. Trek is always at its worst when it tries to be an action movie. At its best it's a lot of talking about ideas, and that doesn’t often translate into movies. This is why the movies have always been the weakest part of the franchise. Even the best movies; 2, 6 and First Contact; were heavy on the philosophy. Enterprise and Voyager often suffered from the 'hey we need more action' studio notes.
Issue two. The press release from CBS says the new series will not be related to Star Trek Beyond, the third of the reboot movie series that comes out in 2016. This gets to the heart of my second issue, continuity. The reboots blew up the original continuity in a clever way using my favorite storytelling device: time travel. But, so much of the joy of being a Trekker is the deep universe that has been created by the five series. Sure there’s been plenty of retconning to make everything go together. After all, all of this is based on a 1960's TV show that at time just kind of threw things together (Kling, for example). But, it all served the philosophical base of the shows. If this new thing is just pretty people falling in and out of love in space with laser fights and chase scenes with no regard to the continuity, then why even call it Star Trek?
Third issue. This is going to be only on the CBS All Access app. On the one hand, good for them for embracing the future of television. On the other, it will only be on the standalone CBS app which is another subscription service. At this point, there's no partnership with Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, the big three that have market penetration and that I'm already paying for. This goes to the heart of a bigger issue for CBS anyway. None of their current prime-time or late night lineup is on the major streaming services. I can watch ABC, NBC and FOX shows the next day with Hulu on my phone, computer, tablet or TV. But without cable or this additional subscription service I can't see Colbert on The Late Show. Maybe I’m being a little too 'old man' about this but, I really don't want another app, another user name, another password and another subscription. Hulu's partnership with Showtime is an interesting way to go CBS if you want to still be all weird about things.
January 2017 is a long way away and so much can happen before then. Who knows how it will all shake out. Even if this new thing is horrible, I still have all the old shows, which are on my streaming services already. So the short version of all this is: yea new Star Trek, I guess.