CBS announced today that there is a new Star Trek series in the works. Set to premiere in January 2017, the new show will debut on network television, but will be exclusive to the CBS All Access streaming service.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. The original series launched an amazing franchise and the recent J.J. Abrams movies have done an exceptional job of reimagining that world. With 5 different series worth of material out there already, where does a franchise like Star Trek go?
The official “synopsis” reads, “The brand-new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.” Unfortunately, that could be the synopsis for any series in the franchise.
So where exactly will this new series “boldly go?” One possibility is to use the new show to develop the current movie universe. There are several ways they could go with a rebooted TV universe. They could explore the Federation concurrently with the Enterprise’s adventures in the films, and if this is the universe the series is set in, that seems like the most likely direction. An interesting, yet more unlikely direction would be to do a rebooted Next Generation series, but after 176 episodes and 4 films, are there that many more stories to tell there?
One concept that would fit in either universe and hasn’t really ever been explored would be a Starfleet Academy series. I think this might be the best way to go with a new series because it has the greatest chance of standing out from the other titles and might have a larger appeal to a younger audience. The trap in an Academy series, though, is that it might become more of a teen angst show than a strong Sci-Fi drama.
Another concern I have is where we will be able to watch this show. I question the decision to make the show exclusive to CBS All Access. I’m certainly not interested in paying $5.99 a month for Star Trek and I’m a pretty big fan. I can’t imagine this being a draw to casual Trek fans or the bigger population as a whole. With the rate that new series are taken off the air these days, will a poor showing on the streaming service give the series a chance to find its legs?
Ultimately, I’m excited about the possibilities, but cautiously so. If the new series has an innovative direction and is giving us something we haven’t seen before, then I’m all in. If it is simply going to be a ploy to use a beloved franchise to promote CBS’s subscription streaming service, then I’m not really interested.