Okay, so there was an announcement during the week that caught me (and many, from what I’ve heard online) by surprise: CBS, the American television network, has commissioned a new Star Trek series, to air in January of 2017. Trekkers around the world no doubt spat out their coffee and punched the air with delight (as they should), but the relative dearth of information about said show has led to numerous sites hypothesizing as to what form it may take.
First: what we know.
The series will be produced by Star Trek ’09’s co-scribe Alex Kurtzman. The first episode will début on CBS’s terrestrial network, before the remainder of the series will appear on CBS’s digital platform, CBS All Access. No word yet as to the number of episodes, nor the tone the show will take (will it be set in the new Trek-verse, set up by Kurtzman’s Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness), and as yet no word on casting or any other production details, such as show-runner or directors. The show will also introduce new characters (and presumably a new starship), effectively keeping Kirk and Co confined to feature film appearances at this stage. Keep in mind, the third Star Trek film in the new universe is set to arrive in 2016, directed by Furious 7 helmer James Wan.
Second: The Grey Area
Obviously, in the months to come we’ll be playing a game of “guess the cast member” lotto, as well as slaking our thirst for new television Trek from the tidbits of gossip and underground scooping we’ll have to endure until the show débuts. Fans have long clamoured for Trek to get back into “exploring strange new worlds”, which was the original show’s premise, and something the New Trek didn’t exactly make it’s prime directive (pardon the TrekPun). One would hope that a new show would send a brave new crew off into the uncharted reaches of space, on a mission of exploration (of some kind). No doubt following in Roddenberry’s vision, the crew would be ethnically and sexually diverse (can’t wait to meet the obligatory transgender crew-member!) and would have to overcome racial and species derived themes typical of humanity at this point.
The core problem I see is the show’s availability only on a US based subscription service – man, the pirates are gonna have a field day downloading this thing to counteract the geoblocking and paywalls. I suspect CBS may relent in the face of fan pressure (I could be wrong) but international fans (such as myself) might have reason not to pause over the “download torrent” button over on Pirate Bay. Out of this whole thing, this is the part that legitimately annoys me.
As problematic as Enterprise was, and as stifling as Voyager and Deep Space Nine turned into in the end, the prospect of a new Star Trek series is cause for celebration. The franchise turns 50 next year, so a new show in it’s 51st year can only be a good thing.