CBS announced today that they’re launching a new Star Trek series in January of 2017, to be aired on their paid subscription channel CBS All Access. The first episode will be on broadcast TV, to get us hooked. Alex Kurtzman, one of the co-writers of the reboot films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, will be executive producer.
I’m of several minds on this announcement. I’m excited to hear that Star Trek is returning to television! On the other hand, I’m sad to hear that to see it, I’ll have to subscribe to yet another pay service. Granted, this was true of Game of Thrones, which (for that very reason) I came to late. And it’s true of Alpha House (by Garry Trudeau), one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, though as an Amazon Prime member I got to see that for free. And it’s true of Episodes, another of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, which I only caught on DVD after the fact. Is this the wave of the future, for quality original programming? I think it is.
But will this be quality programming? Kurtzman has a solid track record, although I admit I (again!) had mixed feelings about the reboot films, with its alternate timeline to the established Star Trek universe. Still, they were good movies, if flawed (especially Into Darkness). But this announcement is all about “franchise”—which is a term I hate when it’s applied to creative endeavors—and is short on specifics. It leaves me wondering if they really have a vision for the new series, or if they’re simply reviving a guaranteed money-maker. (Hey, let’s do a new Star Trek show! It’ll be big. What will it be about? Well, I don’t know. Wait, I’ve got it! New characters, folks having adventures in space!) I didn’t really catch much of the vision thing in the announcement. There’s no indication yet of which timeline it will be set in, or whether it comes before, after, or concurrently with any of the existing Star Trek story lines. And if the latter, if it will for God’s sake have some new adversaries, rather than continuing to recycle the old ones.
So, I’m excited. But cautious. I’ve learned caution, when it comes to anticipating new TV shows.
In the meantime, I finally got to the theater and saw The Martian. What a terrific movie! If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t wait for the DVD. Big screen. Go for the big screen. I also watched the first episode of Supergirl and thought it showed real promise. Not brilliant, but good. It has the upbeat tone I was hoping for, a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous “darker, edgier, grittier” mantra that has marked so many shows in recent years. Including, um, Star Trek.