After just more than a decade-long hiatus, our televisions will once again be boldy going where no other split infinitives have gone before. Yes, a Star Trek TV series is finally in the works again! Ever since JJ Abrams’ 2009 feature film rebooted the beloved, long running sci-fi franchise’s continuity, fans have been furtively asking for Star Trek to go back to TV, the medium where it started way back in 1966.
And now they’re getting their wish as both Deadline and THR are reporting that Alex Kurtzman – who produced and wrote the two new Abrams directed films, along with frequent creative partner Roberto Orci – will be developing a new series with CBS TV Studios. There’s no word yet on the narrative angle that the new show will take – I would assume that it would be set in the new timeline – but Kurtzman is currently on the search for a writer to take on this new iteration of the beloved franchise. He will also act as executive producer alongside co-exec producer Heather Kadin.
Kurtzman and Orci have been talking about a potential TV series for a while now, but nothing has ever come to pass. One of the reasons for this is the crazy quagmire that is the franchise’s TV broadcast rights – CBS may have aired the original series, but thanks to messy mergers and split by its parent companies, the network has been in contention with Paramount, who produces the movies, for some time now.
But it seems that those niggles have now been worked out as it’s been reported that Kurtzman had been quietly meeting with the relevant players about this for months already. While initially the goal was to have the show be on the air for next year’s Fall season – which would mean that this new show would be just in time to coincide with the original series’ 50th anniversary – THR reports that the new show will debut its premiere episode in January 2017 on CBS. In an odd twist though, the subsequent episodes will then air on CBS All Access, the network’s digital Video On Demand service, which comes at a subscription of $5.99 per month. This will be the first original series produced for the series so I’m guessing that CBS is hoping to use this as a flagship title to promote the platform. All the old Star Trek series are already available to stream on CBS All Access.
Marc DeBevoise, executive vp and GM at CBS Digital Media, had this to say about the announcement:
“This new series will premiere to the national CBS audience, then boldly go where no first-run Star Trek series has gone before — directly to its millions of fans through CBS All Access. We’ve experienced terrific growth for CBS All Access, expanding the service across affiliates and devices in a very short time. We now have an incredible opportunity to accelerate this growth with the iconic Star Trek, and its devoted and passionate fan base, as our first original series.”
While the Star Trek movies have always been popular (except for Star Trek: Nemesis – nobody should like that film) it’s the TV series franchise that has had the more storied history, with several different spinoffs throughout the years. If this new show comes to fruition, it will be the seventh Star Trek TV series and the first since the short-lived Star Trek: Enterprise ended in 2005.
If there’s one major criticism that has been leveled at the new movies by fans though, it is that while they’re certainly exciting in moments, and are very polished productions, they are not really Star Trek. The movies are all whizz-bang blockbuster action sci-fi spectacles filled with wall to wall explosions and crazy good looking, athletic heroes punching, kicking and laser blasting their way out of any situation. Which is kind of the exact opposite of the original franchise, which may have had its fair share of explosive drama, but almost always put scientific exploration and the studies of alien cultures (and thus acting as allegory for our real world situations) first, before any fisticuffs.
It will be interesting to see if this new series will go back to this approach, as according to THR it 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.” That certainly sounds like there may be hope for a more classic feel.
Also mentioned in the report is that Paramount already have a fourth Star Trek feature film lined up for release in 2019. The third film in the rebooted franchise, Star Trek Beyond is currently busy filming, with a scheduled release date set for July 22, 2016. Longtime Fast & Furious franchise helmer Justin Lin is taking over from JJ Abrams (who’s too busy on this other tiny sci-fi movie you may have heard of) on this one, which is being co-written by Simon Pegg who also stars as Scotty. It’s still way too early to say whether Lin stays around for this still untitled Star Trek 4, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Star Trek Beyond ends up being a hit.
So are you guys excited to have Star Trek back on TV again, or do you feel that it’s about time that this franchise warps the hell out of here?
Last Updated: November 2, 2015