A new Star Trek TV series is coming in 2017, but there’s a significant catch
Rejoice, Trekkers! CBS confirmed that there is a new Star Trek TV series in the works, and it is set to debut in January 2017.
Despair, Trekkers! To watch the new show, you’ll need to pony up $5.99 per month and watch it on the CBS streaming service, CBS All Access.
The show will debut on CBS with what will probably be a massively promoted debut. In fact, don’t be surprised if it is one of the most heavily hyped TV debuts of all time.
Star Trek is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, and you can make an easy argument that the property is one of the most well known American shows ever to hit the airwaves. It will also debut less than half a year after the next major Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, hits theaters on July 22, 2016.
The bad news is that only the pilot will air on TV. After that, all episodes will cost you, and you’ll be locked into a monthly subscription with a new service that only has a handful of apps available, run by a network that isn’t exactly known for its cutting edge programming.
But hey, you’ll also get all 19 CSI/NCIS shows, or however many there are these days.
The show will then likely release a new episode week to week as opposed to releasing them all at once ala Netflix, but that’s not clear. There really isn’t an exact precedent to judge this by, given that CBS doesn’t have any other online-only shows of this scale to compare it to.
CBS went on to confirm that the show will feature new characters and a new setting, but it didn’t answer the real question: Which universe will the new Star Trek TV series be set in?
If you’re a fan of Star Trek, then you are probably well aware that there are actually two Star Trek universes – the original universe that featured Shatner’s Kirk, Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation, and 10 Star Trek films, ending with Star Trek Nemesis, and the new films launched by J.J. Abrams two films, which continues with Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond, are in an alternate universe where Vulcan was destroyed. So the question is which universe the new show will be set in.
So far, the reports are conflicting.
To begin with, the new series will be overseen by Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of Abrams’s Star Trek films. That alone seems to confirm that CBS wants to build that universe.
“There is no better time to give Star Trek fans a new series than on the heels of the original show’s 50th anniversary celebration,” David Stapf, President, CBS Television Studios said in the press released. “Everyone here has great respect for this storied franchise, and we’re excited to launch its next television chapter in the creative mind and skilled hands of Alex Kurtzman, someone who knows this world and its audience intimately.”
On the other hand though, the press release closes by stating “The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film Star Trek Beyond which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.”
That could simply mean the show won’t specifically follow the Enterprise, but it might mean more.
CBS created a massive, connected universe featuring five live-action TV series, and it introduced dozens of original and memorable characters. To ignore that and follow the reset in the films with a similar reset on the TV side of things, to essentially ignore shows like DS9 and TNG (and even Voyager and Enterprise), would be criminal. At the very least it would be a huge waste.
There have been plenty of proposals to continue the Star Trek TV universe. A “Captain Worf” show has been kicked around for years now; a fan-made film created with the blessing (or at least indifference) of CBS called Renegades recently appeared online. There is still a hunger for that universe – just look at the dozens of books constnatly coming out that continue to expand the TV storylines.
At the moment, the streaming service is still limited in how it can be viewed. There is an app available for certain devices, but it is still far, far behind services like Netflix, Hulu, and others.
There’s time for that to change, but if CBS intends create a Star Trek show, then charge for it and force people to watch it on what may be inconvenient devices, to also place it in an alt-universe that ignores all the shows that went before it… well, that could be bad. It could be very bad.
Expect to hear more about this in the very near future.