The story of Star Trek by now is a familiar one. But if you’ve been living in a cave then let’s break it down. In 1966, Gene Roddenberry produced a western in space, filled it with a host of characters who represented the best of humanity, and put them in science fiction stories with a little intellectual meat on them.
Before anyone goes crazy, this isn’t to say Star Trek was Shakespeare. It was a network show after all, but it was a smart one by comparison to contemporary shows like Lost in Space which were essentially monster-of-the-week stories. Star Trek was somewhere in between Lost in Space and Twilight Zone.
The original series lasted all of three seasons before getting canceled. A decade later, after Star Trek’s fandom continued to grow during the 70s, the movie series began. Another ten years later and Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST: TNG) hit the scene.
From ST: TNG and on, there’s rarely been a moment where a Trek show or movie isn’t around. By 2001, when Enterprise premiered, Star Trek overload was in full effect, and the show suffered. Enterprise lasted four seasons and ended in 2005, leaving the world without new Star Trek on TV for the first time in 15 years.
But Hollywood doesn’t leave records playing for long
without doing a little turntable ninjutsu.
In 2009, Jar Jar Abrams re-invented Star Trek on film as a poor man’s Star Wars. Three movies later and the Abrams-verse is a hotly debated issue among fans. Love them or hate them, the new Trek movies make money, and so they will likely go on as is.
A curious thing about Star Trek though, unlike many other intellectual properties, is that several companies own the rights and have a say in the franchise. These rights allow CBS to effectively do Star Trek however they wanted. In 2015, CBS announced Star Trek Discovery, a new show that would be the flagship of CBS All Access streaming service.
Over the past few years, news trickled out. A new Producer here, an actor there. The picture was slowly coming together. What would CBS do? Would they connect to the Abrams-verse or the fan-favorite Next Generation timeline or be something entirely different?
The trailer premiered yesterday and here’s are some random thoughts about what I saw:
Yay! A prequel. Can you feel the sarcasm oozing through the screen? I’m sorry if it messes up your computer or phone. Star Trek as its best when it’s about PROGRESS. It’s about where humanity is going, not where it’s already been. Not to mention, both Enterprise and the Abrams-verse already covered plenty of prequel territory. Why mine that drying up vein again? With a nearly endless foundation for stories to tell, why limit yourself to a period? Let alone open yourself up to canon violations and nerd rage. Star Trek: The Next Generation built on the original series. Discovery should have kept building, not gone back to rearrange furniture.
Why do Klingons look like they’re made of dough?
Why, Lord, why, did you adopt the awful lens flare/flood of the Abrams-verse?
How is it possible that Fox’s The Orville seemed like a better reboot of Star Trek than Discovery? Consider the two trailers:
In, The Orville, we learn the basic premise, a little bit about each character, and the villain.
In Discovery, we learn of a Captain who gets promoted (but not really?) in the oddest of ways. An alien whose entire species is bred to sense death? Is this a joke from the Orville? We learn … ‘splosions and action. And almost nothing at all about anyone else on the show. Oh, we see pudgy Klingons and a sarcophagus, too.
Perhaps no question will loom over Star Trek Discovery more than the monthly fee. CBS expects Discovery to be the flagship for its CBS All Access streaming service. After episode one airs free on CBS, the rest will only be available for $5.99 a month. If that’s the case, your trailer needs to be a tour de force that no one can deny is amazing. Instead, here’s something that some liked and some didn’t. That’s not a great way to start hyping up a pricey product.
Will you be watching Star Trek Discovery? Did the trailer convince you a monthly fee will be worth it?