One of the biggest stories on my Facebook feed last week was the announcement from CBS that a new Star Trek series was in the works and would be hitting our screens January, 2017. My initial reaction was excitement at the news. I am a big believer that television is where Star Trek belongs. That’s where it started and where it thrived from the late 80’s through the 90’s. Star Trek just belongs on TV, and it has been a while since we have had that, so the fact that they were developing a new Star Trek series was awesome.
Except, then I started reading all the comments and started wondering if it really was awesome. We, and when I say we, I mean Star Trek fans in general, have been begging and wanting a new Star Trek series basically since Enterprise went off the air. It just feels so weird not having one, after we had just gone so many consecutive years with at least one. Now we were finally getting what we wanted, and it looked like we didn’t want it after all. The problem is, as a community, we have been filling the void left by no Star Trek on TV with our own stuff. This included fan fiction stories, playing Star Trek Online, or enjoying fan made shows like Renegades or Axanar. As a result, many of us knew exactly what we wanted from a new show, and now we felt like we weren’t going to get that.
This is a common issue with major fandoms in general. Look at Star Wars. Right now, every Star Wars fanboy out there is excited out of their mind for Episode VII. They cannot wait, and with good reason. I have seen the trailers, and they look incredible, and right now, you would have a hard time finding anyone who would have anything negative to say about it. That wasn’t the case when everything was being announced. First they had a problem with it being from Disney, a studio that had no business making big epic films, and then it was JJ Abrams, and everyone was nervous about what he would do with the product (trust me, Star Wars fans, your fears were well founded), and then all the books were made non canon and so on. It was just bad news after bad news. Then the trailers started coming out and we all started getting excited, and now everyone can’t wait.
After it opens, though, I know that there are going to be people who are hate it. Had core Star Wars fans are going to hate Episode VII. It will be too much this or not enough that and they won’t be happy with it. It won’t be all of the hard-core fans, but it will be enough and we will begin seeing blog posts about how awful it is and what were they thinking and Abrams has now successfully ruined two beloved franchises. It won’t be everyone, it may not even be a majority, but they will be out there and they will be loud.
That’s what being in a fandom is all about. So, with our new Star Trek series, we are in the beginning phase, a phase where we know nothing at all about what the series will actually be about, and so many of us can already read the writing on the wall. CBS has no business making this series. They aren’t going to give it the love and attention it deserves because it will be relegated, or it already has been relegated, to their new streaming service. The series will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, who has been a writer involved with the two newer Star Trek movies, which take place in what is affectionately known as the Abramsverse. All of this means the show is obviously going to be a disaster and we should just give up on it now.
Except it doesn’t. CBS is putting the show on their streaming service, that is true, but I don’t look at it as being relegated to the service. How many of us subscribe to a streaming service currently? How many of us subscribe to more than one? How many of us have ventured out far enough that we have cut the cord and only use streaming for our media consumption? Believe it or not, there are quite a few of us out there, and our numbers are growing everyday. By 2017, there will be even more of us. I fact, I feel that the future of television is going to be internet streaming. Cutting the cord allows us to take a more a la carte approach to our television watching, and some people, a lot of people like that. Yes, this service costs $6 a month, on top of $8.99 for Netflix, and $7.99 for Hulu, bringing my monthly TV costs up to $23 a month. How much are you paying for your cable or satellite? I promise, you might think you are going to miss it, but you won’t. CBS is going to throw a lot of money at this show because it is going to be an anchor for their streaming service. They want it to succeed, and they want it to succeed in a big way. Think Daredevil big or Game of Thrones big. That is the vision CBS has for this series, so let’s assume it won’t suck because of production value.
Yes, Alex Kurtzman is producing, so everyone assumes it will be in the Abramsverse, except I disagree. The key here is that CBS is the network behind it. You know what CBS is not tied to at all currently? Paramount studios, the studios behind the Abramsverse Star Trek. Tying this show in with that series of movies isn’t really going to benefit CBS all that much. It might give them a little boost to start with, but I don’t think they want this to tie in with something that will make no gain from. You know what CBS does currently own the distribution rights to? All the other Star Trek series, that all happen in our Prime Universe. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to want to tie it in with properties they own? Look past Kurtzman, and it makes sense.
I guess mostly, I am just an optimist. I am hoping this new series will be really good. I am hoping the stories will be strong and that it will, overall, feel like Star Trek. I am putting a little bit of faith in CBS that they are making this series and hoping it will be successful. A big part of that will be winning over the existing fans. I guess I am hoping for the best, so I am going to go back to being excited for it. I’ll let everyone else do the worrying for me.
What do you think? Will the new series be a hit or a flop? Let us know in the comments below, or you can send me feedback directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.