Star Trek Continues to Entice Fans and Early Adopters

Star Trek 1966

Star Trek 1966There’s been a lot of debate – and more than a little mockery – at the news this week that CBS was going to produce a new Star Trek series.

About the only truly surprising thing is that it finally got announced. My understand all along had been that the CBS side of the Viacom split was entitled to a television series once the Paramount Pictures side of the split was done with the film series. Someone clearly thought better of that deal given the lengthy delay between films and with a fourth installment already penciled in for 2019.

I’m not sure where all the outrage from fans is coming from given that CBS is using it to bring eyeballs to their CBS All Access delivery system.   Star Trek fans have always been considered early adopters and the brand name recognition is such that throughout its five decade history, the series has always been in the forefront of something new.

Star Trek 2009In the mid-1970s, Paramount toyed with a fourth network, launching on Saturday nights with an hour-long revival with the original cast. Star Trek: Phase II morphed into the film series. The first feature also had the distinction of being the first movie based on a canceled television series (the 1960s Munsters and Batman films both ran while the shows were still on the air).

In 1988, Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted as part of a new syndicated initiative from Paramount and created a new marketplace for original works. A little while later, Star Trek: Voyager was used to launch the UPN network.

StarTrekVHSrMeantime, once a market for VHS tapes and laser discs emerged, Paramount wasted little time getting the original series out to fans who were among those first buyers of the technology. As VHS gave way to DVD and then Blu-ray, Star Trek continued to be repurposed and purchased by the diehard fans.

So, for a change, the Star Trek series is actually behind the curve as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have all been producing original series for their subscribers and reviving old TV shows to grow their audiences.

Scheduled for 2017, the show kicks off the 51st year of Gene Roddenberry’s creation and we’re told it will feature all new characters. Alex Kurtzman, one of the current film franchise’s producers, is in charge. That’s all we know. Everything else is speculation and will remain that way for some time.

Personally, I have no problem with CBS trying to get my $5.99 a month for this new offering and if it looks good, I will likely pay. The key for them is to entertain men and offer more than just Trek to keep me paying. Some have already said they will pay for one month, binge the first season and unsubscribe and that’s a business model CBS will try and fight. Netflix has certainly come up with enough to make that scenario a miniscule part of the business.

No, my greater concern is that the sloppy thinking and bad storytelling that has plagued the first two films in the rebooted franchise will spill over into the new series and taint it from the start. Kurtzman, CBS, and Paramount can’t afford to let that happen. There are way too many talented producers and writers out there who also happen to like Star Trek to offer up anything less than a superior science fiction series that honors Roddenberry’s original concepts.

Show me that and they can have my $5.99.

2 comments

  • I think if the old back catalog is available for the price, it’ll be a great value.

    Do you have an idea of the period that the show will be covering? I still feel pretty burned on Enterprise, which I feel was a worse offering of Trek than the two recent Abrams movies.

    • greenbergerbob@gmail.com

      As I said, all we know is new characters. We’ll all be waiting and speculating until there’s a formal announcement.

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