Monday, November 02, 2015

The Long Trek Back...to TV

Just over ten years ago, while taking stock of the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise, I noted that while it brought the curtain down on seventeen uninterrupted years of TV trekking, the franchise would eventually be back. And return it did, four years later, via the J.J. Abrams-helmed feature film reboot that has spawned one sequel already with another on the way. Of course, the small screen has always been Trek's true home, so we all knew it was only a matter of time before it boldly went back there. And now comes word via CBS, the franchise's current minders, that Star Trek is indeed returning -- albeit with a twist.

Per their release, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness co-writer Alex Kurtzman will be in charge of the brand's latest iteration, which is intended to be carried exclusively on CBS All Access, the network's digital subscription service. Not much else is known at this time about the new show, except that it's intended to premiere in early 2017, and it ostensibly has no connection with the upcoming sequel Star Trek Beyond, which will hit theaters next year (just in time for the franchise's 50th anniversary). Presumably Kurtzman's involvement means (and I'm only guessing here) this is set in the same "rebooted" timeline of the current films, but likely following a new ship and new crew.

Honestly, the only thing that surprised me about this announcement is that it took so long. When Viacom (home of Paramount) split with CBS nine years ago, they divided up the franchise's TV and movie rights, resulting in an uncomfortable friction between its previous iterations and the current model. Since 2009, CBS has mostly sat on the sidelines while Paramount cashed out on their IP. As such, it makes sense that when it came time to sell a new content delivery model, they'd lean on the Star Trek fanbase to power it, same as when they launched Star Trek: The Next Generation for first-run syndication in 1987, and again in 1994 when Star Trek: Voyager launched the UPN network.

I'm sure there will be plenty of other details to parse as this sixth Star Trek TV makes its way towards its January '17 debut, but in the meantime you can read the original press release here.

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