This is not a hoax or a cruel prank!
A few hours ago CBS officially announced that our beloved Star Trek will return to network television in January of 2017. That’s 13 months away, for those who are counting!
The return of Star Trek to network television comes with an interesting twist, but more on that below.
For the official announcement and as much information as there is on the new series right now, all you need to do is visit the official site here.
As soon as I saw the news I dove into every website I could think of to see if there was any way this was a hoax, or some kind of joke. Knowing it was November, I still made myself check that there wasn’t a November equivalent of April Fools!
As I waded through multiple similar reports online, one of the articles (in Blastr) commented on how surreal the announcement was.
I couldn’t have put it better.
It is surreal. Ten years and almost six months ago, original and official Star Trek came to an end on television with the controversial swan song episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, “These Are The Voyages”.
Ever since Enterprise went off the air, there have been a number of attempts to get Star Trek back on television (some interesting, some completely dreadful), and all of them have failed.
Seven or eight years ago we could all accept the “it’s too soon” argument that everyone kept throwing around, but then 2010 came along, and 2011, and so on and those arguments didn’t hold water anymore.
A few weeks ago, the Renegades team gave us something new to talk about on this point, when, in a cryptic post, they told us that CBS couldn’t put any Star Trek series on television for reasons they weren’t able to disclose. That, more than anything, probably had me believing a new series was a very long way off.
Every year one theory or another has popped up regarding the absence of a new Star Trek on television, with many people blaming Enterprise – the fact it was a prequel, the fact it deviated from everything that had come before it, and so on.
I don’t think Enterprise deserves the flack it gets, and I don’t believe it deserves to be blamed for the end of Star Trek on television. Yes, the creative staff behind that fifth Star Trek series pandered to the lowest common denominator at the beginning, but it became a great series. I admit I had an angry, allergic reaction to the pilot episode of Enterprise, because it screwed around with the Vulcan race, and it threw left-of-centre (way left-of-centre) sensuality at us and filmed it in a way that made it feel exploitative. Those two things irrationally angered me. I remember watching the pilot and wondering what the heck had happened to Vulcans, and then not long afterwards getting hit with the decon-gel smearing scene and thinking “they’re pandering. Sex sells and they’ve totally missed the point of Star Trek and they’re just trying to get pubescent boys revved up and wanting a decon-chamber T’Pol doll”.
But, Enterprise grew stronger with every episode. The series had a wonderful cast and each actor played an engaging and interesting character, with T’Pol and Trip in particular becoming fan favourites. The series also managed to unpack a range of things that further deepened Star Trek and it’s mythology.
I don’t know if we’ll ever get a formal explanation from CBS about why it took so long to get a Trek series back on television, and why it couldn’t have been scheduled for the 2016 50th Anniversary, so we’ll probably just have to keep playing the guessing game.
One of the biggest surprises of this announcement though has been how they got this past us fans?! We’re psychotic in our devotion to hunting down details about our favourite show. We pounce on rumours and we ponder strange and ambiguous statements, yet this one flew under all of our collective radars.
Well played, CBS. Bloody impressive secret keeping.
The announcement that came direct from CBS states a few interesting things:
- Alex Kurtzman will executive produce the new series. If that name sounds familiar, he’s part of the reboot team who brought us 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
- The pilot episode of this new Star Trek series will air on CBS television and only the pilot, but the series itself will run on CBS All Access, their cross-platform streaming service.
- It’s unclear if the new series will take place in the alternate timeline, or the prime timeline of the original series, Next Gen, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. What the release does say is: “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 third point doesn’t exclude the new series from taking place in the alternate timeline, and also gives those of us who want a series in the prime timeline hope. In other words, they’re screwing with our minds.
No one knows yet if Alex Kurtzman went to CBS with a pitch, or if CBS approached Kurtzman – but I guess all of that will come out over the next few months.
For those of you who don’t know, Alex has an impressive list of television credits to his name. He started his career as a writer and producer on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, and continued with shows like Alias, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow and Limitless.
If you’d like more information on Alex, visit his Wikipedia page here and his IMDb page here. You’ll find a full list of his film and television work (including shows he has co-created) on both sites.
Somewhere on the net today I came across a bit of information that said Alex had been looking for writers for the last couple of months for the new television series, so I’m wondering if that was explained to the Star Trek: Renegades team when they shopped their pilot to CBS a few weeks ago?
One thing is certain, this isn’t a surprise to CBS. For the announcement to come now, with a production turn around of only one year, stories are being developed and concept designs are being drawn up for space ships and all of the other bits of technology that will be used. They’re not starting the process now, that process would have already started.
I would be surprised if they haven’t developed the characters and weren’t thinking about the actors who will appear in the series.
This means we will get more news soon.
Below are the various reports I found this morning as I searched the net trying to let this news sink in. There’s not much that’s new in any of these reports, but one or two sites do add a little tiny bit of extra information.
I’ll start with two non-Trek sites, then the rest are all Star Trek devoted news sites.
Plus this fun opinion piece from io9 right here.
That should be more than enough for you guys to read!
This is great news, and there is no better present for Trek fans as we come up to the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.
Because this is my blog, I am going to indulge myself a little.
If I could command the ebb and flow of the universe I would make Alex Kurtman focus on the prime timeline. I want to know what happened after Nemesis, but in particular what happened in the prime timeline after Spock died, and the Romulan System went bang.
There are a wealth of stories there, many of them that would give the writers the opportunity to explore contemporary issues like the current refugee crisis affecting the world.
I don’t want to be stuck in the alternate timeline’s version of Kirk, or an alternate timeline version of Next Gen. I love the new movies, though I dislike some of the choices they’ve made, but leave that timeline to the feature films. Please, further explore the universe we all came to love and honour that 50 years of history in Star Trek series six.
Now that I’ve got that out of my system…
THANK YOU, CBS! Thank you. Here’s to Star Trek hopefully resuming its place as a leader in science fiction television.