After being out of the TV landscape for over a decade now, Star Trek will finally return as a TV series on January 2017. Now the bad news, it will only be available via streaming a la Netflix. Actually if it was on Netflix or a cable channel it wouldn’t be so bad but in order to see the entire series you have to purchase the new streaming service called CBS All Access.
CBS Television Studios stated in a press release that aside from the first episode, which will be broadcast on the network, all the other episodes will only be shown on the streaming service for $5.99 per month.
Think about that. Six bucks a month just to see new Star Trek episodes. While the service also provides access to the previous Star Trek series (and don’t be surprised if all the series will become exclusive to CBS All Access–goodbye Netflix), who wants to pay more money from our TV budget just to see Star Trek? It’s bad enough we have to pay for cable and Netflix just to see the better shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Daredevil, but now we’re being forced to cough up more money just to see new Star Trek. Never mind that we’ll be able to see the junk that CBS has because who cares about all the CSI/N CIS clones and stale comedies that clutter that network’s schedule?
This follows the same dumb strategy that Paramount carried out in the ’90s with their so-called TV network UPN. Star Trek: Voyager kicked off the network, which struggled throughout its existence until it finally merged with the other fledgling WB Network and became The CW. Of course, by that time Star Trek was banished and retired. The point is that this strategy didn’t turn out too well, so what makes CBS think it will work this time? The smarter thing would’ve been to shop it to a cable channel or strike a deal with Netflix or Hulu. Broadcasting Star Trek on CBS is a non-starter and won’t be a good fit with their generically bland fare. This also proves the notion that network and even cable TV is dying out and underlines the fact that streaming services will be the standard for watching TV programs.
other downside with this announcement has to do with who is running the show. Alex Kurtzman, the guy who helped dumb down Star Trek in the movies with his cohorts J.J. Abrams and Roberto Orci. So it’s a given at this point that despite the press release proclaiming that the show will feature new characters it’s a lock that it will take place in the NuTrek universe that emphasizes cheap and flashy thrills over substance. Many talented showrunners could’ve been given the reins for the new Star Trek show, people like Bryan Singer, J. Michael Straczynski and even Manny Coto have expressed interest in jumpstarting a new Star Trek show. Any of them would’ve been terrific choices to hand the franchise over to and let it grow. But with Kurtzman in charge, it just leaves a sour taste and there isn’t any way that the original and true Star Trek universe will ever return.
Honestly, ask yourself this question: will this new Star Trek be worth the extra expense? Sure, it’s great that Star Trek is finally back on TV where it belongs, but not under these circumstances.