Not too long ago it seemed as if Star Trek was at a low point. Yes, the IP had a lot of attention thanks to its 50th anniversary, but it appeared that its corporate owners CBS and Viacom/Paramount Pictures could not fully take advantage of this event. There were many specials and such, but the only new product in 2016 was the film Star Trek Beyond, which did not do too well in the box office. In fact, to date it is the last Star Trek film to be produced. Then there was the backlash against both corporations when they came down hard on Star Trek fans with stringent, draconian guidelines regarding their ability to create fan films. At that time, aside from some TV specials, there wasn’t any original Star Trek content on TV. This was striking being that the franchise got its start in the television medium and flourished there.
However, CBS did announce at that time that a new Star Trek TV show, Star Trek: Discovery, was coming, except that it would only be available for subscribers of their new CBS All Access streaming app. So to see new Star Trek content on TV, one was forced to pay for it. This did not bode well for Star Trek: Discovery, and the show already had to face harsh criticism from disgruntled fans. Many of them balked at the design aesthetics, the cast that focused on women and people of color and different sexual orientations, and the fact that most of its season was devoted to a war. As Star Trek: Discovery debuted and failed to meet fans’ expectations, the franchise was further hobbled with the reports that a new Star Trek film was stuck in development hell. It seemed to be that as many cynics and haters were proclaiming: Star Trek was dying.
But the Star Trek franchise, as always, proved that it had life. Star Trek: Discovery began to find its legs and winning over skeptics. Its second season was light years better than its first with new cast members and better written scripts. This culminated in an epic season finale that rivaled anything seen in a Star Trek film and launched the series in a bold new direction while setting up respectfully the original TV show. That wasn’t all.
It was announced that there were other Trek shows in development. While the announcement was greeted with some interest it was Star Trek: Picard revelation that awoke the sleeping Star Trek fandom. The news that Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) star, Patrick Stewart, would reprise his iconic role of Jean-Luc Picard excited Star Trek fandom as did the news that the show would take place decades after TNG. This placated those who disliked the idea of reboots. It was clear that the original Prime Star Trek universe still existed and had stories worth exploring in it.
Star Trek: Picard was a much needed boost for the franchise as we fans eagerly wait for it to stream early next year. What added to the enthusiasm was the fact that Star Trek: Picard will feature other characters from TNG and even Star Trek: Voyager. This illustrates that the corporations finally recognized that they have their very own fictional universe to play with and utilize to its fullest. They have even given it an official name: the Star Trek Universe. We last saw this going on in the noughties with Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek: Enterprise. It is hoped that Star Trek: Picard will also feature characters and events from other series like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise. Additionally, there are two new animated shows coming soon and rumors of even more shows featuring the Klingon, Worf, and Captain Christopher Pike (as played by Anson Mount, who stole his scenes in Star Trek: Discovery’s second season). Even all does not seem lost on the film front. A Star Trek film directed by Quentin Tarantino is still being discussed. With all this, it can be said that a new Star Trek renaissance is upon us.
What is aiding the new coming Star Trek renaissance is that the corporations CBS and Viacom are merging and the two mediums they had the rights to, TV and film, can now fully interact with each other as last seen in noughties before both corporations separated from one another. So now full resources can be used for Star Trek with less of the corporate red tape over the usage of characters and situations.
Star Trek has faced many ups and downs throughout its fifty-plus years of existence. Some of its worst lows were after the original show and Star Trek: Enterprise were canceled. But time and time again after a lull, the franchise came back strong with renewed vigor. The upcoming shows and developments clearly show that Star Trek is coming back strong.
Great post, Star Trek is my most beloved franchise and it certainly seems we’re on the verge of a new golden era for Trek the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 90s.
Admittedly, I was initially hesitant when all of these new CBS shows got announced and worried that they there’d quickly be an over saturation, killing the resurgence before it would even gain momentum. Yet, with the reveal of Picard and the fact that it seems we’ll just be getting one season of a particular series at a time and each will be a little different (Lower Decks will obviously be quite different)…I’m all in and excited about what’s coming (but, we really need that Pike spin-off!).
With the reunification of CBS/Paramount there’s even more potential and perhaps that Nicholas Meyer Khan mini-series will get the go ahead (I read an interview where Meyer stated he’d written it but the film/TV division split was hindering any further progress).
Thank you! Star Trek is one of my favorite franchises and was disheartened with its recent hurdles.
But as before, Trek showed how resilient and adaptive it is. Discovery had a bit of a rough start but so did other Trek shows and like previous shows improved greatly as time went on
The announcement regarding Picard and the other projects is just icing on the cake. Now all they have to do is bring back DS9 in some form!
Funnily enough, I was watching the Deep Space Nine documentary recently and thought the same thing…alas I doubt they’d be able to convince Avery Brooks to come back. But maybe they could find a way to incorporate DS9 characters into a future Trek project? Here’s hoping!
I’m not that familiar with all the Star Trek series and film, but I loved the classic show and STTNG. I did enjoy Discovery as well, especially the second season, and looking forward to the Picard series. Star Trek is indeed enjoying a strong return to form.
That is the beauty of Star Trek. It always finds a way to come back new and refreshed. It’s amazing to think that the franchise has been around so long and finds new ways to entertain us.
Great post! I’m a huge TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY fan but I must admit that Discovery is not my cup of tea and that I’m afraid Picard will also be a disappointment. I truly hope I will be proven wrong! Anyway, now more than ever we have chances of getting good new Trek products!
Thanks for the comments. I was not a big fan of Discovery in its first season but it improved alot in its second to the point that I cannot wait for the third season.
But the Picard show is what I look forward to the most since Patrick Stewart is returning.
I love Patrick Stewart! The trailer, though, looks like J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek (in terms of sets, lights, and number of very young people who I think will be the real protagonists of the show)… But again, I hope that I will be proven wrong on my expectations!
If a show called Picard has a bunch of youngsters as the leads then that would be a huge mistake! LOL! Sure expect them to take the lead in the action scenes but Stewart must be the undeniable lead.
I have been waiting forever for a Worf series! Make it so!
Word would be so easy to do! Trek has so many great characters that warrant their own shows. This went back to the original show when Roddenberry pitched shows based on Harry Mudd and Gary Seven.
It will be interesting to see how many Trek ideas will actually make it to screen (tv or movie)!
I can’t wait for the new Star Trek: Picard series next year.
In addition to the force from Star Wars, Star Trek series especially Star Trek: The Next Generations have always been my top of the list for space related entertainment.
And some of the principles of the Starfleet, Captain Picard’s style of leadership have indirectly influenced my style of people management as well. When I stuck with an issue, I always ask myself – what would Jean-Luc would do in my situation?
Here’s my comparison between 2 series – The Next Generations and The Voyager:-
You can never go wrong with following Starfleet principles which are very relevant to us in our lives!
Thanks for the links, you have some interesting thoughts on the Trek shows.