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November 3, 2015

CBS Announces NEW Star Trek Series for 2017… Let the Debate Begin!

by Reggie's Take

On Monday CBS announced that it would launch a new television series beginning in January of 2017 news Star Trek fans have waited for, but what form of Trek will we get and should it matter what timeline?

Star Trek: Enterprise the fifth installment was the last Star Trek series to air on television ending its four-year run in May of 2005. When this new series begins airing in January of 2017 it will end an almost twelve year absence.

The new series will make its debut with a special airing on the CBS Network itself, but will then air exclusively at least in the U.S. on CBS All Access, the Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service.

Alex Kurtzman who helped co-write both rebooted films “Star Trek” (2009) and “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) has been hired as the series executive producer. CBS also announced that this new series will not be related to “Star Trek Beyond” that is due out in theaters in July of 2016.

Reggie’s Take Editorial:
The idea that Star Trek is finally getting a new series for the small screen is great news both for the fans and the franchise as a whole. Star Trek is fun to see in the theaters, but has a special quality where it started, television.

I’ve admitted this before and I’m not afraid to admit it again as much as I’m a fan of the previous television shows and the movies, original and next generation I don’t have a problem with the rebooted movies and the alternate timeline.

So what are my thoughts on where CBS and Kurtzman will take this new series and will it satisfy all Star Trek fans? The short and simple answer would be no one really knows what kind of a Star Trek series we will actually get and NO, not all Trek fans will be happy.

CBS and Kurtzman obviously have several options in where and what direction this new series will take and depending which option they choose will determine if this new show will be loved or hated.

With the rebooted Abrams movies CBS now has two timelines in which to choose from as the backdrop. The original timeline in which all of the first five television shows and the first ten movies original cast through the TNG movies were set in and the alternate timeline or sometimes referred to as the Abrams Universe.

The original timeline would be a good choice to set the new series in, but not so good at the same time. It’s my opinion that if CBS and Kurtzman set the new show in the original timeline the one all Trek fans are the most familiar with it would make the best sense to set the show at some point in the future after the events of Star Trek Nemesis.

Why after Nemesis? It gives the writers of the new series the most freedom with out any issues or possible conflicts. They would have a huge history of Star Trek events to draw from and at the same time the ability to create and continue that rich history in the timeline longtime fans have known since the beginning.

The draw back to setting a new series in the original timeline, the long rich history that may keep possible new fans from tuning in and watching. I’m not saying new fans wouldn’t watch, but may find it harder to follow or understand when the show would refer to something in the past that’s pertaining to what they are dealing with in that particular episode.

Some of you out there may argue that it would give a new fan the chance to go back to the previous five shows and discover what Star Trek has to offer, but I doubt all newcomers would find that appealing. Setting the new show in the original timeline would have the greatest appeal to the long time fan.

What benefits would there be by setting the show in the alternate timeline?

First there would be a bigger playground in which the writers and producers could play. They would be able to set the show in any time period they wanted to with out much worry. The only history they would have to worry with would be the first two Abrams movies and what ever occurs in “Beyond” when it hits theaters in 2016.

Of course there is always a third option and that’s for CBS and Kurtzman to create yet another timeline in which to set there show, but that in my opinion would be a bigger detriment to the franchise then what it would be worth.

There are some pitfalls this new series should take extra steps to avoid in order to have longevity.

1. If set in the original timeline, DO NOT rewrite history or future history depending where in the timeline the show is set in order to make the show or an episode to work. The biggest mistake Kurtzman and CBS could make would be to only acknowledge what helps them tell there story and ignore everything else.

2. DO NOT try and revisit or retell any of the previous shows in either timeline. Were already getting a new take on the original crew with Paramount and the rebooted movies we don’t need a new take on the TNG Crew, DS9 or Voyager.

The Star Trek universe is plenty big enough to tell new stories about a new crew on a new ship or even a show where the primary cast is Klingon. The universe it self is a huge playground and so should Star Trek.

3. The biggest complaints about the rebooted movies from some of the hard core fans is that the previous two movies have been all about the flash with out the usual Star Trek commentary on society that it has been known for in the past.

I’ve argued before that today’s movie audience wouldn’t sit through a typical Star Trek movie that we saw with the original cast during the 80’s and early 90’s and I feel the same may apply to today’s television viewer. What Kurtzman must do to avoid this criticism is to find the right balance between the action/special affects and telling a good story.

Kurtzman has already been thrown half under the bus just because he was part of the writing team on Abrams first two Star Trek movies. If he wants to earn the respect of the hard core fans he will have to show he can bring the old and new together in a way that makes a compelling Star Trek series for all.

Let’s also take in to consideration that CBS may not be able to set this new show in the alternate timeline being used by Paramount. Several years ago Paramount and CBS divided up who had the rights to what, with Paramount having the movie rights and CBS the television side. Before that Paramount held the rights to both.

Since CBS made the announcement on Monday the amount of bickering I’ve read on-line about where this new Star Trek show should go or what shape it may take has astonished me. The comment sections on some of the sites I have visited have made me feel like I’m back in Junior high or high school.

The new series is for all intense purposes fourteen months away from airing and in just one day we already have people out there condemning it to failure.

Fans for years have been begging and pleading for Star Trek to come back to the small screen and now that it is I’m seeing the same gripes and complaints that I see with the newer movies. Let’s just be happy for now that new Star Trek stories will becoming to our living rooms in January of 2017, because who knows how long it may take if it fails.

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