“Star Trek” celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. Also, CBS launches a new “Star Trek” series in January 2017. There are two possible fates for the new “Star Trek” television series. It can be a refreshing version of an old television series or it can make a mockery of Gene Roddenberry’s original version. The new “Star Trek” will have to earn the respect of Trekkies and new fans.
The new “Star Trek” series will be available on CBS All Access, except for the premiere. The premiere will air on the CBS channel. CBS All Access is the network’s subscription answer to Netflix and Hulu. It will cost $5.99 a month. Where people get their television entertainment has changed. Television entertainment isn’t limited to local channels anymore, but this seems like another way to squeeze additional money from the popular franchise. The problem is the message sent to fans. If you want to watch the new “Star Trek” series, you must pay CBS All Access every month, therefore another subscription, another six dollars or more. It’s not enough that if the series is successful, there will be overwhelming numbers of advertisers, merchandise to sell and potential movie opportunities for CBS.
The executive producer is Alex Kurtzman. Kurtzman is familiar with the “Star Trek” series because he worked on the two “Star Trek” films from 2009 and 2013. J. J. Abrams was involved in the production and directing. People have a love hate relationship with Abrams. They believe he is either a cinematic genius or someone who doesn’t have any cinematic substance.
The producers of the new series promise new characters and adventures. The appeal of the original “Star Trek” was it was a reflection of societal issues of its time. The “Star Trek” solution was unity in alliances and respect for cultural differences. It didn’t need special effects, glitz or sex. The scientific story lines had depth. People still look forward to the day when teleportation machines, cloaking devices and unlimited space travel are realities.
Sometimes in the pursuit of financial rewards from popular franchises, sacrifices are made. Plots, character development and intricate character relationships are overlooked. Since CBS is asking for viewers’ subscriptions, the network will have to remain true to the Roddenberry’s version of “Star Trek.” Of course not remakes of old episodes, but new episodes which reflect societal issues of today. The return of the television series “Star Trek” in 2017 is an all or nothing venture. Fans will have the final say, especially for what and how much they are willing to pay.