Let's say you have a streaming subscription service and you want to give it something that no other streaming service has, but something that television viewers have long demanded.
Now imagine that the network is CBS, a company most often associated with crime dramas and the occasional comedy. But CBS has started to build a new reputation by bringing science fiction to its network, something it seemed to abandon once all the CSI series took over.
CBS got off to a good start in winning over genre fans, thanks to its Supergirl series (which just got a second season). But to get fans really excited about science fiction on the network, as well as its All Access streaming service, CBS announced that it planned on giving Star Trek fans the one thing they have always wanted: a brand-new Star Trek series. And that series will only appear on All Access.
Of course, genre fans don't have a lot of faith in the network, which hasn't done a lot for Star Trek in recent years. Longtime fans also feel burned by the J.J. Abrams movies, which rebooted a universe they already know and love. Many would even argue that those films don't even feel like Star Trek.
However, in light of details that have come up since the initial announcement of the CBS television series, we think it's now OK to get excited about a new Trek franchise. Here's why:
The first reason to get excited about a Star Trek show is that CBS chose Bryan Fuller for its showrunner. Although Fuller has made a name for himself with innovative shows such as Pushing Daisies and Hannibal, he got his start as a writer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Not only does he already know the Trek universe, but he's also proven that he's a great writer and showrunner.
Most importantly, though, Fuller is a fan of Star Trek, which means he'll do everything he can to make the series work well for other fans. Unlike Abrams, Fuller gets it.
"My very first experience of Star Trek is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls," said Fuller in a CBS press release as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. "Before seeing a frame of the television series, the Star Trek universe lit my imagination on fire. It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand-new iteration of Star Trek with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no Star Trek series has gone before."
Not only did CBS tap Fuller to take on the new Star Trek as showrunner, but they also got Star Trek: Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer to join Fuller in the writer's room. Many fans would argue that Wrath of Khan is one of the best Star Trek films in the franchise, and, like Fuller, Meyer already has experience writing in that universe where no one has gone before. Meyer also directed and co-wrote Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as well as co-wrote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
"Nicholas Meyer chased Kirk and Khan 'round the Mutara Nebula and 'round Genesis' flames, he saved the whales with the Enterprise and its crew, and waged war and peace between Klingons and the Federation," showrunner Fuller said in an official statement. "We are thrilled to announce that one of Star Trek's greatest storytellers will be boldly returning as Nicholas Meyer beams aboard the new Trek writing staff."
The Roddenberry Touch
Star Trek fans argue that the Abrams films lack the Gene Roddenberry touch: that excitement that the original series had about space exploration, seeing worlds beyond our own and tapping into the political and cultural climate of the time. However, the new CBS Star Trek series will have its own Roddenberry influence, thanks to Gene Roddenberry's son, Rod Roddenberry, who signed on as the series' executive producer.
That's right: this Star Trek has a Roddenberry at the helm, and that, alone, is reason enough to get excited about a new series.
"Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy, left a finely feathered nest for all who love Star Trek to enjoy," said Fuller in an announcement as reported by Flickering Myth. "And it is only fitting that Rod Roddenberry and Roddenberry Entertainment join our new Trek adventure to ensure that his father's legacy of hope for the future and infinite diversity in infinite combinations runs through our tales as Gene Roddenberry intended."
Star Trek Returns Home
Perhaps the best reason to get excited about Star Trek, though, is that CBS has always owned the rights to the series. Although the program originally aired on NBC in 1966, CBS maintained rights to the show, so in a way, the franchise is coming home. The original Star Trek broke ground and was often controversial: not only did the series take place on an interstellar spaceship, but it also featured one of the first truly diverse casts on television. And the series made strides in tapping into cultural awareness and tackled issues that changed the face of TV forever.
Now, Star Trek returns to CBS, but as part of the CBS streaming service. Of all the networks, when it comes to streaming, CBS seems to understand that its viewers want content in nontraditional ways, and by bringing Star Trek to All Access, fans will have the ability to watch the series wherever they want whenever they want.
And that is no small feat: CBS embraced the future with All Access and is now bringing the future through its subscription service to Trek fans.
The new Star Trek series premieres on CBS All Access in 2017. So jump up and down and get excited: it's totally OK.