Star Trek will return to television in 2017

Yes, it’s true!

A friend shared a link on my Facebook timeline that Star Trek was returning to TV, and at first I thought it was a hoax. But I dug and found that it’s true — Star Trek is returning to its television roots in January 2017… and the announcement comes straight from CBS.

According to the press release, the show will feature “new characters,” and I read that to mean we won’t be seeing Kirk, Spock, Picard or anyone we’ve seen before. There’s no word on whether the show will be set in the 23rd century (the era of the original series), or whether it will continue beyond where Star Trek: Voyager left off.

Alex Kurtzman will serve as executive producer for the new show. Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the films Star Trek (2009) with Roberto Orci, and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) with Orci and Damon Lindelof.

But there is a caveat: The new Star Trek won’t be on your TV screen as the previous series were: This one is going straight to the consumer via CBS’ online portal: CBS All Access, and there is a small subscription fee. Obviously, CBS is using the Trek franchise to build its online service… and it’s a smart move. It’s where TV is going.

However, the first episode will appear on old-fashioned TV on the CBS network in order to hook the audience. Future episodes will then be available domestically only on CBS All Access.

Now, some personal thoughts:

I’m hoping this will be a real reboot and that the producers won’t bow to the pressure of the fan “cult” and try to make it fit with existing “canon” (which is a garbled mess), or explain away differences as a ridiculous “alternate timeline” as they’ve done with the JJ Abrams movies. Just make a good show and I won’t care one bit whether it fits in existing canon. Give me a good show with compelling stories and well-drawn characters and you can reinvent the whole universe.

Besides, Star Trek belongs on the small screen. It’s where we can get the kind of stories that made Trek great. We were NEVER going to see stories like “City on the Edge of Forever” or “The Inner Light” on the movie screen. Star Trek, at its best, when it’s got hours to fill, can give us drama, comedy, soap opera, Twilight Zone, farce, you name it.

If the producers are brave enough, Star Trek can indeed go where no one has gone before.

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