New Star Trek Series Coming to Network TV

Ever since J.J Abrams’ 2009 reboot of Star Trek‘s original series was a hit on the big screen, I’ve been waiting for this announcement. Especially after Star Trek Into Darkness turned out to be something of a critical disaster. It made money, but with Abrams off to do Star Wars, and the prospect of diminishing returns on the horizon, it would only make sense for CBS to get the show back on the small screen, where it worked best, before the iron cooled.

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Getting the rights lined up properly was the big hurdle–the movie franchise reboot held a lot of power, and at first wasn’t keen to see small screen competition. What changed? Perhaps it was seeing The Muppets jump to the small screen? Or,more likely, the realization that ABC is populated with several small screen spin offs of parent company Disney’s movie franchises, while DC continues to pave the way for their own universe catch up with shows like Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. TV show spin offs of movies are where it’s at, and it seems like the folks at Star Trek finally figured that out.

To that end, Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the two Star Trek reboot movies will helm a new Star Trek show through CBS Television Studios. Check out the press release below.

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CBS Television Studios announced today it will launch a totally new “Star Trek” television series in January 2017. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent first-run episodes will then be available exclusively in the United States on CBS All Access, the Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service.

The next chapter of the “Star Trek” franchise will also be distributed concurrently for television and multiple platforms around the world by CBS Studios International.

Yes, you read that right. CBS is basically doing something of a Netflix/On demand type service for Star Trek, on their “CBS All Access” subscription channel. It’s the first program they are doing this with.

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The new program will be the first original series developed specifically for U.S. audiences for CBS All Access, a cross-platform streaming service that brings viewers thousands of episodes from CBS’s current and past seasons on demand, plus the ability to stream their local CBS Television station live for $5.99 per month. CBS All Access already offers every episode of all previous “Star Trek” television series.

The brand-new “Star Trek” will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.

Note that bit about the “all new characters.” One of the factors of the deal is that the movie franchise will stay completely separate from the TV show. Tat gives the TV show more freedom of where to go and what story to tell. It can stay in the original timeline, for instance, and be the Next Next Generation of 2463 if it wants.  The wording does suggest it’s not allowed to do it’s own reboot of another original property, say of The Next Generation or DS9 or any of the other 90s version of the franchise. But it’s also not tied to having to work within the movie’s version of the world if it doesn’t see fit. The press release makes sure to emphasize that at the end.

The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film “Star Trek Beyond,” which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.

By the way, 2016 will mark 50 years since the début of TOS, a fact the movie will probably take enormous advantage of. I would expect the TV show to do the same.

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