CBS recently announced they would be releasing a new Star Trek series, and in order to promote their new streaming service CBS All Access, the show would release exclusively streaming for at least a short period of time following the new series premiere.
The move is of course brilliant, as they will likely immediately get millions of people to sign up, if for nothing else to watch the newest installment of a storied franchise. As CBS is the lone major broadcaster holding out from distributing their shows on a third party streaming service like Hulu, it makes sense that they would want to work as hard as possible in the coming months to promote CBS All Access.
The Star Trek community got excited about the potential here, this author included. While most ‘hardcore’ fans weren’t crazy about the recent films, as their focus on action instead of exploration took a little something away from the philosophies of the original television shows that we all came to love, more Star Trek is rarely a bad thing.
And the movies have been wildly successful in the box office (collectively making $800M), the JJ Abrams-led Star Trek films have since been signed to a minimum of four films. If the films bring in more fans to the older classics, then they’re certainly a net positive.
“Right out of Hell, I saw it!”
However, some early rumors that are starting to circulate about the CBS reboot are making even the most loyal Star Trek fans a little nervous. We have heard from numerous sources that this new series is going to appeal to the MTV crowd, with aims at hiring a young cast, a focus on simplified storytelling (read: less philosophy), and a modern styling seen in the most recent films, removing that vintage feeling from the older shows. In other words, hardcore Trekkies should temper those expectations.
Alex Kurtzman, executive producer for the upcoming series, has certainly set a precedent of films that appeal to the specific demographic targeted with the Trek reboot, including the most recent films, the Transformers movies, and The Amazing Spiderman 2. He has also worked on several CBS productions, that while successful in generating massive audiences, have harsh criticism for being cheesy and dumbed-down crime shows.
The Amazingly Corny Spiderman 2
So where does this fear come from? During the Sony email leaks back in early 2015, a particular message caught our attention, from Nick Shore, Chief Creative Strategist for Sony partner Astronauts Wanted: No Experience Necessary to Amy Pascal a former Sony exec, regarding The Amazing Spider Man 2:
EDM? Tough Mudders? Humblebrags? Snap Chats? Do we really want our superhero stars adopting all the latest trends? Is this what studio heads really think of us? Certainly, contextual elements of the time period are welcome, but it seems like a losing strategy, especially to fans of a specific character or cast of characters to try and make things so hyper-relevant. It never pays to try and be too “cool,” a lesson most of us hardcore Trekkies learned at a young age. Accept Star Trek for what it is, else the whole concept seems terribly gimmicky.
CBS is going to focus heavily here in the coming 12 months to earn new subscribers to their new streaming service CBS All Access, so a move towards mass appeal certainly seems the most likely. But we beg of you CBS, please treat the series with the respect it deserves, it will pay off in the long run.