Warning: Incoming Rant
This past September 24 marked the premiere of the first Star Trek television series in 12 years. In addition to Star Trek’s return to television, it is the first new Star Trek stories from the non-Kelvin timeline. The Kelvin timeline was established in the 2009 JJ Abrams feature film reboot. The new series is almost 30 years to the day from the premier of the first spin-off series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the new series was split between network television and streaming services. What wasn’t clear in the original news release was that the entire pilot episode would be ripped into 2 parts, the first hour on network television and the second hour available online only.
The result was one of the worst premieres for a new series in recent memory. Let me explain and please note that these comments are from the perspective of a North American viewer.
Broadcasting the premier in this way is set to divide Star Trek fans (in North America) between cord cutters and those still connected to the network mainline. The intent, obviously, was to bring non-cord cutters over the CBS’ still-struggling streaming service called All Access. Rather than enticing fans with the full pilot, they instead cut the story in the middle and only offered the first half in which to judge the new series.
The first half was the weaker of the two parts and was chopped up by more commercial breaks than seemed decent. (No wonder we are cutting cords in record numbers.) This was done to lure viewers to sign up for CBS’ All Access. This approach of premium content, behind a paywall of course, has been done before with other series on services like HBO and Netflix. CBS’ All Access, however, is no HBO, it’s no Netflix either. In fact, CBS still has not learned that paying customers do not want commercials, you must pay even more money to get rid of those.
Will that be Netflix, CraveTV or CBS All Access?
The situation isn’t much better here in Canada with the only way to continue watching new episodes is by subscribing to CraveTV. (It is available on the cable TV channel, Space again not much of an option for cord cutters) CraveTV is better than CBS’ All Access in the US, offering more rounded programming from several different sources it is still not ideal.
The rest of the world gets Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix. All the episodes in one place what a novel idea. Clearly, Netflix is the preferred choice.
Paramount once declared that Star Trek was their crown jewel, not to be squandered.
Frankly, Star Trek (and Star Trek fans) deserve better. Putting the new series behind a limited paywall will only hurt the new series in the end. At a reported 8 million dollars an episode the paywall may not be enough to cover the expenses.
Star Trek: Discovery Shows Promise
The new show, itself, shows great promise. The cinematography was beyond any television Star Trek we have seen before, and on par with the reboot movies. The final look is slick and polished.
We have already seen some of the previously reported departures from Roddenberry’s vision – no spoilers here, however, you will have to discover that for yourself.
The special effects and technology shown unavoidably conflict with most of the Trek we have seen before. This has happened with every prequel series, which can be jarring for classic fans.
On a personal note, I really don’t like the new bridge – way too JJ Abrams-like, too much glass and space between the crew.
I love Klingons but seriously how many times are they going to endure a face lift? Are Klingons warrior race the most genetically altered race in the galaxy?
How about you? Did you like the new Star Trek? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below?