The 50-year celebration of the Star Trek franchise is upon us, with Star Trek Beyond currently in theaters, and a new CBS TV series set to launch in January 2017. It's been over a decade since the last small screen series, Enterprise, departed the airwaves, and the reboot films haven't been coming anywhere near as fast as, say, comic book franchise installments (a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Trek fans are more than ready for thirteen episodes of a new Star Trek series; in particular, one that boasts a well-pedigreed team that includes executive producers Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) and Alex Kurtzman (co-writer, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness) and writer/consulting producer, Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI). Now another talent has been added to launch the pilot.
According to Deadline, David Semel has been brought on to direct and executive produce the premiere episode of the new Trek. The current EP of Madam Secretary has had the Midas touch when it comes to directing pilots that successfully become series, including Code Black, Person of Interest, Legends, Intelligence, Heroes, No Ordinary Family, and American Dreams. He also directed and produced for the recently renewed Amazon series, The Man In The High Castle.
The new Star Trek, which begins filming this fall, will feature a brand new cast. While there will be an effort to put a modern spin on the franchise, producer Fuller has stressed that the series will follow the 50-year tradition of "high-concept science fiction storytelling and really wonderful metaphors for the human condition."
While longtime fans are excited at the prospect of a new installment of their beloved Trek universe, there have been concerns about the method of distribution. CBS will be hoping that Semel's skill with drama pilots will convince fans to add another subscription service; after that important first episode airs on CBS, all others will be hidden behind a pay wall on the CBS All Access streaming service. For extra salt in the wound, international fans outside North America will be able to watch the new Star Trek on Netflix one day after it airs on CBS's stream.
However good the stars, story, and showrunners might be on the new pilot, it's likely going to take more than one episode to convince viewers who already pay for cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other services to add yet another bill. CBS will have to build up a more convincing and expansive All Access resume - and judging from the current online buzz about the Star Trek series, be prepared to deal with pirating issues in the U.S. in the near future.
The new Star Trek series will debut on CBS All Access and Netflix in January 2017.