Streaming television … the Final Frontier.
This Fall, CBS unveils its glitziest attempt to make you sign up for its All Access service. Dubbed “Star Trek: Discovery,” the latest in Gene Roddenberry’s space saga will only be available to the service’s customers.
Which begs any number of questions.
- Is one show worth signing up for, given the high-quality alternatives like Netflix and Amazon Prime?
- Is “Star Trek” still an in-demand property, given the tepid box office returns for last year’s “Star Trek Beyond”?
- Why would CBS trot out such a lousy trailer to promote the new series in the first place?
Anyone not bored?
The teaser looks both glossy and cheap. That could be a sly nod to the show’s analog roots … to be generous. Still, given the sky-high expectations fans have for both TV and film products, it’s a letdown.
So is the lack of humanity on display. And we’re not taking a swipe against the alien races featured so far. “Star Trek” soars with its humor and humanity, above and beyond the derring-do. The banter between Kirk, Spock and “Bones” made the show so much more than another space opera.
No one’s so much as cracking a smile here.
“Discovery” appears to be part of a larger push to diversify TV show casts. Sonequa Martin-Green of “The Walking Dead” fame is the show’s main character. It’s the first time a black actress has led a “Star Trek” series, a point being celebrated in numerous press outlets. Bravo! Only black actor Avery Brooks was in charge of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” starting back in 1993.
Asian action star Michelle Yeoh of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” fame is Capt. Philippa Georgiou on the new series.
Diversity in the existing “Star Trek” universe is hardly problematic. The show featured the first interracial kiss back in the 1960s. That crew included an intrepid black communications specialist (Nichelle Nichols) and an Asian helmsman (George Takei) as key players. “Star Trek: Voyager” featured Kate Mulgrew as the show’s star and captain.
Given our politically correct times, though, the show’s creators went the extra mile to be as progressive as possible. And they’re not done yet. Expect the first openly gay “Star Trek” character courtesy of Anthony Rapp’s Lt. Stamets. Is a gender fluid co-star only a matter of time?
The show, set before Starfleet all-stars like Captain James T. Kirk soared through space, will debut on CBS but the subsequent episodes will be exclusive to CBS’s streaming service.
The original “Trek,” as well as subsequent derivations, dealt with social issues directly tied to our modern age. Today, given how “woke” many programs are, it’s only natural to expect something similar from this “Discovery.”
Will that chase away some fans if handled in a divisive fashion? For a show hoping to ignite the fan fires for a moldy franchise, the answers could make or break the series.