Hey all, I apologize for my earlier post that just had a link here……..I posted this while at work, had several other things going on and didn’t have time to properly compose my thoughts.
It’s great to have Star Trek back on the small screen where it belongs, it really is. Though if you search the net enough, you’ll come to find out that this is the ‘launch vehicle’ of sorts to get CBS’ streaming-only platform off the ground. Now I’m a ‘cord cutter’ myself and despite reading through sites like Ars Technica and CNet, it’s still a struggle for me to keep abreast of all the changes in the US Cable TV landscape.
I can see why CBS would want to keep any such series exclusive (the same way ‘Gran Turismo’ is exclusive to Sony and the PlayStation) in order to build themselves a solid foundation for an alternative/web-only/streaming-only service or content portal, but my concern there is twofold. The first issue is a big one and really, it’s outside the purview of this blog, but I’ll get into it anyways.
Keeping this exclusive makes sense for CBS from a financial standpoint, but with the proliferation of such web-only/streaming services………Hulu, Amazon, Netflix et al., the value proposition for your average consumer rapidly erodes after stacking up so many subscriptions. Eventually, one would run into a brick wall at which point he/she would be forced to slim down their subscriptions and potentially miss out on content, or cut the cable altogether again, taking them all the way back to square one so to speak.
The other issue is equally obvious I think. In using a new Star Trek series to build a web/streaming foundation, the issue of quality could (or will) eventually be sacrificed in order to achieve financial viability for said service. I’m not a fan of ‘nu Trek’ or JJ Abrams whatsoever. His ‘alternate universe’ though is dumbed-down enough to the point where your stereotypical network executive just might take it and run with it.
Wait a minute though, let’s step back and take another look at this. If they’re going to broadcast one, two or maybe three episodes on network/cable TV and then go streaming-only, you remove pretty much all the barriers that end up watering down promising film and TV projects. The issues of universes and aesthetic conventions aside, the paramount issue becomes storytelling. Getting away from what what we’ve seen already on the big and small screens, the richest and most diverse storytelling has come from the multitude of authors who make up what I like to call ‘TrekLit’ (this is what I mean).
TNG and VOY were alright, DS9 got better and ENT really started to show promise. It was set in the right era and you even had Manny Coto who wanted to finally bring the Kzinti to the screen, but alas, said stereotypical execs were short sighted as usual and pulled the plug.
Now here we sit. Really, whether you set this in the ‘prime’ or ‘alternate’ continuity, it doesn’t quite matter to me when all is said and done. What will make or break a new series is the quality of a) the writing and b) the stories. Look at some of the novels that have come out in since 2001-2002. Vanguard, A Time To……, Destiny, Seekers……….not to mention the relaunches of both VOY and DS9 (refer to the above link for more). With the freedom of not having to deal with network or studio executives and their ilk, there exists the opportunity to explore uncharted territory and tell stories like they haven’t been told before, just as they have been in those novels. The question is, will the powers that be do so or not??