CBS have announced a new, official Star Trek project for television! Is it a big-budget, flagship show with a lot of money and marketing behind it, led by a talented and in-demand creative team, thus befitting the venerable franchise on the anniversary of its first half-century? Er, not exactly.
The new Star Trek project will debut in January 2017 and will apparently consist of an opening episode that will air on CBS proper. However, the rest of the series will be exclusively locked to CBS's risible digital platform CBS All Access at $6 a month. No word on budget, but it's questionable if an online-only series is going to get the fairly large amount of cash a new Star Trek series needs.
The person behind the new project is Alex Kurtzman, a co-writer behind the underwhelming movies Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Oddly, Kurtzman will not be writing the new series and is looking for a new writing team to help him work on the project. Kurtzman, to be frank, isn't a very good film writer (he's also behind such recent scriptwriting smash successes such as the Transformers movies) but some of his work for TV has been better, particularly his role in launching the excellent Fringe.
For fans, the most horrific prospect for the new series is that it will be set in the "Abramsverse" of the new films. Unexpectedly, it appears that this may not be the case due to rights issues between Paramount (who have the film rights to the franchise) and CBS (who have the TV rights). The new series may be set in the Abramsverse or the timeline of the original series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, although the latter may be considered to be carrying too much baggage for a new show. It's also possible that this new series will launch a third universe or be simply set a lot further in the future than either existing timeline. The only comment on this so far is that the new TV show will not be connected to Star Trek Beyond, the next movie which will hit the screens in the summer of 2016.
More news is expected shortly, but it has to be said that this cursory and muddled announcement is not really showing Star Trek the respect it deserves on the eve of its 50th anniversary.