Tuesday, November 3, 2015

More Star Trek: a Truly Unsurprising Announcement

Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that a new Star Trek series is in development. The most reported aspect has been the release strategy. The first episode will air on CBS, but not the rest. Those will be on CBS All Access, their streaming service that was announced the day after HBO Now and promptly forgotten. This is an interesting gambit to get people on the streaming service, as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, and the other Netflix original series have proven that exclusive content is a strong driver for streaming service subscriptions.
Generic Starfleet logo to go with generic Star Trek announcement
Generic announcement = generic logo. 

That, however, is not the most interesting part. It's an obvious move to bring Star Trek back, since this franchise has been perpetually ahead of its time, and the rest of pop culture just caught up to what Star Trek was back in the 90s.

Specifically, everyone is looking for a shared universe. I've made it no secret that I love the DC/CW TV universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and everyone who doesn't have one is trying to make a shared universe. While it was never quite as aggressive as what companies are trying today, Star Trek used a lot of those same strategies. From the moment they spun off Deep Space Nine by flashing back to the events of "Best of Both Worlds", Star Trek showed an understanding of how that kind of storytelling can work, sharing threads and ideas across series to increase interest in something new. Would we care as much about Captain Sisko if we didn't already have that connection to the world and character through those events? The world of Star Trek lends itself to being this large and expansive, and they've already done it before.

They've even launched a new network with Star Trek before, having launched Voyager specifically to help gain traction for UPN. The network may no longer exist, having been folded into The CW, but it worked amazingly well as a debut and kept it afloat for quite a while. If nothing else, the injection of new subscribers could sustain the streaming service for a while, and will look great for their numbers when it launches.

I wish I'd written this before, so I had proof that I've thought Star Trek checks all the franchise/synergy/name your buzzword boxes modern entertainment companies are looking for. To me, this is the most obvious move they could make, and I'm glad they finally took that as license to start up Star Trek again.

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