CBS has decided that streaming video is the new frontier.
The company's production studio announced Monday the debut of a new “Star Trek” series in January 2017, under the oversight of “Star Trek” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” co-screenwriter Alex Kurtzman.
The franchise has been missing from small screens since the conclusion of “Star Trek: Enterprise” in May 2005. But after the premiere episode, U.S. viewers will only be able to watch the new series on CBS All Access, the subscription streaming video service launched last year.
Though younger audiences may be more familiar with “Star Trek” as a film franchise, the series first debuted in on NBC in 1966 and ran for three low-rated seasons before getting canceled. However, the show developed a cult audience that only grew and eventually spawned four other live-action series and one animated show combining to air over 700 new episodes between 1966 and 2005.
The decision to make episodes of “Star Trek” exclusively available on All Access is a major commitment to bolstering the streaming service.
Streaming video giant Netflix has shown that critically acclaimed exclusive programs such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” can drive rapid growth in subscribers.
A franchise such as “Star Trek” that has one of the most rabid followings in all of pop culture will immediately drive new users to the service.
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Well, I suppose it's time to lose my buttons and subscribe to my first streaming service. Truth be told, Star Trek needed a rest, particularly after Enterprise, but it's good to see CBS take it seriously. There are a lot of questions to be answered, of course, such as where this series fits in the ST timeline and indeed, WHICH timeline they're using (please, NOT J. J. Abrams'!!!), but mostly I'm intrigued to see how the show is cast and the stories they want to tell.
Can CBS "boldly go" where no streaming service has gone before. We'll see.