After focusing on its cinematic journeys for the last six years, Star Trek is finally returning to its home on the small screen. Paramount is planning a new television series, which will coincide with the franchise’s fiftieth anniversary.
The as-yet-untitled new series will be developed by producer Alex Kurtzman, who has been attached to the franchise since the 2009 continuity reboot. Although no plot details are yet available, Kurtzman’s involvement might indicate that the series remains in that timeline.
However, Paramount’s press release for the series, as reported by trade site The Hollywood Reporter, offers that “the new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.”
Paramount has also confirmed that it will not be related to the third instalment in the movie series, the recently titled Star Trek Beyond, itself set for release 22 July 2016. Remaining independent of the films — which focus on a recast crew based on the original 1960s’ series, with Chris Pine taking the captain’s chair as James Tiberius Kirk, Zachary Quinto as highly logical First Officer Spock, and Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Uhura — will allow the new show to forge its own identity.
It’s arguable that Trek works best on television anyway, where the long-form episodic nature of the medium allows it to explore big sci-fi ideas each week, rather than deliver two-hour action epics every few years. The franchise has enjoyed notable authors such as Harlan Ellison and Peter David write for it over the past five decades.
“Untitled Star Trek Project” is set to premiere in January 2017. However, it will also boldy be going where Star Trek has never been before — simultaneous streaming and video-on-demand broadcast, at least for the US. The show is being produced for All Access, the digital subscription service of US channel CBS. The network is betting big on the show, which will be the first original series developed specifically for its streaming platforms.
Globally, the series will be distributed “for TV and multiple platforms”, so hopefully it will make it to the UK in sync with or only shortly after its American streaming debut.