Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, Alien, and The Terminator are all legendary sci-fi franchises in the midst of remakes/reboots/reimaginings (TV and film) sharing a common problem: they can’t let go of the past, and it’s preventing them from seizing the future. It’s odd that contemporary sci-fi, a rich Hollywood genre built upon speculation about tomorrow and exploration of new ideas, can’t stop re-playing their “best of” hits from yesterday.
James Cameron wants to pick up where he left off with Sarah Conner, Harrison Ford signed on to reprise Rick Deckard, and then there’s those damned Skywalkers! Oh, and according to IGN, Star Trek — the grandaddy of all sci-fi franchises — is making another visit to the Spock well. What gives?
These great franchises — particularly Star Trek — possess so much potential for new conflicts, characters, and narratives. Star Trek‘s inherent premise is to seek, explore, and chart new courses into the unknown, but perhaps fearful of alienating their core fanbase they’re resurrecting or continuing characters who’s pop culture expiration dates can be measured in decades (your personal mileage may vary).
Star Trek: Discovery arrives for public consumption on CBS All-Access this coming weekend. Rotten Tomatoes hasn’t scored the show yet — nobody has due to an embargo — but they posted audience responses to the first two episodes, which premiered at Hollywood’s ArcLight theater earlier this week — the show earned a lot of positive feedback on Twitter too.
Among the highlights from the premiere was the performance of First Officer Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead). Notably, this is the first Trek series wherein the lead character is not a Captain — a little nerd trivia there for you.
You might be surprised to learn that Burnham was raised on Vulcan, after her parents were killed. You might be further surprised to learn who took her in: Sarek, father of Spock. That’s right, Burnham is Spock’s adopted sister. I know, I know. Stop rolling your eyes, it’s just a TV show. But man, this feels hacky — and I’m a bigtime Trek fan (not a Trekkie, that’s a leap too far).
Fellow Trek fans might be thinking, wait a minute, I never heard anything about a sister (shut up Star Wars fans). Green explains in her IGN interview that there will be flashbacks to her childhood, but so far no confirmation of a young Spock sighting… Let’s be real, you know this is coming! Green concludes with some words to the fanbase:
“The Star Trek that you’ve come to know and love, that you grew up with, that means a lot to you — we honor the canon. It very much is what you are familiar with in the best ways. But at the same time, now we have this new digital streaming platform, where we can tell long-form storytelling, where we can tell a hyper-serialized story that builds on itself.”
A word on that last comment, Star Trek (on TV) has generally told one-off and two-part stories — you might say it’s a bit of an anthology show, with a smattering of continuing subplots and character development (particulary in TOS, TNG, and DS9). However, Star Trek: Discovery is only going to focus upon a single story over its first season, rather than a series of shorter narratives. Whether or not Star Trek: Discovery is the next TNG or another Enterprise remains to be seen… but to see it, you’ll have to subscribe to CBS All-Access.
How do you feel about Star Trek: Discovery‘s connection to TOS? Do you even know what TOS stands for? Let us know in the comments down below!
Star Trek Discovery hits CBS All Access streaming service on September 24, 2017.