New 'Star Trek' TV show will go where no network program has gone before

A new show set in the world of 'Trek' is reportedly moving forward at CBS. The program is set for 2017 and will reportedly be available on the network's subscription streaming service, CBS All Access.

Elliott Marks/Paramount
'Star Trek' stars William Shatner (center), Walter Koenig (l.), and James Doohan (r.).

Strange new worlds, new life, and new civilizations will be found again. A “Star Trek” TV series is reportedly moving forward at CBS. 

A new “Trek” series has been given a straight-to-series order and the network plans to debut it at the beginning of 2017. The twist? A preview of the show will air on CBS but episodes will then be available on CBS All Access, the network’s streaming subscription service.

Various “Star Trek” stories have appeared on television, including the original series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which stars Patrick Stewart. The characters on the original TV series, including Captain James T. Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and others, and their stories were recently adapted as a new movie, which imagined the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise in their younger days. Two movies, 2009’s “Star Trek” and 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” have been released and a new film is scheduled to debut in the summer of 2016.

It doesn’t sound like Kirk, Spock, or any other old characters will be at the center of this new adaptation, though – according to CBS, the show will be about “new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations.”

The network is no doubt hoping that the popularity of the “Star Trek” story will be enough to bring viewers over to its CBS All Access service, which is $5.99 per month. This is essentially a TV experiment, as networks have so far mostly stuck to airing their TV shows and then having them be available online after the fact. One exception was NBC, which this summer debuted a new show, “Aquarius,” and also made the entire first season available online. “Aquarius” was renewed for a second season, though its TV ratings were low. The debut of the program became the most-viewed premiere for a summer show on NBC’s website and the network app. 

TV scheduling and air dates continue to be far from a fixed model as some streaming services have moved in the reverse direction, veering away from the Netflix model of debuting an entire season. Such shows as Hulu’s “The Mindy Project” and Yahoo Screen’s “Community” kept the network schedule of debuting an episode per week, though both shows aired on network television before moving to streaming services and this may have played a role in that decision. 

The plan for the new “Trek” series comes as fantasy and science fiction continue to be a popular genre. Comic book stories are ruling both movies and TV and Fox is reviving its sci-fi show, “The X-Files,” this January. HBO is planning a science fiction show titled “Westworld” and a key part of the plot in the Starz hit show, “Outlander,” involves people being able to travel through time.

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