Almost two years ago, there were celebration, enthusiasm and the beginning of a burning anticipation, not only among Trekkies, but also between sci-fi fans, as well as TV addicts at large. After its fairly recent, afresh and considerably successful, cinematic reset, and the somewhat inglorious demise of Enterprise back in 2005, Star Trek was to return on our TV screens!
With co-creator (along with Alex Kurtzman), executive producer and showrunner Bryan Fuller as the highest ranking officer on its bridge, Star Trek: Discovery was destined for big things.
Apart from the praise he has received for his extraordinary and jaw-droppingly bold Hannibal, Fuller was also a key part of the creation team responsible for both the acclaimed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and the controversial but pioneering in its girl-power stance Star Trek: Voyager (1995).
So, he seemed ideal as the captain of these new, ambitious Star Trek TV series, which was to have a female lead (and a woman of colour at that) and take place in the prime universe (not the alternative one, also known as the ‘Kelvin timeline’ – introduced by J.J. Abrams in his 2009 film).
After the announcement of its launch, and during its post-production, Discovery enjoyed a smooth sail, causing fervent reactions at Comic Con last year, while trending on social media, to a degree due to – mostly well intended – humorous pans for its full with implications acronym STD. Soon however, its journey turned perilous.
First, its premiere date was pushed back from January to May 2017 because of the technical demands of the production. Then Fuller stepped down, retaining only a consulting role for himself. At the time, his simultaneous, mounting responsibilities on the set of American Gods, his other high-profile creation, were blamed for his departure.
Later it became clear that there were some serious artistic disagreements with the show’s producer, CBS, which provoked frustration, anger and unease among the fans. Last, but not least, its premiere was yet again postponed, this time indefinitely, but once more citing the complexities of the high end and high tech production, as the reason.
Thankfully there was enough good news in the midst of all the topsy turvy to keep the fans’ expectations and hopes alive. On one hand, Sonequa Martin-Green, who as Sasha died a wilful, brave, anthological death in The Walking Dead latest season finale, nabbed the leading role of First Office Michael Burnham.
She was to be surrounded by a wonderfully multi-cultured and diverse cast (including Jason Issacs as Captain Lorka, Rekha Sharma as Security Officer, Commander Landry, Michelle Yeoh as U.S.S. Shenzhou’s Captain and James Frain as Spock’s father, Sarek). And on the other, the first full-fledged trailer of the series looked stunning and extremely promising (see below).
Still, it’s the announcement of the premiere date of this much anticipated and long delayed series that can reignite the initial enthusiasm about it. So let’s get excited! On Sunday, September 24 in the US and Monday, September 25 (TBC) in the UK, on CBS and its streaming platform CBS All Access and Netflix, respectively, Star Trek: Discovery will at last go where many a Star Trek crews have (not) gone before.