Like it or not, Paramount+ is the future of Star Trek for the foreseeable future. Thanks to shows like “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Picard,” and “Lower Decks,” Trek makes up a good portion of the original content appearing on the streaming channel.
Their strategy is not a secret — watch for yourself in their “Expansion Continues” video. Paramount plans to “flood the zone,” which is how screenwriter Ashley Edward Miller said recently on an episode of “The Inglorious Treksperts” podcast. This means that Paramount plans to make their streaming network the home for Trek and attract new viewers for their other content.
In the “Expansion Continues” video, the narrator explains that “Discovery” is meant to be the showcase, which brings “the look and feel of our Star Trek movies to television.” He said that “Picard” is Trek’s “first true adult drama.”
What the narrator didn’t explain in the video is that both “Discovery” and “Picard” are both serialized shows, meaning that through their 10 or 13 episode seasons, there’s just one main story. There are short side stories that take place, but there’s one central theme throughout.
This is in sharp contrast to every Trek show from “The Original Series” to “Enterprise,” which were “episodic” in nature. This means that Kirk, Picard, or Janeway would confront some issue and solve the problem by the end of the episode. Star Trek executive producer Alex Kurtzman has even referred to this as the “planet of the week” formula.
Kurtzman Promises Return to Old Formula
“I think “Strange New Worlds,” under the guidance of Henry Myers and Akiva Goldsman, it’s going to be a return … in a way to … TOS,” Kurtzman told Deadline’s Dominic Patten in a video interview from August 2020. “We are going to do stand-alone episodes. But it really is back to the model of alien-of-the-week, planet-of-the-week, challenge-on-the-ship-of-the-week.”
“With these characters pre-Kirk’s Enterprise, I think what people responded so much to in all three characters is this kind of relentless optimism that they have,” Kurtzman said. “And that they are at the young phase of their careers.”
“Strange New Worlds” showrunner Akiva Goldsman also mentioned to The Hollywood Reporter that the new show would be “unlike the other shows in that it’s really episodic.”
Anson Mount Calls SWN “Classic Trek”
Since there is debate among fans over which storytelling technique works best in Trek, as this Red Shirts Always Die video explains, we know that the new show will be more like the old series than the new ones. Even Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) is talking about how his new show will reclaim the old Trek formula.
“Well, I think that Star Trek is, by nature, episodic,” Mount told Collider in a recent interview. “Now, that doesn’t mean that Star Trek can’t be other things. Star Trek can be a lot of things, as we’ve seen in every iteration of it.”
“But classic Trek is really founded on the big idea of the week, and the big idea of the week needs room to breathe. In serialized structure, you’re trying to take care of so many relationships that there doesn’t tend to be a lot of room for that,” said Mount.
“Now, with that said, I think Discovery does a phenomenal job with that structure, and I was very fortunate to be a part of it,” Mount said in the interview. “Normally, serialized is my taste as an actor, but this really felt like it needed to be episodic.”
Mount has said on more than one occasion that he’s both thrilled to be Captain Pike, and a true “Trekkie.”
Episode One Nearly Completed
Goldsman told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s nearly done with the first episode of “Strange New Worlds” and is looking forward to more. He is both the showrunner and the director of the first episode.
“It was super fun, and I’ve finished almost all of it,” Goldsman said in the interview. “There were certain scenes that we couldn’t shoot in Toronto because of quarantine — in terms of limits on the number of extras [in a scene] — that I’ll back and finish pretty soon, I hope.”