Patrick Stewart is returning to Star Trek.

Announced at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, Stewart will be appearing in a Star Trek series set roughly twenty years after the last Star Trek: The Next Generation film, 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, and will explore a new chapter in Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s life.

People have spent the last twenty-four hours tossing out ideas for what that new chapter in Picard’s life will be. My idea:

This untitled series will, like Star Trek: Discovery, be shown on the streaming service, CBS All Access.

This tempers my excitement somewhat. Going the streaming route — which, I will allow, by everything CBS has said, has worked for Discovery — necessarily limits the potential audience. Not everyone has broadband, either because they can’t afford it or it’s unavailable to them, and not everyone has the technical expertise needed to set up a connection between the computer and the television so they can actually watch a television show on a television.

On top of that, CBS is making a sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation (arguably, the most popular part of the franchise), with Sir Patrick Stewart (arguably, the biggest and most visible star to emerge from that part of the franchise) in front of the camera and Michael Chabon behind the camera. What wouldn’t this series wouldn’t be viable on a network that can reach almost everyone? Putting this on All Access really seems to send the message that CBS believes Star Trek is a niche property and isn’t for the masses any more.

I understand CBS’s business strategy. I question what their strategy says about Star Trek and how they view it internally. If Patrick Stewart isn’t a draw for the mainstream viewer, then it seems to me that they’re saying, pretty loudly, that Star Trek isn’t for everyone anymore.

2 thoughts on “Patrick Stewart’s Return to Star Trek

  1. I disagree with you 100% in your interpretation. This isn’t CBS having no confidence in STAR TREK as a mainstream performer, this is CBS trying very very very very hard to get people to subscribe to CBS All Access, and they’re COUNTING on STAR TREK’s mainstream success to get people to do so.

    1. I don’t disagree with your later point — that CBS wants people to subscribe to All Access and will use something like Star Trek to accomplish that. We’ll just have to disagree on the former.

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