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Star Trek: Discovery is an American television series created for CBS All Access by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. It is the first series developed specifically for that service, and the first Star Trek series since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005. Set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series and separate from the timeline of the concurrently produced feature films, Discovery explores the FederationKlingon war while following the crew of the USS Discovery. Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts serve as showrunners on the series, with producing support from Akiva Goldsman.

Star Trek: Discovery
Against a beige background featuring the Starfleet logo, the words Star Trek are written in red with the word Discovery written in black underneath.
Genre
Created by
Based on Star Trek
by Gene Roddenberry
Starring
Composer(s)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 9 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Location(s) Toronto
Cinematography
Production company(s)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Budget US$8–8.5 million per episode
Release
Original network
Original release September 24, 2017 (2017-09-24) – present (present)
Chronology
Preceded by Star Trek: Enterprise
Related shows Star Trek TV series
External links
Star Trek: Discovery - CBS.com www.cbs.com/shows/star-trek-discovery/

Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, a science specialist on the USS Discovery. Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and Jason Isaacs also star. The new series was announced in November 2015, with Fuller joining as showrunner and wanting to make an anthology series. CBS asked him to make a single, serialized show first, with the prequel to the original series idea further developed. After further disagreements with CBS and struggles with other commitments, Fuller left the series in October 2016, replaced as showrunner by Berg and Harberts.

Star Trek: Discovery premiered on September 19, 2017, at ArcLight Hollywood, before debuting on CBS and All Access on September 24. The rest of the 15-episode first season are streaming weekly on All Access. The series' release led to record subscriptions for All Access, and positive reviews from critics who highlighted Martin-Green's performance. A second season was ordered in October 2017.

Contents

PremiseEdit

Set roughly ten years before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series,[1] the show sees the united Klingon houses in a war with the United Federation of Planets that involves the crew of the USS Discovery.[2][3]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham:
    A Science Specialist on USS Discovery. Burnham was First Officer of the USS Shenzhou, where she was referred to as "Number One" to honor the character of the same name portrayed by Majel Barrett in the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage".[4][5][6] Burnham is a human who was raised following Vulcan culture and traditions by Sarek,[4][7] and was not made a starship captain, like the protagonists of previous Star Trek series, "to see a character from a different perspective on the starship—one who has different dynamic relationships with a captain, with subordinates, it gave us richer context".[1] Fuller deliberately gave the character a traditionally male name, which he had done with the female leads of his previous series.[8]
  • Doug Jones as Saru:
    First Officer of the USS Discovery, Saru was previously Science Officer of the USS Shenzhou.[9] Saru is the first Kelpien to enter Starfleet. Kelpiens, a new species created for Discovery, were hunted as prey on their home planet and thus evolved the ability to sense the coming of death, giving them a reputation for cowardice.[10] Jones based Saru's walk on that of a supermodel,[7] out of necessity thanks to the boots he had to wear to portray the character's hooved feet, forcing Jones to walk on the balls of his feet.[11] The producers compared Saru to the characters Spock and Data from previous series.[10]
  • Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler:
    Chief of Security of the USS Discovery, Lieutenant Tyler was previously held as a prisoner of war by the Klingons. Latif was originally cast in the role of Kol.[12][13] Latif noted that Tyler's PTSD would be explored in the show as he attempts to return to his Starfleet life, calling Tyler "a very complex and painful and deep character."[13] The character explores these issues with different characters, including Lorca due to their shared military background, and Burnham with whom "there's a chemistry, a relationship".[14]
  • Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets:
    Chief engineer aboard the USS Discovery and science officer specializing in astromycology (the study of fungi in space) whose research led to development of an experimental organic propulsion system on the Discovery.[9][15][16] The character is inspired by a real-life mycologist of the same name.[17] He is the first openly gay character in a Star Trek series, and the showrunners "wanted to roll out that character's sexuality the way people would roll out their sexuality in life." Rapp noted that Hikaru Sulu was portrayed as gay in the film Star Trek Beyond, calling that "a nice nod. But in this case, we actually get to see me with my partner in conversation, in our living quarters, you get to see our relationship over time, treated as any other relationship would be treated".[18]
  • Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly:
    A cadet in her final year at Starfleet Academy, assigned to the Discovery.[19][20] She works under Stamets aboard the Discovery, where she becomes roommates with Burnham.[20] The character was included to represent people "at the very bottom of this ladder" of the Starfleet hierarchy. She is "the most optimistic ... has the biggest heart", and showrunner Aaron Harberts described her as "sort of the soul of our show."[21]
  • Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca:
    Captain of the Discovery,[22] a "brilliant military tactician".[23] Isaacs described the character as "probably more f-d up than any of" the previously seen Star Trek captains.[7] He plays the character with a slight southern U.S. accent, and had initially wanted to ad-lib a catchphrase for the character feeling that all Star Trek captains should have one, coming up with "git'r done" which the writers turned down due to it being widely used and trademarked by Larry the Cable Guy.[24]

EpisodesEdit

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release date
1 "The Vulcan Hello" David Semel Story by : Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman
Teleplay by : Akiva Goldsman & Bryan Fuller
September 24, 2017 (2017-09-24)[a]
2 "Battle at the Binary Stars" Adam Kane Story by : Bryan Fuller
Teleplay by : Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
September 24, 2017 (2017-09-24)
3 "Context Is for Kings" Akiva Goldsman Story by : Bryan Fuller & Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
Teleplay by : Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts & Craig Sweeny
October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)
4 "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry" Olatunde Osunsanmi Jesse Alexander & Aron Eli Coleite October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08)
5 "Choose Your Pain" Lee Rose Story by : Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts & Kemp Powers
Teleplay by : Kemp Powers
October 15, 2017 (2017-10-15)
6 "Lethe" Douglas Aarniokoski Joe Menosky & Ted Sullivan October 22, 2017 (2017-10-22)
7 "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" David M. Barrett Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander October 29, 2017 (2017-10-29)
8 "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" John S. Scott Kirsten Beyer November 5, 2017 (2017-11-05)
9 "Into the Forest I Go" Chris Byrne Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt November 12, 2017 (2017-11-12)
10 "Despite Yourself"[27] TBA TBA January 7, 2018 (2018-01-07)
  1. ^ The first episode had a special premiere on CBS alongside its release on CBS All Access.[25][26]

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

On November 2, 2015, CBS announced a new Star Trek television series to premiere in January 2017, "on the heels" of the original series' 50th anniversary in 2016. It is the first Star Trek series since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005, and the first show to be developed specifically for the CBS All Access on demand service. Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and Heather Kadin were set as executive producers on the series, which is "not related" to the 2016 film Star Trek Beyond.[28][29] The January 2017 date was the earliest that CBS could release a new Star Trek series after an agreement the company made when it split with Viacom in 2005.[30] Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Video all offered "a lot of money" for the rights to release the series,[31] but after heavily investing in the new All Access service, CBS believed that a returning Star Trek could be "the franchise that really puts All Access on the map" and could earn more money in the long run.[30][31]

In January 2016, CBS president Glenn Geller revealed that he and the CBS network were not involved in the production of the series, saying, "It really is for All Access. While the network will be broadcasting the pilot, I actually can't answer any creative questions about it."[32] The next month, Bryan Fuller, who began his career writing for the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, was announced as the new series' showrunner and co-creator alongside Kurtzman.[33][34] Nicholas Meyer, writer and director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, also joined the series as a writer and consulting producer.[35] In March, Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth of Roddenberry Entertainment also joined the series, as executive producers.[36] Fuller said that working with people previously involved with Star Trek was "really about making sure that we maintain authenticity", and said that Meyer—who is widely considered to have made the best Star Trek film in The Wrath of Khan—brings "a clarity and a cleanliness to the storytelling. An ability to ground science-fiction in a relatable way, and also making sure that we're telling character stories."[37] Fuller had publicly called for Star Trek to return to television for years, particularly because of its impact on minority groups, as he explained, "I couldn't stop thinking about how many black people were inspired by seeing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of a ship. I couldn't stop thinking about how many Asian people were inspired by seeing George Takei and feeling that gave them hope for their place in the future. I wanted to be part of that representation for a new era."[38] When Fuller first met with CBS about the series, the company did not have a plan for what the new show would be.[39] He proposed an anthology series with each season being a standalone, serialized show set in a different era, beginning with a prequel to the original series, then stories set during the original series, during Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then "beyond to a time in Trek that's never been seen before". Fuller compared this to what American Horror Story did for horror, and described the proposal as a platform for "a universe of Trek shows". CBS instead suggested a single serialized show to see how that performed first, and he began further developing the concept of a prequel to the original series.[38]

Fuller announced in June 2016 that the first season would consist of 13 episodes,[39] though he would prefer to produce 10 episodes a season.[6] A month later, Fuller announced the series' title to be Star Trek: Discovery,[40] and revealed that it would be set in the "Prime Timeline" (which includes the previous Star Trek series, but not the modern reboot films) to keep the concurrent series and films separate, so "we don't have to track anything [happening in the films] and they don't have to track what we're doing".[41][6] Also in July, CBS Studios International licensed the series to Netflix for release outside the United States and Canada,[34] a "blockbuster" deal that paid for the show's entire budget (around US$6–7 million per episode).[42][43] During pre-production on the series, Fuller and CBS continued to disagree on the direction of the show, which was starting to overrun its per-episode budget, and was falling behind schedule due to Fuller supervising all aspects of the series as well as another new show, American Gods. This caused frustration among CBS executives who felt Fuller should be focused on having Discovery ready for release by the January 2017 premiere date.[38] By August 2016, Fuller had hired Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, who he had worked with on Pushing Daisies, to serve as co-showrunners with him.[6][43] A month later, he and Kurtzman asked CBS to delay the series' release so they could meet the high expectations for it, and the studio pushed the series premiere back to May 2017."[44] At the end of October, CBS asked Fuller to step down as showrunner,[38] and announced a restructuring of the production: Berg and Harberts were made sole showrunners, working from a broad story arc and overall mythology established by Fuller; Kurtzman and Fuller would continue as executive producers, but with Fuller moving his attention fully to American Gods; and Akiva Goldsman would join the series in a supporting producer role, similar to the role he held on Fringe alongside Kurtzman. CBS reiterated that they were "extremely happy with [Fuller's] creative direction" for the series,[43] though some elements of the series that came directly from Fuller were dropped, including some designs and "more heavily allegorical and complex story" points.[38] Fuller later confirmed that he was no longer involved with the series, but expressed interest in returning for future seasons.[45]

With production set to finally begin in January, "a lot of careful deliberation [was] continuing to go into making Discovery special, from the choice of directors, to set design, to the special effects."[46] Ted Sullivan also joined the series to serve as supervising writing producer.[47][48] At CBS's 2017 upfront presentation, CBS Interactive president Marc DeBevoise confirmed a "fall" release date for the series, and announced that the episode order for the first season had been expanded to 15 episodes.[49][50] In June, CBS announced a new premiere date of September 24, 2017, with the season airing through November 2017, and then beginning again in January 2018. This break gave more time to complete post-production on the second half of the season.[25] Also that month, Kurtzman said that he and Fuller had discussed future seasons before the latter's departure, and promised that "what's there in terms of story and certainly in terms of set-up, character, big ideas, the big movement of the season, that's all stuff that Bryan and I talked about" and would not be altered.[51] Goldsman said in August that the producers wanted "a hybridized [anthology] approach. I don't think we're looking for an endless, continuing nine or 10 year story. We're looking at arcs which will have characters that we know and characters that we don't know."[8] Kurtzman added that the success of Discovery could lead to other new Star Trek series that could potentially use the anthology format.[52] By the end of August, Berg and Harberts had developed a "road map" for a second season, and "the beginnings of one" for a third. It was also revealed that an average episode of the first season had ultimately cost US$8–8.5 million each, making it one of the most expensive television series ever and exceeding the original Netflix deal, though CBS still considered the series to be paid for already due to the number of new All Access subscribers that the show was expected to draw.[53] After the series' premiere, Kurtzman said that the producers wanted to avoid announcing release dates and having to delay those for any future seasons, due to the external pressure that caused with the first season, but that he hoped a second season would be available in early 2019.[54] The second season was officially ordered a month later in October 2017.[55]

WritingEdit

"The defining factor of Roddenberry's vision is the optimistic view of the future ... Once you lose that, you lose the essence of what Star Trek is. That being said... Star Trek has always been a mirror to the time it reflected and [the topical question now] is how do you preserve and protect what Starfleet is in the weight of a challenge like war and the things that have to be done in war."
—Executive producer Alex Kurtzman on the balance between classic Star Trek and new elements in Discovery[56]

The series' writers are based in Los Angeles,[57] and include "fans who all have very different relationships to Trek," which Kurtzman said is "a healthy thing and it's a good thing".[51] Fuller wanted to differentiate the series from the previous 700+ episodes of Star Trek by taking advantage of the streaming format of All Access and telling a single story arc across the entire first season. He and Kurtzman developed this story from "so many elements of Star Trek", taking certain episodes of the original series and using their "DNA" to find "the spirit of what Star Trek offers, both in terms of high-concept science fiction storytelling and really wonderful metaphors for the human condition".[39] Berg said that the series' writers "are so in love with" The Original Series, The Next Generation, and the family aspect of those series, while Harberts added that Meyer's Star Trek films were an especial influence on Discovery because "his storytelling is complex and intellectual and yet there's a lot of room for character voices".[58]

The titular ship was named after Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey, NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery, and "the sense of discovery ... what [that] means to Star Trek audiences who have been promised a future by Gene Roddenberry where we come together as a planet and seek new worlds and new alien races to explore and understand and collaborate with".[59] Fuller saw the series as a bridge between Enterprise and the original series—which are set around 150 years apart—but set much closer to the latter to allow the series to "play with all the iconography of those ships and those uniforms".[60] In May 2017, Sullivan described the series as "a genuine prequel" to the original series,[61] with Goldsman later adding that there were many classic Star Trek elements that fans among the writers wished to include in the series, but couldn't because they were included in the original series as something being discovered by Starfleet for the first time then.[62] The choice to feature a single serialized story throughout the first season was inspired by the general change in television to tell more realistic and serialized stories rather than the "new destination-based adventure each week" format mostly used in previous Star Trek series. Fuller had been one of several writers during the 1990s pushing for Deep Space Nine and Voyager to move towards this style.[63] Also inspired by modern, "peak television" series such as Game of Thrones was a willingness to kill off major characters for dramatic reasons, though the writers wanted to avoid doing so gratuitously or for "shock value".[64]

Fuller said the series could "push the content envelope since it won't be constrained by broadcast standards", but "it's still Star Trek. It will probably be slightly more graphic content ... I imagine we're going to shoot scenes a couple of ways and see what feels more authentic in the editing room."[1] Harberts ultimately described the series as a "hard PG-13", saying the series could include "some violent things or [a] tiny bit of language" but they still wanted the show to be for families and to "honor what the franchise is."[65] On using time travel in the series, a plot device used in at least two episodes of every previous live-action Star Trek season, Fuller said that it had not yet been used for any episode by the end of August 2016, and, "You never know when you want to pull out that device but I am not anticipating an over-reliance on time travel to tell this season's stories."[6] The series' writers also chose to ignore Gene Roddenberry's longstanding rule that Starfleet crew members not have any significant conflict with one another or be depicted negatively (a rule that Roddenberry himself did not always strictly follow). Harberts explained, "We're trying to do stories that are complicated, with characters with strong points of view and strong passions. People have to make mistakes—mistakes are still going to be made in the future. We're still going to argue in the future ... the thing we're taking from Roddenberry is how we solve those conflicts."[63] Because of the show's position as a prequel to the original series, the producers felt it was more important for Discovery to build towards Roddenberry's ideals, and to show that "you can't simply be accepting and tolerant without working for it, and so this show is about that struggle."[62]

CastingEdit

 
Sonequa Martin-Green portrays the series' protagonist, Michael Burnham

By June 2016, Fuller had met with several actors, and said that "we want to carry on what Star Trek does best, which is being progressive. So it's fascinating to look at all of these roles through a colorblind prism and a gender-blind prism".[39] A month later, Kadin clarified that the series would feature minority, female, and LGBTQ characters.[66] In August, Fuller said the series would feature "about seven" lead characters,[67] and would star a lieutenant commander, rather than a starship captain like previous Star Trek series, to be played by a non-white actress. He said the series would also include more alien characters than other Star Trek series, and would feature at least one openly gay character. Fuller, who is gay himself, had been determined to see this happen since receiving hate mail while working on Voyager when a character on that show was rumored to be coming out as gay.[1] By this time, Fuller had discussed the series' casting with Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space (who made a cameo appearance in an episode of The Next Generation).[1][68]

Fuller anticipated casting announcements in October 2016,[6] but none had been made by the end of that month. The majority of the series main characters were believed to have been cast by then, but no actress had been cast for the series' lead role. This was a source of "some internal stress" at CBS.[43] Several African American and Latina actresses were being looked at for the role, with CBS "not seeking a huge star and [preferring] a fresh face for the part."[69] In October, the cast was believed to include "a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser and a British male doctor", with one of those male leads played by an openly gay actor.[70] The next month, Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp were revealed to be cast, as Science Officers Saru and Stamets, respectively.[9] The former is a Kelpien, an alien race created for the series,[10] while the latter is the first Star Trek character to be conceived and announced as gay.[9] Sonequa Martin-Green was cast in the lead role in December,[71] which was officially confirmed in April 2017, with the character's name revealed to be Michael Burnham.[5] Also in December, Shazad Latif was cast as the Klingon Kol.[72] In March 2017, Jason Isaacs was cast as Captain Lorca of the USS Discovery,[22] and Mary Wiseman joined as Tilly, a cadet.[19] At the end of April, Latif was revealed to have been recast to the role of Starfleet Lieutenant Tyler.[12]

DesignEdit

Mark Worthington and Todd Cherniawsky served as initial production designers for the series;[73] Gersha Phillips and Suttirat Anne Larlarb designed the costumes;[3][74] veteran Star Trek designer John Eaves designed starships, along with Scott Schneider;[75][76] and Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page of Alchemy Studios provided prosthetics, props, and armor.[3][77] Page previously served as the concept and creature designer on the three "Kelvin Timeline" Star Trek films.[78] The series also employed seven art directors, over nine illustrators, more than thirty-five set designers, and over four hundred and fifty painters, carpenters, sculptors, model makers, welders, set dressers, and prop builders.[76]

Fuller said on the general approach to design on the show, "we're producing the show in 2016. We have to update the style of the effects, the style of the sets, the style of the makeup ... all of the other series have been produced [at a time that] isn't as sophisticated as we are now with what we can do production-wise, we're going to be reestablishing an entire look for the series" and for Star Trek moving forward.[1] Fuller had wanted the series' uniforms to reflect the primary colors of the original series, but this was discarded after his departure.[38] However, Fuller's designs for the Klingons, which he "really, really wanted" to redesign, were retained.[8][2] 3D Systems' "cutting edge" 3D printing techniques were widely used in the making of the series.[3][78] For the prosthetics, Page and Hetrick took detailed laser scans of the actors so they could simulate make-up and prosthetics in a virtual environment before creating the practical version.[79] Fabric for the Starfleet uniforms seen in the series were custom-dyed in Switzerland; the costumes were cut and assembled in Toronto by Phillips and her department. The main uniforms seen in the series are a navy blue specifically mixed for the show, with gold or silver embellishments depending on the division of the officer. Medical officers wear a "hospital white" variant, also custom-dyed in Switzerland, while the captain's uniform is the standard navy blue but with additional gold piping on the shoulders.[80] Starfleet insignia badges were molded from silicon bronze, and then polished and plated by a jeweler to create custom colors for the series, based on the division of the officer wearing the uniform: gold for command, silver for sciences and medical, and copper for operations. Props such as tricorders and hand scanners, communicators, and phasers were produced with 3D printing and heavily inspired by their designs in the original Star Trek series.[80]

The design of the USS Discovery is based on an unused Ralph McQuarrie design for the USS Enterprise from the unproduced film Star Trek: Planet of the Titans, which Fuller had noted in July 2016 was "to a point that we can't legally comment on it until [our legal team] figures out some things".[41] McQuarrie's designs were based on the concepts created by Ken Adam to feature a vessel with a flattened secondary hull.[81][82] Fuller wanted "something distinct about what our Star Trek was going to look" like, and after seeing McQuarrie's design "saw sort of harder lines of a ship and started talking about race cars and Lamborghinis in the '70s and James Bond cars and started working on the designs, taking those inspirations and coming up with something completely unique to us."[83] The design for the Discovery went through several revisions and refinements before the final version was approved in December 2016.[84] The sickbay on the Discovery was inspired by that of the Enterprise from the original series.[85] Other Federation starships created for the show include the USS Shenzhou and the USS Europa.[86][87] Sets for the Discovery's interiors were described as a "tangle of corridors and rooms",[53] and were designed to match with the exterior design of the ship, so "the rooms [could believably] fit inside the house", but there was some artistic license taken in places. The graphics used for the Starfleet computer systems were designed to be believably more advanced than modern technology, but to also "honor the look and feel" of the designs used in previous series. The initial colors allowed for the graphics were mostly restricted to blues, with the intention of these becoming more colorful the closer the series gets to the time period of the original series.[76]

FilmingEdit

Star Trek: Discovery is filmed at Pinewood Toronto Studios,[88] with Vincenzo Natali serving as producing director for the series.[39] Some of the series' sets took over six weeks to create,[86] and new sets were being built up until the end of production of the season.[89] Discovery took advantage of multiple soundstages at the studio, including the largest soundstage in North America.[53] Some episodes for the show were filmed solely on existing sets, making them bottle episodes, though Harberts said the series would not do anything "as bottle-y as 'everyone is stuck in the mess hall!'"[89]

For the visual scope of the series, Kurtzman felt that the show had to "justify being on a premium cable service".[90] The showrunners were particularly inspired by Star Trek: The Motion Picture and its "wider scope", with Harberts explaining that the series is shot in a 2:1 aspect ratio which "just lends itself to a very lyrical way of telling the story." He added that some of the series' visuals were influenced by the modern Star Trek films from J. J. Abrams.[58] Some of these influences, per Goldsman, are "the ability to be creative cinematically...the intimate discourse, the humanistic storytelling with the giant canvas that is Star Trek. A more kinetic camera, a more dynamic way of existing, a much greater use of practical sets so when you’re running down a corridor, you’re running down a corridor. A sense of rhythm...there is a sense of litheness, a kind of fluidity in the characterizations."[91] The producers worked closely with pilot director David Semel to make the series look as cinematic as possible, including filming the bridge of Starfleet's ships in such a way as "not to shoot in a sort of proscenium box...to be able to get the camera into spaces where, you know, to shoot it in interesting ways, which is a combination of choreographing a scene to motivate the camera moving, and also lighting."[56] The cinematographers for the series wanted to emphasize on set sourcing, with lighting built in wherever it would naturally appear to help create a more realistic feel, and distance the series from the "stage" feel of the original series.[89] The lighting could also be controlled to create completely different situations, such as the lighting of a Starfleet red alert.[76] Harberts said that the cinematographers wanted the series to have a "Rembrandt texture".[89]

Visual effectsEdit

Visual effects producers were hired to begin work on the series during the initial writing period, with Fuller explaining that the series would require such things as "digital augmentation on certain alien species" and "the transporter beams". He said, "We're trying to cultivate distinct looks for all of those things that are unique to our version of Star Trek and carry through the themes we love seeing in fifty years of Star Trek, but doing a slightly different approach."[39] Pixomondo is the primary visual effects vendor for the series,[87] with Spin VFX also working on the show.[92] Kurtzman noted that the series utilizes multiple CG environments which take several months to properly render.[56] The shuttle bay of the Discovery is completely computer-generated, with actors performing in front of a green screen for scenes in that environment; using the digital set is more expensive than any other set created for the series, including the practically-built ones.[93]

MusicEdit

The first teaser for the series featured music composed by Fil Eisler, which he "threw together as an audition" within three weeks.[66] Before production on the series began, Charles Henri Avelange had also composed and recorded music for the series, which he described as "a showcase for CBS".[94] In July 2017, Jeff Russo was announced as composer for the series.[7] Russo recorded the series' score with a 60-piece orchestra.[90] The show's main theme incorporates elements from the original Star Trek theme.[62]

ReleaseEdit

The first episode of Star Trek: Discovery aired in a "preview broadcast" on CBS in the United States on September 24, as well as being made available with the second episode on CBS All Access. Subsequent first-run episodes, making up the first chapter of the season, were streamed weekly on All Access through November 12. The second chapter will begin streaming January 2018.[25][26][95]

CBS Studios International licensed the series to Bell Media for broadcast in Canada, and to Netflix for another 188 countries.[34] In Canada, the premiere was simulcast with CBS on September 24, 2017, on both the CTV Television Network and on the specialty channel Space before being streamed on CraveTV; it was also broadcast in French on the specialty channel Z.[34] Subsequent episodes will be released through Space, Z, and CraveTV,[34] with Space airing each episode 30 minutes before it's streamed on All Access.[96][97] In the other countries, Netflix will release each episode of the series for streaming within 24 hours of its U.S. debut.[34] This agreement also saw Bell Media and Netflix acquire all previous Star Trek series to stream in their entirety, and to broadcast on Bell Media television channels.[34]

MarketingEdit

The first full trailer for the series was released in May 2017.[98] Forbes's Merrill Barr noted that the trailer was a good sign for many who believed the series would never be released following the many production setbacks and delays, saying, "Having a legitimate trailer that can be watched over and over again brings signs of hope, particularly for fans that have been waiting over a year for this moment. Star Trek: Discovery is real, and now we have proof."[99] Chris Harnick of E! News described the trailer as "gorgeous" and "truly cinematic", and because of the appearances of Sarek and the Klingons in the footage, "this is the Star Trek you know and love."[100] Aja Romano at Vox called the trailer's visuals "sumptuous" and "modern, but still very much in keeping with the aesthetic of previous Trek series". She continued, "What gets short shrift in this trailer is the series' overarching plot ... In any case, seeing the Klingons in all their combative glory feels a bit like coming home for Trek fans."[101] Also in May, McFarlane Toys signed a toy license deal with CBS to produce "figures, role play weapons and accessories" for Discovery. CBS Consumer Products senior vice president Veronica Hart explained that McFarlane was chosen as the first licensee for the series because of its "commitment to quality and dedication to fans". The deal will also see the company "create merchandise from the entire Star Trek universe, ranging from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series to its popular movie franchise." The first merchandise produced under the deal are set for release in mid-2018.[102]

ReceptionEdit

Ratings and viewershipEdit

According to Nielsen Media Research, the CBS broadcast of the first episode was watched by a "decent" audience of 9.5 million viewers.[103][104] The premiere of the series led to record subscriptions for All Access, with the service having its biggest day of signups, as well as its biggest week and month of signups thanks to the series.[105] According to "app analytics specialist" App Annie, the premiere of the series also caused the number of downloads of the All Access mobile app to more than double, with revenue from the app for CBS doubling compared to the average in-app revenue during the previous 30 days.[106]

Critical responseEdit

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 83% approval rating for the first season, with an average rating of 7.14/10 based on 54 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Although it takes an episode to achieve liftoff, Star Trek: Discovery delivers a solid franchise installment for the next generation—boldly led by the charismatic Sonequa Martin-Green."[107] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 72 out of 100 based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[108]

Other mediaEdit

After TrekEdit

By July 2016, CBS was working on an aftershow companion series to Discovery similar in format to AMC's Talking Dead, a companion to The Walking Dead. The show would air live after each episode of Discovery, and would feature "guests, celebrity Trekkies, former Star Trek actors, along with cast members and crew" from Discovery.[109] The companion series was confirmed in 2017, with the title After Trek and host Matt Mira. It is produced by Embassy Row in association with Roddenberry Entertainment.[110]

PublishingEdit

In September 2016, Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer announced that CBS was working with IDW and Simon & Schuster to produce more content revolving around the setting of the series, starting with at least one novel and a comic series tied to the television show. Beyer, the writer of many Star Trek: Voyager novels, explained that she would work with fellow Star Trek novelist David Mack and Star Trek comic writer Mike Johnson to ensure that all three media "are coming from the same place". The release of the books and comics was set to coincide with the series' premiere.[111] Mack described writing around the continuity of Discovery as "tricky to get right", as the time period "is light on detail and almost unique within the Star Trek continuity. That made it a challenge to represent that era faithfully while also staying true to the new elements being introduced" in the new series.[112]

In August 2017, Beyer explained the series' writers' intentions for the additional content, saying, "We want to be able to take the story opportunities that we're just frankly not going to have time to cover in the show, and go as deep into those into the various formats as we can. It's not that you have to read these stories to understand everything, but the story will be incredibly enhanced if you do." Regarding whether this content would be considered canonical, Beyer said that the stories of the comics and novels are briefed back to the show's writing staff so "the stories we created get integrated into their brains", but she also said, "Because of the collaborative nature of this process, we're able to go farther, take bigger risks. The danger is that, in the future, somebody will come upon with an amazing story idea that would be incompatible with what we've already established and just like always, the series is going to take priority. But the hope is that we can carve out these places that are safe and that we can continue to protect because as much as possible we want this to be one integrated universe...we're doing what we can to make sure these stories all fit together moving forward."[113]

NovelsEdit

The first tie-in to the show is Desperate Hours, a prequel set a year before Discovery and a year after "The Cage". Written by Mack, the novel was released on September 26, and follows Burnham as she serves aboard the Shenzhou. Fuller had asked for a book to be written based on that premise, and Mack had worked with the Discovery writers to stay "in the loop throughout the season with all the scripts and the story development. There were a few false starts, but eventually it allowed us to collaboratively create this story". Mack hinted that the USS Enterprise could also appear in the novel. The second Discovery novel is being written by Dayton Ward, is set 10 years before the show, and is intended to be released in early 2018.[113]

ComicsEdit

In July 2017, IDW announced the first tie-in comic series, also titled Star Trek: Discovery, to be written by Johnson and Beyer with art by Tony Shasteen, who previously worked with Johnson on the comic Star Trek: Boldly Go. IDW described the comic as "Klingon-centric", and set the first issue for release on October 25.[114] Johnson compared working with Beyer on the comic to his work on the Star Trek: Countdown comic, a tie-in to the 2009 Star Trek film that he wrote with Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, saying that her position as a staff writer on the Discovery show "means we have all the inside access that we need. So the story in the comic will really matter and not just feel like a one-off. It is actually able to expand the story you guys are going to see in the show itself."[115]

In August, it was clarified that the first comic would be a four-issue miniseries focused on T'Kuvma and his followers, and that IDW intended to create a series of comic miniseries based on different aspects of the series to create "targeted stories on some different subjects". Johnson stated that they were "building out the characters in the Klingon world with these comics, and we can't wait to show you." He added that discussions were being held regarding the subject of the next miniseries. IDW editor Sarah Gaydos said, "The access we're getting to the show to create these comics that are integral to fleshing out the backstories of the characters is unheard of, and I do a lot of licensed comics."[113]

Star Trek TimelinesEdit

In late 2017, "hours" of Discovery-based content will be added to the role playing video game Star Trek Timelines, including Michael Burnham and Saru as new crew members for the game and new ships from the show, both Federation and otherwise. A month long "Mega-Event" based on the series will also take place.[116]

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SourcesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Star Trek Discovery: Official Collector's Edition. Bankside, London, England, United Kingdom: Titan Books. November 14, 2017. ISBN 1785861905. 

External linksEdit