The title of this article might seem a little extreme, afterall, the show hasn’t even got an updated release date yet and some of us are proclaiming its failure and its possible desecration of the Star Trek legacy. Still, it seems pretty clear that the fans are worried after a series of excruciating delays, lethargic progress and dissapointing departures. Here are the worries voiced by fans and what CBS need to do to avoid catastrophe with Star Trek Discovery.
First USS Discovery Cast Image Revealed
Give us a date
If you are a competent manager, of anything for that matter, whether it’s a small business project or high budget television series, you make a plan and put that plan into action. You weigh up all of the necessary factors and you state a date of completion for the project. In the worst case scenario, say you forget to order champagne or your lead actor breaks his leg, you put the end date back for a while and give a new prospective date.
CBS don’t seem to have applied these work ethics to their production of Star Trek Discovery. First they gave us January 2017 as the release date, which subsequently moved to May 2017 and then postponement until sometime after the summer. Production delays on big-budget productions often happen and are sometimes inevitable, but someone needs to take the show by the scruff of the neck and get the ball rolling. Give us a firm date and stick to it.
It’s going great, I’ve actually been up there [to the set]. It is, you know, phenomenal. It is huge. And we’re very excited about the content, the creators, the actors, all coming together. As you said, we’re not tied to any specific release date. It’ll be there when we’re ready to do it, and when we feel it’s in a great place. We’re not worried about anything here. We’re excited, and we’ll have more specifics as we get closer to what will likely be the release dates. – Marc DeBevoise, CBS All Access, souning very pompous.
Solution: Management should come out and give the fans a confirmed date for the show to air; and then absolutely work their butts off to make the date a reality.
Photo of DSC set – Supposedly a Klingon ship
Did CBS even hire a marketing department to promote the series? Or did they just say ‘well, Star Trek fans will buy into anything Star Trek’ because they would be terribly mistaken if it was the latter. Star Trek fans, more than fans of any other franchise, are notoriously difficult to please because of the ferocity of their loyalty to what makes the show quintessentially Star Trek. Just look at what Star Trek fans thought of the JJ Abrams universe, which has resulted in Paramount and those in the know questioning whether a 4th installment of the reboot movie series will even be made.
If they did hire marketing people, then sometime soon it would be nice to get something tangible. The production has been shooting for months and all we have is a few casting announcements and a rusty ship leaving dry dock. Something doesn’t quite add up here. The marketing department of CBS should be carefully and discreetly leaking very small tasters and teasers at a snail’s pace, whetting the appetite of Star Trek fans globally and keeping them guessing as to what will be happening, and yet we have almost nothing. Wait, we did get a leaked picture of some nasty looking aliens that simply cannot be Klingons.
Solution: Sell the show to the fans and give them something to debate over, rather than resting on your laurels and banking on a success because of the trademark. This all comes down to the management of the project and in my opinion, it seems poorly executed. Bryan Fuller left, but that doesn’t mean that nobody should be selling the show to the public.
Stop making ridiculous decisions
Star Trek series’ often feature a crossover at some point; a prime example was when Picard handed over the keys of Deep Space Nine to a reluctant Sisko (he warmed to the job very quickly). See some more interesting crossovers here. And, with Bryan Fuller telling fans that the show will be set 10 years before the 5 year mission of TOS, an actor from the series that started it all isn’t out of the question (But why Harry Mudd?). But, when the news leaks that the producers had offered Michael Dorn, who is practically Star Trek royalty, a pitiful amount of money to appear on the show as a distant relative of Worf, you have to question what the people in charge of the show are really thinking. I wasn’t necessarily excited to see Dorn approached to star in the show, even in a cameo, but I wasn’t very happy with the way he’d been treated.
Solution: The management need to stop making ridiculous decisions. If you are going to hire someone, stick to your decision and offer something appropriate for the position.
Give it to fans for free
When they announced the show, CBS revealed that it would not be on cable or network television, but CBS All Access, their very own subscription service. Fans were a little miffed at first, but it isn’t a great deal of money and to have Star Trek back on the television, well, we’d pay a little bit extra right? That might be true for many, but why should fans pay for just Star Trek when they might not care about the other shows on CBS All Access. Have a guess how most fans who don’t want to pay for CBS All Access are going to get hold of it? Probably from Pirate Bay, or from some other illegal streaming site, which definitely doesn’t help anyone.
Solution: Put the show on network television. At the very least, have it on Netflix where people have a huge range of shows to watch, including the other Star Trek series’, and many people already have the subscription.
The Bryan Fuller issue
Bryan Fuller seemed to be the only person within Star Trek Discovery talking about the show. He was very excited about the production and from the interviews he gave, you could tell that he was genuinely motivated to creating great Star Trek episodes. Then he left. Sure, he had other projects going on and the official line was that he’d already done most of the leg-work in getting the show up and running and he had other projects that needed more attention, but something certainly seemed off. He agreed to stay on as a creative influence over the show but it seems that he is out of the loop for the moment.
Solution: Hindsight is a wonderful thing. They shouldn’t have pissed Fuller off to the point where he left the project, but they can’t beg to have him come back. Instead, they need a clear leader who is well liked and who can speak to the fans and drive the passion for the show.
But I am still optimistic.
I don’t want to sound like a spoilt child here; give us it now, give us it for free and make it good! But some clarity on such an epic undertaking would be appreciated. I fear that CBS have taken Star Trek fans for granted, and that this project might never finish. I fear that the mismanagement by CBS of Star Trek Discovery might harm the legacy of my favorite show.
I was genuinely thrilled when Star Trek Discovery was announced. They still have some people behind the screen who can make a great show, and some of the casting choices have been superb, namely Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca. The show can be something really special, as long as CBS manage both the show and the fans expectations correctly. But if they keep on the current route, it looks like failure lies ahead for Star Trek Discovery.
Agree? Disagree? Is the show in trouble? Are we worried about nothing? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.