A Not-so-free Enterprise: Did CBS Just Give Star Trek (fans) the finger?
First of all, I’d like to suggest that it’s a pretty bad idea to show/premiere ONE pilot episode of any show on television and then yank it abruptly for “online only access”. It’s kind of like a bad tease.
And after 12 years of Trek-less tv, if you discount that unhealthy number of re-runs that Spike TV used to do (TNG), along with BBC (also TNG), and occasionally TV Land (TOS), that’s exactly what it feels like CBS gave us.
I’ll admit, I was expecting a little more than what I saw Sunday night. The characters/plot did fall a little flat in places, but overall I was intrigued. Certain things looked promising, though imperfect. The look was fresh, albeit a little Enterprise-y (as in the show ENT) and the pilot episode managed in its brief run to create (or re-create) a bit of an old Star Trek feel.
But that was all.
I hate to be one of the angry fans now who’s all like “Gene would be turning over in his grave right now.” But for Star Trek, a grand vision of the future meant to be shared with audiences everywhere, to be reduced to a guinea pig subscription service, not over time, but literally RIGHT after its return is kinda…………un-Trekkish.
But it’s the wave of the future. Every network wants to compete with Netflix now. For the big bucks that come with exclusive streaming. HBO was already exclusive, so it doesn’t count. Hulu offers a pretty wide range of options.
I would say it’s ballsy for CBS to go rogue like that and do its own thing. But it’s really not. Star Trek: Discovery is the safest show they can take a risk with. Not NCIS, or Big Bang Theory. For the sake of trial and error it’s better to go with something that doesn’t count as a loss if the trial run fails.
And, unfortunately, that’s Star Trek. As a fan it feels like the franchise I love is being cheapened. Even if it works. But if it fails CBS can pride itself in the fact that they made a sacrificial lamb out of Discovery.
I’m venting of course but it just kind of irks me that they’re turning Star Trek into money bait. Maybe every show will be like that way one day: teased on the tube, streamed on the pad. Because, as we know, all things were meant to be seen on a 12–13 inch screen. Or your phone. With perfect surround earbuds.
But did they really have to do that with Star Trek? A longstanding franchise, just on the verge (show, not movie-wise) of returning to networks?
Why would I pay $6 a month to watch ONE show in a group of thousands that already appear on tv? It’s not the best buyer incentive. But who knows?
Star Trek fans got the carrot treatment, it feels like. Dangle, dangle, here’s a glimpse-cliffhanger-now pay us $72 a year to see it again.
Star Trek, now at $72 a year. How many years did the spin-offs (not including ENT) run? 7. What’s your price of viewing?
I tell you, not 7, but 72 times 7.
You’re not forgiven, CBS.
Netflix didn’t tease House of Cards on TNT or USA Today before yanking it online. They went straight to the streaming. Even BBC gave out two seasons of Black Mirror before letting it go to the Flix.
But Star Trek, beloved by fans, gets the guinea pig treatment. I may not have been super, super impressed. But I still wanted more. And, like other fans, I feel like I deserved more.
Of course it’s an excellent way to squeeze money out of fans. Which is what I hate: giving everything the Marvel/Disney treatment. And by that I mean making everything about dollars. Which, let’s face it, they already are. And have been, for years. It’s just slightly more dickish this way.
Star Wars is now about money. And money alone. It’s even lazier now than the prequels (with their Lucas-esque bad Shakespeare dialogue) were. It feels like a bad, hackneyed copy of something old, rather than nostalgia. And to go on with my digression, the Star Wars Extended Movie (not book) Universe ain’t about nostalgia. Or about plot/characters. It’s about money.
Same with Marvel: but everyone already knows that. Same with Disney and the live-action rampage. And now Star Trek smells like money. And laptops.
I’ve only seen one episode: so who knows, maybe the show isn’t worth my hype. But it’s more the principle that counts. It’s the idea that after growing up and loving a series, watching its re-runs again and again, I now have the luxury/privilege of enjoying it for the additional price of $6 a month; $72 a year.
I saw (then stubbornly skipped over) an article headline that said CBS’ All Access opened to record numbers after the premiere. So that means people ARE signing up.
Maybe it’s working out fine. But still…
I’s don’t like ‘dat. Notz at all. I waunts me a Star Trek fo’ telluvized braw’cast.
Star Trek fans: CBS doesn’t just want your eyes. Or your prosthetic circa ’77 convention Vulcan ears. They want your wallets too. And a bit of a wank.
That’s just how it feels now. Maybe I’ll change my mind several dollars later.