Star Trek Discovery: Reasons Delayed, Premier Date, Episode Schedule

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery, the oft-delayed, latest television incarnation of the franchise, finally received a premier date: 24 September 2017.  On the eve of the premier date announcement, showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg explained the reasons for the delays to EW.  There are, of course, the obvious reasons regarding creators and stars. First, Bryan Fuller, who developed Star Trek: Discovery for CBS, left the project to develop American Gods for Starz. Also, the showrunners had to wait for star Sonequa Martin-Green to become available following her work on The Walking Dead.  But the biggest reason the showrunners cited is the sets, props, uniforms, etc — the literal building of the world.

“There’s is so much artistry and custom craftsmanship that go into every prop, every costume, every set,” Mr Harberts explained. “These things have to be designed and manufactured. We flew a costume designer to Switzerland to pick up the fabric for the Starfleet uniforms. Several items on our uniforms are 3D printed. Some of our sets can take over six weeks to make.”  When Gene Roddenberry was making the first Star Trek at DesiLou studios for NBC in 1966, his propmakers looked for castoffs from other shows produced on the DesiLou lot.  Of the reasons Mr Harberts cited, here’s the one that make sense: “CBS has given us the time and the money to make something the fans will find worthwhile.”

Ms Berg continued: “You can’t cut corners or have 95 percent of what’s on screen be completely original and inspired and then have five percent something you bought at a store.” Or something you took from a dumpster behind the set of Mission: Impossible and painted over in a bright finish, as Gene Roddenberry’s propmakers did for alien art when making the original Star Trek. Ms Berg goes on, “It has to be cohesive – and it is. I’m so proud of what’s on screen, it’s so beautiful and it’s taking world-building to a whole new level.”  The bar has clearly been raised since the time when carpenters for Star Trek: The Next Generation repurposed the floor of the transporter room from the original Enterprise set, making it into the transporter room ceiling on Enterprise-D.

Now, I don’t want to be like Dennis Miller and go off on a rant here. (Yes. Yes, I do) But sets, costumes and props are only a small part of what makes science fiction shows like this succeed or fail.  The producers and their writing room have got to bring it in a big way.  It wasn’t the sets that made the original Star Trek great — the sets were small, cramped and cheap.  It wasn’t the props and special effects that brought fans of 1990s cult hit Babylon 5 back week after week.  It wasn’t the costumes and uniforms that inspired an amazing and rare level of devotion and commitment from the cast and fans of the Battlestar Galactica remake.  The writing made these shows what they are.  The writing is the reason these shows are still remembered and celebrated among fans.

And let’s not forget how a network can still kill a show by airing episodes inconsistently or out of order, no matter how great the writing is.  Just go look in the Fox network graveyard, where you’ll find tombstones marked Space Above and Beyond, Firefly, Dollhouse, Almost Human, VR.5, Strange Luck … the list goes on. All these shows had great writing and their writers went on to have brilliant careers, but Fox killed them.  Fox ran the episodes out of order and in some cases bounced the shows around the schedule, making it hard for fans to find them and follow their storylines.  Based on the schedule below, it sounds like Star Trek: Discovery has support from its network, so it falls to the writers to “engage” with the material and “make it so.”  But that’s just my opinion.  I could be wrong.

Star Trek: Discovery will premiere on CBS broadcast and cable affiliates, with episodes set to stream on CBS All Access.  Its premier hits the airwaves at 8:30 ET/PT on Sunday, 24 September 2017. Later that same evening, immediately after the credits roll on the premier, Episode 2 will drop on CBS All Access.  Following the premier, new Star Trek: Discovery episodes will be available solely to CBS All Access streaming subscribers.  CBS All Access subscriptions cost $5.99 a month. New episodes in Star Trek: Discovery will be drop weekly on Sundays through 5 November.  Network scheduled a hiatus for Star Trek: Discovery through January 2018, when the next seven episodes will be available.

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