Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Sky's No Longer the Limit

Destiny? Nope. It’s Star Trek: Picard and well, that’s not a shock is it?

I am dead excited for the premiere later this year and the announcement of the series name was something of a gimme. It HAD to be Picard; there was no other sensible option given the core material for the who. However - do we have a colon in there? Is it just Star Trek Picard? Will we shorten it to PIC? Difficult questions we will need immediate answers to - nay sirs we demand this information forthwith!

Anyway...also released was a short clip of the show with a still from that making its way online and showing Sir Patrick Stewart on set reprising his iconic role. It does seem that the uniform in the bottom right IS a Starfleet uniform as has been seen in a few leaked set photos. 

Plus it was included with an ensign talking to Picard as part of a very brief scene used as within the All Access promotion trailer. These new uniforms appear to have reverted to the coloured shoulders but with a much higher collar and the loss of the purple/grey undershirt we saw in Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Spot also the placement of the rank pin and the "dip V" in the middle which follows the cut of the collar. Does it look a bit fan flick and cheap?

More on that in a sec but first - CBS has now launched the Global Franchise Group which will encompass every aspect of Star Trek as the show enters what could be its third and most prosperous age.

With Discovery now free from the ‘constraints’ of canon for its third season (reckon Calypso is worth a few dozen rewatches...), we also have Picard , Michelle Yeoh prepped for Section 31 AND two animated series rocking CBS All Access and Nickelodeon you’d think that there’s a lot on the proverbial plate. Personally I'm happy that CBS have stepped firmly away from the much rumour-milled Worf and Sulu series. Phew.

The franchise group is focusing not only on the one active and three ‘in development’ TV shows but also novels, side projects, experiential events, upgrading and apparently more games - which for me is great since I’ve become horrendously addicted to Online in the last month. 

Due to be headed up by Veronica Heart the franchise group brings all the elements of Star Trek under one umbrella and I have to ask the question as to whether this is an early indication that CBS may well get their hands on the elusive, Paramount owned movie rights. What a commitment to the brand!

It would make sense for this to happen since Alec Kurtzman will continue to lead the televisual arm of the franchise and was involved with the JJ Abrams reboot in 2009. CBS is very cleverly positioning itself as THE singular home of Star Trek and with the waning interest in Star Trek 4 could this be the time to take it back and allow Quentin Tarantino to dabble in the Star Trek sandbox for the big screen?

It also goes to show that all the stories, the rumours and the utter bullshit are precisely the latter; rubbish. There is a strong belief and commitment to the brand especially with the resounding success of Discovery’s second season in particular. There are now as many televisual projects in the works as were produced from 1966 to 2004 with more probably on the way. Could this be a turning point for the franchise or are we already reaching super burnout levels just two years into its rejuvenation? Variety will be the key and taking Picard away from a starship may well be the biggest gamble in franchise history - can a show survive where Starfleet will not be the central organisation and what restraints will this remove. How will this affect Jean-Luc's choices?

Due out at the end of 2019, Picard (working title Royal Flushhas confirmed its cast (which I’m struggling to get excited about with the exception of Patrick Stewart himself) and now in an announcement from its star we know it will be showing on Amazon Prime around the world.

In the US and Canada the new series will be shown on CBS All Access yet the choice to go with Amazon Prime does seem a little odd. Ok, I subscribe to Netflix and have to declare that this did irk me that I’ll need to add another TV package to the monthly outgoings but the whole of the televised Star Trek back catalogue is on Netflix; every episode.

Which can only suggest that either Netflix can’t afford to spend for another Star Trek show or that Amazon Prime outbid them and ultimately offered the better package. Will we want to be paying for even more channels just to see our favourite show? Will we seek out other avenues to do it whether legal or illegal?

So Star Trek stands at another point of the unknown - a brave unknown future for Discovery, a 20 year leap unknown for a former Enterprise captain and the monetary unknown of a franchise group which might, for the first time ever, align every possible strand of Star Trek and properly universe build across time and space.

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