“Star Trek” returns to TV, but only on CBS’ streaming service

For awhile, “Star Trek”‘s been a dormant property as far as TV’s concerned. Since “Enterprise” left the air 10 years ago, the movies, including the 2009 reboot, have been the main “Trek” focus. Now comes word that “Star Trek” is finally coming back to TV… but not on an over-the-air or cable network.

CBS reports they want to develop a new “Trek” series that’ll only be available on their “CBS All Access” streaming service. For $6/month, you’ll get the new “Star Trek” series, plus other CBS shows. Few details are available, but I gather it’s being based on the recent rebooted films’ timeline, not the original series. (Update: it’s set in the main timeline.)

I agree with Engadget’s Kris Naudus. I also didn’t like the 2009 rebooted Trek film (product placement for stuff like Budweiser and Nokia seems antithetical to the “Trek” future’s non-capitalistic appeal), so a show based on that premise doesn’t hold much appeal for me. I also grew up on the original shows; I used to watch The Original Series on weekend afternoons, and enjoyed Deep Space Nine in college.

I also don’t want to be sucked into adding another monthly bill for a service I wouldn’t remotely consider otherwise. Unlike HBO, I can already watch the so-far-enjoyable “Supergirl” series, plus the few other CBS shows I watch—“The Amazing Race,” NFL football, sometimes “60 Minutes”—for free. I still have cable, but I have considered cutting back to the broadcast-only channels and using a few streaming services to save money.

But as the Engadget article notes, we’re seeing the potential downsides of the a la carte streaming future, depending on how varied one’s TV tastes are. All of these individual services—HBO Now, Showtime, Netflix, etc.—added up aren’t much cheaper than what cable’s running. The costs might be even worse if all of the broadcast networks go the route of individual services in the future. And of course, there’s the inevitable broadband Internet rate hikes. Not that cable’s completely dead yet; Time Warner’s hoping to withhold in the future its superhero series (“Supergirl,” “The Flash,” etc.) from Netflix for cable TV’s on demand services.

On the plus side, how many and which streaming services you’ll need in a post-cord-cutting future does depend on your TV tastes. For example, I couldn’t care less about “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” or HBO, but I am concerned about access to cartoons and sports. Still, CBS is clearly hoping Trek fans are fervent enough to be willing to pay for CBS All Access.

“Star Trek” has been used before to sell a new service. In the mid-90s, the then-new UPN network made “Voyager” its lead show. While “Voyager” still has fans today, UPN’s a distant memory. It merged in 2006 with the WB to create today’s CW network. Of course, with changing viewing habits, CBS is assuming a better future for its new streaming service.

(Updated 12/13/16)

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