All “Star Trek” series have to end end sooner or later.
Paramount Plus has announced that the next season of “Star Trek: Discovery” will be the last, with the fifth and final season arriving in early 2024. According to Deadline (opens in new tab), “Paramount+ will honor the show’s groundbreaking storytelling over its past four seasons with yearlong celebrations and appearances at key events in markets around the world” in the lead-up to the final season.
You may remember, way back, on Monday, November 2, 2015, news trickled (opens in new tab) out that CBS was going to reboot “Star Trek” in some way, shape or form, giving producers a year or so to knock something out before the show’s 50th anniversary in September of the following year. A perfect marketing opportunity.
Nicholas Meyer was originally attached to the project before he was ousted. Then Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts were fired (opens in new tab) before Bryan Fuller left the project, ultimately leaving the whole thing in the hands of Alex Kurtzman. And Kurtzman has taken something of a back seat in recent seasons, leaving the showrunning duties to Michelle Paradise.
The first episode of the first season, entitled “The Vulcan Hello” aired on September 24, 2016 and absolutely, positively showed signs of promise. The concept of focusing the show not on the captain of the USS Discovery NCC-1031, but on the first officer instead, proved difficult to maintain however. Consequently, over time we’ve ended up where we are now: Lost somewhere ludicrously far forward in time where transporters have replaced stairs and you can just beam into new uniforms. Now that same, former first officer is the captain of a refitted USS Discovery, NCC-1031-A.
Over the last seven and a half years, it’s been a very mixed bag; there were inspired episodes, missed opportunities, truly bizarre stories, some blatant plagiarism and even a nod to Scooby-Doo. Despite some very good standalone episodes, the show has however, steadily declined in story writing quality from the outset.
That’s not to say the performances have been bad at all; in fact, “Discovery” has some of the finest cast in “Star Trek.” What has let them all down is ultimately the decisions made by the showrunner or whoever it is that oversees the writing.
Will a strange anomaly threaten the entire galaxy? Will billions of lives be threatened? Will Starfleet and the crew of the USS Discovery have to unite and dig deep, facing their own mortality and risking their lives for the greater good … again? Because that old chestnut is wearing a bit thin now.
Despite a strong start, it soon became clear that as much as “Star Wars” has a Skywalker problem, “Star Trek” suffered from a similar “Enterprise” problem. It was incapable of letting go. Micahel Burnham had to be related to Spock, for some ridiculous reason and we had to actually have the USS Enterprise show up. Now, while that’s spawned “Strange New Worlds” — which is so far the best of contemporary “Trek” — it would’ve been nice to have had a show, still set less than three centuries from now, with totally new characters and minimal reference to any other longstanding “Star Trek” shows. Kurtzman’s decision to fling the show (opens in new tab) eleven hundred years into the future at the end of Season 2 to “free it from the constraints of existing canon” was an effort to recover from this, but the damage had already been done.
It’s a little like the currently running Season 3 of “Picard.” So far, “Picard” is turning out to be something of an enjoyable surprise, but so many people were so spectacularly fed up with the shockingly bad story writing of both the first and second season that they’re reluctant to return to it.
However, bringing “Star Trek” back onto the small screen has had an undeniably positive effect on television science fiction. The fact that CBS All Access, later Paramount Plus, was investing so heavily in it undoubtedly influenced Amazon with its decision to save “The Expanse” in August 2018. Plus, in November 2017, Disney announced it was going to put a live action “Star Wars” spin off show on our humble TV screens and exactly two years later, we got “The Mandalorian”
And let’s not forget “The Orville,” which also arrived on our screens September 2017. “Discovery” paved the way for a renaissance in television science fiction and for that, we are eternally thankful, but … we won’t be even remotely sad to say goodbye to black alerts, that damn spore drive, smartmatter, excessive flamebursts, detached nacelles, Georgiou’s smug sniggers, Burnham’s Bottom Lip™ and those crazy, cavernous turbolift spaces.
The official story summary for the fifth and final season is “Burnham and the crew of the Discovery uncover a mystery that sends them on an epic adventure across the galaxy to find an ancient power whose very existence has been deliberately hidden for centuries. But there are others on the hunt as well; dangerous foes who are desperate to claim the prize for themselves and will stop at nothing to get it.”
According to Deadline, principal photography has wrapped, but additional filming is still ongoing in Toronto.
“Star Trek: Discovery” and every episode of every “Star Trek” show currently streams exclusively on Paramount Plus in the US.
Internationally, the shows are available on Paramount Plus in Australia, Latin America, the UK and South Korea, as well as on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. They also stream exclusively on Paramount Plus in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In Canada, they air on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave.
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