All the Details (So Far) About CBS All Access' New 'Star Trek' Series

Here’s what to expect when the beloved sci-fi franchise returns to the small screen.
Courtesy of CBS

Starfleet cadets, this is not a drill: After more than a decade away from the small screen, Star Trek is returning with an all-new TV series airing exclusively on CBS All Access. The untitled series (for now, it’s simply called Star Trek) is ramping up for a January debut, and has an impressive list of Trek veterans signed on to pilot the ship.

So what can viewers expect when this new Trek takes its maiden voyage in just a few months? Precious little has leaked out about the series so far, but here are three main pieces of intel that any Trekkie worth his phaser needs to know.

The franchise is in good hands.

Of course, Star Trek is still alive and kicking on the big screen (Star Trek: Beyond opens in theaters next month), but this new venture will be the first Trek TV series since Star Trek: Enterprise wrapped up its four-year mission on UPN in 2005. And as such, there’s a lot riding on this series — including the collective faith of a few million Trek diehards. That’s why it’s reassuring that CBS All Access has brought in a few people who are well seasoned in all things Trek.

First and foremost is Bryan Fuller, of Pushing Daisies and Hannibal fame, who’ll serve as co-creator and showrunner. Not only has Fuller proved his mettle with a string of offbeat cult favorites — he’s also currently adapting Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for Starz — but he actually began his Hollywood career writing for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager. “I didn’t want to be a writer. I wanted to be a Star Trek writer,” Fuller told Collider. “So to be able to craft a new iteration of the show with new characters and a whole new adventure … it’s a dream come true.”

And Fuller will be joined by two more Trek-savvy writers. Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, is overseeing the series as an executive producer. And though some Trekkies may groan at his involvement (many of them are not fans of the rebooted film series), this name should bring them back in: Nicholas Meyer, who wrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (two of the best-loved Trek films), is onboard as a writer and consulting producer.

Plus, the new series has the approval of the first family of Trek. Legendary creator Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod will be an executive producer, along with Trevor Roth of Roddenberry Entertainment. “It’s a genuine honor,” Roddenberry said, “to be joining a team of imaginative and incredibly capable individuals whose endeavor it is to uphold the tenets of Star Trek’s legacy while bringing it to audiences in a new era.” 

All we know about the new cast of characters is: We haven’t met them yet.

Don’t go looking for a new version of Kirk or Picard when the new Star Trek debuts. When CBS unveiled a teaser trailer for it at this year’s upfronts, it promised “New Crews. New Villains. New Heroes. New Worlds.” The official Trek site confirms that the TV series won’t be connected to the upcoming Star Trek: Beyond in any way; in fact, the series had to be held until January because CBS has to wait six months after the release of Beyond to avoid confusion. 

So what do we know about these new crews and new worlds? Not much. There are some online rumors circulating that the series will be set in the years after Undiscovered Country (the final Trek film centered on the original series cast) and before Next Generation. But as of now, those are just rumors.

The man who would know, Fuller, did offer Collider a few hints about what’s to come. The new Trek’s first season will consist of 13 episodes, with a single season-long arc running throughout. Shooting will begin in September at Toronto’s Pinewood Studios, and Fuller has just now started casting. He hopes to be able to reveal more at next month’s San Diego Comic-Con: “I love talking about Star Trek, and I love being involved in it, so I’ll be very excited to share when the muzzle comes off of me.”

You’ll have to sign up for yet another streaming service to watch it.

Just to be clear, the new Star Trek series won’t be available on network TV. It will air its premiere episode on CBS, but then move to the network’s streaming service, CBS All Access, for the remaining episodes. (All Access currently costs $5.99 per month, with a one-week free trial.) Yes, this is CBS’ way of getting people to sign up for their streaming service, knowing Trek fans will pay just about anything for new content. (The service will also debut a spinoff of The Good Wife next spring.)

And if you’re hoping to binge-watch the new Trek, you’re out of luck: CBS All Access will be releasing one episode per week, rather than the all-at-once Netflix model. So you may have to wait until the entire season’s been released to binge the whole thing — and avoid spoilers in the meantime. But even with those caveats, this new series is looking very promising so far for Trek fans. Let’s see where they boldly go from here.