Yesterday brought unexpected news of interest to Star Trek geeks; there's a new television series coming! I was so happy to hear this! I've been feeling smothered in Star Wars news for months now. Don't get me wrong, Star Wars is OK. But Star Trek; that's my first and lasting love.
What is most interesting though, is that most of the discussion around the new series has nothing to do with the content of the show; it has to do with the distribution. To be fair, they haven't even hired a writer yet so the content is pretty up in the air, but that's not the only reason we're talking about distribution.
CBS is making the new show and they're using it as a bludgeon to try to get us all signed up to their CBS All Access service. In case you're not familiar with it, this is a stand-alone streaming service that offers both back catalog and current CBS offerings. In some areas it also offers live TV.
In the US, CBS will air the premiere episode of the new Star Trek series on traditional TV, but all subsequent episodes will only be available on CBS All Access. Caveat: the show won't be here until January 2017 so plans could change (and if you're outside the US CBS All Access is not available so expect to see the show via traditional TV).
Response to this news, at least in my circles, has not been good. No one wants to have to sign up for yet another streaming service just to watch one show, and who can blame them? CBS, I suppose, is betting that there are enough hard core Star Trek fans that they'll sign up in spite of their objections and find the service so engaging that they stay around.
Full disclosure: I am part of the problem because I absolutely will sign up if that's what I have to do to get me some new Star Trek material.
For cord cutters CBS All Access isn't a bad deal. It's $6.99/month and, as mentioned, gets you a live feed in some (probably more by January 2017) areas, plus all that CBS content that doesn't get onto Hulu since CBS seems to have a hostile attitude towards Hulu.
Asking those of us who already pay a hefty monthly fee for cable TV to pay even more though; that's a tough sell. I also wonder how the cable providers will feel about this deal. Once I have CBS All Access and can get the local news live, and most of the shows I watch on the other networks via Hulu, it's going to be pretty tempting to just cancel cable service. My friends at Time Warner Cable probably aren't any more happy with CBS than my friends on Twitter are.
There's going to be plenty of grumbling if CBS sticks to its guns on this plan, but for now let's focus on the good news. Only 14 months to wait until we get a new Star Trek series!