Westworld proves that smart sci-fi like Star Trek can still be popular


CBS says that Star Trek wouldn’t work on television today because it’s too cerebral, but shows like HBO’s Westworld are proving them wrong.

CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone has said that he doesn’t think Star Trek would work on TV. Lanzone says that science fiction doesn’t do well on television historically, which of course is nonsense.

here’s what CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone said to the Recode Media with Peter Kafka podcast.

"Sci-fi is not something that has traditionally done really well on broadcast. It’s not impossible, for the future, if somebody figures it out. And things like Lost and Heroes have had parts of, you know, scifi, but historically, a show like Star Trek wouldn’t necessarily be a broadcast show, at this point. And so, you kind of look at the other networks we have, CW and Showtime, it just fit the with the digital audience and having that digital Star Trek audience."

The most popular shows on television over the last few months, Westworld and The Walking Dead, have serious science fiction elements. Westworld is actually a fantastic example of why Star Trek would work on television because Westworld is smart television. You can’t say that Westworld is pandering to the lowest common denominator. Westworld is a futuristic morality tale told in a totally foreign world using multiple timelines, it’s not “easy” television viewing.

According to Deadline Westworld’s average of 12 million viewers across all platforms ranks as the most-watched first season of an HBO original series ever. This means smart can be unbelievably successful on television, audiences haven’t gotten dumber, despite what CBS says.

Perhaps the problem is that the CBS audience isn’t the smartest audience. There’s no doubt that the people who watch and enjoy Two Broke Girls aren’t the same as the people who watch Westworld. Maybe what Jim Lanzone meant to say was “Star Trek won’t work on our television network, because CBS is lazy and likes churning out crap for the lowest common denominator.”

Perhaps we will get lucky and CBS will eventually sell Star Trek, until then it looks like we are stuck with these fools at the helm. Maybe CBS will wake up and see that others have succeeded with Trekkies where they are failing, but it’s doubtful.

NEXT: Alien Species We Want To See In Star Trek Discovery

So what do you think? Is CBS the worst thing to happen to Star Trek? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.