Star Trek has never needed saving, least of all from Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery will forever go down as the first show to air exclusively on a streaming service for its first run. It will also go down as the least-liked Star Trek show by any measurable metric. It’s seen its budget slashed just about every year with fewer and fewer episodes made the longer the show went on. Then, when they could recoup the losses for the show, Paramount canceled it after five seasons.
Five seasons that saw the concept of the show change nearly every year. Unable to keep the original premise of the show, it underwent change after change to try and get fans back to watch it. Season three nearly did that, but season four returned to form, and a lot of the praise it got for the third season was gone.
It’s a show that has existed in spite of itself. Everything that the show did was changed and forgotten about. Those ugly uniforms? Gone. The horrid Klingon re-design? Gone. Michael Burnham is a mutineer who showed no real emotions? The show? Gone.
The fact that Star Trek as a brand didn’t die with the show is more of a testament to the fandom’s resilience against bad writing and acting. The show survived, but it never thrived. So it would be wholly unfair to say that Discovery “saved” Trek, as CBR claimed.
Discovery didn’t save anything. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it’s a flat-out lie to even suggest. Beyond the fact the show was and continues to be panned by its core fanbase, the show was already being filmed when Beyond debuted. This wasn’t a response to Beyond’s failings at the box office as the article above wants so desperately to allude to.
If anything, it was further proof that those creating Trek at the time had no idea what it was. And that narrative continued from Beoynd through Discovery and to Picard.
If anything, after duds like Discovery and the first two seasons of Picard, it was arguably Lower Decks, Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds that “saved” Trek.
If Trek ever needs to be saved. That said, Trek doesn’t need saving. Not really. Even if it did, it certainly wouldn’t come from Discovery, which has seemingly had the lowest-rated episodes, and the least impressive viewing numbers of any of the modern shows.
While the viewing numbers may be hard to find, we have engagement figures, and rarely have we ever seen Discovery pop up at all. In fact, we have seen the fandom dip when Discovery is the lead show.
So it is rather silly to say that Discovery saved the franchise when the franchise did everything it could to forget the first two years of the show. It actively hurt the franchise, which is why it was overhauled for its final three seasons.
So it’s not only wrong to say Discovery saved Trek, but it’s also misleading, as Trek never needed saving.
Star Trek doesn’t know how to die
Has Trek seen its fair share of duds and disappointments since it debuted in the 1960s? Sure. But there’s a misconception that needs to be cleared up; Trek has never died. It’s never been close to death. Even after the live-action show was canceled in the 60s, the animated series came down the line.
Then after the animated series ended, the Star Trek reboot series was discussed, and that would eventually become the first film. Those films became The Next Generation, which brought in Deep Space Nine, another round of films, then Voyager and Enterprise. When Enterprise ended in 2005, the franchise wasn’t “dead”, it just pivoted to the Kelvin franchise of Trek films.
When those ended, they went to streaming with Discovery. And when these batches of streaming shows end, there will be another Trek entity ready to be made. Trek has survived decades and seen far scarier times than Beyond not performing well.
It’s rather bold and seriously misleading to suggest a show like Discovery could save a franchise that never needed saving in the first place. Trek is too big for a company like Paramount to give up on, and they’ll keep rebooting it time and time again until they can make money off of it.
Discovery has had nothing to do with whatever successes the franchise is currently having. To say otherwise is misleading.
Star Trek will never die. It’s too profitable and people need to realize that in a few years, maybe 10 or more, we’ll get a brand new vision of Star Trek. Because Trek is too profitable to ever die.