Wednesday 10 February 2016

Bryan Fuller to be showrunner of the new Star Trek TV series

Coming early next year is a brand new Star Trek TV series, which Variety have now revealed will be brought to life under the guiding hand of an old Star Trek talent: Bryan Fuller has been appointed showrunner.

Fuller started out his career working on Star Trek, after getting scripts accepted under the old open door submission policy. He wrote DS9's Empok Nor and The Darkness and the Light, before becoming a staff writer from season five on Voyager onwards, and by the end of the series also co-producing. His numerous writing credits on Voyager included Living Witness, Drone, Bride of Chaotica!, Course: Oblivion, and Relativity - His episodes often stood out for their unique concepts and not being afraid to experiment in some quirkier aspects of Trek, something that definitely followed through into his later work, including one of my all time favourite TV series, Pushing Daisies. He also worked on Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, the first season of Heroes, and Hannibal.

Variety recounted these words from Fuller on the news of his appointment:
It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of ‘Star Trek’ with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no ‘Star Trek’ series has gone before.
Alex Kurtzman, who has his own history in the franchise as writer and producer of the first two nuTrek movies, will executive produce along with Fuller, and previous TV collaborator Heather Kadin. Kurtzman had this to say about Fuller:
Bringing ‘Star Trek’ back to television means returning it to its roots, and for years those roots flourished under Bryan’s devoted care. His encyclopedic knowledge of ‘Trek’ canon is surpassed only by his love for Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic future, a vision that continues to guide us as we explore strange new worlds.
CBS Television Studios president David Stapf also chipped in with reassuring words about the significance of Kurtzman and the Star Trek legacy:
For the past 50 years, ‘Star Trek’ has been a groundbreaking franchise that not only changed the landscape of television, but made a significant impact on pop culture. When we began discussions about the series returning to television, we immediately knew that Bryan Fuller would be the ideal person to work alongside Alex Kurtzman to create a fresh and authentic take on this classic and timeless series. Bryan is not only an extremely gifted writer, but a genuine fan of ‘Star Trek.’ Having someone at the helm with his gravitas who also understands and appreciates the significance of the franchise and the worldwide fan base was essential to us.
Fuller has been angling for this very role for some years, and has mentioned several different directions he might be interested in taking a new series before. As far back as 2008 he was pushing to do something, as he told IF Magazine:
I told my agent and told the people of J.J. Abrams team I want to create another STAR TREK series and have an idea that I’m kicking around. I would love to return to the spirit of the old series with the colors and attitude. I loved VOYAGER and DEEP SPACE NINE, but they seem to have lost the ‘60s fun and I would love to take it back to its origin.
In an MTV interview in the same year in which he again suggested going back to something of a TOS sensibility, but he also made clear he would want to reinvent Trek to keep it fresh:
’Star Trek’ has to recreate itself. Otherwise, all the characters start to feel the same. You always have a captain, a doctor, a security officer, and you have the same arguments based on those perspectives. It starts to feel too familiar. So all those paradigms where it takes place on a starship have to be shaken up.”
Future Captain Angela Bassett?
In a Den of Geek interview in 2013 he suggested a USS Reliant series, and even some casting:
I would love to do something on the Reliant. I want Angela Lansbury…Not Lansbury! I want Angela Bassett to be the captain, that’s who I would love to have, you know Captain Angela Bassett and First Officer Rosario Dawson. I would love to do that version of the show and but that’s in the future to be told.
Indeed back in 2013 he had already developed a clear idea of what he would be interested in developing on a return to Trek, as he told Crave:
I think there’s something very exciting about the new J.J. Abrams-verse, and there’s also kind of an interesting reinvention. How would “The Next Generation” evolve from that? Where would that be? Where would that go? But there’s also… “Star Trek” is such a big universe, and there are so many places to go with it. I have a very specific idea that I would love to do. We’ll see if I ever get the opportunity.
Will he get to bring that idea to life now, or has he thought up something even better in the meantime? It certainly seems logical to me to spin the new series out of currently popular nuTrek universe, but obviously also taking a new angle on it. Variety describe this series as being apart from things before:
The creative plan is for the series to introduce new characters and civilizations, existing outside of the mythology charted by previous series and the current movie franchises.
Which is similar to what CBS said when the series was first announced, but I don't think that rules out a lot. Any new series is going to feature new characters and stories, and they could be "outside of the mythology" in many ways, much as TNG was something quite apart from TOS, and all the subsequent series all had their own unique take on the universe, or indeed nuTrek being a new timeline. Of course the other option is another entirely new timeline. But they've appointed people with strong ties to what has come before, surely it's not going to be that disconnected.

I'm sure we'll find out soon enough what form this series will take, and until then we can be happy it's in very good hands under Mr Fuller. The first episode of the new series is due to air in the US on the CBS Television Network, but subsequent episodes will be available exclusively on the the CBS All Access on demand streaming service. International distribution has yet to be detailed.


mark bernero said...

I would like a series that's like season four of Enterprise. That returned Trek to it's roots . I wish ENT could have done that during all of its seasons!

Gojirasaurus said...

This certainly eases my mind about the future, but I'm still most concerned with the setting and chronology.

Is it set in the nuTrek, Prime, or another timeline/universe? Also, when?

Personally, I'd like any series to have continuity to fall back on if it wants (or can simply ignore), which makes a post-Nemesis Prime universe setting the most appealing and least constraining. Like with X-Files or Doctor Who, they can introduce or ignore past characters and ideas without rebooting, and while moving forward with the tantalizing prospect they might just pop up.

A post-Spock/Narada disappearance setting can still tie-in to the nuTrek franchise, and allow access to living prime TNG/DS9/VOY actors if they wished. It's just the least limiting setting to do any Trek series now.

I hope they go that way...

Fox said...

It's absolutely certain to be a nuTrek show... otherwise there'd be no reason to have Kurtzman involved in any capacity. The only real questions are When and Who. I'm hoping for a new cast in a new time period, if only because I think the further away it is from the nuTrek movies the better (because then we can ignore the nonsense like red matter and magic blood and super-transporters).

Of course, it's entirely possible that some part of the third movie will set-up the series... who knows.

All I can say at this point is that Kurtzman's involvement raised a huge red flag for me... and with Fuller also being involved, I think maybe the two will cancel each other out, and the show has an equal chance of being good or bad.

Gojirasaurus said...

I wouldn't make that assumption. Kurtzman's involvement doesn't necessarily mean holding to film continuity, although it doesn't help dispel the possibility.

Keep in mind, Enterprise had some of the same chefs as preceding series, but was far more removed at the time. It kept paychecks coming in, and it could be the same here. Abrams has the reins, and who doesn't keep their own people in the mix?

If anything, I'm inclined to believe what you hope for: a new cast in a new time period. However, I'm not yet convinced it will be nuTrek TNG. That said, I'd prefer that over a contemporary nuTrek setting as DS9 was to TNG.

Forgot to mention it earlier, but the idea of some kind of Reliant redemption story of a crew on a new ship trying to bring respect to the name again crossed my mind years ago (perhaps it did for many), and I was pleased it crossed Fuller's as well. The more I hear of his ideas, the easier I feel that this might do well.

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