A new Star Trek
series will have to be made to appeal to a cable or streaming (Netflix, Amazon) audience because broadcast alone can't pay the bills for a niche genre like outer-space sci fi. Broadcast can barely eke out survival level ratings for cop shows and sitcoms anymore.
CBS is hanging on because they still have the remnants of the mass audience of yore, but elsewhere it's all about niche markets and getting enough $$$ from a smaller audience to make it worthwhile. That pushes anything inherently pricey, like space opera, towards the more lucrative subscription model vs. ads.
So that means that the next series will dispense with a lot of elements that were suited for the broadcast ecosystem - it will be less episodic (maybe fully serialized), have more focus on realistic and consistent characterization, and be geared more towards adult tastes, which doesn't necessarily mean Showtime sex & nudity but would give them a freer hand with violence, moral ambiguity and complex themes.
Unless it's a cartoon for kids of course, in which case it will be a lot like The Clone Wars
. Same idea though - first, we need to know who the audience is, then we'll know what it will be like.
And the audience won't be "Trekkies" because there is no Trekkie Channel. It'll be made for the Showtime audience, the Cartoon Network audience, maybe half-and-half CBS and Amazon (like Under the Dome
, coming out this summer). Each of those scenarios implies a very different approach.
The Overlord wrote:
A new Star Trek show will need a stronger focus on characterization, it can't have bland one note characters like Harry Kim or Travis Mayweather who add nothing to the show. If a character is on show they should serve a real purpose and be important and compelling.
Yup, like DS9 !
Even DS9 is too broadcasty anymore. I can't see them getting away with those dire Ferengi comedies, or the canned romance-of-the-week episodes, or characters who seem to forget they're at war for weeks at a time. It will be like the War Arc episodes of DS9. With all the options available, audiences won't stand for anything other than Exactly What I Want. That's what's behind the armegeddon taking place in broadcast ratings right now.