'Star Trek: Discovery' Showrunners Reveal How the Show Would Be Different on Network TV

One of the biggest differences between Star Trek: Discovery and past Star Trek television series is that Discovery takes Star Trek off of network television where all of its predecessors have previously lived and into the streaming era via CBS All Access.

The show’s first season is being pushed for Emmy Consideration and as part of that campaign Star Trek: Discovery showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts attended a For Your Consideration event to talk about the series. During the event, Berg and Harberts discussed what it was like to recreate Star Trek on a streaming service and how Discovery might be different if it were on a traditional network.

Berg noted that while CBS All Access provided the series with a lot of freedom, there are still certain places that they didn’t feel comfortable taking Star Trek.

“They were great creative partners from the beginning, but being Star Trek there are certain things...you want it to be a show that families can enjoy because traditionally it has been a show that families can share and, you know, crass language, and there are certain things that just don’t seem to fit in that world because much of the times it's such a professional environment,” Berg said.

Some fans may find that statement somewhat at odds with Star Trek: Discovery also dropping the franchise’s first F-Bomb, but Berg went on to say that the freedom provided by CBS All Access was much more important to the storytelling and character development.

“What we could do, and what we were thrilled to do, was to really dive deep into our characters,” she said. “Usually when you’re working on network television you’re always timing out, trying to see when scenes feel too short or too long. The creation of this show is much more organic as far as the storytelling goes, and I think that is one of the joys of working on a streaming service like this.”

Harberts believes Star Trek: Discovery would be a very different show if it were airing on a network.

“The audience for Star Trek is really sophisticated,” Harberts said. “They are really plugged in, they are so engaged, and they want to be challenged, and it does require creatively a partner who is willing to go there, and I think the show would be very different if it were on network. One of the big buzzwords a lot of times in big primetime network TV is likability of characters. And our character Michael Burnham commits a mutiny in the first episode. I don’t know that a lot of networks would have been game for that, but it really did allow us to tell a pretty exciting chapter for that character and a journey and they were absolutely willing and on board to things like that.”


The first season of Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream in its entirety on CBS All Access in the United States, through CraveTV in Canada, and through Netflix in other international markets. Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is now filming in Toronto.

[H/T] Trek Movie