Star Trek: Picard Showrunner on Whether Franchise Could Return to Episodic Storytelling

Star Trek: Picard presents new adventures of Jean-Luc Picard, though the format is something different than fans remember from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek: Picard has been described as a 10-hour movie by its producers. Like Star Trek: Discovery before it, is seizes on the trend towards serialized storytelling in the streaming age of television. But does that mean episodic Star Trek is gone for good? A fan posed that question to Michael Chabon, showrunner of Picard's first season, via Instagram. Chabon says it's a matter of supply and demand, but he also notes that's the way it has been for a long time across various artforms.

"The market determines which literary forms predominate," Chabon explains. "That has always been true, and not just on TV. When big-circulation magazines paid good money for short stories, our best writers revolutionized the form. In Germany, magazines wanted novellas; Thomas Man wrote some of the best ever. Short answer: when there is perceived demand for episodic TV, episodic Trek will return, though likely not in quite the same way."

Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery may be serialized affairs, but spinoff shows could return to Star Trek's episodic roots. In November, spoke to Anson Mount, who played Captain Christopher Pike in Star Trek: Discovery's second season. Fans have been clamoring for a Pike-centric spinoff series. When asked about what such a spinoff might bring to the franchise, Mount called back to that old school storytelling style.

"I read a couple of different drafts of the pilot of Discovery because I was in discussions with them to possibly play Lorca, and they very wisely hired Jason Isaacs," Mount said. "But every creative choice that they made for Discovery is absolutely what I would've done as well. My pace in television is usually serialized, rather than episodic or procedural. I don't feel that we had seen enough Trek with longer storylines, with more connective tissue between episodes.

"That said, I think that to do a retro Enterprise show, it almost wants to be episodic, big idea of the week kind of thing. Not that there can't be character development. There was in the original. But yeah, it just feels to me like it would fit well into a more of an episodic structure, like the original and like The Next Generation."


Would you like to see a new, episodic Star Trek series? Let us know in the comments.