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Star Trek is back with style. We're only six episodes into the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, the first new series since Enterprise came to an end back in 2005. It's clearly proving to be a tremendous success for CBS, who've just confirmed that Discovery has been renewed for a second season.
Speaking to Deadline, Marc DeBevoise, president CBS Interactive, explained:
"In just six episodes, 'Star Trek: Discovery' has driven subscriber growth, critical acclaim and huge global fan interest for the first premium version of this great franchise. This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the 'Star Trek' legacy. We are extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series."
A bold new vision for CBS all access.
Discovery is the first series made exclusively available to US viewers on the CBS All Access streaming service. This was a controversial decision, with many fans complaining that All Access wasn't worth the price tag for a Star Trek series. Less than 24 hours after its debut, the first episode made #30 on The Pirate Bay's most downloaded list. The second episode hit #30 in the same time.
As staggering as those figures may be, the pirate activity hasn't put a dent in the show's performance. The premiere on CBS drew in 9.6 million viewers, with predictions that this figure would increase to more than 15 million over the next seven days. Although CBS refused to reveal how many people subsequently watched the rest of the show online using All Access, they confirmed that Discovery led to a record number of sign-ups for their new streaming service. Financially at least, Discovery has been a phenomenal success for the network.
As DeBevoise notes, performance has likely been helped by strong word-of-mouth. Discovery may not be perfect, but it has a strong cast and an intriguing concept. The series has a more serialized approach than your traditional Trek show, reminiscent of Deep Space Nine at its best, and this helps keep the fans hooked.
That said, the show is going to face real difficulty going forward. We already know that a lot of the Discovery tech won't make it to The Original Series: Even the USS Discovery's innovative new method of transportation doesn't gel with the future Star Trek universe. Meanwhile, the current war with the Klingons is supposed to cool down and become an interstellar cold war in less than a decade, so the show's major narrative arc needs to be resolved — and soon. We can safely assume that future seasons of Discovery will have to wrap this up, or risk contradicting canon established over 50 years ago.
In the run-up to Discovery's release, fans across the world wondered whether a modern series of Star Trek could truly prove to be a success. The decision to host Discovery on CBS' streaming service left fans even more concerned, thinking audiences just wouldn't be willing to pay out for more warp-speed adventures. Yet now it looks as though all those worries were without basis. #StarTrek is back — and it's here to stay.