Star Trek has often explored themes of history repeating itself, whether in the form of wayward time loops or parallel evolution leading to alien planets full of Nazis. Here in the real world, the newest Star Trek production very nearly fell prey to the same problem that derailed Star Trek: The Next Generation in its second season: a Writers Guild strike. Thankfully, the WGA has come to a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, averting a strike that could have spelled disaster for CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery.
The 1988 Writers Guild of America strike hit many productions hard, The Next Generation took it right on the chin. Because of the strike, Next Generation‘s second season was abbreviated from 26 episodes to 22. They also had to reuse a script from the aborted Star Trek: Phase II and wrap the season up with a clip show. (Oh, the indignity!) Given that Discovery has already been plagued with production problems and delays, the last thing it needed was a strike potentially delaying it further or cutting the season short.
The Discovery staff had been posting their thoughts during the run-up to the strike deadline, with writers such as Ted Sullivan cramming to get as much done as possible.
@TrekMovie @startrekcbs @levarburton @StarTrekDog Oh, definitely am. Barely left computer yesterday/today. Jamming on new script. Here, I’ll show you the outline! #notachance @StarTrekRoom pic.twitter.com/mgdef9jWuM
— Ted Sullivan (@karterhol) April 30, 2017
Still, Sullivan and the other writers made it clear that, if the strike went forward, they stood shoulder to shoulder with their Guild and their fellow writers.
— Ted Sullivan (@karterhol) May 1, 2017
Thankfully, the WGA and AMPTP were able to reach an accord, with a new tentative deal that’s said to provide several gains for writers, including “more money and protections for writers of short-order TV shows.” This is important given the ascension of cable and streaming series, which almost always have fewer episodes per season than their traditional broadcast network forebears (13 episodes versus 22, in many cases).
— Bo Yeon Kim (@extspace) May 2, 2017
While there will be plenty of celebrating in Tinseltown over the deal, the folks at Star Trek: Discovery have got to be particularly grateful right now. The show has had so many behind-the-scenes problems, you’d almost suspect it’s cursed. From the loss of its original showrunner, Bryan Fuller, to multiple delays and even just odd casting choices, the news about Discovery has painted a chaotic picture of the production — one which isn’t necessarily instilling confidence in fans.
Hopefully, it will all work out and prove to be simply growing pains. Discovery will be the first Star Trek TV show to air since Enterprise was canceled in 2005. The show is a big gamble, but if it works and draws audiences, it could be quite the crown jewel for the CBS All Access streaming service. Only time will tell what the future holds for Discovery.
As of now, it is slated to premiere sometime in fall 2017. It’s a prequel to the original Star Trek TV series, set some ten years before Kirk and Spock’s adventures. The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green stars as the first officer of the USS Discovery, serving under Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs). The cast also includes Michelle Yeoh, James Frain, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, and more.