New “Star Trek” Series Gets Shorter Seasons

CBS’ new “Star Trek” series is quickly coming together, bringing the franchise back to where even the most recent film’s writer and co-star Simon Pegg says is where the franchise is truly at home – television.

“Hannibal” and “Pushing Daisies” creator/showrunner Bryan Fuller is spearheading “Star Trek: Discovery,” though details about it have been kept under wraps beyond brief talk at presentations indicating that its one heavily serialised story across thirteen episodes. It also takes place a decade before the time of James T. Kirk, is set in the ‘Prime Universe’ of Trek, and will follow a female (and likely minority) character who will not be a starship captain.

Today, in a new radio interview (via AICN), Fuller revealed that the lead character in indeed a Starfleet officer and she is referred to in the series as ‘Number One’. Combined with the talk of the setting which takes place around the time of the events of “The Cage,” it sounds like the character will be akin to Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s first officer from that original rejected TOS pilot episode.

Fuller also revealed that while this first season will consist of thirteen episodes, subsequent seasons will likely comprise no more than ten episodes each due to the sheer amount required to produce the show every year. Part of the reason is also that Fuller is serving double duty as co-showrunner on Starz’s “American Gods” series.

Fuller also spoke about some of the other talent onboard. Nicholas Meyer, who co-wrote and directed the iconic “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” will be scripting the second episode following on from Fuller and Alex Kurtzman’s pilot. “Wonderfalls” and “Pushing Daisies” alum Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have also signed on to serve as co-showrunners, while Jesse Alexander (“Alias,” “Hannibal”) and author Kemp Powers have become a part of the writing team.

Fuller says Joe Menosky, who wrote TNG’s “Time’s Arrow” and Voyager’s “Year of Hell” two-parters, was his mentor when Fuller first got started as a writer on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager”. Menosky is involved in writing the new series alongside Star Trek novelist Kristen Beyer and TV vet Aron Eli Coleite who all joined back in June.

Finally, Fuller also confirmed that the first season of of ‘Discovery’ could be the first live-action season of “Star Trek” NOT to utilize a time travel element as every season of the various shows produced between 1966 to 2005 had at least one if not two episodes involving time travel.

“Star Trek Discovery” is slated premiere on CBS in January ahead of subsequent episodes appearing on CBS All Access in the United States. It will stream within hours of the U.S. broadcast on Netflix in many parts of the world.