Bryan Fuller's Star Trek: Discovery Vision Will Continue Into Second Season

  • Science Fiction
Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery.
Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery. CBS All Access

More than the delays and the weird, crappy streaming service premiere, it’s the talent behind Star Trek: Discovery that could most spell disaster for Star Trek ’s first TV effort since Enterprise went off the air in 2005. While there’s undoubtedly a lot of talent in the Discovery writers’ room, like Wrath of Khan writer and director Nicholas Meyer and Star Trek novelist Kirsten Beyer, there’s a powerful countervailing force — corporate storytelling stooges and garbage producers. And one such figure, co-creator Alex Kurtzman, while not the worst of the bunch, seems to be one of the more powerful producers working on Discovery. Will the TV hacks infesting the Discovery production manage to overpower a strong vision from original show creator Bryan Fuller ( Hannibal, American Gods)? Kurtzman himself provided some answers to Collider that offers some hope that a stronger storytelling vision has prevailed, maybe even into Star Trek: Discovery Season 2.

Kurtzman told Collider that Fuller’s original vision for Discovery is still partially intact:

“No, absolutely, there are footprints left on the show. Someone once described Bryan to me as a unicorn and that’s just the truth. He’s a one of a kind writer. He’s just unbelievably brilliant and I really, really loved working with him and I loved seeing the way that his mind worked. Bryan was very involved in American Gods and I think that the scope and scale of what Trek has become made it so that Bryan elected to say, ‘I don’t wanna short-change either of these two things.’ They’re both sort of beloved to him, so we sat down and we figured out how are we going to take what we can have of you and continue that through not only this season of Trek but hopefully set up things that are coming next season. So much of what’s there in terms of story and certainly in terms of set-up, character, big ideas, the big movement of the season, that’s all stuff that Bryan and I talked about.”

That sounds promising. Kurtzman, who specializes in terrible movies (The Mummy, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Star Trek Into Darkness, Cowboys & Aliens) and TV shows only ever watched by captive audiences in airports and dialysis clinics (Hawaii Five-O, Sleepy Hollow), may only be able to ruin so much of what was already planned for Discovery. It’s particularly heartening to hear that enough of Bryan Fuller’s planning remains to carry through into the second season (btw, this destroys ongoing rumors that Discovery would be an anthology show, with a new scenario every season).

When Star Trek: Discovery started pre-production, there was every reason to hope for a truly stellar new Star Trek show, primarily because of Fuller’s involvement as showrunner. Fuller was coming off one of the greatest network shows ever created — the serial killer drama Hannibal — and gave every indication that Discovery would engage his visually arresting storytelling and immense capacity for capturing awe, grandeur and complex, mature emotional themes and throughlines.

But then the absolute worst thing imaginable happened: Fuller was driven out and the worst studio hack in existence, Akiva Goldsman, was brought on board, presumably to make Discovery a complete piece of shit. There’s really no exaggerating how bad Goldsman is, but a short list of his writing credits should suffice: Rings, The Dark Tower (I know we all want this to be good, but the trailers are just terrible), The 5th Wave, Winter’s Tale, Lost in Space, Batman & Robin, Angels & Demons, I Am Legend and I, Robot.

Now it looks like we’re getting something in the middle. IMDb only lists Goldsman as contributing to the Discovery pilot, so it’s possible he was brought in as a studio enforcer to nudge the pilot in a more mainstream direction. Hopefully current Discovery showrunners, Fuller proteges Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberg, remain thoroughly in control of the remainder of the season. With enough great writers, even Alex Kurtzman can be counterbalanced, particularly if Fuller laid solid foundations.

Star Trek: Discovery still doesn’t have a set premiere date, though it’s expected this fall on CBS All Access.

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