While Star Trek has seen some significant growth in its stories and offerings over the last few years, not everyone has been pleased with the content. That being said, it looks like we are going to get more of the same along this current trajectory of new programming and possibly more movies. Variety announced over the weekend that the head of the television franchise, Alex Kurtzman has signed a long-term deal with Viacom and CBS to continue leading the content charge in the Star Trek universe for years to come.
The deal for Alex Kurtzman to continue as the head of the Star Trek television universe is reported to be through the 2026 season, offering a significant runway for the producer to keep adding stories to this franchise. In recent years, Star Trek has seen significant growth in the space with CBS and Paramount+ adding more and more programs to its roster. Things started off with the Kurtzman-helmed Star Trek: Discovery which premiered back in 2017. It is now headed for its fourth season on Paramount+ in the story of now-captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). The show has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics over its run.
And in 2018, Kurtzman signed on the first of his longer-term deals to oversee the Star Trek franchise in the television space. With that came more programming, one of which was Star Trek: Picard which brought back Patrick Stewart as the titular star. Much like Discovery, it was a critical success and is gearing up now for a second season. While Picard has gone through significant changes (understatement) we are also getting a number of different callbacks to the original Star Trek The Next Generation. For instance, John de Lancie is set to reprise his role of Q for this time around.
But not all fans are happy with the work Alex Kurtzman has done in this space since taking over this arm of the franchise. In fact, there has been considerable derision over the years for what his brand of story has produced. One need not look all that far for what fans see as egregious errors with the handling of the franchise since he took over. There have been all kinds of complaints levied his way from the social-justice aspects of Discovery to the apparent disregard of the Star Trek canon in these new series.
Additionally, some Star Trek fans feel the new Kurtzman-led offerings are simply too bland, seeking to find a larger viewing audience rather than sticking to the things that have worked in the past for Star Trek stories. They’ve labeled this new brand as NuTrek and it isn’t a compliment. There is a reason a subsection of hardcore Star Trek fans were noticeably bummed about this latest contract news. They see it as signing up for more of the same. It will be interesting to see how these next few years shake out with Kurtzman as the decision-maker for the considerable future.
In addition to Discovery and Picard, other shows in the new Kurtzman era include animated offerings Lower Decks which is a spoofy send-up of the franchise as a whole. And there is also Prodigy, a show aimed at attracting a younger audience with a group of kids commandeering a starship for their own personal galavanting.