‘Star Trek’ Documentary ‘What We Left Behind’ Available on Disc Aug. 6

The documentary What We Left Behind: Looking Back at ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ will arrive on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally Aug. 6 from Shout! Factory.

The film, which was financed through an Indiegogo campaign, examines the third live-action “Star Trek” series, “Deep Space Nine,” which ran from 1993 to 1999 and stood out among the franchise as the only show set on a space station as opposed to a ship of exploration.

Series showrunner Ira Steven Behr co-directs with David Zappone and interviews cast members and behind-the-scenes crew to get their memories of making the show and insights about its legacy.

Behr also brings back some of the show’s original writers to imagine what a new episode of the show would look like 20 years after the series ended.

In addition, clips from the series have been remastered in high-definition for the first time.

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The Blu-ray will include an introduction from Behr, deleted scenes, a theatrical trailer, the filmmakers discussing the HD remastering process, behind-the-scenes footage of the Variety cast reunion photoshoot, and the featurettes “A Brief History of Deep Space Nine” and “More From the Fans.”

ShoutFactory.com is offering an exclusive special edition of the Blu-ray, limited to 1,500 copies, which will have a special second Blu-ray disc containing a 50-minute roundtable with the documentary filmmakers, and a “Musical Reunion” featurette with composers Dennis McCarthy and Kevin Kiner. The $29.95 limited edition can be preordered here.

The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2

DVD REVIEW: 

Street Date 5/7/19;
Screen Media;
Documentary;
$29.98 DVD;
Not rated.

This eight-part documentary series that originally premiered on Netflix delves into the history of some of the most influential toy brands from the past 50 years.

With a particular focus on toys that were big in the 1980s, when the loosening of the rules governing television programming blurred the line between content and advertising, it’s no surprise that many of the toy lines profiled here also rank among the most significant pop culture franchises as well.

Fittingly, then, the first episode deals with “Star Wars,” and how the George Lucas space opera forever changed the landscape of movie merchandising, while elevating a small toymaker such as Kenner into a national powerhouse. Not that other major players such as Hasbro and Mattel aren’t represented.

The hour-long episodes are divided into two seasons — one season per disc — and smartly focus on a different toy brand each episode. That allows each episode to find its own voice in telling the story of that particular toy, while letting viewers pick and choose which episodes they want to watch based on which of the toys are of interest to them.

Other season one episodes focus on “Barbie,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “G.I. Joe.” Season two deals with “Star Trek,” “The Transformers,” “Lego” and “Hello Kitty.”

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Aside from some invaluable under-the-radar lessons about business and marketing, the episodes offer a pure blast of childhood nostalgia, particularly for Gen Xers who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s.

Which isn’t to say that younger viewers can’t find something to enjoy in the show, as most of these toy lines are pretty timeless. Plus, the upcoming third season will look at newer toys such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Power Rangers” (in addition to “My Little Pony” and professional wrestling toys).

The shows offer a lot of fascinating details about how the toys were created and evolved. The “He-Man” show is entertaining simply for how so many of the line’s creators want to take credit for coming up with it. The story of the creation of Battle Cat is particularly hilarious.

The first disc offers an eight-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with series creator Brian Volk-Weiss, who delves into what his goals for the show were and why certain toys were chosen to be profiled.

It seems like a bit of an odd choice to include “Star Trek,” which has never really been associated with a robust toy line. But as the narrator continually brings up how less successful “Trek” toys have been compared with “Star Wars,” the episode comes across more as an avenue to profile the various toy companies like Mego, Galoob and Playmates that tried their hands at “Star Trek” toy lines over the years, with varying degrees of success.

In fact, the lone deleted scene included with the DVDs is from the “Star Trek” episode, consisting of a two-minute clip of various talking heads wondering why the toys based on the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” reboot didn’t sell well.

That discussion hints at the challenges that not just toymakers, but any steward of a popular brand face in the rapidly changing information age. Some brands have always had better success than others in crossing from one generation to the next, but the means of instant gratification brought on by the Internet have altered the tactile relationship viewers have with their favorite content, both in the collectability and playability of the merchandise associated with it.

As one of the talking heads notes in the deleted scene, we don’t really have pop culture anymore. We have a customizable culture, in which consumers can focus on their fandoms like never before.

Whatever the case, at least we have shows like “The Toys That Made Us” to help remind us why we love these things to begin with.

Documentary Series ‘The Toys That Made Us’ on DVD May 7

Screen Media will release The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD May 7.

The eight-episode Netflix documentary series chronicles the creation, marketing evolution and rise in popularity of several key toy lines, with each episode focused on a different brand.

The first four episodes focus on “Star Wars,” “Barbie,” “He-Man” and “G.I. Joe,” with the second season dealing with “Star Trek,” “Transformers,” “Lego” and “Hello Kitty.”

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Exec Producer Talks About Going SVOD, the Launch of the Second Season and More ‘Trek’

LAS VEGAS — “Terrifying” — that’s how Alex Kurtzman, executive producer of “Star Trek: Discovery” described launching on the SVOD platform CBS All Access.

Kurtzman spoke Jan. 9 during the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES in Las Vegas.

“There’s always concern that the fans will revolt,” he said. And “Star Trek” fans are notoriously engaged.

“What was really clear was if we’re going to ask people to pay $10 a month we’re going to have to deliver an experience that they can’t get on traditional television,” Kurtzman said.

The first season famously sported some Klingon nudity and the first F-bomb in the series.

“It’s all tone,” he said, and being careful to not be “disrespectful of ‘Trek.’” The F-bomb, for instance, was delivered in reference to a scientific concern, he said.

“I think that the line now between movies and television is essentially over,” he said, noting “Discovery” is basically a long movie.

“The thing I love about TV is you can spend time getting into the details of the characters lives,” he said.

To that end, in the second season, the series will explore the relationship between Spock and his adoptive sister. It will be about “family [including the work family] working together to solve this mystery,” he said.

Taking into account some of the fan concerns about the dark theme of the first season, the second will include more humor, he said.

It also will address a burning question for some fans about the first season: Why do the Klingons have no hair?

Season two reveals that “in a time of war, Klingons shave all their body hair,” he said.

More “Trek” series are in the works, including an animated show from “Rick and Morty” exec producer Mike McMahan about the lower deck employees and a series with Patrick Stewart returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It took some convincing, but Stewart eventually agreed to revisit the character.

“Sometimes you meet your heroes and they are as wonderful as you want them to be,” Kurtzman said of Stewart.

The Orville: The Complete First Season

Seth MacFarlane’s slick sci-fi throwback invites comparisons to “Star Trek” with its very nature, but pokes fun at sci-fi platitudes every chance it gets while still fully embracing them with a charming mix of humor and earnest storytelling.

DVD Review:

Fox;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
$29.99 DVD;
Not rated.
Stars Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Seth MacFarlane is flattering the heck out of “Star Trek.”

MacFarlane, a hardcore “Star Trek” fan who parlayed his fame into appearing as an extra in two episodes of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” has often said in interviews, and repeats the assertion in the DVD’s bonus materials, that he always wanted to make a sci-fi show that embraced the idea of an optimistic future for mankind, not unlike “Star Trek.”

Of course, MacFarlane is also the creator of “Family Guy” and Ted, a reputation that brings with it the expectation of a certain type of off-the-cuff humor.

“The Orville” presents a typical sci-fi future that serves as an obvious stand-in for the constructs of “Star Trek” — namely an enlightened Earth-centric interplanetary alliance, a fleet of starships devoted to exploration, and the alien enemies they encounter. Paradoxically, the show is eager to lampoon the platitudes of “Trek” while at the same time fully embracing them.

The series is set 400 years in the future, and starts with a Planetary Union officer named Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) flying back to his apartment after a hard day’s work only to discover his wife in bed with a blue alien (who, it turns out, is played by Rob Lowe in a cameo that is revisited with a fuller guest appearance in a later episode).

A year later, with his life and career spinning out of control, the fleet offers Mercer the captain’s chair of the mid-size exploratory vessel U.S.S. Orville, which he accepts as a chance to move past his troubles. The only hitch is that his now ex-wife (Adrianne Palicki) is assigned as his first officer. Resentments aside, they still work well together, as she’s doing her best to atone for what she did.

With the introduction of the rest of the ship’s senior staff to establish the requisite quirky personalities that will serve the show’s needs, the mission can get underway.

From there, “The Orville” begins its tricky balancing act between being an homage to “Star Trek” and a parody of it, from aping the general style of the legendary franchise to referencing very specific scenes (the ship’s launch from spacedock is heavily inspired by the departure of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, down to a guy in a spacesuit waving goodbye).

“The Orville”

The show even uses the same camera angles for the establishing shots of the ship that were a staple of the “Next Generation” era of “Star Trek.” In its second episode, “The Orville” introduces an old-school opening title sequence that is practically a shot-by-shot re-creation of the “Star Trek: Voyager” main credits, showcasing adventures of the ship encountering various galactic phenomena while the cast’s names fly by to the strains of a lush musical score.

Enhancing the connection to “Star Trek” is the fact that many of the producers, directors and crafters of “The Orville” are former “Trek” staffers bringing those old sensibilities to the new show.

For the most part, though, the show pokes fun at the tropes of “Star Trek” or reframes them using current sensibilities, stepping back from the “Star Trek” depiction of an evolved humanity (which the “Star Trek” franchise itself began to poke a stick at once Gene Roddenberry’s involvement diminished).

The look and feel is very reminiscent of the fictional series at the heart of “Galaxy Quest,” another sci-fi “Trek” homage comedy to which “The Orville” is often compared.

The show has a distinct visual style, loading the screen with color and glossy visual effects that strike the right balance between verisimilitude and a cartoonish sense of fun, from the title starship looking like a bottle opener to crewmembers who are essentially just talking blobs of goo.

Jokes typically involve pop-culture references, comments on the mundane vagaries of life, or clever sight gags. The constant pop-culture references do expose a gap in the writing in that there doesn’t seem to be any pop culture between now and when the show is set. (A similar problem shows up in Ready Player One.)

For his part, MacFarlane is essentially playing himself as if he were Capt. Kirk, the ultimate self-referential fantasy fulfillment. McFarlane has too much respect for “Star Trek” to do a full-on parody, so he’s trying to settle on a laid-back approach akin to co-worker office banter, rather than go full tilt comedy and just stuff the frame with gags like an Airplane or Naked Gun.

In many ways, “The Orville” plays like a sci-fi version of MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West, which surrounded a lampoon of Western stereotypes with the trappings of a traditional cinematic epic. (“The Orville” is also an excuse for MacFarlane to reunite with some of his West cast, with guest star turns from Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron.)

The show’s breezy style stands in contrast to the earnestness of its storytelling, which may be why its makers seem to have trouble in interviews and Q&A’s explaining exactly what the tone is supposed to be. Many episodes are even topical with their exploration of modern issues and parallels to current events.

That’s probably why so many fans of “Star Trek” from its 1990s heyday love the show so much, as it fills their need for the simple, eager thoughtfulness the franchise used to be known for, rather than the over-produced, action-based noise that has taken over since it was rebooted.

Some of the high-concept morality plays also bring to mind episodes of the parallel-reality series “Sliders,” particularly an episode centered on an Earth-like world that has structured its society around the dictates of social media reactions.

The tonal shift is a major reason why critics have been stingy in their appreciation of the show, with most of the major criticisms come from people who never really embraced “Star Trek” the way its fans do — for not only its message, characters and settings, but despite its idiosyncrasies, inconsistencies and even its flaws (and, in many cases, love it because of those things).

They also complain that the show’s shifts between comedy and drama make it hard to follow, but I find it’s easier to just accept it all as comedy, especially the parts that try to be serious. It’s like performance art, with the joke being how much they’re trying to present serious sci-fi during insanely absurd premises. It’s kind of like when Andy Kaufman would upend his set by just reading The Great Gatsby all night. The intense commitment to the material is the joke. This isn’t a sci-fi show with an optimistic view of the future. It’s an homage to fans of such shows.

In the framework of its brand of existential comedy, “The Orville” goes to great lengths to put its audience in the mindset of watching a “Star Trek” show, only to completely obliterate the seriousness of televised sci-fi. The comedy isn’t always just in the jokes or the dialogue. It’s in the fabric of the show and the situations it presents as seriously as it can.

First, it basically takes Starfleet and staffs it not with a stuffy crew of humanist explorers driven by idealism, but with regular people. That gives us a “Star Trek”-style show in which the ship’s crewmembers are basically fans doing cosplay — complete with whatever side remarks and jokey banter fans might make while watching a “Star Trek” show together.

Characters often behave as if they know they’re on a sci-fi show, and that seems to be the intention. For example, in one scene an alien character is shown sitting on an egg — not unusual in the “Star Trek” sense of celebrating the diversity of alien biology. But then the show doubles down on the gag by showing the character’s naked backside on top of the egg. It’s not funny because it’s an alien hatching its young, it’s funny because we all know it’s an actor who was subjected to heavy makeup just to be put in a ridiculous situation for a cheesy gag. That’s the whole point.

In another episode, the captain and first officer are captured by a technologically superior alien race and placed in a zoo to be gawked at by strangers. Eventually, the officer responsible for rescuing them is given a commendation, the ship leaves and the episode ends with hundreds of sentient beings left behind in captivity with nary an ounce of further concern from anyone on the Orville, or any subsequent episode dealing with trying to free them. Since the template for these kinds of shows really only requires worrying about the main characters, ancillary concerns suggested by the episode tend to fall to the wayside.

The not-fully-developed plotting gives the show a lot of its charm, as stories may lead to unanswered logistical questions that are so obviously sitting there without the show seeming to care if anyone asks. That’s why it’s so great as a “Star Trek” pastiche. Episodes might raise questions they never intend to address, but viewers aren’t meant to think the show really thought things through too much to begin with. It’s lovingly poking fun at how and why we take things like “Star Trek” so seriously to begin with.

For as much as the show is trying to be “Star Trek,” it’s the contrast with “Star Trek” that makes it so brilliant. The more it takes itself seriously, the funnier the show becomes on a meta level, and thus more endearing.

The DVD set presents all 12 first-season episodes spread across four discs. All the bonus materials are on the fourth disc, comprised mostly of short promotional featurettes covering various aspects of the show in a minute or two. These include “Designing the Future,” “The Orville Takes Flight,” “The Science of ‘The Orville’: Quantum Drive,” “The Science of ‘The Orville’: Alien Life,” “Crafting Aliens,” “A Better Tomorrow” and a “Directed By” featurette that that focuses on Jon Favreau directing the first episode.

The making of the show is further covered in a five-minute “Inside Look” featurette.

There’s also an eight-and-a-half-minute “The First Six Missions” montage that recaps the first six episodes with some very serious overtones and music.

The most interesting extra is the 35-minute “‘The Orville’ at Paleyfest 2018” video of a Q&A with the cast, writers and producers that offers a lot more insights into the mindset that goes into making the show.

The second season of “The Orville” premieres Dec. 30 on Fox.

“The Orville”

Star Trek: Discovery — Season One

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount/CBS;
Sci-Fi;
$41.99 DVD, $50.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs, Wilson Cruz, Michelle Yeoh, Mary Chieffo, James Frain.

“Star Trek: Discovery,” the sixth live-action series to carry on the “Star Trek” legacy, in many ways seems like an attempt to reinterpret the classic elements of the iconic science-fiction franchise to fit them into the modern age of television. Values such as exploration, diversity and tolerance that have been hallmarks of the franchise since the original series debuted in 1966 are all foundational underpinnings of this new show as well.

And yet, in its modernization, the show has trouble meshing with the aesthetic and historic trappings of the franchise familiar to its most dedicated fans. Not the least of these issues is the setting of the show 10 years before the original series, yet presenting ships and technologies that seem far more advanced than what has previously been established about that era in the franchise’s timeline, not to mention the drastic alterations to uniforms and aliens.

This likely owes a lot to the “modernization” aspect. Previous incarnations of “Star Trek” always felt a bit quaint and old-fashioned, as the various shows had to dance around a canon rooted in the 1960s’ vision of the future (especially tricky once the actual timeline no longer matched what was predicted in the original series). “Enterprise” had the biggest challenge in that regard, as a prequel set 100 years before the days of Kirk and Spock, in that it had to present technology that looked advanced to a 21st century audience without accentuating how much the original series looked out of date.

Certainly, the big-budget flagship show for the new CBS All Access streaming service shouldn’t be expected to constrain itself along the same lines if it had any intentions of competing in the ever-growing marketplace of content.

The producers of “Discovery” seem to have taken a looser approach to franchise consistency, keeping the general idea of things intact while designing a prequel to a hypothetical version of the original series had it been created using today’s visual effects. It would almost seem more at home with the look and feel of J.J. Abrams’ film reboots if it didn’t quite align with what’s established in that timeline, either.

So, what we have is a generally interesting sci-fi show that wants to appeal to fans’ sense of “Star Trek” history without fully connecting those nostalgic punches. It’s probably better to think of it as its own thing, as a part of an alternate “Trek” where it more or less lines up with its own versions of all the hundreds of episodes of established continuity that came before.

And, really, it’s not like it’s too far outside the lines to really line up with canon, anyway. If we’re being completely honest, the first five series weren’t exactly flush with storytelling consistency either, and even the original series was known to contradict itself several times when it came to the future history of Starfleet and the Federation. The point being: just go with it.

A couple of the biggest points of departure “Discovery” makes from traditional “Trek” storylines are the emphasis on a serialized format, and a shift in focus from an ensemble crew to a central protagonist with supporting characters. While previous “Trek” shows dabbled in serialization, most notably the later years of both “Deep Space Nine” and “Enterprise,” the latter point is perhaps the biggest break from the formula, in that the main character is not in command of the show’s title vessel, as was the case in all previous “Trek” shows.

Even more interesting is that the U.S.S. Discovery isn’t even introduced until the third episode. The initial episodes introduce us to Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), first officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou, which finds itself at the center of a war with the Klingons when Burnham disobeys an order.

Months later, stripped of her rank and en route to prison, Burnham is recruited by Discovery’s Capt. Lorca (Jason Isaacs), who needs her expertise with an experimental engine that could turn the tide of the war. Burnham’s chance at redemption then becomes a unifying thread for the various plotlines that twist and turn through the first season’s 15 episodes.

And that experimental engine is what really takes the show into some realms that seem better suited for a general sci-fi show and not “Trek” in particular. But hey, once again, just go with it.

The four-disc Blu-ray includes a handful of deleted and extended scenes, including one that was previously released online as it seems to point toward a plot thread in the upcoming second season. The deleted scenes are connected to the episodes they were cut from and accessible through the relevant menus on those particular discs. There are also promos for almost every episode and a trailer for the entire season.

There are also more than two hours of behind-the-scenes featurettes spread across the first three discs. These are typically 10-15 minutes each and focus on different aspects of the production, such as the writing, sound effects, production design, props, costumes and visual effects. While most are available in the discs’ special features sections, one on disc three is available through an episode menu as it deals specifically with the creation of the food for an elaborate dining scene in that episode.

These featurettes all speak very well of the hard work, craftsmanship and detail that is poured into creating the series (even as some of the producers might make a pronouncement about “Trek” history that could raise the ire of hardcore fans).

Finally, the fourth disc includes a 40-minute filmmaker retrospective about the season’s story arcs, recapping the adventures and plot twists encountered episode-by-episode.

Not included are any of the episodes of “After Trek,” an hour-long panel discussion released with each episode. You’ll have to stick with CBS All Access to see those.

Fox Launches ‘The Orville’ on DVD Dec. 11

The first season “The Orville” will arrive on DVD Dec. 11 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

A comedic sci-fi adventure in the spirit of “Star Trek,” the series was created by and stars Seth MacFarlane, who plays the captain of the U.S.S. Orville, an exploratory spaceship 400 years in the future. The cast includes Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J Lee, Mark Jackson and Chad L. Coleman.

The DVD includes all 12 episodes from the first season plus several featurettes and highlights from the show’s presentation at PaleyFest 2018.

Patrick Stewart to Return as Capt. Picard for New CBS All Access ‘Star Trek’ Project

Actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the annual “Star Trek” Las Vegas convention Aug. 4 to confirm rumors that he will once again play Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in a future series for CBS All Access.

Stewart played the popular character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from 1987 to 1994, and in four subsequent spinoff films, ending with Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002.

“When we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said in a statement posted on Twitter. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him.”

Stewart will serve as one of the executive producers of the series, along with Alex Kurtzman, who recently signed a production deal with CBS All Access that includes overseeing the subscription streaming service’s “Star Trek” properties. Kurtzman is taking over as showrunner for the second season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” and will also produce four 10- to 15-minute “Trek” short films called “Short Treks,” which will debut in the months leading up to the 2019 launch of the second season of “Discovery.”

Kurtzman was also one of the co-writers of the 2009 film directed by J.J. Abrams that rebooted the “Star Trek” franchise.

The new Picard series is being described not as a reboot of “Next Generation,” but rather an exploration of Picard in his later years.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Star Calls Show a ‘Story of Love’

The cast and producers of the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Discovery” said the second season might offer a bit more humor, but that doesn’t mean the characters won’t continue to face serious challenges.

The team ventured to the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International July 20 to premiere the trailer for the upcoming season and to discuss what fans should expect when it arrives on the streaming service in 2019.

“The season will be exploring family dynamics as it relates to all of us, as it relates to who we are as a family, how we are as a family, and how we deal with the aftermath of the war now that we’ve had the time and space to do that,” said Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Commander Burnham, the human adoptive sister of classic character Spock.

“I feel like going into the season we found our legs, so there’s just an extra level of confidence and clarity and spaciousness,” said Anthony Rapp, who plays engineer Paul Stamets.

The season adds Anson Mount to the cast as Capt. Christopher Pike, a character from the original 1960s “Star Trek” series who takes over Discovery to investigate a new threat to the galaxy.

“I think tonally it’s going to be a more buoyant season even though there are episodes that are very serious and intense,” said executive producer Alex Kurtzman. And we’ll see in the first episode that there’s more balance between some of the humor that you’d see on the original series and the high stakes of the more ominous episodes.”

Kurtzman, who directed the season two premiere, announced that in addition to the new season will be “Star Trek: Short Treks,” a series of four 10- to 15-minute standalone stories to roll out monthly beginning this fall.

Kurtzman said it’s fun to introduce some classic elements to a series that has raised eyebrows among viewers for how much it seems to deviate from the established canon.

“We’re constantly challenging ourselves in the writers room with how can we push really hard against the edges of what canon is without breaking it,” Kurtzman said. “And that means things like doing the spore drive, which obviously never existed before in ‘Star Trek.’ And why did Spock never mention his sister? These are huge questions. And as we sync up with canon we will be answering these questions, and I think the key for us is to do it in a way that both feels memorable and a little surprising. And hopefully by the time we get to the end of the season you will understand why all of those things have never been discussed.”

Kurtzman said continuing a franchise with a notoriously intense fanbase as “Star Trek” has is a challenge in the Internet age, when seemingly everyone online is trying to second-guess every detail on the show.

“We always feel the pressure and responsibility to deliver on Star Trek, and if we ever stop feeling that then we shouldn’t be doing it,” Kurtzman said. “I think everybody here at this table recognizes what a big deal this is, and recognizes particularly what a big deal it is right now in this moment, and how critical Star Trek is for all of us. So we feel a tremendous responsibility … to put something into the world that makes the world better.”

“So many of us behind the scenes are approaching everything as fans of this kind of storytelling where you’re turning over cards, and I think for us it’s just a joy to come up with a story we’re all excited about,” said executive producer Heather Kadin. “We don’t worry about if the fans will guess the plot twists ahead of time, and even if they do, well, we’re still in on it and we’re still loving it so we’re just hoping the fans feel the same way.”

Added Wilson Cruz, who plays Dr. Culber: “Also it’s kind of a great problem to have a fandom that cares so much and so deeply about the details of what you’re doing that they take time to share thoughts and their feelings about it. Isn’t that what we all want? Somebody who’s so engaged and so immersed in our world that they appreciate it at that level.”

Martin-Green said it’s a privilege to work on a show with the legacy and message that “Star Trek” represents.

“If I had to speak to my 12-year-old self I would say that one day you will tell a story that has already changed people’s lives and that will continue to change people’s lives, through love, and love in all its facets, love in acceptance, love in representation, love in union, that’s really what we’re doing here in what we’re exploring in this story of universality,” Martin-Green said. “It’s really a story of love. I would say that’s what you have to look forward to.”

In attendance at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International “Star Trek: Discovery” press conference were (L-R) new cast member Tig Notaro, executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin, and actors Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Mary Chieffo, Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz.

CBS All Access Seeks Wider Audience via Amazon Channels

Subscription streaming video service CBS All Access is joining Amazon Channels, the ecommerce behemoth’s third-party over-the-top video platform for Prime members.

All Access joins HBO Now, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, Sports Illustrated TV, Acorn TV and Dove Channel, among others, which pay Amazon to market and bill Prime members for access to their services.

The platform is eyed as a unified front for upstart SVOD services competing against Netflix, Hulu and related online TV services.

With more than two million subscribers, All Access last year announced plans to roll out internationally, beginning in Canada. Joining Amazon Channels could help expedite sub growth.

“As the first Amazon Channels partner to offer a linear feed of a subscriber’s local broadcast stations in addition to video on demand,” Rob Gelick, SVP and GM of digital platforms at CBS Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement.

All Access is the exclusive home to original content such as “Star Trek: Discovery, “No Activity” and “The Good Fight,” among other series. The platform also streams NFL football.

“CBS has produced some of the most popular shows in television history – they have a fantastic selection of hit series,” said Greg Hart, VP, Amazon Video.