Star Trek: Discovery Series 01 Overview


Introduction

Ten years before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise, the USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien.

The season was produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout, Roddenberry Entertainment, and Living Dead Guy Productions, with Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts serving as showrunners, and Akiva Goldsman providing producing support.

Outline

The first season of the American television series Star Trek: Discovery is set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series and follows the crew of the USS Discovery during the Federation-Klingon war.

Cast

  • Main:
    • Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham.
    • Doug Jones as Saru.
    • Shazad Latif as Voq/Ash Tyler.
    • Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets.
    • Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly.
    • Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca.
  • Recurring:
    • Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou.
    • Mary Chieffo as L’Rell.
    • James Frain as Sarek.
    • Kenneth Mitchell as Kol.
    • Jayne Brook as Katrina Cornwell.
    • Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber.
  • Notable guests:
    • Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson.
    • Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd.
    • Katherine Barrell as Stella Mudd.

Production

Development

On 02 November 2015, CBS announced a new Star Trek television series to premiere in January 2017, “on the heels” of the original series’ 50th anniversary in 2016. It would be developed specifically for the on-demand service CBS All Access. In February 2016, Bryan Fuller was announced as the new series’ showrunner. Fuller began his career writing for the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, and had publicly called for Star Trek to return to television for years. When he first met with CBS about the series, the company did not have a plan for what the new show would be. Fuller proposed an anthology series where each season would be a standalone, serialised show set in a different era, beginning with a prequel to the original series. CBS told Fuller to start with a single serialised show and see how that performs first, and so he began further developing the prequel concept. In June, Fuller announced that the first season would consist of 13 episodes, and a month later, at Star Trek’s 50th anniversary San Diego Comic-Con panel, he revealed the series’ title to be Star Trek: Discovery. He also said it would be set in the “Prime Timeline” alongside the previous Star Trek series.

At the end of July, CBS hired David Semel, a veteran television procedural director who was under an overall deal with the studio, to direct the pilot for Discovery. Fuller did not approve of this decision, believing that Semel “was wrong for the job”. Fuller wanted a more visionary director, and had personally reached out to Edgar Wright to direct the pilot before CBS hired Semel. As development and pre-production on the series continued, Fuller and Semel “clashed” on the direction of the show. The series was also starting to overrun its per-episode budget. Fuller was attempting to design new sets, costumes, and aliens for the series while heading the series’ writers room and also spending considerable time addressing his commitments as showrunner of another new series, American Gods. This caused frustration among CBS executives that were pushing for a January 2017 debut. By August 2016, Fuller had hired Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, who he had worked with on his earlier series Pushing Daisies, to serve as co-showrunners with him on Discovery. A month later, Fuller and Kurtzman asked CBS to delay the series’ release so they could realistically meet the high expectations for the series, and the studio announced that the series premiere had been pushed back to May 2017. The pair said that “these extra few months will help us achieve a vision we can all be proud of.”

A few weeks after the delay, Fuller met with Sonequa Martin-Green about portraying the series’ lead, a character that had been surprisingly difficult for the production to cast. Fuller “felt he found the crucial piece of the puzzle”, but the actress would not be released from her contract at AMC until her character’s death on The Walking Dead. This was not set to air until April 2017, meaning Discovery would have to be delayed again if Martin-Green was cast. At the end of October, CBS asked Fuller to step down as showrunner. They announced that the production was being restructured to keep Fuller actively involved with the series, but not on a day-to-day production level as he shifted his focus fully to American Gods: Berg and Harberts were made sole showrunners of Discovery, working off a broad story arc and overall mythology established by Fuller; Kurtzman and Fuller would continue as executive producers, with Fuller still helping the writers break stories; and Akiva Goldsman would join the series in a supporting producer role – similar to the role he held on Fringe alongside Kurtzman – to help the showrunners and other producers “juggle the demands of the series”. In a statement, CBS reiterated that they were “extremely happy with [Fuller’s] creative direction” for the series, and were committed to “seeing this vision through”. However, some elements of the series that came directly from Fuller were dropped, including some “more heavily allegorical and complex story” points and some of his design plans. Fuller later confirmed that he was no longer involved in the series at all, which he said was “bittersweet … I can only give them the material I’ve given them and hope that it is helpful for them.” By the end of the year, Martin-Green had indeed been cast as the series’ lead, and in May 2017, the episode order was expanded to 15. That June, CBS announced a new premiere date of 24 September. The season was divided into two chapters, with an airing break after the ninth episode to allow time for post-production on episodes in the second half of the season to be completed.

Writing

Fuller wanted to differentiate the series from the previous 700+ episodes of Star Trek by taking advantage of the streaming format of All Access and telling a single story arc across the entire first season. He and the writers had completely planned this arc by the end of June 2016. Fuller said the original series episode “Balance of Terror”, one of his favourites, would be “a touchstone” for the season’s story direction. In August, Fuller teased that the story arc revolved around “an event in Star Trek history that’s been talked about but never been explored”, 10 years before the events of the original series. This was later revealed to be the Federation-Klingon cold war. Goldsman explained that this story would be told over the course of the first season and end with the creation of the Neutral Zone, allowing a new story to be told in potential future seasons. He described the events explored by the season as “sufficiently inexact [in previous Star Trek stories] that we can now fill in how we got there.” He acknowledged that this time period has been widely covered by previous Star Trek novels, and explained that the series’ writers considered these novels to be non-canon.

Unlike a traditional series, which may have begun with the series’ protagonist, Michael Burnham, boarding the USS Discovery and revealing her backstory through flashbacks, the writers wanted to have a prologue that explored Burnham’s initial actions and her relationship to Captain Philippa Georgiou. Feeling that at least “two hours” were needed to convey this, the first two episodes of the season (released as the two-part premiere of the series) cover this prologue, with the season’s main story beginning with the third episode. This third episode was considered to be the series’ equivalent of a pilot episode, and begins six months after the two-part premiere. This time jump was inspired by film sequels that begin with significant events having transpired since the previous instalment such as Terminator 02: Judgement Day (1991). The third episode reveals that the season’s story involves the development of a new form of space travel that could win the war for the Federation. When it was noted that this form of travel is not known in the previous Star Trek series (set later in the canon), actor Jason Isaacs stated that the writers were aware of this, and were “very clear, in not a cop-out way, to both incorporate this stuff which is exciting and very visual, to make sure that it didn’t rankle canon.” The season’s story is split into two “micro-arcs”, covering the first nine episodes and then the rest of the season, with a break in airing between the two. It ends with the end of the war, which comes down to an agreement between two characters. These negotiations are made entirely by female characters, which was an intentional choice that Kurtzman felt was justified by the Me Too movement. The writers felt this was true to the spirit of Star Trek, and allowed them to move beyond the war storyline that Fuller had established for the show. The second season is then set-up with the appearance of the USS Enterprise. Harberts explaining that the writers knew they would have to acknowledge the existence of the Enterprise at some point, and after Fuller left the series they decided to just “tell this story now” with the second season.

Because of the season’s focus on Klingons and their culture, the producers decided that members of the species would speak their own language with subtitles throughout the show. Berg said this was “very important for us … They have their own pride. They have their own interests and talent.” Klingons historically represented the Soviet Union, and were portrayed as becoming friendlier with the protagonists of Star Trek as the real Cold War ended. For Star Trek: Discovery, the Klingons and Starfleet are intended to represent different factions within the modern United States, with Harberts explaining that the writers wanted to introduce two different points of view and explore their differences. He said the season is ultimately about “finding a way to come together”. Berg added that one of the main themes being explored for the season was the “universal” lesson of “you think you know ‘the other,’ but you really don’t”. The showrunners stated that where previous Star Trek series revolved around the relationships between central male characters, Discovery focuses more on female characters. They described a “friendship structure” that goes from Captain Georgiou to First Officer Burnham to Cadet Tilly. They also explained that the two main Starfleet captains in the series, Georgiou and Lorca, are “metaphors for how people and institutions act in times of conflict”, with Georgiou responding to war as would be expected of a traditional Starfleet officer, but Lorca representing a more “complicated version of a Starfleet captain who can almost only exist during a time of war”.

Casting

In addition to Sonequa Martin-Green starring as protagonist Michael Burnham, the series’ main cast also includes Doug Jones as Saru, an alien lieutenant commander; Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler, a former prisoner of war; Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets, an astromycologist; Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly, a cadet; and Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca, captain of the USS Discovery. Isaacs was cast only for one season. Not all of the show’s characters are introduced immediately, with the writers taking advantage of the streaming, serialised format to take their time introducing each character and spend time with them as they are introduced. Tyler is eventually revealed to actually be the Klingon Voq disguised as a human. Voq was initially credited as being portrayed by the actor Javid Iqbal, who was invented for the ruse to hide the fact that Latif was portraying both Voq and Tyler until their connection was revealed in the show. The name comes from Latif’s father.

In November 2016, series’ writer and consulting producer Nicholas Meyer mentioned that Michelle Yeoh had been cast in Discovery, and she was soon confirmed to be portraying Captain Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou. A month later, Mary Chieffo was cast as the Klingon L’Rell. In April 2017, Kenneth Mitchell was cast as Kol, who Latif was originally cast as before being recast as Voq. That July, Rapp revealed that Wilson Cruz, whom Rapp had previously worked with on the musical Rent, would portray Stamets’ love interest Hugh Culber. Jayne Brook also has a recurring role in the season, as Admiral Katrina Cornwell. Additionally appearing throughout the season in “co-starring” roles are Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer, Ali Momen as Kamran Gant, Chris Violette as Britch Weeton, Romain Waite as Troy Januzzi, Sara Mitich as Airiam, Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun, Ronnie Rowe Jr. as R.A. Bryce, Conrad Coates as Terral, and Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys. Tasia Valenza and Julianne Grossman provided the computer voices for the Shenzhou and the Discovery, respectively.

Fuller said in August 2016 that “once we get through this first season and establish our own Star Trek universe” and characters, the series could “open up to more familiar characters”. He did express interest in including the character Amanda Grayson, saying, “there’s much to be told about that”. She was later confirmed to be appearing in the season. By January 2017, James Frain was cast as Grayson’s husband Sarek. Rainn Wilson was cast as another original series character, Harry Mudd, that March. In September, Harberts revealed that Mia Kirshner had been cast as Grayson. Katherine Barrell portrays Mudd’s wife Stella. Clint Howard, who appeared in several previous Star Trek series, has a role in the season finale as an Orion drug dealer. The role was written specifically for Howard, who is friends with Goldsman.

Design

The design of the USS Discovery is based on an unused Ralph McQuarrie design for the USS Enterprise from the unproduced film Star Trek: Planet of the Titans. The USS Shenzhou was designed to look older than the Discovery, and was compared more to a submarine from The Hunt for Red October (1990) than previous Star Trek spaceships. The Shenzhou is a Walker-class starship, a new designation created for the series that is named for test pilot Joe Walker. Sets for the Shenzhou and the Discovery’s interiors were built for the series, described as a “tangle of corridors and rooms”. Because the bridge of the Shenzhou is on the bottom of that ship, the set for that room was built 12 feet (3.7 m) off the ground and upside down, and became a challenge for the crew to work in. In some cases, such as the transporter rooms and corridors, the same sets were used for both ships. These were dressed differently, with alternate lighting, graphics, and paint. The “turn over” process between the two took up to a week.

Mark Worthington and Todd Cherniawsky served as initial production designers for the series, with Tamara Deverell taking over around production on the sixth episode. She is the first female production designer for the Star Trek franchise. During production, the network told the series’ writing staff to write an excursion to a planet for an upcoming episode, which became the visit to Pahvo. Deverell had 10 minutes to pitch a design for the new sets, and came up with the idea of a yurt consisting of membranes based on a mathematical structure. This set was then placed in a forest through visual effects. For the second half of the season, Deverell had to redesign the Mirror Universe, a classic location from previous series in the franchise. Deverell said that previous series had “just slapped a logo on the wall” representing the Mirror Universe’s Terran Empire, but for this series her team created a multi-dimensional version of the Terran Empire logo and then augmented sets with new mirrors to further distance them from the Prime Universe versions of sets. For the flagship spaceship of the Terran Empire, the ISS Charon, Deverell used a “monolithic, Brutalist, concrete form” for her designs.

Fabric for the Starfleet uniforms seen in the series were custom-dyed in Switzerland; the costumes were cut and assembled in Toronto by costume designer Gersha Phillips and her department. For officers in combat situations or hazardous away missions, jumpsuit-versions of the main uniform are paired with armoured vests. Also designed for the series was a Starfleet long haul space suit, which was built in the United Kingdom from sections of high-density foam that were then covered in fiberglass. Phillips designed traditional Vulcan robes for Sarek which were meant to reflect his devotion to logic and “serious intellectual pursuits”. Vulcan pendants celebrating “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” were 3D printed and hand painted. For Harry Mudd’s costume, primarily made of leather, Phillips was inspired by Adam Ant.

Klingons

Fuller had “really, really wanted” to redesign the Klingons, which he felt had inconsistent designs throughout the franchise’s history. He wanted to portray the race as “sexy and vital and different” rather than “the thugs of the universe”, and spent months working with prosthetics designer Neville Page and production designer Mark Worthington on the new look. Page was aware that changing the look of the Klingons would be controversial with Star Trek fans. The idea was to bring a fresh take to the Klingon race by creating “a high level of sophisticated detail – for a race that had long been perceived as brutal, one-minded, and simplistic”.

They first designed a generic, realistic Klingon skull, based on real biology. The different Klingons were developed from that base in a “practical evolutionary” way. The skull design assumed that the Klingons are “an apex predator” and have heightened senses, “specifically extra sensory receptors running from the top of their heads to their backs.” Page explained that because of this, it made more sense for the Klingons to be bald “because of these heightened senses on the top of their heads.” He added that the Klingons being bald was mandated by Fuller. Different designs for the Klingons’ clothing, weapons, and armour were then created for the 24 different Klingon houses. It was important to the producers to show diversity within the Klingons as well, so the series depicts both light and dark skinned members of the species. Elaborating on the differences between the houses, Glenn Hetrick, co-founder of Alchemy Studios with Page, stated that the Klingon Empire covers many planets beyond the homeworld of Qo’noS and so different subsets of the species would have evolved on those different planets, each with different environments and cultures.

Hetrick and Page created armour and weapons with 3D printing and aluminum casts made from hand carved moulds. Some props, such as helmets, were designed to be augmented with CGI. Weapons like Klingon ceremonial blades and gun-like “disruptors” were reimagined versions of previous props from franchise, especially Star Trek: The Next Generation. The overall design for Klingon weapons, helmets, and armour was based on the culture notes created for the species in the original series, which included influences from Middle Eastern, Mongolian, and Byzantine culture. Several motifs recur throughout the designs for the Klingons’ weapons and armour, including their skulls and vertebrae, images of Klingons “poised to thrust themselves into the honour of battle”, and images of Klingons sacrificing themselves in battle. The latter is similar to the emblem of the Klingon Empire.

Phillips and Larlarb created the clothing worn by the Klingon T’Kuvma and his followers, inspired more by “ancient Klingon ways” than the costumes seen previously in Star Trek. T’Kuvma wears a tunic created from three different types of leather and a chest plate made with 3D printed beads, decorated with Swarovski crystals. Costumes for his followers were created with individually stained, painted, modelled, and hand-pressed pieces of leather. Each suit took ten costumers 110 hours to complete. Different coloured leather was used to differentiate males and females. A notable set of armour created for the season is the Torchbearer armour, which is worn in a ritual to unite the Klingon houses. It was made from 100 individually 3D printed pieces. When first describing the Torchbearer armour, Fuller referred to baroque and samurai styles. Kol, a member of the house of Kor that appeared in the original series, wears “more leather and a different set of armour” that is closer to those worn previously by Klingons in the franchise. US$3 million was spent on a “massive” ship set for T’Kuvma’s house, designed as an alien cathedral. Known as the “Klingon sarcophagus ship”, it is simultaneously a ritual space and the “functioning bridge for the Klingon Empire.” The outside of the ship is covered in coffins ranging from days old to hundreds of years old. The set is 40 feet (12 m) tall, 100 feet (30 m) long, and 50 feet (15 m) wide, and includes multiple levels, mezzanines, and cantilevers. The set also includes Klingon text and glyphs inspired by the novel The Final Reflection, from which the designers also took details such as the strategy game Klin zha and Klingon bloodwine cups. Research was done on how written languages evolve to accurately depict the ancient form of Klingon written on the ship. Instead of physical displays like Starfleet’s ships, the sarcophagus ship uses holographic displays created with CGI.

The Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS is visited in the season finale, though the town depicted is an Orion outpost. The production team attempted to reuse existing sets given any new sets would potentially not be reused. The graveyard chamber from the sarcophagus ship set was turned into an Orion sex cabaret, with other sets including a Klingon drinking tent and street stalls. The Orion elements were inspired by Indian architecture, with fabrics from Morocco and other “far east” countries, as these were the inspirations for the original Orion designs in previous Star Trek series. Deverell described the sets as “lush like a bordello in the 1800s. We were allowed to go crazy.”

Filming

Filming for the season began at Pinewood Toronto Studios on 24 January 2017, with cinematographers including Guillermo Navarro, working on the pilot, and Colin Hoult. Set construction had initially been set to begin within a month of June 2016, for a filming period of that September to around March 2017, but by that September, production was not expected to begin until November. After Fuller stepped down as showrunner, set construction was expected to be completed by the end of 2016, with filming to begin “shortly thereafter”. By mid-May 2017, filming for scenes set on an unidentified planet had taken place on location in Jordan. Some of the series’ sets took over six weeks to create, and new sets were being built up until the end of production on the season. Some episodes for the season were restricted to a few existing sets, making them bottle episodes, though Harberts said the series would not do anything “as bottle-y as ‘everyone is stuck in the mess hall!'” Filming for the season concluded on 11 October 2017.

Robyn Stewart, an expert in the Klingon language, and linguist Rea Nolan worked closely with the Klingon actors to ensure they could both speak and understand their lines in the language, having the actors practice while their makeup and prosthetics were being applied, which took three hours each day. They would first rehearse their lines in English, and worked to “inhabit [the lines] emotionally”. Chieffo felt that “it makes sense that when we are speaking to each other we are speaking in our native tongue and really adding a fluidity and nuance”, while Mitchell said, “It’s an incredibly complex language … it feels alien. Because it is incredibly difficult and I don’t speak the language it takes a lot of muscle memory to memorise each separate syllable over and over and over.” For a sequence where L’Rell and Tyler are shown having sex, Chieffo required full-body prosthetics which took four hours to apply. Though these are only seen for around 30 seconds in the episode, Chieffo felt strongly that she film the scene rather than a body double.

Visual Effects

The season has 5000 visual effects shots, which visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman said was similar to one feature-length film. He went on to say that the department was aiming for “high-end” effects, similar to those seen in films, and that the number of visual effects in each episode was always driven by the story. Pixomondo was the primary visual effects vendor for the series, with Spin VFX and Crafty Apes also working on the show. The shot that went through the most iterations during the season was a simple composite of computer screen graphics onto an on-set monitor, with 146 different iterations of the graphics tried before the final design was chosen.

Music

Composer Jeff Russo wrote several themes for the series, in addition to the main title theme, but not necessarily for the different characters in the show as would often be done. Instead, Russo wanted to focus on the emotions of the characters over the story beats, for instance “even when you are shooting, you’re still feeling, so why not play that as opposed to ‘Oh my god, he’s got a gun'”. Like the rest of the series’ departments, Russo’s aim was to make the score feel as cinematic as possible.

For the Kasseelian Opera that Stamets talks about later in the season, Russo did not want to attempt to make a “futuristic opera”, believing instead that “opera is opera” and that it should have the same style as what was heard during the present of the series creation. For the seventh episode, source music from Wyclef Jean is used which Russo compared to people in the current day listening to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Singer Ayana Haviv recorded arias for the opera, and in a “moment of inspiration” Russo asked her to sing the vocal section of the original Star Trek theme. Russo and Kurtzman responded positively to her rendition, and Russo arranged the theme for the series’ 74-piece orchestra to play over the end credits of the season finale after the USS Enterprise appears. Haviv altered her voice for the final recording to match the original 1960s style of the theme.

A soundtrack album for the first chapter of the season was released digitally on 15 December 2017, by Lakeshore Records. Another, for the second chapter, was released digitally on 06 April 2018. CD versions of both albums were set for release in 2018, along with a vinyl release combining selections from both chapters and titled Star Trek: Discovery (Original Series Soundtrack) – “Intergalactic Starburst” Vinyl.

Marketing

With the announcement of the series’ title in July 2016 came a promotional video giving a first look at the USS Discovery. The video did not feature final designs, as the producers had “three weeks to throw that together. We wanted to show fans … The concepts of the ship are totally what we’re going for and they’ll be honed up until, I think, the day we deliver”. In January 2017, a YouTube video presented by Alcatel was released, using 360° technology to showcase digital models of previous Star Trek ships. The first full trailer for the series was released in May 2017. Chris Harnick of E! News described the trailer as “gorgeous” and “truly cinematic”, and because of the appearances of Sarek and the Klingons in the footage, “this is the Star Trek you know and love.” Aja Romano at Vox called the trailer’s visuals “sumptuous” and “modern, but still very much in keeping with the aesthetic of previous Trek series”. She continued, “What gets short shrift in this trailer is the series’ overarching plot”.

In July 2017, Discovery had an “extensive” presence at San Diego Comic-Con, including a panel featuring Martin-Green, Isaacs, Jones, Latif, Wiseman, Rapp, Frain, Kurtzman, Berg, Kadin, Harberts, and Goldsman, and moderated by Wilson. Footage from the series was screened at the panel, with a new trailer released online soon afterwards. CBS also created a “fully immersive” art experience at the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery, featuring the USS Discovery’s captain’s chair and other props, costumes, and sketches from the series, as well as limited edition posters for the show and a shop selling item exclusive to Comic-Con. Pedicabs inspired by the series will give free rides through the Gaslamp District, while a ‘#TrekDiscovery Challenge’ competition will see fans have to take pictures with “authentically costumed Trek ambassadors”, one each representing the crews of the five previous Star Trek series, as well as the captain’s chair at the art gallery, and post them online with the hashtag #TrekDiscovery to be eligible to win a Roku streaming stick and a subscription to CBS All Access. At the convention, Gentle Giant Studios revealed that they had just picked up the license to create mini-busts and statues based on the series, and planned to particularly focus on the series’ Klingons. At the beginning of August, an afternoon of four panels at the Star Trek Las Vegas event was dedicated to the series, featuring producers and writers, actors who were not present at Comic-Con, creature designers, and writers involved with related books and comics.

By the beginning of September, promotion for the series was taking place around the world: Isaacs was involved in the launch of the Blackpool Illuminations festival in the UK to promote Discovery; cast and crew promoted the series at the Fan Expo Canada; a USS Shenzhou-themed photobooth, that took pictures of fans as Klingons, was in operation at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin; and an outdoor campaign of posters and billboards was underway for the show, including a large billboard on the roof of an LAX Airport building. The night before the series premiered on CBS, a model of the USS Discovery was flown above the Hudson River on Manhattan’s west side. Created by Remarkable Media, the 50 feet (15 m) rig consisted of a truss skeleton covered in LEDs, and was suspended from a Black Hawk helicopter. On 07 October, panels for the series were held at both the PaleyFest television festival and at New York Comic Con.

Release

Broadcast and Streaming

Star Trek: Discovery premiered at the ArcLight Hollywood on 19 September 2017. The first episode aired in a “preview broadcast” on CBS in the United States on 24 September, and was made available for free on CBS All Access along with the second episode (which required an All Access subscription). Subsequent first-run episodes, making up the first chapter of the season, were streamed weekly on All Access through 05 November. The second chapter streamed from 07 January to 11 February 2018.

CBS Studios International licensed the series to Bell Media for broadcast in Canada, and to Netflix for another 188 countries. In Canada, the premiere was broadcast on 24 September 2017, on both the CTV Television Network and on the specialty channels Space (English) and Z (French) before being streamed on CraveTV, with subsequent episodes just broadcast on Space and Z before streaming on CraveTV. In the other countries, Netflix released each episode of the series for streaming within 24 hours of its US debut. This agreement with CBS also saw Bell and Netflix acquire all previous Star Trek series to stream in their entirety.

In August 2020, CBS announced that it would be broadcasting the full first season of Discovery beginning on 24 September 2020, alongside other older or acquired series, due to the lack of television content available to the network due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Broadcast Breach

After reviewing the episode “Choose Your Pain“, Space chose to air it uncensored despite its use of the word “fuck” and depictions of violence. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council received an official complaint about this given the channel aired the episode before 9 pm, after which series intended for adult audiences should be shown according to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Violence Code. The complainant, the Council, and Space itself acknowledged that the use of the word was unexpected given the franchise’s “51 year track record of being fairly clean with regards to its content.” The Council found Space to have breached the regulations in not censoring the episode or scheduling it post-watershed, and required the channel to air an announcement stating as such twice during the week following 19 April 2018. At the time, Bell Media accepted the decision and agreed to comply with the ruling, but did not indicate any intention to change their approach to broadcasting future seasons of the series.

Home Media

The season was released on DVD and Blu-Ray format in the US on 13 November 2018. The release included two hours of bonus features like featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, and interviews with the series’ cast and crew.

Accolades

Netflix listed Star Trek: Discovery fourth in its list of series most watched together by families in 2017. Martin-Green was named TVLine’s Performer of the Week for her performance in “The Wolf Inside”, in which Burnham is “put through the emotional wringer with a barrage of jaw-dropping twists, giving Martin-Green an opportunity to deliver her finest performance of the season.” In January 2019, Comic Book Resources rated Discovery’s first season as the ninth best season of all Star Trek series up to that time, comparing its high production values to a feature film and calling Michael Burnham “the most interesting character Trek has provided us in generations”.

Trivia

  • In March 2018, a “secret scene” was released depicting an alternative ending to the season finale. It features Mirror Georgiou being approached by an operative of Section 31, a storyline that is further explored in the second season of the series.

Star Trek Discovery Series 01

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Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): David Semel, Adam Kane, Akiva Goldsman, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Lee Rose, Douglas Aarniokoski, David M. Barrett, John S. Scott, Chris Payne, Jonathan Frakes, T.J. Scott, Hanelle M. Culpepper, and David Solomon.
  • Writer(s): Bryan Fuller, Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, Craig Sweeny, Jesse Alexander, Aron Eli Coleite, Kemp Powers, Joe Menosky, Ted Sulivan, Kirsten Beyer, Bo Yeon Kim, Erika Lippoldt, Sean Cochran, Lisa Randolph, Jordan Nardino, and Ted Sullivan.
  • Release Date: 24 September 2017 to 11 February 2018.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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