We’re living in a golden age for the Star Trek franchise. Hear me out on this, because the math doesn’t lie. From 1966 to 2005, 30 seasons of Trek were produced across six TV shows (The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise). That’s 30 seasons that aired in a span of around 40 years.
Then the franchise went on hiatus until 2017, with no new Star Trek airing on TV for 12 years. That’s when CBS All-Access began introducing the modern-era Trek shows. Since then, we’ve had four seasons of Discovery (four just finished filming), two seasons of Short Treks, three seasons of Picard (two and three are filming now), three seasons of Lower Decks (three is in production now), two seasons of Prodigy (they will begin airing soon), and a season so far of Strange New Worlds (which will also soon debut)
That’s 15 new seasons of Star Trek—half the total that aired from 1966 to 2005—produced in only five years, compared to the 40 it took for those original 30 seasons. What’s more, there are very likely additional seasons of all of them in the works. Plus, two more TV shows, Section 31 and Starfleet Academy, will each have at least one season, bringing the total to 17 and counting—again, in only five years. And it’s highly unlikely either show will be canceled after only a single season, so we can safely expect more to follow. It wouldn’t surprise me if CBS were to double the original thirty seasons before this decade is finished. It is truly a golden age.
I’m not gatekeeping here; everyone is free to like, love, dislike, or hate any iteration of Star Trek or any other franchise. I will never imply someone who likes or dislikes the new shows is less or more a fan than someone who prefers the older shows, or vice versa, because the childish “true fan” mentality goes against Star Trek‘s philosophy of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.” If you like any aspects of any version of Star Trek then you’re a fan, and if you dislike other aspects then you’re still a fan, and no one can tell you otherwise. Personally, I enjoy the classic era, just as I enjoy the 1980s-2000s shows and movies, just as I enjoy the current offerings. Your mileage may vary, and more power to you if it does.
But the unavoidable truth is that for whatever reasons, Enterprise failed to keep the franchise afloat, and so did the film exploits of The Next Generation‘s crew, and so did the J.J. Abrams alternate-universe movies. I love all of the above, but none of them found sufficient audience or studio support to generate more Star Trek. Meanwhile, the CBS All-Access era has increased the total number of seasons by a whopping 50 percent in a very small span of time, while doubling the number of TV shows from six to 12 (and counting). The math doesn’t lie.
Despite this, a small but vocal group of naysayers has inexplicably persisted in claiming the current era of Star Trek is a failure and that CBS plans to cancel everything and fire producer Alex Kurtzman… even though he has added eight new TV shows spanning at least 17 seasons in only five years, with many more to follow. It’s a nonsensical stance for anyone to take; regardless of how someone might view the quality of those 17 seasons, the current Trek era is demonstrably a huge success. If Kurtzman’s tenure is a failure, then I can only hope that someday, I fail even half as miserably as he has.