‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Showrunner Talks TOS Connection + Reviews To Be Embargoed Until 24th

We are just nine days away from Star Trek: Discovery and the pace of activity continues to increase. Today’s notable news features showrunner Aaron Harberts giving more detail on the lore of the show, news on when and how the show will be reviewed by critics, and author David Mack going off on “clickbait.”

Showrunner talks connection to TOS and not being dystopian

Co-showrunner Aaron Harberts has a two-part interview with the official site and one of the things he discussed was how Discovery will connect with Star Trek: The Original Series:

We are going to be doing a few things that shake hands with TOS in a way that I think are going to be so fun. I think people will be pretty excited about what’s coming down the pike. I mentioned off the record at one point one of the storylines we’re doing to another reporter, and he’s a Star Trek fan, and he literally like put his fist in his mouth and was like, “You’re making this very hard for me.” There were lots of, there are several opportunities and things we wanted to take advantage of and say, “Hey, let’s tell a prequel to a couple of these TOS stories.”

In the second part of the interview, Harberts discussed how Discovery differs from many shows on streaming services:

I think on a lot of streaming services you tend to find, unless they’re comedies, a lot of dystopian stuff. That’s not something we wanted to do. We wanted to make sure that this was a show that leaves you with a feeling of hope at the end. Even though there might be dark themes or tough times, a tough setting, we always wanted to make sure our characters were putting their best foot forward. We always wanted to make sure that at the end of the episode, you’d be like, “Wow!” rather than, “Aw.”

Harberts also explains why Michael Burnham is called Michael, how runtimes for episodes will vary (sometimes going over 50 minutes), and more, so it is worth reading the full interview (Part 1 and Part 2).

Aaron Harberts at Star Trek: Discovery panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Discovery reviews embargoed until premiere night

As noted by Entertainment Weekly and a few other outlets, CBS will not providing screeners for the pilot of Star Trek: Discovery to the media, but will be holding screenings for the press in New York and Los Angeles next week. According to CBS, the limits for the press are to prevent spoilers and leaks. Media outlets (including TrekMovie.com) will be allowed to post reviews from those screenings on Sunday night September 24th after the first hour of the two-part premiere airs.

Mack declares Discovery will have best Trek first season and fits with canon

Some media outlets took a negative view of the CBS decision to limit and embargo reviews for Discovery and these kind of things triggered the usually reserved Star Trek author David Mack, inspiring him to post a Twitter thread about the “clickbait” and “doom and gloom.” In his 13-part thread, the lifetime Trek fan – who has written the first Discovery novel (Desperate Hours, due later this month),  stated the show will have the best first season in the franchise.

He also directly addressed the issue of reviews being embargoed.

There was a lot of chatter related to Mack’s thread from fans and others. Even Anthony Rapp (Lt. Paul Stamets) got involved, and again clarified a question about if Discovery is set in the prime timeline.

And Mack then chimed in, noting that apparent discrepancies will be resolved.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US.  In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere  on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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All of this makes me VERY excited.

Its one thing to do what they want to do and hope its good. But they’re saying all the right things. They hear the feedback. They are saying “Trust us, we will deliver”.

God I hope they do!

Will Trekmovie have their review ready to post the moment Part 1 ends (just wondering when/where the dissection can happen). Looks like we get the first part 30 minutes before the US does…

Also, clarify for me, the New York/LA screenings are BEFORE the premiere right? They are this coming Tuesday? So assuming everyone there will have signed confidentiality agreements, we can expect SOME spoilers to start landing…?

Sure sounds like MAJOR twists in that first episode…

I don’t think they can post reviews or spoilers, but I think they might be able to note their general impressions and feelings. I kinda remember that being the case with Star Trek Beyond.

“They are saying “Trust us, we will deliver”.

As a U.S. politician once famously said, “Trust, but verify.” Looking forward to being able to do just that.

Very interesting the choice of “coming down the PIKE”… wonder if one of the prequel stories could end up on Talos IV?

I was thinking the very same thing… or its a nod of the head to simply doing a story with Enterprise and Pike.

I’m on the same page lol

I don’t see how that would work, seeing as how the events depicted in “The Cage” occurred three years prior to the timeframe of ST:DSC.

Could Pike be an instructor at Starfleet Academy? Based on Earth?

They could return

So ready for this!!

My favorite line…There were lots of, there are several opportunities and things we wanted to take advantage of and say, “Hey, let’s tell a prequel to a couple of these TOS stories.”

Yes, which I think Enterprise started doing in season 4 and why people really loved that season. It really did start to build up TOS elements we know and made if more fun that way. Discovery obviously can do it even better considering they are in the period TOS characters are actually alive. I don’t mind that too much. I don’t want it overly done where it feels like fan fic but I assumed that was part of the reason they set it so close to TOS in the first place.

I wish Enterprise had started like S4 from the first episode. Manny Coto knew his stuff and you could see the building towards the Federation in just one season.

One Thing First I am So Happy to Be living in Toronto To Have the Space Network since Star Trek Discovery is gonna be showing on TV There plus the Show is being filmed in Toronto I think the Connection with the TOS is Gonna be Captain Pike and the Enterprise and the Original Klingons Pike and the Enterprise is a Treat but showing off the Augment Klingons in Discovery and TNG once I think will give Trekkers and Trekkies Both Erections and a Geek attack that will send them to the emergency room The Only time I almost Passed out from a Geek attack is from Rouge One A Star Wars Story where they shown the Alternate Opening from A New hope of Leia holding the planse I almost peed my self from that and if they do Show TOS Klingons man a lot of people are gonna Freak Lets just watch and see

So tired of the hate and abundant negativity towards Discovery which is why I was so relieved while reading David Mack’s tweets. He felt the same way. A friend told me about an io9 article on the embargo yesterday saying to me “this doesn’t bode well for Discovery”. I felt as fed up as David Mack. News of the embargo was meaningless to me. Just so sick of that element of social media that exists only to suck the life and joy out of everything.

It really is shocking to me how many people are SO up in arms over this, especially on a Trek dedicated website. I get the anger over the streaming aspect, I really do, but the overwhelming negativity over the look, feel, and story? And people saying they’re more excited for Orville? Pleeeaaase.

Thankfully, producers aren’t listening to that section of the fandom. Because those fans have grown so old and inflexible they’ve outlived their usefulness.

Hahaha! I see what you did there with the last sentence. And, I agree with you. Wait and see for yourselves, y’all!

@I’m Dead Jim — Yup. At least this has been confirmed by CBS and Trekmovie, and not just reporting based on a tweet. CBS is officially owning up to it. But that’s not gonna stop the doomsayers from braying that this is proof DISC is bad for the next week, and continuing to praise the ORVILLE, despite the fact it got terrible reviews as well. Good or bad, there’s one free network TV episode that audiences will be able to watch before they make up their minds. If I had watched ORVILLE, and needed to then subscribe for a pay streaming service, I wouldn’t watch any more ORVILLE. Those who are on the fence, have the same option with CBSAA, reviews or no.

I dont understand why people need Discovery to be bad to make Orville good or vice versa. You really get a sense of the personal sadness of some when Orville sucked lol

I have zero interest in Orville. I watched the first episode only so I could discuss it with firsthand knowledge. The fact is, I have zero interest in Seth McFarlane’s brand of comedy. Because of that, I can’t even legitimately criticize it because I hate literally everything he’s ever done. In my opinion he’s not funny, not a good writer, and not a good actor.

I guess if you like it and McFarlane, fair enough. Different strokes, and all that.

But that’s the attitude people should have about Discovery if they don’t like what they see. It’s not for you, so let other people enjoy it.

It’s become trendy to be offended by everything, unfortunately.

It’s definitely a thing for people to take the rebel approach. Much easier to be a “cool” internet persona to be the lone voice against a populist thing. That seems to be the case for several naysayers here. Unfortunately.

I’ll be subscribing late next month and I’m looking forward to this. The excitement in me is reaching a fever pitch. With film the embargo argument is easier made but it’s harder to make that with tv shows. Many shows that don’t have hold off from screenings get hammered by reviews (recently happened to Orville) and many shows that don’t have screenings get rave reviews. With the way this show has dealt with keeping things under wraps, it’s clear they’re not wanting any kind of spoilers to get out which makes me wonder what major plot points will we learn from this first episode. It’s got to be something to grab you so again, I’m excited.

@PEB – yup it sure sounds like some MAJOR stuff happens that impacts the creative. So…time travel? James Kirk? Kelvin Timeline? lol What could it beeeee???

I would love watching the naysayers reactions if Chris Pine showed up.

As much as I disliked the JJ films I’d have no issue with them using those actors in those roles in cameos. Although they are all too old. Pine was a great Kirk when the script and directing wasn’t letting him down.

If they have Pike I really want Greenwood.

At some point Shat Shat Shat!!!!
next season???

@PEB — awww, I’m sorry you won’t be able to join in the discussions during the first run of the series. Even though you will see the first part, you should still stay away as we’ll likely be discussing the second part too, and spoil it for you.

The reality is, I suspect anyone who doesn’t like what they’ve seen so far, is already determined not to like DISC. So seeing it is not likely to change their minds, and paying to see it, will only increase their vitriol. For others, if the show is well written, and produced, then it will be worth every penny. Sadly, ORVILLE not only confirmed what many of us were saying it would be, based on the creator’s previous work, but turned out not to be very well written, acted, or directed. And yet many of us are willing to give it a chance, though I suspect we would not be as generous if we had to pay for it.

However, real Trek has always been about surprises, and twists. Launching a new TREK series after a decade is a very big deal, and spoiling the delight of seeing those surprises and twists they’ve been planning so carefully for is no different than any other premiere event, like GoT, or STAR WARS. ORVILLE never presumed to be that. Unless they revealed William Shatner playing a role they were trying to keep under wraps, it’s just another new production for which audiences had little expectation of anything more then being entertained.

Curious, my mistake that was a typo. I meant to say late NEXT WEEK before the 1st episode. I figured since I watch Netflix through my XBOX1, I’ll have All Access on my XB1 too. I’m been stoked since this was first announced and I can barely contain myself for what’s coming so I definitely won’t miss it.

Sounds really good. I hope they are right.

Well I’m sold. Oh wait, I already was. Also idk why but I presumed episodes would be longer than 50 minutes by default? Given the medium, it isn’t that unusual. Maybe I’ve been primed by the likes of OITNB and to a lesser extent GOT.

I sort of assumed they’d maintain the 40-45 minute scenario for future licensing. I would love 60 minutes but 50 minutes with no commercials makes sense. With the option to go longer if need be.

Nice to have it confirmed, though, that they intend to take full advantage of the medium.

I am *so* pumped!

I’m not kidding. Season 1 of @startrekcbs will be the most tonally & continuity-consistent first season of a Star Trek series EVER. 6/13”

Wow. TOS had “City on the Edge”, “Space Seed”, “Balance of Terror”, “Galileo Seven”, and “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, just to name five in the first season.

And this first season is going to be better? This reminds me of someone last year who said “Its going to be tremendous, like none other. You’re going to get tired of winning”


..believe me!

You’re really going to get pedantic over hyperbole? It’s obviously a jab at TNG, Enterprise, and Voyager.

Sure, why not? This is only 14 episodes, so if they whittled away crappy storylines, this actually may well be more consistent than the first season of TOS.

Sorry. 15 episodes. Slip of the fingers.

You had to go and spoil it by mentioning that?

Well, David Mack has certainly got my interest by claiming that DISCOVERY will have the best first season of any ‘Trek’ show…as well as addressing/resolving any apparent ‘discrepancies’ with the ‘Prime timeline’.

Time will tell if he’s correct on either point, and I’ll certainly be interested in how things turn out concerning the latter… ;)

Wow, David Mack really did poleaxe the naysayers into submission and silence (even on this site) with that Twitter thread and may have even driven up the subscription rate LOL.
Time will tell whether he’s right. I remember how Berman was tooting that Nemesis was the best film they had done, even better than first contact, just to boost it up before release. We all know how that turned out…
Still, David Mack doesn’t come off like a disingenuous guy like Berman. The passion was exploding out of that thread!

It would beinteresting to know what Mack is basing that opinion on, since only the first six episodes have been finished. Only TOS had a consistently good first year–it’s still arguably the best year of Trek ever produced–and that was 51 years ago, so bettering it is long overdue.

Scripts I assume. According to Harberts all the EU book and comic writers for DSC have access to all the scripts. Kristin Beyer coordinates the writing staff between the show and EU, kinda like Pablo Hidalgo of Star Wars (that’s much bigger in scale though with all the simulataneous projects happening)

Actually, now the have ten finished episodes. And Mack, as a novelist for DSC, has access to scripts.

There were a lot of good things about Nem. It just didn’t come together well

Can’t wait to be disappointed in a week. Star Trek on TV dies for another decade.

That’s the spirit!

Do you want to bet real money? You’re saying it’s so bad that after Sunday it’s immediately cancelled and we never see Trek on the again for ten years? I’ll take that bet…

Sounding a little burnt there, Toast.

What is Ron Tracy doing at this point in the timeline?

Doing Ron Tracy things, I would presume.

Mixing his drinks.

But can it compete with the Orville, or will it pale in comparison? All I have seen from Discovery so far has been one big disappointment. I’ll give it a chance, of course, but mostly because I get it on Netflix anyway.

After having seen the Orville pilot I’d say Discovery has to be really terrible to be worse than that. It could be but I hope it won’t. Of course, you may have enjoyed Orville more than I did but for me there’s no competition there. Plus there’s no reason that both can co-exist. It doesn’t have to be either Orville or Discovery.

Any of the DSC promos were better drama and SF than The Orville pilot I saw last week, so I’ve no worries there. In any case I don’t see this as a competion, and plan to watch both shows.

The real question is, can Orville compete with Discovery, or will it pale in comparison? All I have seen from Orville so far has been one big disappointment. I gave it a chance, of course, but mostly because I get it on over-the-air TV anyway.

Considering one is a drama and one is a comedy there is no competition between them at all.

I’d assume Orville will be funnier. Although they first episode made me question that lol

Clearly discovery has far better production design, better effects and better acting. And a better cast.

So really they aren’t competing. It’s like comparing discovery to Goldberg. Or Orville to law & order.

I find it sad that critics of the show are treated like heretics by fellow fans, and that the statements by Harberts and Mack only encourage “loyal” fans to put down totally justified objections. It is blindingly obvious that on the visual side Discovery disregards everything established about starship design lineages, not to mention the biology of the Klingon species. Harberts and Mack seem to cling to a new definition of continuity in which everything may look totally different than it should and in which a few preserved concepts, plus occasional use of established characters and facts, is sufficient to maintain the stance that it is still the same continuity. Either that, or they don’t tell the truth. And one more thing. As much as I criticized Enterprise back in 2001, Harberts’s continued negative remarks about the series are totally inappropriate. It looks to me like he is seeking a scapegoat for the much bigger mistakes of his own series and its premise.

Oh, please. You’re perfectly entitled to object to anything about this show you like, and others in turn are free to take issue with your objections (for example, in this case, being largely based on assumptions about a series you haven’t yet seen). That’s just the way free speech works, which is actually the opposite thing from persecuting heretics or apostates. Quit being a professional victim.

My criticism is based on solid knowledge about what is wrong about the series. Don’t claim the starships or the Klingons suddenly look correct once the series is on air. I’m tired of people who don’t even listen to me and make up inappropriate explanations in their headcanon without having even seen a single episode. While I am kind to everyone, I have been called names very often in the past few months, by people who claim to be fans, and apparently with some sort of a self-imposed mission to act in the name of TBTB.

Lol get real.

I agree with the decision to embargo the reviews.
There are A LOT of people who DON’T WANT to like this iteration of Star Trek. (I am NOT one of them!) Any negative review whether justified or not is fuel for the flames of the haters.
Any overhyped, distorted (fake news, anyone?) negative press will make it harder for CBS All Access to gain subscribers.
I want this Star Trek to succeed. Wildly succeed at that.
Let it rise or fall AFTER the first episode airs.

did he just said…. DOWN THE PIKE?????????????
OH MY GOD! HE DID! THE PIKE! :) :) :) :)
When this isnt a tiny subtle hint ;)

From part 2 of the interview with Harberts:

Akiva (Goldsman) wanted a Tribble. He’s like, “We’re having a tribble.” “OK, we’ll have a Tribble.” [..] and we got into thinking about these little Easter eggs and someone said, “Oh, Harry Mudd has to make an appearance.” That’s when we said, “Oh my God, that’s Rainn.”

Bringing back characters and elements from TOS just for the sake of it! Not really impressed by this approach.

Yes surely they dropped him into a completed story with no thought. You might be onto something. Lol

Signed up for All Access last night! I’m ready for some new Trek! David Mack’s tweets definitely give me more hope than I’d previously had.

“why do you think it’s taken so long to have the LGBTQ represented on Trek?”

Am I the only one who has always assumed that there were a statistically-appropriate number of gay/trans characters & the reason why they weren’t obvious was a combination of non-heterosexuality being such a non-issue that it was never mentioned, and their medical technology being sufficiently advanced that anyone who was born trans was effectively made cisgendered by comprehensive genetic manipulation that would actually change their physical gender at the cellular level?

That doesn’t make any sense. Why would we get confirmation from many many many characters that they are straight (including whether they’re married or in relationships, who they’re attracted to, etc) but the gay people never talk about any of that?

Just because it never came up… Being gay is a lot less common than being straight. People could be bi & happen to end-up with the opposite gender too (presumably the case with Sulu, unless we are to believe Prime Sulu was straight while Kelvin Sulu was gay)…

reviews embargoed until premiere night = it’s not good

Does the discrepancies being addressed or resolved entail Starfleet’s technologies regressing a few hundred years? Cause other than that which would be a terrible idea I see no possible way for this to align with canon. The tech in Discovery looks post-Nemesis, I really don’t see how they can explain that.