EXCLUSIVE: Goldsman Explains Episode 9 Switch And Why Star Trek: Discovery Is TV-MA

Before the New York PaleyFest Star Trek: Discovery panel (see report), TrekMovie had a chance to speak with executive producer Akiva Goldsman about incorporating horror into the show and why Discovery has a TVMA rating. We also got a production update on the first season.  The full video interview and highlights are below.

Season 1 has two mini-arcs

Last week we reported that CBS had changed plans and moved the ninth episode of Discovery from January to November to wrap up the first part of season one. Goldsman explained the reasoning behind this change.

It is actually just a function of how the storytelling laid out. CBS started calling them two “sweeps”…There is this sort of meta-arc, which is the war with the Klingons, but within that meta-arc there are two mini meta-arcs, or micro-arcs. So the first sweep of those just naturally fell out in [episode] 9, so we moved it. No more or less mysterious, sadly.

The first season of Discovery is broken into to two “mini-arcs”

Incorporating horror and other genres, and why Discovery is TV-MA

Goldsman directed episode 3 (“Context Is for Kings”), which incorporated elements of horror. He told TrekMovie this choice was part of what he sees as a history of Star Trek dipping into different genres:

The episodes all have their own tonal components that are driven by script. For me, episode 3 was mysterious and threatening because I felt Burnham’s circumstance was mysterious and threatening…What is great about science fiction and Star Trek is under the rubric of these flights of speculative fancy, you can find other genres. You can go back to “The Trouble with Tribbles,” or “A Piece of the Action,” or “The Corbomite Maneuver,” or “Naked Time” and you see real tonal differences. You can find the emotional tonality that is appropriate for the story. [Episode 3] was particular threatening, so I felt like going with horror because it was fun.

Responding to why Discovery is rated as a TV-MA show, Goldsman said that was mostly due to the extremes and in general they wanted the show to be family-friendly, saying:

It is TV-MA because it is rated for that which is most potentially challenging for a family. We are pretty dedicated to being able to watch the show with our families.  Having said that, in [“Context Is for Kings”] we had some swirled up bodies. They were not entirely palatable to my ten-year-old daughter. So, it is those kind of reasons.

We are very thrilled about the new boundaries that are offered to us by streaming, but not because we can do a lot of sex and violence. It is because we can do more serialized storytelling. We can do deeper, more emotional stories. On occasion if those take us into territory that feels a little bit more risky than would typically be seen on network TV, we just stamp it [with TV-MA]. It is always stamped for the most extreme. It is Star Trek, so for us that means we want to be able to have your whole family talking about it after.

Shot of mangled corpse from “Context Is for Kings”

Almost a wrap

Goldsman also revealed he is directing the season finale of Star Trek: Discovery and that after an extended weekend the show was “one day off of completing principal photography.” [Editor’s NOTE: Since this interview was conducted over the weekend, word has come that Discovery may wrap today.]

More from PaleyFest

Jason Isaacs Needed To Know Everything About Lorca Before Starting ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Mary Wiseman On How Tilly Is Revealed As Best Theoretical Engineer On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

TrekMovie has more interviews with the Discovery cast from PaleyFest NY 2017. These will be posted over the next few days so stay tuned.

Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusive in the US on CBS All Access with new episodes released Sundays at 8:30 pm ET. In Canada Star Trek: Discovery airs on the Space Channel at the same time. Discovery is available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada with new episodes made available Monday at 8 am BST.

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


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