‘Star Trek: Discovery’ showrunners on boldly going somewhere new with the fabled space franchise

Executive producers Akiva Goldsman, Heather Kadin, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts and Alex Kurtzman, and the cast of “Star Trek: Discovery” at the Television Critics Assn. Press Tour at CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles.
(Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images )

One of the core tenets of the myriad versions of “Star Trek” over the last 50 years has been peaceful conflict resolution and examining why people — and various alien species — battle over differences instead of celebrating commonalities.

Which is why Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, two of the executive producers on the forthcoming “Star Trek: Discovery,” premiering Sept. 24 on both CBS and CBS All Access before moving exclusively to the streaming platform for subsequent episodes, think now is the perfect time for the return of a weekly dose of the humanist space fable.

“We had out first meeting with Michelle Yeoh [Capt. Georgiou] on election day and we were both wearing our ‘I voted’ stickers,” recalls Harberts. “She said, ‘What do you think is going to happen?’ At that point, we didn’t really know, but we were obviously seeing sentiments during the entire election that did make us [ask], ‘Do we [even] have to look much further than our own backyard to start thinking about themes, to start thinking about conflicts, to start thinking about ideologies that are in dire opposition to each other?’ [The campaign] certainly provided us with a pretty dynamic and provocative backdrop.”


“Of course, we would prefer the world to be in a more peaceful, less fraught place, but it certainly is giving us plenty of inspiration, for lack of a better word, in the writers room,” says Berg who, with Harberts, has previously worked on everything from the soapy “Revenge” to the quirky “Pushing Daisies” with original “Star Trek: Discovery” showrunner Bryan Fuller.

After Fuller’s departure — to focus on “American Gods” on Starz — the duo, along with fellow executive producers Akiva Goldsman, Heather Kadin and Alex Kurtzman, hoped to create something in the 15-episode first season that will entice both fans of the previous series and newcomers to a franchise that, in some families, has been handed down as a viewing tradition.

“It’s an heirloom that’s shared from mother to child or older brother to younger sister,” says Harberts. “I think that’s one of the reasons for its longevity.”

In other words, they hope that “Discovery” will keep the “Star Trek” TV brand living long and prospering.

Twitter: @SarahARodman


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