Bryan Fuller Announced as Show-runner for “Star Trek”

Star Trek

Bryan Fuller Announced as Show-runner for “Star Trek”

Bryan Fuller, one of the most respected names in modern television, has just been announced as the new show-runner for CBS’ upcoming Star Trek series, to stream next year.

No, this is no dream. This is real. They could have picked anyone, really. Yet, it’s doubtful they could find anyone better.

Star Trek
The new “Great Bird of the Galaxy”

While the studio is still mum about the concept behind the show – nothing about the cast or even where and when the series will set (it hasn’t even been revealed as to whether this show will take place in the traditional “prime” timeline that all of the past series have taken place in, or if it will explore the new “alternate” timeline first seen in  the 2009 reboot). All that we knew about the show was that it would be streaming on CBS’s new digital service as opposed to a traditional network (note: they will broadcast the pilot on television, according to reports), and that Alex Kurtzman, one of the writers of those reboot films, would be producing. While Kurtzman certainly knows his Trek (the reboot is, more often than not, true to the old Trek, at least with regards to the characters) fans were left scratching their heads about the studio’s choice of him to guide the new show. After all, it seems that in the recent films, ships can transverse the galaxy in minutes, but might largely unneeded as people can beam just as far without the need for ships at all. And people can come back from the dead and be perfectly fine. So, yeah, Kurtzman might know Trek, but does he know how to tell a story?

Enter Bryan Fuller, the just-announced show-runner: here’s a guy who most assuredly does know how to tell a story, particularly in a television format. From Hannibal to Pushing Daisies, this guy is a creative force of nature, and he’s helped to shepherd television form what it was in the 90’s – a format that was trying to find itself as something that actually had more potential than feature films  – to what it is now, where some would argue that it actually has actually surpassed film in terms of interesting storytelling, and it’s a format that is being absorbed by the public in all different ways. A far cry from what television was when Fuller began writing television in the 90’s, the audience now has the ability to stream television, binge watch an entire show in a weekend, bring it everywhere. How stories are told are thus changed to take into account how the audience might take in the shows, and Bryan Fuller has been working on some of the best shows as television itself has made this transition.

Just look at his resume. Hannibal might have been cancelled as of late, but it’s well regarded and features some outstanding performances. He also worked on Heroes which had one of the boldest and, frankly, most perfect debut seasons in the history television, regardless of the fact that it kind of lost it’s way later on.

In addition to those interesting and visionary shows, Fuller has also been involved with – you got it- Star Trek. That might be the most reassuring aspect about the announcement of Fuller as show-runner. While it’s important that this be a fresh take on Trek – there may be little, if any, ties with any of the old shows, after all – it’s important to have someone running the show who knows how Trek has been done in the past, and how it has been told for television. Fuller, having working on both Deep Space Nine and Voyager, has been involved with the franchise as the universe felt as big as it was ever going to feel. It was during the 90’s that Trek actually felt nearly nearly as large as the current Marvel Cinematic Universe.  From Deep Space’s more dramatic ongoing story-line about the moral choices made by its characters as the Federation found itself at war, to the often more turgid storytelling of Voyager, Fuller had been through the highs and lows of the old franchise. They could have hired fresh new name to be the show-runner for this new series, but how great is it that they have hired someone who’d already navigated this terrain before, whose learned it, and has already seen what works for Trek on television and what doesn’t.

Star Trek
At one point, Fuller imagined a show with the TNG characters- set in the new, alternate universe. Can anyone imagine recasting these guys?

It’s still very little to go on. They’ve announced nothing else about what this new show would be. (Stay tuned!) But this is an encouraging sign.

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