COUNT ME among the early skeptics. I wasn’t so sure “Star Trek: Discovery,” as a streaming show, would even secure a two-year mission.
Granted, the franchise’s fan base is loyal, following the tales from the bridge through a half-century of screen iterations. Yet it still seemed a tall order that a new version could genuinely thrive without a broadcast platform — at least enough to satisfy a huge broadcast titan like CBS.
In the early stages, “Star Trek: Discovery” is proving us skeptics wrong.
The new series, which launched late last month, has already been renewed for a second season, CBS All Access announced this week — after a half-dozen episodes sparked subscriber growth, Marc DeBevoise, head of CBS Interactive, said in a statement.
What was less surprising is how well “Discovery” would do on broadcast TV. The series debut last month drew a solid 9.6 million viewers and, notably, a 1.9 rating among prized adult viewers younger than 50.
CBS’s multipronged approach paid off: “Discovery” set the single-day record for sign-ups to its streaming subscription service, besting its tally from last February’s Grammy Awards digital offering, the network said.
Yet there are two caveats to this week’s announcement.
First, CBS All Access — as with other streaming services — offers no specific ratings and sign-up numbers, so there are no hard stats for comparison’s sake. “Records” in the streaming world are still a relatively gauzy metric.
Second, CBS All Access has clearly invested heavily in the look and promotion of “Discovery,” so that increased the likelihood of a second-season pickup.
“Discovery,” which is set a decade ahead of the original series, concludes its first half-season Nov. 12 (each new episode lands Sunday at 8:30 p.m.), and is scheduled to return in January.
It has received mixed to positive reviews, but must now hold viewers over the long haul.
Then again, CBS All Access (which launched in 2014) is committed to staying ahead of the industry-wide cord-cutting trend, having poured as much as $120 million into “Discovery’s” maiden 15-episode season, according to Bloomberg News.
At that rarefied price tag for a streaming series, the truer logic just might be: “Discovery” is too big to fail.