Today, CBS and Nickelodeon announced a new untitled CG-animated Star Trek series. It will follow a group of teenagers who stumble upon an old, dilapidated ship. They have little guidance and are answerable only to themselves when the show begins, but thanks to the ship they will find meaning and, perhaps, a greater purpose.
This is the first new Star Trek series that is directed specifically at children — the other animated series in production, called Star Trek: Lower Decks (about a group of Starfleet officers that aren’t exactly the pride of the Federation) is aimed at adults. Also unlike the other Star Trek projects currently airing or in production, it will not be on CBS All Access. Instead, it will air on Nickelodeon.
It’s a huge step on two different fronts. First, there have been many criticisms that Star Trek: Discovery isn’t always family friendly. While Star Trek has always been aimed at adults, episodes of The Next Generation often served as moralizing stories that parents and kids could watch together. (It’s important to note, though, that all Star Trek series, including The Next Generation, have dealt with mature themes.)
Developing separate programming for children and teenagers ensures that other shows can continue to create content aimed at adult audiences, rather than trying to please everyone. After all, the point of having multiple series within one franchise is that you can pick and choose what you consume; not all content has to be for everyone.
Additionally, making this series widely available in the US through Nickelodeon, rather than restricting it to CBS All Access, is a great move. It introduces the values and principles of Star Trek to new, younger audiences through a show that is aimed at them. The fact that it will be easily accessible is just icing on the cake.
The series is being developed by Kevin and Dan Hageman, who co-created The Lego Movie and co-executive produced Trollhunters. CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, Secret Hideout, and Roddenberry Entertainment are behind the series, with Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth as executive producers. Nickelodeon’s Ramsey Naito will oversee the series.