It's official: Trekkies and Trekkers across the net are over the moon about CBS's announcement Tuesday that Bryan Fuller will take up the mantle of showrunner on CBS's forthcoming Star Trek series. Indeed, the writer/producer's connections to the franchise run deep. Though best known for creating such cult TV shows as Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls and the recently-canceled Hannibal, Fuller is not only a self-professed lifelong fan of the Gene Roddenberry-created franchise but wrote 22 episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager between 1997 and 2001.
“I would say that there was an audible sigh of relief from the Star Trek fan community,” said Joe Outlaw, spokesperson for the international Star Trek fan club The Federation. “In general, I say that having Bryan Fuller involved, because of his historical publicly stated involvement with Star Trek, his background, his commitment to the traditional Star Trek universe, and…the involvement of Alex Kurtzman, who also has obvious Star Trek cred, that fans should be relieved and pleased.”
It hardly goes without saying that Trekkers and Trekkies are some of the most — if not the most — ardent, vocal and exacting fans in pop culture, so positive reaction to the news no doubt came as a relief to CBS, which is clearly counting on buy-in from longtime fans to help create buzz for the currently-untitled series (which will run exclusively on the network's “All Access” streaming platform). If nothing else, they're off to a good start by bringing Fuller into the fold.
“It's really probably the best choice of who is currently available,” said a representative for Star Trek fansite TrekCore.com, who noted that Fuller's attachment came as a “surprise” to many fans who assumed that the writer-producer's commitment to Starz's American Gods precluded him from taking part. Additionally, it may have provided relief to fans who were dubious about the involvement of Alex Kurtzman, the A-list screenwriter (and self-professed Trekkie) who wrote and produced both of J.J. Abrams' not-exactly-fan-beloved Star Trek films.
“While there's really no detail yet if the new show is going to be connected more to the old shows or the new movies, I think definitely having Fuller's name in there has eased the fears of a lot of people,” the rep continued. “Especially I guess with Alex Kurtzman being the EP of the current show and his connection to the current movies, having someone who's part of I guess you'd call the old guard in the lead role is definitely reassuring to a lot of people I think.”
Indeed, reaction on social media has been almost universally positive, with our own Alan Sepinwall tweeting that Fuller's involvement makes the series “creatively legit.” Professed Trekkie/comedian Kumail Nanjiani, meanwhile, touted the writer-producer as “super smart and super good and super a-fan-of-Star-Trek and I super can't-wait to see his version.” Non-famous fans also responded enthusiastically:
– Wilhelm (@Draconic_) February 10, 2016
@BryanFuller glad to see you are in charge. Looking forward to the new show. ????????
– albert burdge (@albertburdge) February 10, 2016
https://t.co/wvx56SpavG Bryan Fuller is going back to star trek this is such good news you guys
– Insomnia Club (@quantum_scumbag) February 10, 2016
– David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) February 10, 2016
Bryan Fuller show runner for the new Star Trek tv series! This is a very good sign indeed… https://t.co/RHofKSRCRB
– Leigh Wright (@Leigh_Wright_) February 10, 2016
Mega-positive early reactions aside, the series — which is expected to debut in 2017 — is still a long way off, and with time there is always room for missteps.
“First and foremost I want it to be excellent writing, great science fiction, and very, very true to the principles of the Star Trek universe that Gene Roddenberry championed throughout his life, and that they don't play too fast and loose with canon just to try what they perceive [will] grab a younger audience,” said Outlaw, who told me that he found 2009's Star Trek “a little bit too much Star Trek Hollywood 90210.” “I think the best thing they could do in their own selfish interest is look to the previous series that were obviously successful — and they're still doing very well in syndication — and not mess with success.”
Indeed, many questions about the series remain this early in the process — including whether it will take off from Abrams' big-screen reboots or be a part of, in the words of TrekCore.com, “what fans have taken to be calling the 'prime' universe, the original television and film timeline of the Star Trek series.” Said the site's editorial rep: “That right now is really the biggest question I think that almost anyone who has been looking at this show has been asking. Because that alone will really determine what everyone's next expectations are going to be.”