A Decade Without 'Trek' Part 1: These were the voyages

[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on May 14, 2015, before CBS announced that the Star Trek franchise would finally be returning to television. With the newest series, Star Trek: Discovery, premiering on Sept. 24 on CBS and CBS All Access, here’s a chance to revisit the last great period for Trek on TV and the reasons for its decade-long hiatus.] 

Stardate: May 13, 2005. That’s the day, precisely ten years ago, that Star Trek as a generation of TV fans knew it drew to a close when the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise aired at 8 p.m. on UPN. More than just marking the end to the four-season run of the series, that episode brought the curtain down on a remarkable 19-year run for the franchise that started in 1987 with the launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It also initiated what can be considered Trek’s lost decade, at least in regards to television — ten years without a single new series on the air.

Granted, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 18 television years that separated the demise of Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek and the birth of The Next Generation. (Though there were blips on the radar during that timespan, most notably the single-season Star Trek: The Animated Series, the abandoned Phase II, and, of course, the launch of the film series.) But the sheer plethora of Trek available on the airwaves between 1987 and 2005 makes its absence over the past ten years all the more pronounced. Under the leadership of executive producer, Rick Berman, that timespan encompassed over 600 hour-long episodes spread across four different series — Next GenerationDeep Space NineVoyager and Enterprise. Not all of those shows were loved or even liked, but they were required viewing for hardcore Trekkies and did their part to enlist young viewers in the ranks of Starfleet.

These are the stories of some of the key men and women who piloted Star Trek on that 19-year-mission to explore brave new worlds and seek out new audiences and new ways of building upon Roddenberry’s original vision. It’s also the story of Trek’s potential TV future, and when or in what form the Starship Enterprise might return to the small screen after a decade away. Because even though Trek is racking up huge grosses at the theatrical box office thanks to the J.J. Abrams reboot, an equally successful TV show is, for now, the franchise’s final frontier.

THE RETURN: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Syndicated, 1987-1994)
With Star Trek a profitable franchise again thanks to the film series, Paramount struck a deal with Roddenberry to create a new TV show, one that would be sold into first-run syndication. During a meeting with the Paramount executives, Roddenberry met Rick Berman, then the Director of Current Programming for Paramount Television, and later convinced him to come aboard the series as a producer, starting his 19-year association with the franchise. Taking place a century after the original Star Trek and set aboard a refurbished Enterprise commanded by Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, Next Generation overcame a rough start and went on to enjoy a popular seven-year run. In its final season, the show was even nominated for a Best Dramatic Series Emmy alongside Law & Order and NYPD Blue, a first for a syndicated series and a rare achievement for a science fiction series.

Rick Berman (Executive Producer, The Next Generation; Executive Producer, Deep Space Nine; Co-creator and Executive Producer Voyager; Co-creator and Executive Producer, Enterprise): For me, [joining Next Generation] was a bit of a gamble, because it was going to be a syndicated TV show, which was not being done in 1987; it was going to be a sequel, which had never really worked on TV; and it was going to be science-fiction and there was literally no science-fiction on TV [at the time]. But even with those three potential strikes, it was more alluring to me than remaining a studio executive. I was in charge of all the casting and the production [details], though, of course, everything went through Gene for final approvals. I was a fan of science fiction, but I wasn’t all that familiar with Star Trek, which I believe is one of the things that attracted Gene to me. He was surrounded by a lot of people who had worked on the original series years before and I think he wanted someone younger and who was not a Star Trek fanatic. In the last year of his life, Gene sort of stepped back [from the show], and in the second and third seasons he left more and more of the oversight up to me. When he passed away [in 1991], it wasn’t like a grand change occurred in terms of running Next Generation.

Manny Coto (Co-Executive Producer, Enterprise):
I discovered the original series of Star Trek as a little kid and immediately fell in love with it. [But] I watched the pilot of Next Generation and didn’t like it. I immediately said “That’s not the Star Trek I knew!”

Judith Reeves-Stevens (Staff Writer and Co-Producer, Enterprise): It was really strange to watch the Next Generation pilot, because it had been such a long time between series. To see new characters in that same universe took awhile to get used to. The shows matched their eras; the original came out of the ‘60s, so it was like a VW Bug with flowers on it. And then you’ve got that nice ‘80s carpeted office-like structure in Next Generation when thirtysomething was on TV.

Phyllis Strong (Staff Writer and Story Editor, Voyager; Staff Writer and Co-Producer, Enterprise): The first season was trying to find itself a bit, especially when it seemed like they were re-doing original series stuff. The episode that turned me around was The Measure of a Man from Season 2, when Data was on trial about whether he’s machine or not. It was really cool and had a lot of emotion. When they hit that kind of storytelling, I was drawn in.

Berman: Everybody likes to talk about the fact that [Next Generation] was a mess until Michael Piller arrived [as executive producer] in the third season. That was true to some degree, but all TV shows have to find their footing. You were [also] dealing with a very opinionated and somewhat stubborn gentlemen in Gene when it came to writing. So there was turmoil within the writing staff. Michael had a much more pragmatic approach to the writing staff, and the show began to settle down. He also believed that, because of the unique show that Star Trek was, the best way to find writers was to accept open spec script submissions, which was sort of unheard of.

[Note: Michael Piller passed away in 2005]

Rene Echevarria (Executive Story Editor, The Next Generation; Co-Supervising Producer, Deep Space Nine): I was living in New York at the time, waiting tables and trying to do theater. I loved Star Trek and Next Generation was a little rocky at first, but it was still Star Trek and Gene’s name was on it. I sent in a spec script to Paramount, because I had no idea that wasn’t really how it was done. But I was lucky, because Michael decided to look at [open submissions]. Ron Moore and I were the two writers who came in through that door. When I got there, Ron was this nervous wreck of a guy, because he had no job security. So he didn’t like me coming in one bit. Obviously, we’re good friends now. [Laughs]

Ira Steven Behr (Producer, The Next Generation; Executive Producer, Deep Space Nine): I think Michael stabilized the show in terms of it became less of a waste factory [for writers]. People had 10 weeks to prove themselves and then get kicked out the door, or 10 weeks to prove themselves and run for the door. Michael was more interested in building a machine that worked with a staff that worked. I’d like to think that we were doing the best we could do under the circumstances. There were episodes we were proud of and episodes we weren’t. And in terms of the fan response, it was [still] “Give us Kirk, Spock and McCoy — the Holy Trinity! These [TNG] guys are boring. Where’s the fun?” That was something shared by the actors, too, by the way — where’s the fun, where’s the meat, where’s the conflict?

Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Writer, Deep Space Nine): The truth is, even the most fervent defenders of Next Generation will acknowledge the first season wasn’t very good. Once Michael and Ira got their hands on it, you were like, “Oh this is interesting TV.” The uniforms looked better, Riker looked better with a beard. There were a lot of things that they course-corrected in a lot of really smart ways. The show was really working and I could appreciate the craftsmanship behind it.

Echevarria: The reality of the first few years [of TNG] were that Gene had bought into some of the mythology about the show. He was looking at it through a lens that was a lot less about storytelling and more about its politics and progressivism. The episodes were too often about the crew of the Enterprise showing up somewhere and showing the people the error of their ways. What Michael brought to it was a real discipline. He also moved it away a little bit from the Wesley Crusher of it all. In the early years there was a loft of “Let’s have this character young people can identify with!” It just didn’t click.

Brannon Braga (Writer/Producer, The Next Generation; Executive Producer,Voyager; Co-creator and Executive Producer, Enterprise): I was already a Next Generation fan when I got an internship on the show by pure coincidence. I was kind of in the right place at the right time. Michael Piller was there, Ron Moore was there and eventually Michael brought on writers like Jeri Taylor and Rene, who stayed through the run of the show. The original series set the bar that we could only aspire to, but I think Next Generation succeeded in its own right and that Picard, Data and Worf are right alongside Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I was offered a job on Deep Space Nine, and I turned it turned it down because I wanted to be involved in closing out Next Generation. That’s how much I loved the show.

Berman: Being nominated for the Emmy in our final season was terrific. I was the one who was going to have to give a speech, so I was delighted I didn’t have to do that [when we lost]. But it was great to be recognized. I still think the fact that actors like Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner were never nominated is a shame. That’s what science fiction does; it’s not taken seriously amongst certain groups of people.

GROWING PAINS: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Syndicated, 1993-1999)
The success of Next Generation in syndication made Paramount eager to put another Trek series into the marketplace. The first show to be created without the direct involvement of Gene Roddenberry, Deep Space Nine was, from the beginning, a challenging proposition. Set aboard the titular space station, which orbited a strategic wormhole, the series spun a complex, serialized mythology involving a race of aliens known as the Bajorans and their ill-treatment at the hands of another species, the Cardassians. Never a ratings blockbuster, Deep Space Nine developed a passionate fan following and arguably most closely reflects the kind of sci-fi television favored today.

Berman: None of the [post-Next Generation] shows were my idea to create. In each case, it was Paramount Television. With Deep Space Nine, after three years of very successful results from Next Generation, the studio came to us and said, “We would like another show.“ Michael [Piller] and I were a bit flummoxed, because we were turning out 26 hours a year and they wanted another show that was going to be 26 hours a year. We agreed to do it, but it was a challenge, because didn’t want to have two shows on the air at the same time that were both starship-driven. That’s why Deep Space Nine was developed the way it was. Also, one of Gene’s big rules was that by the 24th century, human beings — and specifically Starfleet officers — did not have any conflict between themselves. Humanity had evolved beyond that. As any good writer knows, drama without conflict is nonexistent. It was very difficult for us to have all these Starfleet characters on Next Generation who we were specifically instructed to keep out of conflict with each other. If you look at the cast of DS9, half of them are Starfleet and half are not. That allowed us to develop more conflict between our regular characters and at the same time create a show that was dramatically different from Next Generation.

Behr: After my season on Next Generation, they offered me a contract to come back and I politely refused. I went off into feature film development hell writing a movie for Harrison Ford, but I maintained a friendship with Michael, and we kept going to baseball games together. During one game, he said, “We’re doing a new show, and I think it will reflect your sensibilities a lot more than Next Generation did. And I will tell you this: if you agree to come back, in two years I will hand you the show.” I can’t say that if anybody else had said this to me, I would have believed them, but one thing I knew about Michael is that he wasn’t the usual show business bullsh–ter. If he said it, he meant it.

Echevarria: Those of us on Next Generation saw Deep Space Nine getting ready to launch; we saw the sets being built and we were like, “Oh my god, they’re going to crush us!” The station was so cool-looking and they kept talking about conflict and we were so jealous. But the show never quite hit that level at all. It had a big premiere and started falling off. Eventually, Next Generation was more successful ratings-wise. As Next Generation wrapped up, I really wanted to be part of Voyager, partly because [Voyager co-creator] Jeri Taylor had been my mentor the last two years. And I was basically told by Michael, “No, you’re going to Deep Space Nine.” He was right; he pushed me out of my comfort zone and Ira was a great mentor to me for the next five years.

Wolfe: As a staff writer, I pretty much did whatever Ira told me to do because your job is to make the showrunners’ life easier. But I could see there was a strong tension between what had been working really well for five to six years on Next Generation and where Deep Space Nine wanted to depart. Next Generation was really grounded in science and exploring scientific ideas, and Deep Space Nine was ultimately about politics and history. You can see [in the show] that there’s some very dense tech-talk scenes that neither Ira, nor I, nor Michael were particularly interested in exploring. But Rick insisted on putting a lot of that stuff in because that was Star Trek to him. So there was some push back and push-pull.

Behr: From my point of view, [Michael and Rick] started to get cold feet and second guess how far they wanted to go. I felt it was my job to help push the envelope, and make the series as unique as possible. A lot of the things we wound up achieving [on Deep Space Nine] all came through one struggle or another. When Paramount reared its heard, 90 percent of the time it was all about the budget, and that we could live with because if we got into a hole, we’d dig ourselves out of the hole. But when it wasn’t the budget, it was insane. The three big notes [from the studio] the end of the first or second season were: 1) Put engines on the station and turn it into a ship. We said no. 2) Get rid of Bashir [the chief medical officer, played Alexander Siddig], that character doesn’t seem to be clicking. We said no. And 3) What do you think about bringing someone over from Next Generation because we need to get fans to accept this as a Star Trek series? So Worf came on.

Echevarria: Ira was not excited about [Worf’s arrival] at first. He felt it was kind of craven, abandoning what the show wanted to be. I think there was a tension about “What did we do wrong? Maybe we shouldn’t be doing these three-part episodes about Bajoran politics.” [Laughs] But as the reins were handed to Ira and I, at some point, Paramount and Rick just kind of gave up. They threw their hands up and said, “We tried to make it more like Next Generation and it hasn’t become more popular.” So they kind of let us do what we wanted, and [part of that] was continuing storylines.

Berman: The studio was extremely insistent in the first years of Next Generation that we did not serialize any of the shows. Their philosophy was, “If someone didn’t watch Part 1, they ain’t going to watch Part 2.” We would have to fight the studio when we wanted to do a two-parter or a cliffhanger at the end of a season. When Deep Space Nine came on, there were slight changes in the executive branch of Paramount Television that allowed us to have a little more freedom when it came to continuing storylines.

Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Writer, Enterprise): Today, everything is serialized. Serialization back when Deep Space Nine was on was something of a risk. For the [non-Star Trek] shows we were writing at the time, I remember being told that we could not count on more than 40 percent of the viewers watching this week’s episode having seen last week’s episode. You had to have been home to watch it or have programmed your VCR. Nowadays you can more intensely serialize because nobody ever misses an episode, and if they do, then they binge-watch. That’s much more freeing as writers to know that.

Wolfe: We were pioneers a little bit. Hill Street Blues had been on the air already, so it’s not like we were inventing the wheel. But one of the things that was very clear to us very quickly is that, when you’re on a space station, you don’t just warp away at the end of an episode. So to make that a storytelling virtue instead of a vice, we tried to show that actions have consequences, and that’s something that we were very interested in with Deep Space Nine. We sort of profited from being the middle child; Paramount was launching UPN and Voyager, while Next Generation was making the transition from television to movies. So nobody really gave a crap about our little show! [Laughs] That was frustrating at times, because we really wanted the promotional budget, but we got to do a lot of things we wouldn’t have been able to do if they were paying more attention to us.

Strong: I was excited about Deep Space Nine, because it had lots of conflict and I liked the Holocaust metaphor with the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. I wrote a Deep Space Nine spec script that was good enough to get me in the door to pitch. It had a World War II scene it, because the material was right there. It wasn’t dark exactly, but it was pretty serious. I remember an agent saying, “Wow, people don’t write that stuff, but Star Trek does.”

Behr: The best thing about doing Star Trek conventions in the last couple of years is meeting the new breed of fan [who love Deep Space Nine]. The whole idea of what Star Trek is or what it’s supposed to be, which we faced at the time we did the show, seems to have gone by the wayside. People who are coming to it now are just saying, “We love the show.” To them, it is Star Trek. They didn’t grow up watching the original series or Gene Roddenberry’s Next Generation. They’re just watching a TV series and enjoying it. It’s very heartening and very nice to get that kind of feedback.

PEAK TREK: Star Trek: Voyager (UPN, 1995-2001)
With The Next Generation cast graduating from television to movies and Deep Space Nine not quite pulling in the same numbers, Paramount requested another Trek series, one that would anchor its latest venture: UPN, the studio’s foray into broadcast network television. The two-hour premiere of Voyager on January 16, 1995 was UPN’s first telecast. In another significant first, Voyager featured a woman in the captain’s chair — the indomitable Kathryn Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew, who had to lead her crew back to Federation space after getting lost in the distant outreaches of the Delta Quadrant. It was a bold creative choice for a series that was sometimes accused of not being bold enough during its seven-year run.

Berman: When Next Generation ended, Paramount came to me and said, “We need something to replace it, because we’re going to start a new network.” I fought against it. I thought it was too soon, that we were taking too many trips to the well. But they were very insistent that we create a new show and that show was Voyager, which literally went on the air immediately after Next Generation went off the air, and Deep Space Nine was continuing. So for a period of seven years — the last three years of Next Generation and the first four years of Voyager — we had two shows on the air at the same time. Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor and myself decided that we wanted to go back on a spaceship, but we couldn’t just do the same show [as Next Generation]. The idea of catapulting this ship to the other side of the quadrant and having them spend the entire series trying to get home, running into spaceships we’ve never seen before and not having Starfleet to answer to was an attractive alternative to what we’d been doing.

Braga: Between Deep Space NineVoyager and the Next Generation movies, Star Trek was kind of at its peak at that time. It was a very exciting time to be involved with [the franchise]. Kirk and Picard were on the cover of Time magazine [and] you had three different incarnations around at the same time. I don’t know what other show can say they’ve done that. Most recently, maybe, CSI.

Wolfe: After Next Generation ended, the writers were sort of split up between Deep Space Nine and Voyager. I was on the Deep Space Nine staff, and Voyager wasn’t really something we thought about because we were so busy doing 26 episodes of our own show. Occasionally, there’d be a story with some overlap, but because the Voyager crew was off in the Delta Quadrant having their own adventures, we didn’t overlap very often. We did get the dictate from on high that Q and the Borg were going to be a big part of Voyager, so we should leave them alone [on Deep Space Nine].

Strong: At the time [I joined the writing staff], Voyager didn’t have any women and they really wanted one. The writers had a pretty good idea how to write the existing characters like Janeway, who at that time had a lot of the characteristics of a gender blind commander. So [my role] wasn’t, “What would a woman do?” For the boys in the room, it was a little bit more like, “What women might do in a relationship.” Or, “How women might approach things more from the heart than the head.” Those were stereotypes and maybe they were brought up or I brought them up, but they wouldn’t necessarily end with my [take]. When you finish batting everything around in the writers’ room, you get somewhere else. With Voyager, there was a standalone nature to it; they were trying to get home, but it wasn’t as serialized. It wasn’t like coming up with a grand Borg arc, as much as “Let’s put these characters in really tough situations.”

Braga: The [Internet scrutiny of Star Trek] started with Voyager. It was an interesting time. Back then and later on Enterprise, there were people posting on Trek websites what they thought of certain episodes and I found it incredibly novel and helpful to have that level of access to what the fans were thinking, even though a lot of them were rude and sometimes even threatening. But for the most part people were so passionate about Star Trek. I always appreciated [that about] the Internet. I think its perfect for the genre.

Coto: I watched Deep Space Nine and Voyager, not as religiously as Next Generation, but I did watch. I personally leaned more towards Voyager. I recognize Deep Space Ninewas very well done and it has a huge legion of fans. But I’ve always been a fan of exploration — of being in a ship and going out there. They did some really great episodes, especially in the later seasons. There was a two-parter [“Dark Frontier” from Season 5] where they’re planning a heist to break onto the Brog ship and steal [a transwarp coil]. That was tremendous two-parter.

Strong: Each Star Trek series is always under intense scrutiny for what it is not and for what came before. Like any other series it had its better episodes and the episodes that didn’t do quite as well. And with Voyager, there were lots of different kinds of stories. If you didn’t like the more humorous ones or the ones that were sheer adrenaline, you wouldn’t like those episodes. And if you wanted a lot of soap opera in space, you weren’t always going to get that. I think people had their favorite episodes and characters on Voyager more than they had the sense of, “This is an overall series that I like everything about.”

Berman: I think people look back more fondly on a lot of things having to do with Star Trek [these days]. Voyager was the first show on a new network so that was a little shaky at times. The network changed leadership over the years and changed its direction. Eventually, especially during Enterprise, it started becoming a network more for young women, so the focus of the promotion went against us.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END: Star Trek: Enterprise (UPN, 2001-2005)
Voyager found its way home in May 2001 and by September, UPN had another Trek series to fill its timeslot void. Famously constructed to appeal to a wider audience — so much so that the series initially dropped the Star Trek prefix and used a pop song, “Faith of the Heart” as the opening theme — Enterprise was greeted with skepticism by Trekkies, especially for its prequel premise that revolved around the very first Enterprise crew, headed up by Scott Bakula’s Jonathan Archer. But the buzz turned around in the third and fourth year, which took some creative leaps that reignited fan interest, most notably a season-long arc in which the Enterprise pursued the malevolent Xindi who had attacked Earth. But that burst of fan enthusiasm was too little too late…

Berman: When Voyager ended, Paramount wanted a replacement immediately. I fought like hell to avoid overkill. There was just too much Star Trek. I begged the studio to give it a year or two, but they were pretty insistent. I could have walked away at any point, and they would have put someone else in the position. But I felt a responsibility towards Star Trek and I wasn’t ready to do that. So again, we had to come up with something different, and I chose Brannon to create and develop it with me. We decided the wisest thing to do was to go back a couple hundred years before the time of Kirk and Spock to see how the Federation began.

Braga: When Rick called me about it, he said that he wanted to do a show that was more closer to today, with more contemporary characters and a large part of it taking place on Earth during the birth of Starfleet. It was like Star Trek meets The Right StuffThe Phantom Menace had just come out, so the idea of doing a prequel was really exciting. We had a little bit of debate with the studio, who oddly chose to go further in the future and we had a hard time wrapping our minds around that fact. Are the spandex uniforms tighter? Are the phasers smaller? What does that mean? So there were some creative struggles getting this concept embraced. From the studio’s perspective — and they’re not wrong — Star Trek is about being on a ship. And we were talking about a show where people built a ship on the ground. We tried to find a middle ground.

Strong: From the time Enterprise launched, the Internet had been exploding with comments. It was a forum for bringing the fan and the object of their fandom together and both sides were feeling their way, and it was often very combustible. We read lots of stuff, and some was heartening and some completely depressing. It was also frustrating, because any show — even Breaking Bad or The Americans — flounder and don’t know where they’re going [in the early episodes]. It takes awhile for things to settle down and settle in. Today, fan response on the Internet is more mature. It’s now baked into entertainment.

Berman: It was a great concept and a perfect pilot and the show performed well for awhile, but started to slip. And I think some of that was franchise fatigue. I’m not trying to dodge responsibility for the fact that the show’s numbers went down. The fact that the ratings were slipping [meant that] we had to continually try new things to keep it fresh.

Behr: There was a brief flirtation where Rick asked me to watch some episodes of Enterprise and come in and talk with him and Brannon. I did, and that meeting has entered into Star Trek lore. Even though it was cordial, people are still being told that I s–t all over Enterprise, which I don’t agree with in the slightest. They asked me my opinion and I tried to give some constructive criticism as if I was seriously considering coming on the show, which is what Rick said he wanted. So that’s what I gave them and I guess it was a disaster. That not my memory of it, but all of reality is subjective.

Braga: [Ira] was brutal! He came in and ripped the show to shreds. It was a wake-up call and he said some incredibly insightful things that hopefully helped us make the show better, but I don’t’ think there was any way we could have really worked together. The truth is, I value Ira’s opinion and I looked up to him. So any criticism coming from him probably stung more than it should have. We both like each other very much; we run into each other at Star Trek conventions.

Strong: Enterprise had to fit into a world before Kirk and Spock and fit into that without being constrained by it. We also had to deal with fans saying, “Where’s the Borg? Where’s this? Where’s that?” Early on, there were more standalone episodes, but we ended up going in a more serialized arc, because the world was getting more serialized. We did the Xindi storyline in Season 3 because of 9/11; it was a response to that and a metaphor for that. That serialization raised the stakes for everybody and unified things a bit.

Coto: Brannon responded to a sci-fi series I made for Showtime called Odyssey 5 and called me in for a meeting. This was in the midst of Season 2 and he pitched me on the idea of a [season-long serialized arc] for Season 3. He had it all worked out and I thought it sounded really cool. But the ratings had plummeted so precipitously, it was a foregone conclusion by the time I got there that this was not going to be a seven season show.

Braga: When Manny took over my job in Season 4, he really took the show to the next level. I stepped away from it, because I felt it was time for me to move on. I’d been doing it for 15 years — that’s a long time. And perhaps I should have left a little sooner. I’m sure there are many fans who would say that!

Strong: My decision to leave at the end of the third season was a combination of things. I felt to some extent that I had said a lot of what I wanted to say. I was proud of the last episode I wrote, “Damage,” which asked, “Do you turn into the bad guy for the greater good?” And to tell you the truth, it was hard to know if we were coming back. It was an 11th hour decision and I had to decide before things were really clear, so for better or worse, I left it behind. But I was thrilled that they got picked up again.

Coto: My gut told me that Season 4 was going to be the last season. But I didn’t look at it as an axe. I considered it an opportunity to plan for it and tie up the series in a beautiful way, so we could have four seasons of a show we were proud of. It was freeing. We weren’t worried about, “What can we introduce to keep the ratings up?” We knew we weren’t coming back.

Click here for Part 2 of our Decade Without Trek oral history.  

Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS and CBS All Access

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