Last season, Sunday at 5:30 pm PST, I could get my wife and kid to sit down with me. We’d get burritos, it’s the end of the weekend, even though I was appalled there was nothing Star Trek about it the missus didn’t mind and my kid didn’t care because there was no Kirk or Spock or McCoy. If you have a ten year old who could care less about your space bang-bang, you are dropping the ball. But at least we watched it together, and there was a little appointment TV thing about it in 2018 even if nobody was really satisfied with why we were getting together, at least we were.
…and then CBS panicked. It’s no secret they’re legally hamstrung from doing the Star Trek everybody loves, and they’re getting absolutely killed by critics and social media on their merits and it doesn’t help The Orville is doing Star Trek better than they are. But instead of upping their game, CBS moved STD to Thursday.That is really the most tone-deaf thing in a list of tone-deaf things they’ve done in handling this show. CBS acted like a network in 1982. “Here’s a show we think we can compete with; let’s counter-program and try to draw points from our rival.” Except that’s not how what I laughingly refer to as “watching TV” actually works in 2019. Everybody has some kind of DVR, so they can watch your stuff whenever they want. Come on; half the time people watch whole “seasons” of your stuff in a weekend. Perhaps you’ve heard of “binge-watching”? CBS hasn’t.
And then? Of those nerds who are already thinking about watching your show? You’ve put it on against Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Gotham, and The Orville. You have to know you end up fourth in that list, because it’s Thursday night and the weekend’s looming and you can watch STD when you get around to it.
Which brings me to the next thing. Sunday night, everyone can watch the show and do their hot takes on Monday or Tuesday. The opinions come out and the social media might talk about your show all week. Thursday night? There’s no immediacy, and even if it’s an awesome episode like last week, nerds write and the social media sees it Friday night, or Saturday, or Sunday, and maybe you get the same volume of commentary as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or Gotham, or The Orville but a small trickle over four days instead of a big splash on the night or the day after.
I look at this marketing clown car and I don’t know who they have running things because my eleven year old is more media savvy than whoever is making these boneheaded decisions.
But this week’s: “Saints of Imperfection” by Kiersten Byer. I don’t know who titles these episodes, but holy crap can you do me a favor and don’t be so pretentious? “The Corbomite Maneuver” is descriptive, and leads you in. “Arena” is a fight; “Amok Time” is a promise. Even “The Gamesters of Triskelion” tells you some guys from somewhere are throwing down about something. “Saints of Imperfection” are the virtuous people of fucking up? I literally can’t believe that sort of honest self-awareness left the writers room. Anyway.
This running-through-the-corridor trope to convey a false sense of urgency at the top of the episode would be embarrassing in a freshman Intro to Creative Writing class, and I can’t believe this is getting to be a signature move in this show. First the half-marathon, and now this. The room has to know Trekkies are smart people. Which, you know, begs the question: why aren’t they writing for Trekkies? It looks to me like it’s because they’re trying to write a Star Wars-type action show. That’s fine. It’s just not Star Trek, but, OK. JJVerse-type action, great.
Then why do they start out nearly every episode with a character voice-over? In true action/adventure… nobody cares what your characters think. It only matters what they do. This VO thing is beyond precious.
Anson Mount is just crazy awesome as Captain Pike, though. You can tell the room wants to write for him because he’s the only Star Trek guy on the show.