When Star Trek Discovery begins airing later this year, it’ll bring some new changes to Gene Roddenberry’s world, including an overarching, serialized story, rather than an episodic season. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, former showrunner Bryan Fuller explained that his original pitch for the show was even more ambitious: an anthology that would to do to Star Trek “what American Horror Story [did] for horror.”
According to Fuller, his vision would begin with a prequel series (Discovery is set before Star Trek: The Original Series), and would continue through the eras that followed in Voyager, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and beyond. CBS instead decided to move forward with a serialized season, and would see how audiences responded. Fuller stepped down from running the show last October, which was explained at the time as a result of his other duties running American Gods for Starz and Amazing Stories for NBC. EW reports that there were other reasons as well: As production began, Fuller’s relationship with CBS deteriorated with disagreements over budget, production schedule, and crew selection. Interestingly, Baby Driver’s Edgar Wright said that Fuller approached him to direct the pilot, while CBS opted to hire veteran television director David Semel instead.
The revelation that the show was originally envisioned as an anthology is fascinating, because it’s a format that would allow Fuller and CBS to revisit the franchise’s classic eras and reinterpret them for a new generation of fans. The format — a television show that focuses on a different, overarching story each season or a variety of standalone stories in each season — has experienced a newfound popularity in recent years with shows such as Channel 4‘s (and now Netflix’s) Black Mirror and FX’s Fargo. This isn’t the first time that Fuller has been involved with such a format: he’s his reboot of NBC’s science fiction show Amazing Stories is one such show.
It’s a shame that we won’t get to see Fuller’s concept play out as he envisioned, because the serialized format would allow the show’s writers to put together some more ambitious stories than the episodic format typically allows for. That said, we’ll see how well Star Trek Discovery fares as a serialized story when it begins streaming in September.