As William Shatner said in an infamous Saturday Night Live skit, “it’s just a TV show, God dammit, it’s just a TV show!”
But it’s kind of more than that. It’s hard to explain how the crew of the Enterprise became my stand-in friends when my mental health was at its lowest point, or how Star Trek‘s heroes somehow gave me hope for the future even though their stories were set in a time when I’d be long gone.
An important aspect of Jade, the main character in Black and Blue, is that she actually talks to Deanna Troi – counsellor on the Enterprise-D – as if she’s a real person. I’ve never done this, but it’s a nod to how much Star Trek means to me. I don’t speak the Klingon language or recall every minute detail, but I know what’s in my heart.
Which brings me to Star Trek: Discovery. Since its launch, it’s been a CBS All Access/Paramount+ exclusive in the US – but in most countries around the world, it was distributed to Netflix. We were told that would continue to be the case for season four. The cast of Discovery believed this to be the case as they were promoting the upcoming season at the Destination Star Trek convention in London a week ago.
Then two flipping days before the season four premiere, ViacomCBS informed international fans that Star Trek would be pulled from Netflix. And no one outside the US and Canada will have any legal way to watch season four of Discovery until sometime in 2022. Maybe even longer — while plans to launch Paramount+ have been announced for Mexico and many South American and European countries, there’s been no word yet on if/when it’ll be available in Asia, Africa or Oceania (apart from Australia, which already has Paramount+ but still isn’t getting Discovery until next year).
Not to mention, international fans continue to see posts on Star Trek’s social media channels hyping the new season they can’t access… and it’s like a phaser to my heart. I feel a bit ridiculous getting worked up over a TV show. But like I said, it’s more than that to me. It’s more than that to a lot of people. It’s a show that celebrates diversity and inclusion, but I guess the powers that be missed that memo. And frankly, in 2021, it’s stupid not to have a same day, or at least same week release around the world. This is a show I’m actually invested in and willing to pay for… and they’re not letting me?
Argh. You are without honour, you filthy p’takh! (I only know a tiny bit of Klingon. 😛 )
Anyway, I’ll get over this… eventually… but right now, I’m annoyed and needed to get it off my chest.
Update (November 27, 2021):
After a lot of social media anger, the powers that be have since premiered Star Trek: Discovery in countries with Paramount+ or the ViacomCBS-owned Pluto TV. I think that’s still only about a third of the countries that had access to Discovery on Netflix though. I’ve now been able to watch the first two episodes of season four legally, but I really hope other fans have not been forgotten.