Will Star Trek: Discovery Be More Mature Than Past Star Trek Shows? Here’s What The Showrunner Says

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Star Trek: Discovery is set to show us a new chapter in the Trek series on television this fall, and since the show is heading to streaming service CBS All Access it seems like there's been some thought given to making it a bit more mature than Star Trek shows of the past. Now, showrunner Aaron Harberts has revealed just how far the show plans to go.

Every writer's impulse when you get to work on the streaming shows with no parameters is to go crazy. But then you look at things like: How does nudity play on Trek? Eh, it feels weird. How does a lot of [profanity] on Trek? Not so great. Are there moments where it merits it that we're trying to push here and there? I would say we're trying to push more by having the type of complicated messed-up characters who aren't necessarily embraced on broadcast.

Oh, thank heavens. I have to say that Aaron Harberts is spot on in his assessment of how things like profanity and nudity would play on Star Trek. While I, and many people who are fans of some of the darker streaming-only shows that are plentiful nowadays, enjoy gritty TV, that doesn't mean that everything has to include lots of cursing and butts and boobs. Star Trek just isn't that kind of show. Even on one of the darker entries in the series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (which focused on a major war for most of the series) things like that would have felt truly out of place.

Having said that, though, it's good to note that Star Trek: Discovery is planning to take some advantage of the fact that the show doesn't have to deal with stringent broadcast standards. As Harberts says in his comments to Entertainment Weekly, they plan to feature characters who sound to be more complicated and have more internal and external conflicts than the characters that we're used to seeing on most Trek shows. And, that sounds like a solid way to set the series apart from its predecessors.

It sounds a lot like Discovery is being very careful where it decides to push its boundaries, and that's a smart play. Trek has always been about the science and, well, discovery of it all when dealing with space exploration and alien life forms. Just the thought of watching sexytimes go down on the show or hearing a superbly trained Starfleet officer (who should be able to keep their head in the most difficult of times) drop a load of F-bombs is too jarring.

According to Harberts, the team behind Discovery is constantly thinking about where the show fits in the history of Trek and the legacy they want the show to leave behind.

I'm not saying we're not doing some violent things or doing a tiny bit of language. But what's important to the creative team is the legacy of the show --- which is passed down from mother to daughter, from father to son, from brother to brother. We want to make sure we're not creating a show that fans can't share with their families. You have to honor what the franchise is. I would say we're not going much beyond hard PG-13.

Yeah, Aaron Harberts' comments make me even more sure that he and the rest of the folks behind the scenes at Star Trek: Discovery really know how to handle the show. We can all see for ourselves how that PG-13 content turns out when the show debuts on September 24 on CBS and CBS All Access.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.