After a dozen years without a Star Trek TV show for fans to dig into, not to mention the multiple production delays that kept the wait going, Star Trek: Discovery finally made its big debut on CBS and the streaming service CBS All Access. And as everyone who watched discovered (pun not intended), this newest franchise entry is far more serialized than the O.G. series that it serves as a prequel for. And according to writer and executive producer Alex Kurtzman, fans should expect more cliffhangers and similarly exciting endings for episodes.
There's no doubt. Not every episode ends on a cliffhanger, but many do. And it's because there is an evolving, serialized story, which has been incredibly liberating and exciting for us. Unlike the original series, which is more of a mission-of-the-week, this is a much longer-term arc, and what we love about it is the ability to live in the emotional lives of the characters, episode to episode. Whatever they experience, they carry with them into the next episode, and whatever storylines are set up are often long-term arcs that will require many episodes to play out. It's a lot more fun to write, honestly.
Now, I know that there are some fans out there who won't be too happy to hear that, since many don't necessarily think that Star Trek shows need to follow the hyper-serialized storylines that became so commonplace during the Peak TV era in the last decade or so. But for viewers who embrace the thrills of cliffhangers and other big moments that tie a season's episodes together, Star Trek: Discovery will apparently steer itself closer to shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead than Star Trek: The Original Series. (Or even Seth MacFarlane's new Fox show The Orville, which is adhering to weekly standalone episodes.)
Note that there are MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW THE IMAGE for those who don't want to be spoiled on the crazy shocker at the end of Episode 2, titled "Battle at the Binary Stars." Many fans only got to watch the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery, which aired on CBS proper, while the second episode was streamed exclusively on CBS All Access. So DO NOT READ ON unless you're fine with knowing.
SPOILER TALK STARTS NOW. When Star Trek: Discovery's second episode came to an end, fans had witnessed one of the show's first mindblowing shocks, as Michelle Yeoh's Captain Philippa Georgiou was already killed off by the Klingon leader T'Kuvma, which all came about as a result of Sonequa Martin-Green's First Officer Michael Burnham making the arguably terrible decision to strike first against the Klingons in the first episode. And beyond that big death, the episode ends with Michael getting sentenced to prison for her mutinous actions. Amazingly enough, everything occurred before fans could even spend any time on the actual Discovery ship. It was a hell of a two-part premiere, and fans can expect to see the ramifications of Michael's decisions for months to come. (The season will take a winter break in November before starting up again with its second chapter in January 2018.)
When Bryan Fuller was part of the creative team behind Star Trek: Discovery, before dropping out to focus on Starz's American Gods, he'd intended to try and make the new series an anthology project that focused on different timelines within the Trek universe for each season. It's unclear if Fuller's original vision for the story would have taken this same cliffhanger-heavy approach, but considering he worked closely with Alex Kurtzman in first putting this season's story together, one can assume that was the case.
To catch many more cliffhangers and other wild episode cappers, don't forget to watch Star Trek: Discovery every Sunday night on CBS All Access. And check out our fall premiere guide to get a look at everything else hitting the small screen soon.