Midway through the just-released trailer for Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery there’s a moment when the grim-faced Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) informs Capt. Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) that the future of the universe is in peril.
Underwhelmed, Pike replies with a nonchalant smirk. “Mr. Tyler,” Pike says, “we are always in a fight for the future.”
Pike meant Starfleet but his appraisal applies just as much to big-budget television enterprises such as Star Trek: Discovery, which launches its sophomore season January 17 on CBS All Access. Star Trek: Discovery is the flagship brand for the subscription streaming site and while it performed admirably in its inaugural season (with favorable reviews and subscription spikes) there was also major upheaval among the creative team that raised questions about its future as an ongoing mission.
The new trailer shows the 14-episode Season 2 won’t be skimping much on special effects or a sense of scale. The trailer also suggests a lot of velocity, both in interstellar travel and in plot pacing. The Discovery crew will start the season in the company of Pike, commander of the USS Enterprise, and a character with a longer Trek history than Capt. James T. Kirk. (Jeffrey Hunter portrayed Pike for a 1965 pilot that got shelved.)
The trailer’s action and sleek visuals will likely stir the curiosity of many casual Trek fans who have fallen away from the franchise or think of it as a feature-film brand. When Discovery debuted in September 2017 (as a broadcast pilot on CBS proper) it was the first Trek television series since Star Trek: Enterprise was de-commissioned in 2005.
The task of Discovery then, really, is one of Trek rediscovery. The show’s mission for Season 2, simply put, is to engage new fans and energize old ones. The latter means the show must fight the past as well as the future — in this case the past being the 700-plus episodes of various Star Trek iterations that aired before Discovery made its maiden voyage. The series will get some help, though, when Patrick Stewart returns to Federation Space for a second CBS All Access series.
The official Star Trek: Discovery summary: “Season Two finds the crew of the USS Discovery joining forces with Capt. Christopher Pike on a new mission to investigate seven mysterious red signals and the appearance of an unknown being called the Red Angel. While the crew must work together to unravel their meaning and origin, Michael Burnham is forced to face her past with the return of her estranged brother, Spock.”
The cast of Discovery: Sonequa Martin-Green (Commander Michael Burnham), Michelle Yeoh (Philippa Georgiou), Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Latif, Mount, Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), and Ethan Peck (Spock).