CBS confirmed today that they have placed an embargo on reviews of this month’s hotly anticipated premiere of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’. This will primarily affect reviews that would otherwise run in the wake of the show’s premiere events in New York and Los Angeles, as the network has likewise announced that they will not be providing critics with screener copies of the pilot episode.
But while review embargoes (especially in the realms of film and video gaming) are often seen as indicating a lack of confidence in the material, that doesn’t appear to be the case here. If anything, embargoes are starting to become more common for high profile television properties. By way of example, both the most recent season of ‘Game of Thrones‘ and Showtime’s revival of ‘Twin Peaks’ were both subject to similar restrictions. In each case, the move appears to be part of an effort to limit spoilers than to mitigate negative reviews.
If anything, this represents a continuation (or, perhaps, a culmination) of a strategy that CBS has pursued with ‘Discovery’ from the very beginning. While a fair bit of background and character details have been made public over the last few months, we still know remarkably little about the series’ overarching plot. This is even more remarkable given the length of time the series has spent in development, a process which included nearly a year’s worth of delays. This embargo allows the network to maintain that secrecy until the last possible moment, something they no doubt see as a benefit given the heavily serialized nature of the show and the fact that the premiere is expected to include a number of plot twists. Additionally, the secrecy in which the show is shrouded may well be connected to the network’s effort to use ‘Discovery’ as a programming anchor for their CBS All Access streaming service.
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is due to make its long-awaited debut on September 24, 2017. The show will premiere on CBS before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service for the remainder of its run. The series cast includes Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Isaacs, Anthony Rapp, James Frain, Michelle Yeoh, Terry Serpico, Maulik Pancholy, Sam Vatholomeos, Chris Obi, Shazad Latif, Mary Chieffo, Rainn Wilson, Rekha Sharma, Kenneth Mitchell, Clare McConnell, and Damon Runyan.
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