Star Trek: Short Treks
Star Trek: Short Treks is an American anthology web television series created for CBS All Access by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. It originated as a spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery, and consists of several shorts that utilize settings and characters from that series and the wider Star Trek universe. The shorts are around 10 to 20 minutes long.
|Star Trek: Short Treks|
|Based on||Star Trek|
by Gene Roddenberry
|Theme music composer||Jeff Russo|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||6 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||15–18 minutes|
|Original network||CBS All Access|
|Original release||October 4, 2018 –|
|Related shows||Star Trek: Discovery|
After signing a deal to expand the Star Trek franchise on television, Kurtzman announced Short Treks as the first such project in July 2018. The first four episodes aired from October 4, 2018 to January 3, 2019, between the first and second seasons of Discovery. The shorts were mostly produced by cast and crew members from Discovery, including composer Jeff Russo who provided a new main title theme for the series. Filming took place in Toronto, Canada on the set of Discovery.
In January 2019, two new animated shorts were set to air following the conclusion of Discovery's second season. Four additional live action episodes were announced in June 2019, with three featuring the USS Enterprise characters from the second season of Discovery, and the last short of the season set prior to the start of the series Star Trek: Picard.
Each episode of Star Trek: Short Treks tells a stand-alone story that serves as an "opportunity for deeper storytelling and exploration of key characters and themes that fit into Star Trek: Discovery and the expanding Star Trek universe."
In June 2018, after becoming sole showrunner of the series Star Trek: Discovery, Alex Kurtzman signed a five-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios to expand the Star Trek franchise beyond Discovery to several new series, miniseries, and animated series. A month later, he announced at San Diego Comic-Con that a spin-off miniseries titled Star Trek: Short Treks, consisting of four shorts, would be released monthly between the first two seasons of Discovery. He said they would "deliver closed-ended stories while revealing clues about what's to come in future Star Trek: Discovery episodes. They'll also introduce audiences to new characters who may inhabit the larger world of Star Trek." The shorts were expected to be around 10 to 15 minutes long. Kurtzman later said Short Treks had been devised as a way to buy time so they could get the second season of Discovery right. The shorts were designed to tie-in with the second season of Discovery, but appear standalone at first so those connections would be a surprise for fans.
CBS CCO David Nevins indicated in December 2018 that there would be more shorts released between the end of Discovery's second season and the release of the new series Star Trek: Picard. A month later, CBS All Access was confirmed to have ordered two new installments of Short Treks to be released in that time period, with both set to be animated. Kurtzman described the shorts as expanding "the definition of Star Trek" and allowing them to tell "very intimate, emotional stories that are side stories to characters. So you get the benefit of the experience in and of itself but then when you watch Discovery you'll see that these were all setting up things" in the main series. Kurtzman suggested in February that future shorts could tie directly into other new Star Trek series, and be used to introduce ideas to audiences and set up mysteries.
After it was confirmed that Anson Mount would be leaving Star Trek: Discovery with the second-season finale, fans of the series began calling—including through online petitions—for him to reprise his role of Christopher Pike in a spin-off set on the USS Enterprise, alongside Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Spock. Mount and Peck both responded positively to the idea, though Mount said his return would involve "a lot of creative conversations". In April 2019, Kurtzman also expressed interest in the idea, saying, "The fans have been heard. Anything is possible in the world of Trek. I would love to bring back that crew more than anything." At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Kurtzman announced that the second season of Short Treks would consist of six shorts: the two animated shorts previously announced, three new stories featuring the Enterprise actors, and a "teaser" for Picard set 15 years before the start of that series. Kurtzman said the Enterprise-based shorts was a way to bring those characters and actors back now that Discovery had jumped into the future for its third season, but that these new stories would not preclude a potential spin-off series featuring the Enterprise cast from being made.
Season 1 (2018–19)Edit
The first set of Short Treks were released between the first and second seasons of Star Trek: Discovery.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Runaway"||Maja Vrvilo||Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman||October 4, 2018|
Following a discussion with her mother, Sylvia Tilly encounters a young Xahean stowaway named Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po. Tilly, who is accustomed to taking orders from others, decides to make decisions by herself, to help Po return home in time for her coronation.|
Cast : Mary Wiseman as Silvia Tilly, Yadira Guevara-Prip as Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po, and Mimi Kuzyk as Siobhan Tilly
|2||2||"Calypso"||Olatunde Osunsanmi||Story by : Sean Cochran and Michael Chabon |
Teleplay by : Michael Chabon
|November 8, 2018|
The USS Discovery has held position in space for a thousand years, and its computer system "Zora" has become sentient. She retrieves a passing escape pod carrying a man named Craft. Zora keeps Craft aboard the ship and begins to fall in love with him, but eventually lets him take Discovery's last shuttle to return to his family on Alcor IV.|
Cast : Aldis Hodge as Craft and Annabelle Wallis as the voice of Zora (with Sash Striga as the hologram of Zora)
|3||3||"The Brightest Star"||Douglas Aarniokoski||Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt||December 6, 2018|
On the planet Kaminar, Saru wants to learn about life outside the pre-warp society of his village, where his people are harvested as food by the predatory Ba'ul. Saru is able to send a distress signal into space that is answered by Lieutenant Philippa Georgiou, who takes Saru to join Starfleet.|
Cast : Doug Jones as Saru, Hannah Spear as Siranna, Robert Verlaque as Aradar, and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou
|4||4||"The Escape Artist"||Rainn Wilson||Michael McMahan||January 3, 2019|
Harry Mudd is captured by a bounty hunter and taken to a Federation ship, but there the hunter finds multiple other versions of Mudd already detained. Elsewhere, the real Mudd continues to create android copies of himself so he can continue to evade the authorities.|
Cast : Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd
Season 2 (2019)Edit
The second set of Short Treks is being released between the second season of Star Trek: Discovery and the first season of Star Trek: Picard.
|Title ||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|5||1||"Q&A"||Mark Pellington||Michael Chabon||October 5, 2019|
On his first day aboard the USS Enterprise, Ensign Spock and his new superior officer Number One get trapped in a turbolift. While waiting for the turbolift to be repaired, Spock asks Number One numerous questions, and the pair bond over their similarities.|
Cast : Rebecca Romijn as Number One, Ethan Peck as Spock, and Anson Mount as Christopher Pike
|6||2||"The Trouble with Edward"||Daniel Gray Longino||Graham Wagner||October 10, 2019|
On the USS Cabot, science officer Edward Larkin tries to solve a planet's food shortage by genetically modifying tribbles against his Captain's orders, creating a species that is born pregnant and reproduces at a dangerous rate. The Cabot is overrun, and Larkin dies when he chooses to remain behind while the rest of the crew escapes.|
Cast : Anson Mount as Christopher Pike, Rosa Salazar as Lynne Lucero, and H. Jon Benjamin as Edward Larkin
|7||3||"Ask Not"||TBA||TBA||November 14, 2019|
|8||4||"The Girl Who Made the Stars"||TBA||TBA||December 12, 2019|
|9||5||"Ephraim and Dot"||TBA||TBA||December 12, 2019|
|10||6||"Children of Mars"||TBA||TBA||January 9, 2020|
Of the initial four shorts ordered in July 2018, three were set to feature characters from Discovery, with Mary Wiseman, Doug Jones, and Rainn Wilson reprising their roles of Silvia Tilly, Saru, and Harry Mudd, respectively, in a short each. Jones's short would explore the backstory of Saru, while Wilson would also direct the short that he was starring in. Aldis Hodge was set to star in the fourth short as a new character, Craft. The shorts were produced on the set of Star Trek: Discovery in Toronto, Canada. In August, Wilson revealed that it was written by a writer from the popular science fiction animated series Rick and Morty and described it as "very funny and weird. You see some alien situations you have never seen before in the Star Trek canon, and I am thrilled." He added that in making the short he assumed it was set after his last Discovery appearance, "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad", but he was not certain of this since it "stands alone" and "doesn’t really tie into" Discovery. The Rick and Morty writer of his short was later revealed to be Star Trek fan Mike McMahan, who went on to create another of Kurtzman's new Star Trek series, the animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks.
In October, Wiseman explained that her short ("Runaway") "fleshes out a little bit who this character is" and introduces Tilly's mother, but otherwise would not affect the second season, so anyone who did not see the short could still understand the main series. Because of this, she did not have an exact placement of the short in the series' timeline though Jones pointed out that Tilly's hair in the short indicates it takes place during the second season due to her change in hair style between the two seasons. On his short ("The Brightest Star"), Jones confirmed that it is set before the rest of the series and explores how Saru first joins Starfleet. He said that his short would tie-into the second season more than the others with "breadcrumbs" and "hints", but the idea was still for the short and the second season of Discovery to stand alone. The writer of Hodge's short ("Calypso"), novelist Michael Chabon, explained that he had been working on a film project with Discovery producer Akiva Goldsman while development on the shorts was beginning, and through Goldsman joined the series as a writer for this short as well as showrunner of Star Trek: Picard. This short was the first work Chabon wrote for television to actually be produced.
Kurtzman explained in February 2019 that the animated shorts would have a different animation style to the series Lower Decks, and that they would be directed by Discovery producing director Olatunde Osunsanmi and composer Michael Giacchino—who wrote the score for the Star Trek "Kelvin Timeline" films that Kurtzman wrote. Producer Heather Kadin revealed that the animated shorts would answer questions that previous Discovery seasons had left and "fill in some blanks", while Kurtzman elaborated that the two shorts would also have different animation styles from one another which would tie into the story and tone of each installment.
Star Trek: Discovery composer Jeff Russo returned for the first season of Short Treks. He based the main theme for the series on his Discovery title theme, and he was able to produce a different version of it for "The Escape Artist" which is not something Russo would be able to do for the main series. Russo approached each short's underscore individually. He was unsure how to approach the score for "Calypso" at first, and whether to have it similar to the music for Discovery due to that ship's presence or to intentionally make it different due to the different time that the short is set in. Russo was ultimately inspired for the music by the dance sequence in the short.
Several different composers provided music for the second season shorts, with Giacchino acting as supervising composer. Nami Melumad was the composer for "Q&A", and Sahil Jindal composed the score for "The Trouble with Edward". Melumad and Giacchino previously worked together on the score for the film An American Pickle (2020).
The shorts are released on CBS All Access in the United States. Bell Media broadcasts the series in Canada on the specialty channels Space (English) and Z (French) before streaming episodes on Crave. The first four shorts were released monthly, beginning in October 2018 and ending in January 2019. At the end of January, they were all made available to countries outside of the United States and Canada on Netflix under the "Trailers and More" section of the streaming service's Star Trek: Discovery page.
The two shorts that tie directly into the second season of Discovery, "Runaway" and "The Brightest Star", were included on the Blu-ray and DVD set of that season—alongside all the season's episodes and several bonus features—that was released on November 12, 2019.
In a positive review, IGN's Scott Collura mostly praised the series after the release of the first four episodes saying, "The Short Treks have been an interesting experiment that have mostly worked, and it seems with this final installment that the Trek production team was just starting to nail the formula down."
|2019||Golden Reel Awards||Broadcast Media: Live Action Under 35:00||"The Brightest Star"||Won|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Short Film Design||Gersha Phillips (for "The Brightest Star")||Nominated|||
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