Paramount Zigs as Disney Zags: How Paramount+ is Differentiating Star Trek Franchise from Marvel, Star Wars
Has Paramount+’s newest entry in the Star Trek franchise “Strange New Worlds” beamed you up yet? If not, you may be one of the few. “Strange New Worlds” reportedly has had the strongest debut of any Star Trek series yet on Paramount+. Not only that, but the show set a record as the most-watched original Star Trek series over its first 90 days.
That means that “Strange New Worlds,” despite having just 10 episodes, beat out “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard,” despite both of those shows having multiple seasons available at the time of “Strange New Worlds’” release.
“Star Trek fans all over the world embraced this incredible new Star Trek journey,” Paramount Streaming’s chief programming officer Tanya Giles said. “We are thrilled that the Star Trek universe continues to be one of the most-watched franchises on the service.”
Fandom franchises of all kinds have always been important to streaming companies, but each service treats them differently. How Paramount has developed Star Trek — one of its most successful and enduring properties — and how Disney has treated Star Wars and Marvel are markedly different. Paramount has used different shows to cultivate different segments of the Star Trek audience. “Strange New Worlds” is a love letter to fans of “Star Trek: The Original Series,” but it’s also a return to the episodic style of storytelling that many Trek fans grew up with.
That contrasts with the narrative style of shows like “Discovery” and “Picard,” which utilize a more serialized format that fans of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” loved. Paramount+ is also the home of “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” an adult animated series chronicling the voyages of one of Starfleet’s least important ships. Paramount is developing different flavors of Trek for different fans, and it seems that the balance that they have struck is resonating deeply across multiple audience segments.
Disney, on the other hand, is taking a very different approach than Paramount’s more measured developmental pace. The House of Mouse seemingly sees franchises like Marvel and Star Wars as cash piñatas that it must whack as many times as possible. In 2023 alone, Disney is reportedly scheduled to release seven live-action or animated shows from its two most popular franchises onto Disney+, not to mention what’s coming to the big screen.
Fans and critics have also noted a growing sameness across a lot of Marvel and Star Wars properties. The familiar Marvel formula has resulted in films and series that follow almost identical outlines and storytelling beats. While the characters and specific plot points may change from title to title, the ebbs and flows of the story are remarkably consistent. While diehard fans are likely not as bothered by the familiarity of Marvel storytelling, it does stand in contrast to the variety that Star Trek is offering.
Similarly, the latest Star Wars series to hit the streamer, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” resulted in a 65% audience score according to Rotten Tomatoes, in part because of what many believed to be an unnecessary return to a well-worn story. Much like the incredibly popular “The Mandalorian,” this series followed a reluctant, stoic warrior tasked with protecting an important child.
While that was not the only issue that many people had with “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the glut of similar Marvel and Star Wars content seems to be resulting in diminishing returns for those franchises, at least in terms of audience enthusiasm. Even though the latest MCU series, “Ms. Marvel,” had a much different feel, especially in its first two episodes, as the series progressed, it too fell into the familiar rut than many Marvel shows do in the middle of their runs.
Despite the declining response, both Marvel and Star Wars are moving full steam ahead on new streaming shows. The MCU’s legal comedy “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” premieres on Aug. 19 and the next Star Wars show, “Andor,” debuts on Sept. 21.
That show was originally scheduled for release in August, but concerns about competing with “House of the Dragon” from HBO Max and “The Rings of Power” from Prime Video likely caused it to be pushed to September.
To be sure, Paramount has had its own share of failures in developing big properties. The much-anticipated TV adaptation of “Halo” was generally disliked by fans and critics alike. Paramount has taken a step back and allowed that franchise to breathe, however, instead of simply plunging ahead with more content set in the Halo universe. It will be fascinating to see if, in the wake of their newly announced price hike for Disney+, Disney will take Paramount’s example or double down on their development strategy.
Disney+ er en ny reklamefri video streaming service, som tilbyder eksklusive serier og film fra Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic og mere. Disney har løftet sløret for, at deres streamingtjeneste vil åbne i Storbritannien den 24. marts 2020.
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Selskabet annoncerede originale serier og film, som vil være tilgængelige ved lanceringen, inklusiv den nye 8-episoders Star Wars tv-serie til 100 millioner dollars, “The Mandalorian”, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Verden ifølge Jeff Goldblum,” “Lady og vagabonden,” and “The Imagineering Story.”
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