business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

MNB readers won’t be surprised to see today’s Eye-Opener … that it was announced over the weekend that Patrick Stewart will return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series that will run along with “Star Trek: Discovery” on the CBS All Access streaming network.

No word yet on where and when the series will be set, nor when it will premier. We do know that it is not a reboot of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the series in which he first brought Picard to life, and it will explore “the next chapter” of Picard’s life.

In announcing the new series at a Star Trek convention (of course!), Stewart said that it was “an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over. During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how ‘The Next Generation’ brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership.

“I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason — to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”

I can’t wait.

Now, there are all sorts of business lessons that can be taken from this announcement.

One is that this new series almost certainly is possible because all the rules of traditional broadcasting have been set aside. I’m not sure there would be either a network nor an audience for a 22-episode season of what, for the moment, we’ll call, “Star Trek: Picard.” But on CBS All Access, they can make six, eight, ten or a dozen episodes … it doesn’t matter. (“Discovery” had a 15-episode first season, plus they are planning to run a series of 10-15 minute short films - “Short Treks” - designed to focus in a deeper way on small stories and individual characters.)

This is so important, because it speaks to the ways in which traditional constructs are being put aside in the interest of creating products that will be of greater interest and more relevant to audiences. That’s more and more true whether you are a television network or a retail store … you no longer have to fit new ideas into old boxes.

Another lesson we can take from it, I think, is to just pay attention to the character of Picard, and the ways in which he deals with problems and acquits himself as a leader. He is a wonderful role model in the series and four movies that followed - the very definition of calm, nuanced, reasoned disciplined, thoughtful, moral and ethical leadership.

“Star Trek: Picard” will, I think, be an Eye-Opener.
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