While Doctor Who and Star Trek share roots in science fiction, spaceships, aliens, and light-hearted fun mixed with often progressive messages, Star Trek fans should hope the two series’ latest shows don’t share too much in the coming months. BBC just put the last nail in a Doctor Who venture’s coffin after it failed on a streaming service. Should this worry Star Trek: Discovery fans?
BBC announced Thursday that Class, a teen-driven Doctor Who spinoff, is officially canceled. Many fans attribute its failure to an original spot on BBC Three, the BBC’s streaming-only service where some of its least popular, lesser-funded shows live. Class was a bit of a hit with critics — the problem was that no one was really watching. A spot on BBC America in April 2017 raised some hope that American viewership could lead Class away from the chopping block and to a second season. But there was no such luck.
Class is officially cancelled, and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery’s position on CBS All-Access, CBS’s subscription-only streaming service, draws a lot of comparisons. Here’s a redux of a popular television series (Doctor Who and the latest Star Trek movie series) with a spin-off on a streaming platform (Class and Discovery, respectively). And while Netflix UK already has a deal with CBS to stream Discovery after the season comes to a close, would that move be in time to save Discovery if it doesn’t do well on CBS All-Access?
And while the thought of yet another failed Trek venture might scare some fans, people probably shouldn’t be too worried. Trek and Who both came to life in the ‘60s and run in a similar vein of the entertainment world, but that’s about all Class and Discovery have in common outside of a streaming service. Doctor Who spin-offs are notoriously good at failing (Torchwood was an anomaly) and Discovery already has as much star power behind it before its first season as Doctor Who has had across 10 seasons. And that’s not to mention that BBC and CBS are two very different companies; BBC is a publicly funded broadcaster and CBS is a private corporation.
Not all science fiction is alike, even if they do mostly exist on streaming platforms.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS All-Access on September 24.