Bryan Fuller and Nick Meyer walked into a CBS conference room to see Les Moonves standing inside with another man. Moonves introduced the man to Fuller and Meyer, "Bryan, Nick, this is Alex Kurtzman, head of Secret Hideout. He'll be co-producing the show with you." They all shook hands and sat down. Fuller began the meeting.
"So Meyer and I have completed drafts for the first two episodes. You all should have received them in your email yesterday, so we can go through and discuss each aspect of it. The idea is 10 episodes per season, new crew, new ship, new century and new challenges!" Fuller looked around the room, then at Kurtzman, "What did you think Alex, is there anything you can think of that could add to the show?"
Kurtzman seemed pleased that Fuller was asking for his input right away, "Sure Bryan. I went through the script yesterday and it's... good. And there are some aspects of it that feel - generic - but I have a solution to that!" Kurtzman's then got to his point, "Seeing as everything here is new, I was thinking that we could make the main character someone other than the captain."
Meyer began to think about it, "I don't think it would hurt to have a character to focus on. Though traditionally, the main character of Trek was actually never part of the crew, it was the ship itself." Fuller chimed in, "I think it could work, we could give this particular character a backstory that we can flash back to from time to time. It would give the character a little more depth than the others."
Kurtzman was still unsure if they approved of the idea, "So do you guys like it?" Fuller responded, "We'd have to flesh out the character better, but I think we can..."
"Let make the main character black", Kurtzman accidentally interrupted in excitement. Fuller was a little taken aback by the interruption, but approved of Kurtzman's input and wrote it down, "...Ok."
"...and a woman," Kurtzman continued. "A strong black woman."
Fuller and Meyer looked at one another, Meyer then spoke, "Alex, I don't think that's gonna be a problem at all, but for now we should stay focused on making a good story first." For a second, Kurtzman seemed to realize he had gone off topic, "Of course, I'm getting too ahead of myself. I'm just excited to be apart of this."
Meyer smiled, "You're not alone in that Alex."
Fuller moved on to the next topic, "Because much of the plot revolves around the relationship of the crew, we're still gonna need a strong, moral Captain."
"I'm thinking that the Captain could be a parental type to help the crew including this new main character grow," said Meyer. " Who knows, she could even become the captain lat..."
"Let's make the captain a dick.", Kurtzman blurted out of nowhere.
This outburst caught Meyer off guard as he gave out a "Huh?" Kurtzman elaborated, "Think about it. Everybody expects that the captain is always going to be the good role model, or the father figure. Let's switch it up and make him a foil to my main character instead. And I think it would be a great twist."
Meyer questioned this idea, "Yet they're both Starfleet officers on the same ship, they have the same purpose. Why would a captain have a need to foil one of his crew-members?"
Kurtzman paused and pondered this question before suggesting, "Wasn't there a mirror universe in the original show?"
Meyer seemed incredulous at the suggestion, "You wanna bring that in this early?" Fuller spoke over Meyer, "Now, let's not pull out any gimmicks until we at least establish what the story is gonna be about." Kurtzman defended his idea, "It's not a gimmick, there is a mirror world where everybody is bad."
Moonves, who had been silently listening up to this point, called for order, "Gentleman, let's stay on task."
The room went silent for a few seconds. Moonves then nodded at Fuller, who decided to move onto the next topic, "Now, we were able to crack the code on making the old shows a hybrid of episodic and serial years ago. It worked well episodically because each episode, sans the cliff hangers, had a conclusion. It worked serially by adding to the overall development of the characters, and we would write that development into later seasons. "Let's keep that format," said Meyer. "Trek fans have always been satisfied with that type of storytelling."
"Except it doesn't keep viewers." Kurtzman added.
"What do you mean?" asked Meyer, now clearly annoyed.
Kurtzman explained, "When you tell episodic stories, you're telling ten different stories per season, all with 'B' and 'C' plots. And serial dramas tell one main story, with a 'B' and maybe a 'C' plot throughout the whole season. If you miss one episode, you miss out on much of the story, so they wont want to miss it. And serial is also easier for viewers to digest."
"If that cereal is Coo-coo Puffs." muttered Meyer under his breath, clearly not buying into Kurtzman's reasoning.
Before Kurtzman could respond, Fuller interjected, "But it's a streaming service, it's not like broadcast where if you miss the episode you have to wait months until they air it again, they can just go back and watch it."
Kurtzman was clearly meeting resistance, "I don't know, I'll defer to your judgement Bryan, but seeing as we have until January 2017 to put this out, I just think it would be simpler and less expensive overall to have just one main plot per season.
Fuller, getting annoyed himself, attempted to change the subject again, "I'll take it under advisement, Alex. Moving on. The bridge crew is going to have a huge roll to play in the plot. They'll all play a part and will all need small speaking scenes to acquaint the viewer to them." As soon as Fuller stopped speaking, the whole table looked at Kurtzman, expecting another outburst.
Kurtzman, feeling the tension, decided to raise his hand this time, "I have a suggestion," Fuller and Meyer continued to stare at Kurtzman, "Let's make the crew diverse."
Both Fuller and Meyer put their palms to their faces in frustration, "Have you..." Fuller began to yell before catching himself and lowering his voice, "Have you watched the old shows, it's always been diverse."
Kurtzman seemed confused, "I saw the pilot and the crew were all white men except for Number One."
"That was a pilot!" yelled Fuller, finally losing his temper, "The actual show had Sulu and Uhura and Chekov! Every single crew since then has always been diverse!" Realizing that he had lost it, Fuller walked out of the room, "Jesus Christ let's take a break, I need a cigarette."
Meyer stood up, "I'm gonna go talk to him", and walked out after Fuller. Kurtzman, all of his excitement gone, stood and started to leave when Moonves called after him, "Alex, could you stay for a few minutes?"
With the two now alone in the conference room, Moonves stood up and put a hand on Kurtzman's shoulder. "Don't let them get to you Alex, they're very protective over this franchise." He paced the room as he continued, "I don't see what they see, but I do know that we make over $13 million a year off of merchandise and licensing alone. There's gotta be something there."
Kurtzman seemed a little sad, "I get that they want to protect it, but their format is outdated. And when I co-wrote Star Trek 2009, they let us change everything and the movie was a hit."
Moonves leaned on the table and pondered this. He remembered how the ratings fell in the mid 2000's to the point where he felt the need to cancel the Enterprise series. To him it was a bland show. Then again, any space series was bland to him.
Maybe Alex was onto something, Moonves thought. "Do you think they're being too ridged?" he asked. "Yes, I think they're being a little too anal about their rules", Kurtzman answered, putting "rules" in air quotes.
The word "anal" brought Moonves to a laugh, "Ho-ho-ho! I can tell you some stories about anal."
"And, that's a red flag." Kurtzman said matter of factly. A flash a fear could be seen in Moonves' eyes as he quickly apologized, "Sorry. Look, I'm going to be skipping these meetings after today. I'm clearly not needed here." Kurtzman looked down in sadness so Moonves tried to cheer him up, "They took your idea of a main character, so give them a chance, I'm sure they'll be collaborative. But if you think they're not going to budge on anything else, then just let me know what you want and I'll tell'em to change it."
Kurtzman thought about this before hesitantly saying, "Well, there was this one idea that has had me thinking."
"What is it?" Moonves asked. "I know they want to push this story into the 25th century," Kurtzman started. "But really why can't we have this show take place during the Kirk era?"
To be continued...