‘Let’s fly!’

Or not. At least not if you’re outside the US or Canada at the moment. You may well have noticed over the last 24 hours the shock, disappointment and anger of so many of us Discovery fans who’ve found that this weeks season 4 premiere is only happening in the US and Canada. The international markets are, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, no longer getting the next day premiere on Netflix as we did the last 3 seasons.

Why? Simply put, Paramount/CBS have negotiated a new deal with Netflix which gives Paramount+, their own streaming service, exclusive rights on Discovery. Netflix had contributed to the development of Discovery but appear to have been paid off and no longer carry any seasons. Of course, Paramount+ is only available in a few areas outside of the US and even those won’t get Discovery. Season 4 will not appear outside of the US until the Paramount+ global expansion in early 2022.

So, yes, we’re disappointed. Back in September, on the much celebrated Star Trek Day, season 4 was trailed and announced to be streaming the day after the US in 190 countries on Netflix. It seems that is no longer happening. And we discover this fact only 3 days before we would see it? We’re already excited! This is a bit last minute.

Now I don’t pretend to know what has gone on, or to have any insider knowledge or even that much outsider knowledge of how streaming rights and contracts are worked out. A lot of people are mad at Paramount, some at Netflix, many at both. It’s obviously not a decisuion that’s in the hands of any of the creatives involved, the actors found out when we did and the writers and producers probably weren’t informed much ahead of that. It would seem, the ‘suits’ are again responsible for depriving us of some Trek.

But… it’s not all bad. For one thing, the Trek community is a beautiful place and by and large, the solidarity shown by trekkies in the US and Canada is a beautiful thing! They could have shrugged and said ‘well, sucks for you’, but they haven’t. They’ve been sympathetic ears, they’ve expressed their disapointment on our behalf and some have made beautiful gestures like cancelling their own Paramount+ subscription in protest. (Not that I suggest anyone should do that! It’s a touching gesture, but don’t deprive yourselves!!) Really, all we can ask of them is please, go easy on the spoilers! We will catch up to you eventually!

So, in terms of 10Backward? There’s no legal way for us here to watch Discovery season 4. So we’re going to launch into an era of ‘Classic’ Trek for our topics for a while. Sure, there are ways and means for us to watch, but it’s not fair for our listeners who don’t want to use those means, or can’t. Our next couple of episodes are regarding season 2 of LowerDecks, which was fine and shown on Amazon, but then I think we’ll be focussing on TOS through to Enterprise for a while.

The situation is rubbish. But ultimately, Paramount+ will come here, it will bring Discovery and while you might feel hostile to them after this, or balk at the idea of yet another streaming service, if you are able to watch your Trek that way, remember that’s supporting the writers, the actors, producers and crew and ultimately, is the way we’ll get new Star Trek. It’s not a perfect system, but like the demilitarised zone between the Federation and Cardassian space, it’s the best we’ve got for the moment.

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