We've Heard the 'Star Trek: Discovery' Theme Music; New Details On The Show's Serialized Storytelling [TCA 2017]

During the Television Critics Association panel for Star Trek: Discovery, producers played the show's opening title song by Jeff Russo for the first time. The theme song runs a full minute and a half, and they intend it to play on every episode of the CBS All Access streaming service.

The opening notes are familiar to the original series before it goes off in a new direction. It then ends with the traditional original series melody again. The clip showed Russo conducting the 60 piece orchestra, and we think you can hear all 60 instruments in it.

Producer Akiva Goldsman was part of the panel and spoke with reporters more afterward. When producers talk about Discovery being the first serialized Star Trek show, Trekkers are quick to call out Deep Space 9. Goldsman was sensitive to them.

"You will find this to be far more than serialized than DS9 even in its last two seasons," Goldsman said. "So this is by far, let me amend it, the most serialized version of Star Trek that has ever existed, and as such, it's longform character storytelling. Without conflict, there is no longform character storytelling.  Obviously, there's a tremendous amount of conflict in TOS and there's a lot of, sort of, aspirations towards the ideals of the Federation, and then we sort of made the prime directive just to break it, apparently. So part of what we've tried to do is speak to how those philosophical precepts came to be. So it is entirely the outcome role of the show to arrive at the principles, the utopian principles that I think are endemic to Star Trek and at the same time not to suggest that doing that is simple or easy. But you can't simply be accepting and tolerant without working for it, and so this show is about that struggle. You'll tell us whether we succeeded, but the outcome is always to earn the philosophy rather than present it as a fait accompli."

The serialization means that tragic events can have a longer impact on the main characters. "Part of what you have in standalone is the reset," Goldsman said. "Perfect example, 'City on the Edge of Forever,' Jim Kirk has to watch Edith Keeler die. That is heartbreaking to him. The next episode, he's fine. In serialized storytelling, you carry the weight of loss, you carry the weight of growth, you have character arc that spans 15 episodes but also you can't ignore what's come before. You have to carry it with you from episode to episode."

Set 10 years before The Original Series, Discovery deals with the Federation-Klingon War. "So we are in a section of canon that has been referred to a lot," Goldsman said. "There is a lot of speculation about it. We are considering the novels not to be canon, but we are aware of them.  And, we are going to cross paths with components that Trek fans are familiar with, but it is its own standalone story with its own characters and its own unique vision of Trek."

The Klingon War story is also only likely to represent the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. "There's a period where our contact with the Klingons is nebulous," Goldsman said. "We are trying to view the idea of the creation of the Neutral Zone as something that was sufficiently inexact that we can now fill in how we got there. Our story of the Klingon War is our season one."

Canon presents its own limitations. "The number of things that are seen for the first time in TOS will blow your brain," Goldsman said. "You're like, 'I want a Gorn skull.' Well, they haven't met a Gorn yet. That's sort of a great game to be able to navigate. Because of the time period we have chosen, it is fundamentally adaptation. We are adapting rather than entirely creating. Adaptation is great fun. Adaptation is a form and you don't mind the boundaries."

Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS All Access September 24 with an 8:30 P.M. premiere on CBS. Episode 2 will be available on All Access immediately, with new episodes arriving every Sunday.