Alex Kurtzman Interview: ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ producer
“It’s exhilarating, it’s terrifying, it’s wonderful, it’s joyful. This is the job you dream of having when you’re a kid,” says Alex Kurtzman about overseeing the ever-expanding “Star Trek” universe on CBS All Access. He’s the executive producer of “Discovery,” “Picard” and the recently debuted “Lower Decks,” and now he’s nominated for an Emmy for Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for “Star Trek: Short Treks.” Watch our exclusive video interview with him above.
“Short Treks” is a series of short films between 8 and 15 minutes in length. “They’re like little O. Henry stories,” Kurtzman explains. “There’s the story that presents itself, but then there’s kind of a twist at the end that reframes what you’ve been watching the whole time.” And they run the gamut from broad comedy to heart-rending tragedy, with a couple of animated installments thrown in for good measure.
Kurtzman loved the “amazing experiment” of “Short Treks,” which allowed him and his creative collaborators to explore “different tones and different styles and start pushing at the boundaries of what ‘Star Trek’ feels like it can be.” But it was always important to “maintain what is essentially ‘Star Trek,’ which is this hard-won vision of optimism that is so essential to Gene Roddenberry‘s vision of the future.”
Will there be more “Short Treks” in our future? “Thanks to the Emmy nomination, I’m really hoping so,” says Kurtzman, who would still like to make a short musical and a black-and-white film, among myriad other directions in which the show could boldly go. But in the meantime there are lots of new directions “Star Trek” is taking him in already. “Lower Decks” premiered on August 6, and it will be followed by season three of “Discovery.” Also in the works are another season of “Picard” and a few other new spin-offs: “Section 31,” “Strange New Worlds” and “Prodigy.”
When Kurtzman joined the “Star Trek” creative universe by co-writing the 2009 J.J. Abrams feature film reboot, he had “not even remotely a glimmer of that idea” that he would end up with his own “Trek” TV empire. “I often ask myself how I got here. I’m not sure how it ended up being me, but I’m grateful for it every day.”