CBS Won’t Allow Any Reviews Of Star Trek: Discovery Before It Airs

CBS Won’t Allow Any Reviews Of Star Trek: Discovery Before It Airs

Welcome, friends, to the story that never ends: It’s Star Trek: Discovery and the flaming nightmare pile that has been every bit of PR for this show. It could be great, it could be bad, it has been impossible to tell. And it will remain impossible to tell, since CBS has reportedly made it a condition of seeing the show early that no reviews be released until Discovery airs.

Image: CBS

The Ain’t It Cool News reviewer who goes by Hercules shared this information via Twitter on Thursday:

And that’s usually a bad sign.

For movies, this is an established technique that’s often done to prevent critics from trashing a bad film before it’s released in hopes people will see it if they don’t hear the reviews; recent examples include The Dark Tower and The Emoji Movie. But it’s by no means a guarantee of badness — many horror movies don’t show screenings, which don’t traditionally get good reviews well, even if audiences ending up loving them. But it’s still hard not to see a refusal to allow early reviews as a lack of confidence in its quality.

And a Star Trek show, done at all well, should review well. A good cast and effects will get the show halfway there, and Discovery looks to have both in spades. And a serious contemplation of important topics in Star Trek‘s usual allegorical-bordering-on-pretentious manner is the kind of stuff that gets attention and rave reviews these days. This isn’t fare that doesn’t fare well with critics — at least it shouldn’t be.

Given all the problems Star Trek: Discovery has had since it was first announced, I don’t know whether if the show is actually bad or if this is just another misstep on the part of CBS. I suspect, unfortunately, it’s probably just my wishful thinking that says it might be good. Maybe in the Mirror Universe, there’s a version of Discovery that came out on time, with Bryan Fuller as showrunner and its original vision intact, and had normal PR.

We’ve reached out to CBS for comment and will update if we get it. Discovery premieres on September 24, at which point, presumably, we’ll get reviews of it.


  • When I hear something has a review embargo on it, I instantly assume it’s going to be really shit. If it turns out to be good that’s great but it’s not a good sign.

      • Can’t think of any cases where it’s been a good sign for a movie. In gaming, I think Bethesda have a similar policy which has been in effect even for games that ended up getting a good reception e.g. Doom, Dishonored 2, Prey, etc. Personally, I think it’s counter-productive. My automatic reaction is to assume the game is shit, so it ends up having to overcome that preconception if it’s going to have any chance of getting my money.

        • Except the flip side of this is all the Bethesda usual bs about technically flawed titles, which is much more likely the reason they don’t allow for pre-release reviews. So I wouldn’t use them as an example of embargos being anything other than hostile for customers.

      • The Doom reboot was one weird case.

        They released the multiplayer demo and everyone thought it was hot garbage, then it was one of the first of the Zenimax games where they had said no advance copies at all.

        Everyone was quite surprised by the single player, but it really was all a bit strange.

  • Considering whats been released from behind the scenes coupled with this news. I will assume dumpster fire and hope for watchable

  • Every time I hear about this show it just makes me think some Trekkie wished on a monkey paw for a new Star Trek to show

  • The revenge of Axanar. Axanar brought a tear to myself eye, Discovery just a big “why?”. Must every Hollyweird Producer leave their stamp on something, wiping the mud on their shoes on the carpet? JJ Abrams mess was not good, Discovery a cesspool overflowing with sewage. In 40 years after the One and Done they will have to introduce the “Unfugaroo Timeline” to undo the damage done by Paramount.

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