Speaking to CBR in a recent interview, Star Trek: Discovery co-showrunner and executive producer Aaron Harberts explained that the new Trek spinoff was allowed to be more mature than previous Trek incarnations, thanks to its home on the CBS All Access streaming service. And, yes, that allows for the use of f-bombs.
"The streaming service has definitely allowed us to push boundaries," Harberts revealed. "We can do nudity. We can do violence that we can’t do on broadcast. We can have language."
He added, "For us, it has to be really carefully considered. One of the most important things that [co-showrunner] Gretchen [J. Berg] and I have been learning since we came on the show is, just how anecdotally people come to Trek by way of their mother, their father, their older brother or their older sister. How many families watch the show, took in the show, turn it off, had a debate. It really is a property that is passed down generation to generation."
Harberts noted that the show won't be gratuitous in pushing the boundaries, however. "So if you’re going to do something like language, or a little nudity, or a little extra violence -- which that’s one of the sad things about where we are in terms of media: violence is accepted; sexuality, maybe not so much," he said. "We’re taking great pains to make sure that nothing feels gratuitous if we’re doing it. That if language is involved, it might be language that’s celebratory."
The co-showrunner then detailed an exact instance in the series where characters casually drop the f-bomb -- in this case, used to punctuate a comedic moment. "We have a moment where three of our scientists have just pulled off the most incredible thing ever," Harberts teased. "They are talking about concepts that are so above everybody else’s head, and one of them says, "This is so fucking cool." And she’s a cadet, and she’s catches herself, and she looks at her boss, because oh my God, she just dropped an F-bomb. And her boss, played by Anthony Rapp, turns to her and says, “You’re right, cadet -- this is fucking cool.” So in a moment like that, where I feel like we’re celebrating smarts and people who are at the top of their game. It’s rare when we’ll do it, but if we do it, we want to make it feel organic."
In the United States, Star Trek: Discovery debuts Sunday, September 24 on CBS, before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service for follow-up weekly installments. In Canada, the series debuts on CTV and Space at 8:30 pm ET, with its second episode set to air immediately after on Space — subsequent episodes will air Sundays through November 5. Internationally, the series will stream on Netflix.