By Jill Serjeant
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The sci-fi show "Star Trek" is boldly going into the streaming universe, with a series that will introduce characters and alien civilizations but which left fans on Monday largely underwhelmed.
CBS said the series, starting in January 2017, will be shown primarily on the network's streaming and subscription service, CBS Access, with only a preview episode being broadcast.
The original TV show depicting the adventures of the Starship Enterprise has spawned more than a dozen movies and five TV series since its launch in 1966.
Created by the late Gene Roddenberry, it introduced characters like Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, and Vulcan officer Mr. Spock, played by the late Leonard Nimoy, who became pop culture icons.
Repeat episodes of the series are now seen in more than 190 countries and armies of fans attend "Star Trek" conventions and other events around the world.
Yet enthusiasm over Monday's announcement was tempered by concern as some Trekkies griped about having to pay to watch the new series, speculated over which of "Star Trek's many universes it would be set in, and worried about whether it would include a USS Enterprise adventure at all.
"The fact that this new series is exclusive to CBS All Access makes some of us Star Trek fans feel like paying chumps. Star Wars fans don't get treated like this," complained raphael143 on website startrek.com.
CBS said the shows will introduce "new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966."
Many fans were unhappy that it will be executive produced by Alex Kurtzman. Kurtzman wrote and produced 2009's "Star Trek" movie reboot and its 2013 sequel "Star Trek into Darkness" - films which upset many fans because the planet Vulcan was destroyed and Spock's mother was killed.
Van Archer, writing on the "Star Trek Continues" Facebook page, said the involvement of Kurtzman "killed any thought that it would be good. Star Trek is officially dead."
But there was excitement as well. "As a HUGE Star Trek fan I am having a huge nerdgasm over today's announcement Star Trek is coming back to TV!" wrote Brandon LeBlanc on Twitter.
CBS said the series is not related to the "Star Trek Beyond" movie, starring Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, due for release next summer.
(Additional reporting by Frank Simons in Los Angeles; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Christian Plumb)