Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jonathan Frakes: Still Cool

Wal-Mart had Enterprise: season one for twenty bucks on DVD so I'm watching it again. I'm struck by how much promise the series had. The premise is interesting and relateable to new audiences. The cast is strong and gung ho (especially in the case of Scott Bakula, who's always good). And the episodes are all fine, the start to a potentially great series.

Unfortunately, the writing staff, who had been on Star Trek for decades was tired and it showed through the warmed over Voyager plots, which were themselves warmed over TNG stories. By the time it ended, the franchise went with it, leaving the playing field open for J.J. Abrams' reinvention.

I hated the bored second season and quit but fans really despised the finale, which guest starred Jonathan Frakes and Mirina Sirtis on the holodeck. Looking back, Frakes hated it too:

Let’s talk about that last appearance, because it was pretty controversial in Trek circles. A lot of fans felt it diminished Enterprise to fold not just the series finale, but pretty much the entire series, into a TNG holodeck sequence. What were your thoughts about it then, and how about now?

I’ve said this publicly, but I thought everyone on Enterprise, especially Scott (Bakula), was so gracious about having actors from another show come in and put his show to rest. It was sold to me by Rick (Berman) as a “valentine to the fans,” and it was anything but. It was, I think, one of his rare mistakes. It didn’t work on so many levels. I don’t think the Enterprise cast was happy to have us. I’m frankly not sure the fans wanted to see us there. It was great, obviously, to be with Marina again and a lot of the crew were people I’d worked with on Next Gen. So the fun part was there, but the legacy of it… I don’t think it was our finest hour.

Frakes is down to earth enough to call it as he sees it. He talks about how grateful he is to have become a director while many odf his castmates are "struggling". Once he transitioned to director, he made the phenomenal "Star Trek: First Contact". After following it it up with the lackluster "Insurrection", he seemed to fade. Turns out he's a very busy television director, knocking out episode after episode of Castle, NCIS and Burn Notice. And his beard still rocks.

Check out the interview on startrek.com

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