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Jonathan Frakes On Enterprise Finale: Not Our Finest Hour

Jonathan Frakes successfully went from playing William Riker in front of the camera to become a director behind the camera on Star Trek and much more. In a new interview Frakes reflects on his directing career and his controversial return to the role of Riker in the Enterprise series finale.

 


Frakes on return to Riker and directing

It seems that whenever you ask someone involved with the "These are the Voyages", the series finale of Star Trek Enterprise, they usually don’t have the most positive things to say. One of the most controversial parts of that episode was bringing in Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes to set up a framing story using the TNG era holodeck. And in comments to the official Star Trek site, Frakes agrees saying:

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.


Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis in "These are the Voyages"

Frakes also talks about how Star Trek stardom comes at a price in terms of typecasting, but also gave him a second career as a director. 

Thank God I learned this second craft. I really don’t know how I’d be supporting my family. I’d be looking for another kind of gig. (Frakes’ wife) Genie (Francis) isn’t working the way she used to and my peers as actors – at least from the Star Trek guys, with the exception of Patrick (Stewart) – are struggling as well. Some of it is by choice, granted, some of it is just by the double-edged sword that Star Trek has been for all of us.

For more from Frakes visit startrek.com.

Frakes continues to be busy as a TV director and is currently working on his second episode of The Good Guys. If you missed it, Fox released this fun behind the scenes video from Frakes’ first time director for the show.

 

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I'm Dead Jim!
September 14, 2010 12:39 pm

If only they could invoke the magic of time travel… for real!

Terran_Guy
September 14, 2010 12:40 pm

I liked Frakes as Director and Actor, and I loved the Riker character but i hated TATV. It sucked, and didn’t fit at all.

Barry Muntington
September 14, 2010 12:41 pm

Is this news?? I’m sure I’ve read this all before somewhere.

Michelle
September 14, 2010 12:52 pm

The only part of TATV that was good was the three Enterprises at the end. The rest BLEW. It was awful. Hence why in my head it does not exist. ;-)

September 14, 2010 1:00 pm

I despised the fact that the ending gratuitously killed off Cmdr. ‘Tripp’ Tucker (I am happy that the novels have ignored that “fact”).

AND like most fans, I don’t consider the send off proper… ‘Terra Prime’ made a far better resolution for the series.

September 14, 2010 1:01 pm

#3 I was thinking the same thing. #4 Three Enterprises? Are you sure you are talking the same ST series? Or maybe it was so awful I forgot how it ended!!

"Check the Circuit!"
September 14, 2010 1:01 pm

I think there is consensus on this issue. Time to move on perhaps?

Daniel
September 14, 2010 1:07 pm

I’m in the vast minority that thinks that TATV is a much better than average episode of ENT. And in general I like ENT.

September 14, 2010 1:16 pm

They should have made a real finale to the “berman era” with a special 2 or 3 part – series. not about an old story, because it was obvious, Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes were a few years older. They should have created a crossover of all the series. THAT would have been a “valentine” to the fans. but i do understand mr. bermans intention.

Captain Lonestar
September 14, 2010 1:20 pm

Am the only person in the galaxy that enjoyed actually enjoyed ST: ENT? I liked it MUCH better than Voyager and especially DS9. If Star Trek was the Wagon Train, and ENT was How the west was won…. DS9 was the Cowtown….. And Voyager was the Trail of tears….

CaptainDonovin
September 14, 2010 1:22 pm

I am among the few that really enjoyed ENT, even some of the episodes I’ve seen get bashed by everyone else but like Michelle said a few posts above – the only thing I liked in TATV were the three E’s. The studio/network was in a hurry to kill it & you could tell watching that ep.

Captain Conrad
September 14, 2010 1:24 pm

Don’t worry John, hopefully the next Trek Series will be animated and you could provide a voice

AC
September 14, 2010 1:26 pm

Even though Troi and Riker were “older” and Riker was “balder” and “fatter” and Troi was “baggier” and had a little bit of a “belly” and lets not even talk about how they totally got her makeup wrong and hair TOTALLY not right style OR her accent, I actually liked how they used the Enterprise-D. I think it should have gotten a “Special Guest Star”. All those sets had to be rebuilt. They got a few things wrong. The conference room and quarters were slightly smaller scale, as was the computer Arch. But it was nice seeing an old friend after 12 years or so alive and well and not crashed on Veridian III. I also liked seeing the TNG uniforms again. None of the uniforms since have been as fun.

trekboi
September 14, 2010 1:27 pm

i loved the idea- it was a happy valentine to this fan- maybe they could have used a better more important episode to revisit but i loved that era of trek that started with the next ger ending there & it put the nx in the next gen’s universe/history
but they could have let trip live…

Rich G
September 14, 2010 1:31 pm

It was silly to try to jack into the story of “The Pegasus”. If they wanted to include Riker and Troi could’ve more easily (and logically) pulled out the ‘new’ Starfleet Bridge from “Lifeline”, called it the bridge of the Titan, and said Riker had to look back to the Romulan War for some inspiration on dealing with the post-Nemesis Romulan situation.

Rich G
September 14, 2010 1:32 pm

Oops, make that the bridge from “Message In a Bottle”.

Charley W
September 14, 2010 1:36 pm

The main problem with the last episode of Enterprise is that, quality of writing aside, basically it ends up being an addenum to an old episode of Next Generation, and it just doesn’t work as that. It tries to jump 100-whatever years in one shot to a time 10 years in the past of the real world, and then have the best of both on the cheap. A Next Generation framing would have been fine, but should have allowed for the 10 years (how about it being the anniversary and Riker & a pregnant Troi watching a retrospective and at the end deciding to name their son Jonathan Archer Riker?).

andrew
September 14, 2010 1:38 pm

Jonathan Frakes on Enterprise Finale: Not Our Finest Hour

In other news:

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Horatio
September 14, 2010 1:38 pm

I think that the TATV episode was a nice idea for a mid season regular episode – but as a series finale????????

And the inexplicable reasoning for killing off Tripp….

Aye yi yi….

But as someone above alluded, pretty much everyone agrees it was a nightmare.

September 14, 2010 1:40 pm

It is a shame how ENT ended, particularly when it was starting to get some legs. The final episode was an utter disappointment, and I still find it hard to believe it was even filmed. A more clever solution on Tucker’s part would have made the episode a bit better, but killing him off was just lazy. The whole Riker/Troi thing was a totally mediocre attempt to crossover the two series. TATV was a valentine with an arrow through its bloody heart…

Chuckunit
September 14, 2010 1:45 pm

Not really Frakes’ best hair day, either…..

I'm Dead Jim!
September 14, 2010 1:47 pm

I think most of us fans can get together and agree that TATV was NOT CANON, if only there was a vote on the matter.

Frakes is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Trek personalities for his honesty and frankness. I had long since given up on Enterprise by the time TATV rolled around, so I can’t comment on it directly, but that Frakes acknowledges that it was an error is refreshing.

The TOS Purist aka The Purolator
September 14, 2010 2:27 pm

You know what made TATV really sh*tty?

That damned holodeck.

All those years of doing TNG-era shows, and all those sh*tty holodeck episodes…how could Berman NOT think a holodeck-centric episode was a bad idea? I mean, come ON. Archer and the rest of the ENT crew weren’t even in TATV, technically; only their computerized images were.

September 14, 2010 2:52 pm

I agree with the rest the finale was horrible. As far as I’m concerned it did’nt happen right? The ending should be after the romulan war mini series. The charter signed. Trip ALIVE! But again great new Manny coto adventures ould have gone on. A real dissappointment as Frakes felt the ending was.

Troubled Tribble
September 14, 2010 3:06 pm

It was a fitting ending for a series that went from good to ludicrous.

"Check the Circuit!"
September 14, 2010 3:24 pm

Maybe people would have been happier if it wasn’t labeled as an Enterprise episode. Might have been a cool surprise to expect to hear that awful Rod Stewart wannabe vocal theme after the teaser, only to find that it was replaced by TNG theme…credits and all. The cast of ENT would then be listed as guest stars at the beginning of Act 1. So at the end when Riker shuts down the holodeck and says “end program”…it really is the end of STAR TREK on television after 18 straight seasons, not Enterprise.

Then everyone wouldn’t have been crying about it NOT being a proper ENT finale.

(I just choose to think of the ENT finale as the previous 2-part episode. TATV really was meant as a STAR TREK finale…IMHO.)

Matthew
September 14, 2010 3:25 pm

Enough about the damn finale already.

Holo J
September 14, 2010 3:50 pm

The Final ENT episode could have worked as a mid season episode and without Trips needless death. It was a nice idea to have the cross over it just NEVER should of been the final episode.

Brandon R
September 14, 2010 4:13 pm

#6 Not sure if this was answered for you, but the very last part of TATV was the ships and the Captain’s Log. The Enterprise D flew off and Picard said “Space the final frontier, these are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, her continuing mission…,” then it wiped to the original Enterprise with Kirk saying “…to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations…” and then finally got to the NX-01 with Archer saying “…to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Then the NX-01 flew off into space and the show ended.

Brett L.
September 14, 2010 4:19 pm

Agree with 29.

Nice idea and I understand the intent. Berman and co. were trying to write a finale for 18 years of Trek on T.V (their “era”). I can see how it might have seemed like a nice bookend to the franchise on paper, but it completely disrespected the ENT cast and the more developed finale they deserved.

wi-kiry-lan
September 14, 2010 4:26 pm

If Berman make rare mistakes – they must be epic and all encompassing. (#1 Hire Brannon Bragga :-) )

Ent fans complaining about what a failure the final episode was is kind of like star wars fans lamenting how childish the modern prequels were and ignoring the 1979 Holiday special. The problem was there from the beginning.

Enterprise was disastrous as a prequel in terms of continuity, and as just another Trek series more of the same droning Voyager style scripts. It wasn’t good science fiction, or good drama, it was just more merchandising topped off with a tone deaf “valentine”.

I agree with any posters that thought the holodeck should have been set post nemesis. (Even though Nemesis is in that same “does not exist” place for me that TATV exists in for many of you ENT fans. Together they made a double whammy franchise killer.

Thorny
September 14, 2010 4:27 pm

TATV was a lousy series finale, but at least ENT got a finale (TOS didn’t, and “Turnabout Intruder” was far from TOS’s best work, even in the third season). The story wouldn’t have been too bad if it had been a season finale, setting up a storyline about Trip’s faked death so that he could infiltrate Section 31, as the novels “undo” it. Go a few episodes into Season 5, and then SURPRISE!, there’s Trip. BSG did something like that with Starbuck a couple of years later.

Any Season 5 should have jettisoned about half the ENT cast, but Mr. Trineer wasn’t one of the show’s problems. Promote Archer to the Admiralty and find someone with personality to take over the Enterprise. Dump Malcolm and replace him with Shran (Jeffrey Combs). Dump Mayweather and replace him with… well, it wouldn’t matter, any character would have been an improvement. Either give Hoshi a backbone or send her back to Starfleet Command. Put an end to Dr. Phlox’s house of horrors he calls “Sickbay”.

These things really should have been done in Season 2.

September 14, 2010 4:28 pm

I agree that Trip’s death was unnecessary and added nothing to the quality of the story or the series finale. I also agree that the episode was good otherwise, but not as the finale. I personally just came to regard the final 2-parter as the series finale, and TATV as a kind of epilogue to the franchise as a whole.

fityap
September 14, 2010 4:38 pm

Watching the Riker & Troi bit again out of the context of the episode also reminds me just how completely whats-her-name forgot how to play Troi.

THX-1228
September 14, 2010 5:17 pm

Frakes really is a excellent both as a television and feature film director, it would be really cool to see him helm a movie again.
You cant deny that First contact is one of the top 3 trek movies ever made.
And clockstoppers for what it was is pretty decent as well.
Even Thunderbirds while it has its flaws, has its enjoyable moments.

Steve Zarich
September 14, 2010 5:49 pm

Hey that Spencer Garrett is that crewman Tarsus from the 4th season episode of Star Trek TNG: The Drumhead. – The crewman who was being drilled for being part Romulan – Just thought I would throw that in there.

Robert H.
September 14, 2010 6:09 pm

Enterprise’s finale was among the worst I have ever seen. I can see looking back from the future of how Archer began the Federation, but the whole concept of using the Next Generation episode Pegasus was one of the worst ideas of them all.

The segments that were 22nd century, I can see. Even sadly Trip’s death. But how it was executed, god they should have brought JJ Abrams in for that episode, then they wouldn’t have made it so bad.

But the whole Riker/Troi thing needs to be burned. I still cannot see how Riker, knowing his trepidation over what he was doing and about to do, would need to see how the end of the NX-01 and the formation of the Federation to convince him to tell Captain Picard the truth. Even the interaction of the NX-01 crew made no sense for Riker or Troi.

If he was reviewing the recreation of the final mission of the NX-01 for facing the future as he becomes Captain of the USS Titan, and us seeing the Titan as seen in the novel, THAT I could have seen. Not that crap.

September 14, 2010 6:13 pm

I mean, how could the holodeck know about all those things?

Kev-1
September 14, 2010 6:32 pm

Finales are great when they wrap up/revisit logical plot points — TNG beginning and ending with Q — but too many just pile on revelations/effects/stunts as if making up for what should have happened during the previous episodes. I’d take a good, solid, quiet finale over a can-you-top-this “blockbuster” anyday. In Enterprise’s case, the show made no real progression towards the Federation’s creation until the last year, but they probably assumed they had two more.

Zebonka
September 14, 2010 6:33 pm

It’s like he wants to apologise even though it isn’t his fault.

MikeTen
September 14, 2010 6:48 pm

I would honestly like to hear what rick Berman thinks of the episode and fan reaction to it. He has been very silent since Paramount/CBS let him go.
In my opinion things started going very wrong when Mr. Berman started putting his input into stories, wasn’t he hired to keep Trek on budget?

Dan
September 14, 2010 6:59 pm

I actually liked the episode “These Are The Voyages…”, with the exception of the fact that it was the final episode of “Enterprise”. So, in order to forget that fact, I consider the next-to last episode to be the real finale, and I just look at TATV as a mid-season “sweeps” stunt.

DeShonn Steinblatt
September 14, 2010 7:02 pm

A fitting end for a terrible show.

September 14, 2010 7:41 pm

#15 said “If they wanted to include Riker and Troi could’ve more easily (and logically) pulled out the ‘new’ Starfleet Bridge from “Lifeline”, called it the bridge of the Titan, and said Riker had to look back to the Romulan War for some inspiration on dealing with the post-Nemesis Romulan situation.”

Quoted for Truth.

September 14, 2010 7:54 pm

The 4th season was so good; then this mess left a bad taste in my mouth.

Riker was a character that grew on me over the course of TNG, so I give Frakes’ acting a lot of credit for that.

bill hiro
September 14, 2010 9:19 pm

Its a tribute to Frakes’ likeability that the Riker character got better as TNG went along because Frakes started playing Riker increasingly as himself.

I hate to hear that his non-English co-stars are struggling though. Hollywood is pretty brutal on talent past a certain age. Its a shame the TNG cast couldn’t save their penultimate fumble and go out on a high note like the original series cast were able to. Insurrection and Nemesis back-to-back was tough.

Another Q
September 14, 2010 9:36 pm

I wanted ENT to be the Trek that TNG & VOY couldn’t
be. A return to the original-like stories from TOS, with
a larger budget & better special effects. I was disappointed
from the moment I saw the NX-01, the time frame,
the “phase pistols”, the gas-propelled torpedoes,
the costumes, and Scott Bakula trying to play a bold
new captain we haven’t seen before. Didn’t care for
the uniforms either… Berman ruined almost every
episode and put the final nail in the coffin with TATVs.

And I really wanted it to succeed….

September 14, 2010 10:23 pm

Riker should have been the Kirk of TNG but he became placid very fast. A nice guy helping the captain.

I never saw the last episode of Enterprise but not sure it could have been as bad as Nemesis. Sad that both crews went out on a whimper. Especially given how great All Good Things was.

GTA
September 14, 2010 10:48 pm

The whole Enterprise series should have been a holo-novel being played by Riker since the series was not good at all. I am a die hard Trek fan from TOS to Voyager but WOW Enterprise really stank, recyled plot lines done badly and stories that totally ignored Trek lore! The only good episode of the series was the two part mirrior episodes.

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