VegasCon 07 – Frakes & Spiner Clown Around + Talk Nemesis & Abrams Trek

Star Trek Generation stars Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner hit the Vegas stage like rock stars. The pair began by clowning around and that continued for the most of their fifty minute appearance. The stage was set up for a concert later which inspired the pair to go into song, starting off with a rendition of ‘Volare.’ The comedy team also did some impressions including Patrick Stewart, with Spiner’s being especially spot-on, starting off “I am the toast of England right now….” Frakes then noted was the 20th anniversary of NextGen by reflecting on what it was like for him at his first Trek convention in Syracuse New York 20 years ago filled with ‘very very angry reticent Star Trek fans.’ The actor who played Riker on Trek’s return to television in 1987 recalled the crowd’s reaction to Trek’s first spinoff: “who the hell are these impostors…the bald guy from England, the cute one with the beard, and the Jewish android.” They also joked that it seems like there is an anniversary every year now (with TNG’s 20th following last years TOS 40th). Frakes then took a dig by saying “next year is the 20th anniversary of the best career choice ever made: Denise Crosby’s ‘I’d like to quit that show now, before it gets really popular.’”

Frakes’ Nemesis
During the Q&A Frakes was asked what he would have done differently if he had directed the last film Star Trek Nemesis (which he had earlier joked ‘had died’). Spiner interjected, saying to the questioner “don’t you mean ‘in what ways would it have been better?’” Riker started off by saying "It would have been more Next Generation and less of that wonderful English actor Thomas Hardy…good actor." He then rattled off a list of changes he would have made " We would have seen the wedding. We would have seen the consummation of the wedding. Blue Skies! Trombone. Wil Wheaton!" He also yelled out to the crowd: “Data IS NOT DEAD! Data lives Man!”

Looking forward to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek
Frakes took it upon himself to mention the new feature film by asking Spiner “so has J.J. Abrams called you?” Spiner joked “his people called me,” but then followed up more seriously saying “I am personally hopefully about this…love J.J.” Frakes agreed saying “I am too. I am a big fan of Lost. He is a great story teller. I think this kid from Heroes [Zachary Quinto] is wonderful actor.” The pair then also agreed that Anton Yelchin (the apparent new Chekov) was a good choice. They also said they were looking forward to seeing Leonard Nimoy in the film and then appeared to jump on the Shatner bandwagon. Frakes asked “Isn’t Bill [Shatner] in it?.” When the crowd yelled out that he wasn’t Frakes replied back “Oh come on Bill will be in it.” Spiner agreed “at the end of the day Bill will be in it” and then summed up by saying “we are very hopeful…I think it’s going to be great.”

New Spinner Music
Spiner announced that he is doing a follow up to his debut musical album “Old Yellow Eyes is Back” the actor joked that he was finally ‘ready to lose some money’ and will be going into his personal studio to record in about a week. But the project seems serious, with Spiner stating it will be ‘a whole new concept.’ It is so serious that Spiner he turned down a guest spot on the show “Shark” to record.

All in all the Spiner and Frakes event was one of the reasons fans come to these shows. It was a lot of fun and when it was over the audience was clamoring for more. These two really could take their vaudeville routine on the road.  

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First time poster. Long time reader!

First! And love the site!

I actually watched Nemesis yesterday for the first time since it was in the the theaters. Apparently I fell asleep the first time I saw it, because I didn’t remember a good share of it.
Surprisingly, I didn’t hate watching it.

I sure hope they’re right about Shatner being in it.

Interesting comments about Shatner.

Maybe they know something we don’t?

Nah, I doubt they know anything. Nowadays they are very uninvolved with Star Trek…other than the conventions of course.

As much as I loath the whole Next Gen Era (Except DS9 which I loved and the last season of Enterprise which was OK) I have to say I always liked Jonathan Frakes. Seems like a hell of a guy full of good humor and self deprication. His direction in First Contact was outstanding and to me he really got the characters to truely emote for the first time in the history of the series which is no small feat!!! Anyway a good guy, wish him well and hell I wouldn’t mind seeing him cameo in the film as an Admiral or something.

Hope is still alive for Shatner in STAR TREK!

Well, in the end, I never found Nemisis to be something hated (even though it’s failure at the box office did end the TNG movies on a bad note) it was just largely an unremarkable film that gave us characters that were too far removed from who they were through out the TNG series. It didn’t feel like Trek while watching it and non fans didn’t get it at all. I shouldn’t have to give a constant commentary during a running movie.

I don’t think they have a clue whether Shatner will be in it or not. They’re just guessing and trying to get the crowd riled up (not in a bad way).

A cameo? That might confuse people unless there’s make up involved.

Since I don’t know where to put this, I’m gonna say this- Majel Barrett better be the voice of the computer. She’s been doin’ it for 40 years minus the TOS movies… that sounded a little demanding, and I hate when people do that like they have the right to demand. I just wanted it to sound strong.

I haven’t been to a Trek convention in years, but I would definitely have loved to see those two together on stage. People can complain about TNG all they want, but those actors still had the best chemistry and camaraderie of any of the spinoff shows.

Even with the episodes sucked, these characters were still fun to watch together.

Frakes has really grown on me of late. His portrayal of Riker always struck me as a bit clunky but there is no denying his success Directing. He has always done good to great work on that front. FC was a great piece of work by a guy that really ‘got’ the characters and I also enjoy Insurrection. Not the greatest film, but no disgrace. I happen to think Thunderbirds is a good little film. Somewhat under-rated. imo
Nice to see they are both excited by JJ’s Trek. ;)

I’m looking forward to Trek 11 and I like the direction they are taking – I’ve wanted more Kirk and Spock for years, but I swear, I wish TNG would have had a better ending.

#8 I’m gonna say this- Majel Barrett better be the voice of the computer.

As I hear it Majel is not doing well these days and may be the next TOS cast member we will lose next. Rod is doing her appearances. She is very weak these days. Lets all wish her the best health and pray for her. A great and kind lady.

# 12
I’m sorry to hear that. That really is too bad. I had no idea.

I just wish they hadn’t cut all the character scenes out of Nemesis, it was too shitzon centric if you know what I mean.

Well the one thing that was meant to give the story real resonance– the fact that this was the last mission for most of the crew– was completely cut out.

Instead it became just another routine mission involving another renegade villain. It didn’t feel like there was even a POINT to it.

Best wishes to Majel.
Forgive my timing, but if she’s got some stories that’s she’s held back (and I mean positive ones) then I would really like to know her views on things. Shatner’s were eye-openers for me. But, she knew Roddenberry better than anyone as well as the business perhaps better even than Shatner.
Anyway, I hope she gets better.

I wonder if these old TNG guys would ever consider doing a direct-to DVD movie?

Glad to see Frakes and Brent were so comedic. Nemesis was a very exciting movie, when I saw it on the big screen. It was very cool, until they turned Data jumped into the Ghostbusters’ Proton Accelerator. Tom Hardy……uggghhh.

Aw man. Nemisis broke the rule of evens. It was awful. I mean, how more stupid can you get than “We cloned Picard and now he’s taken over Romulus with the help of a bunch of vampire bats.” Seriously. The acting was terrible, the movie focused WAY too much on Picard to the exclusion of all the other characters. (I’m not even that big a fan of the character, and certainly on the series he never was the main focus of the show. Why then did he suddenly become the focus of the movies? $$ probably.) I mean, what did Riker get? A poorly staged fight in a dark room somewhere. Woo.

Nemisis was a terrible movie and a terrible way to close the TNG franchise. There was a reason that the movie tanked in the Box office. it might have been partially fan fatigue, but most of it was simply ebcause the movie sucked in a dozen ways.

The problem with Nemisis wasn’t the basic plot or the themes, which I think made it the best Next Gen film. It was really the hokey dialogue and bad jokes. Outside of Ira Steven Behr’s willingness to guide DS9 to be unusually hilarious for Sci Fi, Trek has long suffered the problem of inserting cliched jokes from bad sitcom humor and expecting them to succeed purely due to the shock of them being said in Sci Fi. I think the wedding was a bad idea. Riker and Troi became the Sam and Diane of Trek, and Wesley can’t return from a higher plane to be an engineer. Too much cheap nostalgia over great plot. Also, reusing the mental rape of Deana as a cheap vehicle for Riker to look like a macho hero was a terrible idea. Again, this was a cliched attempt to use bad action formula and insert it into Trek to make it seem cool. Audiences don’t fall for this kind of writing. Also, perhaps too much action. The basic plot and ending were good, though.

Abrams is a hack and so are his writers, as proved in Alias (with the unbearable Jennifer Garner), M: I 3, Transformers, and the basic fact that JJ is not too smart. He’s a network exec’s dream; he’ll drive up the profits with a story with a lot of shock value and forced unrealistic drama, but he won’t do anything nearly as great or politically insightful as Behr and company did on DS9.

Oh, and Shatner can go to hell. I felt badly for him after his wife died and was happy to seem him be entertaining on Conan OBrien, but his success is way too big now. He has an inflated ego. He’s arrogant, has bad taste, and dissed DS9 and Behr’s vision as foolishly “cynical and depressing,” when it was the best thing to ever happen to Trek. I’m so sick of Nimoy and Shatner being praised as gods, and dissing all subsequent Trek series as mistakes just because they weren’t apart of them. “In the Pale Moonlight” and “The Sacrifice of Angels” are perhaps the best stories in Trek history. Period.

I have to say I agree with you Muldfeld, especially about Shatners monumental ego, try to find the Boston Legal sketch from Mad TV (if you haven’t already seen it) it deals with it quite well.
Lost is overrated, and I agree It would be very interesting to see someone like Behr or perhaps J. Michael Straczynski do something new with Trek instead of this constant retreading over the same stale material.

#22: Yeah, like J. Michael Straczynski, who would never pitch the idea of revisiting TOS!

Except, of course, when he did:

It was a reboot of the Trek universe, which means it would be new not a retread of the same universe and situations.

Oh… You have a good point there, but I have to disagree. The basic plot was stupid. I remember sitting in the theater and rolling my eyes when we found out that Shinzon was a clone of Picard. It was a stupid plot, focused on picard too much, and left all the other characters flat.

I remember his pitch. I always thought a reboot led by him would have resulted in an outstanding show.

I watched Nemesis the other day and I found it odd. I found it somewhat enjoyable while I was watching it, but after it finished I just felt let down again.

A shame it wasn’t better. If they hadn’t hacked out so many of the scenes I think it would have been quite a bit better, probably not amazing, but definitely better. There are some really good character scenes that got cut.

I do think it’s a shame that TNG won’t (or probably won’t) get its ‘Undiscovered Country’ and a good send-out.

Look how much better Nimoy and Shatner have aged than TNG crew, and they are 20 odd years older. Remarkable what true success can do for a person, unlike flukes.

I often wonder if the same will be said of the average cheeto eating, hot-pocket stuffing , morbidly obese 20-something armchair critic fanboy?

No, actually, I don’t wonder that.

I love listening to the First Contact commentary by Jonathan Frakes, because he cracks some wonderful jokes and listening to him going “YEEES YEES” every three minutes is pretty damned funny.

Nemesis should have been about unification. Except the director already didn’t know anything about what he was doing, so I guess bringing forth an idea from ONE episode in the series would have made his head explode.

“I don’t know why the cat is there, something to do with the series.”


#22 “I have to say I agree with you Muldfeld, especially about Shatners monumental ego, try to find the Boston Legal sketch from Mad TV (if you haven’t already seen it) it deals with it quite well.”

Oh, well, I was going to dispute you, but if you saw it on a Mad TV sketch, it MUST be true. :)

#23 Bryan … LOL! Right on, man. Straczynski wanted to redo TOS also. Not much different at all than what the concept of the current movie is!

On topic … I’ve always liked Jon Frakes. I feel almost bad for these guys that their version of Trek dried up well before their 20th anniversary. But let’s face it – the movies were mostly bad – tv fare unsuitable for the big screen. Oh well.

Re 27-

That’s just rude, Josh T! And I guess you don’t have to wonder about the health status of “morbidly obese 20-something fanboys” because you were once one yourself (20-something, that is–the rest of the description probably still applies).

I often wonder if the same will be said of the average cheeto eating, hot-pocket stuffing , morbidly obese 20-something armchair critic fanboy?

^ Josh T enough about yourself.

Looks like Bones and Scotty in that picture!

I want Star Trek: Titan to come next after this movie. Frakes can direct it and star as the Captain. Bring back Counselor Troi. Set it in the frontier like DS9 with people who aren’t perfect but do the best they can against the odds. Find a way for Wesley to come back to this level of existence and be the Chief Engineer.
And please, no clones, dune buggies, ship collisions, or movie concluding with the ship exploded or in tatters on the planets surface. We’ve seen enough of that.

I will keep Majel in my thoughts and prayers. I’m really distressed to hear that she is in bad health. Her contributions to Trek cannot be overestimated. God bless her.

Muldfeld, and Josh T… anyone out there that you REALLY like?

Its not only true its damn funny

Like I said before it was going to be a reboot

Let’s just hope thy’re right about Shatner being in the movie!

here’s my take on what was wrong with Nemesis. Take it or leave it of course, because it is just my opinion…

Nemesis succeded in being a good action movie, and failed at being a good Star Trek movie. As Frakes is quoted in this article, a good Trek movie would have had more of the Wedding scene. There would have been the camio by Whil Wheaton, etc. That is because the Riker/Troi relationship is important to TNG lore. Also, the TNG crew seemed to solve every problem with a more action movie answer and less of a Star Trek answer…so….

That’s what I go….what do you guys think?

I’ll say it again: I like how Frakes always takes the high road. He seems to be a pretty stand-up guy.

#39 I still say that the plot was stupid. It was bad sci-fi all around. But you do have a point. The characters got overwhelmed by the bad plot and dumb action.

I agree with everything that’s been said about the problems with Nemesis plot and overemphasis on action. But I would like to add another thing. When I first saw that Tom Hardy guy revealed as Picard’s clone, my suspension of disbelief went out the window! That dude looks nothing like Picard, except for the bald head (not to mention the fact that according to a couple of TNG episodes the young Picard wasn’t bald) They try to explain it away as a result of violence, but dude, violence couldn’t turn you into a completely different person. I would have trouble believing Hardy as Picard’s son, let alone his clone.

I wonder if it would have been better to have Stewart play Shinzon? Obviously you’d have to alter the rapid age plot point, but I think it would have made for a slightly better ‘clone’ then some guy who looks and acts nothing like Picard.

‘Stewart play Shinzon’
That would’ve actually been cool to see

It is fairly remarkable that of the 4 TNG films, only one of them was an unqualified success. And the credit for that goes the the screenwriters and a terrific directorial debut by Frakes.

I think the other three had good intentions. And I have a soft spot for them all, in many ways. Generations is pretty good, up to the point where Kirk and Picard meet. Nemesis is very much like a TNG episode (just not one of the great ones), and the characters are spot-on (can’t understand how true fans of the show can diss this film). And Nemesis is a concept that could have worked. Should have worked. But didn’t. The feel was wrong, and yet, it too has its moments – and it ends well, with the Data wake, and the departure of Riker for his new command (hearkens back to ‘The Best of Both Worlds'”.

Intentions were good on all of the films, but mistakes were made. Too bad.

Still, I have high hopes for the new film. It would be wonderful if it were great. But regardless, it’ll be nice to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy back in action (just as it was for ST:TMP….another film that has grown on me, over time).