TNG@20 – Reading Rainbow Goes Behind The Scenes

As part of our 20th Anniversary celebration of Star Trek The Next Generation, here are clips from LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow visiting the TNG set during the first season.

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1ST AHH SHIII YEH N I live in Australia as well so I’m reall surprised :P

Once again TNG Rules.

First? Sweet. First time ever.

Does anyone recognize that episode offhand? Is that “Lonely Among Us” with the Anticans and Selay?

I remember watching this in my high chair first run. I was already a li’l Trekkie. Good times.

Oh man I remember when this episode of Reading Rainbow first aired as a kid, I loved this one! I tried to catch it when it repeated as much as possible.

P.S. Well played, Lukas. Well played indeed. *grumble*

where no one has gone before.
it was the first episode to mention Captain Kirk and the first Enterprise.

and they left the galaxy.


you should track down Michael Dorn’s appearance as Worf on Webster :-)

solar flares … the one with Merritt Buttrick and Judson Scott? where Tasha Yar says “just say no”?

or the one with the Klingons ….? Heart of Glory i think it was called …

it was the last episode filmed with Denise Crosby as a regular

was it called Symbiosis? the last one Denise filmed? I haven’t watched TNG in years.

i think she waves as the cargo bay doors close, doesn’t she?

The ep is ‘Symbiosis’. Historic because it includes Merritt Butrick & Judson Scott, both from Wrath of Kahn.

Ahh nuts. I must have been moments behind! Congrats Steve.

Holy shit, you mean I actually get something? – you can’t win it if you’re not in it.

Nice stuff – first time I have seen it. Sure does shatter the illusion though.

There were a bunch of first season eps, including the ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ episode with Metric Buttcrack and the ‘We’re Old, Give Us Yer Kids!’ episode. Plus a little ‘00110101110000100011100111’ thrown in.

I remember this from when it first aired. I can’t claim to have been young enough, and wasn’t even a Dad yet, but it caught my interest. Reading Rainbow ran for years and was very well made.

Who was in that very last frame, Bionic Bunny or pre-Silver Fox Jay Leno?

Oh, and are the rumors true that Bionic Bunny will play Kirk?

No worries Anthony. Fair is fair, and I was slow on the trigger! Next time.

I remember watching this when I was a kid too.

It’s still funny how much that beautiful TNG bridge looks like just a cheap wooden set without the sound effects added.

Say what you want about early TNG but I think the show was so much more entertaining then.

Frack! Robbed of first, and then I miss the prize!

I remember watching this back in the day, and being totally floored that that scout ship was made out of disposable razors.

I find myself rather nostalgic for the old days of special effects, what with the tricks of light and moving the camera. There’s something wonderful about it, and in some ways CGI hasn’t improved upon the old techniques.

I wish they would use models for Trek Remastered, the Enterprise looks weightless!


Yeah a lot of the charm and magic is gone now. Before you used to go “Wow, I wonder how they DID that??”

Now, you pretty much know how they’re all done– by a bunch of guys sitting in front of computers. It just doesn’t inspire the same sense of wonder.

Oh man, I remember watching this in 3rd grade. Then I took a bunch of glitter and a glass of water, and I tried to beam up my Galoob TNG figures.

Those are some cool memories, guys. I remember seeing this for the first time and being a sfx junkie, I was totally floored that they actually showed the filming model of the Enterprise. This being the land before the internets, getting any kind of behind the scenes goodies on Star Trek was like finding gold. And for all the TNG haters, I would just have to say that it was really a good show and I bet most of you watched it and liked it. It seems to be fashionable to pan it but it was easily 50 times better than 90% of what was being aired at the time.

Much love and big props to the crew of the D.

LOL Burton seemed so young and naive there he was much more interesting once he matured a bit he was great in the movies and the later seasons of TNG.

LOL Anthony quick question how does it feel to put the “OFFICIAL” Star Trek website to shame when it comes to this film??

#30 — Yeah, I grew up with CGI and I still feel nostalgic for the days when they were using old razors and spare parts for the sfx…

God, those buttons in the electronic editing room looked more complicated than the control panels on the Enterprise…

Interesting clips I’ve never seen before.

Btw…it will be great to resume the ‘preview’ videos of TOS Remastered at some time in the future again, as I’ve been missing them…

#35 I’m pretty sure he’s acting that way on purpose, Lukas. Reading Rainbow is a kids show. I’ve never seen it myself but I get the impression that it is skewed young. He’s talking to kids, not adults.

I bet he wasnt that green.

Oh, and Anthony…

Just a thought, but as regards your latest poll, ‘which Star Trek actor rumout do you hope is actually true?’…can you please add the choice of ‘Non of the above’ to questions like this, or some of us here can’t vote at all… ;)

Levar Burton was and remains a real class act. His decades of dedication to Reading Rainbow is truly inspirational. As a real TNG-ekkie, I loved the presentation. Thanks for sharing it, Antrhony.

I’m not a fan of TNG, but I did watch all of the episodes, and I even have this same episode of reading rainbow recorded on tape somewhere. Just because I was left unsatisfied after 7 years, doesn’t mean I didn’t start watching it with great enthusiasm! I really liked Levar Burton, he was, hands down, the most “natural” acting actor of the bunch. After all, that is the whole point of good acting, to look like you’re not acting, and he pulled it off wonderfully. Darn shame he was never used to his greatest potential.

Levar always comes across as a nice guy in interviews. Although his myspace page seems a little weird, if indeed it really is his myspace page:

This is where I learned that they hung the D upside down, I remember seeing this. For a while I played with my die-cast D upside down to replicate the actual shooting.

BTW, I was young enough to play with toys back then. :-P

When Star Trek had its 20th anniversary TVH was out in cinemas..and its major success led to the creation of a 2nd series…

When TNG had its 20th….ummm…a new novel came out..


When TNG had its 20th, the franachise had been run into the ground and was pinning high hopes on the next movie to revitilize it.

I see some of you are just stupid TOS fanboys.

what about Voyager?

Enough with the Trek-bashing. It’s like everyone think it makes TOS better that we slam the other series.
EACH of the series had their pluses and minuses.
Personally, I think Voyager and Enterprise both catered to 13 year old boys. At the same time, there are many episodes of each that I still enjoy.
There are also about 5-10 TOS episodes that fall into the “Wish They’d Never Made ‘Em” pot.
Trek is a fine wine. Not every vintage is the best, but there are lots o’ good ones.