From The Next Generation to Voyager to Enterprise — and Star Trek movies in between — Brannon Braga has had his hands in hundreds of hours of Star Trek. The writer/producer’s next project, however, is Fox’s prehistoric time travel series Terra Nova from producer Steven Spielberg. Braga took some time to reflect on his time with Star Trek in a new interview with StarTrek.com.
Here are some highlights from Part 1 of the two-part interview.
Braga revealed that his favorite episode from his time with Star Trek was "The Next Generation" series finale "All Good Things…":
"Top of the list, it was just a really great two-hour episode of TNG that fully explored the characters and the sentimentality of where they started, where they are and where they’re going. It had a great science-fiction premise. And it kind of achieved the impossible. I have no recollection of how Ron Moore and I did it, but it was a great ending to a great series. It didn’t disappoint."
Speaking about Voyager, Braga detailed his thoughts on the decision to add Jeri Ryan as the character Seven of Nine during the show’s fourth season. Braga says the reason for the change was because ‘Voyager’ "needed a kick in the ass". Braga says Captain Janeway was missing her Spock or Data and adding a character like Seven of Nine helped fill that void:
"The idea of putting a Borg on board gave us a chance to have a wild child there. That was the metaphor, a wild child, and Janeway would be her mother and try to tame her and help make her human again. That was a new take on that kind of character."
Braga continued: "To me, Seven of Nine added a nice touch of magic that the show needed at the time. The fact that she was a beautiful woman was just, to me, a benefit." He also dismissed criticism that the character was added purely for sex appeal:
"A lot of people thought it was in poor taste that we had a buxom babe, but I’m like, "Have you actually watched TOS?" That was babes on parade. Kirk would be considered a sex addict by today’s standards."
Moving on to Enterprise, Braga revealed that the original idea for the series actually more closely resembled the way J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek opened, but they ultimately went forward with the prequel idea:
"In some regards, I guess, it might have had a bit more of a feel like the way the J.J. Abrams movie opened, which I loved. His image of the starship was something I just loved and wished we’d done on Enterprise. But the prequel idea seemed like it would give us the ability to kind of go back before the days of Kirk and Picard and the other characters and do some slightly more contemporary storytelling, because the characters were a little more closely related to our day."
One aspect of Enterprise that some fans didn’t take kindly to was the decision to have humans in conflict with Vulcans. Braga, however, stands by that decision:
"I know there were some Star Trek fans who really hated the fact that humans and Vulcans didn’t get along, because that’s not the way it was depicted in TOS and the other shows. But relationships change over a century…So, the idea of us being in conflict with Vulcans and almost resenting their grandfather-ship and their lording of us ever since the ending of First Contact… I thought that was a really fresh, interesting idea that was, to me, fun to write and rather lively.
It may have been the least-watched series, but Braga continues to defend Enterprise against its critics and hopes fans go back and give it a second look — or a first — especially the third and fourth seasons:
"I’m not going to say every episode was great, but you could say that about any of the shows. I really loved Enterprise. I loved the characters and the cast."
In Part 2 of the interview, Braga defended his and Rick Berman’s time with the franchise. Although he takes full responsibility for any creative errors, Braga casts aside fan criticism that they were responsible for "killing the franchise":
"I will take full responsibility for any flawed or downright bad storytelling or creative decisions that hurt the franchise. I don’t think, looking back, that that’s the main reason it went away. So I don’t think Rick and I killed the franchise. That’s absurd. Did I stay on the franchise too long? Was the storytelling feeling feeble and familiar? I’m going to say no. I look at season three of Enterprise and say the whole Xindi species concept was really cool. That’s a science fiction concept I’d never seen before. You had insects and [aquatics] with intelligence and culture. I thought that was a fascinating idea and we turned it into a season-long arc that I thought was super-fresh. I thought Manny Coto came in and breathed fresh air into season four."
To read the complete interview with Brannon Braga, including more thoughts on Star Trek and the upcoming Fox series Terra Nova of, head on over to StarTrek.com. Part 1 of the interview can be found here with Part 2 here. Braga serves as showrunner for Terra Nova which debuts Monday, September 26 with a two-hour premiere on Fox.