STLV: Brannon Braga Misses Working On Star Trek + Talks Frankly About Voyager, Enterprise + More

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On Saturday veteran writer/producer Brannon Braga was set to appear with Manny Coto – his fellow executive producer from the last two seasons of Star Trek Enterprise – but Manny was stuck in traffic so Brannon went solo. He covered a lot of ground discussing his time with Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise. He also talked about how his recent Cosmos series had a little bit of Trek in it and how he now “misses” working on Star Trek. Details and photos below.

 

Braga On Cosmos/Trek + How He ‘Misses’ Working On Star Trek

Since Enterprise went off the air Braga has kept busy writing and producing for many TV series including Flash Forward, 24, and Salem.  And over the years when he has been asked about if he had a desire to return to Star Trek he always demurred, but it seems that his recent experience reviving the science show Cosmos has got him back in the mood for Trek.

Braga on Cosmos/Star Trek connection…

[Cosmos] is not so dissimilar to Star Trek. I did bring a lot of my Star Trek sensibilities to the show. The ‘Ship of the Imagination’ might as well be the Starship Enterprise. Both show are about humanity aspiring to explore the universe. Cosmos is about what we know now and Cosmos is about what we might know in the future.

Braga’s response to a question on if he would be interested in bringing Star Trek back to TV…

I miss Star Trek. I didn’t realize how badly I missed it. It’s such a great premise. You can do anything you can possibly imagine. It has such a great message. It has such a great feeling. I think one of the reasons I was so passionate about Cosmos and threw myself so deeply into it was because there was some part of me that missed that Star Trek feeling so I channeled some of that into Cosmos.

Braga went on to speculate about if and when Star Trek would return to TV…

Whether or not CBS or Paramount do another Star Trek show I have no idea. I surmise they probably wont do one until the movies have run their course is what the word on the street is. So they are going to do another movie. But I would love to see another show. I have no idea what it would be at that point.

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Below are more of Braga’s comments, sorted by series.

ENTERPRISE: Praise For Coto – Condemnation for UPN (and his finale choice)

Braga on why Star Trek: Enterprise struggled…

Star Trek was wearing out its welcome. Rick Berman didn’t want to make a show so soon but Paramount did. I think it was too soon for another show. It was a quality show, but the ratings weren’t really what they should be. And I don’t think the network – the new regime [at UPN] – I don’t think they treated the show with the tender loving care that it needed to thrive.

Later Braga went into more detail about the issues with UPN

We didn’t have network interference on Voyager or on Next Generation -zero, nothing. At its best the network can be a partner and that was the case with Voyager. On Enterprise the studio was a partner and a good one, but then a new regime came in and I don’t think they understood Star Trek. You always want a show that is really successful or tanks horribly. When you are in the middle like [Enterprise] that is a terrible place and the powers that be start to try to tell you what to do to fix it.

He also praised the work of Manny Coto…

The other thing it was missing was new blood. I had been doing Star Trek for a long time at that point. It needed Manny Coto. I wish he had been there since season one. That fourth season should have been the first season. It was really what the show was always supposed to be and I didn’t until Manny came in and put his imprint on it.

Braga on the series finale of Enterprise [“These Are The Voyages”]…

The final episode of Enterprise was an idiotic move on my part. I thought it would be cool to do a valentine to all of Star Trek. To me there was something really post-modern about the idea of saying this was an episode of Next Generation you have never seen – where they go on the holodeck with their heroes aboard Enterprise. It sounded good in my head – what ended up airing was really bad and not successful completely. It should have been Enterprise’s finale – it was a misstep.

Asked what the actors thought of the finale, Braga replied…

The Enterprise actors? They hated it. It was the only time Scott Bakula got pissed off at me.

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VOYAGER: Why 7 of 9 was “Janeway’s Spock” (& should have died) + Why Kes had to go

Braga the character of Seven of Nine who was introduced in the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager

I personally felt [7 of 9] was an amazing character. I thought it really invigorated the show. It was controversial. I am sure there are people here who don’t like the character and others who like the character. To me, Janeway was always missing her Spock or her Data. To me 7 of 9 was that Star Treky character. The Doctor came close. I liked the Doctor Character. But 7 of 9 to me was like The Wild Child – I was inspired by that Truffaut movie about trying to tame someone who was raised by wolves or in this case someone raised by Borg.

Braga went on to say he felt that Seven should not have survived Voyager…

I always saw as a tragic character and it was my strong feeling – and I said this before – that she should have sacrificed herself in the final episode of Voyager. To me the final episode was missing a tragic component. The only episode of season seven that I wrote was called human error. It isn’t a very memorable episode to many, but it was to me. It is the one where 7 of 9 was experimenting with emotions on the holodeck and she is using Chakotay as a foil. But she realizes there is a piece of technology insider that if she begins to feel emotions it will kill her and it was incurable. To me that was setting up her realizing that she did not ever want to go back to the Borg and yet she could never fully be human and therefore she had no where to go and no one to be with. And I thought she should have somehow sacrificed herself to get the closest thing she had to a family home. I think it would have been amazing but I was shot down. I was not running the show at the time it was Ken Biller and Rick [Berman].

Bringing Seven on the show was also the point that the character of Kes left the show. A fan asked about what ever happened to Kes. Braga replied…

To my recollection it was a creative decision and it was failure of imagination on the writers’ part. We were running out of things to do with Kes. We had to make room in the budget for a new character in the cast so there was a pragmatic reason but it was primarily a creative decision.

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TNG: Finale was ‘best work’ on Trek + talks ‘Frame of Mind’ and ‘First Contact’

Braga on the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale “All Good Things”…

During the seventh season of TNG, Michael Piller wanted Braga to move to DS9, but Braga wanted to “see Next Generation through to the end and I am glad I did because Ron [Moore] and I wrote the final episode [“All Good Things”], which was probably our best work on that show.

On “Frame of Mind”…

In my career I was heavily influenced by Roman Polanski and other directors that tried to bend reality. I wanted to do something that. One of my favorite movies was Repulsion about a woman who is losing her mind. I wanted to try and do something like that on the show – something experimental….I could have done that with any character. I had the concept first, but  felt that Riker wasn’t getting enough great stuff to do and so this might be a great episode for him.

On “First Contact” (film)….

I had a saying when we were working on Star Trek: “fun to write – fun to watch.” Generally speaking if you are struggling to write something and it’s not making sense, then it is going to be kind of crappy on the screen. First Contact was blast to write, blast to make. We just knew it was going to be fun.

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Coming Soon – VOY and ENT actor panels + Pegg & Weller + more

Friday also featured panels with actors from Star Trek: Enterprise and Voyager who will give their side of the story to some of the above topics. Plus Simon Pegg, Peter Weller and more.

And then we will move on to the Sunday panels.  So stay tuned for those articles soon.

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