Jonathan Frakes To Direct Episode Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Jonathan Frakes directing

A familiar name and face will be behind the camera for Star Trek: Discovery. This morning in Entertainment Weekly, Discovery co-showrunner Gretchen J. Berg revealed that Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes will be helming an episode in the first season.

“Jonathan Frakes will rejoin the Trek world with Discovery. He’s a fantastic guy and great director.”

Added fellow showrunner Aaron Harberts, “Our cast is dying to work with him.”

Frakes began his directing career while he was on The Next Generation as Commander William Riker. His Trek directing career includes episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He also directed two of the TNG feature films (First Contact and Insurrection).

Jonathan Frakes directing Patrick Stewart in the TNG episode “Drumhead”

More recently Frakes has directed for a number of TV series including multiple episodes of TNT’s The Librarians (where he is also a producer) and NCIS: Los Angeles. Earlier this year he also directed an episode of Seth MacFarlane’s Star Trek-inspired sci-fi comedy The Orville. His other credits, sci-fi and otherwise, include V, Falling Skies, Roswell, Leverage, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and the 2000 feature film Clockstoppers. 

Members of the Discovery team are pretty excited about the news:

Definitely a great choice. Frakes described his appeal as a director in an interview several years back:

“I come in on time. [laugh] And I’m a reformed actor, so I think, assuming that people work the way I do, I think it’s good for the actors to know there’s another member of the brotherhood around keeping their on it so it’s not all about the technology. Stay on the story, stay on the characters.”

Frakes on the set of The Orville in May (Twitter/Jonthansfrakes)

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Bet he swings one leg over the director’s chair. 👽

I love this comment. And I hope you’re right, CmdrR.

“Stay on the story, stay on the characters” is exactly the kind of director I want to see!

Sounds good to me.
Welcome Back Jonathan!

Considering I was down about the picture aspect ratio this morning, this has made me soo excited!!!!!

Great news. :)


Make it so!

Number One! :D

I posted this on an older article just now, but to make it current:

Anyone hear any word of Discovery being offered for purchase on ITunes? I checked last night on my Apple TV, and The Good Wife is available there, another “CBS Access-Only” show. Makes sense to me they would offer this on ITunes, too. Matt Wright? Anyone?

“The Good Wife” is no longer in production. If the CBS All Access sequel to that series, “The Good Fight”, was also on iTunes, then you’d be comparing like for like (although not really, considering the huge series budget difference between TGF and DSC).

The powers that be are many things, but I’m fairly confident they’re no fools when it comes to their economic self-interest. Even if DSC was offered on iTunes, I’d imagine it would be at a per-episode price point that would make subscribing to CBS All Access more attractive. (There would be no reason to subscribe to the CBS streamer otherwise.)

May I ask why you’re asking about iTunes? Is it to save money? (You won’t, I’m fairly certain.) Is it because you can’t get CBS All Access (or Netflix, if you’re non-USA)? Some other reason?

@Scott — well for starters, if purchased on iTunes, then they will always be available for viewing, particularly offline, regardless of how CBS chooses to offer them worldwide.

Thanks, Scott. I will check out if “The Good Fight” is on ITunes. I’m in the USA. And I will answer your question, though you probably won’t like it much:) As a cord-cutter, I already subscribe to (deep breath) HBO Now, Showtime, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’m not up for shelling out for yet another service, on which I’m interested in only ONE show, with an EXTRA cost for no commercials.

To be clear, it’s not a money issue. I was able to afford cable, but felt taken advantage of, by channels full of junk I didn’t want at a high price. In this scenario, it’s a feeling of being taken advantage of (in the U.S.) again, having to pay extra for a show which is being shown on Netflix around the rest of the world (except for Canada). I already pay for Netflix, so that would be great here in the U.S.

So honestly, if I could just purchase the season from ITunes, even at a higher price than CBS All-Access, I would. (I do this with The Walking Dead). Irrational, perhaps. But, I could re-watch it as many times as I want with no extra fee for as long as I have an ITunes account. It would be “mine,” the same as buying the dvd later on (which I’ll admit I don’t have the patience to wait for with Discovery).

One other option I have to watch it isn’t exactly above-board in the legal dept., but I may go that route, too. One thing for sure, I’m not signing up for CBS’ force-fed service. No way. And outside Trek fan websites, from what I read, the majority of casual viewers thinks All-Access ridiculous as well. Some are already predicting Discovery will hit record-setting torrent numbers.

Thanks for your response!

I agree with you, Dan. Warning: I’ve made similar comments – I don’t want to get yet another service for just one show – and was called an idiot.

The Good Fight is indeed on iTunes.

Is The Good Fight on Itunes in America now? I know its on Itunes in Canada though. But even if it isn’t yet its probably only a matter of time.

And OF COURSE CBS is going to have more options to watch this as they do every show. They know not everyone wants to sign up to AA to watch it so they want to give those people more options. You simply won’t see the show on another network or a streaming show and you may have to wait until after the season is over to see it on discs or Itunes but you will have that option most likely. You’ll just have to wait longer basically.

I meant streaming site.

I would look at when those episodes became available on iTunes versus the CBS app. I would expect a similar lag.

Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me!!

Can we have a Commander River cameo at some point? Preferably one less stupid than his appearance on Enterprise.

Almost think it has to happen. He appeared on TNG, VOY, DS9 & ENT.

There are very few TNG actors I’d want to see reprise their roles, despite my love for that show. Patrick Stewart is one. Michael Dorn. Riker though? I don’t know… he was such a boring character.

Now Thomas Riker, maybe.

His directing skills definitely outshine his acting chops. And he seems like a good guy. I’m confident about the outcome!

Hey, don’t be dissing Jonathan’s acting….I’m still haunted by his “DATA SOMETHING’S GOT MEEEEEEEE!” ;)

He’s been Captain Riker of the USS Titan since Nemesis. I would die if he had a cameo as Captain Riker!!

I am ok with this. I’ve not seen any of his directorial work outside of Trek; I trust he was hired for his work as a director though and not just as a Trek alumni gimmick.

Well, there are worse strategies than to involve the best TOS film director and the best TNG film director…

Most definitely!

This is exciting… Hopefully when it knows will let us know which episode is the Franks episode.

Number One directing Number One!

What about Marina Siritis as voice of the Computer?

The queen of conventions taking over for Star Trek’s first lady? I could see that.

Hat er sich verdient. :)

Lets see how long it takes the ‘true fans’ to start screaming about Frakes being referred to as ‘Star Trek Royalty’….

I’m a “true fan” and I love that Ted Sullivan referred to Frakes that way. He deserves it.

Frakes actually had a fine run of episodes that he directed for TNG. This is a good choice creatively, and not just a gimmick.

Just a gimmick? No. He has had a successful career as a director, but it would also be disingenuous to say this had nothing to do with the fact that he is a popular former Star Trek actor.

Either way I’m fine with it because he is a decent director. I do however hope they’ve also hired some of TV’s top directors for other episodes.

Guess I didn’t word that sentence very clearly, my bad. I only meant to say that it was a great decision, not to imply that it was a gimmick at all.

Actually my fault, MH, I should have said “Not just a gimmick?”

Well, would they have sought out Nick Meyer except for his ST credentials? This seems like entirely appropriate CV leveraging.

Very good to hear, this. Frakes is a Trekkie and he knows this universe. He hasn’t directed a bad episode from what I recall either… look forward to it!

This could be stunt casting as far as director’s go but Frakes is an accomplished director, even if just technically.
He would be able to get his episodes “in the can” on time.
If the autograph lineups at Mission New York, last September, were any indication, then he is Star Trek Royalty.
I helped a friend with a wheelchair and waited in line with her in New York last September.
We waited in a LONG line to meet Mr. Frakes. (He’s incredibly friendly, by the way.)
While we waited an hour to see Mr. Frakes, the rest of the TNG cast had little to no waiting.
The cast of Enterprise and DS9 had no wait times.
We got Connor Trinneer to sign a photo of our dog (named Trip) who’d recently passed away.
We walked right up to Connor and he spent a few minutes with us, as well. Another incredibly great person.
Well done, Mr. Frakes!

Fan Pan Handling.
He’s not that great a director.
He’ll likely be working from a prestructured schedule much like old style television formats which could be clearly seen in ST First Contact.

But then again he probably works cheap.

You do know he’s directed more than just Trek, right? He’s actually a pretty decent Director.

And Paramount dictated the First Contact schedule, not Frakes.

That is wrong. Frakes did a very good job with First Contact. I feel its better directed than Into Darkness.

Definitely not better directed than ID. Definitely not. JJ Abrams on his worst day is better than Frakes at his best.

That said, I think Frakes did a fine job on FC. “Pretty decent” is actually a very apt description.

I think the script was the problem with ID, not so much the directing ;)

Directing was part of the problem with STID. It wasnt bad per se but not understanding the characters, its hard to give them better directing.

I have no doubt that STID came out exactly the way JJ intended. Unfortunately, his intentions were misguided. Cumberbatch was chewing scenery worse than Shatner at his worst.

Hmmm. It would also be interesting to see what Roxann Dawson could do – she’s done some pretty high-profile shows (House of Cards, most recently).

Agree wholeheartedly. Bring on Roxann Dawson, CBS!!!

Agreed! Her resume is impressive, working nonstop on some of the hottest shows in production.

Was thinking the same thing, though she doesn’t have the name that Frakes does, within Trek fandom. Frakes is Riker, who was on the beloved TNG. Roxann was on the much maligned Voyager. While I agree she’d be a better director for Discovery than Frakes, her name won’t get fans excited the way Frakes would (and is).

Very smart choice. He’s extremely accomplished in the director’s chair, and it can only help to serve as good PR for the Trek faithful, just as Meyer’s hiring did.

Just as long as he stays behind the camera!

First Contact Is an amazing and fun movie. Frakes landed the most exciting TNG story, giving us the last word on the Borg, a wholly TNG creation and made it fun for large audiences.

How can we not be excited!

The last word? I think Voyager had that, and it wasn’t a particularly thrilling one.

Well, that’s what I mean…. (and que Jazz Hands)

Yes, yes, yes!!!

Been wanting Frakes to direct literally since I heard about the show. This is great news. Its exciting to see so many former Trek vets working on this show. And yes, although maybe impossible I wouldn’t mind seeing Riker showing up keeping with his record of Trek spin off appearances. Just no holodeck appearances talking to Burnham as a cook. ;)

Anyway great news. I also hope they get Roxann Dawson as well.

Maybe Burnham has a framed picture of Thaddeus “Iron Boots” Riker in her quarters– one of her many war-time role models!

Now if only we can have him in the Captains Chair for an episode of him on the Titan doing a time travel episode THEN I’d be really happy. But this will do. :)

I’ve always thought it would be a cool idea if there was a Star Trek episode where a time traveler visits them (Ala “A Matter of Time”) but told from the perspective of the traveller, with the main cast playing supporting roles. They’ve done similar types of stories, but never one to my full satisfaction– an episode opening on the Titan and having them wind up visiting the Discovery in the past would be sort of what I’ve been looking for.

Just not sure it would work for this series.

@James — sorry, that’s the worst thing I can imagine for launching a new generation of Trek, especially using Frakes who has to be one of the worst actors to ever make a living from it. There’s a reason he moved behind camera, so let’s just leave him there, please …

While Frakes was never known for his acting talent, I think it’s pretty extreme to say he’s one of the worst actors to make a living from Trek. I’d take his Riker over Shat’s Kirk ANY DAY, but I think as far as series leads Terry Farrell is perhaps the worst performance ever given from someone who lasted more than a couple of seasons. Just a terrible actress.

Kes, Yar, Mayweather, Chakotay– all worse performances than Riker, though none were outright bad. The scripts never out-wrote the actor’s capabilities (for Dax they did).

Frakes played the role he was given well enough. He played a decent commander and charming ladies man. He rarely hammed it up like Shatner, and never ruined a good script like many others. Riker is actually involved in many of my favorite small character moments on TNG.

He is the epitome of an “actor’s actor”– he has no special gift for it, but he does the job well enough. He’ll never elevate a piece with his performance, but he’ll never ruin it either.

number one to the bridge.

The instant I saw the title of this article, I said, “All right!” Love Jonathan Frakes. Love seeing his name pop up from time to time on other shows I’m watching. And I LOVE reading Ted Sullivan referring to him as “Star Trek royalty.” Remember the Riker Pose! Make it so, Mr. Frakes! See ya soon on CBS All Access.

Frakes is a “by-the-numbers” competent director, but I never get a sense of any unique vision or trademark “style” to his work. But he gets the job done, and always comes in on budget. Which is fine, I’m sure he’ll do a good job.

Hi Jonathan my name is Anne Lemar and I watch U guys on Star Trek the next Gen and I like it very much