Bran­non BRAGA

From The Next Gen­er­a­tion to En­ter­prise, BRAN­NON BRAGA fought to keep the Trek dream alive on TV. "We did so many they couldn't all be win­ners." he tells Tara Ben­nett

SFX - - Contents -

What he don’t know about Trek…

Writer and pro­ducer Bran­non Braga can chart his pro­fes­sional ca­reer along­side the evo­lu­tion of the Star Trek fran­chise. From an in­tern on Star Trek: The Next

Gen­er­a­tion to co-writ­ing two Trek films and then co-cre­at­ing Star Trek:

En­ter­prise, Braga was a pro­tec­tor of the Rod­den­berry flame for 15 years and nav­i­gated the highs and lows of that ex­pe­ri­ence. Talk­ing to SFX he re­flects on Trek, then and now…

Did you have any sense that Star Trek would dom­i­nate so much of your ca­reer as a writer?

If any­one would have told me on the first day of my eight-week in­tern­ship that 15 years later I would be the last guy there, turn­ing the lights off, I would not have be­lieved them. By the time I re­alised I was go­ing to be ac­tu­ally run­ning a show, it was about eight years. It was like I went to col­lege and grad school and res­i­dency.

What was it about the Trek mythol­ogy that ap­pealed to you cre­atively?

It’s such a bril­liant premise be­cause you can do any kind of story you want or any kind of al­le­gory you want. I viewed it al­most like an an­thol­ogy se­ries in a way. I grav­i­tated to­ward its un­der­ly­ing phi­los­o­phy of ac­cep­tance and di­ver­sity and a world where hu­man­ity got its shit to­gether. Some writ­ers didn’t like that be­cause they thought you couldn’t get con­flict. I’m like, “Then go work on a dif­fer­ent show be­cause this is Rod­den­berry’s vi­sion.” In my episodes, par­tic­u­larly early on, I grav­i­tated to­wards the weird. My episodes of­ten re­sem­bled Twi­light Zone episodes, which would change and evolve as I ma­tured.

How did it feel to in­herit Gene Rod­den­berry’s legacy?

The hard­est part of in­her­it­ing that man­tle was the crit­i­cism that I ru­ined the fran­chise be­cause it ended un­der my watch and I was per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble. I take re­spon­si­bil­ity for any of the bad episodes. We did so many they couldn’t all be win­ners. I am very proud of my work on Star Trek. Peo­ple forget I was also there for its hey­day. But that’s for­got­ten. It’s just “En­ter­prise sucks!” In my opin­ion, all TV shows come to an end. I was up­set the net­work took the show off the air. It ran for four years but they didn’t get Star Trek and they didn’t like Star Trek.

Do you think TNG could ever get an­other shot at a movie fran­chise?

It’s very dif­fi­cult for me to imag­ine. I would love it but un­for­tu­nately the last two

TNG movies were dis­ap­point­ments. I don’t think they worked cre­atively, in my hum­ble opin­ion. One of my big­gest ca­reer re­grets was that I couldn’t do the next Star Trek movie af­ter First Con­tact. I was of­fered it but I was tak­ing over Voy­ager at the time and I didn’t feel I could do both. I wish I had. So I’m not sure there is an ap­petite for Next Gen things. Or they should do it on Net­flix.

What do you think of the Abrams’ films?

I thought Star Trek was fan­tas­tic. It was beau­ti­fully di­rected and took Trek to a whole other level in terms of ac­tion. They had quadru­ple the bud­get when we did ours. But the cast­ing was per­fect and it was al­most an im­pos­si­ble task. Into Dark­ness was slightly less suc­cess­ful in that I was pin­ing for the al­le­gory. It was feel­ing like a Star Trek flavoured ac­tion movie.

How can Trek thrive for 50 more years?

Star Trek in my mind is a TV show. Each gen­er­a­tion has their Star Trek and I see this anec­do­tally over and over again. Hope­fully with the new se­ries they can get back to more med­i­ta­tive sto­ry­telling. It’s all about making sure the next tele­vi­sion show is really good and finds a new gen­er­a­tion of view­ers to keep it go­ing. It’s been ten years but it’s still very pop­u­lar and could be with­out an­other show, but I be­lieve it’s all about TV.

Weird­est ever episode of Quan­tum Leap?

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