William Shatner’s ‘Chaos on the Bridge’ Exposes Dark Side of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
Twenty years after Star Trek: The Next Generation ended its TV adventures, William Shatner aka the original Captain James Tiberius Kirk, explores the emergence of his fictional successor, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, masterfully played by Patrick Stewart, in William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge.
The show debuts Monday on HBO Canada.
Through candid interviews with writers, producers, studio heads and cast members, Shatner offers an enlightening look at the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The infighting, back stabbing, fan rejection, and series creator Gene Roddenberry messing about with his personal trials.
Written and directed by Shatner, who told the Toronto Sun this film is “really, the best thing I’ve done”), the one-hour documentary is packed with raw insights from Paramount’s then-president John Pike, writers Maurice Hurley and D.C. Fontana, producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, Patrick Stewart, to name only a few.
The Sun calls it “a rich, raucous look at the messy birth of TV’s most famous utopian future, and the two years that nearly ended the whole thing before it started.”
Ronald D. Moore, who wrote for Star Treck and for the new the Battlestar Galactica said, “The first and second seasons of The Next Generation are almost unwatchable.”
Try it on Netflix, you’ll agree. But the stories about how those unwatchable episodes came into being are delicious.
Ultimately, the big improvement in the series and the entire franchise, was the demise of Roddenberry in 1991, which allowed the show to finally soar and become primarily a story about people and not rockets in space.