June 14 2024


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Burton: Fans Still Love The Next Generation

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Even though the Star Trek franchise has gone through a bit of franchise fatigue, Star Trek: The Next Generation has left the fans hungry for more, according to LeVar Burton.

Burton credits more than just the storytelling for the reason why The Next Generation and its original series predecessor were so popular and remain so today. “[On the other shows] you didn’t tune in for the people,” he said. “You tuned in for the stories and the storytelling. But on the original series and Next Generation, you tuned in for the storytelling and you tuned in because you really cared about the characters.”

When The Next Generation ended, there were more stories to be told. Fans had not tired of the series, according to Burton. “There was a lot left on the table with the Next Generation cast when we stopped doing movies and that’s become more and more prevalent in the communication from the fans,” he said.

After five series though, Star Trek had run into franchise fatigue. “Paramount had run the Star Trek universe into the ground and caused Star Trek to not be special anymore and that was a real dangerous time for the franchise,” said Burton. “So it’s been good that there hasn’t been any Trek.”

But Burton is a fan of the J.J. Abrams Trek-verse, although he has a complaint about it. “Like everybody else I was a fan of the reboot that J.J. Abrams did,” he said. “The only thing wrong with it is that it sort of ignores our timeline. I think that we added a lot to the Star Trek canon. The fans really want to see us do something. For our cast, because we came after the revered, beloved iconic original series and earned our way into people’s hearts and we did our own part in terms of expanding the fan base of Star Trek, we feel very good about our contribution. I don’t know how the other casts feel. But I know that we’re really, really proud of what we were able to accomplish.”

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30 thoughts on “Burton: Fans Still Love The Next Generation

  1. I am with Burton on his point about TNG films, there needed to be at least one last Trek to get that Nemesis taste out of our mouths.

  2. The potential is there, – cherry pick characters from DS9 and Voyager, include the Titan, and finish the Romulan story properly with Sela as a replacement villain. Not gonna happen though, not with the new format making money.

  3. I’d like to see a new TV series post-Nemesis featuring some returning cast from each of the series along with new cast. Remembering the episode “Parallels” there are tens of thousands of timelines and there is nothing to say that the JJ version isn’t just one of that pack. “Parallels” made it clear that there are enough alternate realities to allow for any number of Star Trek series and tales. Who says with certainty that Spock Prime was the same Spock that lived during the TOS and Film series exactly? It’s science fiction, therefore, there are, as Spock would say, “Possibilities.” Let’s have a new TNG era series. I remember Geordi had his own ship, and so does Riker now, so there are a few options right there.

  4. I don’t know if a TNG-era show would be sustainable these days, though in my opinion it’s more viable than yet another damn prequel.
    I could however see a web series working – it would be less tied to the “moneymoneymoney!” producers.

  5. “Countdown”, the comic miniseries prelude to the JJ Abrams movie, fills that pretty well. It’ll wash distaste for both Nemesis *and* the reboot out of your mouth.

  6. Eventually the new format will lose popularity, and more viewers will want to revisit the TNG era.
    I said earlier I doubted a TNG era show would be viable; to clarify, I meant right now. “Enterpoop” went prequel because we had three 24th-century shows in a row, 21 collective seasons worth, and the producers felt that mine was pretty well played out. I think that’s the ONLY thing I can agree with them on.
    But! This is NOT forever. Let a concept sit for a while, and eventually someone will come up with a take on it that will be fresh enough and have broad enough appeal to be made as a series. Let the 24th century sit for now; the interest is growing, and eventually the demand will be enough to swing a new series or movie.

  7. Perhaps a time traveling Geordi LaForge is a “guest” in Star Trek 13, being chased by a Cardassian time traveler. If that doesn’t sound cool, I love to see a tv series set in the alternate timeline on another starship, going boldly where no one has gone before! 😀

  8. It really doesn’t though since it’s handling of the TNG characters is very poor

  9. LeVar should be proud; the Next Generation cast did make viewers care about them, as characters. Just like the TOS crew, too. That is something I have not done, regarding the JJ reboot. And “sort of ignores our timeline” – that’s putting it very politely. It slaps the true Star Trek timeline in the face even while parasitically feeding off all the previous series’ fan base and successes. I personally find the “alternate universe timeline” excuse a copout. Vulcan destroyed. So how did ‘Amok Time or the ‘Search for Spock’ ever occur then? A shame.

  10. Re timeline….
    Thanks for completely missing the point.
    Have you got any idea what an “alternate timeline” means? They even explained it in dialogue in the movie for the slow learners in the audience. Yyyyeahhhh…. did you get that memo?

  11. You’ve said that several times, but it’s just not true. Where? Where in the movie did they say Spock Prime entered an alternate past? He went back in time and altered the past… just like countless others have done in Trek’s past… and every time it was imperative that they fix it… But now, somehow, we’re accepting that it’s a different timeline… I’d be fine with that, were it true… but, you seem to think it was actually stated in the movie… and that’s cool… so, simple question: Where? Tell me the time marker… It didn’t happen. Spock went into the past. Without something else happening, he was returning to his past. Changing the timeline from there destroyed every moment we had ever seen except Enterprise of all things… and even that has been changed, truth be told… as there never would be frozen Borg to find on Earth… Point being, it’s all gone. And there’s no reason that’s not the case. Why would they have returned to a different timeline? That’s never happened in the history of Trek time travel. Sure, you can go to a different universe with a different temporal signature, but that was never stated here. He went to the past… and just like McCoy saving Edith Keeler and wiping out his future, or the Borg returning for First Contact with the Vulcans, those events in the past rewrote the timeline until repaired. And nothing you want to say, except pointing to a line in the script that I don’t think exists, will change that.

  12. Nemesis wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It was the NG answer, or in this case, their own version of The Wrath Of Khan and The Undiscovered Country welded together. The reboot certainly saved Star Trek from franchise fatigue and J.J. Abrams should be commended for it.

    You want to rise some distaste out of your mouths, you need not look any further than your average brand of mouthwash. If any bad Trek that is distateful it is the following. Generations, Insurrection, Nemesis, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and Farragut.

  13. That line of dialogue does exist. Twice actually. I watched Star Trek on FX over the weekend.

    The entire altered timeline subplot was mentioned in the film by Kirk and company after Vulcan was destroyed. Kirk also mentioned it to Spock(the one from the original timeline)while on Delta Vega.

    When the Narada immediately arrived back in 2233 AD, it immediately altered history, so that Jim Kirk was born on the U.S.S. Kelvin, rather than Iowa. In this new timeline, Amanda Grayson dies during the attack on Vulcan a quarter of a century later in 2258 AD(which as we all know didn’t happen in the original timeline), and the friendship between Kirk and Spock is slightly different.

    The old timeline has been erased and a brand new one has been created. Think of the entire alternate reality situation as ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, but only in reverse(i.e. the Narada coming from the future, not the past like the Enterprise-C did).

    Either way, the new timeline is there. It exists. The old one is gone. That’s all there is to it.

  14. But the beauty of the JJ-verse, is that it’s not too far removed from the prime universe, except for Vulcan’s destruction, TNG can basically play out almost identically! That would be a great touch to express. Sarek lives, and can marry human Perrin. There weren’t many Vulcans seen in TNG anyway… who’s not to say that TNG is how it turns out essentially the same?

  15. Uhhhhhh….. What? How is that a response to me? You act like you’re contradicting me, saying those lines are in there about an alternate, and then you say that it’s not an alternate, but a rewriting of the actual timeline. Both cannot be true. Either it’s an alternate, wherein nothing was rewritten, or it’s not. And it’s not. Nothing in the movie ever states that it’s an alternate. And that was my point. You… well, you don’t seem to have much of a point, except trying to correct people you seem to actually agree with… So… whatever.

  16. Some of you can’t seem to wrap your heads around this, so I’ll explain it a bit better. There are two possibilities:

    1.) An Altered Timeline. This is where someone returns to the past within their own timestream and changes precipitating events, resulting in fundamental change(s) to reality. An Altered Timeline erases the known past and replaces it with a newly rewritten reality. This is what is seen in TOS’s City on the Edge of Forever, where McCoy’s saving of Edith Keeler results in the destruction of his future… an alteration that was repaired by Kirk by letting her die, returning things to how they were supposed to be. Similarly, when the Borg invaded during First Contact and Enterprise was only shielded by being in the temporal wake of the anomaly, that was an alteration. The Borg returned to 2064, and were successful in assimilating the planet. Thus, by the time of FC, Earth was populated by like 9 billion Borg… an altered timeline.

    2.) An Alternate Timeline. This is where someone enters a different quantum reality. The Mirror Universe is one. All those realities Worf encountered in Parallels were alternate timelines.

    In Star Trek, people have traveled between quantum realities, and they’ve altered the past. There has never been an instance of both. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but there’s no reason to think it did. It never has before, so to accept that it has now, some mention needed to be made. Going to the past creates an altered timeline. Only changing dimensions creates or enters us into an alternate timeline.

    So, unless someone can actually reference a line from the movie that suggested they entered into an alternate, then they didn’t… and Abrams and Co, as a result, destroyed everything that had ever come before.

    Now, with all that said, we can also reasonably conclude that “Spock Prime” is no such thing… as it’s pretty obvious that the timeline Nero returns to is not the timeline of TOS. So, it may very well be that this is an alternate reality right from the start and that this was never our Spock… in fact, one or the other must be true. Either it’s an alternate that our Spock went to, or it’s an alternate Spock who also altered his timeline… Regardless, it’s certainly never stated that Spock changes universes when he also returns to the past…

    But please, if someone does have that quotation (which I don’t believe exists) which suggests an alternate timeline, please illuminate it.

  17. I think so also.
    Wierdly enough, the technology as seen onscreen indicates that the JJVerse is in the same (alternate, IMHO) continuity as “Enterprise”. This is sad since “Enterprise” spent three solid seasons blowing goats and flushing established continuity down the toilet.

  18. Sigh.

    “Spock: You’re assuming that Nero knows how events are predicted to unfold. The contrary, Nero’s very presence has altered the flow of history, beginning with the attack on the U.S.S. Kelvin, culminating in the events of today, thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party.

    Lt. Nyota Uhura: An alternate reality. ”

    I do realize that this flies in the face of the way time travel was handled on Trek for most of its history. Quantum reality and divergent timelines are indeed very un-Trek. I also realize that this is an attempt to bring Trek in-line with existing scientific theory, perpetrated by two knuckleheads who have no understanding of science whatsoever. However, there it is.
    Combine this with the stated intention of the writers, producers, and JJ to NOT erase or invalidate existing canon, but to allow them freedom to explore it in new ways WITHOUT destroying the much-beloved original, and there you have it. A new, separate, alternate Trek reality.
    I can indeed agree that the main, “prime”, Trek timeline has been altered. Every time they show “the past” in Trek, it looks less and less like it did before. The prime Trek timeline is hopelessly fubar’ed. You can blame the Xindi, you can blame the Guardian, you can blame Spock, hell, you can even blame Farragut Films, but the true and actual culprits are the dozens and dozens of writers who have been involved in Trek over the years who felt compelled to keep beating the ol’ time travel horse into the ground.
    An alternate reality allows them to start fresh and hopefully keep a tighter rein on continuity this time around.

  19. The old timeline is not gone. Not only does dialogue state it is an alternate timeline, it was also the stated intent of the writers, producers, and director to have this be an alternate continuity and to NOT replace existing Trek.

  20. That line of dialogue doesn’t say what you’re suggesting it does. Obviously once Nero went back in time and changed the past, the ensuing events wouldn’t be tied to the original sequence of events. Once McCoy saved Edith Keeler, it resulted in Hitler winning WWII… that wasn’t the established sequence of events from the regular timeline either, but it still happened. When you go back in time and change the timeline, obviously the results will be unpredictable, in that none of the people doing the changes are omniscient. But nowhere does that comment remotely suggest anything like an actual alternate reality. It is an altered timeline. Nothing you’ve said even comes close to giving them the cover that this did anything but erase what had come before… Obviously, once you erase that entire continuity, that which stems from there is unknown… duh. How is that a defense to this? It isn’t. It’s the same timestream, with a rewritten timeline… it’s an altered reality, not an alternate timeline.

  21. It was their stated intent, and Uhura used the word “alternate”, but that doesn’t make it so. Trek has established the way time travel works. You can go back in time 3 ways. You can go back and destroy your past, like in City on the Edge of Forever. You can go back in time and fulfill a temporal causality loop, a la Time’s Arrow, where you’re simply playing your pre-destined part in something that has already transpired. Or, thirdly, which has never before been seen, you could go back in time to an alternate reality. But there’s no reason to believe they used this 3rd, never before used, method. Uhura’s comment certainly doesn’t, as they’re not talking about it like Star Trek fans, but like people… and sure, from their perspective as the altered universe, they might see Spock as having come from an alternate… he didn’t unless he did, and Uhura making an offhand comment doesn’t make it so. There’s nothing other than that offhand remark that suggests time wasn’t rewritten.

  22. I’m not suggesting. I’m simply pasting in the line exactly as it is in the film.
    The line states it is an alternate timeline. The writers state it is an alternate timeline. The stated intention of the studio and the production staff was to specifically NOT replace or invalidate 40 years of Trek canon. An alternate timeline, diverging (arguably) at the Kelvin incident, is a good solution. It allows a new, alternate timeline in addition to the original, folded spindled and mutilated timeline. The producers would be slitting their own throats to dump the established canon.
    I’ve already said that it’s not the way time travel has been handled on Trek before. It is, however, more in line with current theory than the usual “back and forth-single timeline” model that Trek traditionally uses.
    Trek and real quantum theory don’t mix very well, especially when the mixers are those knuckleheads Kurtzman and Orci. It’s a half-baked solution with a grain of real theory and a whole lot of making shit up– which is, unfortunately, very Trek.
    I know it’s poorly explained in the dialogue, but it is clearly stated that it is an alternate timeline, not an altered one. I still roll my eyes at the incredibly bad science in JJTrek, but I’d much rather accept the alternate timeline than to have 40 years of history arrogantly kicked kicked to the curb Lucas- style.
    That said, I SO would have loved a SINGLE LINE from Spock Prime saying that the timelines had diverged too far to be reunited, but that he takes comfort in knowing that the universe he knows still exists. Damn but that would have made it all so much easier. CURSE YOU< KURTZMAN AND ORCI!! CUUUUURSE YOOOOOOUUUU!!!

  23. I don’t disagree that it was their intention to make this an alternate, but intention and hamfisted dialogue don’t make something so. Consider “All Good Things…” In that episode, it was their desire to show a scientific paradox for Picard to discover and understand. That’s all fine and good… and you might even think they succeeded if you don’t think about it too hard, just like the time travel debacle here. In both instances, the powers that be wanted to do something, but so mucked it up in terms of how the science of something works within Trek, that it’s just not valid or legitimate in terms of the storytelling. In the future sequence, Picard apparently creates the anti-time fissure by directing those 3 tachyon beams at the same spot in 3 time periods. However, in the future sequence, when the Pasteur arrived, the rift should’ve seemed to be self-sealing until the moment when they actually use their tachyon beam. That should’ve seemed to close it. Instead, nothing happens and they leave… only to return later to see the rift forming… but it wouldn’t have been forming if it were an anti-time rift. Now, the writers clearly didn’t want that huge plot hole, but it’s there… Similarly, they didn’t want the plot hole of it somehow being an alternate reality, but they have it. Furthermore, the idea of an alternate is already being muddled here in that quotation from Uhura and Spock. That line suggests this was the same universe until Nero arrived and that’s what turned it into an alternate… and that’s just not how Trek works. Either it’s an alternate universe, or it’s not. If someone returns to the past and alters it, which is what they’re saying Nero did, then he didn’t enter an alternate, he altered the regular timeline. I’m not saying that was their intention, any more than a wonky anti-time rift was their intention in “All Good Things…”, but that doesn’t change the reality that both are wonky storytelling that make no sense the way they want to present it.

  24. Think of it this way….

    In Yesterday’s Enterprise, the Enterprise-C is hurled forward into time. When it arrives in the 24th Century, the timeline is altered(how this same effect didn’t happen involving the U.S.S. Bozeman, I don’t know).

    In the prequel/reboot, the Narada is thrown back in time to 2233 AD, and the timeline is immediately altered(as to why it didn’t alter again when Spock arrived, it is because in Countdown both Spock and the Narada were trapped in that black hole at the same time – sounds like a lame excuse, but I can’t think of any other explanation).

    Either way, the timeline was altered by such events. I don’t know why fsome fans just can’t except that concept.

  25. Yesterday’s Enterprise is a good example. The universe the episode started in is where the episode finished… but the timeline had slightly been altered by the net set of events. At the start of the episode, Tasha had died, Enterprise-C had been destroyed 22 years earlier, etc. When Enterprise-C emerged from the anomaly, the timeline was rewritten, not because of them going to the future, but because they were no longer in the past to fulfill the established set of events as they had happened. So, we see a glimpse of a future where Enterprise-C never sacrificed itself. Certainly, however, still our universe. That was the whole point. Those people, through Guinan’s intuition, had to sacrifice their entire existence to put things right. If they sent Enterprise-C back through the rift, they would cease to exist… rewritten by Enterprise-C actually defending Narendra III… at least that was Picard’s hope… one that proved accurate. But, by sending Tasha back with them, it resulted in an altered timeline within the original timestream, and Sela. And just like sending Enterprise-C back to fulfill its destiny wiped out the people and events that had taken place (the Federation/Klingon war, Riker’s death, etc. etc.), Nero and Spock returning to the past also had the net effect of destroying the entire existence of everything else in that universe.

    Now, why was Bozeman different? Why did that have a different effect? Simple: USS Bozeman was caught in a temporal causality loop. They never escaped until Enterprise-D released them. There was never a timeline established where they had returned from that loop in the past. Going into the episode, Bozeman had been mysteriously lost during the previous century. At the end of the episode, we simply knew where they’d been and what had happened. Now, if they had decided somehow to send them back in time, such that they had returned from their mission, that would’ve altered things… but as they stand, they were simply caught in a loop and remained trapped in the bottle for 80 some years. We time travel every day… time travel forward isn’t the issue usually… the only reason it was in Yesterday’s Enterprise is because Enterprise-C had yet to fulfill its destiny in the past… but Bozeman certainly had… so, that’s the difference there, which is perfectly understandable and consistent.

  26. I wish they would have not cancelled the Enterprise series, I was really into it.

    it would be nice to have kept Star Trek going after Deep Space Nine (which I really thought was excellent acting and storylines). They shoudl be like INXS and just always bring in new characters as time goes by…after a few years you will have awhole new crew where older characters would return, they wouldhave been promoted and the possible story arcs could be endless.

    Star Trek is one of thiose series where it doesn’t really matter what the story is, just do it…we want to see Star Trek!!!!!!!!!

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