The blame game about who and what killed Star Trek as a franchise back in 2005 is back on again today. First it was Rick Berman and Connor Trinneer, now it's former Trek producer Brannon Braga's turn to ask us to stop putting the blame on them, saying all this is "absurd."
In part two of a lengthy interview with Brannon Braga on Star Trek.com, the former Star Trek producer defended both himself and Rick Berman (also a longtime former Trek producer) against accusations that the pair of them had effectively killed the entire Star Trek franchise with the short-lived Enterprise.
I will take full responsibility for any flawed or downright bad storytelling or creative decisions that hurt the franchise. I don't think, looking back, that that's the main reason it went away. So I don't think Rick and I killed the franchise. That's absurd. Did I stay on the franchise too long? Was the storytelling feeling feeble and familiar? I'm going to say no.
Braga went on to discuss the (in)famous Xindi storyline that made up the entire arc of Enterprise's third season. An arc that a lot of fans didn't take a shine to; partly because it was heavily serialized from week to week, and partly because it sent Capt. Archer (Scott Bakula) and the crew of the Enterprise NX-01 down a very, very dark path:
I look at season three of Enterprise and say the whole Xindi species concept was really cool. That's a science fiction concept I'd never seen before. You had insects and aqautics with intelligence and culture. I thought that was a fascinating idea and we turned it into a season-long arc that I thought was super-fresh. I thought Manny Coto came in and breathed fresh air into season four. So I thought, creatively, the show was not on life support in season four, very far from it. But I do think there comes a point, whether it's Star Trek, Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy, when a show has run its course. One day, even Law & Order will be off the air. Whether you want to call it franchise fatigue or whatever, it's not always just about the show.
And, again, I'll take my share of the blame. I can't specify to you exactly what that is. I think, always, that I could have done better creatively, but I thought back in the TNG days, too. Also, there just are some real haters out there. There are some people who will go back and says, "Well, look at Braga's work on TNG. If you really look at it, that sucked, too." That's when I feel like I just can't win. There are just contingents of people who didn't like the work I did on the shows. They also need to keep in mind that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga were not the only two people making Star Trek. There were hundreds of people involved with the shows, including other writers and producers. We may have been at the top, but we were not the only ones.
Braga has a point there, but as you guys know, it's always been easy to point the finger at those at the top of the food chain. After all, aren't they the ones making the final decisions in the end?
Anyway, Braga also had some very nice words to say about J.J. Abrams' extremely successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise with the 2009 film that brought Trek back to its original roots, with the return of a young James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), his Vulcan BFF Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the entire U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 crew we all
know and love are going to know and love, again.
However, having said all that, I can't dispute that what J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Kurtzman and Orci did with the new Star Trek movie was pretty fabulous and modern. So I have to look at that and think, "Well, given some time passing and a hunger developing and fresh brains coming in with a really modern, snazzy, sexy take on the franchise, it was a really good thing." Sorry about the long, rambling answer. And I'm sure that when you post this I'm going to get more hate mail. It'll just fan the flames.
What do you guys think?