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GustavoLeao

Brannon Braga Comments on VOY/ENT

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You know what - Brannon Braga just posted this on Facebook and he is quite right. VOY and ENT were both underated TV Shows, Good morning, bom dia !

 
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Brannon Braga
With all due respect, both Voyager and Enterprise would have drawn bigger numbers on more stable networks. My opinion only. Star Trek
Edited by Mutai Sho-Rin
Braga ain't dead

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Sim   

Underrated? ENT maybe... but VOY seems to get worse every time I try to watch it again. IMO, the total lack of any quality whatsoever in VOY was a major nail in the coffin of B&B Trek.

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I like seasons 4, 5 and 6 of Voyager. Some great episodes, some good episodes and yes, some bad episodes but it aged well.

Enterprise I like the fourth season, one of the best Trek seasons,too bad it was too late.

Gus

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I agree with Gus that VGR has some better episodes in its later years (mostly Seven-centered ones), but on the whole I think it's aged worse than most of Star Trek.  ENT is different however; that one seems to improve with each viewing.  The more I see it, the more I wish it got an extra season or two.   Like TOS, it died before its time.

In fairness, at least Braga states that the blame on the network is strictly his opinion, but I can't imagine ST of that era doing well on a regular network like ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.   

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Sim   

I agree with Gus that VGR has some better episodes in its later years (mostly Seven-centered ones), but on the whole I think it's aged worse than most of Star Trek.  ENT is different however; that one seems to improve with each viewing.  The more I see it, the more I wish it got an extra season or two.   Like TOS, it died before its time.

In fairness, at least Braga states that the blame on the network is strictly his opinion, but I can't imagine ST of that era doing well on a regular network like ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.   

I can't say that even Seven improved my enjoyment of VOY considerably. Sure, there were a couple of nice ideas here and there... but the contrast to DS9, which was running parallel during most of VOY's run, made painfully obvious how flawed VOY was. IMO.

ENT's worst problem, IMO, was that at least during its first two seasons, it was a 90s show in the 00s. It seems that B&B missed how tv had started to develop a couple of years before, so they just continued the old episodic formula. In season 3, they at least tried to change that, okay, but I just couldn't stand the Xindi arc. (And yes, season 4 was amazing... but too few, too late :( ).

Edited by Sim

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Gus, can you do me a favor... can you be specific when you post a subject heading? I looked into this thread with a feeling of dread that something might've happened to Brannon Braga. 

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I agree with Gus that VGR has some better episodes in its later years (mostly Seven-centered ones), but on the whole I think it's aged worse than most of Star Trek.  ENT is different however; that one seems to improve with each viewing.  The more I see it, the more I wish it got an extra season or two.   Like TOS, it died before its time.

In fairness, at least Braga states that the blame on the network is strictly his opinion, but I can't imagine ST of that era doing well on a regular network like ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.   

I can't say that even Seven improved my enjoyment of VOY considerably. Sure, there were a couple of nice ideas here and there... but the contrast to DS9, which was running parallel during most of VOY's run, made painfully obvious how flawed VOY was. IMO.

Agreed that she didn't singlehandedly make VGR better, but she did have a good handful of episodes centered around her character that were a cut above the rest of the series, that's for sure.  Jeri Ryan had acting chops and presence.   And yes, DS9 is just phenomenal television.   I recently rewatched some S7 episodes, and you'd never guess (other than in cinematography and editing styles) that they are nearly 20 years old.  

The topics and characters of DS9 seem even more relevant today than they did in the 1990s.

But I do believe that ENT is certainly worthy of revisitation. 

Gus, can you do me a favor... can you be specific when you post a subject heading? I looked into this thread with a feeling of dread that something might've happened to Brannon Braga. 

^
Yes, forgot to mention that.

I too, clicked on this half-expecting an obituary, especially after 2016's losses.    

 

 

Let's ALL be careful to avoid any thread topic headlines that could be misleading, OK?  

 

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Thanks, guys. Don't mean to come across as grouchy, it's just that there have been so many deaths in many creative ares of industry in the past year, I guess I'm jumpy.

 

I don't think anyone would disagree that any random season of any Trek show will throw up some great episodes. It's just these two shows had a preponderance of by-the-numbers episodes throughout. There are a number of much-documented factors to account for that, including that Trek was on air in some incarnation for 16 years, so it's inevitable that certain ideas would resurface again. 

But the overall problem with both Voyager and Enterprise that they were run without the same sense of opportunity to stretch the format of Star Trek that all previous iterations, even TAS, were. Enterprise rediscovered the possibilities of this in its fourth season but we know what happened then. For my money, Enterprise had the advantage of a set of far more engaging characters than Voyager too, which helped to sustain interest even if the script for an individual episode wasn't great. It certainly was underrated in that sense. I'm not sure if Braga's own contributions are, to either, but that's a far more in-depth question. 

Sadly, I think Voyager largely deserves its reputation as the least engaging of all the Trek shows. It hasn't aged well, whereas the siblings either side of it, DS9 and Enterprise, have. 

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I agree with Gus that VGR has some better episodes in its later years (mostly Seven-centered ones), but on the whole I think it's aged worse than most of Star Trek.  ENT is different however; that one seems to improve with each viewing.  The more I see it, the more I wish it got an extra season or two.   Like TOS, it died before its time.

In fairness, at least Braga states that the blame on the network is strictly his opinion, but I can't imagine ST of that era doing well on a regular network like ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.   

I can't say that even Seven improved my enjoyment of VOY considerably. Sure, there were a couple of nice ideas here and there... but the contrast to DS9, which was running parallel during most of VOY's run, made painfully obvious how flawed VOY was. IMO.

Agreed that she didn't singlehandedly make VGR better, but she did have a good handful of episodes centered around her character that were a cut above the rest of the series, that's for sure.  Jeri Ryan had acting chops and presence.   And yes, DS9 is just phenomenal television.   I recently rewatched some S7 episodes, and you'd never guess (other than in cinematography and editing styles) that they are nearly 20 years old.  

The topics and characters of DS9 seem even more relevant today than they did in the 1990s.

But I do believe that ENT is certainly worthy of revisitation. 

Gus, can you do me a favor... can you be specific when you post a subject heading? I looked into this thread with a feeling of dread that something might've happened to Brannon Braga. 

^
Yes, forgot to mention that.

I too, clicked on this half-expecting an obituary, especially after 2016's losses.    

 

 

Let's ALL be careful to avoid any thread topic headlines that could be misleading, OK?  

 

Opsssssssssssssss, no problem. I was junda in a hurry when I posted this, because I was posting and working at the same time (just like the old days at TrekWeb LOL) and its tough to do that without breaking an arm, but yeah, I will make more clear headlines and save time too, sure.

Gus

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Let's ALL be careful to avoid any thread topic headlines that could be misleading, OK?  

 

Opsssssssssssssss, no problem. I was junda in a hurry when I posted this, because I was posting and working at the same time (just like the old days at TrekWeb LOL) and its tough to do that without breaking an arm, but yeah, I will make more clear headlines and save time too, sure.

Gus

Thanks! 

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Let's ALL be careful to avoid any thread topic headlines that could be misleading, OK?  

 

Opsssssssssssssss, no problem. I was junda in a hurry when I posted this, because I was posting and working at the same time (just like the old days at TrekWeb LOL) and its tough to do that without breaking an arm, but yeah, I will make more clear headlines and save time too, sure.

Gus

Thanks! 

You're welcomed.

You can pay me via PayPal or send cash via the mail. No problem at all.

Gus

 

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Voyager is not underrated. Seven made it watchable, and it did two-parters like nobody's business, but it was never consistently "good."

ENT? Maybe a little bit. That cast gelled nicely and I really liked the Trip, T'Pol, Archer dynamic. It wasn't a copy of Kirk/Spock/McCoy, but it felt homey all the same.

I go back to ENT far more often than VOY.

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Sim   

 

But the overall problem with both Voyager and Enterprise that they were run without the same sense of opportunity to stretch the format of Star Trek that all previous iterations, even TAS, were. Enterprise rediscovered the possibilities of this in its fourth season but we know what happened then. For my money, Enterprise had the advantage of a set of far more engaging characters than Voyager too, which helped to sustain interest even if the script for an individual episode wasn't great. It certainly was underrated in that sense. I'm not sure if Braga's own contributions are, to either, but that's a far more in-depth question. 

Sadly, I think Voyager largely deserves its reputation as the least engaging of all the Trek shows. It hasn't aged well, whereas the siblings either side of it, DS9 and Enterprise, have. 

^--- yes, I agree.

TOS, TNG and DS9 each felt like taking ST to a new level. TOS started it, TNG modernized it and introduced character arcs despite episodic format, and DS9 even deepened character development and was semi-serialized. TOS was the opener, TNG the middle part and DS9 closed the progression.

Neither VOY nor ENT really came with an advancement of that kind (ENT not in the first two seasons anyway). To some extent, it was even a step back.

VOY's characters were developed much less than DS9's, perhaps even less than the TNG main characters, because the show was even more episodic. Something that happened to a character in one episode had no effect whatsoever on the following episodes, most of the time. I was so bored by the VOY characters that even stories with a good idea or plot didn't captivate me (though I think stories like "Year of Hell" were really great -- perhaps I'd have loved them, if they had been filmed with the TNG cast). When nothing they experience ever matters, what's the point?

DS9 was always the opposite to me: Even weaker or boring episodes were always watchable, because of the amazing character dynamics. There are no DS9 episodes I don't enjoy rewatching, because of that (except perhaps a handful of season 1 episodes).

That's really a pity, because the VOY characters IMO aren't so uninteresting per se, as I realized when I read the "VOY relaunch" novels by Christie Golden and Kirsten Beyer (I even suddenly started liking them!).

 

ENT at least had much more relatable characters than VOY, IMO. So even though the show suffered from the same lack of originality or inspiration as VOY in the first two seasons, I at least liked the characters. They were sufficiently consistent, and moderately developed (well, some of them... Travis not so much :P).

Season 4 finally did what the show should have been doing from the beginning: Truly living up the to premise that it's a prequel. They showed us all the stuff about races and topics known from TOS, as I expected a true prequel to do, fleshing out the established canon -- rather than being "TNG/VOY light, except we call phasers phase cannons and shields hull plating now", or introducing new über-races totally unrelated to the prequel idea (as the Xindi).

Edited by Sim

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George Takei just replied to Braga's comment :

Brannon Braga - If I was going to do a prequel series, I would've done "Star Trek: Excelsior". You still could. George Takei #StarTrek CBS

LOL

I think Ron Moore's critique of VOY was spot on. Could have been so better if they didn't turn on the energy-sucking holodeck and blew up a shuttlecraft--to no consequence--every other episode. In many ways Galactica was MOore version of VOY - gritty, realistic, dramatic..

Have said that there is still episodes that I love in seasons 4-6 of VOY. Timeless, Message in a Bottle, Pathfinder, Relativity, Someone to Watch Over Me, Dragon's Teeth, Dark Frontier, you name it.

Gus

 

Edited by GustavoLeao

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kenman   

Voyager was a mess.  Seven's introduction helped things at first, but even by the end of her first season it was back to the same old tricks that left me disinterested.  The show just didn't focus enough on characters...beyond Seven. And Enterprise's first 2 seasons remain boring and messy to me, the third ambitious but doesn't maintain it's stride for the whole run (and the kind of story it wanted to tell was being consistently bested by Braga's former writing partner on BSG at the same time). If season 4 had been the first year?  I think the show could've grown into something special.  Even Braga admitted that the fourth season should've been the first.

I'm not sure Braga is totally right in his assessment.  If the show was on a channel that had similar kind of programming (like a Sci-Fi channel or something), might've worked better than UPN (which Trek always seemed out of step with, despite being one of the programs the channel launched with)...but would've had stood a chance on NBC or a CBS?  I doubt it.  Trek just never fit the mold for those kind of networks.  TNG was syndicated and that didn't seem to give it terrible ratings.  Voyager and Enterprise were on a network almost everyone in America had...problematic UPN/studio politics or not, they were on most TVs in the country...people just weren't tuning into it terribly often. 

I think the behind the scenes issues on both Voyager and Enterprise, the studio/network struggles, the waning of interest and franchise fatigue, the stories that were becoming repetitive and predictable?  Pretty much a perfect storm for failing ratings.  It wasn't just the network it was on. 

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Wait--Braga actually blamed the NETWORKS?  Really?

Voyager and Enterprise were not good shows at all.  They were stale, unoriginal, copies of copies of copies, that bastardized Star Trek.

Other shows on CW seem to be popular and long lasting.  Voyager and Enterprise both started with solid ratings, and lost audience because the audience lost interest.

I don't think it was franchise fatigue either.  I think it was just bad writing and bad leadership.

Enterprise's 4th season was its best because Berman and Braga took a step back and they hired better writers.  I think if that creative team was told, "give me a Star Trek prequel to Kirk," they would have come up with something much better than Enterprise, and it would have respected continuity.  They just had more talent. 

And what was Braga's excuse for ruining 24?

Braga should be praising UPN for keeping him on the air, because on a stable network, neither Voyager nor Enterprise would have made it out of the second season, if that.

And yes, TNG's and DS9's ratings were much better, and they aired all over the place because of syndication.

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kenman   

I don't think it was franchise fatigue either.  I think it was just bad writing and bad leadership.

we've probably had this argument before...but the fatigue spread to the writers too. Braga did some great work in his TNG days. It often gets overshadowed now by his involvment at the end of Trek (or that run of it). But these guys stayed too long...they ran out of ideas. That IS fatigue. And if you think that people dont get bored of things that have been on the air for 18 years, especially when there was a big glut of the product in the 90s to consume? 

I know you think that great writing can solve all problems and make a show a huge success, but there are so many more factors than that...there are also hugely succesful shows and movies I personally think have crap writing. When it comes to "great" writing, it is all a matter of perspective. Beyond that there is so much more involved in the success and failure of a show. 

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I don't think it was franchise fatigue either.  I think it was just bad writing and bad leadership.

we've probably had this argument before...but the fatigue spread to the writers too. Braga did some great work in his TNG days. It often gets overshadowed now by his involvment at the end of Trek (or that run of it). But these guys stayed too long...they ran out of ideas. That IS fatigue. And if you think that people dont get bored of things that have been on the air for 18 years, especially when there was a big glut of the product in the 90s to consume? 

I know you think that great writing can solve all problems and make a show a huge success, but there are so many more factors than that...there are also hugely succesful shows and movies I personally think have crap writing. When it comes to "great" writing, it is all a matter of perspective. Beyond that there is so much more involved in the success and failure of a show. 

18 years of doing ANY single task leads to fatigue.   It's inevitable.  That fatigue goes for the creative people involved and trickles down to the fans a bit.  I certainly felt it in the early 2000s, so did a few others I know.   There was no way ST in the late '90s could ever recapture the freshness it had when TNG and arguably DS9 first came out.  Especially since DS9's two successors were both ship-based shows.   Even Shatner is quoted as saying that as he played Capt. Kirk for three years, fatigue set in and it stripped away the layers of the character until only Shatner was there, saying Kirk's words.   Now, imagine if Shatner had played Kirk with no breaks for 18 years (!).   Given that length of time with the same creative people doing ST?  It's surprising that ENT was as good as it was....

And yes, 'great' writing is not uniform.   Even Shakespeare has his detractors, I'm sure.

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Wow comments. 'Franchise Fatigue' was coined after Enterprise ended, in Cinefantastique and Starlog, someting like that, around 2006.

It did not help that UPN showed off both Voyager reruns and Enterprise new episodes like it was a steamy romance or a combat show, when it was neither.

"Faith of the Heart" from Patch Addams, really? That wasn't the studio. That was you, Braga! Nice enough song but it didn't really work.

In late 2004 they announced that Enterprise would produce one final season, and it was cancelled officially in February 2005. I was in that Save Enterprise thing. They brought in Manny Coto and the Stevens' and rewrote all of season 4 so it would be 'Valentine to the fans' as they called it. What we got though in the end was a 'Dear John Letter'. (A dear John is a break up letter in old US slang).

They did have create new blood in the 1990s when they had those contests, although granted only a handful of people, out of thousands of scripts, got to be on the shows as writers.

The prequel was done for this reason, 'Star Wars Episode 1 is big, so let's make a prequel to Star Trek.'. No matter how much we complain about TFM, it made a ton of cash for Lucas and made everyone want to do origin stories and prequels. Enterprise was an origin story prequel, and some might say a parallel timeline caused by FC. They figured, let's do the first and unknown Enterprise. They just never lived up to the premise, really until season 4 and someone suggested, 'do the Romulans and so the Augments', and it was like a light bulb went off. All of the fans had been saying it since the pilot, and even they promised the 'Romulan war' (Starlog, 2001), but weren't about to go there. Instead we got the Xindi (Star Trek magazine, 2003), and the temporal cold war (Star Trek magazine, 2001).

I do not blame the studio or the producers directly for the idea of the prequel, but rather all of the above, from the studio to the higher ups. It was not the writers or the scripts, as there were enough talented writers to make Enterprise amazing. In hindsight, 2006, it was just not a good idea to go backward, espeiially after the backlash about other Star Wars prequels, which made a billion altogether, but were panned by fans and critics (Trekweb, Star Wars insider, 2006). It was not a good idea to go backward. They still didn't learn their lesson, and thew studio rebooted Star Trek from the Kirk era 4 years later. (Star Trek magazine, 2009, new Star Trek is coming, Kirk and Spock are back).

Now in 2017 they're doing...another prequel, Discovery. Well, I watched every single episode of every single Star Trek iteration,and I will watch Discovery, and I';ll watch any new Star Wars too.

IMHO an Excelsior series would have been neat more as a movie, done as a sort of canon spin off, around 1992 when Sulu was still close enough to play himself. By the 1995 crossover he was looking a bit more like Admiral Sulu. He really didn't look like he did even in 1991.

Same with a Captain Worf spin off, fun at around say 1999, right after DS9, but I would have made it General Worf to be more intense.

We did get Bennett's Starfleet Academy. It's called Star Trek 2009. We're living it now. It is still frat boys in space. At times it isn't half bad, when they're not doing villain of the week and rehashing Khan, and it's an action oriented series, of movies, but at least it's something.

I think there should have been a DS9 movie around 2002. Oh well. (It would have tied into a redeeming and faithful end to the TNG crew, a send off with both, and Data would have returned, and Q).

I don't thing a Voyager movie would have worked merely because it wraps up and everyone comes home. Sure it hasn't aged so well, but I like it, especially the last 4 years.

Had I been in any sort of authority back then, (I surely was not), I would have said Enterprise season 4 was so good, we're not cancelling it. It will go on another season, do the Romulans, finish the arc and end with the founding of the Federation in a made for TV 90 minute movie called Enterprise 2161: Birth of the Federation. hat would have been the real card to the fans. But I am not in any position to have done that, nor was I. In hindsight it's fun to speculate.

 

Edited by Chimera82405

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I don't think the word "great work" and Braga really belong in the same sentence.

Here's a question--a real one--what episodes of Braga's on TNG did you like?

 

I think the only one that stands out for me is Parallels.  But this was a concept that wasn't really original.  In fact, not that long earlier, the exact same concept was used on Superboy.

You do bring up a very good point though.  While I don't believe there was franchise fatigue on the part of the fans, I think a STRONG argument could be made about writers fatigue.  Berman and Braga ran out of gas by the end of TNG.  Like Doctor Who turned the keys over from Davies to Moffat and Moffat just did the same, Star Trek should have started to move to a new team after TNG ended. 

 

I never heard that quote from Shatner before, but we can all name shows that were terrific in year 7 and beyond, be it a comedy or a drama.  In the case of TOS, they got hit with budget cuts, a lousy time slot, and the writing wasn't the same quality.  That absolutely would take a toll on the actors.

I still believe a Star Trek prequel could have worked.  Discovery is actually more along the lines of the prequel I would have had in mind. Closer to the TOS time period. 

That said, I would have gone the Diane Carey route and used the Enterprise under the command of Robert April.

Maybe great writing is not uniform, but bad writing is pretty close to it. There are always a few that may like it, but not enough.

Excelsior?  I agree a TV movie would have been interesting.  Maybe a backdoor pilot if it did well.  Or a few movies.  But to be honest, Flashback for me was the worst episode out of all 700 plus.  I hated it that much, so if Braga was involved with Excelsior, it would have been terrible.

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kenman   

I don't think the word "great work" and Braga really belong in the same sentence.

Here's a question--a real one--what episodes of Braga's on TNG did you like?

Cause and Effect, Power Play, Timescape, Phantasms, Frame of Minds, Schisms, Realm of Fear.  And those are just solo on TNG.  He also co-wrote the fantastic finale of "All Good Things..." and he co-wrote "Reunion," another personal favorite of mine.  Even on Voyager he co-wrote some decent episodes like the "Scorpion" two-oarter with Joe Menosky.  I would consider all of these things (even the Voyager two-parter I mentioned, and I say this as a non-Voyager fan).  So I guess...plenty of great ones?

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Here's a question--a real one--what episodes of Braga's on TNG did you like?

"Frame of Mind" "First Contact" (movie) "Generations" "All Good Things..."  "Parallels" "Power Play" "Reunion"  and "Timescape."

But he was only a producer on TNG later in that series' run.

His work as producer and writer on COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey was truly exceptional television.   

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Sim   

I don't think the word "great work" and Braga really belong in the same sentence.

Here's a question--a real one--what episodes of Braga's on TNG did you like?

Cause and Effect, Power Play, Timescape, Phantasms, Frame of Minds, Schisms, Realm of Fear.  And those are just solo on TNG.  He also co-wrote the fantastic finale of "All Good Things..." and he co-wrote "Reunion," another personal favorite of mine.  Even on Voyager he co-wrote some decent episodes like the "Scorpion" two-oarter with Joe Menosky.  I would consider all of these things (even the Voyager two-parter I mentioned, and I say this as a non-Voyager fan).  So I guess...plenty of great ones?

Braga was IMO a really amazing writer on TNG, he created some of the most memorable "weird anomaly" type of episodes.

Together with Moore, he was a great team: Braga was talented about the weird SF stuff, Moore about characters.

But IMO VOY showed that when Moore is not around? Braga has no talent for writing characters, even when he's good at space anomalies.

Edited by Sim

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