Brannon Braga worked on Star Trek beginning with Star Trek: The Next Generation as an intern, and the veteran writer and creator shared his memories, both good and bad, of his Star Trek work.
Star Trek: The Next Generation ended with All Good Things…, an episode of which Braga is proud and one which fans enjoyed as well. “I’m proud of that for a lot of reasons,” he said. “Top of the list, it was just a really great two-hour episode of TNG that fully explored the characters and the sentimentality of where they started, where they are and where they’re going. It had a great science-fiction premise. And it kind of achieved the impossible. I have no recollection of how Ron Moore and I did it, but it was a great ending to a great series. It didn’t disappoint.”
However, there were episodes that weren’t as stellar, such as Star Trek: Voyager‘s Threshold. “Of course, the one I’d just as soon forget is called Threshold,” said Braga. “That’s the one in which Janeway and Paris turn into lizards. That’s a real low point. I was trying something. I don’t want to get into what I was trying to do, but it didn’t quite work. It was my homage, I guess, to David Cronenberg‘s The Fly, but it really backfired on me. It was poorly executed by me.”
Braga enjoyed his time working on Star Trek: Voyager, and he believes that some of the best Trek stories were told on that show. “When you go back, around seasons four, five and six of Voyager, I think we were doing some of our best Star Trek storytelling ever,” he said. “I think Voyager came under some criticism from some fans, but I think if you look back on it, it was an excellent show.”
In Voyager‘s fourth season, Seven of Nine replaced Kes, a decision that angered some fans and pleased others. “The show needed a kick in the ass,” Braga explained. “Creatively, we needed something. A Star Trek series, in my opinion, is only as good as its captain, and Captain Janeway was a great captain, but she didn’t have her Spock or Data, really. We just didn’t have that special science-fiction character like Spock or Data, the striving-to-be-human character. The idea of putting a Borg on board gave us a chance to have a wild child there. That was the metaphor, a wild child, and Janeway would be her mother and try to tame her and help make her human again. That was a new take on that kind of character.
“To me, Seven of Nine added a nice touch of magic that the show needed at the time. The fact that she was a beautiful woman was just, to me, a benefit.”
Fans weren’t the only ones either sad or happy about the change but Braga felt that his decision was necessary and good for the show. “I thought the character was a great addition to the show,” he said.” And it kind of lit a fire under the cast, too. It was very controversial. We got rid of Kes and brought in Seven of Nine, and some people in the cast were upset about it and some thought it was cool, but at the end of the day I think it did all the right things creatively to the show, in my opinion.”