Braga Talks Science Fiction TelevisionBy Christian
March 25, 2005 - 10:53 AM
Longtime Trek writer Brannon Braga suggested recently that he hopes to keep working in the field of science fiction for many years to come.
"I always liked science fiction very much. Science fiction and horror were my two favorite mediums," Braga said last month during a 'Philosophy of Star Trek' seminar at Claremont McKenna College in California, a full transcript of which is now available on fan site BrannonBraga.com. "I was not a Star Trek fan. I had never seen Star Trek when I got the job, which got me into a lot of trouble with fans a while back. But I had never seen Star Trek, and I didnít anticipate doing science fiction, but I was very glad that I did because itís a terrifically imaginative place to be. You can tell virtually any type of story that you want. And my biggest influence is probably a show like the Twilight Zone, it was so good, it was just so well done. That was my favorite show."
While Braga has enjoyed the opportunities televised SF has provided him, he added that he might actually prefer literary science fiction. "[In] my opinion, the best science fiction is being done in novels and short stories. And really cutting edge stuff that may be too esoteric or not depictable in the visual medium. So there have been times when we have successfully depicted branching quantum realities and stuff that might seem insane to try to do. We have done them. Literarily there is great stuff happening in science fiction that has been far more influential than Star Trek. Having said that we hope, our greatest hope, is that children might be taking interest in science by watching science fiction or and interest in space or even receive some of the moral aspects of the show which really are about all of us."
One of the people attending Braga's seminar asked him what he thought of the future of science fiction on film and television. "A really good show right now, if you are looking for something is Battlestar Galactica," Braga said, praising the show headed by his former writing partner Ronald D. Moore. "[And] I think that the show Lost for all intents and purposes is sci-fi. It smells like sci-fi to me. They donít explain what is going on, but it is obvious that something supernatural or science fiction is going on and thatís a mega hit. And from my perception it is effecting the other networks, now everybody is starting to look for the next Lost. I am working on a science fiction show for CBS. Not typically a sci-fi network. And other networks are developing science fiction as well. I think science fiction always has a chance."
As for that show Braga is working on, Threshold, he was only able to provide some small hints on the show's storyline. "I am not supposed to talk about it too much. [...] ... It's a contemporary show, set today, that involves a woman who is a contingency analyst who works at a think tank, who is enlisted to investigate the possible arrival of alien life. It's called Threshold. Which is also the title of the worst episode I ever wrote in Star Trek, but it's a coincidence! [...] But thatís the logline for the show. Itís been printed in literature from the network and thatís really all I am comfortable in saying right now."
Besides discussing the general state of science fiction, most of the other questions Braga received dealt with his many years on Star Trek, and in particular the abrupt and cancellation-induced ending of that tenure. "[A] lot of people have worked on the show for the full 18 years, and it is a real family," Braga said. "I think it accounts for the consistency of and the quality of the show. The way it looks. The way it's written. A lot of the same people worked on it. And again, it's bittersweet. People knew it was coming. We didn't hide that fact; it was very probable that it was going to be ending. So the reaction was not shocked, but disappointed that it was not going to go another year or two. I don't know what they're going to do now. Some people have already taken jobs on other television pilots or movies. At least, you know, 200 people are going to go off into the ether. But I'm sure they will all find good work."
Much more from Braga, including his thoughts on why they decided to create a prequel series likeEnterprise, what his favorite character is, and even why he thought Voyager's "Endgame" was somewhat disappointing, can be found in the full chat transcript.