The Rikers

By Phil Plait | May 22, 2010 12:00 pm

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" premiered my first year of grad school, and the last episode aired my last year. It bookended my career as a student getting a PhD in astronomy, and so it has personal meaning for me. Also, I simply loved the show. And I mean love like grown-up love; I accepted its faults as well as the times it exceeded the sum of its parts.

On reddit, I found a link to this video, an interview with Marina Sirtis (Troi) and Jonathan Frakes (Riker), and if you’re a TNG fan, it’s a must-see. It’s simply wonderful.

It starts off a little goofy and fun, and ends really quite warmly. They seem like genuinely nice people — and if you read Wil Wheaton’s Memories of the Future you’ll find out they really were. That’s nice to know.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Geekery, SciFi, TV/Movies

Comments (39)

  1. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
  2. lookylou

    One of the things I’ve found most interesting about the cast of TNG is that Jonathan Frakes was apparently the cast leader, and NOT Patrick Stewart, who is easily the most accomplished actor.

  3. When we were doing the Star Trek traveling show a couple years back, we tried to get Jonathan Frakes to appear on video for an attraction set on the engineering deck of the enterprise. He was keen to do it, but then his lawyer/agent got involved and started asking for a ridiculous amount of money…basically more than the cost of the entire project. Wil WHeaton was cool, though.

  4. Scottynuke

    Thanks so much for that, Phil. Very nice to know they do/did/didn’t take it seriously as appropriate at the time.

    I think that makes sense. :)

  5. Ben

    Sweeeet! I love it, and Marina talking all the time is just great.

    ST:TNG is ‘my’ Star Trek, also. I’ve seen much of the other incarnations and they are of course all likable to one degree or the other, but TNG will always be the one I’m by far most fond of. My affection with TNG radiates outward on the time-line and elevates the rest, inversely proportional to the square of the distance. :o )

  6. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    kuhnigget:

    He was keen to do it, but then his lawyer/agent got involved and started asking for a ridiculous amount of money…

    Luke 11:46:

    And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

  7. m5

    I’m not sure of the source of this but it made me laugh:

    “All you have to know is that TNG is a TV show where all the real-world parts of Maszlow’s pyramid — food, rent, shelter, money, air, etc. — are taken care of, which frees the people to have adventures. So, pretty much exactly like Gossip Girl, only instead of great adventures like buying clothes and being mean to people and knowing what sex even is, it’s about a lady with giant boobs, and a robot who thinks he’s people. And every week, somebody who is not as nice as them shows up and causes ugliness and trouble, and the boob lady feels feelings and the robot man does not, and then a bald man or a beard man yells a lot, and there is science, and an explosion or an understanding, which is followed by tea. Occasionally a small nerd will do something stupid or turn into God, or his mother will go to Planet Scotland and masturbate on a ghost, but that’s about it. Oh, and Whoopi Goldberg in a funny hat.”

  8. Twilightened

    Such great chemistry between actors of one of my favorite shows, so nice to see.

  9. Chris Winter

    Gee, m5, that must make Levar Burton feel left out (assuming he’s seen it.)

  10. Chris Winter

    Thanks for that video; it was great.

    Every Star Trek series has its good points, its memorable moments. But TNG is the one I remember most fondly.

    A bit of trivia: Marina Sirtis played a Russian scientist in an episode of Stargate SG1 and did a good job.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Wow, Sirtis is clever here, which is amazing considering the competition (another actor).

    TNG is closest to my heart also, not that I don’t love each and every incarnation for their individualities. I think the video and its display of groups at their best explains why that is.

    Btw, good idea on the show. “Garden Trek, beware of the Next Generation (and Worf)™”

  12. Andrew

    I remember when I was in middle school, Next Generation came on every night at 9:00 and my mom and I would watch it together before I went to bed. Lots of fond memories.

  13. Dean

    I remember dispairing when TNG started but wasn’t going to be shown locally (I’m from a small city in Canada). It wasn’t until Season 3 that we got it at all, and then at 11:30 pm on Saturday nights (often pre-empted for the Stanley Cup Playoffs).

    Needless to say, I crapped my pants with Best of Both Worlds…considering that I hadn’t been able to see the first Borg episode.

    Speaking of which, this guy:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/sfdebris

    has some excellent reviews of Trek episodes (and movies) and has some very interesting insights that I never would have considered…especially about Wolf 359.

  14. Andrew, you just made me feel old! I was in University when it started…

  15. ND

    Sirtis is a good actor. Her character in the series did not always bring this out until the movies.

    The other related youtube videos at the end include appearances on the Arsenio Hall show. Wow that’s old!

    “Ol’ baldy” :)

  16. Grizzly

    Gosh that first season was painful, but it had flashes of brilliance, or at least adequacy. Glad that we let it get its legs. I think the turning point for me was the death of Tasha Yar. Hey! This is serious here…

  17. jcm

    Not related to Star Trek but this might be of interest to BAblogees:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100522/ap_on_re_eu/eu_poland_copernicus_reburied

  18. cmflyer

    Whoa, Frakes is married to Genie Francis? I went to high school with her!

  19. John Paradox

    10. Chris Winter Says:

    A bit of trivia: Marina Sirtis played a Russian scientist in an episode of Stargate SG1 and did a good job.

    Further trivia re: Sirtis. She also appeared in one of the Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) episodes.

    J/P=?

  20. Radwaste

    Aannnd both of them will be at DragonCon this year!

    I recommend you see Ms. Sirtis in person. She’s unbelievable – astonishingly beautiful in person, more so than on camera. Mr. Frakes has a few more years on him, but it’s like time stopped for her.

    It’s been my experience that actors are a fine bunch, at least within the confines of a convention – and quite a few have more skills than you’d think. And think about this: would you bet your future, your living, on a profession in which the fans, your fellow actors, your director, the sponsor and one or two producers and a roomful of anonymous executives could put you on the street without warning – or recourse – at any moment?

    I find that idea refreshing. More cheers for the successes!

  21. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE,

    Well, that guy demonstrates going *how* no one has gone before.

  22. Great find. TNG was always my Star Trek, too. I saw it starting in elementary school, and it finished when I was in high school. I used to get excited with every new episode. When I was in high school, my best friend and I went to 4 conventions. We got to see both Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis (different conventions, though) Marina was so friendly and nice, especially when signing autographs. Jonathan Frakes wouldn’t sign autographs, probably because of his agent. I also got to meet Michael Dorn, who was very funny and seemed like a great guy. But at my last convention, I got to see James Doohan, my fellow Canadian! I could tell from him that there was a big difference between the original cast and the Next Generation cast. TNG cast were like family to each other. The original cast had feuds and major disagreements, and quite often disliked each other during the taping of the series, but were friends by the time they did the movies.

  23. Ray

    The way they talk about “old baldy”, is that an inside joke, or are they seriously down on Patrick Stewart?

  24. Messier Tidy Upper

    Nice interview. I had a major crush on Deanna Troi as a boy watching Star Trek: The Next Gen & vividly remember when it first came on at 7.30 pm channel 9 (Australian TV) waa-ay back in the early 1990′s. Yes, ST:TNG is my ideal & fave Trek series too. :-)

    @1. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE Says:

    ROTFLMAO – Thanks I loved that ‘un! ;-)

    & 21. IMForeman : “Well, that guy demonstrates going *how* no one has gone before” too. LOL Wish I’d thought of that. ;-)

    Come to think of it, such transporting techniques could be very handy medically eg. removing cancers, appendix’es, tonsils etc .. :-)

    @23. Ray Says:

    The way they talk about “old baldy”, is that an inside joke …

    I think so – 99.9% sure it is a fond nickname & not a serious snark.

  25. That was adorable. The punchline at the end, too.

  26. JB of Brisbane

    To expand on #24 M.T.U.’s contribution – In Australia the Seven Network originally bought the rights to show ST:TNG, but had to wait about a year while RCA/Columbia/Hoyts released the first season episodes on VHS at the rate of two episodes a month. By the time Seven could get around to airing, it was 1989, the recession was in full swing, the network owner had gone bust and skipped the country, and the network no longer could afford to buy the episodes. There the matter rested until 1991, when the Nine Network bought the rights, and started with season two. This was understandable as a) it was felt that the presence of Whoopi Goldberg would attract more viewers, and b) let’s face it, season one was a bit slow. But as many later episodes referred back to previous episodes, particularly Datalore and Skin of Evil, this move was always going to backfire. As it happened, the show was not the runaway ratings success the fans made out that it would be, and Nine punished it with a 10:30 PM timeslot as a result. So how did I see the show? It helped to know someone who had a pipeline to NTSC copies from the U.S. Great show, though – I didn’t get into any of the subsequent spinoff series quite as much as I did with ST:TNG.

  27. Farid Samii

    I LOVED this! Thank you for the find.

  28. Firemancarl

    Oh did I ever have a major crush on Sirtis. Heck, I had one on Denise Crosby as well. I wonder, anyone else ever notice that as the series went on, Frakes head lean got more and more damatic? Maybe one side of his haid weighs more than the other?

  29. Gary Ansorge

    As far as the language of ST:TNG is concerned, I would be quite surprised if we could understand one word in three of the common tongue three hundred years from now, let alone technical language, so I have never had any problem with the techno noise babble.

    It seems HollyWeed has finally acknowledged that SciFi is viable as long as one concentrates on good story telling. I’m thinking here of the most recent version of Battle Star Galactica as well as ST:TNG. I recently watched the original Battle Star and it was rather like watching the old anti-pot propaganda flick Reefer Madness. Quaint and silly spring to mind.

    I expect today even a remake of Lost in Space would be entertaining.(Ok, maybe not. The writers would actually have to care about good writing.)

    Gary 7

  30. It’s too bad they kept cutting away from the nice interview with the two accomplished actors . . . to clips from Insurrection and Nemesis. Bleggghkk.

  31. Marko

    ST:TNG was actually the very first Star Trek series I ever watched (I’ve since seen Voyager, Deep Space Nine and the Original series as well), so my fondest memories are from that very show.

    Love the franchise. I just bought the new movie on DVD maybe a couple of months ago and loved it. It gave a nice, updated spin on the franchise and on the original storyline about James T. Kirk, Spock, Uhura etc.

    And, of course, there’s the opportunity to wander around in the Star Trek universe in Celestia :-D

  32. pablo

    Loved this clip, loved the series(and DS9), absolutely detest the movies, every single one of them.

  33. thaneb

    Joining the M.S. trivia–Maria in Death Wish 3, the best/worst of the franchise, bazookas and everything.

  34. Zathras

    @29 Gary Ansorge:
    Actually, take a look at the original 1st season (black and white) episodes of Lost in Space. Yeah, there is a lot of crap (and writers who couldn’t tell the difference between real science and a hole in the ground), but there were also some glimmers of potential…that was sadly squashed VERY flat soon after.
    The basic IDEA of the series could be a good one (with, as you point out, GOOD WRITING)…it’s a basic myth, like the story of Odysseus: the lost explorer/warrior trying to find their way home.

  35. mike burkhart

    I was already a big Star Trek fan when Star Trek the next generation went on the air .I liked it even thro it took some time to win over some fans. Still some things took some getting used to:Kilgons are good guys ,this was the bigest after all thoes episodes of Star Trek where Kilgons were mean ,nasty and wanted to destory the UFP.But in TNG we learn more about Kilgon culture and find they value honnor.So I thought maybe Kilgons are’t so bad after all.The holodeck,this was the new “neat thing” .One problem was the new bad guys the Ferengi these guys were more funny then threating ,even thro the were greedy and male dominated (there was no womens rights movement?) they were hardly a thret to the UFP.

  36. mike burkhart

    One more thing Jonathan Franks was in all 3 of the North and South miniseries, Marina Sirtis was in Death Wish 3 (witch was stupid in my oppion) and in an episode of the Jereamy Bret Sherlock Holmes series (yes I am a Sherlock Holmes fan and this series witch was based on the Arther Connon Doyle stories was the best ,my favoret Sherlock Holmes movie was Murder By Decree where Holmes was after Jack the Ripper)

  37. Steve

    Nice video, but how many accents was Marina Sirtis using at once?

  38. wicked zen

    My earliest recollections of these two are Marina Sirtis in the old detective show “Hunter” and Johnathan Frakes in “The Waltons.” As far as I know, these were one-shot guest roles.

  39. Melayahm

    This was very nice to see, that they’re friends, even finishing each other’s sentences. I knew that Marina Sirtis was actually English, but she’s obviously lived in the US long enough to have picked up some american sounds in her voice, alongside her London accent, hence the odd mixture. I remember the original ST the first time round, and I wasn’t mad about ST:TNG when it started, I called it Social Workers in Space (let’s talk about this and all be friends…) but it got better as it went along. Patrick Stewart was masterful, he could convey a whirl of thoughts, or drastic changes of emotion with the subtlest of facial movements and body language. But I think the main thing that ST:TNG did was help make sci fi mainstream, not just for us weird kids, and opened up the way for other programmes like BSG, STargate, Firefly etc.

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