Tag Archive: Jonathan Frakes


For the new Star Trek: Picard series, a sequel to not only Star Trek: The Next Generation and its films–and now apparently to Star Trek Voyager, also, the hints from the production that the series was going to be something entirely new weren’t altogether accurate.  Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Star Trek Voyager’s Seven of Nine actor Jeri Ryan, and Jonathan Del Arco, who played Hugh, all will be joining Patrick Stewart as Picard, appearing in the continued journey of the Federation.  But executive producer Akiva Goldsman insisted that this isn’t a sequel at a panel today at San Diego Comic-Con, appearing along with showrunner Michael Chabon and co-executive producer Alex Kurtzman.  The direction for the series that the members of the production are stressing is that the series will be new, yet the trailer for the series is all throwback goodness.

As the saying goes:  The old is new again.

Some nostalgia from the ghosts of Star Treks past includes Picard in similar TNG civilian shirt and First Contact jacket and combadge, he’s right where fans would expect him in the future: at his vineyard a la All Good Things… readying to be called upon to go off-world on some special mission a la the Unification, Gambit, Preemptive Strike, Chain of Command, Birthright, and Endgame stories, with scenes evoking Kirk’s final days from Star Trek Generations.  Spiner’s character is in a box (literally), appearing to be B9 (and not the exploded bits of the actual Data?)–not that it matters.  Seven of Nine is back (looking like she never left) with an only slightly updated cybernetic prosthetic on her forehead and more human than before.  Although they didn’t make the first trailer, other blasts from the past include the return of Riker and Troi.  And expect lots of the Federations’ original enemies, as Romulans return as one of the show’s key antagonists.

This appears to be exactly what fans have been after since the IDW Publishing comic book series prequel to the movie Star Trek 2009 (discussed here) put Picard back on the bridge with B9, and then Brannon Braga teamed up Picard and Seven of Nine in his IDW series (discussed here back in 2012).  New cast members for the series include a diverse group of new faces, including Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, Alison Pill, and Harry Treadaway.

The wait is over.  Check out the first trailer for Star Trek: Picard:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Twenty years ago the last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered, and for its anniversary a crowdfunding project funded a feature-length retrospective on the series.  Deep Space Nine: What We Left Behind will be familiar to any fan of Deep Space Nine who has delved into the special features found in the DVD sets or online via YouTube.  It’s full of those reminiscences, albeit updated, diehard fans have viewed countless times in interviews with cast and crew and via panels at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.  But the unique feature for this new documentary is a reunion of writers from the series who sit down and block out what a possible next episode of the series might include.

Deep Space Nine showrunner and executive producer Ira Steven Behr leads the documentary, hitting the high points of his seven years creating Deep Space Nine, intercutting new and old interviews with key and supporting cast members, a few members of the production staff, co-creator Rick Berman and the man representing the business side of production, Kerry McCluggage, former chairman of Paramount Television Group.  Deep Space Nine: What We Left Behind does not look closely at the production from a design, costumes, props, music, or technical standpoint, but is almost exclusively focused on the writers and actors, and why the crew thinks its show was different from competing programs in the 1990s (although some art production familiar faces including Herman Zimmerman, Michael and Denise Okuda, and Doug Drexler make brief appearances).

The writers room reunion of Behr, Ronald D. Moore, René Echevarria, Hans Beimler, and Robert Hewitt Wolfe talking through a spec script idea for a new 20th anniversary reunion episode is a great guide for anyone wanting a glimpse at the process of developing a television show.  Backed by a cartoon art/Ken Burns-esque multimedia mock-up of characters and sets by artists Magdalena Marinova, Kai De Mello-Folsom, and Luke Snailham, it’s a better presentation format than watching more talking heads.  The result feels quite like a Brannon Braga or Ronald D. Moore series finale episode (see Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “All Good Things…” and Star Trek Voyager’s “Endgame”), complete with a time jump and appearances by grown-up regular players, in this case Jake Sisko and Molly O’Brien.  Vedek Kira?  Captain Nog?  With some make-up and new costumes, the writers’ episode creation would have actually made a fine final episode to the series, providing some resolution to the fate of Avery Brooks′ Captain Sisko.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Last year Fox’s science fiction series The Orville provided what many fans of sci-fi TV had been missing for the past decade: a rejection of a dystopian model of the future and a return to an optimistic outlook, a future where Earthlings succeed in their exploration of the universe.  Hands-on creator Seth MacFarlane and sci-fi royalty Brannon Braga, Jonathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeill, and even Jon Favreau and many other genre veterans created a new world full of real people, believable aliens, exquisitely designed ships and sets, and a 75-piece orchestra with the best music you can find on television.  In the old days of Hollywood, studios tried to give fans what they wanted to see.  Distancing itself from the new trend of laying on viewers quirky visions and forced constructs, the show instead unapologetically serves up what is frequently disparagingly called “fan service.”  In other words, MacFarlane is giving sci-fi fans what they want.  Fans of The Orville can marvel at the details of the production in a newly-released chronicle of the series, The World of The Orville Readers will walk away with a better understanding of why the series works: It’s a show by fans for fans, created by some of the best artists, artisans, writers, and actors around.

It’s pretty rare that any television series releases a companion book, let alone one that is published before the second season airs.  The World of The Orville covers the series from idea through concept art design, casting, art direction, make-up, costumes, prop design, and sound, up through the end of the season this past December.  The book is not just a compilation of concept art or film images, it’s a good mix of both, complete with explanatory text from across the several production departments.  Insight is provided from execs Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, and Jason Clark, production designer Stephen J. Lineweaver, supervising producer Andre Bormanis, master visual effects veteran Rob Legato, effects supervisors Luke McDonald and Natasha Francis, concept designer Brandon Fayette, prop master Bryan Rodgers, display designer David Watkinson, construction coordinator Tony Lattanzio, makeup artist Howard Berger, music composer Bruce Broughton, and creator and actor Seth MacFarlane.  The book’s author Jeff Bond incorporates a good mix of behind the scenes photographs and text to provide a solid overview of the story path of season one.

Significant coverage is given of the ship The Orville itself, inside and out, including early concept art and alternative styles considered in arriving at the giant yacht that would make it to the screen.  Readers will get a look at costume designer Joseph A. Porro’s rejected designs, and various makeup designs attempted for key alien characters.  Ship designs, alien worlds, costumes and weapons, as well as a look at each key character and production set can be found here.

Check out some preview pages from The World of The Orville, courtesy of the publisher:

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The Orville is exactly what you have been waiting for.  Not a flat sci-fi parody as the advance press characterized it, it’s more of a take on workplace situational shows like The Office and Office Space, recreating those daily grind obstacles that all of us face, only in a future, outerspace workplace.  The result is a visually gorgeous show that takes itself seriously more than it tries to mock anything that came before it.  Unlike Galaxy Quest, a fun and beloved parody it has been compared to, The Orville takes off into a new direction altogether.  The Orville expands on elements from across all sci-fi, like space battle sequences and planet flyovers using Star Wars-inspired camera angles (including real model ships, not just CGI), completely new and unique aliens (the only thing close to these can be found in Doctor Who), and a fantastic, triumphant musical score from Bruce Broughton that is every bit what you’d expect from the composer of music for Silverado, Tombstone, Lost in Space, Gunsmoke, Dallas, Logan’s Run, and Buck Rogers.

Seth MacFarlane (Ted, Family Guy, Star Trek Enterprise) plays Ed Mercer, the newly appointed captain of the USS Orville.  Ed is a once-ambitious officer in a future space force called the Union, who has taken some backward steps resulting from a marriage gone wrong to his new second-in-command, Commander Kelly Grayson, played by Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Supernatural, John Wick).  Although the characters’ past together is grim, the writers quickly address the closeness they once had in a bit of comedy banter over a quantum device that speeds up time and in a classic MacGyver moment involving a seed and a hot glue gun.  The chemistry they will need for the rest of the series is present from the start.  The rest of the cast is a mix of straight man and comic relief, and the writers don’t hesitate to drift them into pure drama when the story calls for it.  Scott Grimes (Band of Brothers, Crimson Tide, Star Trek: The Next Generation) plays Helmsman Malloy, a pilot and old friend of Ed who flies by the seat of his pants.  Peter Macon (The Shield, Supernatural) is Lt. Commander Bortus, a Moclan (with an incredible prosthetic head) who takes his job seriously and represents the best of the Union, along with Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle, Deep Space Nine) as the ship’s doctor.  Mark Jackson is Isaac, an artificial lifeform from Kaylon (who is a character that seems to emerge straight from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), J. Lee (Family Guy) is navigator LaMarr, who seems to fear the change a new captain might bring, and Halston Sage (How to Rock, Crisis, Goosebumps) is security officer Kitan, a Xeleyan who is young and the physically strongest member of the team.

Enough cannot be said about the alien creations.  Bortus and Kitan are perfectly realized.  Isaac looks like a classic retro-inspired android.  A swimming, floral, three-eyed chief botanist (created by Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Robert Legato) is gorgeous and organic, and best of all, not bipedal, as is the gelatinous Yaphit (voiced by Norm McDonald).  The villains of episode one, the Krill, are as perfect as sci-fi aliens get (they actually take off and land on planets–a strange but welcome novelty for a sci-fi series), and the seething and charismatic Krill captain (played by Joel Swetow) stumbles into the crew politics in one very funny scene.  Even passing background aliens are incredibly detailed compared to aliens of many other sci-fi series.

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Star Trek Beyond Fly spot USS Enterprise inside Starbase Yorktown

Review by C.J. Bunce

In the fiftieth year of Star Trek, fanboy Simon Pegg proved that the franchise has never been stronger.  Probably more so than any prior entry in the now 13-movie catalog, Star Trek Beyond found a way to be the most loyal to the original series, with the writers weaving a story you could also find comfortably set within Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek Voyager.  And director Justin Lin showed that an action heavy film can also tell a good story.

Get ready.  Star Trek Beyond, opening this weekend in theaters everywhere, is also the most fun of the Star Trek movies since Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, thanks to clever and witty dialogue and circumstances that put the Bones and Spock relationship at center stage.  By movie’s end, diehard Star Trek fans will find themselves trying to categorize the latest big budget blockbuster against the past even-numbered films, generally regarded as the cream of the crop.  That consideration alone elevates the movie into the top echelon of all Trekdom, a welcome jolt for the franchise.

Better than the admittedly good Abrams contributions Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond taps more subtlely into throwbacks we love, like a look at the Enterprise itself and spacedock in a way we haven’t seen since Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock.  And speaking of the original Star Trek III, this third reboot mirrors many key moments from that film, despite having an entirely different plot.

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What does it mean to serve on a ship on a long voyage?  What toll does it take on the captain and his or her crew?  Beginning with a humanitarian mission that we think Jean-Luc Picard would have appreciated, including an in-world guest actress (Sofia Boutella) like none other we’ve seen in Star Trek, featuring a strong actor–Idris Elba–as a brilliantly conceived unique–yet also familiar–villain, and dividing up the crew in twos to highlight the strengths of the characters–Star Trek Beyond is practically flawless.  Star Trek Beyond is not just good Star Trek, it’s great Star Trek.

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Star Trek Costumes Block and Erdmann final cover 2015

Review by C.J. Bunce

The best non-fiction look at Star Trek in years is now available at book stores and online retailers.  Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier, by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann will serve as a companion book to The Art of Star Trek, The Continuing Mission, and Star Trek: The Art of the Film, all previously reviewed here and here at borg.com.  Together these four books represent the best visual looks at the history of Star Trek.  This new volume includes beautiful, clear, full-color photographs in a colorful hardcover, coffee table edition.

General fans of Hollywood costumes will learn plenty about the variety of major costumes used in the Star Trek universe throughout the past 50 years, and Star Trek diehards will find many interesting tidbits, too.  Highlights include recollections of costume designer Robert Fletcher about his creations for the movies and photos of several of his original costume designs, including his sketches for William Shatner’s Captain Kirk Class B uniform, Scotty’s engineering radiological suit used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the maroon, naval-style officer and crewman uniforms first appearing in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

STC B

William Ware Theiss’s era-defining costumes from the original series receive plenty of coverage, including images of some of Theiss’s often quickly rendered costume designs.  The original hand-drawn artwork from past and present is worth its weight in gold press latinum, including original costume designs for Star Trek: The Next Generation by Durinda Rice Wood (like Counselor Troi’s beautiful, form-fitting, burgundy jumpsuit), costume designs for Star Trek: First Contact by Deborah Everton (like Lily’s 2063 civilian garb worn by Alfre Woodard), Robert Blackman’s original concept art for Star Trek Generations (like the British Naval uniforms), and Sanja Milkovich Hays’ original concept sketches for Star Trek: Insurrection (like the female Tarlac nurse bodysuits) many including photos of corresponding fabric swatches.  While Star Trek Costumes provides only a brief look at the costumes of Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, and Enterprise, it provides a nice overview of the revisited designs and variants of Star Trek 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness, including a focus on the Klingon costumes.

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Librarians cast

Do you miss Leverage and King & Maxwell?  Back in August we first announced that TNT is bringing back the world of The Librarian franchise with a new series from executive producers Dean Devlin, John Rogers and Marc Roskin.  Rebecca Romijn (X-Men), Christian Kane (Leverage, Angel), Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead, The Philanthropist) and John Kim (Neighbors, The Pacific) will star in the series as protectors of rare and supernatural treasures, with genre favorite John Larroquette (Night Court, Stripes, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) as their caretaker.

Noah Wyle (Falling Skies) serves as executive producer and returns as Flynn Carsen, the role he played in TNT’s movie trilogy.  Also reprising their roles from the movies will be comedy greats Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob) and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, 3rd Rock from the Sun).   Today TNT released a humorous new trailer for the series, previewed below after the break.  And we’re pretty sure we see Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice, Army of Darkness) in the preview.

Bruce Campbell Librarians TNT

From the TNT press materials:

The Librarians centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. This group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world. Among the artifacts housed in the Library are the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, the Judas Chalice and Excalibur, to name a few. Only a person with special skills could be responsible for collecting and protecting these artifacts, and more importantly, for preventing them from falling into the wrong hands.

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The Librarians band of misfits

The TNT Network announced it has ordered 10 episodes of The Librarians, a new television series spinning off from The Librarian movies.  Christian Kane (Leverage, Angel) and Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, King & Maxwell) are returning to TNT and will lead the cast of the new series along with Lindy Booth (Kick-ass 2, Nero Wolfe, Warehouse 13, Dawn of the Dead, Supernatural) and John Kim (Neighbors, The Pacific).  Stars of the previous stories in The Librarian universe, Noah Wyle (Falling Skies, ER), and comedy icons Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob), and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, Kate & Allie, 3rd Rock from the Sun) will reprise their roles in the new series.  Wyle will also continue in his role on TNT’s Falling Skies.

Fans of the Syfy Channel’s now defunct Warehouse 13 may find some familiarity in the world of The Librarians, as the show centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from a hidden world of magic.  The team solves mysteries, fights supernatural threats, and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world.  Among the artifacts housed in the Library are the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, the Judas Chalice and Excalibur.  As with Myka and Pete from Warehouse 13, only a person with special skills can protect these artifacts, and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

The new Librarians TNT

Along with comedy icons Newhart and Curtin, fan favorite comedic actors John Larroquette (Star Trek III, Stripes, Night Court, Deception) and Matt Frewer (Max Headroom, Orphan Black, Star Trek: TNG) will be regulars on the show.  Larroquette will play Jenkins, overseer of the Librarians, with Frewer an immortal, ancient cult leader named Dulaque.

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Warehouse 13 crew

The caretakers of the most dangerous (and strangest) artifacts from history, Pete Lattimer, Myka Bering, Artie Nielsen, and Claudia Donovan, return tonight for the fifth season of Warehouse 13, after a seemingly endless eight-month hiatus.  But the return is bittersweet, as the Syfy Channel’s homegrown, weekly, sci-fi extravaganza was signed for only six more episodes, and not renewed for a seventh season.  Petitions and outcry from the show’s many fans didn’t convince the network to keep the artifact hunting going.

So put on your purple gloves, get your Tesla and your Farnsworth, and get ready for the closing of the famous warehouse that revealed the secrets behind Anne Bonny’s cutlass, Catherine O’Leary’s cowbell, D.B. Cooper’s parachute, Frank Lloyd Wright’s pickup sticks, Houdini’s wallet, Pavlov’s bell, Pasteur’s milk bottle, Mata Hari’s stockings, Nero’s lyre, Paul Tibbets’ binoculars, Nixon’s shoes, Robert the Bruce’s tartan, Scott Joplin’s cigarette case, Sitting Bull’s riding blanket, and U.S. Grant’s flask.

Warehouse 13

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Trektacular 2014

Planet Comicon 2014 wrapped today, bringing to close the region’s biggest and best comic book and pop culture convention ever.  The best was saved for last with the TREKtacular reunion of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members hosted by William Shatner, including a surprise visit by John deLancie.  Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner did not disappoint a sold out crowd in the giant ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.  For those attending this once-in-a-lifetime event that did not purchase one of the 100 limited edition exclusive artist signed TREKtacular prints, a few may still be available.  Contact Reinke Arts on Facebook for more information.

Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis

We talked with Michael Dorn about his real-life jet fighter flying experience and Marina Sirtis said she loved today’s borg.com editor’s cosplay choice (so did Return of the Jedi’s Femi Taylor!).

Lee Majors panel

Lee Majors was a superb storyteller, catching up panel attendees on his recent TV series work, and delving into his stunt work on The Fall Guy (where he performed 80% of his stunts) and The Big Valley. He also discussed the success and appeal of The Six Million Dollar Man to fans.

Bionic Man action figure

We resurrected last year’s Convention costume of The Six Million Dollar Man action figure, which we wore meeting The Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, at Planet Comicon 2013, complete with jumpsuit, patch, plastic hair, data chip arm tattoo, bionic eye, and trademark Adidas Dragons.

Meeting Lee Majors

A kid’s fantasy come true–meeting your childhood hero, Lee Majors, who called me his “double” and said he thought the outfit and plastic hair was cool.  He also autographed the photo that was sent out to kids in the original fan club set in 1974, signed then by “Col. Steve Austin.”

With Zoie Palmer at Planet Comicon 2014

With Zoie Palmer from the Toronto-based TV series Lost Girl, the great Syfy Channel series we have reviewed previously here at borg.com.

With Margot Kidder at Planet Comicon 2014

With Margot Kidder, Lois Lane from the 1970s Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve.

Aquaman and Mera

Aquaman and Mera, Queen of Atlantis.

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