Jonathan Frakes comforted Star Trek: Discovery cast by letting them know Star Trek: TNG was also hated.


Many of us Trekkies remember that Star Trek: The Next Generation was not welcomed with open arms when it first aired. Fans of Star Trek: The Original Series didn't want a new series; they wanted Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock back as that series had only gotten three seasons. The hate was strong with The Next Generation, and as Jonathan Frakes told Sonequa Martin-Green, Captain Burnham of Star Trek: Discovery, it took three seasons for The Next Generation to be embraced.

Martin-Green shared Frakes' wisdom aboard Star Trek The Cruise VII, which I was fortunate to be on, during a Star Trek: Discovery panel along with fellow cast members, Doug Jones, David Ajala, Anthony Rapp, Mary Chieffo, and Eve Harlow. Understandably, knowing the show wasn't exactly welcome made the cast uncomfortable, but Frakes eased their concerns by sharing that fans hated TNG, too, and the network even got a lot of hate mail.

"Remember y’all in the beginning when we had a lot of criticism, and people [were] coming for us for a lot of reasons. It made sense. We always said we understood where they were coming from. And we had so much respect because those criticisms were coming from a place of love and loyalty and intelligence and intellect and all of that… But we were like [makes pained expression] 'We’ve got so many people to prove and to ourselves too.' So Jonathan Frakes – one of our favorite directors – really shepherded us and took us under his wing. He welcomed us as a proxy for the rest of the franchise. And he was like, 'No, no, no. Welcome. This is how it goes. They hated us too.' They used to get letters like, “We don’t need you… why are you trying to get in the way of our Kirk and Spock?" He said it took [TNG] like three seasons for them to finally take hold of us. I remember how we were so comforted by that. I’m still grateful for him to this day because he was really kind of like a Papa Big Brother for us in the beginning."

Sonequa Martin-Green

Discovery still has its fair share of detractors, and it has never enjoyed quite the success that The Next Generation did. But the series has gone on to earn its own legion of fans who have tuned in weekly to watch each crew adventure unfold. And with news of season five being the final season of the series, those fans were heartbroken much like, I imagine, the fans of Star Trek: The Original Series were when it was cancelled.

If there is one thing those fans can take heart with, it's that just as The Next Generation cast has returned, so, too, could the Discovery cast. And with more legacy characters from various series making their way back to the screens, there is always hope that we'll see Discovery's crew again.

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