William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge is a one-hour documentary that brings to light the tumultuous beginnings of one of the most successful franchises in TV history.
Written and directed by William Shatner, Chaos on the Bridge offers an enlightening look at the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The documentary premieres on Monday on HBO Canada.
Twenty years after TV audiences said goodbye to the show, Trekkies will get an insider’s take on how Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry first envisioned the show as well as how his battles with his own personal demons affected the series.
Shatner, the original Captain James Tiberius Kirk, conducts candid interviews with The Next Generation cast members like Sir Patrick “Jean-Luc Picard” Stewart, Denise Crosby, Jonathan Frakes, and John de Lancie. The cast members reveal a situation of confusion as they remember the egos, the infighting, the fan backlash, the bluffs and threats and how Roddenberry and the show’s producers tried to weather it all. The documantary further reveals that the cast didn’t seem sure they should even make a new Star Trek series at all.
“The first and second seasons of The Next Generation are almost unwatchable,” says Ronald D. Moore, a former writer on Star Trek. Moore would go on to create the Battlestar Galactica reboot.
— TrekNews.net (@TrekNewsnet) August 8, 2014
The documentary also promises to be full of unvarnished insights and recollections from the likes of Paramount television’s then-president John Pike, series writers Maurice Hurley and D.C. Fontana, producers and spin-off shepherds Rick Berman and Brannon Braga and many other behind-the-scenes crew.
The interviews and insights all point to the genius of Roddenberry’s creative vision which brought the series to life. However, the credit for the success that allowed Star Trek to gain a new series and new movies goes to his successors, who took over the show as a result of Roddenberry’s ailing health and death in 1991. It was only when they shifted the show’s focus towards making it more about the characters and conflict, that the series soared to unprecedented heights.