Fans generally loved his work behind the camera of "Star Trek: First Contact" (although they could've probably lived without "Star Trek: Insurrection"), but not even a handsome bearded smile was enough to convince CBS to give Jonathan Frakes a crack at Star Trek.
The actor and director, best known as Cmdr. William T. Riker in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and four subsequent movies, revealed to UGO this week that like Bryan Singer and William Shatner before him, his idea to bring Star Trek back to television was photon torpedoed before it could get out of the gate.
"I had a Star Trek that I developed for TV, and we were told in no uncertain terms ... that they don't want to make the same mistake that has been done before," said Frakes, who will turn 59 in August.
What was that mistake? "Watering down the brand by having a TV show and a movie," Frakes said.
"That's what happened with 'Star Trek: Nemesis,' and that's why I think 'Star Trek: Enterprise' didn't last the way they expected it to."
Well, it's hard to deny that over-saturation hurt the franchise in the 1990s and early 2000s, there might be some that say "Nemesis" had its own demons to worry about. The 2002 movie from director Stuard Baird and starring a young Tom Hardy grossed just $43 million in the United States, despite a $60 million budget.
What was Frakes' idea? He isn't saying. But it's been six years since a Star Trek television show has aired a new episode -- the most recent one, coincidentally, featuring an older Frakes reprising his Riker role in the series finale of "Enterprise" -- and it will likely stay that way. With J.J. Abrams, the film franchise returned in 2009 after a seven-year absence, and turned a $140 million budget into a $258 million box office win domestically.
Frakes may not be running a new Star Trek television show, but he is keeping himself busy. He has been directing episodes of "Burn Notice" and "NCIS: Los Angeles," as well as the television movie "Truth Be Told" starring Chris Brochu and Candace Cameron Bure ("Full House"), which airs on Fox next week.
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