On September 8, 1987 more than twenty years after the original Star Trek® series first aired millions of Star Trek fans across the country sat down in front of their television sets for the debut of an all-new Star Trek series. No expense had been spared in bringing this new show to life the creator of the original Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry, was back producing the new show. Yet even the most faithful of Star Trek fans had their doubts could the magic be duplicated?
The answer to that question proved to be a resounding yes. Led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D blazed a trail of exciting adventures across the galaxy. In show after show, Star Trek: The Next Generation brought to life a future where cooperation and mutual understanding proved the keys to solving humanity's problems and enabled galactic civilization to flourish.
Here is the complete official guide to every episode of the television adventures of the Starship Enterprise and all four of the major motion pictures from Star Trek Generations to the latest, Star Trek Nemesis. This companion is a compendium of information including plot summaries and credits for each show and motion picture, as well as fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of The Next Generation. Take a glimpse into the show's incredible seven-year run, during which it reigned at the very top of the syndicated television ratings. Illustrated with more than 150 photographs, this is the official reference guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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Star Trek: First Contact
In February 1995, word arrived from the studio to ready a new Star Trek feature for a 1996 holiday release. "We were standing outside on the Hart Building steps," Moore recalls. "Rick had just come back from that studio meeting, and Brannon and I were on our way out and Rick stopped us and he said, 'I really want you guys to think about it you don't have to I want to do a time-travel piece.' Brannon and I added, 'We want to do something with the Borg.' And right on the spot, we said maybe we can do both, the Borg and time travel."
Why the Borg? Moore felt that the Borg deserved the scope a feature-film budget would allow. "The Borg were really liked by the fans, and we liked them. They were fearsome. They were unstoppable. Perfect foils for a feature story."
Immediately it became clear that the time-travel element could play out as the Borg try to prevent humanity from ever reaching space. But when? Berman suggested the Renaissance: the Borg would prevent the dawning of modern European civilization.
In a story draft called Star Trek: Renaissance, the Borg are tracked by our crew to a castle basement and their colonizing hive. Moore explains, "And you would have sword fights and phaser fights mixed together, in fifteenth-century Europe." The Data story would have him signing on as the apprentice to Leonardo da Vinci. Of Renaissance Moore said, "It risked becoming really campy and over-the-top."
"The one image that I brought to the table," recalled Braga, "is the image of the Vulcans coming out of the ship. I wanted to see the birth of Star Trek. We ended up coming back to that moment. That, to me, is what made the time-travel story fresh. We get to see what happened, when humans shook hands with their first aliens."
As Star Trek: Resurrection took form it told the story of time travel, provided an encounter with the Borg, and centered around the discovery of warp drive by Dr. Zefram Cochrane. Taking cues from several TNG stories, it was decided to place Cochrane in the mid-twenty-first century, in a non-urban site. Montana fit with continuity, and happens to be Braga's home state. This first script has the Borg attacking Cochrane's lab, which leaves the scientist comatose; that forces Picard to assume Cochrane's place and launch the warp ship Phoenix. A local photographer and X-ray tech named Ruby becomes the key to rebuilding a destroyed warp component. Dr. Crusher battles to save Cochrane, while admiration blossoms into romance between Ruby and Picard. However, it is Riker who leads the defense of the Enterprise against the Borg.
To underline the ever-increasing horror of how fast the Borg were assimilating the Enterprise and its crew, the writers added a new insidious step to the process. Borg drones would inject a captured crew member, instantly making them part of the collective. However, early attempts to keep the collective faceless proved frustrating. "It always sounded better in concept than it was in trying to execute it dramatically," Moore recalled. After struggling to represent the Borg as a true collective, the writers knew they needed a single Borg character the hive needed a queen to serve as the focal point for dramatic interaction.
Taking an objective look, the trio knew their story required work. "The things that worked through both drafts were the Borg action stuff, Cochrane, the Vulcan landing, Data and the queen," Braga recalled. "It just didn't make sense to us," Moore said, "that Picard, the one guy who has a history with the Borg, never meets them. He was on the surface during this whole thing while the Borg are upstairs fighting Riker, et al." A simple swap of the two heroes was called for; Picard's story moved to the ship, and the planet-based story was trimmed and told with a different tone. "Let's get simple. Bring Cochrane into the story," Moore explained. "Let's make him an interesting fellow, and it could say something about the birth of the Federation. The future that Gene Roddenberry envisioned is born out of this very flawed man, who is not larger than life but an ordinary flawed human being."
The idea of Borg set against period costumes was moved to the holodeck in what was dubbed "the cocktail party." At Rick Berman's suggestion, it became a Dixon Hill scenario. All these changes coalesced in the second draft, which still carried the title Star Trek: Resurrection. This would be the script that the production team headed by Marty Hornstein and Peter Lauritson would use for a budget.
The first order of business was the creation of a new starship. That job was entrusted to production designer Herman Zimmerman. "The script says, 'The new Enterprise sleekly comes out of the nebula.' And that's about the only thing we had to go from," illustrator John Eaves explained. For Eaves, a longtime fan, it was a dream assignment. He combined the script's description with the mandate that this new Enterprise be larger than her predecessor and created a sleek, faster-looking ship with an oval saucer. "The Enterprise-E has only twenty-four decks, so it is smaller mass-wise than the 'D' but it's longer," he pointed out.
The new bridge reflected another description from the script: a single captain's chair, with all stations facing toward it. A slightly larger and much less spartan ready room was also created. Elements were carried over from the series: the Shakespeare volume and the captain's Mintakan tapestry draped over his ready-room chair ("Who Watches the Watchers?"/152).
However, the single set that carried over most of its grace notes from the series was the observation lounge. Its windows were the same ones that were used on the television show. Zimmerman returned to a look of the earlier seasons of the show, and placed a display of Enterprise vessels on the inner wall. Now the models were gold, three-dimensional, and encased in glass. Main engineering got a massive, three-story set, with corridors, a lobby, and the biggest warp core to date. Sickbay was a redress of Voyager's set, saving time and money. Worf's appearance on the Defiant bridge was filmed on the Deep Space Nine standing set.
The choice of director was one with "family" connections. Having tossed his hat in the ring with other directors, Jonathan Frakes won the assignment. "Not having directed a major motion picture before, I'm told I got the job about a month later than would have been ideal," Frakes commented. He named TNG and Voyager veteran Jerry Fleck as his first assistant director, Matt Leonetti as director of photography, and Jack Wheeler as film editor. Among the returning feature vets were set decorator John Dwyer, art director Ron Wilkinson, sound mixer Tom Causey, and live effects master Terry Frazee. Doubling up with their television work were casting directors Junie Lowry-Johnson and Ron Surma, construction coordinator Tom Arp, and script coordinator Lolita Fatjo. ILM would again tackle the bulk of visual effects under producer John Knoll. While some of the opticals went to local FX houses, this was headed by series visual effects coordinator David Takemura.
Bob Blackman, longtime costume designer for the series, would redesign the Starfleet uniform. To ease Blackman's workload he had two television series and now a feature non-Starfleet design was given to Deborah Everton. "I think I met them on a Thursday and that Monday I was at work!" Everton recalled. The burden for upgrading the Borg would fall jointly to her and veteran makeup designer Michael Westmore. The old pasty-white skin and salvaged costumes were largely unchanged since Season 2 ("Q Who?"/142). "I wanted it to look like they were Borgified from the inside out rather than the outside in," Everton said. The queen was their most difficult challenge. She had to be unique among Borg, but still retain human qualities. "It was very difficult," notes Westmore. "We didn't want somebody to come along and say, 'Oh, that looks like Alien.'"
With the April 8 start date rapidly closing in, Berman and Frakes turned at last to casting. For Zefram Cochrane, Frakes chose James Cromwell. "In spite of having been nominated for an Academy Award, he actually came in and read for the part," Frakes said. "He nailed it. He left Berman and me with our jaws in our laps." For Lily Sloane, the choice was easy, Frakes recalled: "The first time we got through the script, I think everyone's first words were 'Alfre Woodard.'" Oscar nominated for Cross Creek, Woodard also had Emmys for guest-starring on Hill Street Blues and the LA Law pilot. Frakes revealed that the hardest to cast was the Borg queen. A London-trained South African native, Alice Krige, of Chariots of Fire and Dream West, would go on to create one of the Star Trek features' great villains.
Finally, the third-draft script added three surprises to the cast. A cameo by Dwight Schultz as Barclay, Robert Picardo as the Enterprise-E's Emergency Medical Hologram, and Voyager castmate Ethan Phillips in human guise as the maitre d' of the Dixon Hill holoprogram.
Weeks earlier, Resurrection had been abandoned as a title when Fox announced it as the name of their fourth Alien film. For a while the feature was called Star Trek: Borg and even Star Trek: Generations II. It was not until May 3 that the script appeared with its final title: Star Trek: First Contact.
With so many new sets to build, plans called for filming to start with location shooting. Four days were planned at the Titan Missile Museum, south of Tucson, Arizona. The disarmed nuclear missile and subterranean silo would stand in for Cochrane's recycled Phoenix booster. "That was a challenge," recalls Frakes of filming in the silo. "It was incredible. It also was a set we couldn't have afforded to build." A fiberglass capsule shell the Phoenix's command module was fitted over the top of the rocket.
Two weeks of nighttime shooting in the Angeles National Forest, in the San Gabriel Mountains, followed. Zimmerman had created a village of fourteen huts including Cochrane's hangout, dubbed the Crash-n-Burn Bar. With typical Star Trek attention to detail, the bar was decorated with NASA mission emblems. Outside, a sign barely seen reads Montana Air Force Base; it also shows the U.S. Air Force Space Command logo and a fifty-two-star American flag ("The Royale"/138). Cast and crew reported that the most memorable night was shooting the first-contact scene. Fleck recalls, "We were up high on a camera crane, with all the extras walking slowly to the ship. The doors open, the lead Vulcan steps out and does his Vulcan hand sign and says, 'Live long and prosper.'"
The last location shoot was at an art deco restaurant in downtown L.A.'s Union Station. The shoot included a ten-piece orchestra, 15 stuntmen, and 120 extras. All to bring the Dixon Hill holonovel to life.
On May 3, cameras first rolled on the gleaming new engineering set. It lasted less than a day before it was Borgified. Filming then moved on to the bridge set. "It was as if we had gone back in time," Frakes recalled with a smile. "It was the same sort of fantastic, cynical, fearless, take-no-prisoners abuse of your fellow cast member that has kept us together all these long years." It was during this stretch where the film's emotional core gelled with the scene between Picard and Lily in the observation lounge. Braga recalls, "I'd have to say that scene was nailed and perfect only about a week before it was filmed."
But now came the phase of shooting to be dubbed "Borg Hell." Filled with stunts, explosions, fly rigging, new spacesuits, and the extensive Borg makeup, the shooting days only seemed longer, more grueling. The deflector-dish battle sequence would test everyone's patience.
First, the makeup time for the Borg stretched to five hours over the single hour that had been the norm for television. Added to that was another half hour to get into the costume, and at the end of the day ninety minutes were needed just to remove the makeup. The eight Borg actors were covered in makeup and virtual wetsuits and could look forward only to enduring their day. A day that would start at 2 A.M.
Despite the hours, Westmore's team of artists became bored. "As they bettered their prep times, they were using two tubes, and then they were using three tubes, and then they were sticking tubes in the ears and up the nose. And we were using a very gooey caramel coloring, maybe using a little bit of it, but by the time we got to the end of the movie we had the stuff dripping down the side of their faces it looked like they were leaking oil! So, at the very end, they're more ferocious."
On the "human" side, the spacesuits, with their complex internal lighting and a fully enclosed design, were an ordeal. Neal McDonough who played Hawk remembers, "When we first had the helmets on we couldn't breathe. After a minute Patrick started turning green and we had to rip the helmet off of him. We had to stop shooting that whole day."
Hands down, the heroine of "Borg Hell" had to be Alice Krige, who created the shockingly seductive queen. Even the production crew wondered how she survived the ten-day shoot. First, there was the blister-raising, too-tight suit. Then there were the painful silver contact lenses she could keep them in for only four minutes at the most. "Alice Krige, God love her, a wonderful actress, she never complained," Fleck recalled in amazement.
Filming wrapped on July 2. "Only two days over schedule and still under budget!" Frakes beamed. Ironically, the last scene of the final day would actually be the film's very first: the giant nightmare pullback from Picard's cubicle amid a massive Borg wall.
ILM raced to finish its share of the visual-effects shots including a "brutal effort," producer John Knoll said, to create a new ten-foot model of the Enterprise-E in "half the normal time." Veteran modelmaker John Goodson led that effort, as well as the creation of the models of the Phoenix, the Borg sphere, and the Borg cube. The massive opening battle would need a swarm of all the ships in Starfleet. But with a new Enterprise in the mix, everyone was concerned about creating confusion. Ships similar in shape to the Enterprise had to be left out.
"It's implied that Starfleet has a wider spread of different types of ships. We intended for all the background action to be done with computer graphics," Knoll said. "We needed to build ships, why not build new designs?" The result was not one but four new starship designs. The new vessels would be the biggest single infusion ever, and they would all be digital. It fell to ILM art director Alex Jaeger to satisfy the orders for "radically different" profiles that were still visibly Starfleet. Some sixteen designs were whittled down to four. The number of warp-engine nacelles of the Steamrunner-class, initially meant to be an update of the Stargazer with four warp-engine nacelles ("The Battle"/110), was reduced to two. The Sabre-class was a take on the compact Defiant-class. Least popular and least detailed of the four was the Norway-class. And the Akira-class everyone's favorite was given a close-up pass in the film.
The Enterprise-E was also built in CG. A low-resolution version was used for the warp-jump effect and the temporal Borg vortex. Composing the deflector-dish battle was also on ILM's list, along with the new rapid skin-mottling assimilation effect and the exterior-view launch of escape pods another first for Star Trek.
Meanwhile, Takemura saw his share of effects shots double. His team would handle the routine phaser fire, the shields, the Dixon Hill "chapter change" wipe, and the maitre d' shimmer. The transporter effect would get an update, giving it a more three-dimension feel. And Takemura's team came up with the low-tech solution for the workings of La Forge's new ocular implants: a sprocket-shaped shower handle was filmed as the main element and then matted over a black contact lens.
VisionArt built an all-CG version of the Vulcan lander based on the design of Zimmerman and Eaves. The Vulcan ship was never named onscreen, but after the fact screenwriter Moore took Eaves's suggestion and christened the T'Plana-Hath after the Vulcan philosopher mentioned in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Composer Jerry Goldsmith offered another delightful score for the film he reprised the Klingon theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture for Worf's entrance. Unlike most Trek features, this one had a pop angle thanks to Cochrane's musical tastes Steppenwolf's classic "Magic Carpet Ride."
In the role of the doomed conn officer Lt. Hawk, London-trained Neal McDonough was cast. Patti Yasutake was back briefly as Nurse Ogawa. Admiral Hayes a character named by Braga after his favorite uncle, Jack is actor Jack Shearer, who had appeared as Admiral Strickler in Voyager's "Non Sequitur." Michael Horton, as the bloodied yet heroic security officer, would gain the name of Lt. Daniels in the next feature. (He must have been emotionally drained, because he talks about the twenty-sixth deck when the ship has only twenty-four the film's most oft-cited blooper.) Actress Marnie McPhail played the ill-fated engineer Eiger she was named for the classic film The Eiger Sanction. Longtime extra Scotty Strozier was seen here as Ensign Lynch. The Dixon Hill holoprogram scene had several notables. Don Stark (Nicky the Nose) had already appeared as Ashrock on Deep Space Nine's "Melora." His henchman was Ron Rondell, the movie's stunt coordinator. The sharp-eyed fan may spot yet another familiar face in the background: it is writer Brannon Braga.
Politics edged its way into background names. While identified as "ECON," for the innocuous "Eastern Coalition," the former World War III enemy that Lily first suspects was originally going to be simply China. "We just thought that's a natural extrapolation from where we are now," Moore revealed, "and then the studio flinched."
Picard's opening flashback nightmare to his Locutus agony ("The Best of Both Worlds"/174) handles the need for catching up new viewers. But, the writers knew they had to do a little tinkering for the Borg queen's appearance. "When we got to the place where Picard has to go face the Borg and face his inner demons...well, he's gotta face the queen," Moore said. "But if he hasn't met the queen before, it's not gonna have a lot of impact...she had to have escaped Wolf 359...First Contact was the culmination of that arc. She was wiped from Picard's memory."
Budget constraints trimmed one of Picard and Lily's shipboard moments. They discover owing to the Borg-induced humidity a mini-thunderstorm atop a turbolift shaft. "That was either one of the coolest things we ever came up with or one of the most insane we ever came up with," Moore laughed. "But I remember reading about how the Vertical Assembly Building at NASA is so large that it literally had its own weather systems."
The bridge set saw a holographic main viewscreen that operates only when activated, leaving a plain wall when not on. Denise Okuda noted that the newer flatscreen computer monitors were introduced for the first time, giving the bridge a cleaner look. The new monitors allowed for sophisticated videos that could simulate interaction with the actors. Illustrators Jim Van Over and Doug Drexler, scenic artist Anthony Frederickson, and key video operator Benjamin Betts took full advantage of the new media. In the Phoenix cockpit the text and terms came from McDonnell-Douglas space shuttle operator manuals, and the instrumentation was based on designs for the Delta Clipper.
The ship's dedication plaque lists the U.S.S. Enterprise-E as launching from the San Francisco Yards (as did the Enterprise on Star Trek) on Stardate 49827.5. The vessel's look included a revamped cabin ID system, simplifying the old four-digit numbers of the D. The first two numbers signify the deck and the last two designate the room. Lily's unnerving open docking port is 1324, Deck 13.
While both Captain Picard and Khan (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) cite the same lines from Moby Dick, it was unintentional. "The honest truth is, we were just working on the scene and forgot about it," admitted Moore. Data's mention of his last act of sex, "Eight years, seven months, sixteen days, four minutes and twenty-two seconds ago," refers to Tasha Yar ("The Naked Now"/103). Lily's reference to Worf as "the turtle-headed guy" is a nod to one of the cast's earliest nicknames for him. Don't bother looking up Gravett Island it's named for Jacques Gravett, Moore's assistant.
Deep Space 5 gets a mention ("Parallels"/263), and we learn that the Typhon Expanse and its sector ("Cause and Effect"/218) are near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Picard offers our first hard facts on the Federation's size and scope some 150 members across 8,000 light-years. The Phoenix, from the mythical bird reborn from its own ashes, was the natural choice for Cochrane's ship.
And why April 7, 2063, for first contact? Braga had originally picked the dates as March 6 and 7, the birthdays of Rick Berman's wife and his sister. Delays in the shooting schedule pushed it back a month, so it now honors the birthday of the Moores' first child.
November 22, 1996, became a momentous day on its own as First Contact opened to both rave reviews and fan acclaim, winning its opening weekend box-office and surpassing ticket sales for the prior Trek feature, Generations. Not only would a ninth feature be assured, but the widespread respect garnered by cast and crew alike seemed to reinvigorate the Star Trek universe.
Copyright © 1992, 1995, 2003 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The fun of owning a book like this is that while you're reading it, you have an excellent excuse to watch all of NG all over again (or maybe for the first time). The book stops at season 5, although there's no need to stop watching there. The commentary is mostly about who wrote what, and filming locations, and other minutia which I assume are of interest to someone who cares about how television shows are made. I don't.
Some of the best books dealing with Star Trek are the companion guides. Star Trek: The Next Generation companion guide tells of how The Next Generation started and how Patrick Stewart and the rest of the cast were chosen to be on the show. Then it goes into detail about every episode by seasons and tells what they are about and some interesting info on each episode like what special guest were on. Then it tells about the movies from Generations to Nemesis! Giving in depth detail of the movies and behind the scenes stories. And at the end of the book they have an idex of what page the episodes you might be wanting to look at are on. I love the book because when I look on tv schedules and see the names of the episodes coming on that day, I can look it up in the books and see what that certain episode it is and if I would want to tape it or not. I tape alot of Star Trek TNG and episodes! In this way it becomes very helpful! The book is about $30, so it is not cheap, but well worth it if you are a huge Trek fan and would like to have something on the television series. There is no Deep Space Nine companion guide yet that I know of. But it will probably be here eventually. Anyways, get it if you have the money too, the book is really cool!