‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’: There Was So Much Behind-the-Scenes Drama That William Shatner Made a Documentary About It

Star Trek fans and enthusiasts probably fondly remember Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, the truth of the matter is, the television series got off to a bit of a rocky start.

CBS first premiered Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987 and the sci-fi television show aired for a total of seven seasons. Though the series would end up being incredibly successful, there was a lot of drama at first. Believe it or not, there was so much behind-the-scenes drama that William Shatner, one of the series’ stars, actually created a documentary about it.

Take a look back at Star Trek: The Next Generation and Shatner’s documentary that recaps the tumultuous times. 

The cast and characters of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ 

William Shatner
William Shatner | Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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The Next Generation picks up 100 years after Captain Kirk’s infamous 5-year mission. As the title indicated, the series told the story of the next generation to take on U.S.S.Enterprise-D. The action-packed drama became a fan-favorite, and largely due to the talented cast and remarkable characters. 

Patrick Stewart was cast as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Jonathan Frakes took on the role of Commander William Riker. LeVar Burton, more recently known for his character on Weird City, appeared in The Next Generation as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge.

The television show was in no short supply of star power. Michael Dorn, Brent Spinner, and Marina Sirtis were just a few of the other impressive cast members from The Next Generation

Some of the most memorable moments on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

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The Next Generation aired for seven years. Fans and viewers got to enjoy countless memorable scenes, episodes, and, of course, guest stars. Star Trek’s fan base spread so far and wide that even celebrities found themselves itching to be a part of the production.

Whoopi Goldberg was one of the famous actors to actually request a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stephen Hawking’s love for Star Trek also landed him a feature on the show.

Though he wasn’t able to pull it off, the late comedian Robin Williams was another celebrity who was gunning for a guest appearance on the series.

It seemed like The Next Generation was a hit across the board, but the show’s fans and viewers probably were surprised to learn about all the drama that took place in the series’ former seasons. 

There was so much behind-the-scenes drama that William Shatner made a documentary about it 

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It is always interesting to learn about the behind-the-scenes details, especially when they are juicy. When it comes to Star Trek: The Next Generation the drama and tension that took place on set seemingly became an intricate part of the show and its journey.

So much so that Shatner, the actor who is known for the role of Captain Kirk, produced a documentary on it.

Chaos on the Bridge reflects on the drama and issues that Star Trek: The Next Generation was up against. Mental Floss shared that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was, indirectly, a huge part of the problem.

Writers and producers often didn’t see eye-to-eye with Roddenberry who wasn’t very willing to compromise. He had a reputation for sporadically throwing away scripts which led to many writers leaving the show.

In an unfortunate series of events, when Roddenberry’s medical health took a toll, he had to take a step back from Star Trek: The Next Generation which consequently allowed for more creative freedom and ideas. Shatner’s documentary with all the behind-the-scenes details can be found on Netflix.