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Jonathan Frakes calls SNW reaction “a slap” to other Star Trek series

Jonathan Frakes loved that Strange New Worlds delighted Trekkies, but less so the way fans cut down other Star Trek series in their reviews.

Jonathan Frakes in Star Trek The Next Generation over the poster from Strange New Worlds

You may find no greater proponent of Star Trek than Jonathan Frakes. Since starring in The Next Generation, he’s directed numerous episodes and maintained a firm affection for the franchise publicly and behind the scenes. He’s a fan of Strange New Worlds, as you might imagine, but he thinks the fandom was a little overzealous in their praise.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds re-introduces Star Trek captain Christopher Pike, who was the predecessor to Captain James T Kirk. The Star Trek series covers Pike’s time at the helm of the USS Enterprise a decade before The Original Series, making it a prequel but with modern sensibilities for the best of both worlds.

Frakes wasn’t involved in the first season of Strange New Worlds, but he was there to celebrate when it started, even if the positive reviews were bittersweet. “Unfortunately, part of what happened during that time was that the fans and the critics took the same opportunity to say, ‘This is the Star Trek we’ve been waiting for,'” he told Star Trek Explorer. “Either written or unwritten was, ‘Not Discovery and not Picard,’ if you recall.”

He goes on to say this was a “‘congratulations’ and a slap in the same swing.” It’s easy to see that implication, and very likely, a lot of Trekkies meant it. Discovery isn’t the most beloved sci-fi series in the franchise, and Picard has been rocky as well, despite bringing back so many of The Next Generation cast.

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It’s that last point that makes this sting for Frakes. He was personally involved in Discovery from the get go, directing episodes from the first season onward, likewise on Picard, where he also reprised his role as William Riker from The Next Generation.

Of course, it’s good to celebrate when something great arrives, but that needn’t include other aspects of Star Trek. We can focus on the positive without making sure we get a jab in on the thing we dislike; we can just ignore whatever we think sucks.

On the contrary, though, and I write this as someone who dislikes Picard, it’s important to let criticism breathe. Fans are always going to be somewhat fickle and sometimes quite cruel in their comments. You can’t control something’s reception, and for your own mental well-being, it might be better to insulate yourself as much as possible for that conversation if you have an artistic stake in the matter.

Frakes clearly didn’t take any of this too personally, since he’s directed episodes of Strange New Worlds season 2, including the beloved Lower Decks crossover ‘Those Old Scientists’. He really does seem to be someone who’ll happily engage with all arms of Star Trek, and maybe some of the fandom could take a lesson from that.

Thankfully, we have both the Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 3 release date and the Star Trek Discovery season 5 release date to look forward to. Check out our guides to the Star Trek 4 release date and Section 31 release date as well for where else the Federation of Planets is taking us.