On more than one occasion, Gene Roddenberry said that first-run syndication was so amazing, he would never go back to doing network television again.
At the time, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" had premiered in first-run syndication, meaning shows would have to line up their own network of affiliates who would then broadcast the show in different time slots. It was a far cry from the original "Star Trek," which being on NBC, was subject to network interference, and almost full control over whether the show would live or die.
Yet, it appears that even in first-run syndication, life on the set of TNG was no picnic, and the first two years were plagued by a power struggle that has rarely been discussed. Well, until now. Thanks to one Star Trek icon who never appeared on the series -- William Shatner.
Shatner is now in editing for "Wackydoodle," his latest documentary that once again goes behind the curtains of Star Trek. Just this time, it's the relaunch of the television franchise that took place between 1987 and 1994.
"It's all about power," Shatner told 1701News during an appearance this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. "It was so crazed and chaotic (on the TNG set) that someone referred to it as 'wackydoodle.'"
That has become the name of the documentary, which up until now, has only been known as Shatner's untitled TNG documentary. It's expected to have appearances from many of the stars of TNG, including Jonathan Frakes, Denise Crosby, John de Lancie and even Diana Muldaur, who played Dr. Pulaski during the second season of the show.
"Wackydoodle" comes on the heels of two recent successful documentaries from Shatner in the Trek universe, including "The Captains" in 2011 and last year's "Get a Life." Shatner, who seems to have a penchant of pulling out information few others can from his co-stars, says each documentary he does is leaps and bounds ahead of the next.
"This one's going to be better than ever," Shatner said of the new project. "I am learning the process. Doing a documentary is like doing a story. You don't know what the story is until you're halfway through it. A killed B, I guess, and you're able to sleuth it.
"That's the same as doing the documentary. You get halfway through the process, and you go, 'Oh my God,' that's what that is about!"
Shatner didn't discuss a release date for the documentary, but Internet Movie Database reports that it's expected to be released Nov. 1.
To see a complete video of Shatner's roundtable with 1701News and other reporters, including promoting his recent work on the TVLand cable channel, click here.
About the Author
Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for 1701News, Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus, and a co-founder of 1701News. He lives in Tampa, Fla.