Star Trek: The Next Generation Cast Confess Their Early Season Regrets

Star Trek: The Next Generation may be a sci-fi classic, but even stars Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and Gates McFadden agree it had a rough start.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Photo: Paramount

Star Trek might be about a future in which humanity has put aside its petty differences, but Star Trek fandom is all about squabbles. Is Picard a better captain than Kirk? Are the Kelvin-verse movies fun popcorn movies or Star Wars in a Trek skin? Is there too much crying in Star Trek: Discovery? But for all of their disagreements, nearly all Star Trek fans can unite around their feelings about season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation: it stinks.

Turns out, those opinions are shared by the TNG cast. Over thirty-five years later, the cast has completed six more mostly great seasons of the series, four movies of varying quality, and an excellent reunion season of Star Trek: Picard, but they still look back in embarrassment at their first voyage on the starship Enterprise.

“I don’t think we got rolling until about the third season of Next Generation, in terms of chemistry,” Jonathan Frakes admitted to Deadline, a feeling shared by co-stars Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden. “I must say I’m not happy with a lot of the work I did in that first season,” Stewart concurred. “It was a little artificial, not spontaneous, not being in the moment.” For McFadden, part of the difficulty came from her lack of experience working on television, having spent her prior years on the stage. “I also knew nothing of hitting marks, being mindful of the camera and the crew,” she confessed. “I was intimidated by it all.”

While the trio all points at various reasons for their struggles in that first season, they do agree on one main culprit: their tight Starfleet uniforms. “I’d never worn a silly spandex spacesuit with no pockets,” Frakes said. “I didn’t know how to act without my f*cking hands in my pockets. It was a lot to learn.” McFadden agreed, “It’s true that when you’re in this kind of leotard suit, it felt like some kind of heightened reality.”


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