TV - What If? Star Trek TNG

Star Trek TNG

Susan Omand boldly goes where very few have gone before and does a Star Trek based What If...

Something you may not know about me is that I’m a Star Trek fan. I love all the iterations, both on film and TV and think that Deep Space 9 is one of the hidden gems of science fiction TV. Heck, I even watched Enterprise and enjoyed it! So when it was suggested that it may be worth doing a Trek related What If, I jumped at the chance.

Not for me, though, another “reboot” of the original cast/series. The new films seem to have the casting for that pretty perfect. Zachary Quinto is a natural successor to Spock, Karl Urban has McCoy’s dry humour down pat and Chris Pine is very believable as the overly dramatic Kirk. The only bone I would pick with the new films is the casting of Simon Pegg as chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott. I mean WHY?! Just ... why? What were they thinking?? It’s just wrong on so many levels. Wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong...

Ahem, anyway.

So no, I’m not doing the whole Kirk/Spock thing again, instead I’m going to annoy a LOT more people here and mess with the untouchable genius of The Next Generation. Bear with me though (and let me have the flak in the comments) I believe it is worthwhile. TNG was responsible for bringing the Star Trek franchise back after a LONG hiatus of nearly 2 decades and it did it very, very well. I’ll admit there were a few dodgy episodes, as there are with most things, but from the first Encounter at Farpoint to the very final All Good Things, seven brilliant series on, there were many great and exciting stories played out with stunning dialogue, bad guy aliens to rival those in Doctor Who and a fantastic cast who became part of viewers lives for those seven years, and far beyond. So why mess with it? Purely and simply because I miss it and it needs to come back, at least in my head. So here goes...

Before I get to the main cast, there is the small matter of writing and direction. There is only one choice of director for me. Jonathan Frakes. Yes, Number One, Will Riker himself has proven his directorial skills on countless occasions and has a knowledge and love for the Star Trek Franchise that so many others have failed to grasp. For a writer too, I’m not going far outside the existing canon – if it ain’t really broke, don’t fix it after all. My suggestion is to bring back Rene Echevarria, some time writer for TNG, including the sublime episode I Borg, he is better known for being a writer and producer on the wonderful Deep Space 9 as well as being the creator of The 4400.

cast

So, on to casting. So many great characters, played originally by so many great actors. I’ve chosen the eight main crew members and one other that I definitely think needs added but if you want to add any more, or think I have them wrong, let me know your choices. Here’s mine.

Capt Jean Luc Picard – played so admirably by Sir Patrick Stewart in the original, I want to stick with the Royal Shakespeare theme and have gone for Kevin Spacey. Think he doesn’t have a commanding enough presence? Just look at the House of Cards remake.

Data – obvious. Typecasting. Really? Yes really. Call it what you want, there’s only one person to be Data now and that’s Jim Parsons, aka Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.

Will Riker – I'm thinking more of Beardy Riker than Baby Riker here, and I’ve gone for Jonny Lee Miller. The right mix of serious commander (Sherlock Holmes in Elementary) with rebellious actionman with a wicked sense of humour (Sick Boy in Trainspotting) so he makes an ideal Number One.

Deanna Troi – has to be able to play the empathy along with a strong character but also have enough chemistry to be believable as a love interest for Riker, so I’ve stuck with the Elementary pairing that works so well and gone for Lucy Liu.

Geordi LaForge – Arjay Smith may not be a name known to many of you. He was in The Day After Tomorrow but I know him as Max Lewicki, the geeky assistant type from Perception. Ever practical and a good supporting actor who can step up when needed.

Worf – one name sprung to mind for Worf, the Klingon security officer and that is David Ramsey who plays Diggle in Arrow. You can see where I’m coming from here?

Dr Crusher – this one caused me most problems as she needed to be a strong character, capable, caring and maternal but not a diva, still with a slight vulnerability and odd sense of fun. I went in the end for Alyson Hannigan of Buffy and HIMYM fame. Although better known for comedic roles, I think she could really come into her own in something like this.

Wesley Crusher – how do you replace an annoying kid like Wil Wheaton? With another annoying kid of course. This one may involve a bit of a name change for the character though as I’ve gone for Camren Bicondova, who plays Selina Kyle in Gotham. Self assured to the point of cocky, I think she’d make the ideal precocious space-kid.

I said there was one more I was going to add... 

Q

TNG would not have been the same without Q – masterful to the point of imperious, acerbic and equal to anything the Federation wants to throw at him, and I will leave you with one name. Jean Reno.

Make it so, Number One.

Images - IMDb