EXCLUSIVE: Brannon Braga Interview, Part II

During our coverage of the huge Destination London Star Trek convention last year, TrekCore organized an impromptu sit-down interview with well known Star Trek writer/producer Brannon Braga. Brannon has written more episodes of Star Trek than anyone else (over 100) and worked his way up from staff writer on The Next Generation to be executive producer of Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise, which he co-created with Rick Berman.

Brannon Braga

Brannon Braga: The London Interview, Part 2

Interviewed by Adam Walker and Chris Wales for TrekCore.com

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TrekCore: What were the things on Enterprise that you really wanted to do in the fifth season? The biggest tragedy is when it got cut short. Where were you going to take it?

Brannon Braga: Well, Manny Coto had taken over the reins of Enterprise at that point, I was doing some other show for CBS, we were going to continue on with the Mirror Universe, in a major way, I think the Cold War thing would have continued, but Manny Coto, who's a great guy to interview, he had some big plans for the Mirror Universe.

The Mirror Universe episodes were very successful. The Mirror Universe of the movie First Contact where Zephram Cochrane blows away the Vulcan with a shotgun? I mean, when I saw that, it was like, "This should just be a whole season!" There were some pretty big things we discussed.

TrekCore: I know there's a large body of work on Voyager and Enterprise where we see the writers credited as 'Brannon Braga and Rick Berman'. When did that partnership develop between you guys? What was Rick's input; what was yours?

Brannon Braga: Rick was involved with the writing of every episode. He gave incredibly detailed notes on every episode, so his hand as the ultimate executive producer of the show, for better or worse, depending on who you talk to - I think for the better, there were ideas that he's not credited with, that would make episodes. It would just make them.

I don't know why we decided to write the pilot of Enterprise together, the first time we wrote together. We were working out the story; beating out the story, scene by scene, and one of us just said, "We're practically writing this together. Let's do it!" We had a great time, here's how it worked: we'd come up with the story, lay it out, and they we would sit in a room together. I would type, he'd sit on the couch, and we'd just write the episode.

TrekCore: At the end of Enterprise, I remember, I think, twice actually, a fan campaign to get the show on the air, to keep the show on the air, or something. Were you aware of that? Did you think it had any legs behind it? Was it always a done deal?

Brannon Braga: I was aware of the fan campaign to keep Enterprise alive, because I drove past it every morning on my way to work. I don't think it had a chance. I think the network had decided what it wanted to do, and there was even a fan campaign to raise money. You know, Enterprise cost millions of dollars an episode, and I think they raised $30,000 or something. It was a noble effort, but there was no way the fans were going to save it.

The best thing the fans could do, for those reading this, the best possible thing the fans could do is, if they want to see another season of Enterprise, is watch it on Netflix.

TrekCore: Watch it on Netflix?

Brannon Braga: My neighbor produces Arrested Development, and they're making a new season of Arrested Development. I recall him telling me that it's because for that show, they know they're gonna get... they have data! They know a certain number of people are going to watch that show. I've heard rumors in town that the CBS show Jericho might get another season, because the numbers on Netflix are big!

Watch Enterprise!

TrekCore: Brannon, I will go home and watch it five times through, but are you saying - and I know you can't commit - if everybody was watching it on Netflx, there's a chance the actors would get back involved?

Brannon Braga: I don't work at Netflix, but all I can tell you is, based on what I've seen, if a show is real popular, they take notice. It's a business model... I would love to see another season of Enterprise. Whether or not you could get the whole cast, I don't know. But this cast is young, vibrant... I see them here, a lot of the cast is here at this convention, and I miss these guys.

It wasn't too long ago... it would be fun to do something. Even if it was just a two-hour special.

TrekCore: Just a couple of hours?

Brannon Braga: Yeah. I think that people would check it out.

Endgame from Star Trek Voyager
Brannon Braga says the main problem with the Borg on Star Trek is that they kept getting their asses kicked and that they were perhaps brought back a few times too often.

TrekCore: You've addressed one of the things have "against you", time travel. The other one is the Borg. A lot of fans say that "Braga de-fanged the Borg" in Voyager by making them less of a threat. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think there's anything behind that, or were they the same as they were in The Next Generation?

Brannon Braga: I think that, for the most part, the Borg were a very successful villain on Voyager. I don't think they were... They were "de-fanged" only in so much as they kept getting their asses kicked! Once the Borg lose enough times... which is why in this comic book that I'm going, I have them win. At least, from the beginning, they finally achieve their goals.

That's the danger when you keep bringing them back. I think we brought them back, maybe, twice too many. There were a couple Borg episodes I don't think were quite as successful. I don't remember the finale well enough... I think I have a story credit on it, so you'd think I'd remember it. I don't know that the Borg were super impactful there.

I think Seven of Nine should have bit the dust. I think there had to be a real sacrifice for this crew getting home; a real blood sacrifice. Seven of Nine was, for me, designed to be a character that was gonna die tragically. I planned that.

TrekCore: A Spock moment. Somebody who's not human, becomes human by making the ultimate sacrifice.

Brannon Braga: Right. There's an episode called "Human Error" that I wrote in the final season, where she experiments on the holodeck - it's actually quite an interesting episode - she tries to feel emotions. She actually succeeds, and she almost dies. She learns there's a Borg implant, that if she becomes too human, it will kill her. It was that moment in my mind that would set up the finale, where she realized she can't live here, can't live there...

She dies getting her family home. I think, then, you have a finale.

TrekCore: I actually think "Regeneration" from Enterprise was one of the high points. It brought a sense of menace to the Borg, because of course they didn't know what we know. It was like a horror film: they didn't see the danger, and we did. How much input did you have on that?

Brannon Braga: Now you're talking Enterprise. I was VERY hesitant to do Borg on Enterprise, unless we had exactly the right story. Mike Sussman and I wrote that episode. That was an homage to "The Thing", to John Carpenter's "The Thing".

We find a Borg in ice, whether it was literally in ice, I can't remember. But it's melting, and we know as an audience that it's going to come alive, and they have no clue what they've found. It was "The Thing". If you recall, you don't even see the Enterprise crew at first. It's these other characters on this planet.

Is it Earth?

TrekCore: Yes.

Brannon Braga: I totally agree. "Regeneration" worked great. I thought it had a clever ending, it had a great musical score, by a guy named Brian Tyler who I would end up hiring on 'Terra Nova' and he does a lot of movies. I thought it was great, yeah.

TrekCore: It brought it full circle, didn't it? It ended up kicking up the events that led, ultimately, to The Next Generation.

Brannon Braga: The Borg became aware of us. It was cool.

Endgame from Star Trek Voyager
Brannon Braga has high praise for the appearance of the Borg in the Enterprise episode "Regeneration". He describes how he was originally extremely hesitant to use them in the series.

TrekCore: '24'. Jack Bauer, an iconic character. You got onto that, it must have been a writer's dream. Which were the favorite bits you contributed to '24''s final season?

Brannon Braga: Well, I only did the last two seasons of '24', seasons seven and eight. It was, for some reason, a seamless transition for me. I could have written '24' for the rest of my career.

I loved '24'... I loved the show, I loved doing the show. It was... it felt a little like Star Trek in some ways. The dialogue's kind of timeless. It's indistinct. It's hard to describe. It's almost a science fiction show, because time's being compressed unnaturally. A lot of my time travel instincts were helpful in depicting events in 'real time' that were preposterous.

CTU was kind of like the bridge of the Enterprise, man! People are sitting at consoles, talkin' technobabble... really, we made that shit up. It was not based on anything. When Chloe's doing the webcams and streetcams and doing triangulating this... it's bullshit! None of this exists. We didn't have a technical advisor.

My favorite moments... I mean, I enjoyed bring back Tony Almeida, the Tony Almeida character. There's a great line of dialogue I remember Manny and I did, where Jack says to Tony, "I'll kill you again, and you'll stay dead this time!"

TrekCore: I remember that!

Brannon Braga: It was a blast. It was an honor to be a part of a final season of something again.

TrekCore: Just one last one, if I may. These conventions... this one is huge. I don't know how they can say there's no room for Star Trek on the air when this many people have come. What do they mean to you? Why do you come, what do you get from them?

Brannon Braga: Well, I came to this convention because I needed a vacation. (Laughs) I enjoy London, and because when I remember my last London Star Trek experience, which was eighteen years ago with two hundred people. I just remember that the English fans being particularly passionate about Star Trek.

The English and the Germans really like Star Trek. I just thought it would be... it's a big convention, I knew Kate Mulgrew was going to be here, I hadn't seen her in a long time. Behind the scenes, it's a little reunion for us. It's fun to interact with the fans. It's interesting. I only do one American convention a year, I knew that there would be people from all over Europe here, and there were.

TrekCore: All over the world!

Brannon Braga: ...and all over the world. So this is very unique in that regard. It's fun.

TrekCore: Mr. Braga, you're a gentleman and a talent.

TrekCore: Thank you very much for your time.

Brannon Braga: Sure thing. My pleasure.

Go to Part: 1 2

Our special thanks to Brannon Braga for his time. Feel free to leave your comments below and watch out for the first season of Star Trek Enterprise on Blu-ray which features extensive interviews with Braga alongside a unique one hour conversation piece he recorded with Enterprise co-creator Rick Berman.

Order Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1 Blu-Ray today!



Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 Blu-Ray today!



  • archer9234

    I’d agree the Borg episode on enterprise would of been okay. If they didn’t write that god damn scene with Phlox stopping the nano probes. It’s just something they shouldn’t have done. It ruins EVERY other time someone was assimilated. This is what made me hate this episode. I like that they caused a paradox that started the whole Borg invasion to begin with in TNG.

    • DangerousDac

      Oh its not that big of a stretch…they did make an effort saying these Borg were severely underpowered, cut off from the collective and operating on instinct. Plus we’ve never seen a Denobulan get assimilated prior or since…Regeneration was one of the best episodes (if not the best) from Season 2. I can’t knock it for something as trivial as the way Phlox dealt with the nano probes. It was a last resort measure that would have killed a human.

      • archer9234

        Sorry, no. We have Data and countless billions of people who would of of scanned ALL information that was even remotely similar to the Borg. And would of found this. This is what made it wrong. It didn’t happen post voyager. It happend hundreds of years before. It’s gonna be logged. No one in their right mind would not remember the frozen robots on earth. This is where suspension of disbelieving ends. The only thing that could of rectified this was if we saw the Borg get the signal and they stuck in the this nano probe weakness, and fixed it. Since we didn’t Phlox found a weakness, no one used. It could be applied to other areas. And not just humans.

        • ShaunKL

          I like to pull a rule out of Doctor Who’s book and look at this in the perspective of time travel. The Temporal Cold War introduced in “Broken Bow” at the very beginning of Enterprise started to mess up the timeline. Humanity met the Klingons 60 years early and accelerated the launch of Enterprise into its exploration mission. The episode “Q Who” and the rest of the borg episodes no doubt happened differently in Enterprise’s timeline than they did the first time we saw them. Personally I think that Enterprise takes place in a completely modified timeline thanks to the TCW, which helps alleviate some canon stress between it, the rest of the series, and the new movie.

          • archer9234

            How does that justify the nano probes being killed off by radiation? Only the new movie is broken from the normal timeline. ENT is still apart of the primary universe.

          • http://www.facebook.com/james.rye.1441 James Rye

            When the Ferengi and the Borg turned up on Enterprise, you knew something was wrong and that the creative team had run out of ideas. Voyager was the same. Season 1 of Voyager should have been like Battlestar’s first season – problems with water, morale, damage to the ship and the terrorist threat from the Maquis. Enterprise should have been more scientific, with stories around the technology not being fully developed. Think how a tiny error in course could take them into dangerous or uncharted space. Or a faliure of artificial gravity could make life difficult. Instead, right from the get-go, we had lazy writing. In Broken Bow, the audience are expected to be excited when Archer is rescued by a transporter beam – something we have seen used routinely. Having said all that, season 4 onwards was great for Voyager and season 4 of Ent was also good. But it shouldn’t have taken that long for the shows to find their feet.

          • DangerousDac

            Weakened Drones/No Collective/Denobulan physiology. Pick one or all 3.

          • archer9234

            The Borg crew had no issues in functioning aboard the Enterprise during FC, without the collective. It takes several days to start affecting their minds. Established in Voyager. Denobulan physiology is magical. So why aren’t they used as security officers during Borg attacks? No radiation emitter weapons. Like when Geordi turned into the the glow in the dark alien. And the emitter in Vox Sola. Which is why I wanted a small quota at the end showing them adapting to that weakness. Not done though. Weakened drones means nothing. Nano probes are self replicating. Once they got that ship. They made perfectly functioning new ones. Plus, new drones. New nano probes.

          • DangerousDac

            The caveat in First Contact was that they brought a Queen with them. And these drones weren’t cut off *by* the collective they were cut off *from* them, and chances are the Sphere still had its vinculum intact so there was a semblance of the collective still there. Residual commands perhaps from First Contact? Assimilate the ship and contact the collective of their time. They assimilated the nearest ship available and while they were not able to construct an interplexing beacon capable of near instantaneous communication, they did send a signal to the 22nd Century Collective.

            And don’t forget nanoprobes are controlled via software, software which isnt kept locally. I cant even count the amount of times Seven of Nine used her nanoprobes for whatever magic cure of the week on Voyager. They were easily reprogrammable by the doc. My point is – the Collective is a hive mind, no one drone has the entire knowledge of it once its separated from them. The last things those drones were doing prior to the destruction of the sphere was fighting humans and preparing to beam over to the Enterprise – therefore they were anticipating assimilating humans. The Borg may have had it loaded into its Memory before the power was cut, much the same way people hack cell phones by loading information into the memory then cutting the power, bypassing any security measures that run on startup. When these nanoprobes programmed for human assimilation encountered Denobulans ( a species never seen before on star trek meaning they may actually have been encountered by the borg before) they were lost, rewriting things the wrong way which is why Phlox was never fully assimilated. And as the probes werent working at 100%, a blast of whatever that radiation was succeeded in killing them.

          • Esmeralda

            That is not true.

            Enterprise is a prequel. If timeline is changed, then we never seen real timeline because TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and 10 movies are product of that changed timeline.

            Also klingon first contact before Enterprise never been canon only fandom. Real date of first contact with klingons is never mentioned before Enterprise.

          • ShaunKL

            Enterprise is a prequel, but from an audience’s perspective it is after everything else. So changes to the timeline can most certainly happen and cause Enterprise to diverge. TATV is a grey area for me, I don’t count it into canon because of how bad it is. If I have to count TATV I also count “The Good That Men Do”. It’s hard for me to put all the pieces together in a comment section. I’ll just end it on the point that I have my own personal canon and that the Enterprise timeline diverging from the Prime universe helps me make more sense of everything else.

          • Esmeralda

            It is a prequel, period.

            Events in Enterprise predate events in other star trek series. Enterprise should be watched before other series.

            Enterprise is set in prime timeline. So like I said if timeline is changed, then we never seen original timeline, because all star trek series are set in changed timeline then,

    • Mike

      Well, Phlox is Denobulan, and in canon universe Denobulans play no other
      role in any episode of the other series’ in which the Borg are
      featured. Plus, it’s really not inconceivable that some species would
      be immune or at least highly resistant to assimilation. If Species 8472 (who were from a different universe) were resistant to assimilation is it so hard to grasp there might be certain species of humanoids whose biochemistry would severely slow down the process? So on that key point I have to disagree … however, I feel like too much of the Borg were revealed to Archer and crew. The episode would have been better if the injured, disconnected Borg would have been more of a shadowy presence trying to make their way back to the Delta Quadrant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.roberts.7965 Christopher Roberts

    About that Netflix brings back ENT idea floated by Brannon Braga: possibility or not, some Enterprising fan has put up this Facebook page…
    http://www.facebook.com/StarTrekEnterpriseSeason5NetflixCampaign
    I have to admit those LIKE numbers aren’t spectacular. Maybe because it’s only a few days old.

  • Tom R

    ya know i would watch Enterprise on Netflix but in the UK they’ve just told me the licence fro it has expired!! really annoying!