Full-on comedy on Strange New Worlds
Jonathan Frakes has an interview in the February issue of SFX Magazine, and in addition to talking about returning as Captain Riker in the third season of Picard, he also talks about his experience directing the Strange New Worlds/Lower Decks crossover episode:
Oh god, it’s so good. I have Jack Quaid and Tawny Newsome, who are both amazing. It was such a treat for me because it is a flat-out comedy. Full on. And they’re fearless over there, they take some really big swings on Strange New Worlds. They’re animated at the beginning and at the end. It’s a clever and simple product. It’s not really Roger Rabbit because what happens is these guys come over and they’re humans and you accept them as soon as they’re on the Enterprise. God, the two of them have got great energy, and it freed up the acting company on Strange New Worlds to play more broadly. Anson’s a wonderful comedian, very dry, but so’s Rebecca. It encouraged Ethan and everyone, there were just a lot of positives that came out of them having the guts to do a full-on comedy, let alone a crossover with an animated show.
When speaking to TrekMovie last year, Frakes said he was picked to direct the crossover because he had previously appeared as Riker in Lower Decks, noting “They’re stretching the limits of the comedy of Riker on Lower Decks and knowing me personally, this would be a good fit. And as you can imagine, it was a blast.”
Trek’s future is TV
By directing for season 2 of Strange New Worlds, Frakes is now the only person who helmed episodes for all three current Paramount+ live-action Star Trek shows, which includes two episodes of the upcoming third season of Picard and at least one from season 5 of Discovery. Combined with his directing work on TNG, DS9 and Voyager, he has directed over 30 episodes of Trek TV and two Trek feature films. When asked if he sees a future for himself directing for big screen Star Trek again, Frakes pointed to TV as where it’s at with Trek these days:
Movies are tough! Even J.J. [Abrams] can’t get this fourth movie off the ground. All those wonderful rumors? Noah Hawley was attached to a Star Trek movie, and Quentin [Tarantino] was toying with people’s emotions about doing a movie. If those two names can’t get a fucking movie made, I don’t know. TV is the future, it seems to me.
In his late 2022 TrekMovie interview, Frakes did say he reached out to Abrams after Matt Shakman dropped out as the director of the Star Trek 4 project to remind the producer “If you need an experienced guy to take over Star Trek 4, I’m available.” In that same interview, he also said he felt season 3 of Picard “could continue into the next story” and that he would love to be involved with any follow-up show both in front and behind the camera. He had the same sentiment in his SFX interview, saying “I hope the road leads to another series.”
There is much more from Jonathan Frakes as well as interviews with co-star Gates McFadden and Picard showrunner Terry Matalas in the February issue of SFX Magazine.