A Chat with Wil Wheaton, Wil Wheaton interview, Guy from "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

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It’s one thing for a sci-fi geek to sit back on their couch, watch “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and throw out offhanded complaints like, “This is just a rehashed version of a plot from an old ‘Buck Rogers’ episode,” or, “That was a major breach of ‘Trek’ continuity right there,” because you’re not calling anyone out personally. But when you start saying things like, “Wesley Crusher sucks, he’s ruining the show, and he should die,” that’s entering into dangerously uncool territory. You might think it’s just idle chatter, but after talking to Wil Wheaton – who played Wesley Crusher – about how much incessant comments like those served to screw up his teenage years, trust me, it gets back to the actors, and it’s definitely not cool. Bullz-Eye had the opportunity to talk to Wheaton in connection with the release of “Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series,” but in addition to his “Trek” years, we also spoke of his imminently readable blog, his other forays into writing and his recent voiceover work.

Bullz-eye: Hi, may I speak to Wil?

Wil Wheaton: Speaking.

BE: This is Will. How’s it going?

WW: Awesome.

BE: Pleasure to talk to you.

WW: Thank you. I’m glad that we could make this happen.

BE: Absolutely, and thanks for agreeing to do it. I’m digging my way through the set right now, and, of course, I’m nowhere near complete. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

WW: That’s a lot of TV.

BE: Yeah. I mean, literally, there haven’t been enough hours since I got it to finish it, even if I sat straight up and did it.

WW: Well, you could just start about half way through Season Three when it starts to get good and just sort of watch three to about season five, and then just pick out maybe a dozen episodes, and you’re good.

BE: Well, right now, I’m just tackling the first disc of each season, just to kind of get a feel for each one.

WW: Did you get to watch those features that we did?

BE: Uh, I have started watching those, yeah. I’m working my way through those, too, which are awesome so far. I’m really enjoying those.

WW: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to seeing those. I had a great time shooting the stuff that we did for my documentary, so I can’t wait to see how it all came together.

(On being Wesley Crusher) "I was 14 at the time, so I was that kid. I was too smart for my own good and really nerdy and really, really, really, geeky and awkward and just excited beyond words to be a part of this immense thing. Wesley and I really had that in common."

BE: John de Lancie looked like he was having fun at the beginning of the first one I started watching; he was like hosting that one. How did they approach you to contribute, or do they regularly approach you for sets like this?

WW: Well, actually, there was an entirely different idea to do something involving the entire cast of “Next Generation” and put it on the DVD as a special feature. It was probably the best idea I have ever heard for anything involving “Star Trek,” certainly anything involving those of us that were in the cast. And, unfortunately, they just couldn’t make it happen. There are nine of us, and it was like herding cats to try and get everyone to commit to it, and trying to get everybody at the same time. There are a couple of cast members who…I think they feel like they have said and done everything that they need to say and do about “Star Trek” and are kind of ready to move on with their lives, and they didn’t want to participate, and we couldn’t make that happen. I had met with the guys that were producing the documentaries and who had come up with the original ideas for getting all of us back together, and I thought it was a great idea and I really liked them. So I told them that if there was anything I could do to participate in the special features, or anything to do with this DVD release, I would love to be a part of it. I told them that I was very proud of my contributions to “Next Generation,” and I am a big fan of “Next Generation,” and I thought it was great to have this chance to honor the show and sort of make something special for the people who enjoyed it 20 years ago. So when they decided to make these documentaries, they came back to me and said, “OK, so we think we have something that you might like to do. What do you think?” It sounded like a great idea and something I could really get behind, so we just went and shot the stuff.

BE: Had you contributed to documentaries like this before, for other sources?

WW: I have sat down for interviews for things to do with movies. I did some interviews for the special edition of “Stand By Me,” and I did some things for a few other smaller, more independent movies that I have done, but never anything that was this. Like, what we did could have been a special on The Discovery Channel or the History Channel. I have never done anything this extensive before.

BE: The quality of it is great, from what I have watched thus far. It’s very impressive.

WW: I am glad to hear that.

BE: So, like I was saying, I was watching the first disc of the first season, and then I went to the first disc of the second season, and…y’know I don’t think Wesley could have evolved a whole lot more over the course of a year.

WW: How do you mean?

BE: Well, I mean the fact that he starts off as just completely intimidated and excited to show off his knowledge but he’s…I guess he’s a little naïve. But then by the second season, there he is at the helm.

"Everyone was wonderful, the cast was great, we were all very much a big family, but…if you’ve been to big family events where you’re with members of your family and you love them and they love you and it’s a great time, but you still can’t sit around and talk about music and you can’t talk about TV and stuff because your influences and interests are so, so different? It can be kind of isolating."

WW: Yeah, they really advanced Wesley’s character a lot in just in the first season alone. But Wesley doesn’t really become a good solid rounded-out character until the episodes like “Final Mission” and “The First Duty.” That’s unfortunate that those are the only times that they ever really wrote well for him. There are other little bits here and there, but those are the ones where I think the potential of the character is realized.

BE: What did you think about the character when you first were approached with him? Like I say, he comes across a little naive at the very beginning. I mean, did you…

WW: I was 14 at the time, so I was that kid. I was too smart for my own good and really nerdy and really, really, really, geeky and awkward and just excited beyond words to be a part of this immense thing. Wesley and I really had that in common. What they never really wrote, and I think is a massive failing from the writers, was how tumultuous that made me feel. I was a really enthusiastic, really excited, really geeky teenager and I was around a bunch of very sophisticated adults, and they were the people I spent most of my time around, and they were my friends, and they were the people I looked up to, but it was weird because they were adults and I was a kid. We could never really relate to each other as much as if I had been closer to their age, even if I had been like 18 and 19 instead of 14 and 15. And that created a lot of turmoil for me. I felt like I was part of this thing, but I was really on the outside looking in the entire time. Everyone was wonderful, the cast was great, we were all very much a big family, but…if you’ve been to big family events where you’re with members of your family and you love them and they love you and it’s a great time, but you still can’t sit around and talk about music and you can’t talk about TV and stuff because your influences and interests are so, so different? It can be kind of isolating. I thought years later…I didn’t have this thought process at the time, but years later, if the writers had explored that with Wesley Crusher, it would have made him, I think, a more believable, more well rounded and ultimately more sympathetic character that more people could identify with.

BE: Did you ever think that they might consider doing a Wesley Crusher spin-off? I mean, like, following the Starfleet Academy aspect of his life?

WW: People have talked a lot about doing Starfleet Academy shows. It seemed like, when we were doing the show, that came up very couple of years, that they were going to do a Starfleet Academy. The rumor was that the next movie was going to be a Starfleet Academy, and that is something which has persisted. The thing about “Star Trek” is… “Star Trek” is about discovering things outside of your normal sphere of existence, and a show that would be a Starfleet Academy show, if it’s about what’s basically the college experience, the college experience is about growing within, and that’s really not what “Star Trek” is about. So you could take the same characters and put them there but it’s going to be a very, very different show. It’s something that works maybe for a book, it might work for like a three or five issue graphic novel kind of thing, but when your show is primarily about exploration and how we deal with things we encounter outside of our normal comfort zone, a show that is sort of like…I think that it would lead to something, you know, like it could become like “Dynasty” or something like that, and that’s not what “Star Trek” is about.

BE: I know you’ve been asked this question a thousand times, but I actually don’t know the answer. How did you get hired for “Star Trek?” I mean, I presume it was to do with you having been in “Stand By Me,” but…

A Roundtable Chat with Rob Zombie

WW: They were looking for a young actor to play this role, and David Gerrold recommended me to Bob Justman because I was kind of well known at the time because of “Stand By Me,” and I had done a lot of work that people just don’t remember, a lot of After School Specials and Movies of the Week. I did a lot of television that doesn’t exist anymore. They don’t do After School Specials anymore, and they don’t do Movies of the Week anymore, they don’t exist. But in the 80s that was a staple of television and a staple of entertainment.

BE: Oh, yeah. Well, you and I are about the same age. I mean, I’m 37, so…

WW: Oh, so you remember.

BE: Absolutely.

WW: Those things counted. For an actor, those things were important. That was an important part of our resume and our career. So that work had happened, and they were looking for someone, and David Gerrold recommended me to Bob Justman, who then recommended me to Gene Roddenberry, and they just brought me in for an audition. It was yet another audition like the thousands of other ones I had had. It wasn’t like they were specifically looking for me or anything like that, you know. There’s nothing really cool like that. But I was really excited for the opportunity because I am a huge “Star Trek” fan and have been my entire life, and a big science fiction and, like, fantasy nerd. My new book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, has a lot of stories in it about playing with “Star Wars” figures and going to conventions and reading science fiction books and doing those things that I love. It was really exciting for me to get that…I sort of felt like I was in “Rudy,” finally getting a chance to run out onto the field. Fortunately for me, my time on the field was a bit more successful than his…

BE: Speaking of the book, you need to get that link up on your site, so I can order it.

WW: We are working on it today, actually. If everything goes according to plan, it will be finished tonight. We are about 40 percent of the way through, but there’s not that much…what we have to do is not that hard, just time consuming. This is where we learn that cascading style sheets are really a wonderful thing.

BE: Well, this will be a good segue into the blog, which is how I’ve followed your career for the past several years. I think it was right around the time you were auditioning for “I, Robot” that I started reading it on a real regular basis.

WW: Oh, that was a long time ago!

BE: Yeah. So I have been in and out, obviously, but I have always checked in on it once in awhile. Putting yourself out there like that is probably not as hard now as it was, but what led you to start doing that in the first place?

WW: I’ve always liked writing, and people were after me to build a web site for a long time. To do a web site as a promotional tool is what my agents wanted me to do, and I didn’t want to do that. I understood online culture, and the people who worked for me didn’t. I just decided one day that I would make a web site…and this whole story, by the way, is covered in “Just a Geek,” which makes a lovely, lovely gift.

BE: (laughs) There will be a link, rest assured.

WW: When I decided to do the web site, I just wanted to do a web site like the web sites I enjoyed reading, and the web sites I enjoyed reading were all blogs. It was before we really even knew what blogs were, you know, these were kind of like journals, and they updated every day, and it was this evolving narrative, and the content was really dynamic; it wasn’t static at all, and I wanted to add that in there. I also felt like most of my life I had never really gotten an opportunity to speak for myself. Because of years of being really viciously attacked by people who didn’t know me and had no interest in knowing me, it was really important to me that I had an opportunity to speak for myself and to tell them my story. Blogging gave me the outlet to do that.

BE: You talk about people lashing out at you, but do you remember when the “Wesley Crusher backlash” began…or when you became aware of it, I should say?

WW: Yeah, well, when did “Star Trek” start?

BE: (laughs) That quickly?

WW: I think…actually, today, I believe, is the actual anniversary of “Next Generation.”

BE: Happy Anniversary!

WW: So let’s see…that would have been Sept. 28, 1987, probably, when the backlash started.

BE: Was it rough for you? I mean, I guess you kind of got a thicker skin over the course of time.

"Because the conventions I had gone to as a kid to escape the torments of school yard bullies and the mundane stuff of real life were no longer places I could go to have fun because, now, all the nerds were hating on me everywhere I went. So I became this nerd without a country for a long time, and it was really hard."

WW: Yeah. Here I am, biggest fucking fan in the world of the show, and I love it, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it, and now I can’t be part of it. Because the conventions I had gone to as a kid to escape the torments of school yard bullies and the mundane stuff of real life were no longer places I could go to have fun because, now, all the nerds were hating on me everywhere I went. So I became this nerd without a country for a long time, and it was really hard. I kept telling people, “I don’t write this stuff, so don’t get on my back about it,” but even I couldn’t take my own advice. It hurt a lot; it was really upsetting, and I absolutely took it personally when I’m working on a show for 10 hours, 12 hours a day, five days a week for years in a row; to the exclusion of all other acting work in my life. It’s one thing to complain about the failings of the writers and to understand those failings now, 20 years later, but at the time it just seemed like nothing I could do was good enough, and people were constantly yelling at me. It’s sort of like going…there’s this great line in “Stand by Me” where Chris Chambers says, “I just wish I could go some place where nobody knows me,” because everywhere he goes in Castle Rock, people have prejudged him before he even opens his mouth. And I felt like that a lot. I still feel like that a little bit. I mean, it even happens on Fark, you know, somebody puts up a story that’s about me, and some douchebag is going to come in and call me names and insult me within the first 15 to 20 comments. What’s really cool is that, almost as quickly, someone points out that person’s massive ignorance and douchebaggery, and that used to never happen. It just used to be this sort of great big hate fest, and now it’s almost funny when it happens. It’s not at all like it used to be. But back then, when I was a teenager, you know…I’m sure you remember being a teenager, it’s not like it’s the most self-confident time in your life.

BE: Yeah, well, I was going to “Star Trek” conventions, too, so there you go.

WW: OK, so you understand. You don’t feel like, “Hey, I’m awesome, I’m comfortable with myself.” No, it’s, “I don’t like the way that I look, I don’t like my hair, I don’t understand girls, I’m confused about everything, I really want to be cool, but I’m not.” And added on top of all that was having that Usenet group dedicated to killing me! It sucked.

BE: Well, it looks like, with the blog, you’ve kind of settled into a groove where people have come to appreciate you more as a person and less as a character.

WW: Well, yeah, and that’s one of the great powers of the way that we all can communicate with each other now, and I’m really grateful for that opportunity, like I said, to speak for myself. I didn’t know when I started blogging that it was going to lead to this second career. I didn’t know that I was going to be so happy and so fulfilled as a writer that I wouldn’t even really want to do much acting anymore. I have really lost my passion for on-camera acting, and I certainly don’t care about auditioning anymore like I used to. I would rather work on books and write columns and tell stories and do the voiceover things that I do for video games and cartoons and spend the remaining free time with my family, than continually chase that ever-elusive brass ring that used to be so important to me when I was a young actor.

BE: Well, I know you’ve been doing some superhero voiceover work, at least to a certain extent, playing Cosmic Boy and Aqualad.

WW: Yeah, yeah. That was really fun. That Aqualad thing started out because I did one episode of a short-lived series on the Warner Brothers network called “The Zeta Project.” It was a cool show. I worked with Diedrich Bader, he was really fun, and it was a really cool show, and the director of that show brought me in, I guess she liked what I had done, and she brought me in to do an episode of “Teen Titans,” to play Aqualad. I guess the studio liked what I did, so they started writing more Aqualad stuff, and I eventually became like a semi-regular on that show. Then when “Titans” went off the air, the same director was working on this new “Legion of Superheroes” show, so she brought me in to do Cosmic Boy. And sort of the same thing, I knew “The Legion of Superheroes,” I knew who Cosmic Boy was. I am…in addition to being a big science fiction nerd, I’m a huge comics nerd. In fact, I was reading “100 Bullets” when you called! I had this really great opportunity to go and be Cosmic Boy, and it was, like, are you kidding me? The guy who founded the fucking Legion of Super Heroes? Really? So I went in and did the thing and instantly fell in love with the cast. And there’s other guys on the show like Yuri Lowenthal plays Superboy. Or Superman. Yeah, he’s Superman; I just always call him Superboy because that’s who he is in the comic. So, yeah, Yuri plays Superman, and this guy Andy Milder plays Lightning Lad, and the three of us, we are like the uber-nerds in the recording booth when we work on the show. We’re all excited about the storylines that we’re working on because, every now and then, we recognize a story from the comic book and I’m like, “Oh, my God, it’s one where we know what’s going to happen!” That stuff is great and…well, it’s just great. It’s a wonderful job, it’s work that I’m proud of, and it’s actors who I love to be involved with, and just the whole thing is great. It’s a real terrific thing. I was reading an interview with Seth Green in the A.V. Club this morning, and he says sort of the same things about “Family Guy.” He’s a fan of the show, it’s fun to work on, it’s relatively easy, the people involved are awesome, and it’s work that he can be proud of. And I really feel the same way about “Legion.”

BE: Speaking of “Family Guy,” I know you can’t talk about it a whole lot, but I know you’re going to be on it soon, too. Well, relatively soon, anyway.

"Because of years of being really viciously attacked by people who didn’t know me and had no interest in knowing me, it was really important to me that I had an opportunity to speak for myself and to tell them my story. Blogging gave me the outlet to do that."

WW: Yeah, animation takes right around a year for it to…from the time you start it and from the time you record it until the time it gets on the air. But this episode is just going to be magnificent, and I can not say more. I mean, Seth MacFarlane told me I can say whatever I want, but I’m just not going to, because I don’t want to give anything away. And I also don’t know what’s going to change from the script we worked on to what finally makes it on television. But it’s a great episode that fans of “Star Trek” and fans of “Family Guy” alike are really going to enjoy.

BE: There’s an item on your IMDb listing that I can only presume never came to pass, only because it’s based on one of my all time favorite books, and I totally would have been all over it if it had ever been made: Tales of Glamour and Excess.

WW: (audibly surprised) Huh. Well, so this is a really cool thing that we did a long time ago. This was a very small, low budget project that we did with some friends. We got together, we spent a week doing it, and it was an entirely independent project that was never intended for release. It was a short film, and I played Danny Sugerman, and…I have no idea what happened with it. I have never even seen it. I was really happy with the work, and it was hard work, but it was good work on a project with a great script, and it was really wonderful. But I have no idea what happened with it. I don’t even know where the masters are.

BE: Yeah, it has a listing on IMDb, but there really aren’t any details about it, hardly, except that you were in it, Moira Price was in it, and they had a few other actors listed, but the names don’t necessarily ring a bell. (hesitates) Dammit! Now I’m curious about it!

WW: Yeah, it’s one of those things that, if we were doing it today, it would absolutely be on YouTube and Google Video, places like that. Back then, the costs of distribution were higher, and the barrier of entry was more difficult to navigate then it is now.

BE: Well, now, I’m going to have to be on a quest to try to find out what happened to it.

WW: Good luck. We’re all counting on you.

BE: Thanks, Mr. Nielsen. I just have a couple of quick “Trek” questions for you. Well, actually, I guess this one isn’t all that quick: what is your stature in the “Star Trek” family? I know that you do some conventions, but I also know you have been a little critical of the older…

WW: I’m somewhere between black sheep and long lost cousin. I think that, more than anyone else who was involved in “Star Trek” in any of the shows, I have more in common with the “Star Trek” fans then any other actor, because I am a fan myself, and I was a fan before I worked on the show. I have been going to conventions my entire life. So when you think about “Star Trek” and you think about “Star Trek” fandom, it is impossible to remove conventions from the equation. That is a very big part of being a “Star Trek” fan, and I have been to conventions as a guest and I have been to conventions as a fan, and I know what is important to me as a fan. So when I appear at conventions, it is really important to me that I give the fans what I want to be given to me when I am paying whatever it is to get in the door. I don’t know if anybody else fully groks what that means. That’s not really…that can sound overly critical of a lot of the other guys, but the thing is, they’re actors and that’s what they do. They’re actors who happen to be in the show, and a lot of them understand and respect what “Star Trek” is about, but they’re not geeks like I am.

BE: Well rather than dish dirt, as a fan, who was your favorite member of the original cast to meet? Who did you have the best experience meeting?

WW: George Takei.

BE: Really? He seems like he would be a fun guy.

WW: George is awesome. George is genuinely friendly and loves “Star Trek” and loves “Star Trek” fans. George loves everything, and he is one of the kindest, sweetest, most wonderful people ever. I have never seen him disappoint a fan at a convention, and he certainly never disappointed me when we…every now and then we all kind of get together, all of us, across all the different shows, we all get together from time to time for various things, and I always look forward to seeing George.

BE: How did the TV Squad gig come about? Were you a regular reader of the site beforehand?

WW: I was, yeah. And then I was writing for Card Squad, which was Weblog’s Incorporated poker blog, and then when the poker craze started to die down, helped in part by opportunistic politicians…thank you, Bill Frist, and please die in a fire…that blog lost its budget and went away. Brad Hill, who’s one of the important dudes at Weblog Inc., emailed me and said, “Look, I’ve been wanting to work with you for a long time, and we’ve been doing these reviews of ‘The Prisoner,’ and it’s kind of fun, it’s like a retro squad kind of thing. Do you think you would like to do something with ‘Next Generation’?” Well, I thought it was an awesome idea. I was really excited about it, and I told him that, and I told him I couldn’t do it regularly because I am very busy, but I could fit it in when I had time, and it could be fun. So he was like, OK, just do like 300 to 500 words, it will be great. Wellllll…the average length of a TV Squad “Next Generation” review actually runs closer to 3,000 words, because that’s just the way that I write it. It’s actually turned into something that I am really proud of, that’s fun to do, that takes me down like memory highway and has been…it has gotten good reviews from people. I hear from people a lot that they enjoy it and want to know when the next one’s coming out, so that’s really cool. When I finish the first season, I have every intention of collecting them all into a book and, if everything goes according to plan, I will be able to have sidebars in the book from people who worked on the show with me. I have already gotten commitments from a couple of the actors and a few behind the scenes people, and it’s going to be great. It’s going to be one of those unauthorized…well, not unauthorized like it’s full of salacious bullshit, because I don’t do that, that’s retarded. It’s unauthorized in that I’m not going to bother going to CBS and begging them to give me permission to talk about the show that I worked on. It’s just going to be like…it’s going to be pretty much what it is online, just sort of cleaned up and de-bloggified.

BE: Obviously, you go into detail in these episodes, but has there been one moment that you saw that just made you cringe? Either of yours or just as a “Star Trek” fan in general that just made you go, “Oh, man?

WW: Well, you know, pretty much the entire first season. There are moments in the first season that I think are great, that are really wonderful. The first season is…it’s fun to watch the first season now and observe all of us growing as actors, and the writers learning who we are as actors and what we bring to our characters so that they can start writing to those strengths; it’s neat seeing the characters evolve, and it’s cool to watch the visual style of the show evolve. But the thing that overrides, that sort of sits on top of all of that, that kind of overwhelms all of that a little bit…just go get your high school yearbook and open it up. You look back at those pictures ad you think, oh dude, I can not believe I thought that was cool. There’s this sense of like, oh, look, I sure was trying hard, you know and, like, oh, yeah, I remember we used to rock out to “Jessie’s Girl,” that was awesome. And now, it’s, oh, my God, I can’t believe we use to rock out to “Jessie’s Girl” and think it was awesome. It’s like that. The whole first season feels like that, there is a very…it’s sort of like fond embarrassment. Chagrin, I think, is probably the word that should best be used with that.

BE: I know they’ve just released the “Star Trek” Manga that you contributed to, but have you ever thought of going the Shatner route and doing a novel yourself?

(On his place in the “Star Trek” family) “I’m somewhere between black sheep and long lost cousin. I think that, more than anyone else who was involved in ‘Star Trek’ in any of the shows, I have more in common with the ‘Star Trek’ fans then any other actor, because I am a fan myself, and I was a fan before I worked on the show.”

WW: Well, Shatner doesn’t write any of his stuff.

BE: Well, I kind of got that impression.

WW: It’s all ghost written. As far as I know. I should apply a caveat, but that’s what I have heard from other authors. What I really want to do is write a graphic novel of my own…maybe in the “Star Trek” universe, maybe not. The Manga was really fun because it’s the combination of these two things that I love: I love Manga, and I love “Star Trek.” So I was able to combine the things that I think are strong in both of those genres and put them together into one story. So far, the reviews are really positive, and the feedback from readers has been really good, and the publisher really likes it. I am hopeful that it’s going to be successful for everyone. I have thought about writing fiction, but whenever I sit down to do it and try to write a short story, I feel very self conscious and I feel like… (adopts robotic tone) “I am a writer now. Look at me everyone, I am writing. Watch me turn this phrase. Oh it is time to remove some adjectives?” I feel like, “They’re all gonna laugh at you, they’re all gonna laugh at you,” and I just can’t do it. It’s really hard for me to get over that inner critic. I think my strength as a writer is narrative nonfiction, and that’s where I’m staying right now. I have toyed with this idea of doing something like what Jonathan Coulton did, with the thing a week, where he recorded a different musical thing every week, and it really kept his creativity going and kept him going as a songwriter. I have thought about challenging myself to do a thing a week, some sort of short fiction every week, even if it’s only a thousand words, and then hopefully after doing that for a year I may have more…see, I can’t even talk about it, because I’m so nervous about the whole thing! But maybe the experience of doing that will help me grow as a writer, and I’ll be able to tackle something more like a novella.

BE: Not that you haven’t heard this before, but you totally got the shaft in “Star Trek: Nemesis.”

WW: Well, I appreciate that, but I also understand why they had to cut me out. I was the last person to be added to the script, and that movie has a lot of problems with it. The biggest problem was that the director didn’t care about “Star Trek.”

BE: Yeah, I’ve heard that, and it shows, I think.

WW: And I think that infects the movie. For better or for worse, that film is not about Riker and Troi getting married; it’s about Picard and Shinzon. You know? Because I was part of this thing that is not germane to the story line and because I was the last one to be added, I totally understand why that happened. I was just glad that I got a chance to put on the space suit again and share the stage with my fellow “Star Trek” cast members again and appreciate every moment of it and love every moment of it. That’s not something that a lot of people get, you know. You don’t really get a second chance to go back and relive those times.

BE: And to close full circle, talking about the set again, there’s a revelation in one of the new documentaries that Troi was originally supposed to have three breasts.

WW: Huh, that’s interesting.

BE: I have no real question here. I just wanted to make sure that you were aware of that.

WW: Apparently, that woman wasn’t available because she was working on “Total Recall.”

BE: Very possibly. But yes, apparently, they talked Gene Roddenberry out of that, or whoever contributed that idea.

WW: That’s very funny.

BE: Lastly, just for my own curiosity, since you talk about music a fair amount on your blog, do you have any personal music obsessions at the moment?

WW: I have been listening to a lot of…I have been listening to Jonathan Coulton a lot, I have been listening to Silversun Pickups, I have been listening to Indie Pop Rocks on SomaFM like crazy and…God, I don’t even know the names of the artists. It’s just stuff that I have been really enjoying. I love Wilco’s new album, I think it’s just brilliant. What else have I been listening to? I have been listening to Who’s Nex, from the Who, an awful lot. The thing about music for me…like, music is rarely just background noise. Music is really an important soundtrack, it means a lot to me. Because I have been so busy…I haven’t been able to listen to music…like, I have to be able to listen to it with a presence of mind, because I have been working so much it hasn’t really taken the forefront for me, it’s mostly been just like, for the first time ever, it has just been something to kind of sit in the room with me instead of something that is an active part of my life right now.

"The thing about music for me…like, music is rarely just background noise. Music is really an important soundtrack, it means a lot to me."

BE: Actually, that’s kind of like it is for me, too, because I spent most of my first year or two at Bullz-eye doing strictly music reviews and then I kind of eased into the TV market and now I’m a member of the Television Critics Association, but I just don’t get to listen to music like I used to, and it’s somewhat depressing, actually.

WW: Well, you know, there’s just not that much stuff coming out these days that I really like. I am 35, I’m outside of that demographic that anybody in the market cares about, so…but, you know, that’s OK, though.

BE: I end up exploring more reissues than anything these days.

WW: Yeah, me, too. I’ve been sort of alternating between classic rock, and then I’ve been listening to a lot of the stuff that I liked in the 80s. A lot of The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and Echo & the Bunnymen. And The Jam, and Joy Division, and that sort of thing.

BE: Yeah I saw you got, on the blog again, those Rhino sets, Left of the Dial and No, Thanks.

WW: Yeah, those are great. I really like them. Andy Zax was the music geek on “Beat the Geek,” and he worked on one of those, and he said, “I think you’re going to like this” and well he was right. The next one I’m getting is Just Say Sire, The Sire Records collection, but that remains on the internal wish list.

BE: I just got the new Nuggets set that Rhino put out.

WW: Oh, awesome.

BE: Yeah, it’s really good, too. Well, I will let you go, but it has been a pleasure talking to you.

WW: Alright, thanks. When is this going up?

BE: I’m hoping within maybe the next week and a half, two weeks. We have a back log right now.

WW: Cool, shoot me an email so I can link it.

BE: Yeah, absolutely, I sure will.

WW: Alright, man, thanks a lot.

BE: Same here. Nice talking to you.

WW: Bye.

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