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Chaos on the Bridge (2014)

The story of the struggle to create the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).


William Shatner


William Shatner
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
William Shatner ... Self - Host
D.C. Fontana ... Self - Writer & Script Consultant, Star Trek: TOS (as Dorothy 'D.C.' Fontana)
David Gerrold David Gerrold ... Self - Writer, Star Trek: TOS
Maurice Hurley Maurice Hurley ... Self - Television Writer & Producer
Rick Berman ... Self - Vice President, Paramount Network Television
Jeffrey Katzenberg ... Self - Executive, Paramount Pictures
Richard Arnold Richard Arnold ... Self - Research Consultant, Star Trek: TNG
Jeffrey M. Hayes Jeffrey M. Hayes ... Self - Television Producer, Paramount Network Television
John Pike John Pike ... Self - President, Paramount Network Television
Susan Sackett Susan Sackett ... Self - Secretary to Gene Roddenberry
John de Lancie ... Self - Q, Star Trek: TNG
Denise Crosby ... Self - Lt. Tasha Yar, Star Trek: TNG
Patrick Stewart ... Self - Capt. Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek: TNG
Ronald D. Moore ... Self - Writer, Star Trek: TNG
David Livingston David Livingston ... Self - Producer, Star Trek: TNG


Canadian acting legend William Shatner takes viewers inside the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the bold attempt in 1986 to recreate the success of the original television series, in which Shatner played Captain James T. Kirk. The documentary, directed, written and presented by Shatner reveals the drama, chaos and controversy behind the scenes as producers tried to make lighting strike twice. Not only were the beloved original characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy excluded from the new series, the studio also attempted to block the involvement of the creator of the original series - Gene Roddenberry. Few believed it would work including those closest to the production. Yet Star Trek: The Next Generation went on to enormous success lasting seven seasons and spawning the multi-billion dollar Star Trek franchise, which continues to the present day. Now, more than 25 years later, William Shatner brings together the cast, crew and fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation to present...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Untold Story Behind an Iconic Sci-Fi Franchise


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to an interview with Larry King, William Shatner's original title for this documentary was "Wacky Doodle". He heard the phrase used by one of the show's writer-producers, to describe the intensity of the conflicts that occurred during the making of "Star Trek: The Next Generation". See more »


William Shatner: Did you realize that the Next Generation it possible to characterize it as Gene Roddenberry's dream of Heaven?
Brannon Braga: I would never have thought that at the time, but now that we're talking, with his conception of the future and human beings in the future and Q, Q is GOD. Just look at the character, look at everything about the character
See more »


References Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) See more »

User Reviews

Not so Whack-a-doodle after all!
31 January 2020 | by XweAponXSee all my reviews

So, Gene Roddenberry was human!

Leave it to William Shatner to dredge all this up and confront the actors, producers, writers, and studio executives which he interviews in this film.

Somebody suggested that the music was inappropriate, however, since this movie was kind of made to look like it was based on a poker game which is totally appropriate for the next generation, the music is 100% spot on.

I remember when this show first aired, when I watched Encounter at Farpoint, I was thinking to myself that there was some kind of dichotomy, some kind of split going on within that episode.

The first part deals with exploring the new ship and showing its capabilities. The holodeck, the saucer separation. Gene had actually considered doing this in a possible fourth season of the original show, in the book "the making of Star Trek", Gene talks about a holographic recreation area for crewmembers and also the fact that the original Enterprise saucer section was detachable, just like the "D"- so none of that was new to me- as a matter of fact I was thinking congratulations for finally getting to these things.

It was wholly ironic for William Shatner to produce and direct this documentary. When I was watching the first season of next generation, I just felt that there was something wrong. But I couldn't put my finger on it. Until I watched this documentary, and now I understand and I can even in my mind go through the seasons and the episodes and identify what was probably happening based on what I have been told through this documentary.

And I also never realized that Tracy Tormé was the son of Mel Tormé- there is a great resemblance there. And Tracy is basically the one who thought up the Borg, originally they were going to be connected to the parasite-aliens from Conspiracy, but that never happened. But from the last two episodes of season one, we are set up for the possible invasion from somebody.

Some people have complained bitterly about this movie, feeling that it degrades Gene, but I don't agree. This movie in no way changes how I feel about the man, he was the creator of Star Trek and he was always the great bird of the galaxy to me.

Except that I don't agree at all with Maurice Hurley's contention that Gene's ideas about the future of mankind were "Whack-a-doodle".

I actually thought some of Maurice' episodes were fairly good. But now that I know that he was elevated to the show runner position above two veteran Star Trek writers, and that he really didn't appreciate Gene's vision? To me that explains everything that was wrong with the first two seasons. And it wasn't Gene.

Now I always thought the second season was a huge step up from the first season especially from the start with Riker sporting a beard and Geordi being elevated to the engineer. Good ideas. And despite what is said about Dr. Pulaski, I liked her more than Dr. Crusher. Because she was caustic and acerbic just like bones. She was a female bones. I loved her character and I love the actress Diana Muldaur - except that in the documentary she kind of looked like how she looked in the episode "Unnatural Selection". I wish they would have tapped her for the new Picard series.

Anyways this doesn't make me hate the show or like it any less, this movie shines the light of truth onto something that we love, it explains a lot of things. And this could not have been done by anybody but William Shatner. God love William Shatner.

Also one thing is very clear, during the whole production of next generation where Gene was involved, he was ill the entire time. The show definitely took it's toll on him, he wanted to retire, not make a new Star Trek show. But he did it, selflessly and at risk to his own health.

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Official Sites:

Official site


Canada | USA



Release Date:

25 August 2014 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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