“The Next Generation” fan imagines a season where no Star Trek has gone before
The Enterprise crew gets trapped in a Spanish telenovella. Q dresses up as Scarlett O’Hara and swaps everyone’s gender. Worf becomes enraged when he hears Enterprise kids are going “as Worf” for Halloween. Geordi and Data’s staring contest is finally declared a stalemate.
These scenarios are just a bit too silly to be real plots on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). But you can read these and more on a parody Twitter account, @tng_s8.
Who’s behind this hilarious series of tweets? We’d tell you if we could. But when the Daily Dot reached out to the author, an aspiring comedy writer in Los Angeles, he asked not to be named.
“I love the tweets just for what they are, and I never want them to come off as seeming like they’re used to further my career,” he told us. “Plus, it adds jokes to think it’s coming from some mystical 90s production of the show.”
The 30-year-old author describes himself as somebody who works in the TV comedy industry who “hasn’t gotten his big break yet,” but said his tweets aren’t meant to be a professional effort. In fact, he has five different anonymous Twitter accounts, all efforts in practicing comedy, but none tied to his name.
@tng_s8 is his love letter to the science-fiction show he’s been watching since childhood.
“Every time I watch it is like wrapping myself in a big Geordi and Data and Riker blanket,” he said. “I wish I could watch it again for the first time.”
Actually, it’s more like his third time seeing the show. He most recently re-watched all seven seasons with his wife, then his fiancée, last year. He was so inspired that he decided to write a TNG comedy screenplay.
“[The characters] weren’t like the characters on TNG, but more like a parody of them,” he said. “It was wish fulfillment. I wished I could write my own comedy season of TNG. It was just me, my wife, and a couple friends who read the script.”
The author conceded that the script “didn’t ignite the imagination” unless the reader was a diehard TNG fan. Since the script wasn’t ready to submit for TV, he created @tng_s8 instead in October 2011, to make his wife and friends laugh. Just a few days later, he wasn’t writing just for them.
“At first I had 15 followers and thought that was amazing,” he said. “I had 400 a couple days later and thought, ‘I’ve made it.’ At work, I said, ‘Look at me, I’ve got 400 followers. I’m basically the king of Twitter right now.
“Then we went into a meeting. I had my phone set up to make a little chirp sound whenever I had a new follower, thinking it would just be one or two more. But my phone kept chirping. In the middle of the meeting, I checked and I had 3,000 followers. My pupils completely dilated. I had to interrupt the meeting and say, ‘I have 3,000 followers!’ The meeting was totally derailed.”
Today, the account has 51,000 followers and even its own subreddit—or section—on social news site Reddit, r/tng_s8. The author, who is an active redditor, couldn’t be happier.
“The way the fan community responded to this makes my life. It’s the most positive experience I’ve ever had on the Internet.”
The account holder often gets submissions from fans with their own scenarios for TNG Season 8. Though it pains him, he has only retweeted one submission since starting the account, a fan illustration by cartoonist John Allison. However, he said, he’s made a commitment to make the account about the jokes—not about the person behind them.
“I wish I could have more back and forth with readers. When people write me funny stuff, it absolutely makes my day and I wish I hadn’t set up this paradigm. But when I go to a comedy feed like @drunkhulk, I want to see what they’re putting out, not retweets.”
The author goes to a lot of trouble to keep from “disappointing” his fans. He said he tries to deliver at least one tweet a week, but sometimes it may take the whole week to think of it. Other times, it comes to him in a 30-second burst of inspiration.
In the future, the author hopes to move from tweets to TV. Given the popularity of his Twitter account, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
“The characters I’m creating are moving away from the actual characters on the show,” he said. “I would like to make TNG Season 8 in some form, even if it’s not in the Star Trek universe.”
But as always, it’s less about his career, and more about his love of Star Trek.
“Every tweet I write, it’s like getting to see a new episode,” he said. “So I’m going to keep doing it.”
Photo via @tng_s8