Riker sitting down


Jonathan Frakes Admits Star Trek: The Original Series Is Better Than TNG In One Way

In Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross’ “The Fifty-Year Mission,” actor Jonathan Frakes wished that “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had given him more interesting dialogue.

Frakes found the dialogue in “TNG” lacking when compared to “Star Trek: The Original Series.” In his opinion, the main trio in the first show simply had better banter.

“I only wish we'd found a way to have the irony and tongue-in-cheek banter of the triumvirate of the original,” said Frakes. “Picard, Data, and Riker should have that.”

“TNG” Season 1 is considered the worst of the series, but subsequent seasons were better received. The joke is that the show's quality is correlated to the length of Frakes' beard.

In Season 1, the actor was clean shaven but, in later seasons, he maintained a well-trimmed beard. Fans labeled “TNG’s” narrative improvement “growing the beard” in his honor.

The trope, which is basically the opposite of “jumping the shark,” is still used to mark the exact moment when a project gets markedly better. It's no wonder Frakes rarely shaves.