William Shatner appeared in dozens of episode of the original Star Trek, and the animated Star Trek series. He starred in seven Star Trek movies — including Star Trek Generations, where Captain Kirk met his successor as Captain of the Enterprise, Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart. Shatner even wrote several Star Trek novels.

But he’s never watched a single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Shatner made the startling omission during “Star Trek: The Captain’s Summit,” a special feature available on Star Trek DVD and Blu-ray collections. Recorded in 2009, the roundtable discussion brought together Shatner and Stewart and their respective first officers, Leonard Nimoy (Commander Spock) and Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) for a 70-minute chat about the history of the franchise, moderated by Whoopi Goldberg.

At one point in the discussion, the topic turns to the various movies that they all made, including the one Stewart and Shatner made together, Generations. Stewart starts to ask Shatner why he never appeared on The Next Generation TV series, even though several other members of the classic Trek cast like Nimoy, James Doohan, and DeForest Kelley all did guest spots on the show.

“So they never approached you?” Stewart asked.

And then Shatner drops this bomb:

“Patrick,” he says, “ I’m going to admit something to you. You’re my buddy, I love you, we’ve been together many times over the years. We’re really friends, and I’ve never told you this. I’ve never watched your show. I never saw a full episode of The Next Generation.

Star Trek Next Generation Honest Trailer
Paramount
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The whole room goes quiet for a brief moment. Frakes then jokes that it takes “huge balls” to admit such a thing on camera (on a Star Trek DVD special feature no less).

“Huge balls. Captain’s balls!” Stewart agrees.

Stewart warns Shatner he’s going to invite him over one night to watch an episode. (When Stewart mentions he has 178 to choose from, Shatner is stunned they did so many. “That’s 100 more than we did!” he exclaims.) Shatner then provides his defense for the slight: He doesn’t watch television. He also claimed he’d never seen Boston Legal, a show he starred on for five seasons.

Shatner then concedes there was “some reluctance, buried way deep” to watch the crew that replaced the original Star Trek cast, although he also said he was “newsaholic” who’s constantly watching news and sports instead of fiction shows.

At least one person on the roundtable wasn’t buying it.

“Bill, I love you, you’re my buddy, we’re very close to each other, and you’re lying,” said Nimoy. That got a huge laugh from everyone at the roundtable.

You can watch the full “Captain’s Summit” roundtable at this link. The key discussion about The Next Generation (and the fact that Shatner had never seen even a single episode) starts around 26 minutes in. (I suppose he might have watched some Next Generation since this roundtable was recorded. If so, I hope he enjoyed it.)

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