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Terrible Movies Star Trek: The Next Generation Actors Hope You Forget About

For seven seasons the ensemble cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" dazzled audiences with tales of time travel, space adventure, and alien diplomacy. Led by British actor Patrick Stewart, the cast included a group of mostly unknown actors, including perpetual TV guest stars like Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn. The series turned them all into bonafide TV stars though, adorning the covers of magazines and making them recognizable household names.

But outside of "Star Trek," many in the cast have struggled to find long-lasting success. Frakes parlayed his role as Commander Riker into a long career as a director, and of course Patrick Stewart became just as well known as "X-Men" leader Charles Xavier as he is for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard. But dig deep and you'll find every cast member of "The Next Generation" has at least one role they'd like to undo; a disastrous movie they wish they could erase. Even star Stewart, a highly regarded actor with a number of acclaimed films under his belt outside of "Star Trek," was not immune. 

Here are some terrible films that the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" starred in, and would probably like you to forget.

The Deep Below

Five years after his final appearance as Commander Worf in "Star Trek: Nemesis," actor Michael Dorn's roles in film may have been slim pickings. While he was having plenty of success on TV doing voicework for kids' cartoons like "Justice League," "Danny Phantom," and "Duck Dodgers," movies were a bit more hard to come by. His desire to stay in front of the camera may be why he took a part in the 2005 no-budget film "The Deep Below," because unless it was a favor for a friend, we can't figure out why the well-respected, hardworking Dorn would sink so low.

The film, ostensibly a psychological thriller, sees a young man in search of money stolen in a bank robbery, with Dorn playing a master criminal also searching for the misbegotten loot. An atrocious picture, it's a movie that looks like it was shot on a camcorder over a single weekend. But what makes it even more fascinating for Trekkies is an appearance by Marina Sirtis, who inexplicably tries to pull off a southern accent. Now, we love Ms. Sirtis — and Mr. Dorn as well — but this is one movie that's only good if you want to have a late night laugh at two of your favorite "Next Generation" stars. 

Terminal Error

It seemed in the '90s and early 2000s that if an indie studio was assembling a low-budget sci-fi movie, they'd cast a "Star Trek" alum to bring it some geek cred. Such may have been the case with 1997's "Terminal Error," a thankfully forgotten 2002 film billed as a science-fiction thriller. Its cast includes such big names (and yes, we use the term sarcastically) as Timothy Busfield, Michael Nouri, Matthew Ewald, and Marina Sirtis.

In the movie, a disaster at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine is traced to the activities of an embittered former employee of a major tech firm. Fired years before by his boss Brad Weston, elite hacker Elliott Nescher (Busfield) has gone mad with revenge, and soon uses Weston's own son to strike back. But his computer program has a mind of its own, and threatens to spark nuclear Armageddon. 

It sounds like a premise that could have made for an interesting thriller in the right hands, which may have been what convinced Sirtis to sign on. But with a criminally low budget that shows on screen — and a lead actor who seems to have filmed all his scenes in an afternoon at his computer — it's a groan-worthy clunker that doesn't even stand up to your average Saturday afternoon movie of the week. No need to dig this one out of the dustbin, as you may even struggle to make it through the trailer.

The Cover Girl and the Cop

If you want to see Commander Riker before the beard, you don't need to look far. Before Jonathan Frakes was cast as Picard's Number One in "The Next Generation," the actor had appeared in a slew of TV shows, from "Matlock" to "Falcon Crest" to "Hill Street Blues." Most of his TV guest spots were on well-regarded, highly rated series, but he's not without his awful efforts too. Chief among them the television movie "The Cover Girl and the Cop."

A hip police comedy released in 1989 during the second season of "The Next Generation," it features "Empty Nest" star Dinah Manoff as a female police officer who never gets assigned to the exciting cases. But when she's tasked with protecting a supermodel who witnessed a major murder, she has a chance to finally get the big bust she's been waiting for. Frakes stars as Joshua Boyleston, the model's dashing friend, but frankly, we weren't able to sit through the entirety of the film to find out anything more about him.

High on '80s crime clichés but low on actual laughs, even the glorious '80s fashion and big hair can't make this worth watching. But if there's any reason to check it out, it's "Star Trek: Voyager" star Robert Picardo, who pops up — in an intentionally terrible toupee — as an undercover cop's chauvinistic cocaine-snorting date. No, we're not making that up.

Midnight Man

Since starring as android Commander Data on "TNG," actor Brent Spiner has had a long a varied career, performing voice work for animation and making guest appearances on such like "The Blacklist," "Ray Donovan," and "Warehouse 13" before his return to "Trek" in 2020 for "Star Trek: Picard."

One of his worst missteps, however, was as recent as 2016, when he co-starred in the downright awful direct-to-DVD action thriller "Midnight Man." The film also stars Vinnie Jones and William Forsythe, and was even promoted on StarTrek.com upon its release. But make no mistake, this is a movie Spiner would probably like you to forget — an unexciting, low-budget action movie with the worst B-movie performances that fails at everything it attempts — even the tried-and-true crime thriller clichés that should have been easy to pull off. Don't believe us? See for yourself.

The film centers on a skilled assassin unable to feel pain who ... can suddenly feel pain. Somehow it's supposed to be high stakes, because he is now like everyone else. The real pain, however, is the movie itself. Spiner is the villain, and he's patently ridiculous in the role, in a ham-fisted kind of way. But with other, better work even at the time, we're forced to wonder why he bothered.


It's pretty hard to believe now, but there was a time when even Patrick Stewart struggled to find good work in Hollywood. And we're not just talking about his years before arriving in Los Angeles to join the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." After the series concluded, in between "Next Gen" films, Stewart had a rough time with TV movie flops like "Death Train" and "Safe House," but easily his worst effort was the 1997 family film "Masterminds."

What's the story here? It's one we've seen a thousand times before: a teen computer wiz must save the day against a madman who threatens him and his friends. A totally forgettable kids caper, Stewart stars as the villain, a British criminal mastermind looking for millions. It sounds like a nice role for the actor, an unexpected turn after playing the noble Picard for so long. But here, the powerful Patrick Stewart is lowered to matching wits with a pair of pre-teens, proving himself only an inept and bumbling baddie. Frankly, we can imagine the actor walking onto the set and desperately wishing he could order Warp 9 and get the hell out of there.

Receiving a miserable 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's probably best this one was quickly forgotten. But we have to admit, seeing Stewart playing a comically over-the-top, mustache-twirling, cartoonish super-villain (complete with the mustache) and calling a 12 year old a "little s***" are definitely highlights worth watching. 

Yesterday's Target

LeVar Burton was one of the only actors cast on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" who'd already had a successful career in Hollywood before the sci-fi revival launched. Starring on the groundbreaking TV miniseries "Roots" in 1977, he'd also been the host of "Reading Rainbow" for four years when he snagged the role of blind helmsman Geordi LaForge. Even after "TNG" ended, he'd continue as "Rainbow" host for more than a decade, so you might think Burton would have never had to resort to the kinds of other low-budget fare as his castmates. Well, you'd be wrong.

The same year that "Star Trek: First Contact" hit theaters, Burton would star in the laughably bad action movie "Yesterday's Target." An indie time travel movie that hoped Burton's involvement might lend it some credibility with sci-fi fans, it's really just another low budget cheese-fest, a poorly produced story of a man sent back in time to save the future. Burton — one of the nicest guys in Hollywood — is somehow cast as the cruel and sadistic villain, opposite Daniel, the forgotten Baldwin brother.

There are some other elements to the movie, like psycho-kinetic powers and a deadly plot by Burton's character to do something or other. But it's just a bunch of overwrought nonsense that feels like a middle schooler wrote it thinking it was going to blow somebody's mind. Though he gets to point a gun and shout some cool action lines, Burton should have stuck to pre-school books — they have more interesting stories.

Mutant Species

Denise Crosby was nearly cast as Counselor Troi before producers decided to swap her and Marina Sirtis' characters, and she became Tasha Yar, the franchise's first female security chief (per StarTrek.com). Famously, though, the actress was unhappy with her relatively minor role in the first half of the show's first season, and she unexpectedly requested out of her contract. It was in hindsight the wrong move, as the show went on to critical acclaim and seven successful seasons, but at the time it made sense. Unfortunately, Crosby's post-"TNG" career didn't pan out quite the way she'd hoped.

After a string of flops, Crosby was by the mid-'90s relegated to low-budget sci-fi horror movies. Case in point, the 1995 B-movie "Mutant Species," a movie that plays off of every sci-fi monster trope you've seen before (and usually done better, even in other B-movies). Written and directed by garage filmmaker David Prior ("Deadly Prey"), the movie sees a military soldier experimented on and turned into a perfect mutant hunter, amounting to a ridiculous and unconvincing giant rubber suit.

Though it's certainly not the only awful sci-fi effort on Crosby's resume, it might be her most infamous, as it proved so bad that it made it onto RedLetterMedia's "Best of the Worst" movie review series. Once seen by their millions of subscribers, renewed attention was suddenly paid to this forgotten flop (per Bulletproof Action).

Theodore Rex

Now here's a movie we know for a fact the star wants us to forget, because she's said so many times. Star Whoopi Goldberg, the Oscar-winning actress who played the mysterious other-worldly bartender Guinan on "The Next Generation," didn't actually want to make the movie, even suing the studio in an attempt to get out of her contract (per The Los Angeles Times). But despite securing a better payday, Goldberg was forced to follow through and star in the infamously terrible 1995 kids comedy "Theodore Rex."

The movie is set in a bizarre alternate world where anthropomorphic dinosaurs and people live side-by-side. We're already off to a rocky start, but strap in, because it only gets worse from here. The story kicks off when a disgruntled detective (Goldberg) is reluctantly partnered with a dinosaur lawman to investigate a series of dino deaths. They soon uncover a sinister plot to bring about a new ice age, masterminded by an evil scientist. 

If it sounds silly, well, that's by design; it is a kid's movie after all. But the writers also tried to infuse it with misguided attempts at social commentary and references to gritty crime dramas. Of course, the mix didn't work at all, and Goldberg has gone on record more than once saying that she wishes it had never been made. As recently as 2021, while appearing as host of "The View," she again addressed the infamous film, noting it as a career low point (per NYCscribe).

The Temp

Throughout the 1980s, actor Dwight Schultz was best known for his role as the wild, unstable "Howling Mad" Murdoch on the hit action series "The A-Team." In 1990, Schultz would join "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in the series' third season as recurring character Reginald Barclay, a quirky, socially awkward, neurotic lieutenant who struggles to fit in. He'd re-appear on the show four more times, with three episodes centering on his character. 

But before he was ever involved with "Star Trek" he starred in a psychological thriller titled "The Temp." A stinker that was clearly trying to evoke shades of "Single White Female" or "Fatal Attraction," the film sees Lara Flynn Boyle ("Twin Peaks") playing a devious and cunning woman who steals secrets from an ambitious executive she's seduced and framed for corporate espionage. 

Schultz appears in a sizable role, but it's one he probably regrets, as the film is a cringe-worthy copy of other, better thrillers. Though it's not the worst concept, it all just comes off a cheesy flick that relies on titillation and even a few horror clichés. Some battle-of-the-sexes nonsense and ill-advised political commentary are the cherry on top of the sleaze sundae. But if you like that sort of thing, perhaps it would make a decent guilty pleasure.


In the years between "Star Trek: The Next Generation" airing its finale and taking on the role of Charles Xavier in Bryan Singer's "X-Men" films, star Patrick Stewart had more than one dud. In addition to "Masterminds" and "Death Train," there was "Gunmen," a film that was his first big screen project after "TNG." Though he didn't get star billing — which instead went to early '90s action B-listers Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lambert — Stewart took the role of the villain, and not the silly kind this time.

The film concerns Loomis, a wheelchair-bound South American drug kingpin (Stewart) who's had his people stash away some $400 million in a secret location. But when the only man left who knows where it is winds up in prison, a bounty hunter (Van Peebles) teams up with the hardened criminal to get to it before Loomis' own men can. Denis Leary plays Stewart's snarky henchman Armor O'Malley (groan), in what might have been a decent action movie on paper, but which winds up a laughable B-movie up on the screen.

The stunts are lame, the action disappointing, and the performances of its cast are unintentionally funny. Yes, even Sir Patrick Stewart. Emanuel Levy of Variety called it a "vacuous actioner" that's "mindlessly cartoonish."

Call to Danger

Actress Diana Muldaur has the distinction of appearing on both the original "Star Trek" series and in "The Next Generation." She played two different characters in a pair of original series episodes, while she played Dr. Katherine Pulaski in Season 2 of "TNG." Though she'd only ever be credited as a special guest star, she appeared in just about every episode that season. But in between appearing in the two generations of "Trek," Muldaur had roles in a number of television shows, from "Murder She Wrote" to "The Love Boat" to "Charlie's Angels." 

But there's one movie that stands out in her filmography that the actress would probably want us to ignore: the 1973 television movie "Call to Danger." The telefilm stars Peter Graves as a government agent who enlists the aid of a computer genius to help him in his latest mission, to rescue the federal witness needed in a big mafia case who's been abducted and held in a secure location. A flat and unexciting spy story, it offers few thrills, chills, or spills, and it comes across as a pale imitation of something better — because that's exactly what it was.

Originally intended as a pilot for its own series, it was produced when "Mission: Impossible" was ending, as a possible next project for Graves (per The Spy Command). And that's the problem — it's little more than an "MI" knockoff, and not a very good one. Thankfully, we were spared it becoming a series, though we're sure Muldaur wouldn't have minded the steady paycheck she'd have gotten as a series regular.

The Omega Syndrome

Though he might be more identified with "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," where he was a series regular, actor Colm Meaney made his first "Trek" appearance in the "TNG" premiere, "Encounter at Farpoint." Over the next five seasons, his character Miles O'Brien appeared in a whopping 51 episodes, making him nearly as recognizable as anyone in the main cast. In 1993 he'd make the switch to "DS9" and star there for a full seven seasons. 

But way back in 1986, just before he'd board "TNG," the Irish actor appeared in one of the most pathetic horror movies of the decade, "The Omega Syndrome." A cheaply-made action movie with surprisingly little action, it's about a group of white supremacists who kidnap a young woman for mysterious purposes. Meaney plays a bomb-maker named Sean who, while not exactly aligned with their racist philosophies, is nonetheless willing to take their money, just happy to be working.

Like his character, we suspect that Meaney — who had yet to land his career-defining role as Miles O'Brien — may not have loved the material, but he was more than willing to take their money, just happy to be working.


The First Lady of "Star Trek," actress Majel Barrett was one of the first actors ever cast in the franchise, appearing as Number One in the original pilot episode "The Cage." She'd play Nurse Chapel on the eventual series, and would return 20 years later on "The Next Generation" as Lwaxana Troi. The mother of Counselor Deanna Troi, she'd turn up in six episodes of "The Next Generation," usually lusting after Captain Picard

But despite eventually marrying "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, becoming Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the actress had a number of other roles in television and film. Though few were particularly memorable, one stands out as a film the late actress would probably want scrubbed from her filmography if she could. The 1995 horror thriller "Mommy" used stunt casting to put former "Bad Seed" actress Patty McCormack into the role of a Mrs. Sterling, a mother whose dangerous obsession with her daughter eventually leads to murder. Ms. Barrett-Roddenberry starred as Mrs. Withers, the little girl's teacher who draws Mrs. Sterling's wrath when she awards a school prize to another student.

Awful acting, cringe-inducing dialogue, and soap opera levels of melodrama turn "Mommy" from what might have been a solid successor to "Bad Seed" into pure schlock.


If you thought Denise Crosby's poor movie choices after leaving "The Next Generation" were the low point in her career, think again. Even before "Star Trek" the actress already had a handful of terrible movies under her belt, including the 1986 sci-fi feature "Eliminators."

The film tells the story of the Mandroid, which honestly should have been the title of the movie. He's a kind of robot centaur, a man with a tank for legs — yes, you read that correctly — who has been sent back and forth through time by his evil creator, Dr. Reeves. But when the Mandroid is to be dismantled, he escapes and finds allies to help him thwart Reeves' diabolical plans. His new friends include Colonel Nora Hunter (Crosby), her flying robot dog S.P.O.T., and a deadly ninja. Yeah, it's just that nuts and every bit as awful as it sounds, with laughable story beats, nonsensical characters, and stunningly bad performances. 

What makes "Eliminators" unique, however, is that it's a PG family film. But with no budget to speak of, the bloodless nature takes away any fun it might have otherwise had. The movie also seems to be keenly aware of how just bad it is, with one character asking, in a nearly fourth-wall-breaking moment, "What is this anyway ... some kinda g****** comic book?" Such jokes might work if the script, acting, and effects were better, but here it just feels like a knowing wink from the filmmakers that says, "Yeah, you wasted your money renting this one."