Avery Brooks Blacklisted?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by ichab, Aug 17, 2021.

  1. Scionz

    Scionz Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 5, 2020
    I came away from that interview honestly wondering if Brooks had early onset dementia or something. I had to watch some ~2013 convention appearances to see that was not the case. I think he was basically trolling Shatner. And I do think I understand why.

    I think Brooks is part of the group of people who never really "got" Star Trek, except he is unique in being an actor drafted into the lead show of one. Star Trek can be silly, and even on DS9, many moments of dramatic tension were solved with technobabble, that was followed by people pressing buttons or wiring a piece of technology. The actors who got most into Trek were ones that didn't take themselves too seriously, and ones who loved (or came to love) science fiction and the possibilities it opened. I think Jonathan Frakes is a good example of that.

    Never Avery Brooks though. His favorite episodes were all the most dramatic ones involving racial issues or characters, rather than a scenario. Science fiction provided the conduit to explore it, and then old fashioned acting did the rest. And that's fine! But it's also like 5% of DS9. Because he was a pro he delivered every line about the Dominion and Dukat with intensity, but did he ever care about the story? I doubt it. It's fantasy and I don't think he does fantasy in that respect. Which is why when it was over for him in 1999, it was truly over. No inkling to revist the world. No inling to even talk about it either. He had no attachment to stories about people pressing buttons to solve weird stuff in space.

    So he hasn't gone to a convention in years. He almost never grants interviews about DS9, figuring he said all there is to say. He wouldn't even give a few hours of an afternoon for the definitive DS9 Documentary (though he supported it) to just say some things, even if they had been a repeat of it before. I also do wonder if Cryptic even bothered to approach him for Star Trek Online, given they've gotten everyone else from DS9 except Brooks, Meany and deBoer.

    And then he does that Shatner interview, and starts acting strange. I absolutely think it's a "my house, my show" moment. He's spent 15 years talking Trek in other people's rooms, on other people's terms... and then and there he gets to do what he wants with it, and he just goes.

    I don't think it makes him a bad guy, or even disrespectful. The massive fandom and extracurricular legacy of Trek isn't for everyone and over the next 40 years you'll probably be able to count the number of convention appearances Chris Pine ever makes on one hand. Brooks is hooked into it inextricably at this point. I don't think he resents it. But I also think he doesn't particularly care for it. It's not part of his everyday life, like it say, some of the TNG actors who tweet something Star Trek adjacent every day.

    As it is, I think having the aloof Mr. Brooks is a small price to pay for getting the legendary, irreplaceable, Captain Sisko.
    Musōka, anti-matter, Galaxy and 2 others like this.
  2. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

    Sep 7, 2020
    Well said. Avery Brooks has brought to life two wonderfully iconic characters on television (Hawk and Sisko), and if he has his quirks, I say he's earned the right.
  3. Dar70

    Dar70 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 12, 2001
    Well said. He did a great job in DS9 and that all that matters. There is no need for him to talk about it or even like it.
    fireproof78 and Scionz like this.
  4. Mister Spock

    Mister Spock Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 24, 2013
    North London, England
    Ultimately, Brooks doesn't owe us anything. He just strikes me as a harmless kook who is very, very passionate about his interests. Whatever he's up to now, I hope he's healthy and enjoying the company of his loved ones.
  5. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 7, 2011
    Aye, I'm sure his eccentricities and firm believes could make him tough to work with, but he's by no means the only Star Trek lead to have had that problem.

    I could also see why, if he'd built up a reputation, it could cause roles to dry up to the point he feels he's been blacklisted. Especially compared to Stewart and Mulgrew with some high profile roles under their belts.

    If there's a wider issue, it could come from wondering why Shatner's reputation for being tough to work with never slowed down his career much, but for Brooks it did.
  6. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

    Sep 7, 2020
    All five of the pre-2005 captains have done multiple successful TV series...

    William Shatner - Star Trek, TJ Hooker, and Boston Legal
    Patrick Stewart - TNG and Picard
    Avery Brooks - Spenser For Hire and DS9
    Kate Mulgrew - Ryan's Hope, VOY, and Orange is the New Black
    Scott Bakula - Quantum Leap, ENT, and NCIS New Orleans
  7. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 2, 2017
    Avery Brooks played my favorite STAR TREK captain. I saw his documentary with Shatner, and while it seems like he's out there, it's his prerogative.

    I have seen his panels durung DragonCon appearances, and he is a very intelligent, insightful man. I would have loved to be in one of his classes while he was teaching.

    If he feels he doesn't need to be out there for everyone, it's his right.

    I simply feel really lucky that I got to get his autographs and have a conversation with him. One of my favorite moments of meeting any of the actors was watching his beaming smile when I told him he was my favorite because of his portrayal of such a great dad. It was priceless, and I'll always remember that.
  8. Agony_Boothb

    Agony_Boothb Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 3, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    I think it's completely unfair to say that Brooks didn't understand Trek, or didn't care about the story because he absolutely did. The reason he chose to accept the role of Sisko was because of how socially progressive Star Trek was. Trek at it's core isn't about the technobabble or people in funny make up pretending to be aliens, or 'weird people pushing buttons' it's about the human condition and the human experience and using science fiction to explore them.

    Deep space nine was fundamentally the story of a man coping with great loss, trying to rebuild his life while raising his son and suddenly becoming a messiah to an alien culture who were also coping with great loss and trying to rebuild their lives. There are obvious allusions between the black struggle and the bajoran struggle that Brooks was drawn to. In that core story of DS9 Brooks was fully 100% invested. Who cares if Brooks thought the dominion or the technobabble or whatever was silly, all of that was secondary and tertiary to the story of Sisko. Brooks was also passionate enough about DS9 to direct multiple episodes, something he probably wouldn't have done if he didn't care.

    Like others have said, Brooks does not owe the fanbase anything. He's said everything he wants to say about Trek and has moved on. That doesn't make him 'aloof' or mean that he doesn't particularly care for trek. Brooks probably doesn't want to spend time talking about Spencer for Hire either. Brooks is an eccentric and esoteric man and I think he would probably just rather talk more about being a teacher or his music or African art or whatever hundred other eclectic interests that he has and less about a tv show he did 22 years ago.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  9. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    We all have our ways.
    I’m sure many would say a little of me goes a long way…;)
    XCV330 likes this.
  10. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    Creative people can be (maybe OUGHT to be) a challenge to work with and together, and sometimes their interests change. If there was someone making old-boy-network phone calls to wreck Avery Brook's career I am glad it didn't work. He delivered consistently the best acting performance in 50+ years of the franchise. To paraphrase another poster above, he has nothing to apologize for.

    And if we add on the new live actions, removing Picard obviously
    Sonequa Martin-Green: The Walking Dead, DISCO
    Anson Mount: Hell on Wheels, DISCO, SNW
  11. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

    Jul 24, 2020
    Dawnn Lewis: A Different World, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Lower Decks
  12. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

    Aug 3, 2014
    Gee, sorry, Leonard. Sorry, Patrick. Sorry, Brent. Sorry, Nana.
    ThreeEdgedSword likes this.
  13. SurvivorJoe

    SurvivorJoe Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Apr 10, 2007
    I recall an interview with Michael Dorn where he was asked about how different it was being on DS9 than TNG (I'm sorry, I can't recall where or when this interview is from), and his response was that DS9 was a much more serious set than TNG, and he attributed that to the "leading man setting the tone" on set, and said Avery Brooks simply wasn't as "playful" and lighthearted as Patrick Stewart was. I didn't interpret that in a negative way, just that it sounds like Avery Brooks was much more of a "let's get down to business" type personality.
    kkt likes this.
  14. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

    Sep 7, 2020
    I believe it. The Voyager documentary said that once that had the part of Janeway satisfactorily cast (i.e. Bujold out and Mulgrew in), the production really started to come together.
  15. Vale

    Vale Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 2, 2021
    Which is interesting given the stories about Patrick Stewart early on being quite serious and humourless (Brent Spiner's infamous "I am appalled!" convention story, etc), before lightening up. I kind of get the feeling that while Stewart was the show's leading man, he wasn't the head of the TNG acting company, as it were.

    I'm also remembering Marina Sirtis referring to Deep Space Nine's set as "Deep Sleep Nine", which if it really was much more serious than the TNG set works as rather more than just a play on words...
  16. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 1, 2021
    If Avery Brooks were racist (and racism takes many forms and can express itself at various intensities), that wouldn't exactly be the most shocking revelation in the entertainment industry. I say this not because I know of any prejudice demonstrated by Avery Brooks, but because there have been far worse truths uncovered in relation to more prolific/respected actors.
  17. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

    Aug 3, 2014
    I thought she was just trying to badmouth DS9 in any way she could think of and a not very clever pun was the best she could do.
  18. Michael

    Michael [ˈmɪçaːʔeːl] Moderator

    Jul 10, 2007
    Aloha Quadrant
    What the fuck are you even talking about? The man practically dedicated his life to fighting racism and celebrating Black American Culture. What kind of a wild imagination would someone have to possess in order to conjure up even an inkling of racism in Avery Brooks? :confused:
  19. JeffOakland

    JeffOakland Ensign Red Shirt

    Nov 27, 2019
    If he really was blacklisted, it would be a huge scandal in the Star Trek community.
  20. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 1, 2021
    How many times have actors (or celebrities in general, including athletes) who were praised for their civic-minded actions been outed as disreputable? Again, I'm not pinning anything to this man; I'm just not committed to defending anyone or automatically believing someone to be moral simply because their fame magnifies their image.