Wil Wheaton has a new project and it’s called – what else? – The Wil Wheaton Project. The show debuted a couple of weeks back on Syfy and airs on Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET/PT. For a half-hour, Wheaton cracks wise about the previous week’s genre films and shows; think The Soup with a geek twist. The show is holding its own in the ratings, though everyone involved hopes more people will check it out live. StarTrek.com caught up with Wheaton last week for an entertaining conversation, one that included a Star Trek: The Next Generation speed round. Here’s what he had to say:
WHEATON: Yeah, I am. I get to enjoy it on a bunch of levels. I get to enjoy it when I’m writing the show, working with the writers and producers. Then I get to enjoy performing it. Then I get to enjoy seeing how the audience reacts and sharing that experience with the audience. So I’m getting to have a bunch of fun in a bunch of different ways.
What’s your sense so far of how the home audience likes the show? And how is that translating in terms of ratings?
WHEATON: So far the audience loves it. The critical response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our audience numbers are growing with every repeat. Somebody at the network told me that our Friday night at 11 p.m. repeat actually got the highest numbers of already pretty decent numbers in our opening week. That says people are talking about the show, that they’re hearing about it from friends, that they’re seeing the clips we’re sharing online. People are starting to look for it.
Have you heard yet from Brannon Braga, since you seem to give Salem some pretty hard ribbing? The sex and violence montage was laugh-out-loud funny…
WHEATON: (Laughs). I’m glad you liked it. But no, I’ve not heard from Brannon. If there’s a show we straight-up hate, we just don’t talk about it. Teasing shows is really fun for us and it means we appreciate the show, plus teasing shows and movies is the foundation of The Wil Wheaton Project. Anyone who is involved with a popular show, I don’t think they’re going to be too concerned with our jokes.
You had a year to gear up for the show, but what’s it like now to do it on a weekly basis?
WHEATON: It’s tough. It would be a lot easier if we aired on Wednesdays instead of Tuesdays because we have to go into the room super-early in the morning on Monday and write about what happened over the weekend. Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, The Walking Dead and Orphan Black are all weekend shows, plus all sorts of things are happening with movie openings over the weekend. So we have to anticipate, “OK, we may get to do something about this movie” or “Based on this show’s trailer for what’s happening next, we expect something like this is going to happen, so maybe we can do this kind of joke or that kind of joke.” But it’s tough. We lock almost all of our scripts down on Friday and then we have about three hours on Monday morning to put together our first act.
How ready are you for a couple of more months of this and, if the Syfy gods smile on you, possibly a few more years?
WHEATON: At the moment, I’m just trying to get through one week at a time and do the best show that we can do. If I get the opportunity and the privilege to do more of this, then I will be super-super-happy because I’m having such an incredibly good time with the people that I get to work with on this show.
Let’s hit some other subjects since we’ve got you on the line. Wil Wheaton on The Big Bang Theory is a little bit less of a jerk than when we first met him, wouldn’t you agree?
WHEATON: Absolutely. While I miss being super-villainous, I enjoy getting to have more interactions with those characters. And the interactions get to be more varied than they were originally.
Time for the Star Trek speed round. You ready?
WHEATON: Yeah, go.
Best Wesley episode?
WHEATON: The one with Picard and Wesley in the cave. I think it’s “Final Mission.”
Worst Wesley episode?
WHEATON: “The Naked Now.”
Could you still fit into one of Wesley’s sweaters?
WHEATON: Yes, I can. There’s actually a picture of me on the Internet, and I’m wearing one of Wesley’s really hideous brown sweaters. Someone brought it to me at a convention, so I put it on. I made one of those “Then and New” pictures, and you have my permission to reprint it on StarTrek.com.
If you could have played any other Trek character in any other Trek show or film, whom would you have played and why?
WHEATON: That’s a good question. It’s a tough one to answer because the decision is going to be informed by how I reacted to the actor who created that role. And if I’d played that role, it would probably have been a very different role than the way that it came out. But… I think it would have been really cool to have been Captain Kirk because… he’s f—king Captain Kirk, man!
Let’s bring it full circle to close the conversation. Will we see anything Star Trek-related on The Wil Wheaton Project?
WHEATON: Probably. If The Wil Wheaton Project is still on the air when the next movie comes out or when The Next Generation has one of its big milestones, that would definitely be something we’d get to on the show. It just has to be timely. I don’t want to do something just to do something. There’s already so much that we want to cover that’s timely and relevant that we can’t. Things get elbowed out. But when the time comes, I could probably pull a few strings to make sure that maybe Star Trek gets a little preferential treatment. But don’t tell any of the other shows I said that.