SFX Issue 80

July 2001

News:

Star Trek Enterprise

The rumours have been proven correct!

The title and premise of the fifth Star Trek series has been officially revealed. It is, despite constant denials from the producers and as rumours suggested, a prequel show named Star Trek: Enterprise .

Set a few decades after Zephram Cochrane’s first warp-powered flight, Enterprise takes us “…back to where it all began”, according to the tagline – about 100 years from now and 150 years before the original series.

“You’ll see the first guys who go out into space, the Chuck Yeagers of space exploration,” said Berman in an interview. “Fans will see all the things they recognise from Star Trek , but in the developmental phase.”

In charge of this new vessel is Captain Jonathan Archer, a man who is: “a physical and intensely curious captain with a bold personality. Although he is a bit of a renegade and is not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he is right.” Archer will be played by Scott Bakula, best known to SF fans as Dr Samuel Beckett from Quantum Leap , a role which gained him an Emmy nomination.

“Obviously, I love the genre and am a long-time fan of Star Trek . I am also thrilled to be working on a TV series again with Kerry McCluggage and Garry Hart [both bigshots at Paramount] a relationship that dates back to 1988 with Quantum Leap ,” said Bakula.

The incredibly gorgeous Jolene Blalock co-stars as sub-commander T’Pol, a Vulcan. She was rumoured originally to be called T’Pau, the name of the female Vulcan leader from the original series’ “Amok Time”. Whether this was the case or not is now a mystery.

They are joined by a cast of relatively unknown actors – John “ The Others ” Billingsley as the ship’s alien doctor Phlox, Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato, a linguistics expert; Anthony Montgomery as Lt Joe Merryweather; Dominic Keating as Lt Cmdr Malcolm Reed; and Connor Trinneer as Cmdr Charlie Tucker.

You may have noticed that the presence of a linguist suggests the fact that there’ll be no universal translator. In fact, all the tech is significantly less advanced than that seen in any of the Star Trek shows so far. Warp power is still relatively new, while transporter technology is brand new and, although proven, no-one really trusts it. We’ll also see a move away from touch screen controls to toggles and switches that actually need pressing.

“The controls inside the ship look like the kind of controls we’ve seen on videos from inside the space shuttle and the new space station,” said Tom Nunan, president of entertainment at UPN. He also added that the uniforms will be NASA-like in appearance. Rumour describes them as navy blue jumpsuits with black turtlenecks underneath. Coloured piping along the yoke denotes rank and function on the ship. They also have shoulder patches with the insignia of the ship.A further tidbit suggests the sets for the bridge will be tan in colour.

The series will premiere with a two-hour pilot entitled “Broken Bow” which allegedly sees humanity’s first contact with the Klingons. TrekSpy, reporting from a shoot near Redondo Beach, LA, tells us that the show opens in true retro-fashion with a shot of green-skinned Orion slave girls. They have been given a modern twist however, as they will be seen to snatch beautiful CGI’d butterflies from the air with their tongues.

Although many fans feel that this new take on the show will revitalise Trek ’s flagging fortunes, some are not happy. Among them is Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who reportedly feels that they are now beginning to meddle with Gene Roddenberry’s stories and his vision. She also pointed out that Spock was supposed to be the first Vulcan in Starfleet.

“The formula must evolve,” counters Braga. “Part of what’s appealing about Star Trek is that people are better. But there have been some attempts to alter that with Deep Space Nine and Voyager , arguably darker shows. Was that a mistake? Might have been. Do you just want to go back to the Next Generation formula? No way. We need a show that gives us everything.”

“The next season will bring a bending of the rules, without losing Roddenberry’s vision of a hopeful, uplifting future.” Berman said reassuringly. “The Roddenberry perfection of humanity is in the process of happening, but will not be completed when the series begins. That will enable us to do a show within the general umbrella of Star Trek , but eliminate some of the stumbling blocks.”

Star Trek: Enterprise will screen in the US this Autumn.