This fall, crewmembers of the Starship Enterprise
will boldly put their hands where no Star Trek hands have gone before
- in their pants.
Set in the 22nd century, about 150 years before the
events in the original 1960s Star Trek and about 100 years from now,
Enterprise will focus on the history of the galactic upheaval that leads
to the formation of the Federation. The fifth show in the ever-expanding Star
Trek universe will cover the pioneering days of space exploration, when interstellar
travel - and interstellar fashion - was in its infancy.
According to the official Trek page (www.startrek.com),
Next Generation vets Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner both visited the
set of the new Enterprise for a sneak peek and found something startling:
Star Trek uniforms with pockets. "Among other things," the site reported,
"the new uniforms are looser, are made with natural fibers, lack foot stirrups
and have zippers and pockets." A source on the Sci-Fi Channel's news site
also described the new uniforms as "navy blue jumpsuits with colored yokes
and shoulder piping and shoulder patches with the Enterprise logo."
Somewhere J. Michael Straczynski is laughing. Or calling
The two-hour premiere, tentatively scheduled for late
September, will focus on the first mission of the first starship to carry the
Enterprise name. Script rumors and reviews at Dark Horizons (www.darkhorizons.com)
report that the first episode, "Broken Bow," sees the Enterprise's
first crew quickly thrown together to return home a Klingon warrior who's crash-landed
on Earth. Directing "Broken Bow" is Trek vet James L. Conway,
who's helmed episodes of TNG, DS9 and Voyager.
Sitting in the big chair on board the new Enterprise
as Captain Jonathan Archer is Quantum Leap star Scott Bakula, who was
given a fair bit of creative control in return for joining the cast when Paramount
witnessed the groundswell of fan support at the rumors of his signing. In what
is being billed as a Scully/Mulder character dynamic, actress Jolene Blalock
will play Archer's Vulcan First Officer T'Pol. Blalock's previous credits include
the beautiful temptress Medea in NBC's 2000 mini-series Jason and the Argonauts.
The S.S. Enterprise's Medical Officer is Dr.
Phlox, an alien played by John Billingsley, who had a recurring role as Professor
Miles Ballard on the short-lived TV series The Others, and who has appeared
in single episodes of both Freakylinks ("Subject: Desert Squid!
Myth or Legend") and The X-Files ("Timmy the Geek").
Connor Tinneer, Another vet of shows like Freakylinks and Sliders,
will play Engineer Charlie "Spike" Tucker.
Actor Dominic Keating brings a fair amount of professional
credits to his role as weapons man Lt. Commander Malcom Reed, with both British
and French films on his resume and appearances on Poltergeist, Buffy
the Vampire Slayer, G vs. E, and even Special Unit 2, the
show that will follow Enterprise on UPN on Wednesday nights. Keating
also had a recurring role as Mallos in the dreadful Lorenzo Lamas vehicle The
Immortal, but in this case he and Enterprise producers Rick Berman
and Brannon Braga hope Trek fans are willing to forgive and forget.
Two relative newcomers with connections to the WB's
Popular round out the cast. Linda Park will warm up the chair for Lt.
Uhura as Enterprise's first Communications Officer, Ensign Hoshi Sato, and Anthony
Montgomery will do the same for Mr. Sulu's seat at the conn as Navigation Officer
Lieutenant Joe Mayweather. You may not have caught Montgomery appearing as waiters
in hit sitcoms or playing the recurring character George Austin on Popular,
but who among us can forget his memorable turn as Postmaster P. in Leprechaun
in the Hood?
"Every version of the Star Trek franchise
takes off the launching pad at warp speed, with thrusters on full, blasting
away the competition, living long and prospering," said UPN Entertainment
President Tom Nunan, mixing and murdering as many Trek metaphors as possible
when he officially introduced Enterprise for next fall. Despite no signs
of intelligent life at the head of UPN, this Trek fan remains optimistic.
Let's just hope we don't see an episode where they
can't get away from the Klingons because Captain Archer left the keys to the
Enterprise in his other pants.