00:07:21 on July 17 2001
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Enterprise | www.stenterprise.com
UPN and Paramount threw their press preview of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', 'Roswell', and 'ENTERPRISE' last night for the Television Critic's Association, answering journalists' questions and taking guests to visit the sets of the new fifth 'Trek' series on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. After the 'Buffy' and 'Roswell' press conferences at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, guests were bused to Paramount where the entire cast of ENTERPRISE as well as co-creators and executive producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga answered questions.
TrekWeb was there for the news and our West Coast correspondant Lynda took copious notes. While primarily a promotional event and celebrity party to launch the network's new fall programming, the press conference did contain some notable quotes from the players involved--as well as some standard "new Star Trek series" fare.
In addition to confirming the existence of phase pistols and primitive transporters used mainly for cargo, the conference yielded the news that the new Enterprise will have no photo torpedoes, instead being armed with some sort of high-tech missiles. Also, the ship has no shields like previous Trek vessels; only hull plating.
Rick Berman said that viewers could expect to see on-going elements of time travel throughout the series, from the pilot episode on (it has previously been established that the pilot "Broken Bow" will introduce a villain from the future). Berman also offered some new information about the state of Earth at the time of this series, saying that while in much better shape than in 'First Contact', it is a terrifying place. With no Federation in existence, the landscape of the universe is entirely unknown for this Enterprise crew. He also mentioned that rumors of James Cromwell's appearance in the pilot were "not bad rumors."
Rick, interestingly, said of 'Voyager' that it featured, "with a few minor exceptions, a terrific cast." Previous 'Trek' cast members are lined up to direct episodes of the new series, including LeVar Burton, Roxann Dawson, and Robert Duncan McNeill.
As for Brannon Braga, he did have one interesting thing to add. When asked about pushing the limits on television, possibly regarding sexuality such as the nude scene between Tucker and T'Pol in the pilot episode, the co-creator said, "This is pretty sexy stuff that's coming up and so far nobody's slapped our hands."
The cast answered the obligatory questions about 'Star Trek' fandom, and all except veteran sci-fi TV actor Scott Bakula have yet to experience a phenomenon as delicate or unique as a sci-fi fanbase. Anthony Montgomery proved he knows a good career move when he sees it, saying "It's better to have some fans than none," and Dominic Keating said he "can't wait" for the excitement. Bakula said he's used to a cult fanbase and is looking forward to the fan response to his portrayal.
Speaking about her character, the Vulcan T'Pol, Jolene Blalock described her as "feline in her movements, and diplomatic in her speech," with fake ears she doesn't even feel. The actress commented that "once you're in full costume... I am T'Pol."
Of his exotic alien makeup for Doctor Phlox, actor John Billingsley said, "I dig it."
All the actors confess that they were fans of 'The Original Series' mostly and firstly, except Linda Park ('Ensign Hoshi Sato'), who cited 'Next Generation' as her favorite.
UPN made sure everyone knew this is the first time since 'TNG' that a new 'Trek' series has debuted without another one on the air at the same time. Let's hope that fact bodes well for ENTERPRISE.
UPDATE: We've received more info from Lynda, our West Coast correspondant, who was able to tour the ENTERPRISE sets last night following the initial press conference.
The Enterprise sets are very military in design, with the influence from a naval submarine quite evident, as online pictures have revealed. The captain's chair is actually a modified seat from a Porsche and the Floors and rails on the bridge are all brushed metal and very reminiscent of a naval vessel. The helm has a small steering wheel and joystick for maneuvering.
Most of the seats/chairs can slide from one station to a second nearby
station. There is a good deal of detail work done on the analog instruments. What will eventually become the "Ready Room" on later starships is here a "Situation Room" adjacent to the Bridge.
The armory contains high-tech missiles and experimental photon torpedoes, and the warp core in engineering has two levels even though the core is situated horizontally.
There are a number of ladders to the second level. It's quite impressive.
Switches are a combination of analog and computer screens. There are
foot long rubber grip handles on the walls and at the stations for people to
hang onto when the ship gets rocked. There was no sign of "cute" sayings
hidden in the small print as was the previous tradition on the sets
Stay tuned to TrekWeb for further coverage and photos, which I'm sure will also be available on the official 'Star Trek' web site sometime this week.