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Rick Berman Talks New Series In Latest 'Communicator' and Announces New Writers

Posted: 14:42:49 on August 02 2001
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Enterprise | www.stenterprise.com

The Star Trek Communicator has sent along the 'Star Trek' Update from its latest issue #134, due to be in subscribers' mailboxes next week and newsstands soon, for this exclusive sneak peak for TrekWeb visitors. In the interview, co-executive producer/co-creator Rick Berman talks extensively about ENTERPRISE and its cast of characters.

As the interview took place several weeks ago -- evidenced by Rick's comments about being "half way" through shooting on the pilot, which completed its shoot in early July -- much of the information has been covered already from TV Guide to the ENTERPRISE Bible that TrekWeb reported on last week. Rick even recycles some of his quotes from previous interviews, such as likening the new crew to the "Chuck Yeager's of space travel," referrencing the production team's inspiration from a Nuclear Submarine visit, Rick's own desire to only develop this series if it was "dramatically different" (read: prequel concept), and the ability of the characters to be more "contemporary" in their reactions to space travel, new aliens, and even off-duty attire (Rick specifically mentions the now-famous baseball hats that the crew will wear from time to time (read: buy your's today from the Communicator!)).

When asked about the all-important issue of continuity with previously-established 'Star Trek' lore, Berman says that they have and will take painstaking measures to try to adhere to proper "history" as it has been established. But he does stress that dramatic license will and must be taken, citing once again the "cell phones look more futuristic than TOS communicators" analogy to justify his point. Berman once again explains that the Klingons will appear as they have since TNG, but that "they are a little bit more primitive. One of the lines we have in our pilot script is that we're dealing with a time where 'the Klingons still sharpen their teeth before they go into battle.'"

Along these lines, when asked about whether the writing staff will ever tackle the issue of the Klingon makeup change in a future episode, Berman leaves the door open: "We've thought about it. I don't know. When the Klingons suddenly changed dramatically in Star Trek - The Motion Picture nobody asked for an explanation. I think it is something we have discussed possibly doing."

Rick reveals that the crew will not have tricorders yet, only primitive hand sensors. Additionally, while the show will not begin with phaser banks, as the series Bible suggested, Rick confirms that they will be developed rather quickly as the series progresses.

As rumored, Rick admits that the character of 'T'Pol' was originally intended to be 'T'Pau' from the TOS episode "Amok Time", saying "it was discussed as a possibility but it was also determined that there were legalities that made it difficult for us to do so we decided against it."

Rick clears up some confusion with regard to the name of the Enterprise, saying, "I don't think we're calling it the SS Enterprise. We're just calling it the Enterprise." He also says that the ship holds "around 65 crewmembers," contradicting the Bible report last week which had listed 87 (and Rick's TV Guide interview, which reported "70-80"; one has to wonder if this number has not been finalized or if Rick honestly has no idea!)

Something entirely new is the first naming of some of ENTERPRISE's new writing staff: "We are in the process of putting a staff together. We have a number of writers that are in place right now. We have a woman named Antoinette Stella, [and] a guy named Fred Dekker. We have two teams of writers as well. We also have Andre Bormanis who has been working with us for years, but is on the writing staff now. We're all working very hard. Brannon and I have written one additional hour episode and the stories for three or four others so we are putting the staff together slowly but surely."

[Stella's credits include co-producing Melrose Place and serving as a producer on Providence. Dekker conceived the story for the movie House (1986), wrote and directed Night of the Creeps (1986) and The Monster Squard (1987, written with Shane Black), wrote the episode "Only Sin Deep" for HBO's Takes From the Crypt in 1989, co-wrote Ricoshet and If Looks Could Kill both in 1991, and most recently wrote the screenplay for and directed 1993's RoboCop 3. Bormanis has long been the science consultant on 'Trek' and most recently wrote the teleplay for the seventh season 'Voyager' episode "Nightingale". --TrekWeb]

Wrapping it up, Berman once again highlights that the show will be more "contemporary" than previous 'Trek' series; offering a feel closer to what we might expect on a vessel of today. He describes the series as having "a lot of character," and while he won't quite admit that the show will be more action-packed than its forerunners, he does say "we will certainly put as much action in this show as we can afford to." With regard to the absence of the words 'Star Trek' from the show's title, Rick says that 'ENTERPRISE' alone conveys the series's connection to the franchise while at the same time allowing it to stand apart and avoid potential trappings of becoming just another "'Star Trek', colon."

Don't forget to pick up your copy of Star Trek Communicator issue #134 next week!

TREKWEB TALKBACK
(48 comments)

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Caps? CAPS!!
By Spockjaw () at 01:59:29 on August 04
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Just to add my thoughts, I think the ballcaps are way cool! They remind me of when I was a crewman on the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN-65),--and I try to think of the GOOD things about those days.

And to reiterate a reply to what someone said before who said they served no purpose any more because the sun won't be in the eyes of space travellers, we wore the caps when we were on watch wherever we were on watch, whether it was on the bridge or in CDC or Engineering (where the sun don't shine).

And also something else I was thinking. It looks to me that the helm on NX-01 is single person design. Not that things don't change back and forth in design, but I was hoping for the classic t-table style since in the Combat Direction Center on CVN-65, that's the way it's set up. The t-table has stations for the Tactical Action Officer as well as the Assistant TAO (I think), and they are positioned in front of two huge tactical display screens (w/ a bunch of little screens around them), and there is a single raised chair behind them for the Ops Officer or, during General Quarters, the Captain or Exec. This setup is ringed with radar stations, and everything together looks VERY familiar. But maybe this wouldn't be consistent w/ Star Trek, since I've heard that the military actually studied the TOS bridge design to come up with a feasible CDC setup, like on CVN-65.

Anyway, sorry to go off on a tangent like that. Got a little carried away.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

the problem with trek...
By sky () at 14:30:09 on August 03
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This whole "contemporary" issue highlights the real problem with Trek, especially post-TOS Trek. Yes indeed, as I and Mr. Shatner have pointed out, it's only a TV show, and if it's entertaining, who gives a rip about side issues.

But many think the best science fiction is that which enables you to "suspend disbelief." Good SF pulls you in sufficiently so that you can overlook the absurdities and implausibilties. In this regard, most recent Berman-Trek fails.

Take aliens for example. For my part, to be believable (and thus entertaining) an alien should appear "alien" -- somehow very different from a human. They should seem puzzling and mysterious and otherworldly.

Trek has succeeded in this at times. Take the Talosians and Horta and others from TOS. But the aliens of Berman-trek have been too similar to modern humans, beginning with "Encounter at Farpoint." As time has gone on, especially on DS9 and VOY, most new aliens seem like 20th century Californians with funny foreheads -- not very different, nor in any way interesting.

Anyway, the same oughta be true with depicting people from the future. The year 2151 is as remote from our time as 1851. Back then, many people didn't know how to read, and of those that did, many kept slaves. So how are we contemporary with the people of 1851? And how contemporary with us should the folks of 2151 be? I'll watch the show and give it a chance and hope it's entertaining television. But I doubt it will be "great science fiction" as I understand the term.

---

"GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! ... You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!"

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

On the clothing of Trek, and other issues
By Sub-Odeon (subodeon@qwest.net) at 14:04:02 on August 03
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People keep complaining about the clothes. People keep decrying the ball caps. And while I detest the Akira-ripoff design of the NX-01, where the uniforms and ball caps and ties are concerned, I have to say I support this.

Yes, styles change over centuries. But we all have to remember that not until the 20th century has the MEDIA been able to keep even old styles fresh in our minds. Movies, television, photographs, radios, the internet... These are all receptacles for things like clothing fashion, and as we've seen in the 90's with the 'retro' movement that resurrected much of 60's attire and music, what is old can become 'new' again.

I have zero problem with the Archer NX-01 cap. In fact, I applaud it. Baseball caps have been offical parts of military uniforms in the U.S. for many decades. As a piece of clothing goes, the ball cap is remarkably efficient and useful. Also, the design of the baseball cap is over a century old, and not much about it has changed. I can fully believe we'll have ball caps being worn in 2100, or 2150 for that matter. Same goes for ties, which have also been around since the 1800's and are a fixture of the modern western industrialized business world. They are also a fixture of military uniforms across the globe. Why would that change, even in 150 years?

I don't like the rank pips too much, mostly because I think they would have done well to adopt shoulder epaulets or even chevrons, which would be much closer to current military standards and not so TNG-like. Ideally we would have seen rank 'bars' like those used today, or the modified bars seen in the Kirk-era movies. IMHO the red-jacket uniforms from ST2 thru ST7 have been and are the BEST uniforms of all the series. Why? Because they LOOK LIKE UNIFORMS! Not dumb pajamas like TNG and ST:TMP, and not el cheapo discount T-shirts like TOS. But UNIFORMS.

As for Braga and Berman, we'll see. I think these guys are a bad thing for Star Trek right now and I don't know what they're going to do with the new show. Maybe they can redeem my opinion. Maybe they can reinvent things and get refreshed. If not, this show could be a let down.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

About the baseball caps....
By Nightslayer () at 13:39:29 on August 03
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I'm surprised that this has gotten so much attention. I, for one, like the fact that Archer has a captain's hat. It makes the show, for me, feel more connected, not just with our present day culture, but with Starfleet's ties to the Navy. Regardless, the hats and the admiral's tie don't seem important enough to me to criticize. After all, they're a very small part of the characters' costumes, and I am more inclined on focusing my attention to the characters themselves rather than their clothing. I do find it amusing, however, how some of you think that the hat & tie (and Klingon forehead ridges) represent the end of Star Trek. My advice is to wait till you actually see more than 45 seconds worth of the pilot, to wait till you have something more tangible than articles in TV Guide or other magazines before making your decision on this show. Who knows? You may actually like it once you remove the jaundice from your eyes.

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Oh please....
By omegaman () at 01:54:37 on August 03
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I am amused... there is realy no other way to put it. Ok ST has a strong Fanbase, but some comments I am reading here are outright funny. I can hardly belive that intelligent people realy can argue abut stuff like phaser/phasepistols or Cap’s no Cap’s.
Maybe you all forgott something Star Trek IS A TV SHOW!! Live is not bepeniding on it and wars will not stop because of it. So why not kick back turn on the TV and enjoy a little getaway from our day to day live?

As for B&B, I don’t blame them for turning ENT in their “own” show. That’s what happens when you take something over. Like a coach on a football team. First the team will still look the same, but a the season goes on it will slowly start to become the new coach’s team. That is a normal progression. So if all of you whining people can not habdle it the I can suggest only that you stop watching ST and return to the Tapes you surley have of TOS. As for me, I am going to enjoy the new show.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Beman's take over
By dreadnaught (stephen@winmarinc.com) at 00:16:01 on August 03
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I have said before that Berman wants to write Trek in his own way. I have read articles where he stated as such. He has been asked numerous times if the fans wishes sway him and his response over and over again has been... NO! He has always stated he will do Trek the way he wants.
If the truth be known, I would say he dropped the STAR TREK from the title so he could mold this series in his image...totally. Evidence of this is his statement in the article concerning not being able to use T'Pau's name from "Amok Time". He's obviously got some resistence from somewhere in the Trek world.
The writing's on the wall. This is not going to be a Star Trek show. It is going to be a Berman and Braga show.
They have no new ideas. They used a ship design from the 24th century, a show format stolen from Roddenberry's Andromeda, I understand Philox,or whatever his name is, looks like Neelix, ball caps from Alien and more but, I won't go into them now.
This show is nothing more than the bland stuff they've been feeding us for the last several years.
Keep going boldly...

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

the baseball hats
By ELKMINO () at 00:07:13 on August 03
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Say everyone, about those caps, i remember reading in the compendium or some other book, that originally the captain was supposed to have "the captains hat", now i know for a fact that in the original series pilot "The Cage", when captain Pike walks into his quarters, just before he lays down on his bed, on top of his TV ( yes it is a tv in there i have stopped the tape and seen it for myself, more history problems there ) sits the Captains hat. its there, watch the tape and see. So they are getting something straight, that idea was orignally planned but scrapped for some reason. I dont know why, so dont ask me. Just wanted to point that out.
Oh and for those folks who will ask, Data said on TNG that TV was a form of entertainment that did not last longer than the early 21st century. The first season finale episode "The Neutral Zone" I think. So, if tv did not last longer than the 21st century, why did Pike have one in his room? I am betting he had a thing for antiques. But since Pike's series never developed, anything is possible.

ELKMINO

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He actually remembered!
By Stargazer (Wdreamhouse@aol.com) at 22:53:33 on August 02
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Yea right, somebody told Berman the Klingons first appeared in the Motion picture he first said when asked how they would look that, nobody complained when Gene showed them in 3 or was it 2? So what, your surprised when he can't remember how many crew members Their are on the show he's creating after a interview and creating or at least approving the Bible of that same show, Ha please not surprised at all.

By the way the reason no real big deal was made about the first change in the Klingons was because Gene said he made the change because that's the way they had envisioned them but didn't have the budget to do it on TOS.

Well B&B changed that when they put Worf in the same room and time with the original Klingons and Odo the doctor and O’Brien asked Worf why the difference? An he said, "don't ask". NOW there's a reason! Berman Berman Berman no one needs to badmouth him he's doing to himself with every other interview. Mmm Hmm, that's why he wanted to just name it Enterprise and move it how did he say A 100 years BEFORE KIRK, he’s trying to rewrite it all he didn't want a clone show hello wasn't that why he shot Voyager across the Galaxy!

Never learn will he. Not while you guys keep saying it's his trek now we like it stop complaining so what we can count the good episodes on one hand.

Yea and Joel Schmuckmacher destroyed the original Batsignal and turned the Batmobile into the Lightmobile (not even going into the nipples and other additions just say no to Batcrack) so he could now call it his Batfilms not Tim Burtons, Wow how similar can you get!

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Klingons...
By Spockjaw () at 18:14:53 on August 02
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Perhaps some form of Suliban genetic tampering is responsible for the change in some of the Klingons' appearances.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

baseball caps?
By sky () at 18:04:39 on August 02
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We keep hearing about how the new show is going to come off more "contemporary" than TOS, TNG, etc. And as evidence, the crew is going to wear baseball caps, just like people do today.

Well why should anyone expect people from 150 years in the future to be in any way "contemporary"? How contemporary are people today with the 1850s? A lot has changed since then, and no doubt will continue to do so in the next 150 years.

What sort of styles do we still wear today that were popular then? If presidential photographs are any indication, in the 1850s, men were just starting to wear slacks, as knickers and knee socks had been "proper attire" for many decades previous.

And what about women's clothes? Certainly those styles will continue to change with blinding rapidity. Why, look at how miniskirts made a comeback as official Starfleet uniforms in the 23rd century!

So anyway, it strains credibility to think that headwear as impractical as baseball caps will continue to be around in 150 years. It seems like a lame attempt on the part of B&B to pander to new viewers.

---

"GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! ... You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!"

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

New writers
By Cranston () at 17:48:55 on August 02
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Hmm. I just looked up the two new writers Berman mentions. According to IMDB, Antoinette Stella's experience is with Melrose Place and Providence. (Melrose Place?!!)

Fred Dekker has a bit more of a resume. He appears to have a mostly horror background (Tales from the Crypt, The Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps), as well as directing Robocop 3.

Not sure what to make of this. Melrose Place does make me nervous, though.



---

Never before have things been so much the way they are now.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

if Rick honestly has no idea
By Mr. Peabody () at 16:32:07 on August 02
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Boy, talk about a true statement if there ever was one. Berman's a retard.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

I Don't Agree At All
By Imbarkus (imbarkus@mindspring.com) at 16:16:00 on August 02
URL: http://imbarkus.home.mindspring.com/library/trek.html | User Info
The very worst Star Trek falls on the shoulders of:

NBC - for demoralizing Fred and the gang 3rd season TOS, leading to the lax attitude that let 'Spock's Brain' make to to air

William Shatner - For helping to conceive, write, direct and poorly budget Star Trek V

Harve Bennett - For letting him do it

Hanna-Barbera - For the invention of 'filmation' (the scripts for TAS had merit)

Ira Behr - For his obsession with the unending war arc on DS9 that left the final season stagnated

Terry Farrell - For breaking DS9's rhythm in the final stretch

I know some of you don't agree with my opinion, but at least I'm not so delusional as to believe that there aren't some of you that disagree with my opinion. So I offer my voice of dissent to scuttle your inaccurate perception of solidarity.

Berman and Braga, with others, brought me better TNG than Roddenberry and Maurice Hurley and Tracy Torme etc. They brought me better Voyager than Michael Piller or Jeri Taylor could muster. And they got me jazzed about another Trek series when I was one of the adamant arguers for shelving the franchise to let demand grow.

I hope you end up eatin' those words with sauce when Enterprise premieres!

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

We may not always agree about Star Trek...
By MayoMan () at 15:27:55 on August 02
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...but I think it' fairly safe to say that we all agree that all things bad about Star Trek go right back to Rick Berman.

For a truly fresh start Berman and Braga have to go.

Let's put Mike Okuda in charge!!!!!

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

klingons
By Tad (tad1019@hotmail.com) at 14:59:03 on August 02
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...makeup change in a future episode, Berman leaves the door open: "We've thought about it. I don't know. When the Klingons suddenly changed dramatically in Star Trek - The Motion Picture nobody asked for an explanation. I think it is something we have discussed possibly doing."

well steve, looks like you were right. B&B will most likely tackle the klingon ridge/non-ridge issue during ENT's run.

aliens interested in genetic engineering + klingons = hopefully creative explanation

---

helldamnfart - Bart Simpson

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