Over the years various personalities have expressed
interest in going where no one has gone
before--literally, with a musical episode of STAR
TREK. Patrick Stewart
once said he thought the
idea had merit, Robert Picardo
sang on VOYAGER, and even the DS9 crew relaxed to the soothing lounge sound of 'Vic Fontaine'. Last season, UPN sister series BUFFY
THE VAMPIRE SLAYER won critical acclaim for its
musical edition, "Once More With Feeling." According
to sources speaking today with TrekWeb, ENTERPRISE
producers hope a similar event can spark the series'
sagging ratings as it embarks upon a new direction for
the third season.
Reports indicate that the NX-01 will interact with
a strange sentient lifeform, which communicates via
the language of music. The non-corporeal entity will
borrow a staple of the STAR TREK plot barrel and
travel from crewmember to crewmember, bringing song
and dance to each character in an effort to make
communication. While the musical genre is
traditionally characterized by song routines that seem
a natural part of the narrative universe, ENTERPRISE
will attempt to push the envelope by having the alien
influence provide the impetus for choreographed
numbers all over the ship, and the characters very
much aware of the phenomenon.
Reached for comment, co-creator and executive
producer Brannon Braga told TrekWeb that the
episode is being penned by himself and co-creator
Rick Berman over the show's normal writing
hiatus, to allow for an early summer shoot and the
"Well, Rick and I are working on, literally, a
radical departure for STAR TREK," Braga said. "We're
sticking around while the rest of the staff takes a
few weeks off to pen a special episode that will
brilliantly characterize our new direction for season
three. We're going to open the year with a STAR TREK
musical, which will be a ground-breaking blend of the
sci-fi and musical genres that we think will be a
first in television history."
Braga says it worked for BUFFY, why not TREK?
"You know, I've never understood why so many people
like BUFFY, but we figure at this point we can't
lose," he admitted in a somber tone. "They had a good
thing with their musical episode and if that's what it
takes for ENTERPRISE to get the critical notice it
deserves, then we're willing to take that plunge."
Berman agrees, saying a deal with the devil over
whether STAR TREK NEMESIS would break box office
records didn't pan out, so unfortunately the franchise
has to own up with this musical installment.
"It's very difficult to understand exactly what
happened with NEMESIS, honestly," Rick explained while
sipping a Mai Tai from his office at Paramount
Studios. "We thought the Devil was way off base,
betting against the feature, but then it's
unpredictable when dealing with Satan. We never
thought we'd have to do this episode, but the Devil is
hard to argue with and a deal is a deal. Besides, I
think Gene Roddenberry would be pleased with what
we're doing, it's truly going to reduce the barriers
between sci-fi and Broadway in ways Gene couldn't
possibly have imagined."
A high point for the episode is expected to be star
Scott Bakula, a seasoned stage musical
performer, singing a duet with Jolene Blalock
about the sexual tension that's been present ever
since 2002's "A Night in Sickbay."
Says Braga, "We're going to get into sensual
territory that you just can't touch in the normal
format. When you see these two characters--one whose
emotions are utterly repressed--singing this romantic
piece you'll really get to the heart of their
That sensuality will also stretch into another corner of TREKdom, which many fans have clamored for over the years.
"'Stigma' was supposed to be our gay episode, but
we sort of copped out," Berman says. "So we're taking
this opportunity to let feelings amongst our
characters out into the open in a way that wouldn't be
possible normally. When you see the chemistry that
Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating have
together during an intimate tap
dance number, you'll be amazed."
The producers really wanted to delve into alien musical traditions in the episode, but Braga told us that
continuity prevented a foray into Klingon opera.
"We so much wanted to have someone singing Klingon opera, but then we figured at this time in
STAR TREK history our relations with the Klingons aren't very solid and our knowledge of their culture
is too limited to allow someone to know Klingon opera," he reasons. "So instead, we've taken the opportunity to
right a wrong that's long been a part of TREK--the lack of rock 'n roll. We want to elevate rock 'n roll to
to its rightful place in history, as a major cultural influence on human society. So we're trying to license a
Van Halen song to have Phlox sing in his segment--Phlox is the natural person to have become an aficiando on 80's metal.
I think it'll be pretty funny to have him singing 'Somebody Get Me a Doctor', and as an added bonus, we're getting David Lee Roth
to guest as the alien at the end of the show; we figure he can just show up and the make-up and costume departments can take the day off."
Berman says he believes Braga knows what he's doing.
"I thought I was in tune with pop culture in the 80's, I mean, I was in my thirties, but I don't know who this 'Van Halen' is. Brannon
assures me they were a pretty big rock group. I suggested getting Elvis, but apparently he's dead, so obviously that wouldn't work."
According to Braga, the episode isn't named yet but
several possibilities abound.
"We're throwing around ideas, yeah," the exec says.
"We've thought of 'Deus Ex Melody'--that's latin, you
know, for God from music, which sort of plays into
this whole notion of spontaneous song and dance
routines caused by an alien force. Another idea is
'New Chicago', which we think might be a cool
continuity nod to an Earth colony while tying in with
the Oscar-winning film."
TrekWeb wishes all our readers, even the much-maligned Rick and Brannon, a festive April Fool's Day!