ENTERPRISE!

Selected from Cult Times Special #19

The Enterprises' complete castPioneer Spirit

Are you excited yet? It's not a long now before the latest (or first, if you look at it that way) Enterprise blazes onto our screens.
What's it all going to be like?

• Feature by Ian Spelling

On 26th September, UPN will unveil the latest Star Trek adventure. Set in the 22nd Century, 150 years from now and 100 years before the days of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, Enterprise beams back to the earliest days of warp travel; to a period before the Federation made friends or foes, to a time when aliens were aliens, and everything we know and love about Trek of the 23rd and 24th Centuries was in its infancy. After a Saving Private Ryan-esque plot involving a Klingon, which kicks off as the two-hour première - entitled Broken Bow - this crew will find itself out in the cosmos exploring brave new worlds...

"It's a terrifying place in that everything is unknown to this crew," says Brannon Braga, another Star Trek writing and producing veteran, who co-created and co-executive produces Enterprise with Berman. "Earth is in much better shape than it was in the movie First Contact in that poverty, crime, disease and hunger have all been eradicated for the most part, but the Federation has not yet formed. That's a long way off. Starfleet is very, very young and this crew has met very few alien species since the Vulcans arrived [in First Contact]."

Scott Bakula - Captain Jonathan Archer"We like to think that the Picards and even the Kirks of the world tended to take meeting alien races for granted," Berman adds. "This was their daily work. For these seven, it's a perfectly spooky occasion. It's always something that's filled with awe and excitement and a little bit of trepidation and fear because they're... it's really almost like any one of us finding ourselves in the situation where we're about to run into an alien species. It would be a pretty scary thing and certainly not just a day-by-day occurrence the way it would be for a Picard or for a Janeway."

All the actors considered themselves at least familiar with Star Trek before signing on for Enterprise and each of them sounds fairly prepared to deal with the franchise's loyal, massive and, shall we say, attentive fan base. "Well, I go back to the original series, so I'm an old cat," Bakula says. "That was my big thing, and we used to watch [the original series] ad nauseum in college, as I recall. I'm hoping the [Quantum Leap and Star Trek] fan bases will all blend together nicely and everybody will get along. It should be great, actually. I'm really looking forward to it."

"My first exposure was watching it in my brother's bedroom," Billingsley recalls. "He would sit on my head and make me watch it, actually. I liked the show, but I was a little younger than Scott. I was kind of scared by the episodes I saw. My brother wouldn't let me leave." And what of the fan onslaught? "Oh, God knows," he says. "I don't know. I don't know. I'm sure it will be fine. You know, it beats the alternative of no fan onslaught."

"I'm an avid original Star Trek fan," Blalock attests. "I grew up on it. My favourite was Spock, so it's really strange for me. I would sit there with my dad and my brother watching the show, watching the relationship between Captain Kirk, Bones and Spock. My favourite relationship was between Bones and Spock because it was just like this animosity and this love-hate relationship, but overall, there was such utter loyalty between all three of them. I love the way they worked together; just the way Bones would be like, 'You green-blooded fool'. Somewhere in The Next Generation I got lost, but that's the advantage we have here, this being a prequel. For all the viewers who got lost along the way, this is the beginning. You can get right back on and not miss a beat. As far as being prepared for what's coming, I'm just using something that works for me, and that's called denial."

"And that's not a river in Egypt," cracks Keating. "I used to watch the original show back home in England. I remember the fried eggs falling off the ceiling on their shoulders. God, it was scary, man. And I never really watched it after that. When I first moved out to America, I lived on a commune and the guy there had the controls for the satellite dish. So whatever Victor watched, we used to have to watch. And he just watched Next Generation from the minute he woke up to the minute he went to bed. So I used to sort of plug in now and again and watch this Shakespearean actor lording it over a bunch of Space people. As for the onslaught, I can't wait. I'm ready."

For the rest of the cast on their thoughts about Star Trek and the fan base, and more on Enterprise in Cult Times Special #19: available in shops or from VI Direct.

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