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Feature: Star Trek: Enterprise

Good Lieutenant

Ready for anything…

In his most up-to-the-minute interview, Dominic Keating, aka Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, talks about the show and its recent rescue from the brink of cancellation.

For a time, perhaps no one on the Star Trek front sweated the fate of Enterprise more than Dominic Keating. As Season One gave way to Season Two he became an inveterate ratings watcher. The actor, who plays Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, scanned the trades regularly and had faxes with the overnight ratings shipped directly to him, and he scrutinized every word, every number, searching desperately for any good news, any uptick in Enterprise’s scores. Often the news wasn’t good. By Season Three things had gotten fairly ugly. Despite a much-publicized overhaul Enterprise seemed stuck in neutral; it was holding steady, but a few episodes dipped to new lows. And so, as the weeks turned into months, the Grim Reaper loomed large and the legendary Star Trek franchise flirted with extinction, for UPN – which had already trimmed the third season order from 26 to 24 – looked as likely to cancel Star Trek as it did to renew it. Finally, in May, shortly before the season finale aired, UPN confirmed that it had indeed renewed Enterprise.

And in England, Keating breathed a sigh of relief. “I was in London,” he explains. “And I heard about it the morning it was announced at the upfronts in New York City. There had been so many rumours on the set. Everybody had a story and everybody had a theory. But we didn’t know for sure until the network made their announcement in May. I was very pleased. Towards the last 100 metres of it I think I was not surprised. I think when the 11th hour really came and D-Day approached it just seemed so ridiculous that they would cut their losses at this point in the game. The fourth year is a syndication year and they’ve invested a lot of money into the show already, and why would they cut now? So I figured that there would be some meetings at the time echelons and they’d resolve whatever differences they had and get on with it.”

Still, it couldn’t have been fun or easy to drive to Paramount every day, slip on his Starfleet issue uniform and play space hero knowing full well that he and the rest of the cast and crew were, in a sense, going in the out door. In other words, they were realizing a drastically improved show – and a reader poll in USA Today even named Enterprise the series most deserving of a reprieve – but it didn’t seem to make any difference. “Five or six months ago, at the two-thirds mark of Season Three, there was a point where we were looking at each other, wondering what was happening,” Keating acknowledges. “It became kind of foreboding going to work at that time. And then I just thought, ‘This won’t do’. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing, in the moment, even if it was going to be the last season. So I just let go and figured, ‘Whatever will be, will be’. It was out of my hands. I really let go.”

by Ian Spelling

Get the full interview, along with many other Trek articles in
Starburst Special #64

Photo © UPN
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Starburst Special #64
Star Trek Special 2004
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