For Star Trek: Enterprise‘s John Billingsley, Star Trek: Enterprise episodes that dealt with serious issues were the better ones.
So when Dear Doctor came along, Billingsley was happy, and for more than one reason. “I figured it probably would be controversial,” he said. “I had, to be honest with you, two reactions to it.”
One of the reactions to Dear Doctor was a “selfish” one, said Billingsley. “…It was the first episode that actually featured me to any great extent and it was the first opportunity I had to, I felt, put a bit of a stamp on the guy. So I was primarily concerned as an actor about what I was going to do and less concerned with what the issues presented by the script were. But I had a feeling that probably there’d be some upset.”
Billingsley found the “issues episodes” the most compelling. “I definitely agree that, just for me personally, aesthetically speaking, the episodes over the arc of four years that I thought had the most impact and held the most interest for me were the ones that actually did deal with issues. The cloning episode (Similitude) in the third season was particularly good. There was an episode (Cogenitor) in which Trip interferes with a couple’s decision to use their quasi-servant as a person to breed for them. That was one that got people’s panties in a twist a little bit, and those are the kinds that are interesting.”
“[Dear Doctor] was dark,” said Billingsley. “It creeped people out: an entire race of people are going to be doomed to extinction. I rather liked the darkness of Enterprise when it chose to be dark. I always wondered, ‘Gee, what would Enterprise have been like if were a cable show?’ The fans might have rebelled. It might not have been what they wanted, but to me it would have been interesting.”
Billingsley is still acting, although the jobs are fewer. “Things were running pretty well for four or five years after Enterprise,” he said. “But as is doubtless the case with many character actors right now, I’m in my 50’s and there are fewer roles, and it’s a very, very tricky marketplace for a ton of reasons.” But Billingsley has just finished a Nikita episode and “I’m doing Southland this week,” he said.
When Billingsley is not acting, he enjoys reading and traveling.