Behr's 'The 4400' Series Debuts TonightBy Michelle
June 5, 2005 - 11:16 PM
Former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine executive producer Ira Stephen Behr said that although he is frustrated that newer shows trying to copy his successful formula on The 4400 will have bigger budgets than he gets to play with, he is excited to be returning to USA tonight for more than twice as many episodes as original miniseries.
"What was very nice this past development season was hearing everybody say 'we're looking for a show like The 4400'" Behr told TrekWeb. "We're just a little cable show! The only thing that pisses me off is a lot of these [new] shows are going to have more money to spend and that drives me nuts! When you take away the above-the-line on this show, what we have to actually make this show, it's just freaking ridiculous...this is not an easy show to do."
Nonetheless, Behr said he is unintimidated by possible imitators and says he won't watch them, just as he did not watch Babylon 5 while he was working on DS9. Though he wished he had more than 13 episodes to produce for the current run, he said that creates focus and prevents the writers from stretching in a direction that they're not sure will work. "Anyone who says they have a whole show in their head starting out...that's a pretty dead show in my mind," he explained. "The show has to breathe and the characters have to live and you have to discover characters that you want to use." With DS9, he said, he didn't think about the fact that the show would likely end after seven seasons, and tried to live in the moment. "It was only in Deep Space Nine that by season three I realized, 'wow, this is a seven-year canvas we have to tell a story, we're going to get to do some things.'"
"I have been taught by experience that all kind of events during the production of a television series impact on what you want to have happen," he added. "I.e. Worf suddenly arrives on Deep Space Nine and all the best landscapes of mice and men go out the air duct. I have an idea where ultimately I want [The 4400] to go, but I don't know if I'll be around for the whole thing, someone else could come in."
Several familiar faces will make appearances on the new season of The 4400, including Jeff Combs (Weyoun/Brunt/Shran) and Firefly's Summer Glau. "What's really interesting about the show is I'm starting to hear from the actors things that I used to hear from the actors on DS9. Salome Jens, when she was playing the head of the Founders, would come to me and say 'I thought I was a hero. Am I now a villain?!'" admitted Behr. He would not reveal what was going to happen on the series, saying that although the precognitive Maia (Conchita Campbell) has an idea on the series, "I think most of the 4400 are pretty bewildered and some of them are definitely outcasts in society with or without their abilities...I don't think anyone has the whole story in their head."
As for the cancellation of Enterprise, Behr is of the opinion that Star Trek had stuck around too long to begin with. "Look, let's not have some Star Trek for a while, it's been ubiquitous for a lot of years; let the field get replanted and let it grow again," he said. "Star Trek was very, very good to me and I like to think I was good for it. Am I gonna miss it? I'm not gonna 'miss it.'"
The 4400 debuts tonight at 9 p.m. on USA Network. The original article is from TrekWeb.