Billingsley Not Sorry To Have Reduced RoleBy Michelle
January 11, 2005 - 9:22 PM
John Billingsley (Phlox) said in a new interview that he thinks character development has been put on the back burner by Star Trek: Enterprise writers in favour of more densely plotted episodes, but he thinks this has improved the overall quality of the show.
"I think what they were trying to do in the first couple years was to emphasize character development, perhaps at the expense of telling intricate stories," Billingsley told Save Enterprise. "The last couple of years have really emphasized more action adventure oriented stories, and to some extent character development for the four subsidiary characters has been abandoned a bit...which is fine: I realize that the show's success is not contingent upon giving the supporting characters a ton of stuff to do."
The actor said that he had had some concerns "that what was lacking was a certain kind of complexity in the story telling", a criticism that he thinks the current writing staff has faced with more gripping action in the drama. This season, while he was not overly impressed with "Storm Front" and the abrupt ending of the Temporal Cold War, he said he thought fans would appreciate the Augments arc and the look at Vulcan history, all episodes with which he said he was very pleased.
"Just as the original series was primarily about Kirk, Spock and McCoy, I think this show was supposed to be primarily about Archer, T’Pol and Trip," he noted. "I feel that I was hired to do a job, and I simply need to do the best that I can do. Of course, I would love to have more to do [but] they may have reached a point where they think that the show is driven by its three leads and that the four of us serve more in the way that Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Scotty did."
Billingsley sounded somewhat sympathetic to co-stars Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) and Connor Trinneer (Tucker)'s criticisms of the rushed sexual relationship between their characters - "You never really know whether or not things happen on the show because the network says 'Hey we need more sex, we need more violence, and we need more dramatic tension,' but it would be my guess that there was a certain amount of pressure put on the writers to spark things up a bit - but he thinks that the writers have done a good job keeping the series close to Star Trek canon as a whole.
The actor said that he did not want to credit Manny Coto with "salvaging" the show because he thinks that would detract from the work done by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. He also praised the work of John Shiban and said that it was "unfortunate that he did not rejoin us for the third season."
Asked if there was another character on the series whom he would like to play, Billingsley said that really there was not. "It's more like I want to dig deeper into the mind of Phlox. I would love to see us explore more about Denobula and more about his culture...Denobulans lack the personal privacy that we demand in our life."
For more, including Billingsley's work outside of Star Trek and his plans after the end of Enterprise, the original interview is at Save Enterprise.