Braga Talks Cast, Crew, Trek Connections on 'Threshold'By Michelle
October 12, 2005 - 7:59 PM
Brannon Braga talked about the reunion of former Star Trek staffers Mike Sussman and Andre Bormanis along with the casting of TNG actor Brent Spiner (Data) on his new CBS series Threshold, calling the new show "a welcome change" and noting, ""I kept dreaming of showing tennis shoes and automobiles for 10 years. Itís refreshing to use actual locations."
Speaking to a reporter at The Chicago Tribune, Braga said that he had planned to take a break after Star Trek: Enterprise, but because of the opportunity to work on Threshold he actually worked on that show's pilot and Enterprise's finale at the same time.
The Friday night schedule, he added, is "kind of a blessing and a curse", since not many people watch TV that night but because of that the hour is less competitive than it would be against Lost or some other popular show. Threshold's ratings have risen slightly though it has not been enormously successful thus far. "It's doing well in key demos," noted Braga, who said that the network had been encouraging. (UPN, which aired Enterprise, has been accused by many among the cast and crew of failing to publicise and promote the show.)
Braga said that the series would try to balance stand-alone storylines with the overall arc. "It's a tightrope," he explained. "You want to reward regular viewers, you want to keep the myth building. But it is a show that lives or dies by the [episodic] stories being satisfying in their own right." The focus, he added, is on the characters dealing with an unexplainable situation, which is the only way it will get new viewers without creating a storyline too convoluted to catch up.
The cast is "really the strongest aspect of the show", according to Braga, who thinks Threshold's actors stand out among the science fiction series on television now. "You've got to want to watch them. And we're going to be digging more into the characters." He mentioned the "playfulness" between Caffrey and Cavennaugh and the chemistry between her and Ramsay, saying of lead actress Carla Gugino, "Carla is the show. Nobody else could make it work...I've never worked with an actor who's so immersed in the role on a weekly basis."
Braga reiterated a previous statement that CBS, not himself, had brought up Spiner's name, for Braga did not believe he would do another science fiction series. "But he read the script. He had some thoughts, as he always does. He had some really cool ideas...and he signed on." Sussman and Bormanis were brought over by Braga, who said, "Andre was our science advisor-turned-writer, he's worked with NASA and has all that experience, so that really helps bring a lot of believability."
Though the show has not received an order for the nine additional first-season episodes that would follow the initial 13 bought by the network, "we have a plan. CBS asked us to work out a rough manifest for the first season, they wanted to make sure we knew where we were going. So we've figured out a lot of the turns and twists, but there's still room for inspiration." Braga believes he could work in this universe for several seasons; "Every time you show a vehicle on 'Star Trek,' itís a space ship. Now we can use a Ford Explorer. Itís a welcome change."
The original interview is at The Watcher's column from The Chicago Tribune.