Piller's 'Wildfire' To Debut Tuesday With Special VisitorBy Michelle
June 19, 2005 - 4:14 AM
Michael Piller, who co-created Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is working with Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys) on another series - ABC Family's Wildfire, which premieres next Tuesday night.
"The lessons I learned from [Gene] Roddenberry - that stories need to be about something, explore moral and ethical dilemmas - informs all my writing now. Certainly, those are at play in Wildfire," Piller told TrekWeb. After working along with Rick Berman on Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Star Trek: Insurrection, plus several independently produced shows including USA's The Dead Zone, which began its fourth season last week, Piller said he wished he had known when he started in the business "that I know what I'm doing and don't have to believe everything everybody tells me I should be doing."
On Wildfire, Visitor - who played DS9's Bajoran first officer, a character who grew from distrusting Starfleet and loathing Cardassians to wearing a Starfleet uniform to help save Cardassia - appears as the mother of a troubled teenager who uses her passion for horses to turn her life around. "We needed a TV mom who could really act," Piller explained, noting that Visitor was not on the casting agent's list but he had seen her recently at the home of another former Deep Space Nine writer, Ira Steven Behr. "I asked that she be called in and she was easily the best actress we'd read," he declared.
Piller had pitched the series to the WB, believing in the wake of Seabiscuit that a show about a horse farm would find an audience. The WB bought the drama but chose to put it aside in favor of Jack and Bobby. and when their director of drama moved to ABC Family, she ordered a pilot movie. "As soon as they saw the movie, they ordered the series - it had 'hit' written all over it," said Piller.
The writer said that he believes his contribution to Star Trek: The Next Generation was "development of their characters and that's when women started tuning into the series which helped the ratings grow." As for the future of the franchise following Enterprise's cancellation, he said, "It needs time. Look at the Bond model. It got tired and then we were ready for him to return. I think there was just too much of it finally."
Wildfire will air on ABC Family June 20th at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The original interview is at TrekWeb.