StarTrek.com Offers Commentary on 'In a Mirror, Darkly'By Michelle
April 27, 2005 - 9:51 PM
See Also: 'In A Mirror, Darkly - Part I' Episode Guide
The official Star Trek site has launched a commentary podcast for the first "In a Mirror, Darkly" episode featuring writer Mike Sussman and editorial director Tim Gaskill.
The initial commentary, posted in Quicktime, WMA and MP3 formats at StarTrek.com, recommends that viewers watch and record the episode once before listening to the commentary to avoid having events revealed prematurely. Then, using videotape or TiVo, viewers are encouraged to watch the episode again while playing the remarks by Sussman and Gaskill, who promised, in Gaskill's words, "some critical analysis and some comments from both of us for the next 45 minutes." The files contain pauses for commercial breaks.
Sussman discussed his enthusiasm for the original series and details from the Mirror universe, saying that he appreciated the fact that the special effects team remembered to label the ship "ISS Enterprise" even though that name was never spoken in the episode; he said he had also wanted to bring back the agony booth, in which fans first saw Chekov in "Mirror, Mirror." The opening, he explained, was designed to "sort of fake out" the audience, making it seem like a rerun of Star Trek: First Contact until Cochrane begins to behave in a decidedly different manner. Those scenes, he noted, were shot on film rather than digital video to match the footage from First Contact, and Sussman admitted that they almost didn't get filmed.
"We had to get clearance from James Cromwell and the actor playing the Vulcan" to use the film footage, he said, and if they had wanted too much money, Enterprise would not have been able to use the material. He believed that they had agreed to accept scale, and they were lucky in that production designer Herman Zimmerman had saved the entire lower portion of the Vulcan ship from the movie, which was brought out of storage and used to shoot three new brief shots. Gaskill noted that Cromwell did not have any lines in the new material, which led Sussman to laugh that in fact Cromwell doesn't appear in the new material at all; only parts of Cochrane are seen as a grizzled man commits the atrocity against the Vulcan.
The new opening sequence, which contains footage from The Hunt for Red October and other Paramount films and shows, was conceived by the writers, said Sussman, whose favourite image was the shooting on the moon. "This is what Star Trek would be like in the Mirror Universe," he observed, Sussman could not recall who came up with the idea for the alternate opening, though he thought it might have been executive producer Manny Coto. "We talked in the writing room for a long time about doing various episodes with different opening titles," he revealed. "I know that at one time Brannon had talked about doing a Next Gen episode with Next Gen opening titles, but that didn't quite come to pass." Rumours have floated that the script for "These Are the Voyages...", the Enterprise finale, was in fact written long before the show was cancelled by UPN, so perhaps this was the genesis of that idea.
There is no word about whether Paramount intends to release this commentary on the future DVD release of "In a Mirror, Darkly" in the fourth season set. But now that the technology is in place, perhaps more episodes will receive such treatment in the future, as StarTrek.com suggests.