Billingsley Not a Fan of 'These Are the Voyages..."By Michelle
April 29, 2005 - 7:50 PM
"Many things about this episode seem somewhat flaccid and dramatically arbitrary, and I think it may have hurt some feelings," wrote John Billingsley (Phlox) in a diary of his thoughts about the final days of shooting Star Trek: Enterprise, speaking of the series finale, "These Are the Voyages..."
In notes he submitted to Dreamwatch (via Sci Fi Pulse), Billingsley said that he was relieved to be finished with phaser fights and enjoyed working with Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis, but he thought that the episode, which focuses on Riker and Troi, "strik[es] some as more of a Next Gen episode than an Enterprise episode (much less an Enterprise finale)."
Billingsley discussed some plot points from "Terra Prime", the penultimate episode which is scheduled to air just before the finale on May 13th. "The Enterprise crew members stand (nobly) in the background while the Captain tries to convince a conference room full of aliens to take the plunge and agree to sign a 'Compact of Federation' (or something like that)," he said of his work, adding that Archer would give a stirring speech on what it would me to be part of a United Federation of Planets. Billingsley noted that while the aliens all applaud this speech, he felt that having everyone clap on cue felt artificial and it would have been more interesting to show how individual alien species would display pleasure in a manner different than humans.
"I often feel like our show (along with almost every sci-fi/fantasy show) fails to convey the real mystery of 'the alien', and in so doing reveals that TV's overall imaginative reach consistently exceeds its grasp," he admitted. "TV suffers from an inability to fully exercise all the theatrical artifice that would be available with more money and time. (And because Enterprise has three million people watching, not 13 million, we now have less money and less time then we did when we started)." He also protested the gratuitous action and violence on the show and said he wished he could have forced the writers to produce ten episodes in a row that didn't include any weapons fire, mostly because he finds it boring and not dramatic.
The final episode, whose script he criticised because it focuses on a fateful day for Tucker as explored on a holodeck by Riker and Troi, was enjoyable for him because Frakes "is a great guy, very funny, and Marina of the unspellable last name is sweet and sassy - you can tell those guys must have had a lot of fun on Next Gen." The very last day of filming, he said, was like high school, "only this time I'm popular...everybody's signing scripts, taking pictures, swapping addresses and phone numbers." Filming, he said, felt like an afterthought.
The full interview with Billingsley is in the new issue of Dreamwatch out now in the UK. These excerpts and more are at Sci Fi Pulse.