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Rick Berman On TOS Continuity, Series V Production

By Christian
April 10, 2001 - 12:04 PM

With Series V looking to be a prequel series, one of the most important concerns of fans has been whether the producers would do this without violating established Star Trek continuity. In a new interview, Star Trek Executive Producer Rick Berman said they will indeed try adhere to Trek continuity, though for the rest the Original Series influences his work on the new series "very little."

"Having been involved with The Next Generation , Deep Space Nine and Voyager, those series obviously have greater influence on me," Berman told the Star Trek Communicator (via TrekWeb). "The original series does have an influence on me in that it is the core that set all of the precedents. We do try to keep those precedents whole to some degree and try to adhere to them. The original series is very important, but in terms of content and style I don't think it's much of an influence on any of us."

Despite the influence the later three series have, Series V will also look very different from those shows. "I would like to think that this show will be different in every way--a different look, a different personality, etc. It's going to be a somewhat dramatic departure, certainly from the last three series and, hopefully, a departure that is going to be appreciated by our fans."

Fans will be able to see the series in September, which is when the show is still intended to debut. Berman confirmed that the show will start shooting on the 8th of May, as was also already mentioned on the Series V casting sheet. Production is proceeding under the assumption there won't be a strike. "A writers strike will keep us from writing but won't keep us from producing and an actors strike will keep us from shooting but not from writing. We have to carry on as if neither strike is going to occur and we certainly are planning on getting, at least, our first two-hour episode completed before the July 1 deadline for the actors strike."

In order to meet this deadline, pre-production for the series is already well underway. At the time of the interview, the script for the two-hour premiere was already locked in, set construction had started, and preliminary casting had begun, though there had been no formal casting sessions yet. In addition, the production team was already being established. "We have [producer] Merri Howard back on board and we are structuring deals right now with every department head on the project. As far as a writing staff goes, we have made a couple of selections already and we are busily working to put together a fresh writing staff that will hopefully look at this as season 1 and not season 8." At the time, the producers were about two days away from finalising the selection of a director for the pilot. Since then, it has been rumoured on the internet that pilot will in fact be helmed by veteran Trek director James Conway (story. Also, Berman said there was still a "very good possibility" that Series V would not carry the words 'Star Trek' in its name. Recent rumours suggested the series will in fact be called 'Enterprise'.

Finally, Berman again said Paramount's official announcement would come shortly. "Paramount will be making an official announcement for the new series in the next several weeks and that will contain information on the setting, the time period and the general parameters of what the series is going to be about. The reason they haven't announced it yet is purely a question of deals. The question of where this series will appear has not been finalized and, until all those business elements are settled, they would like to hold off on the announcement."

More from Rick Berman can be found in the new issue of the Star Trek Communicator, which you can subscribe to by following this link. A transcript of the original interview with Berman can be found here at TrekWeb.

Meanwhile, some conflicting reports have surfaced on the involvement of Scott Bakula with Series V. Three weeks ago, it was reported that the former 'Quantum Leap' actor was negotiating for the role of Captain Jackson Archer, news that was in general met with approval on the internet.

Unfortunately, on the 4th of April, Aint-It-Cool-News posted a report from one of its regular sources, Viacom Girl, who claimed that Bakula was no longer being considered for the Series V lead role.

On the other hand, on that same day it was confirmed that Bakula was attached to the series at least at some point, as TV executive subscription service TV Tracker updated its Series V description with the following information:

Drama - UPN - Fall
Pilot Pick Up

Shooting 5/8/01 in Los Angeles.
Auspices: Berman, Rick (Executive Producer/Writer); Braga, Brannon (EP/W)
Talent: Scott Bakula

The fact that TV Tracker listed Bakula as the only talent attached to the series suggests that negotiations with Bakula were already quite far along. The service hasn't yet updated its listing to remove Bakula's name, suggesting he is in fact still attached to the show.

Whether negotiations with Bakula worked out or not will probably only become known when Paramount makes its official announcement on the next series, which, as Rick Berman indicated, should occur within a few weeks. Until then, please treat any unofficial news on Series V as you would any rumour.

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