'Deep Space Nine' Might Have Been All a Dream

By Michelle
June 15, 2006 - 10:31 PM

Executive producer Ira Stephen Behr compared Deep Space Nine to his new show The 4400, which began its third season last weekend on USA.

Behr, who shares office space with Shaun Piller and The Dead Zone staff, told StarTrek.com that he feels strongly that The 4400 should be serialized like Deep Space Nine. "I just think it makes the show more compelling," he said. "That was my mantra during the Deep Space Nine days. It was a complicated show, with so many threads. But nowadays we have the 'saga sell' at the beginning of each episode to get people on board. And the recaps, and the Internet. So there's lots of ways to pick up the storyline."

Behr also acknowledged the political and social commentary veiled on The 4400 of the sort that Star Trek did. "I think we do a lot of under-the-radar commentary about a lot of things," he said. "[On] Deep Space Nine, we had a lot of that — we could talk about religion, we could talk about anything, and no one gave a damn because they were wearing prosthetics." On the new show, however, the producers worry more about offending a contemporary audience, he said - which has not stopped him from dealing with the NSA and other controversial issues.

The producer's friend and DS9 colleague Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun, Brunt, Shran) plays a recurring character on The 4400, a mad scientist of sorts, "trying to see if he can be the first non-4400 to develop 4400 capabilities — and he's in a great deal of trouble," explained Behr. Robert Picardo (The Doctor) has appeared on the series as well. Combs' character was given a scene meant as an homage to the Re-Animator horror films in which the actor starred. "Jeff is a real buddy of mine, and he's someone I try to use a lot in various projects," Behr revealed.

Behr also revealed that he wanted to end DS9 by revealing that "it was all a construct in the mind of Benny Russell," the oppressed writer who imagined an African-American captain and his crew, "but there was no way in hell." He said that with many decisions, he was asked about the impact on Voyager and the rest of the Star Trek franchise.

Asked about J.J. Abrams being tapped to produce the next Star Trek film, Behr said, "Certainly business-wise it's a smart move — it gives the name and the cachet. He could do something great...but is the world ready for more Star Trek? I do not know." Though he believes he could produce "a pretty kick-ass" DS9 movie, he did not expect Paramount ever to consider it.

For more, including Behr's ongoing friendships with former DS9 writers and his decision to dye his beard blue, the full interview is at StarTrek.com.

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