Trek Alumni In The 'Zone'

By Caillan
July 27, 2002 - 5:05 PM

UPN's revival of the cult classic The Twilight Zone is a Star Trek family reunion of sorts, with Ira Steven Behr, Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker) and Jason Alexander (Kurros) all involved.

Behr, who worked on the now-cancelled Bob Patterson and Dark Angel after the end of Deep Space Nine, will serve as executive producer. In an interview with the Sci-Fi Wire, Behr outlined the vision he and fellow executive producer Pen Densham are working towards.

"I think we're going to tell simple stories with an ironic twist," he said of the anthology series, based on the 1960s original created by Rod Serling. "And we're going to tell stories that will interest people who are watching television today. [...] We're functioning with an audience that grew up on video games and George Lucas [and] Steven Spielberg. [...] So we want to tell the same type of stories that Serling told. [But] we obviously have to tell them in a slightly different way."

'Star Trek: First Contact' and 'Clockstoppers' director Frakes helmed the pilot episode, which Densham described as a major coup for the series. "We started off with Jonathan Frakes directing the pilot, which I think is a real achievement," he said.

Frakes was happy to return the compliment while speaking to Melissa J. Perenson at Sci-Fi Weekly. "It was great," he said of his experience on the set. "The script by Pen Densham was right in the tone of the original Rod Serling shows. And Jeremy Piven is the star of the pilot episode; he's a wonderful, interesting, wild actor. The new Rod Serling, as you might know, is Forest Whitaker. So it's a nice team to be involved with."

The veteran director used all the skills at his disposal to make The Twlight Zone pilot a really cutting-edge piece of television. "I think we brought it into the 21st century in terms of the shooting style, certainly, and the technology and the visual effects. Yet we honor the cautionary tales and morality plays that the episodes often are. But the subject, by nature of the fact that it's 40 years later, will be more contemporary. I think it honors the original show in a very good way, and it moves us into this millennium."

Completing the trio of Trek alumni is Jason Alexander, host of 1999's 'Ultimate Trek' special and Kurros in Voyager's 'Think Tank.' The former Seinfeld star will be making a guest appearance in an episode, in which he will play "one of the most legendary and dreaded characters ever conceived," according to an article at Zap2it. The title and air date of the episode have yet to be announced.

The Twlight Zone premieres September 18 on UPN at 9:00pm Eastern Time, following Enterprise. The full interview with Behr and Densham can be found here, while the Frakes article is available at Sci-Fi Weekly. Thanks to 'TheSliders' for some of this!

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