All Access Star Trek Talks Brent Spiner Singing, ‘The Orville’ Production, & Their New Interest In Georgiou

All Access Star Trek Podcast Episode 15

[Episode review starts at 21:32 ]

Tony and Laurie give updates on The Orville going back into production, Brent Spiner’s strange and hilarious short film, ViacomCBS’ faith in Star Trek, and Star Trek: Discovery‘s plans for Adira and Gray. Then they review “Die Trying,” the fifth episode of Discovery season 3, and both podcasters are very surprised to find the latest Georgiou twist intriguing, thanks to David Cronenberg.

Links to topics discussed in the pod

Exclusive: ‘The Orville’ Season 3 Is Returning To Production In December

Watch: Brent Spiner Battles LeVar Burton In Musical Comedy Short ‘Brentwood’

ViacomCBS CEO Touts Star Trek For Streaming Growth And “Proof Of Concept” For Paramount+

Actors Discuss What’s Next For Adira And Gray In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season Three… And Four

Listen: Linus’ Official ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Log Hints At An Unexpected Romance

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Theory: The USS Discovery Is Evolving Into Something We Have Seen Before

Other mentions:

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 3 Analysis: Rounding Up The Prime Suspects Behind The Burn

The Temporal Accord

First Contact Day in the mirror universe (Enterprise)

Werner Herzog on The Mandalorian (with his catchphrase)

Proposed Boston Memorial Would Honor Leonard Nimoy With Vulcan Salute

Talking Star Trek, Friendship, and More With Mary Chieffo and Steffi Hochriegl


Tony and Laurie (oops!): 10 Star Trek Stories Crying Out For a Follow-Up

Please tell us what Trek stories YOU want to see followed up on in the comments!

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A story that deserves a major follow-up would be Armus. I’d like him to be a left-over from the Great Link, the Founders. Before Odo, they had never killed each other before, maybe the got rid of him / it millennia ago.

An on-screen version of the Trelane/Q continuity would also be nice as well as an official acknowledgement of the Borg/V’Ger/Doomsday Machine connections.

There are many possibilities to give Trek a tighter coherence. One of the few things I miss in Trek is an overall storyline that connects most aspects. There is some potential in bringing some of it together more closely. T’Kon / First Ones / Iconians may also deserve some more attention with some sort of Stargate-y approach.

Some of this most certainly will be done on Lower Decks but I wish for a more serious, epic approach…

Also there is so much potential in some unexplored pockets:

Khan on Ceti Alpha with some flashbacks to his reign on Earth

A 60s style Gary Seven series explaining some continuity issues

A Man In the High Castle sort of follow-up to City on the Edge of Forever

TOS and early TNG did so much ground work for exciting follow-ups…

Please no Khan. It’s been overdone.

Otherwise, I agree. LDs has a lot of callbacks, but it would be great to have some of these in a more serious vein.

Overdone? We’ve seen Khan three times in 54 years, and only two of those encounters actually felt like him. I’d really like to see Zahn McClarnon as Khan in a Space Seed – TWOK bridger mini-series with historical flashbacks…

2 entire movies is more than enough to make me never curious about Khan again.

I had never thought of Armus having been left by the Founders. Interesting!

Nicholas Meyers wrote a Khan miniseries for CBSAA, but there is no sign that it will be produced.

That Meyers Khan miniseries idea is about as dead as the Hemsworth Trek 4 movie.

I really hope that anyone seeking to pitch over-the-top villain projects is required to watch LDs 109 “Crisis Point” at least 5 times and prepare speaking points as to why their idea isn’t guilty of any of the overused Trek movie tropes.

As for the episode:

I don’t think the Emerald Chain is the big baddie for this season. They are Trek’s version of Crimson Dawn I take it. They are side players in an even greater scheme.

This Covic guy played by Cronenberg is really really enigmatic. Him being Section 31 makes sense, so at least he should know about his long-lost comerade Georgiou. I wonder: Covic / Covid, can’t be a co-incidence :-)

The melody (nice nod to NuBSG) being linked to the Burn’s background noise also makes lots of sense to me. I’m sure that’s also what Detmer is picking up through her implant that gives her these time-outs. Maybe even Georgiou now…

This show now being a post-post-post-VOY show is the only issue I have with DSC Season 3… Yeah, they are giving fans what they wanted… but at what cost? DSC being set in the 32nd century makes every “real” NextGen-era follow-up a “prequel” to DSC 3+, causing the same issues time and again.

So either the next Star Trek will be 33rd century or beyond or we’re stuck with a “used” future for good.

I would say that there’s enough time between the TNG era and the 32nd century to do most stories without having to worry whether it creates continuity issues. That’s unless they want to do another “end of all biological life in the galaxy” story. So far, Discovery hasn’t filled in a lot of detail about what happened during their 930-year absence so the book is very much open except for a few nuggets here and there that have been established mostly by previous Trek shows.

> They are Trek’s version of Crimson Dawn

Lol no, those simplistic tropes existed in Trek way before Crimson Dawn even existed

In the spirit of All Access’ final segment: the random Trek recommendation, I have a really, really good one! You guys and gals should check out one of Hallmark’s new Christmas movies this year, Jingle Bell Bride.

No, I’m not kidding! It stars Ronnie Rowe. He plays Lt. Bryce, one of those Discovery bridge crew guys who barely say anything. Turns out, he’s a really charismatic actor! He helped turn Jingle Bell Bride into a truly above-average Hallmark Christmas outing.

Now, whenever I see Lt. Bryce in the background of a few shots on Discovery I’m pointing at the TV like Leo Dicaprio shouting, “Hey, it’s the Xmas guy!” and wishing he could be given the chance to show all of us Trekkies his awesome acting chops.

And then I wonder if my wish ever comes true and Lt. Bryce does get to shine in one episode if they won’t promptly write him off the show like poor Nhan this week :(

Anyways, give Jingle Bell Bryce- I mean Bride- a chance and maybe, just maybe, like me, you’ll have a new favourite background bridge character :)

I will check it out. Yeah, it’s hard not to worry anytime they spotlight a minor character that their last episode is looming. Noooooooooooo….

Laurie, not sure you’ve caught it, but Phil and I and some others have been musing about the appeal of Hallmark movies on the OT Chat thread, and how there might be some aspirational character-driven stories in the Trek universe that might be well served by made-for-streaming movies.

Jingle Bell Bride was the first Hallmark Christmas movie this year and is among a group that is pushing the diversity envelope. Ronnie Rowe Jr stars with a latinx leading lady Julie Gonzalo.

It had 2.7 million viewers in the United States on its premiere showing. Hallmark and Lifetime seem to be have found a huge and underserved niche of the market.

I recorded Jingle Bell Bride and watched it when it ran last week on W in Canada. It was fine, and Rowe was a very credible leading man.

Mia Kirschner will be starring in a Hanukkah movie on Hallmark in December, and Patrick Kwok-Choon seems to have been in some to-be-announced made-for-TV movie. Looks like Discovery’s cast is picking up opportunities and helping push diversity beyond Trek.

I’m excited to see/hear what you think, Laurie!

I don’t want to set your expectations too high, I mean we’re talking about a Hallmark movie here. But darn it if Ronnie doesn’t have the most mesmerizing voice I’ve heard in a long time. I know you’ve been salivating over Book (yay, he’s coming back next episode!) but I’ll take Lt. Bryce’s husky voice over Book’s British accent any day, please and thank you very much… Book still has those abs and whatnot, so it’s a tough call. We don’t get any shirtless scenes in Jingle Bell Bride- it’s Hallmark after all. But what a beard Lt. Bryce has! In the words of our most recently departed crewmember: “Yum, yum!”

I’m not a big Hallmark movie gal but I will track it down. But I remain loyal to Booker’s wink. It’s the look in his eyes, not the abs! (I mean, nothing wrong with abs…)

The thing that really bites for me is that a Canadian Latinx, who identifies as mixed race, was finally elevated to main cast on a Star Trek series produced in Canada only because she was being written out.

Laurie & Anthony – sincere question:

Is part of the problem the way SH has organized it’s casting contracts between the group in LA doing the SAG main cast, and the ACTRA casting agent in Toronto?

So, as soon as we see too much of a secondary cast member, it appears to cross a line and they’re moved up to guest star and gone.

We now know that Ancheril’s departure was planned from before the start of the season based on recent interviews she’s done, but there just seems to be some weird constraints that SH has inflicted on itself that are affecting the writing choices.

Even when Canadians are main cast, they are cast from LA, and there are American, British and others cast as secondary characters – noticeably the diverse crew on the Enterprise in the S2 finale. There was an American playing Lieutenant Nicola, and a British lieutenant, but both already work regularly in Toronto.

It obviously doesn’t have to be this way since we see other shows (notably The Expanse) where there is a solid mix of Canadian, US and international talent.

More, CBS Studios would increase the value of its tax credits with more Canadians above the line as actors and directors.

There’s a formula that values Canadian representation in leadership roles and higher up the call sheet, but it seems like SH is actively ignoring it even while making the show in Canada to improve profitability. It’s just really weird.

I’ll also note that the federal government has announced that it will be moving to a formula that supports greater representation and inclusion of Indigenous and racialized Canadians.

It will be a while before that’s in place, but the way things are going ViacomCBS – a global entertainment industry leader in commitments to Reconciliation, diversity and inclusion – won’t benefit from the incentives for Star Trek because they are so committed to casting, writing and chosing directors from LA.

I confess I’m not 100% sure what your question is. But I think it makes sense for Secret Hideout, which is based in Los Angeles, to be hiring writers and directors they are familiar with, which means they’re mostly LA-based. I think they’ve hired a lot of Canadian actors for smaller roles because they don’t have to fly them in or put them up, and there’s plenty of talent available in Toronto. The crew (production crew, not Discovery crew) also has a lot of Canadians.

But your question (Is part of the problem the way SH has organized it’s casting contracts between the group in LA doing the SAG main cast, and the ACTRA casting agent in Toronto?) is confusing to me in terms of what “the problem” is that you’re referring to.

I do think the choice to give a secondary character an onscreen boost before getting rid of them is a writing choice (if not one I like all that much) and that’s that. I mean, with Airiam, they obviously liked Sara Mitich enough that they wanted to keep her, so they had Hannah Cheesman replace her as Airiam and created a new character for Mitich. Can you clarify what it is you’re asking?

Not to step on TG47’s toes, but IMHO the number one problem is the lack of Ronnie Rowe as Lt. Bryce! I hope they cook up something really good for him! And if they do, I hope SAG or SH or anyone else doesn’t write them off the show :O

I’m excited to see Patrick Kwok-Choon in his TBA TV-movie, thanks for the heads up, TG47! Definitely looking forward to that.

It seems like Discovery has a really great roster of actors in the background of the bridge. When Disco finally dumps Georgiou, I truly hope they make room for more Detmer, Owo, Bryce, and Rhys. The quality would go up exponentially, no doubt. The show is about Discovery, so let’s get to know the crew!

Thanks Laurie,

I’m wondering if the way SH has set up the casting contracts is creating a hard boundary on how much the secondary characters can be used.

The pattern that you are criticizing – only bring out a secondary character into a starring turn when they are about to be written out — seems like an artifact.

I would contrast this to the way Miles and Keiko O’Brien were able to have the occasional expanded role and then return to the background in TNG. Likewise Vorik came and went in profile in Voyager.

Perhaps it’s just the lens of my own area of expertise to look for contractual barriers and “bad” incentives influencing writing choices.

When there is a weird pattern, I tend to pose the question whether something is driving it.

On the “easier to hire in LA” , certainly it is easier to stay in their comfort zone. My point is that it doesn’t seem to be serving the show well.

You and Tony have remarked on how Star Trek has limited market outside Anglophone countries. I’m suggesting that some of these “easy choices” may be holding the shows back unexpected ways, especially when the “branch plant” approach is operating. There are long studied problems with this kind of operation in a variety of industries – entertainment isn’t an exception.

Canada provides financial incentives and has a very diverse pool of talent that could help Trek infuse different cultures and perspectives. That’s why Canadian literature has taken off globally when it was something even Canadians didn’t want to read when we were growing up.
Toronto, with more than half it’s population BIPOC offers so much that the franchise needs.

So, when I see how other series like The Expanse are benefiting from Canada’s diversity but Star Trek seems stuck in LA-think, it makes me sad for the lost opportunity.

I think I have a better handle on what you’re saying, but I think that they ARE benefitting from Canada’s (and Toronto’s) diversity. They are using their secondary characters a lot more, a lot of those actors are Canadians who live in Toronto, and they’re using Canadians as extras too. For a major role, they bring in someone they know and want, like David Ajala, and that was a great choice. He’s perfect for the role. For smaller characters, they are using a lot of Canadian actors. And they’ve been doing that from the beginning, with Rekha Sharma, Ken Mitchell (who lives in LA now but was born in Toronto), and Rachel Ancheril, as well as the bridge crew. So I don’t think this has been a problem at all, so far, at least from my perspective. (And I say this as a Canadian who grew up in Toronto.) Recent example: hiring Karen Robinson (of Schitt’s Creek fame) to play a Trill. I think they’re doing exactly what you say they should be doing already!

I don’t want to overburden this thread with a side discussion Laurie, but I’m thinking that there must be something different between the casting contracts for Discovery and say, the Expanse.

The Expanse hires worldwide, including internationally known seasonal guest stars. But there has been scope for Canadian-cast secondary characters, especially Indigenous actor Cara Gee’s Drummer to expand in role and eventually become main cast.

I see Drummer’s trajectory in the Expanse as somewhat parallel to that of O’Brien in TNG to DS9. A barely there recurrent person in the background who grows to become essential main cast.

But if a Drummer or O’Brien analogue exists in Discovery as soon as the come to prominence, they are gone from the show.

I don’t watch The Expanse so I can’t speak to that. I do think Detmer seems well on her way into O’Brien territory, although remember, he was never a main cast member on TNG. (That didn’t happen until DS9, although he got some occasional spotlights during his time on TNG.) But none of this is about casting or contracts or Canadians… it’s all about decisions made in the writers’ room and their storytelling choices.

Could it theoretically be possible that Secret Hideout (based in California) was forced into a deal with the Screen Actor’s Guild (based in California) that they would shoot Disco in Toronto using SAG actors for the main characters and ACTRA actors (the Canadian version of SAG) only for background performers?

SAG is known to use strong-arm tactics to protect their members. Maybe TG47 is on to something here…

Quick, someone help me get Ronnie Rowe into SAG asap!

Thanks for the musings PeachesXtreme,

I just don’t know, but I do see Canadian ACTRA players who star in secondary roles moving up in a lot of other American productions in Canada and the pattern in Trek is just off.

Many other major US have at least one Canadian as main cast, and shows like the Expanse have more.

This is especially the odd since CBS Studios must be getting a lower Canadian Content score and therefore significantly reduced tax credits since it doesn’t have Canadians on the main call sheet, or as department heads.

With costuming and production design having Canadian department heads on Discovery, they won’t be in the lowest category, but they’re not much more than the minimum threshold.

Laurie’s right that Star Trek is putting a lot into the regional economy around Toronto, but it just seems like SH has created some artificial barriers for itself that are actually holding back representation. One wonders if SH locked the show into some structure with the guilds that they are now stuck with as long as they are making the series.

At the same time, ViacomCBS is getting profile internationally for insisting on BIPOC representation in its productions outside the United States.

It’s just weird, especially when TOS had two Canadians (Shatner and Doohan) as main cast.

I’m still confused. Who do you think is not being represented? Canadians specifically? They have a ton of them both behind and in front of the camera. Are you suggesting they promote someone to main character level just because they are Canadian? I still don’t think this is actually a problem or even a thing in itself. (Don’t mean to be mean about it… just don’t really understand it.)

If Discovery does use music to stop the Burn, then obviously they will have to use Sabotage by The Beastie Boys.


Thanks again for the podcast. I watch the episode here in the UK on Friday evening and then tune in to the podcast on the Saturday. I really appreciate your insight as you often spot things that I have missed particularly when it comes to DS9 connections. DS9 is the one series I’ve not watched. May be sacrilege here, but I tried watching it back when it originally aired, but I just couldn’t get into it and stopped watching it late into Season 1.

Hi Scott. Very happy you like the podcast! I highly recommend you give DS9 another go. It’s a really brilliant show with rich characters and wonderful writing. If it’s really been that long since you’ve tried, it’s worth revisiting. What was it about the show that you didn’t like, do you remember?

thanks for the feedback. I envy anyone who loves Star Trek and still has more Star Trek to watch, especially DS9. I became a born again Niner when it came out on DVD. You will not regret watching it all the way through.

The podcast was fun on spotify.