We are still looking over all the great panels held during the weekend TREKtalks2 fundraiser livestream event. The event ended with a rare appearance of Scott Bakula. The Star Trek: Enterprise star doesn’t do a lot of conventions or Star Trek interviews, but he showed up for his former co-star John Billingsley to support the Hollywood Food Coalition. Bakula touched on some of the same issues covered in last week’s TrekMovie interview with Billingsley, and offered some hope that he would actually return to the role of Jonathan Archer.
How Enterprise could have run for 7 seasons
One of the issues Bakula discussed was how he sees Enterprise‘s cancellation after 4 seasons due to problems at UPN. He points to changes at the Viacom-owned network during the 2001-2005 era when Enterprise was on the air, affirming his belief the show would have matched the 7-season runs of the three previous Star Trek series if it had been distributed through syndication (like The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine):
Had we been syndicated, we would have gotten an easy seven, easy breezy. And our numbers were beyond what anybody else had done when we started out, but the nature of network television… it was just a different animal. There were lots of changes in the hierarchy, of not only Paramount but of the network. And we were there at an kind of an unfortunate time. And yet I still have to say, gratefully, we got four seasons. But yeah, it would have been nice to do more. We certainly had more stories to tell, we have places to go, but it didn’t work out.
You can’t really point a finger at one person or another. There were so many elements to the beginning of UPN and the transition there in terms of [UPN President] Dean [Valentine] leaving [in 2002]. And just people at Paramount left also. A lot of champions that were Star Trek folks kind of left during the course of the four years. It was a strange time and volatile time. But we slugged our way through it. And I’m so glad that we got the four years because there was a moment when we were only going to have three and that would have been a real shame.
One year after Enterprise was canceled, UPN ceased to exist. The network combined with The WB to form The CW, a joint venture between CBS and Warner Brothers. Only a handful of former UPN shows made the transition to The CW, with Veronica Mars being the sole scripted drama to do so.
Open to returning to Trek
When asked if he would follow in the footsteps of Patrick Stewart and other Star Trek veteran actors to return to the role of Jonathan Archer, Bakula was open to the idea. The actor says that if he got a call from executive producer Alex Kurtzman, he would hear him out:
I’ve been doing this too long to ever say never or no to anybody. I talk to everybody about stuff. So, sure.
He also indicated he is open to following other legacy actors in lending his voice to an animated Trek show:
I’ve done a bunch of animated voice-over work and animation, so I enjoy it. It just hasn’t come across my desk. But I do appreciate being referred to as “legacy” as opposed to “old Trek.” That’s very nice.
Bakula being open to a return to Trek may be a surprise to his former Enterprise co-star John Billingsley, who last week told TrekMovie he didn’t see that happening, at least not as a regular. Bakula made big news last year when he chose not to participate in NBC’s reboot of Quantum Leap, so he has a history of saying no.
Talking in general about how the Star Trek franchise continues to create new shows, Scott discussed why he still sees the franchise as relevant:
The reason that it stays relevant, sadly, is that we have most of the same issues still exists on our planet. We have not made the jump to figuring out that we’re all in this together… that’s straight out of the Trek playbook. And we got to settle that on this planet first, and we’re a long, long way from that, apparently, judging by how we’re living amongst each other. So those stories, they remain relevant and poignant. And however they’re parsed out in all these different incarnations, they’re valuable. I’ve always loved Trek because you gloss it over with the space stuff, but then you sneak all the hard stuff right through the middle of it. It’s a thing of beauty. It still is.
Thrilled to see new fans discover Enterprise
The actor also said he was pleased to know that people are still discovering Enterprise through streaming:
When we were in the midst of making the show and when we… got our fourth season done, we all talked about hoping that the show would be more appreciated as time went on. Because I felt like we achieved something pretty wonderful in those four years, especially, in my opinion, in the last two and a half years– that kind of building through the Xindi element and with the 9/11 component fusing the writers’ brains and minds and hearts. We were always hopeful, all of us. We had done a lot of good work and that we would hope that we would be appreciated as time marched on. I’m thrilled.
Bakula pointed to the show’s spirit of exploration as something he was particularly proud of:
I love that spirit of the show, which is what we were going for from the get-go. I liken it to the original show. And there was that that positive—my character had that going forward and that kind of wild west aspect of it all, but at the same time, let’s do something for humanity. Let’s put humanity out there in a good way. Let’s try and work with others. He didn’t go out with a lot of chips on his shoulder about who he would or wouldn’t do business with. Once he got past the Vulcan thing, I think he was pretty much free sailing. I was really, really pleased with where we ended up on the show.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.