Producer Roger Lay, Jr on bringing the crew of the NX-01 together again for “IN CONVERSATION: THE FIRST CREW”
As our ongoing process to release the Star Trek library of TV shows in high definition continues, I’ve been very fortunate to revisit Star Trek: Enterprise while simultaneously continuing our seven-year mission on TNG. As most fans know, Enterprise only lasted four seasons and its finale signaled the end of the Rick Berman era of modern Trek on television. Some of the production personnel working on Enterprise had been together since pre-production began on the pilot for TNG in the spring of 1987.
Since we’ve now spent over two years on production for TNG Remastered we’ve got the opportunity to develop a fantastic working relationship with a great deal of the show’s production staff. So, when it came time to release Enterprise on Blu-ray we were able to reach out to them once more and have their full participation on all the new special features — from in-depth interviews and episode commentaries to our ongoing series of reunion pieces under the IN CONVERSATION title. After our wonderfully introspective and insightful on-camera conversation between creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga on the season-one Enterprise Blu-ray set we knew the only way we could top the results of such a well-reviewed piece was to bring the crew of the NX-01 together for a candid look back on their tour of duty.
During the many months of Blu-ray production for Star Trek: Enterprise I’ve had the opportunity to reevaluate the show and to realize how much I love these characters. In my opinion, “Broken Bow” is one of the most effective Trek pilots. I think Jim Conway did a fantastic job working with a script from Rick Berman and Brannon Braga to launch the series with a great sense of urgency and excitement while successfully setting up the prequel concept and creating a really solid two-hour movie of the week (with the exception of getting to the Klingon homeworld in what seems like only a couple of days).
What struck me the most was how en pointe the casting on the show was. One could argue that some of the other spinoffs took years before the writing staffs were able to really figure out the voices for each of the characters. It also took some time for the performers to figure out who these people were. I feel that from the first hour of “Broken Bow” the cast of Enterprise knew exactly what each of their characters was about. It was a vibrant and truly compelling group of actors to watch — just look at Connor and Dominic on “Shuttlepod One” or Scott and John in “Dear Doctor” if you need evidence. These are standout performances in early episodes when usually it might take a couple of seasons before you can see that emerge. Rick and Brannon were able to put together an amazing group and it saddens me that this talented group of performers only got four years to live with and explore their roles.
As production continued on our Enterprise Blu-ray sets, specifically for the Star Trek: Enterprise — Season Two Blu-ray, I knew it was imperative that we get them all together again to share their stories and perspective on this unique series and it’s sudden, unexpected ending after only four seasons. They all probably had wonderful thoughts and ideas on what they wanted to see for their characters in a seven-year run and I felt this would offer the perfect opportunity for them to express that collectively. I’ve had a blast getting to know these actors during the many hours we’ve spent together shooting interviews, recording commentary tracks or doing press at the Trek cons. They’re all incredibly grateful to have been a part of the Star Trek universe and have made time to participate in every aspect of these Blu-ray sets. They have all been incredibly generous with their time throughout this entire process. Not one of them has said no to any of our requests and for that, I thank each and every one of them.
As we got closer to the shoot date on our reunion, I was afraid we would not be able to get them all together at the same time due to their other professional and personal commitments. Fortunately, with only a day to go before cameras rolled, we got confirmation that each of the seven lead actors from the show was locked in, plus co-creator Brannon Braga agreed to moderate the piece, helping create an even more unique dynamic since each cast member gets the opportunity to share his or her thoughts on what worked and what they felt did not work out during the series’ run with their creator — something rarely ever seen by audiences.
Even Jolene Blalock, who does not do any convention appearances or interviews these days, agreed to participate and everyone was just thrilled to see her when she showed up. Most of the others run into each other at the cons, but none had seen Jolene in years. To make this an even more special event, our good friend Jeff Combs (“Shran”) agreed to drop by unannounced and crash this “pink skins” reunion, providing the piece with some really funny and joyful moments.
Fans who pick up the complete second season of Enterprise can look forward to the cast addressing such topics as the difficulties the show faced on the network, their relationships with the showrunners, an examination on the storylines the cast members felt did not quite work out, plus the story arcs they did enjoy portraying and even their negative reaction to the controversial series finale, “These are the Voyages…”
I’m very proud of all the Trek Blu-ray titles we’ve produced so far. With every new season, we release we are able to share another important piece of Trek history with the fans. This one ranks right up there with TNG’S 25th-anniversary special, “Reunification,” and in my humble opinion might be even more special and unique since the TNG family has done a great deal of convention appearances together since the show went off the air, but the entire Enterprise cast hasn’t even been in the same room since the series’ final season. And, as Brannon says in the opening segment of the piece, this may very well be the only time this ever happens. If so, I truly hope fans everywhere get to enjoy and cherish it.
Star Trek: Enterprise — Season Two will be available tomorrow. Click HERE to order.