Star Trek: Enterprise – The Second Season beams onto Blu-ray today, and it’s not only a high-definition extravaganza, but it’s stacked with extras. The highlight among the extras? An extended sit-down conversation with the entire Enterprise cast led by Brannon Braga, who co-created the show and had a major hand in selecting Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock, Dominic Keating, Linda Park, John Billingsley, Anthony Montgomery and Connor Trinneer for their respective roles. StarTrek.com recently grabbed a few minutes of Keating’s time, during which he talked about the Blu-ray, that cast reunion and more.
How amazing is it to you that Enterprise has been off the air for 8 years, twice as long as it ran?
KEATING: Crazy, isn’t it? God bless that job. I’m doing four conventions over the next few weeks, or since a couple of weeks ago and early September. God bless those fans, too. Really, as the years pass by that job keeps giving. I had dinner with Brannon in Vegas and he’s got a new show for a Fox affiliate cable network and, cross your fingers, mate, there may be something in there for me. So we’ll see. It’s a tight family this Enterprise family, I’ll tell you that much. This is something called Salem. It’s sort of True Blood meets Grimm fairy tales with a Salem/witchcraft background.
The Enterprise cast reunion is the centerpiece of the season-two Blu-ray. One revelation surprised us: that Braga and Rick Berman originally intended the first half of season one to unfold on Earth, with the crew coming together and the going out into space, rather than what fans saw, with the crew venturing into space in the pilot. Were you aware of that?
KEATING: No. Not at all. Absolutely not. No. UPN completely shot that down and went, “It’s a space show, right?” (Laughs). Maybe they had a point. But it explains a lot about that first season, that they kind of dredged up some old fare, if you will, from series past. It just started to look and sound like a lot of the other stuff, didn’t it? It was our understanding that the show was going to be much more about the interaction between the seven of us rather than darting off to another planet each week, figuring them out, and then being on our merry way, which is what it rather became, sadly. I remember from our early meetings that the idea was for us to be like E.R. in space almost, that the storylines would come out of the seven of us rather than guest stars each week.
How surprised were you that Roger Lay and his team succeeded in bringing the seven of you together for the reunion?
KEATING: I had no idea until the morning we got there that they’d have everyone. I thought it was going to be me, Connor, Anthony and… I think I’d heard Scott might come. Did I know John was coming? I may have known John was coming. But it was an absolute revelation to have Jolene there and Linda. Connor and I had done commentaries for a few days for the season-one Blu-ray, and for those we’d seen Brannon and (director) Jim Conway and a couple of other people showed up. But it was a bit hit and miss, and it wasn’t everyone. So when everyone was there on the morning, it was actually quite emotional, I’ve got to say, seeing everyone together after all this time.
You just mentioned the commentaries. What’s it been like to sit in a studio, watch the episodes and have everything come rushing back to you?
KEATING: It’s been startling to see just how young and gorgeous we were back then. Really, it was. I’ve preserved quite well. I exercise diligently and have a fairly healthy diet, but nothing can give you those 10 years back – or 12 years, right? I hadn’t seen the show for a while – a long while – and when we looked at the pilot it was like, “Oh my God. We were kids.” It took me a couple of mornings to get past that. Other than that, it was a lot of fun revisiting the episodes. Connor and I had a good time, and I’m not sure all of it got in.
Let’s talk for a minute about Malcolm Reed. If the show had run the full, planned seven years, what direction do you think he might have gone in? Was that something you ever discussed with Braga or Berman? What did YOU want to see for Reed?
KEATING: I never had those conversations. It was always a revelation. You know how it is with episodic (television). They fly by the seat of their pants a lot of the time. They’re dreaming up stuff literally with three weeks to go. So, no, you really didn’t have any idea until you read the next script what was going to happen next. If it were up to me? Captain’s chair, mate, absolutely. I don’t know. I thought that Section 31 stuff was pretty interesting. I actually loved the way they used my character. There was always a good B-line story for him and once in a while I got a good chunk to bite off. I realized the triumvirate was the main thrust of the show and I’ve made my peace with that, as it were. It’s difficult to say now, man. With Manny (Coto) at the helm we could have done another year or two, that’s for sure, with that fresh blood.
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