Scott Bakula doesn’t mind talking about Star Trek: Enterprise and that’s the case for several reasons. One, he rates Enterprise as a good experience despite its abbreviated run. Two, he knows that fans are still interested in him and what he’s doing now. And, three, it’s not as if he’s lacked for work post Enterprise. Since the show closed up shop in 2005, Bakula has performed on stage, co-starred with Matt Damon in the film The Informant!, played recurring roles on the television shows Chuck and The New Adventures of Old Christine, and co-starred with Ray Romano and Andre Braugher on the TBS series Men of a Certain Age. In fact, Bakula was on his lunch break from shooting an upcoming episode of Men of a Certain Age when he rang StarTrek.com for the following exclusive interview.
Five years on, how do you look back on Enterprise?
Oh, it was a fantastic experience. I had a ball. We had some fantastically talented people on all sides of the camera. We had great actors, tremendously creative effects people and set people and makeup people and… It was fantastic. You were working with some of the most talented people and groundbreakers in the industry, and I got to do it for four years.
A lot of people were not satisfied with the Enterprise finale, which pretty much wrapped everything and everyone into a Next Generation holodeck sequence. What was your reaction to it?
I have to say that when I first read the script I was off-put by it. I had a long talk with Rick (Berman) and Brannon (Braga) about it and they explained their idea and philosophy to me. I don’t know that I ever… Gosh, the end of anything is always hard to write. It was a little odd, but that was their call.
What went incomplete so far as Captain Archer?
Things were dictated by the times, by it being post-9/11, but I wanted us to hopefully get back to having a little bit more fun on the show and to get out of that whole Xindi thing. That would have been fun. I think we were pointing in that direction. I think the group was ready to go. The cast was ready to get there, and I think we could have had a blast. But we just didn’t get to go there. And I wanted Archer to kind of grow up and lighten up a little bit.
J.J. Abrams phones you and says, “Hey, we’ve come up with a great way to get Archer into the next movie. Are you interested?” What would you say, yes or no?
You tend not to repeat yourself in terms of projects or roles. So, what for you was unique about Men of a Certain Age and about your struggling-actor character, Terry?
I always start with a script, and the pilot for this show was so great. And they’ve done such a good job since then. The character of Terry is so different from me, and that’s what you look for as an actor, the chance to not be yourself. The only question early on was getting in a room with Ray and (co-executive producer) Mike Royce and making sure we were all on the same page and had a little bit of chemistry with Andre. That all fell into place. There’s nothing like it on television.
Season two of Men of a Certain Age will premiere in November. What can viewers expect to see?
Well, I’m going to be working for Andre at the car dealership, trying to figure out the ins and outs of selling cars, which has been pretty crazy so far. Ray’s character is pursuing the idea of trying to make the senior (golf) tour and he’s trying to juggle his life with all of that. And, of course, Andre is now trying to run the car dealership in the shadow of his father.
You had a nice arc going on Chuck as Chuck’s dad, Stephen Bartowski. How was that experience and what did you make of the character’s sudden demise?
I had a ball on the show. They have a great bunch of people over there, including a lot of Enterprise people, which was fun for me also. I thought the scripts and the character were well written, which is what got me over there. I’d been a fan of the show and continue to be. Zac Levi leads a great group of actors over there and we had a good time. When they called me to come back and get killed they explained to me what they were trying to achieve, and the idea was that my death would help this young man grow up. They wanted to shock Chuck into that, and killing his father seemed like a good way to do it. I think they executed it – pardon the pun – very well. I think it played well and I think it had a profound effect on the series and on Chuck. I’m curious to see where they’ll go with it.
Does dead mean dead-dead-dead on Chuck?
What they say is you’re never dead on Chuck, so we’ll see. And I’ve already been back in a flashback. So, you never know. I’m thrilled they got picked up and are back and if I get a chance to come back again I’d love to do it.
Every time we turn around there’s some tidbit of news or some rumor about a Quantum Leap revival. Where are things at? What’s the latest?
This is all I know. I have spoken with Don (Bellisario, who created the show) and he’s been approached by a producer to write a script and produce a Quantum Leap film. He’s intending to do that and has begun work on it. And my understanding is that Dean (Stockwell) and I may have a small cameo element to the movie. But it hasn’t been written yet. So we’ll see.