Robert Picardo, in the second half of our exclusive two-part interview, answers questions from you, the fans. Here, the former Star Trek: Voyager star responds to several more questions about his beloved former character, the Doctor, replies to a few queries about other subjects and updates us on what he’s doing now.
Which episode of Voyager that focused on the Doctor would you say is your favorite and, assuming you’ve seen it lately, how does that episode hold up?
Picardo: I have two favorites, actually, or three. I think the Doctor’s daydreaming episode, “Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy” is a great favorite of mine, certainly comedy-wise. I also love “Someone to Watch Over Me,” where the Doctor falls in love with Seven of Nine. I love that one more for its romance and its bittersweet quality. And then if I were to pick my favorite dramatic episode I would probably say “Latent Image” because it was just the most challenging in that respect.
And I think those shows and the best episodes of the series all do hold up very well. I saw “Someone to Watch Over Me” in the last year and “Tinker, Tenor” I saw about three years ago, and they were good. What’s interesting is the ones that I remember being the most challenging and interesting to do are the ones, that when I see them, hold up best as well.
How satisfied were you with the Voyager series finale? And, if you could have done anything differently, what would be different?
Picardo: I would not have just substituted Jeri Ryan with a different leggy blond as the Doctor’s payoff. I thought it was a little cheesy that the Doctor sort of nurtured and encouraged and tutored Seven of Nine for three or four years and then Chakotay swooped in at the last minute and married her. I didn’t think that was at all fair. He had the more impressive hairline, but the Doctor had other qualities. But, all kidding aside, I thought it was strange that they gave me kind of a substitute wife, so that the Doctor wouldn’t feel bad or the fans wouldn’t feel too bad for me. I know it’s impossible in a one-hour finale to wrap up all the plotline and character questions that have been developed over seven years. I think the fact that they made it a great show for Kate was great, because she was our leader and Janeway was the first female captain in Star Trek. I thought that was a good choice and Kate certainly delivered. I know how hard it is to do those kinds of scenes, where you’re acting with yourself and you have to respond to your other performance, which is not happening in real time. You have to remember it, and there are timing issues and you have to be careful of your physical movements, so that you don’t ruin a shot by encroaching on your other character’s image, which you can’t see. All of that is very tough to do and Kate did an extraordinary job. Having said all that, I agree with a lot of the fan criticisms that, after seven years of build-up, it’s suddenly, “Whoop, we’re home. There we are. We’re here. Good-bye.” The arrival moment to the end of the credit roll was extraordinarily – what’s the word? – compressed.
Here’s a unique one. How did you enjoy growing up in the Philadelphia area, and how frequently do you get back to your hometown of East Falls?
Picardo: I love Philadelphia, and my brother and sister and many other family members live there. It’s always a joy to go back home. They make the best sandwiches in the world. I know everyone knows that. Tony Luke is my particular favorite. There are a million great sandwiches in Philadelphia and I can only go home so often because I’d gain too much weight. That said, I do go home at least twice a year.
This question is for the Doctor: What should I do about this rash?
Picardo: What should you do about that rash? Tell your wife.
Is there a dream role for you, a sci-fi role that you’d like to play?
Picardo: A sci-fi dream role. Hmmm. I’d have to be better read in sci-fi literature to pick something, a sci-fi role in literature that hasn’t been portrayed yet on television or in film. There are a lot of great sci-fi shows that I’d like to be on. I’d like to work on Fringe or Warehouse 13 or Eureka. There are some very good shows dealing with the outer reaches of our scientific understanding that I would be interested in working on, but I can’t say what role I’d want to play.
What are you working on these days?
Picardo: I just returned a few days ago from Vancouver, where I guest starred on Stargate Universe, the newest installment of the Stargate franchise. I think StarTrek.com readers should sample Stargate Universe if they haven’t yet. It is an incredibly good show. It’s much darker and more dramatic than the other Stargate series. That makes it a little more Trek-like, actually. If you’re a Trek fan and you’ve never been a Stargate fan before, this is the show for you. I’m back as Richard Woolsey (a character Picardo previously played on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis) and I’m back in a business suit, so I’m apparently no longer a commander.
Do you have anything else coming up we should know about?
Picardo: If you go to Funnyordie.com you’ll find a short film that I’m in with Tim Russ, and it’s called Chad and the Alien Toupee. Someone asked me to do it and I was captivated by the wonderfully ridiculous title. How do you turn down an opportunity like that? It was just a goof. I’ve done a couple of Internet projects. I also played an Italian gigolo in a few short films on the acmebrandcomedy.com site. His name is Alphonso and, in his own mind, he’s God’s gift to women. It’s fun to play the occasional hairpiece role because I find that as soon as I put a hairpiece on I’m completely captivated by myself. I have a few other projects in the wind that I can’t talk about yet, including one that’s down to me and one other guy, so fingers crossed for that one. And I have the movie Monster Wolf premiering October 9 on Syfy. I am not the title character, but rather a very arrogant, aggressive oil tycoon who gets his comeuppance… brutally.