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BACK TO THE FUTURE At 'Enterprise' helm, Scott Bak - 04-10-2012, 03:25 PM

Scott Bakula, formerly of "Quantum Leap," is aboutto boldly go where no established TV star has gone before - into the leading roleof a "Star Trek" television series. Until now, the great unknowns in each show included not only the unexplored universe but the largely unfamiliar cast members. When the original "Star Trek" series was launched by NBC in 1966, Capt. James T. Kirk and crew were given "a five-year mission" - the number of years it would take Paramount, the studio behind the show, to amass enough episodes to have a successful second run in syndication. The series, and the mission, lasted only three years, but the "Star Trek" franchise managed, somehow, to live long and prosper. The original series was syndicated eventually anyway, and daily reruns grew so popular with college students that it developed a loyal cult audience. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" fed that appetite in 1979, jump-starting a movie franchise that continues to thrive almost a quarter-century later. A first-run syndicated series called "Star Trek: The Next Generation" successfully followed William Shatner's Kirk in 1987 with another charismatic hero, Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard. Other series, and other captains, followed: Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko in 1993's syndicated "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway in 1995's UPN flagship series "Star Trek: Voyager." And now, starting Wednesday night at 8 tiffany rings, UPN unveils the latest series in the franchise, and the first not to incorporate "Star Trek" in its title. "Enterprise" essentially reinvents the universal wheel by making the show a prequel and building it around a central character played by someone who was an established TV star before sitting in the captain's chair. The star of "Enterprise" is Bakula, playing hotshot, headstrong Capt. Jonathan Archer. "Enterprise" is set 150 years in our future, but in an already specified point in the "Star Trek" continuum. BAKULA'SBOLD NEW 'ENTERPRISE' It's about a century after the Earth of 2063 as depicted in the 1996 film "Star Trek: First Contact Tiffany Bracelets," and about a century before Kirk and company would take the reins and seek out new life and new civilizations. It's also a frontier world of space, where phasers are untested, transporters are untrustworthy and Klingons are a complete unknown. The two-hour pilot is a wonderful show - the best start for a "Star Trek" series in its long and amazing history - and Bakula's instantly likable characterization is no small part of it. "It's probably as romantic a role as I've ever had," Bakula said in an interview as he was finishing the eighth hour of "Enterprise" (and, it should be noted, four days before the terrorist attacks). "Just the idea of being the captain of your own ship, that's romantic right there. And my character is supposed to be like Kirk, in that he'll get Tiffany Earrings, uh, involved. 1Related Topics Articles: A-Rod is ready for Angels BILL DIDN'T TELL PROSECUTOR BEFORE PARDONING FUGIT ALL QUIET ON BRAVE FRONTATLANTA FANS GLUM BEFORE G
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