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Scott Bakula proud of ‘Enterprise’ legacy

Scott Bakulstarred as Capt. Jonathan Archer televisiseries “Star Trek — Enterprise.”

Scott Bakula starred as Capt. Jonathan Archer in the television series “Star Trek — Enterprise.”

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These are very busy times for veteran actor Scott Bakula. In the upcoming feature film, “Elsa & Fred,” Bakula stars as the son of the title characters, played by Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine. He stars as Bob Black, the real-life attorney who introduced Liberace to his live-in lover Scott Thorson, in the upcoming HBO biopic “Behind the Candelabra” starring Matt Damon as Thorson and Michael Douglas as the legendary pianist-showman. He recently guest-starred in an episode of “Two and a Half Men,” and just wrapped a pilot for TNT co-starring Geena Davis in a series based on the life of bounty hunter Mackenzie Green in which Bakula stars as her police detective husband.

Does this guy ever rest?

On this particular afternoon, Bakula is taking time out of his busy schedule to look back, not ahead, specifically to the Blu-ray release of the sci-fi television series “Star Trek: Enterprise — The Complete First Season” (Paramount Home Entertainment), which ran for four seasons beginning in 2001 on UPN. (The entire series was released on DVD in 2005.)

The series served as a sort-of prequel (set 100 years earlier) to the iconic “Star Trek” television series, when Starfleet was still in its infancy, and the Federation was yet to congeal. Bakula stars as Capt. Jonathan Archer, who helms the crew of the Enterprise NX-01, which included Jolene Blalock as Vulcan Sub-Commander T’Pol, John Billingsley as chief surgeon Dr. Phlox and Connor Trineer as engineer “Trip” Tucker, among others. It is the first voyage into deep space by an Earth crew and starship.

The six-disc set includes all 25 episodes and a bevy of special features including new episode audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes multi-part documentary and new interviews with cast and crew.

“I was a huge fan of the [original] ‘Star Trek,’ TV series,” Bakula says. “In college, when Kirk and Spock were on the world came to a halt because everybody was watching it. We’d all pile into a dorm room and tune in for the hour. It was amazing. I have to say of all the ‘Star Trek’ offerings, that series, those characters, the movies they eventually made, were my favorite. [Laughs] I guess Patrick Stewart will yell at me.”

Portraying captain Archer puts Bakula in a “Star Trek” captain’s dynasty, something not too unlike the dynasty of actors who’ve starred as James Bond over the years. It’s something Bakula cherishes.

“To say you’re an Enterprise captain,” Bakula says, “I’m just really honored to be part of that story. People my age or older in the business come up to me and say that’s the coolest thing ever! I understand the history, the legacy, what this means to the fans.”

Fans of the show might recall the first time Bakula and his newbie crew took the Enterprise star ship out for its maiden voyage. If there ever was a “wow” moment in the series, Bakula says that was it.

“It was a magic day,” he said. Everybody from the show and the studio came down to see the new [ship’s] bridge. There were like 100 people out there as we took that ship out for the first time. Herman Zimmerman designed these amazing sets for us so we could run up and down those stairs and corridors and through the moving doors and work all that equipment. It was like being a kid. It was that much fun.

These are very busy times for veteran actor Scott Bakula. In the upcoming feature film, “Elsa & Fred,” Bakula stars as the son of the title characters, played by Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine. He stars as Bob Black, the real-life attorney who introduced Liberace to his live-in lover Scott Thorson, in the upcoming HBO biopic “Behind the Candelabra” starring Matt Damon as Thorson and Michael Douglas as the legendary pianist-showman. He recently guest-starred in an episode of “Two and a Half Men,” and just wrapped a pilot for TNT co-starring Geena Davis in a series based on the life of bounty hunter Mackenzie Green in which Bakula stars as her police detective husband.

Does this guy ever rest?

On this particular afternoon, Bakula is taking time out of his busy schedule to look back, not ahead, specifically to the Blu-ray release of the sci-fi television series “Star Trek: Enterprise — The Complete First Season” (Paramount Home Entertainment), which ran for four seasons beginning in 2001 on UPN. (The entire series was released on DVD in 2005.)

The series served as a sort-of prequel (set 100 years earlier) to the iconic “Star Trek” television series, when Starfleet was still in its infancy, and the Federation was yet to congeal. Bakula stars as Capt. Jonathan Archer, who helms the crew of the Enterprise NX-01, which included Jolene Blalock as Vulcan Sub-Commander T’Pol, John Billingsley as chief surgeon Dr. Phlox and Connor Trineer as engineer “Trip” Tucker, among others. It is the first voyage into deep space by an Earth crew and starship.

The six-disc set includes all 25 episodes and special features including new episode audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes multi-part documentary and new interviews with cast and crew.

“I was a huge fan of the [original] ‘Star Trek,’ TV series,” Bakula says. “In college, when Kirk and Spock were on the world came to a halt because everybody was watching it. We’d all pile into a dorm room and tune in for the hour. It was amazing. I have to say of all the ‘Star Trek’ offerings, that series, those characters, the movies they eventually made, were my favorite. [Laughs] I guess Patrick Stewart will yell at me.”

Portraying captain Archer puts Bakula in a “Star Trek” captain’s dynasty, something akin to the dynasty of actors who’ve starred as James Bond over the years. It’s something Bakula cherishes.

“To say you’re an Enterprise captain,” Bakula says, “I’m just really honored to be part of that story. People my age or older in the business come up to me and say that’s the coolest thing ever! I understand the history, the legacy, what this means to the fans.”

Though the network ultimately pulled the plug on the series, Bakula is proud of the show and what it accomplished.

“We were going for a Wild West kind of thing [with each episode] because there were no rules where we were going. Our job was to go out and experience what we could and bring back the data. There was no Federation yet, no accountability, no clue that there were other civilizations out there beyond the Vulcans and Klingons. I loved that Archer was a brat, was raised in the system and was a little spoiled. He also had prejudice toward Vulcans, and that’s putting it mildly. He gets over that in the course of the series, but it really was a fascinating side of him. ... There was a real sense of wonderment for all of us on the series as each episode unfolded. It was that much fun.”

As for the biopic, Bakula says it is a fascinating glimpse at Liberace.

“Its’ hysterically funny, poignant, sad and at times terrifying,” Bakula said. “I don’t have a huge part in it, but I wanted to be part of it. I grew up in the Midwest and to us, he was this fabulous piano player and showman. There was never any contemplation about him being gay. The film shows how tragic and sad his life became. I think if he was born 30 years later, he would have had a very different life. He blazed the way for Elton John and Cher and Elvis and Michael Jackson — entertainers who are outrageous on stage and way over the top and luckily for them, accepted for who they are.”

Note: The feature film “Star Trek Into Darkness” will be in theaters May 15. As for the biopic, Bakula says it is a fascinating glimpse at Liberace.

“Its’ hysterically funny, poignant, sad and at times terrifying,” Bakula said. “I don’t have a huge part in it, but I wanted to be part of it. I grew up in the Midwest and to us, he was this fabulous piano player and showman. There was never any contemplation about him being gay. The film shows how tragic and sad his life became. I think if he was born 30 years later, he would have had a very different life. He blazed the way for Elton John and Cher and Elvis and Michael Jackson — entertainers who are outrageous on stage and way over the top and luckily for them, accepted for who they are.”

Note: The next feature film in the “Star Trek” series, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” will be in theaters May 17.



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