Today’s cuppa: Costa Rican medium brew from the coffeeshop
On Tuesday, Jan. 16, "Battlestar Galactica" begins its last run of regular episodes on Sci Fi Channel, marking the end of a long, strange journey for the human survivors of a Cylon attack — and for the show’s executive producer, Ronald D. Moore.
Moore was no sci-fi newcomer when he got the task of re-imagining the 1970s space opera. Moore started his writing career by selling a script to "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1988-’94), for which he became a producer (and often co-wrote episodes with Brannon Braga, who’s now on Fox’s "24." More goodies to come on that).
But the "Star Trek" franchise went without him…for a while, that is. After disappearing from theaters and the airwaves — except in reruns and DVDs — after the end of UPN’s "Star Trek: Enterprise" in 2005, it’s now coming back on the big screen.
"Felicity," "Alias," "Lost" and "Fringe" executive producer J.J. Abrams is directing the upcoming feature film "Star Trek," written by his "Fringe" cohorts Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It features younger versions of the characters from the original 1960s "Star Trek" series, including Kirk and Spock (click here for my interview with the new Spock, "Heroes" star Zachary Quinto, a post that also includes the first photo of my Twitter avatar).
"I know!" said Moore. "It’s a thrill. I’m very excited, genuinely. It’s great to be a fan of it again. It’s great to not know too much about it. Yeah, I got to go to the set, but I didn’t ask too many details, and I enjoyed being on a Federation starship again after so many years.
"But I get to stand in line and wonder and sit down in a seat and have a ‘Star Trek’ tale told to me. That’s a thrill. It’s been something I haven’t been able to experience as an audience member in over 20 years.
"I think we should all give them a big benefit of the doubt. They have changed things. It’s going to be different. You can see from the trailer that it’s already different. There are enough familiar elements.
"They’ll take a lot of flak from the fan base, which is part and parcel of working in the genre, but screw that. Who cares?
‘"it good? Do you enjoy it? Is it a good film? Do you like it?"
But will the movie be "Star Trek"?
"That’ll be everyone’s question," says Moore. "I don’t think there’s an easy answer. That’s a very individual choice. I don’t think there’s a definitive list of what makes it ‘Star Trek’ or not.
"The difference between the original series ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan’ is a profound one. They are not the same characters; they’re not in the same place in their lives; they’re not on a mission; Kirk’s an admiral. It’s like a completely different world, but it’s absolutely ‘Star Trek.’"
Interestingly there’s one thing that "Khan" and two other installments in the movie franchise featuring the original cast — "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" — have in common, besides being, IMHO, the best of the lot … writer/director Nicholas Meyer.
"He was a man who had no prior relationship to the franchise whatsoever," Moore says, "never even saw it. And he was not afraid to not worry about the continuity of it all.
"He was not hung up on who said what in episode 43, and that is a yoke that has to be thrown off at this point."
Tomorrow, Moore discusses the interesting results of the "Trek" portion of the Hot Cuppa TV Franchise Wars Poll, and shares a bit about the next "Galactica" project, the prequel series "Caprica," which recently got a 20-episode series pickup from Sci Fi Channel for a 2010 premiere
UPDATE: No sooner had this post gone up that I read in Variety of the death today of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry. She acted in many "Trek" iterations and was a tireless and charming defender of the franchise and her husband’s legacy. Click here for the story, which includes a bio of Mrs. Roddenberry, whose loss will no doubt be keenly felt by "Trek" fans everywhere.