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‘Roswell,’ ‘Enterprise’ Crossover: Strange but True
Wed, Aug 29, 2001 04:42 PM PDT
by Kate O’Hare
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) – They share a studio lot, a network and a genre, but after an upcoming episode, they’ll share a lot more.
“Secrets and Lies,” the fourth episode of this season on “Roswell” — its first on UPN, after moving over from The WB — boldly goes into the “Star Trek” universe with a crossover episode that links it with the UPN freshman series “Enterprise,” the newest “Trek” spin-off.
“Roswell” which launches its new season on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 9 p.m. ET, right after fellow WB expatriate “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” focuses on teen aliens struggling to survive and fulfill their extraterrestrial destinies while living as high-schoolers in Roswell, N.M.
A suspicious death sends the leader of the aliens, Max (Jason Behr), on a mission to Hollywood, where the film vaults of Paramount Pictures may hold a clue. While there, he hooks up with an agent, who gets him an audition on “Enterprise” (which premieres Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. ET).
One of the executive producers of “Roswell” is Jonathan Frakes, who played second-in-command William Riker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” along with appearing in several “Trek” feature films (and directing two of them, “First Contact” and “Insurrection” ). He’s also directing “Secrets and Lies.”
In terms of “Trek” alumni, he’s not alone on the “Roswell” set (located on the Paramount lot, although the show is actually a 20th Century Fox Television production). Also on hand is writer/producer Ronald D. Moore, whose “Star Trek” credits include “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” and two of the features, “Generations” and “First Contact.”
According to Frakes, Moore put his head together with fellow executive producer Jason Katims to hatch the idea.
“This was the brainstorm of Ron Moore and Jason Katims,” says Frakes. “They said, ‘Since you’re directing, would you mind playing yourself in the episode? And while you’re at it, would you mind playing yourself as if you’re directing an episode of ‘Enterprise’? And while you’re directing the episode of ‘Enterprise,’ do you think we can get somebody from the cast of ‘Enterprise’? And while you’re at that, would you call (” Trek” executive producer) Rick Berman and Paramount and see if it’s OK?'”
“It’s an opportunity to express our synergy.”
If all this sounds confusing, it’s no more so than the tangled history of “Roswell” itself. “The hybrid on ‘Roswell’ is so strange,” says Frakes. “20th Century Fox Television made the pilot for FOX, then sold it to The WB, and we shot it at Paramount. Then 20th sold it to UPN (a.k.a. the United Paramount Network). It’s incredible.”
While Berman, who oversees the “Trek” franchise, didn’t allow filming on the “Enterprise” sets, says Frakes, he did give his blessing. “It’s an audition scene,” says Frakes. “Max is auditioning to play the role of an alien, only he doesn’t know how to play an alien, hence the wacky, ironic hijinks.”
“It’s a comedy scene in a serious episode.”
The original idea was to have “Enterprise” star Scott Bakula, who plays starship Capt. Jonathan Archer, appear in the audition scene with Behr. “He thought it was too early to break the fourth wall,” says Frakes. “Bakula is not going to do it.”
At present, Frakes doesn’t know whether or not he’ll have an “Enterprise” cast member in the episode, which begins shooting on Friday. “I don’t know that you’d get any bang out of anybody but Bakula,” he says, “because Bakula is at least a TV star. These other guys (in the cast) are about to become TV stars. So I think we can get as good a laugh out of me directing Jason as Max in the audition.”
“It’ll play because it will be me telling Jason that he doesn’t know how to be an alien. The joke is there.”
This marks the third time that Frakes has played himself on “Roswell.” He appeared in the show’s pilot and in a first-season episode called “Convention.”
“I’ve always had trouble playing myself,” he says. “Some people like it; some people find it a little absurd. It’s a many-layered joke at ‘Roswell,’ being the producer and director and an actor.”
Bakula’s reluctance to do the crossover has in no way diminished Frakes’ admiration for him, though. “He’s a wonderful leader, Bakula,” says Frakes. “He’s charming; he’s strong; his acting is effortless. He’s a real pro. It’s a great addition to the family.”