As Star Trek: Nemesis begins its journey the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise is enjoying Officer William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi's (Marina Sirtis) wedding reception. But the celebrations come to halt when Engineer La Forge (Levar Burton) detects some sort of electromagnetic signal coming from the nearby planet Kolaris III. A crew from the Enterprise heads to the planet to investigate and finds scattered body parts of what looks like an android prototype of Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner). Before they can put the android back together again Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) receives a message from Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) that the Romulans have undergone a revolution and their new Praetor (leader) wants to discuss peace with the Federation. But when a hesitant Picard and his crew arrive on the planet they discover that the Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy) is not actually a Romulan but a human from Romulus' sister planet Remus. And not only is he human--he's a younger clone of Picard. Shinzon is hell-bent on revenge and wants to destroy everything in his path including the Enterprise the Federation and Earth but first he has a score to settle with Picard. Meanwhile Data struggles with what to make of his own double B-4.
Stewart's Picard faces his most personal enemy here in Shinzon and must grapple with heavy moral issues. Although Shinzon is maniacal and antagonistic Picard cannot help but wonder if he would have turned out the same way had his life been like Shinzon's. Stewart delivers a great performance as his character finds his judgement clouded by Shinzon. Shinzon as played by Hardy (Black Hawk Down) with a shaved head and a sculpted latex nose and chin is believable as Picard's doppelganger (although I hate to say that with the pale skin and scarred lip he looks an awful lot like Mike Myers's Dr. Evil). While Picard and Shinzon are dealing with their own issues Spiner's Data is going through his own personal turmoil. His prototype recovered on Kolaris III B-4 is not as advanced as he is prompting Data to turn him into a better android. Not since the Star Trek TNG episode "The Measure of Man" has Data's character been explored so in depth. Cast members Frakes Sirtis Burton and Michael Dorn (Worf) take a back seat in Nemesis allowing the film to focus on the main story line involving Picard Shinzon and Data.
Nemesis was directed by Star Trek newcomer Stuart Baird who stays true to the franchise's tradition by delivering a film that encapsulates a good story with great dialogue without going overboard on the special effects. As the film opens for example the crew has been forced to land on Kolaris III the old-fashioned way since an ion storm has disrupted transporting capabilities. Baird provides some great footage of the planet's surface which is bathed in sepia-toned light complete with the some great shots of the crew riding around in the Argo a sort of high-tech dune buggy. Scribe John Logan (Time Machine) introduces an interesting new race the Remans and a personal foe with Shinzon who although not as menacing as the Borg or as complex as Kahn is just as warped. The most compelling aspect of the film however has to do with Data and his desire to be the best "person" he can be. Nemesis encompasses the kind of dramatic storytelling that made the series created by Gene Roddenberry more than 25 years ago so intriguing. It is also a reminder of what the series was all about: "To explore strange new worlds to seek out new life and new civilization..."
The Fox network hopes to produce a sequel to the hit reality series American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in time for a January or February bow, Variety reports. The show, which premiered June 11, has averaged 9.8 million viewers over a six-week period. It follows wanna-be pop stars competing for a recording contract, with viewers eliminating contestants via viewer phone calls. British judge Simon Cowell is expected to return, but it's uncertain whether judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, as well as hosts Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest, will return for the second installment.
Leadfoot publicist Lizzie Grubman, who mowed down 16 people outside the Conscience Point Inn in Southampton with her Mercedes SUV last July, broke down in a tearful apology after a judge said he would soon set a date for her trial. The 31-year-old has pleaded innocent to a 26-count indictment for second-and third-degree assault, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If convicted, she faces seven years behind bars.
The 1960s British cult TV series Thunderbirds, which used puppets and models in a process dubbed "supermarionation," will be turned into a live-action movie to be directed by Jonathan Frakes, Variety reports. Frakes, who played Commander William Riker on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, last directed the children's adventure Clockstoppers for Paramount Pictures.
Twentieth Century Fox will produce a Bollywood thriller called Ek Hasina Thi, with Ram Gopal Varma attached to direct. A Fox official told Variety this is the first time a Hindi film will be produced by a foreign company. The film is expected to start shooting in August.
The Simpsons will make its 14th season debut this fall in an episode titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation, featuring rockers Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, Lenny Kravitz and Elvis Costello. But according to Reuters, there are more star cameos to come next season by skate legend Tony Hawk, Blink 182, Adam West, Little Richard and David Lander (Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley). The show's executive producer, James L. Brooks, will also appear as himself in the upcoming episode A Star Is Born Again with Marisa Tomei.
In other Simpsons news, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has renamed several hundred drainage ponds at highway interchanges after characters from The Simpsons, including Apu, Clancy Wiggum, Maggie, Seymour, Bart, Barney and Milhouse. State hydrologist Patrick McLarnon told The Associate Press it was a better naming scheme than the numbers and letters system previously used.
Rapper Mystikal, whose real name is Michael Tyler, and two other men were jailed Thursday on charges they raped an acquaintance at his house, the AP reports. All three were also charged with extortion. Tyler allegedly threatened to tell police that the 40-year-old woman had received checks from the rapper's account without his permission when she showed up at his house on July 3. He also threatened to hurt her with bodily harm is she did not comply. If convicted of aggravated rape charges, Tyler could face a mandatory life sentence.
The producers of the next Star Trek film have selected actor Ron Perlman (Beauty and the Beast) as the next villain in the 10th installment of the movie series.
According to Variety, Perlman will portray a Romulan leader who hinders the peacemaking process between his race and the crew of the Enterprise--Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and the rest of the Star Trek: Next Generation gang.
Star Trek: Nemesis is set to hit the big screen in November 2002.
Meet the captain of the next Star Trek frontier: Scott Bakula.
A veteran sci-fi actor, Bakula (TV's Quantum Leap) will play Capt. Jonathan Archer in the fourth spin-off of the original Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise.
Bakula follows in the formidable shoes of William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew as leader of a Federation starship boldly going where no one else has gone.
"Obviously, I love the genre and am a longtime fan of Star Trek," Bakula said in a statement.
Executive producer and co-creator Rick Berman returns the sentiment.
"We couldn't be happier," Berman said. "Scott personifies the charm and intelligence that the role calls for."
Bakula's Archer is described as "a physical and intensely curious captain with a bold personality," according to a statement by Paramount Network Television. "Although he has a strong sense of duty, he is a bit of a renegade and is not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he is right."
The fan site trektoday.com says that one aspect of Archer's personality is that he blames Vulcans for slowing human progress, which is a source of friction between Archer and his science officer Sub Commander T'Pau, a Vulcan.
Paramount is banking that Bakula (American Beauty, Life as a House, Necessary Roughness) will have the same effect that other big name actors have had on recent sci-fi television shows. Formerly MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson now solves problems on Stargate SG-1. Kevin Sorbo (The Adventures of Hercules) is now the hero of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.
Bakula, a Golden Globe winner and Tony award nominee, recently filmed the pilot episode of CBS' Late Bloomers, filling in after Burt Reynolds pulled out. But Bakula won't reprise his role in the serial, even if it does get a commitment for further episodes.
Paramount's press release did not officially confirm the next series' setting, but this news makes it all but certain that the series will indeed be set aboard a 22nd-century Enterprise, predating the period of the first TV series. Other cast members include John Billlingsly, Jolene Blaylock, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery, Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer.
Star Trek: Enterprise is expected to air on Paramount's UPN Network, though a deal hasn't been finalized yet. Shooting begins Monday on the new series.
UPN officials would not comment.
Enterprise is picking up soon after Star Trek: Voyager ends. Voyager, whose series finale will air May 23 on UPN, has had a seven-year run. Voyager was the third spin-off since the original Star Trek hit the airwaves in 1966. In between, there has been The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and finally Voyager, which stars Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Kathryn Janeway at the helm of the 24th-Century spaceship.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Star Trek universe, writer John Logan (Gladiator, Any Given Sunday) is currently working on a second revision for the 10th movie in the Star Trek filmography. The film will reportedly be set for a Thanksgiving 2002 release.
Rumor has it - on a number of Trek-centric Web sites - that most of the Trek characters that currently appear in the movies will be killed, paving the way for a new crew to take over. A new villainous race is also rumored to appear, nothing quite like anything seen before in the Star Trek pantheon. All this supposedly follows Commander Riker and Counselor Troi's marriage in the first scene.