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NOW, VOYAGER

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At this rate, a 24-hour all-Trek channel should be only a matter of time. In August, Paramount Studios will begin production on yet another spin-off, Star Trek: Voyager, slated to be the flagship show of Paramount’s planned new network (scheduled to take off in January 1995). What to expect? ”Completely new aliens in completely new parts of space,” promises Rick Berman, executive producer of all the current Trek series and the coming Next Generation big- / screen flick. More details on the future of futuristic television: *SAME TIME NEXT YEAR: Star Trek: Voyager will take place in the same era as Next Generation and Deep Space Nine-in the 24th century-but the setting will be a leaner, meaner starship that holds a crew of only 200 (the Enterprise holds 1,000; Deep Space Nine can accommodate up to 7,000 humans and other species). ”Through a set of circumstances that occurs in the first episode,” Berman explains, ”the ship will find itself very, very far away from Federation territory with no apparent way back. They’ll have to discover a way to return home while at the same time they explore a part of the galaxy where nobody has gone before.”

*WHO’S WHO IN OUTER SPACE: Voyager will have nine main characters-the most of any Star Trek series-although nobody has been cast yet. Among the castaway crew members, says Berman, will be ”a Native American who comes from a planet that was colonized by American Indians in the 21st or 22nd century because they wanted to find a place where they could deal with their cultural identity.” Also on board: a pointy-eared Vulcan; a half-Klingon, half-human female; an inter-alien couple from different parts of the galaxy; and a holographic character that’s ”really hard to explain right now, but will be great when you see it.”

*DEEP SPACE NINE: THE MOTION PICTURE? Well, not yet, anyway, but it seems inevitable. Meanwhile, the Next Generation film-directed by David Carson, who did the Deep Space two-hour premiere last year-is in the middle of rewrites and begins filming in April. Berman offers no plot details save two: ”The story will bridge two centuries. And it will definitely involve characters from the original series,” presumably seen either in flashbacks or time- traveling.

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