Designing the set for the latest Star Trek installment, Enterprise, created a dilemma even Mr. Spock would struggle with: Since the new series is set 100 years before the voyage of Captain Kirk and crew, designers had to build a ship that somehow looked less advanced while also avoiding the faux-futuristic cheese and primary-color motifs that defined the original, Uhura-delic Enterprise.

”The original series was done on a shoestring, so we’ve tried not to do anything too cartoony,” says production designer Herman Zimmerman. ”The 1960s were very colorful, with a lot of bold shapes, like The Jetsons — they thought that’s what the future might be like. Our idea of the future in the new Enterprise is much more businesslike.”

As the latest skipper, Jonathan Archer, Scott Bakula is honored to be the first to command a warp-five-capable vessel. ”I always loved all those old submarine movies like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Das Boot,” says the actor, ”and I think this ship has that feel to it.” (In fact, when they were conceiving the look of the show, Zimmerman went with exec producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga to check out the USS Houston submarine.) Sorry, technogeeks: While the bridge of Enterprise NX-01 looks chockful of nifty gadgetry, most of it, confesses Zimmerman, is just for show. ”We have a lot of objects which John Dwyer, who was a set decorator on the original series, used to call GNDN objects: ‘goes nowhere, does nothing.”’

1 SPEECH IMPEDIMENT This thingamabob translates alien languages into English. ”It modulates to whatever syntax and alien grammatical format I’ve studied,” explains Linda Park, who plays Ens. Hoshi Sato. Unfortunately, Enterprise’s translator isn’t familiar with every alien tongue, which leads to touchy intergalactic relations — as when Hoshi initially failed to realize that one species had soundalike words for mate and eat. ”[The aliens] thought that we wanted them to mate with us, so they got really offended.”

2 PLAQUE OF ALL TRADES Last season, those pesky Ferengis looted the ship, including this plaque designed by scenic-art supervisor Michael Okuda. Bearing Trek’s motto, ”To boldly go where no man has gone before,” the engraving is a continuation of a tradition that began with Star Trek: The Next Generation. ”The tiny little fine print is actually the names of a lot of the people who work in the production company,” says Okuda. Among the names: Berman, Braga, and original creator Gene Roddenberry.

3 VIEW MASTER At Braga’s request, Zimmerman created this version of the sensor viewer employed by Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in the original series. Now it’s Sub-Commander T’Pol’s turn to peer deep into galaxies far, far away. (Oops, wrong franchise.) ”It’s so cool that Spock had one of these,” enthuses actress Jolene Blalock, a lifelong Trekker who amassed an impressive Trek video library even prior to her being cast as T’Pol. ”I went back and watched Spock using it.”

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