Monday, January 09, 2006

The Star Trek Effect

Ever since the original series there's been an interesting phenomenon with respect to the actors who portrayed the characters we all know and love. And it's generally not very good.

Many of the people who have stared or been featured in any of the five series had acting careers in the movies before coming on board. Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley from TOS. Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, Wil Wheaton from TNG. Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Terry Farrell from DS9. Kate Mulgrew, Garrett Wang from VOY. And not to be left out, Scott Bakula from ENT. This isn't an inclusive list of course. If you want to check out who did what before their Star Trek hitches just search the Internet Movie Database.

This is all well and good, but what about after Star Trek? How did their careers fair after coming down from space?

We all know the most famous Star Trek alum who kept it going. Bill Shatner went on to fame with T.J. Hooker, TekWar, Boston Legal and a host of movie roles. The rest of the TOS crew weren't so lucky. In fact, with the exception of Shatner and one other, most of them got stuck hard in their Star Trek roles or retired (more or less) from the industry.

The other exception is Colm Meaney. He, along with Michael Dorn, are the only characters that had major roles in more than one series (specifically TNG and DS9). Since his Star Trek days he's gone on to star or be featured in many movies, most recently "Caved In" on the SciFi Channel.

Now, this is not to say that everyone else got buried under the brand, but you don't see them on things much, do you. So I say "Huzzah" to Miles O'Brian's alter ego. May he achieve the success, if not the notoriety, of his pioneering predecessor.

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