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Click below for more stories about Terry Farrell:


HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH
- Video Capsule Review (May 21, 1993)


THE 'TREASURE' PRINCIPLE
HOW TO MAKE A MILLION PLAYING GAMES - Multimedia Sidebar


RED SUN RISING
- Video Capsule Review


DEEP COVER INFILTRATING DEEP SPACE NINE, THE LATEST STAR TREK SHOW, FOR SOME CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE ALIEN KIND - Cover Story (September 25, 1992)


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Returning Shows - Cover Story (September 10, 1999)


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CBS uncorks vintage sitcom stars Bill Cosby, John Larroquette, and Ted Danson, but not all of their whines have aged well. - Television Full Review (April 16, 1999)


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         September 25, 1992
Features

DEEP COVER

INFILTRATING DEEP SPACE NINE, THE LATEST STAR TREK SHOW, FOR SOME CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE ALIEN KIND

by Benjamin Svetkey

I was too short to be a Klingon (Klingons start at 6 feet) and too tall to be a Ferengi (Ferengis don't grow over 5'6"). But eventually the producers found an unnamed alien species whose height was juuust right-and I ended up making my Star Trek debut looking like a 5'9" asparagus spear.

Not that I'm complaining. I'd have let them turn me into a fuzzy little Tribble for the chance to appear as an extra on Deep Space Nine, the new Star Trek TV spin-off now in production on three of Paramount Studio's Hollywood soundstages. Starring Avery Brooks (Spenser: For Hire) and Rene Auberjonois (Benson) as Starfleet's newest officers, the syndicated series isn't slated to begin until January, but already fans are awaiting the arrival of this grittier, sexier Trek as if it were the second coming of Surak (see episode No. 77 of the original series). So when Deep Space offered to send me where no reporter had gone before for a behind-the-scenes view of the show's two-hour premiere episode, I beamed right over. It was my ticket to Trekkie nirvana.

Deep Space Nine, for the benefit of the Trek-impaired, is the latest addition to the ever-expanding Star Trek entertainment empire. Since the original series first appeared on NBC 26 years ago, it has spawned a vast Trekking industry, including the hit sequel, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which this week enters its sixth season as the single most popular syndicated drama on the air, with 17 million viewers every week. There have been six feature films (grossing a total of more than $400 million), hundreds of books (including 41 consecutive best-selling Trek novels), a Saturday-morning cartoon series (in reruns on the new Sci-Fi Channel this fall), posters, lunch boxes, action figures, dozens of annual Trek conventions, and a Smithsonian retrospective this summer. Judging from the sneak peek I got while roaming the sets last month, Deep Space Nine seems destined to become yet another Trek sensation.

The show takes place at the same time as Next Generation, around a.d. 2360, but the setting has moved to a seedy space station, Deep Space Nine, which serves as an orbiting port of call for a stripped mining planet named Bajor. Built and abandoned by those interstellar bad guys the Cardassians, the place * is a shambles when a new crew of Federation officers beams aboard to take over. It does have a few interesting amenities, however-including a Ferengi- run casino and a holographic brothel. It's also located near a newly discovered cosmic "wormhole," a tear in space that provides a shortcut to the uncharted far side of the galaxy. Deep Space's main mission: to boldly explore that wormhole, seeking out new life and new civilizations.

"In Deep Space, we set out to do all the things we couldn't in Next Generation," says Rick Berman, an executive producer of both series. "We wanted the space station to be the antithesis of the Enterprise. We wanted it to be strange and uncomfortable and confusing. We wanted it to seem alien, with a small a."

They got what they wanted: The sets of Deep Space Nine look like the Batcave as designed by Dr. Caligari. The bridge-or "Operations Control Center," as it's called-is a huge structure filled with cantilevered catwalks and bizarre control panels even Spock might have trouble understanding. Things are only a bit more user-friendly at another of the show's busiest sets, a bar run by a Ferengi named Quark, where the Deep Space denizens meet to sip Romulan brandy, spin warp-powered roulette wheels, and pop upstairs for close encounters with the holographic hookers.

Quark's bar, as it happens, is also where I make my Trek debut-along with a few dozen other alien extras of various sizes, species, and genders. We are filming a homage to the famous barroom scene in the first Star Wars movie, a panoramic shot showing visitors from many worlds drinking strange brews, playing weird musical instruments, gambling, flirting, fighting, and in general partying down. As I survey my more elaborate competition, I feel a tinge of alien envy. One fellow bellying up to the bar might be the Grinch's grandfather. Another at the roulette wheel looks like Jabba the Cow Pile. As for me, the dork from Ork, my job during the scene couldn't be simpler: An assistant director plants me in the background next to a scantily clad reptile woman and tells me to nod my head a lot and pretend to make toasts. "Whadya expect?" my neighbor the lizard lady asks me between takes, adjusting the bit of costume she almost has on. "That we'd do scenes from The Glass Menagerie?" About 20 takes and three hours later, we break for lunch.

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