John Shiban: The Trek is Out There
23 July 2002
The Truth is Out There. For many years those were the words that writer John Shiban lived by while writing for The X Files. There days Shiban is Engaged in his new role as the new CO-executive producer for Enterprise. Journalist K.Stoddard Hayes talked to Shiban about his new role for Star-Trek: Monthly.
Its only day 11, Shiban reveals, referring to the amount of time that has passed since he got the job. Ive seen every episode. Ive finally finished my homework, he reports. Id seen a number when they aired, and liked what I saw, but working on the X Files, as with any television show, theres not a lot of time to watch T/V. Since I came aboard, they got me every tape and every script, so its been a crash course for the last few weeks.
Shiban is the first to admit that hes had to adjust to the optimistic future that is Star Trek. I wont say there werent a couple of moments in our first two weeks - when Brannan Braga would say, if this were X Files, yes, we would kill this person . , He recalls, but adds that the difference between writing for Star Trek is not that different than writing for the X Files.
In the X Files, as dark as the world is, there is always hope . Because that emotion is still there in Enterprise, I think as a writer Im going to be tapping it a lot of the same places, and especially because we (the audience) know the optimistic future- Archer and Tpol dont. In Fight or Flight, there wasnt a lot of optimism. Space is a scary place, there are creepy aliens and we dont know if were going to succeed. That was the heart of that story.
Shiban enjoys the frontier aspect of Enterprise. As much as I love the Star Trek franchise and the Gene Roddenberry future, this is kind of a different animal, because its much more like the Mercury astronauts going out there. For me as a writer, its exciting to go in places where the characters dont know whats happening.
Shiban doesnt have any preferences when it comes to naming which characters hed like to write for. There is a great dynamic between Trip and Archer, tow guys whove known each other for a long time; and then theres a wonderful relationship with Trip and Reed which started in Shuttlepod One. The Trip and Tpol dynamic is a good one, Archer/Tpol is a little different. Theres one that I think was only in one episode but its a really pleasant dynamic, which is Dr Phlox and Hoshi, and we dont want to build on that.
Shiban goes on to explain a little about the character dynamics that he is working on for the pending season two episode, Mine Field. In my first episode, were playing up the Archer and Reed dynamic. We dont know a lot about Reed, which makes him a very interesting character. We know what his favourite food is, and we know a little bit about his relationship with his parents. He and Archer dont have a friendship that Archer and Trip have. Weve got a situation in mind where theyre forced together, so what do they learn about each other, and how do they work well together, how dont they?
Shiban concludes my expressing his thoughts on his stint on Enterprise this far. Weve got some good Stories".