Over the last year, The Shuttlepod Show — an online video series hosted by the Star Trek: Enterprise duo of Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating along with actress Erica LaRose — has released episodes where they’re joined in person by a special Star Trek guest to take a deep dive into their life, their career, and their time working within the iconic franchise. Some of those guests include Brannon Braga, Rick Berman, Anthony Montgomery, David Livingston, Vaughn Armstrong, Tim Russ, and Walter Koenig.
Ahead of their first live show this weekend in Los Angeles (as part of the Treks and Trekkers event) we sat down with the show’s hosts and producer Mark Cartier, to discuss what prompted them to start the show, why the live show will be a novel offering for Star Trek fans, along with Trinneer and Keating’s own experiences as they re-visit many Star Trek episodes in preparation for each show.
TrekNews.net: To get things started, we have to know: who came up with the show’s name?
Trinneer: I think Mark came up with the name!
Cartier: Yeah, we talked about using the then-upcoming anniversary of “Shuttlepod One” [the Star Trek: Enterprise first season episode, which featured Trinneer and Keating] to launch the show. But I really think there was some whiskey involved when we came up with the title.
Trinneer: I’ll tell you this: the germination for this idea came from the first time we were back to having a convention in Las Vegas after COVID. Dom and I were in line behind Garrett Wang [Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager) to do photo ops, and we were talking about The Delta Flyers [the show Garrett does with fellow Voyager alum Robert Duncan McNeil]. And I had one of these moments where I thought ‘Well, why don’t we do one of those?’ Why not?
I didn’t know anything about the world of podcasts, or Star Trek podcasts. So Dom and I got together and thought it was a good idea. And I talked to Mark, who I’ve known for years, and he thought he could produce it in the way it should be produced.
TrekNews.net: It is interesting how so many Star Trek alumni have started podcasts about Star Trek. We have you guys, the Delta Flyers with Wang and McNeil, The 7th Rule with Cirroc Lofton, Gates McFadden Investigates, etc. Why do you think so many alumni take the time and energy to do this?
Trinneer: Well first, yeah, it’s a lot of work. I didn’t realize how much work it would be. I was talking to Mark earlier today and I mentioned how I think we’re at the end of the first wave of what podcasts can be. I think there’s great value and potential in what podcasts can do; for us, that’s diving into a person’s life before, during, and after Star Trek. Really learning about who that person is and how they got there. It’s by no means a complicated equation – it’s just about getting somebody in the seat and chatting.
I feel blessed that we have had the opportunity to meet these amazing humans and great actors and pull from that community and have a chance to talk about their lives.
TrekNews.net: To call The Shuttlepod Show a podcast, which many are apt to do based on where they catch it, is really doing a disservice to the remarkable video and audio quality your show presents. Who do we have to thank for that?
Cartier: We have a great group of people working with us. One of the things Connor and I talked about when envisioning this show is if we were going to do it, it has to stand out. I wanted it to be a show. One of the ways to stand out from the crowd is by doing in-person interviews in a relaxed environment. We have to thank Chris Moscatiello one of our producers/directors, and Shranjay Arora, who is our editor and videographer, for making the show feel the way it does.
LaRose: Yeah, and the artwork we have displayed during the show really helps nail the vibe we are going for. Tiffanie Lovitt does that art for us. She’s created a whole gallery at this point.
TrekNews.net: Who among your guest list so far is somebody you’ve been really thankful to sit down with?
Trinneer: Andrew Robinson [Garak from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine] for me was such a revelation as an artist and person. He’s really someone with gravitas. The great thing about these interviews is that I’ll meet these people, even after knowing them for years, but you only know someone so well on the convention circuit. I didn’t know Andy that well, and to hear him talk – especially since we filmed the interview at the theater he founded, which was a coincidence – was such a great experience.
I think our process with our guests is like, ‘hey, you did Star Trek, but we want to know who you are.’ The thing about conventions is that you get a certain depth to the conversation, but it’s become a goal of ours to ask these people how they got here. Who are you? Why are we talking to you? What drives you?
Keating: Oh, I can’t single out someone. They’ve all been marvelous. I’m very honored to have them all on.
TrekNews.net: Mark, we know you’re a pretty die-hard Star Trek fan, so from where you sit, have there been any guests who have really stood out?
Cartier: I think Andrew Robinson was a good choice because that was the first episode of this show where I think we really found our rhythm. That was the first time we were really honed in, and it went seamlessly well. That’s when we knew we were onto something. Andrew was such an incredible personality to have in the room. So far, I have not been disappointed by any of the guests and how interesting they are. This is sort of a dream job for me.
LaRose: Yeah, all our guests have been unique and special. I don’t think one was better than the other, but as a female, it’s really nice having female guests and hearing their stories, including how times have changed for women in entertainment. It’s been eye-opening and inspiring to their stories. Nana Visitor, for example, was amazing to listen to.
Trinneer: Having back-to-back episodes with Denise Crosby and Nana Visitor was really interesting. The way their careers worked out is so not by the numbers. The dynamic of who they are and how they’ve gone through their careers was fascinating.
TrekNews.net: Your guests certainly bring a diverse selection of stories to the show. On the topic of guests, how do you decide who you invite?
Trinneer: Honestly, it’s just like asking who is available. It seems that as the show is doing better and better, more people are available to come on, you know what I mean? Sometimes booking people is super quick.
Cartier: Yeah, for example, Cirroc Lofton [Jake Sisko from Deep Space Nine] was booked the day before the episode was shot.
Trinneer: Yeah, and it’s all about the ethos that we’re trying to do here. On our show, it’s a community of people coming together and having a good time. We talked early on about the goals we set out to do with this show. For instance, I’ve met astronauts, people from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and others who got involved in real-life science because of Star Trek. It would be really cool to talk to them!
Keating: I would love to have Scott Bakula on the show… we’re seeing what we can do about that.
TrekNews.net: Let’s talk about this live show coming up. What are you folks doing over February 10, 11, and 12?
Cartier: Yeah, this is really exciting. We’re trying to create an intimate experience for fans of Star Trek. Over the time we’ve been doing this show, I’ve been interacting with a lot of Star Trek fans to talk about their convention experience. In listening to them, we thought they would appreciate an interactive fan event.
On Friday, there’s a live staged reading of The Odd Couple starring Connor and Dom as Oscar and Feelix, respectively. We’re also going to have Andrew Robinson, Jeffrey Combs, Nana Visitor, Walter Koenig, Vaughn Armstrong, and Bonnie Friedericy reading parts.
On Saturday, we’ll do a live anniversary table read of “Shuttlepod One” with Connor and Dom along with Nana, Vaughn, Cirroc Lofton, Andrew, and Erica, who will be reading the part of Hoshi. When that’s done, we’ll have Jeffrey and Vaughn play some music with their band on stage. And then when that’s done, we’ll do a live version of The Shuttlepod Show with eight guests on stage. Then we’ll have a karaoke party and cosplay fun.
Trinneer: Yeah, then on Sunday we’ll have a Mystery Science Theater-type thing with the Enterprise pilot, and then we’ll have a watch party for the Super Bowl.
We’ve figured out there hasn’t really been a presence for Star Trek in southern California. It probably ended 15 years ago. There’s nothing here. Comic-Con is a whole different animal. The idea behind this live show was to try and invite the community back into this area. We’re not shooting for Creation Entertainment-style stuff. We just want people to come and have a good time, and hopefully, they will want to come back.
Cartier: And we’ll be recording the main events, so people can still watch the fun. We’ll probably live stream the headline events on our Patreon page.
TrekNews.net: So, Connor and Dom, you’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek recently, and a lot of Enterprise, specifically. How well are you able to delineate yourself from watching those episodes as an actor who used to be on the show, versus watching as a regular viewer?
Trinneer: Yeah, I can delineate myself. I used to go to Michael Westmore during the filming of Enterprise and watch dailies because I wanted to watch the show as a viewer. It helped with my performance.
But you know, I’ve been watching various episodes from across all the Star Trek shows, and I know I’m supposed to be a cheerleader for Enterprise – and I am, Enterprise is great! – but Deep Space Nine is the best Star Trek show, hands down. I would have loved to have been in those rooms, reading those scripts, and walking among the halls with those particular actors. I’m a real fan of his great writing. And man, DS9 got it right. They had a fantastic coterie of actors. They had a fantastic emphasis on storytelling.
Keating: I’ve watched the entire series of Enterprise since doing The Shuttlepod Show, which I had never done before. I can watch with a discerning eye. I watch everything with a professional eye. It’s rare that I get utterly swept away in the story, as I’m still looking at performances, shots, lighting, you name it. Let me tell you, seeing that young man twenty years on has been a trip. We were a good show! Of course, there are notable episodes that stand out, but overall I think we were 80 or 90 percent a damn good show.
I’ve been watching a lot of other Star Trek, too. A lot of the earlier episodes start off pretty rickety and then they gather steam and get their legs. I’ve enjoyed a lot of The Next Generation’s later seasons, and Deep Space Nine – what a wonderful cast of supporting actors on that show. Really fantastic. I’m just getting into Voyager, so it’s still somewhat new for me. That was a rickety pilot, too, frankly. I don’t know what they were smoking!
TrekNews.net: Dom and Connor, can you explain your feelings about why you have really embraced your legacy in Star Trek by doing a show that honors the franchise so well?
Keating: I sort of knew I would be half-good at a chat show. I’m the guy who’ll talk to you at the bar or in the supermarket. I’ve really been enjoying it. The love and support that’s been pouring out is really humbling. God bless that job we had on Enterprise. It’s been a source of pride, sustenance, and joy for over 20 years.
Trinneer: I think the both of us had the role of a lifetime, an opportunity to meet the people who really care about the existence of those characters. It’s very simple. I’ll say this, too. There is something about going out to conventions and having people say to me, ‘I’m an engineer because of Trip.’ We were responding to a story that’s been told over and over again. When people walk up to me and share that, there’s nothing like that in the world. I’ve had people walk up to me and say, ‘I got through the worst year of my life by waiting for your show to come on every week.’ I consider that the greatest thing I’ve ever done as an actor.
There was a time when I didn’t really recognize what it meant to be called a part of the Star Trek family. But over time, I’ve realized that it’s really important; it’s a message, and it’s positivity.
LaRose: It’s been so heartwarming hearing Connor and Dom’s stories about how Star Trek has changed his life and the lives of so many fans. On social media, we get a ton of messages just bursting with positivity. To be a part of that community is amazing.
TrekNews.net: So, last question. We know on your show you play “Stuck on a Deserted Island with Connor Trinneer,” where you ask guests to list their favorite things they’d bring on an island. So, we’ll ask each of you: if you were on an island and could only bring one Star Trek series to watch, which would it be?
Trinneer: Well as I hinted before, I’d bring Deep Space Nine.
Cartier: Yeah, I’d bring Deep Space Nine, too.
LaRose: Well, I’ve come to realize that because Enterprise is the first Star Trek show I’ve really watched, I have a soft spot for it. So, I’d bring that one.
Keating: I’d take my show, of course! I’d grow old with a ukulele and the waves lapping at my feet as I watched.
Trinneer: Before we go, I just want to say something else. Annie Werching passed away the other day. Heartbreaking. Her first job in television was on Enterprise, and we spent a week together. She had just gotten out of school. Her death hit me hard. I didn’t know her well, but I was a real fan of hers. I followed her career. I just want to put out in the universe that I miss her. She is missed. She was a very talented human being, and the likes of her will come seldom, if ever again.
I met her again six months ago while she was doing Star Trek: Picard, and she had this paper mâché gold crown on her head, and I asked her what it was. She was like, ‘you know… Borg Queen!” She was one of the good ones.
TrekNews.net: Well put, Connor, thank you. Thank you all for joining us today, and best of luck with The Shuttlepod Show and the upcoming live event.
The live Shuttlepod Show takes place this Saturday as part of the Treks and Trekkers event at the Gary Marshall Theatre in Los Angeles. The event kicks off Friday, February 10, and runs through Sunday, February 12. The event includes appearances by Dominic Keating, Connor Trinneer, Nana Visitor, Andrew Robinson, Vaughn Armstrong, Cirroc Lofton, and Jeffrey Combs. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit treksandtrekkers.com.
Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news related to Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and more.