LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Whoopi Goldberg is returning from a brief retirement as an actress to boldly go to where few stars have gone before -- online science fiction.
Two decades after first appearing on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the Oscar-winning actress is producing and starring in a new sci-fi series called "Stream" that premieres on January 15 on the horror website and video-on-demand network FEARnet.
The series comes just over a year after Goldberg, 53, said she was retiring from acting to concentrate on hosting the daytime chat show "The View," a gig she took over from Rosie O'Donnell in September
Goldberg said the idea of performing in a new medium really appealed to her, as did the chance to act in sci-fi and horror -- two of her favorite genres.
"I did retire. I hadn't made a movie in quite a while, and I lost my way with the things I was doing. It became entertainment by rote, and there wasn't a lot being done that I was interested in doing," Goldberg told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"But the idea that you can be at work and check out a webisode tickles me because that is the future. ... I can reinvent my way of acting so that I challenge myself and see where it takes me for the second half of my life."
Goldberg built a strong following in sci-fi circles through her work in the late 1980s and early '90s on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
She said she had been a "Star Trek" fan, or Trekkie, since childhood, when creator Gene Roddenberry had the wherewithal to put black people in the future as characters in the original 1960s series.
"Other science fiction movies you saw had no black people in them anywhere. Isn't that something? I wanted to carry on that tradition," she said.
"If I could be doing sci-fi and horror all the time I would be doing it. I have loved it since I was little. A good scare is great and I love the idea you can get people to feel things without having to show it to them."
In "Stream," which will be rolled out in six episodes of five minute each, Goldberg stars as Jodi Quinn, a character battling personal demons in a sci-fi thriller that moves between three phases of her life.
Goldberg, who has made more than 40 movies and won an Oscar for her 1990 supporting role in the romantic drama "Ghost," said she ended up mainly in comedy as no one ever asked her to play sci-fi or horror roles.
"It wasn't until I did 'Star Trek' that people thought I could do sci-fi, and I have yet to do a horror film," she said. "I'd love to be a monster."
"Stream" is the sixth original series from FEARnet, an advertising-supported joint venture between Comcast Corp, Sony Pictures Television and Lionsgate.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Steve Gorman