The Star Trek Thread

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Mothra
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:55 pm

Every now and then I'll read up on some Roddenberry-era TNG episode and there's inevitably a section where the original writer of the episode talks about how fucked up it was that Roddenberry insisted on re-writing every episode before it aired. It fucking sucks.

From The Naked Now:
D.C. Fontana asked for her name to be removed after rewrites changed the episode significantly from her original intent. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 59-60) Fontana stated, "While the script was given a good reaction by almost everyone, the Roddenberry pattern of dealing with scripts befell it. After a staffer turned in the official second draft of the script, they were not allowed to touch it again. No matter how good a script appeared to be, it would be rewritten by Gene Roddenberry. If possible, scenes of sexual content would be inserted into the script. When two such scenes were put into 'The Naked Now', in addition to other scenes which I felt debased the female characters of the series, I put my sentiments into a frankly worded memo of comment on the script. My comments were ignored." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 77) In the episode's writing credits, "J. Michael Bingham" is a pseudonym for D.C. Fontana.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:12 pm

Amusingly, people don't realize that both Trek and Wars have a George Lucas.

Too much control: The SW prequels, ToS sexism, early TNG
Moderate amount of control: Original Trilogy, TNG
No control at all, is now being written by hacks and soulless corporate play-it-safers: Ep7/8, STD
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Büge » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:31 am

Mothra wrote:From The Naked Now:
D.C. Fontana asked for her name to be removed after rewrites changed the episode significantly from her original intent. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 59-60) Fontana stated, "While the script was given a good reaction by almost everyone, the Roddenberry pattern of dealing with scripts befell it. After a staffer turned in the official second draft of the script, they were not allowed to touch it again. No matter how good a script appeared to be, it would be rewritten by Gene Roddenberry. If possible, scenes of sexual content would be inserted into the script. When two such scenes were put into 'The Naked Now', in addition to other scenes which I felt debased the female characters of the series, I put my sentiments into a frankly worded memo of comment on the script. My comments were ignored." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 77) In the episode's writing credits, "J. Michael Bingham" is a pseudonym for D.C. Fontana.


Doesn't surprise me. One of Gene's earliest ideas for the Ferengi to be insatiable sexual dynamos and wear giant codpieces.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:43 pm

Was talking to Bongo about the TAS with magic Satan, and that got me reading them Mem Alpha notes again:

Shortly prior to the first airing of this episode, D.C. Fontana called Larry Brody to notify him of the installment's forthcoming telecast and to relay comments from Gene Roddenberry. Brody explained, "She told me that Gene had truly loved my script. 'It was his favorite,' she said. 'He thinks you're brilliant!' Filled with pride, that Saturday morning I sat down to watch the show. The characters were right there, just as I'd imagined them. So were the events. But not one word of dialog was mine." Brody was perplexed and disappointed that Roddenberry had rewritten so much of the script and, after the program ended, he called Fontana at home, puzzled about what had happened to the episode's teleplay. Fontana explained that, even though Roddenberry had made many alterations to the script, he had still loved Brody's final version of it, while also wanting to personally oversee every facet of the episode (as it was a part of "his" fictional universe of Star Trek).

D.C. Fontana was aware that the theme of this outing was highly controversial; "It caused quite a bit of consternation [....] It was about the Devil, and the Devil has problems, you know? [....] But we were also saying, 'If there's a devil, then there must be a God.' But a lot of people took offense to the fact that we were supposedly showing the Devil in a sympathetic manner." Despite this, Fontana herself thought the outing "was still a good episode." [15] She has repeatedly cited it as one of her favorite installments of Star Trek: The Animated Series (along with "Beyond the Farthest Star", "Yesteryear", "Bem", and "More Tribbles, More Troubles"). ([16]; Star Trek Magazine issue 128, p. 46)

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Sharkey » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:14 pm

Holy hell, you weren't kidding. Gene was a meddlesome fuck and a raging misogynist, so I went straight to the notes on Angel One:

An early story meeting about this episode was attended by Patrick Barry, Gene Roddenberry, and Herbert J. Wright. Wright was wary that the concept of a matriarchal society had been too overdone. "So one of the major issues that we didn't want to do was an Amazon Women kind of thing where the women are six feet tall with steel D cups," he recalled. "I said, 'The hit I want to take on this is apartheid, so that the men are treated as though they are blacks of South Africa. Make it political. Sexual overtones, yes, but political.' Well, that didn't last very long. Everything that Gene got involved with had to have sex in it. It's so perverse that it's hard to believe. The places it was dragged into is absurd. We were talking about how women would react, and Gene was voicing all the right words again, saying, 'Oh, yes, we've got to make sure that women are represented fairly, because, after all, women are probably the superior sex anyway, and it's real important we don't get letters from feminists, because we want to be fair and we don't want to infer that women have to rule by force if they do rule, because men don't have to rule by force.' Very sensible stuff. All of a sudden something kicks in and he changes: 'However, we also don't want to infer that it would be a better society if women ruled.'" His voice becoming increasingly louder, Roddenberry continued that this was because women were untrustworthy, "vicious creatures," which he angrily blurted out in a torrent of hateful verbiage. Concluded Wright, "Then he looks out the window, looks at the outline, and says, 'Okay, on page eight…' and continues like that didn't even happen."
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Büge » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:25 pm

What else would you expect from a man who wrote lyrics (that would never be used) to the Star Trek theme just to get 50% of the royalties?
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mongrel » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:59 pm

All this ST:TAS talk almost makes me want to watch the series re-read the Alan Dean Foster novelizations of the series again.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:48 pm

Büge wrote:What else would you expect from a man who wrote lyrics (that would never be used) to the Star Trek theme just to get 50% of the royalties?

Ha.

I remember watching the credits on the 2011 Thundercats series and seeing Jules Bass credited as co-writer of the theme song. I was momentarily baffled, and then remembered that he wrote the lyrics -- which were not used in the 2011 series, which cut the theme song down to a 10-second instrumental.



Presumably the same deal.

My takeaway from Hear the Roar was that everybody really friggin' hated Jules Bass.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Sharkey » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:29 pm

Another name that keeps coming up in these notes, particularly in regard to shady fuckery with the scripts: Leonard Maizlish. Gene was a piece of work, but his lawyer was something else entirely. Going through people's desks, sneaking line changes into finished scripts, falling asleep and snoring during auditions. When killing a script with the effrontery to feature gay characters he called the writer "an AIDS-infected cocksucker" and "a fucking faggot." They finally threatened a WGA lawsuit (the guy wasn't even on the crew, much less a guild member, and had no business changing scripts,) and they banned him from the lot. He apparently continued sneaking in and pulling the same shenanigans for a while during the second season. There were obviously other factors, but one can't help wonder how much of the shift in quality after the rocky start was down to getting Wormtongue out of the fucking room.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:11 pm

Ugh, that is incredibly disappointing:

In a 2011 interview, Gerrold concurred, "My cause at the time was blood donorship, and I knew that people were so terrified of AIDS they had even stopped donating blood. So I wanted 'Blood and Fire' to be about the fear of AIDS – not the disease but the fear – and one of the plot points involved having the crew donate blood to save the lives of the away team. I thought, 'If we do this episode right, where blood donorship is part of solving the problem, we can put a card at the end telling viewers that they could donate blood to save lives, too.' I thought it was something Trek should be doing, raising social awareness on an issue, and if we did it right, we could probably generate a million new blood donors at a time when there was a critical shortage."

"There were two characters who were not very important to the story, but they were the kind of background characters you need. At one point Riker says to one of them, 'How long have you two been together?' That was it. The guy replies, 'Since the Academy.' That's it. That's all you need to know about their relationship. If you were a kid, you'd think they were just good buddies. If you were an adult, you'd get it. But I turned in the script and that's when the excrement hit the rotating blades of the electric air circulation device. There was a flurry of memos, pro and con. One memo said, 'We're going to be on at four in the afternoon in some places and we're going to get angry letters from mommies.' My response was, 'If we get people writing letters, it shows they're involved in the show, and that's exactly what we want. We want them engaged, and a little controversy will be great for us.' And I said, 'Gene [Roddenberry] made a promise to the fans. If not here, where? If not now, when?' But the episode got shelved anyway and that's when I knew I wasn't going to be allowed to write the very best stories we should be writing. The original show was about taking chances. If we weren't going to take chances, we weren't doing Star Trek. So I let my contract expire and I went off to do [...] other things."

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby mharr » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:37 pm

I've never wanted inter-dimensional cable as bad as I do reading this. All these crapstains in positions of power, and our evil mirror universe version of Trek was still amazing, imagine what it was like in the real world!

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Thad » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:41 am

I remember being impressed when Superman: TAS snuck a same-sex couple in.

There's an episode where Maggie's in the hospital and there's a woman by her bedside, who we haven't seen before, I had a moment of "Who's that? She doesn't look like Maggie's sister...oh."

Weekday-afternoon children's cartoon in the late 1990s. Not bad.

(I missed most of Superman in its original run; I was in high school and busy in the afternoons. I didn't see that episode until I bought it on DVD in my twenties. I'm not sure if I'd have picked up on the subtext in my teens; I certainly wouldn't have if I'd been in the target demographic. I didn't get any gay subtext from Harley and Ivy when those episodes first aired when I was 10 or 11 or so, but watching them as an adult it's pretty hard to miss.)

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:34 pm

God, this is a heck of a rabbit hole.

I rewatched some Earth: Final Conflict a few days ago for some reason, and that got me reading some wiki, that led to another wiki, etc. Eventually I got back on the "undeveloped or unfinished Roddenberry scripts" train.

There was a pilot for a show called Genesis II he did, about a NASA scientist that gets frozen and wakes up in a crazy Thundarr-style post-apocalyptic Earth, full of warring factions and whatnot.

The show never got picked up, but he wrote a bunch of scripts for it. I was reading through them with mild interest and god damn dude:

"Poodle Shop" — Dylan Hunt is captured and put on sale by the females in a strange society where men are treated as domestic pets and often traded back and forth for breeding purposes. This story idea would later turn into the second pilot, Planet Earth.


So, naturally, I look into Planet Earth:

The pilot focused on gender relations from an early 1970s perspective. Dylan Hunt, confronted with a post-apocalyptic matriarchal society, muses, "Women's lib? Or women's lib gone mad..."[2][3][4]

Their search leads the team to the Confederacy of Ruth, a society of latter-day Amazons, where women are dominant and men are enslaved. As a ruse, Harper-Smythe binds Hunt and enters the Confederacy's territory with him as her "property. Once there, she meets Marg (Diana Muldaur), the leader of the women, who claims Dylan as her own property. Harper-Smythe makes her way to a nearby farm and meets a woman who explains how the society operates (and how there are fewer and fewer children).[4]

While captive, Hunt learns that the men (referred to as "Dinks") are subjugated by a drug in their food. Despite his efforts, he soon succumbs to the effects of the drug. Harper-Smythe arrives at the village in time to reclaim her "property" by challenging, and defeating, Marg.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:20 pm

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mongrel » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:21 pm

oh my sweet lord
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:37 am

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:27 am

Patrick Stewart to return as Picard, in a new series that we otherwise don't really know much about.

Deadline reports that Star Trek Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman will "oversee development" of the new Picard series, assisted by existing Discovery producers/writers James Duff, Akiva Goldsman, and Kirsten Beyer—along with author Michael Chabon, a Trek series newcomer who also wrote the script for one of four Short Trek mini-episodes coming to CBS All Access this fall.


Chabon, huh? I've been meaning to read Kavalier & Clay for like 15 years; I hear it's good.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Bal » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:41 pm



Stop making this. It isn't Star Trek.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:47 pm

New season is... a lot like the first, so far.

First episode was a solid but unmemorable action slog full of weird gags and chase sequences. Pike seems good, I love love love Reno (Tig Notaro is absolutely amazing). Everyone else is unchanged. Basically dislike the entire story arc they're going for, but like last season, there's a lot of potentially interesting elements there. The connection to Spock remains the worst idea this show has had to date.

Second episode was good! It felt like a real Star Trek episode. I feel like this might be due to Jonathan Frakes directing again.

Third episode is like

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:52 pm

Season 1 spoilers.

Every time we get a scene featuring Voq, it’s fun to look back on his character arc and bask in how exquisitely he has fucked up every single thing he’s ever been involved in.

Guy was born an albino, which forced him to grow up enduring racist mockery from his own people and his own house, which cast him out. All the way into his adult life, no other house would have him. He eventually falls in with a traditionalist cult lead by T’Kuvma, whose whole thing is that you should keep Klingon identity pure. Already, why would this jag value anything Klingon if it’s done nothing but unfairly fuck him his entire life?

T’Kuvma’s dad’s 200-year-old spaceship goes toe-to-toe with six state-of-the-art Fed spaceships and wins, but, two humans beam over and successfully murder T’Kuvma. They are essentially unopposed by Voq, his right-hand man. With T’Kuvma dead, the various clans briefly turn to Voq for leadership, but his ship is all fucked up with no power and dwindling food. The other clans look elsewhere. T’Kuvma is now dead, his ship is disabled and his house irrelevant.

Voq’s first act as leader is to tell his people to eat human corpses to survive, and to bar his people from taking the Shenzhou’s warp engine, because it was the ship that bested him and killed his leader. His people are literally going to die because he got his ass kicked so bad. This abandoned, derelict hunk of junk Federation ship is going to fully kill him and his crew by continuing to drift lifelessly through the void.

A few months later, Kol shows up, convinces Voq to go get the warp drive from the Shenzhou (which he now agrees to???), and then effortlessly takes control of Voq’s ship and crew and strands him on the fed ship to die. L’Rell convinces him to agree to an utterly insane plan to defeat specifically the Federation, and not the rival house that just took everything T’Kuvma had ever built.

Voq uses L’Rell’s resources and plan to undergo a ludicrously horrific, painful, vastly overcomplicated procedure that transplants his organs into the corpse of a human and leaves his mind shattered. No clear plan is ever revealed - Discovery wasn’t a threat at that point in the war, nor was the original ship that they both might want revenge on a threat. It’s never stated what Voq was actually supposed to do.

L’Rell then puts Voq into a prison on a ship she apparently owns and commands, then captures but does not kill Lorca (CAPTAIN OF THE MOST POWERFUL SHIP IN THE FEDERATION), where Voq meets Lorca, kills like five fellow Klingons in his escape, tries to shoot L’Rell’s in the head and misses by an inch, scarring her face, then returning to Discovery to faithfully support Discovery in its war efforts for months to come. Soon, they defeat and capture L’Rell. Want to also point out that L’Rell no longer has her scars for some reason, as of season 2.

Finally, in the mirror universe, Voq managed to break through after he met his mirror universe counterpart, who he hated to the point of trying to kill because he was not racist like the children who mocked him in his youth. Voq randomly kills the ship doctor, immediately revealing himself. Wracked with guilt from his human side, he turns himself in to Burnham, who then makes L’Rell perform a procedure that destroys Voq and makes Ash the dominant personality.

His mission having fully failed, Ash goes with L’Rell to the homeworld, where he proceeds to be a massive liability to L’Rell, to the point where he must fake his own death to prevent her from losing her position of power. He now works for the leader of the terran empire, who had personally committed genocide upon his people in her universe.

Didn’t exactly knock this one out of the park, Voq.

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