Paper Moon wrote:
But to call Roddenberry a "visionary," in my opinion, is a bit excessive. And it's much too easy to give Roddenberry waaaay too much credit. For example, I think it's safe to say that we owe TNG and everything that came after to the overall commercial success of Star Trek II, III and IV. And that only happened because Roddenberry was "kicked upstairs" and other people (Harve Bennett and Leonard Nimoy in particular) took over on the ground. TMP may have been a work of art, but it was far from a commercial success. Gene had a vision, but he had a hard time executing its portrayal effectively. And I think that's an important distinction to keep in mind.
One of the formal definitions of a visionary is "having or marked by foresight and imagination." Gene definitely had some foresight into a better future, certainly one that openly embraces people of all races and other manifestations. And he definitely had a compelling imagination about a future formalized space military that would explore and patrol space. He was the figure head of the idea, yet so many other people contributed to it, bringing the whole idea into visual realization. So, as I see it he was a visionary of sorts. But like most human beings, he had his failings.
The whole realization of the Star Trek TOS vision depended upon other people besides Gene, particularly people like Matt Jefferies, Wah Chang, Bill Theiss, Robert Justman, Herb Solow, etc. But the guy who starts the idea is usually credited the most.
Where Gene excelled was in writing and script oversight. He had a good sense of how to take a story and mold it to fit into the episode format he established. He also had a very good sense of what worked and what didn't, which I feel was noticeably lost on Season 3. Unfortunately, from what I read in "Inside Star Trek", he wasn't a particularly good executive producer. He also created and produced the first season of TNG. I thought it lacking in a lot of respects story, pacing and dialog, but production values were quite good.
Anyway... I often feel like Gene Jr. is just riding his father's coat tails, as his career is intimately focused on Star Trek merchandising when he had absolutely no interest in the series as a young man. I would hope Trek Nation would spend as little time as possible on the Gene Sr./Jr. dynamic. That's ultimately his business, as it's difficult to trust anything publicly stated about it anyway.