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Old February 26 2013, 02:08 AM   #11
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

V wrote: View Post
Ron D Moore recently gave an interview to a personal military blog for veterans:

It doesn't really cover any new ground;
Then why bring it up at all, other than as an excuse to rehash more old ground in the form of anti-RDM rants?

Fundamentally, Starfleet is not "a military" in that sense. They're more like modern-day NASA astronauts: explorers, scientists, and diplomats.

NASA is a civilian agency. It's run by civilian engineers and its crews are made up of astronauts that are either civilians or retired or reserve military pilots. The crew structures are informal in terms of rank, with titles like "Mission Commander" and "Mission Specialist" the only real symbols of authority.

Starfleet has a rigid, pyramidal, rank-based command structure, based on that of a true military organization (The United States Navy) which means it's "like NASA" in terms of only one of its functions...and it's arguable whether that function is its primary one.

On this point I must stress very strongly. Starfleet does have defensive duties, but it *isn't* that "esprit de corps" feeling of military honor and such. Spock is a scientist, McCoy is a doctor/scientist. Geordi is more of an astrophysicist than a military engineer.

Starfleet does have protocol, rank structure and such, people who break the rules might be court-martialed, but they simply don't equate to that world.
The term "court-martial", by definition, equates it with the military world.

My point is that I think Picard's sense of honor, restraint, diplomacy, and "command"....are not based on his capacity as a "military ship commander".
Dude, his sense of command could only come from being a commander, and the military structure of Starfleet makes him a military ship commander. (It amazes me how self-delusional some trekkies can be on this point...)

Picard frequently stressed that he is an explorer and diplomat and became angry when accused of being a "warrior".
Yep. The characters could delude themselves about it too.

Let's even leave out the question of violence; I mean even compared to a military vessel on purely peacetime patron duty today....Picard's mission is simply different from that.
Naval ships have been used for diplomacy and exploration since the invention of navies. The only siginificant difference in Picard's mission is that his ship travels in space.

There are books that don't have the trek logo on them. Try reading a couple...

Picard, and Starfleet, the whole standard of "command", "masculinity", "honor" whathaveyou that they presented....was more of a "Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird" style of restraint and idealistic belief in the capacity of human beings to be good and rationally overcome problems.
^^This has to be the most meaningless part of your rant.

Of course, on a related note, a thing that RDM mentions once again in the interview is that he can't handle logistics, i.e. the large amount of paperwork and reports the military needs. Ron didn't know how to keep on a schedule, he's always had that problem: Movie 7 ate up all of their time so he frantically wrote "All Good Things..." in a handful of weeks, yet surprisingly he turned out so great he won an Emmy -- from how he keeps talking about it in interviews, I think this really validated in his mind that he's capable of working to the last minute -- which as anyone who listened to the podcasts knows is what kept happening in Seasons 3 and 4; frantic re-writes up to the last possible moment, instead of getting things done on time.
That's happened in every complex, high budget show since the dawn of television. Again, read a book...

I've said before that I think that fundamentally, what happened to BSG starting with Season 3 is that:

  1. Ron Moore has an intentionally loose command style, as a reaction to the restrictive writing environment on TNG under Berman and Braga.
A production studio is not a military organization, and the guy solely responsible for that studio's content ought to be able to work in whatever way he finds comfortable that still gets the job done.

  1. This extends to how "command style" in the writers' room; he openly admitted that he'd keep incorporating new subplots from other writers or even actors, without ever trying to tie them all together coherently.
Doctor Who's writers have been writing like that for decades. Nobody seems to mind when they do it.

  1. Literally HALF of the core writing staff left under mysterious circumstances between Season 2 and 3 (i.e. story editor Tony Graphia) and yet Ron & Eick never so much as mentioned their departure publicly.
Writer turnover. Yet another age-old television tradition. You keep blaming RDM for things most every production goes through.

  1. The network forced them to drop their running storylines in season 3 because "standalones will hook new viewers" -- which only revealed more quickly that they weren't planning out the core direction of the show. Either way, Ron never really admitted that they dropped the running storylines until season 3 was over the dishonesty was what made it worse.
Why would it be necessary to reveal they'd dropped the running storylines when it was patently obvious to anyone actually watching the show during season three??

And, news flash, not everybody plots out the "core direction" of a given series. It's not required by federal law. To whine about the dishonesty of RDM not doing something he's under no obligation to do is asinine, asi-ten, as-eleven and asi-twelve!

This interview made me think over "Point 2" again in particular: I think the other writers thought that if Ron accepted their idea for a new subplot, he'd also figured out how to make it fit into existing storylines, when in fact he didn't (hey! Let's have a hybrid baby! etc.) In the podcasts, Ron frequently praises how he loves it when actors and directors ad lib on the set, or how he just generally has a "hands off" approach and lets writers shape an individual episode.

Meanwhile, it sunk in about just how little control Ron was willing to exert and ultimately the show spun out of control and they painted themselves into a corner.
How in the hell could you know the show didn't end exactly the way he wanted it to? There's a half season blip where he followed the network's advice. That is not the same as "spun out of control."

Again, RDM was the boss. He's allowed to run his operation however he chooses.

And it hit me: above all, this was a TV show about command structures and the responsibility of command....and Ron himself turned out to be a bad commander.

Think about it: even as they were writing Season 4, with Admiral Adama - this character on script pages - trying to keep disciplined command structure on his military vessel.....Ron Moore, the lead writer, was leading a markedly *UNdisciplined* writer's room. This was a show ABOUT the pressures of command!
No, it was about the end of civilization.

Consider that the villain captains on the show all tended to be martinets and tyrants: Admiral Cain was a tyrant, Commander Garner on Pegasus -- while a good episode -- his whole episode had the moral that he was a martinet who tried to control his crew too tightly.

Never was there a circumstance where the "bad" commander was someone who had too LOOSE of a command style. But either extreme is ultimately bad. (Yes, Fisk was in the Black Market and such...for the opening act of one episode and then he was killed; they didn't really dwell on it).

So just the contrast is really ironic; they're writing characters set on a military ship, and they're supposed to be creating stories about characters making "command decisions" -- when Ron himself was indecisive, frequently working until the last minute, throwing out and revizing subplots at the last minute, and showing an overall unwillingness to assert control over the writing staff or even himself.
They were writing stories in a military setting. The studio itself WAS NOT a military setting. To expect RDM to treat it like one just so the story comes out the way you want is not only stupid, it's narcissistic stupid.
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

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