William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories book is an interesting read that I'd highly recommend to anyone who likes Trek. But you might want to skip the book if you're a fan of Gene Roddenberry, whom Shatner (intentionally or no) paints as a woefully incompetent and obsolete writer and producer. According to Shatner, Roddenberry pitched the following idea for every single Trek film but was shot down by some combination of Harold Livingston, Nick Meyer, Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, and so on:
The crew of the USS Enterprise travels to 1963 to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But it turns out that saving Jack Kennedy's life has dire consequences. In the end, it's none other than Spock who fires shots from the grassy knoll that take the world leader down.
What's more, Roddenberry's behavior is that of a petulant child who's had his favorite toy taken away by his parents. While Phase II/The Motion Picture was in production, Roddenberry and Harold Livingston went out of their respective ways to sabotage each other's scripts. Paramount executives Michael Eisner and Frank Mancuso finally stopped Roddenberry in his tracks by telling him that his TMP script was "shit" and "made for television," opting instead to go with what Livingston wanted (but not before Livingston quit three different times to get away from Gene).
Obviously, Shatner's book is one person's perspective plus recollections from various people who were on the set at the time these events happened. Does anyone else know of information that supports or contradicts Shatner's telling of how each film was put together (and Roddenberry's diminishing input into each subsequent film)?
I can't have an informed opinion of Gene Roddenberry and his methods. According to memory alpha, this is the episodes written by Roddenberry, who had 3 post-graduate degrees:
The Cage - 4 stars.
Mudd's Women - 1.5 stars.
Charlie X - 4 stars.
The Menagerie - 3.5 stars.
Return of the Archons - 4 stars.
Bread and Circuses - I don't remember much about it.
A Private, Little War - 4 stars.
The Omega Glory - 4 stars.
Assignment: Earth - I don't remember much about it.
The Savage Curtain - 4 stars.
Turnabout Intruder - I don't remember much about it.
So I like his episodes. They are intelligent, and different from the adventure we find in other incarnations of Trek.
I also like Hide and Q and Encounter at Farpoint, which he penned for Next Generation. I didn't like Datalore; I thought it had been done before too many times in too many television series.
So I don't think he was a bad writer. He had original ideas.