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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old December 11 2012, 08:34 AM   #1
Lighthammer
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Ensign Gates

Has anyone noticed Ensign Gates was in a lot of episodes of TNG?

I just recently rewatched the series star to finish and ever since her introduction in Sarek (according to Memory Alpha), it seems like she's had more episode appearances then any of the third string characters (Ensign Ro, Wesley Crusher, Chief O'Brian, Nurse Ogawa, Guinan, Barclay, Ensign Sito and a few others). According to Memory Alpha she appeared in 45 / 178 episodes, but simply looking over the page, I do remember her in a few others without extensively / exhaustively going back to looking over each episode.

Anyone else think it would have been interesting to give her a little more on screen development then she got? It just seems like she would have been a great candidate for Lower Decks.

TNG loved third string characters, I'm just a little surprised with as many episodes as she was in, she never got a little bit of character development considering how many episodes she was in.
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Old December 11 2012, 09:25 AM   #2
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Re: Ensign Gates

Sure, onscreen development would have been nice for a lot of repeating background personnel. But if they had dialogue scenes, union rules might require higher pay for their lines.
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Old December 11 2012, 10:08 AM   #3
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Re: Ensign Gates

Colm Meaney probably only got his "big role" because he was already a semi-established actor before Star Trek. I thought I even heard some where on the road that they had considered him for a main role before the series launched, but he just happened to be around for the pilot shooting and kind of stuck with it when fans started to ask about him more and more.

Although I don't doubt union rules may have contributed somewhere a long the line, we've seen plenty of background characters only ever meant to be background characters evolve beyond that role as a background character.

It seems like Ensign Gates may have been one of those characters that was in far more then her share as extra roles and was one of the few (if not the only one) that was in as many episodes as she was without having the character expanded upon, sadly, not even in fan fiction or other related media.

It just kind of struck me as odd considering almost every other TNG background character seemed to have gotten their share of the lime light (even if it was just to get assimilated in First Contact!).
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Old December 11 2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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Re: Ensign Gates

Personally I'm more interested in the backstory of the background character Diana Giddings. She's in practically every episode from season one and some of the later seasons.

Also, I demand a full episode about this chick from "Coming of Age":

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Old December 11 2012, 10:04 PM   #5
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Re: Ensign Gates

You know, a lot of people deride the skant version of the uniform as particularly sexist in a '60s TOS sort of way, but the idea was that both men and women would be able to wear it. They wanted to originally show more gender equality in the future. They kind of botched it, though, with men in the skant only appearing in a few background scenes.

I kind of like it, though, and this is coming from a woman (one who likes kitschy '60s inspired things anyway). And I love the idea of men being able to wear a version of it as well. It never panned out that way, of course, and it was basically only used to show off more female thigh and boost ratings.
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Old December 11 2012, 11:04 PM   #6
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Re: Ensign Gates

IIRC the short skirts in TOS weren't seen as sexist, they were liberating for women who before would be consider a slut for wearing a hemline over the knee.
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Old December 12 2012, 12:07 AM   #7
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Re: Ensign Gates

I remember the whole theater let out a laugh at the Asian dude in the skant in the S1 theater screening.
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Old December 12 2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Re: Ensign Gates

Heck Crusher had Martinez on her staff for ages & I'm not even sure he got a line.

He and Jae were in far more episodes than Gates, her 62 & him 83, & they both even had movie appearances
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Old December 12 2012, 07:48 PM   #9
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Re: Ensign Gates

M wrote: View Post
Personally I'm more interested in the backstory of the background character Diana Giddings. She's in practically every episode from season one and some of the later seasons.
I immediately remembered who Ensign Gates was when I read her name, even though her pic isn't posted in this thread. But, even after seeing the Diana Giddings article in Memory Alpha, I can only semi-remember her. The end of the article said:

The Star Trek Encyclopedia gives her name as "Dianna Giddings" but the sign on her door reads more like "Diana".
Was her name even mentioned in an episode? Did she ever have any lines? BTW, does anyone know which "door" is mentioned in my quote?

Also, I love Gate's "memorable quote" that Memory Alpha mentions.... "Course plotted, sir."
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Old December 12 2012, 07:56 PM   #10
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Re: Ensign Gates

More than Morn. ALMOST more than Ayala. TNG sure treated their regular extras right. :P

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Old December 13 2012, 12:13 AM   #11
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Re: Ensign Gates

Ro_Laren wrote: View Post
I immediately remembered who Ensign Gates was when I read her name, even though her pic isn't posted in this thread. But, even after seeing the Diana Giddings article in Memory Alpha, I can only semi-remember her. The end of the article said:
I think you kind of made my point.

Ensign Gates had a prominent position as a BRIDGE OFFICER who was easily seen. The post has traditionally been run by a senior officer so it very much does draw your attention to that posting on the bridge.

I don't DISAGREE that others who have been seen throughout the series don't deserve a call out, but I think in the case of Ensign Gates, it comes more across as "Why hasn't she had one" just because of her posting.

Even Robin Lefler and Sonya Gomez, who had 1-2 episodes each had major call outs through other media.
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Old December 13 2012, 12:40 AM   #12
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Re: Ensign Gates

This is probably the biggest weakness of TNG, the virtual lack of secondary characters on the show. Even O'brien, Barclay and Ro weren't around -that- much, and it went down hill from there. It even got to the point where even it was virtually established the command clique is standoffish and confrontational towards outsiders as a rule.
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Old December 16 2012, 05:39 PM   #13
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Re: Ensign Gates

Frankly, it was all contractual, & union related. They had regular recurring cast that were contracted to parts based on lines, such that Gates was only there in the same capacity as say Lt. Monroe from Disaster who had a few lines & then died.

Except, Gates doesn't die. Her & a few others stick around, because presumably there was room on the payroll for some regular one or two line actors, which apparently is still a good paying gig in tv work

I'm actually amazed that even one of them broke out into something more, Alyssa Ogawa. Perhaps they fought a bit to have one expanded some, & if that's the case, I'm glad they chose Ogawa, because there's lots of speaking characters on the bridge, but sick bay had almost none
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Old December 16 2012, 06:03 PM   #14
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Re: Ensign Gates

M wrote: View Post
Personally I'm more interested in the backstory of the background character Diana Giddings. She's in practically every episode from season one and some of the later seasons.

Also, I demand a full episode about this chick from "Coming of Age":

Thanks for pointing her out, I like this one.
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Old December 18 2012, 06:36 PM   #15
Mott the barber
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Re: Ensign Gates

Ro_Laren wrote: View Post
M wrote: View Post
Personally I'm more interested in the backstory of the background character Diana Giddings. She's in practically every episode from season one and some of the later seasons.
I immediately remembered who Ensign Gates was when I read her name, even though her pic isn't posted in this thread. But, even after seeing the Diana Giddings article in Memory Alpha, I can only semi-remember her. The end of the article said:

The Star Trek Encyclopedia gives her name as "Dianna Giddings" but the sign on her door reads more like "Diana".
Was her name even mentioned in an episode? Did she ever have any lines? BTW, does anyone know which "door" is mentioned in my quote?

Also, I love Gate's "memorable quote" that Memory Alpha mentions.... "Course plotted, sir."
The door is from "The Outrageous Okona" in S2 when Worf comes to get Okona from her quarters.

Worf: "Iiiiiiiii like that."

Funny but awkward line.
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