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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 October 20 2014, 11:52 AM   #1
Orphalesion
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Andromeda's Trance Gemini - Troi as she should have been?

Hey-o,

my name is Orphalesion and I have a confession to make; when I was a little kid Counselor Deanna Troi was, hands down, my favorite Star Trek character. She was exotic, stood out in the crowd thanks to her custom uniforms and had cool mental powers, what was not to love? I even hated it when they put her into a standard uniform because I think they also changed her make-up and changed the way they wrote the character overall, which I understand came as a welcome relief to Marina Sirtis but made her character seem far less "alien".

However kids are easily entertained and often care little about depth of character or if things are told instead of shown and so forth. Now as a hobby writer myself I can clearly see the glaring mistakes they made in creating and writing Troi starting with having a "counselor" sitting next to the Captain at all times and ending with the glittering combs in her hair.
Yet, I still think that the concept of Troi would have worked, especially if they went all out with her and had made her a full Betazed, this weird alien entity who perceived the world not in colours and shapes as we do, but in patterns of energy leading to her mental powers and to an outlook that would have been completely different to humanity.

This led me to another female character in Science Fiction who is, in my opinion, quite similar to Troi, especially in her later appearances: Trance Gemini from Andromeda, her apperance, her powers, even the certain reservedness of character she developed later on all seem like a revisit and revision of Troi's concept.
So I think Troi should have been more like her, a seemingly demure character in a supportive position who in reality is stranger and more powerful than most other entities in the show and has an agenda on her own nobody knows about.
This would have solved the problem with her powerful abilities who have to be nerfed so that a plot can exist, she might be able to read minds and sense changes in atmospheric pressure and even probability, but who says she'd use those abilities to the benefit of the characters at all times?
Instead of Guinan, Troi would have been the one with connections to Q and the Borg and the Betazoids could have ended up being more three-dimensional, perhaps even having episodes dedicated to exploring their shifty and alien plans and machinations. It could have lend a touch of fantasy to Star Trek's otherwise often purely scientific and sterile universe.

One of my friends who is the only other Star Trek fan I know in real life constantly dismisses that idea with the argument that it would have made her too powerful and important. Hoewever I don't see it so and point towards Phoenix/Jean Grey from X-Men and Trance as examples of powerful psis in other media (this is made more difficult by the fact that he doesn't know much about Andromeda or X-Men) And also, Picard and Data are already very important, why couldn't have a female character have shared equal footing with them?

What do others think, would Troi's character have worked as a more alien entity, or would it have turned her into a game breaker and/or mary-sue. Do characters like that even work in Star Trek or does the very sober, structured nature of the universe and Star Fleet prevent their existence as main characters?
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Old October 20 2014, 04:10 PM   #2
Silvercrest
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Re: Andromeda's Trance Gemini - Troi as she should have been?

I think that could have worked, but not on TNG. As you say, the sober, structured nature. I doubt Roddenberry in particular would let a character like that anywhere near his original Stepford crew.

It would have flown pretty well on DS9 or VOY. Actually, to some extent that's what Neelix and especially Seven were.

Roddenberry had a specific reason not to make Deanna a full Betazoid, BTW. He figured a full telepath would have a hard time in society because they could never block out all the thoughts around them-- people saying one thing and thinking another, etc. (Although he was okay with Lwaxana for some reason.)
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Old October 20 2014, 06:25 PM   #3
BillJ
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Re: Andromeda's Trance Gemini - Troi as she should have been?

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
(Although he was okay with Lwaxana for some reason.)
Because they didn't have to write stories with her in them every week. She appeared maybe five or six times during the series run.

A true telepath sitting next to Picard every week would've sucked all the tension out of every encounter. Or they would've had to come up with explanations every time they needed an alien to pull one over on the crew as to why the full telepath didn't detect it. They already struggled on that point just having an empath aboard.
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Old October 20 2014, 10:39 PM   #4
Orphalesion
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Re: Andromeda's Trance Gemini - Troi as she should have been?

Silvercrest wrote: View Post

It would have flown pretty well on DS9 or VOY. Actually, to some extent that's what Neelix and especially Seven were.
Kes could have been this on Voyager, another wasted character, just like Deanna.


Silvercrest wrote: View Post

Roddenberry had a specific reason not to make Deanna a full Betazoid, BTW. He figured a full telepath would have a hard time in society because they could never block out all the thoughts around them-- people saying one thing and thinking another, etc. (Although he was okay with Lwaxana for some reason.)
But wouldn't that struggle have given the character the depth she clearly lacked? Just like Data was struggling to understand human emotion a fully telepathic Troi would have struggled to understand lying, self-delusion, insincerity. It could have created an arc for her.

BillJ wrote: View Post

A true telepath sitting next to Picard every week would've sucked all the tension out of every encounter. Or they would've had to come up with explanations every time they needed an alien to pull one over on the crew as to why the full telepath didn't detect it. They already struggled on that point just having an empath aboard.
Again I point to the X-Men, they have like seven telepaths, plus probably five more stashed away in their attic and still they manage to have tension.
If her telepathy would have been approached from a more realistic angle (as realistic as fantasy like that can be) Deanna would have had a hard time picking anything coherent from the chaotic mind of the average human/alien. After all our minds aren't structured and coherent. they care constantly full of thought, half-thoughts, ideas. Try to find anything in there on purpose and you're doomed.
A skilled enough writer would have known to handle full telepathy and yet still have suspense.
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Old October 20 2014, 11:12 PM   #5
Silvercrest
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Re: Andromeda's Trance Gemini - Troi as she should have been?

Orphalesion wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post

Roddenberry had a specific reason not to make Deanna a full Betazoid, BTW. He figured a full telepath would have a hard time in society because they could never block out all the thoughts around them-- people saying one thing and thinking another, etc. (Although he was okay with Lwaxana for some reason.)
But wouldn't that struggle have given the character the depth she clearly lacked? Just like Data was struggling to understand human emotion a fully telepathic Troi would have struggled to understand lying, self-delusion, insincerity. It could have created an arc for her.
I'm afraid you'll have to take that up with Roddenberry.

If that's no longer possible, you'll have to take it up with his Stepford Crew of people who have evolved beyond lying or self-delusion.

Although come to think of it, a crew like that shouldn't have posed a problem for a full telepath. Oh well, add one to the list of cognitive dissonances that Roddenberry somehow reconciled.
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