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

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Old December 15 2012, 03:29 AM   #1
Wingsley
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Shelby

I have a few silly questions about the guest character of Shelby, Admiral Hanson's "Borg expert" in "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter, as portrayed by Elizabeth Dennehy.

The SD DVD screencaps up on TrekCore aren't perfectly clear to my eye. Was Shelby a LCDR or a CMDR? Did it appear that she was promoted during the two-parter?

Did others in this forum feel Dennehy's portrayal of Shelby came off as a competent professional or as sexy or both?

How was Shelby a "Borg expert" if she never encountered the Borg before the Jouret IV massacre? Since the Federation only knew what the Enterprise-D's J-25 encounter unearthed about the Borg, what was there for her to base her expertise on?

I remember reading in magazines about how TNG fans back in '90 had a hostile reaction to Shelby, which seemed ridiculous to me. I thought she was the best character in that episode. I'd want her covering my back. Riker seemed to be irritated with her precisely because she was so much like him, a notion Picard seemed to rib his Number One about.

Am I the only one who regards her as a kind of young, female version of James T. Kirk?

The Memory Alpha article on Shelby quotes Ronald D. Moore discussing the mention of "Captain Shelby" in DS9 as saying there was some licensing issue involving the possibility of mentioning/seeing the character again. What is the issue? What is wrong with mentioning this character, or seeing her in a follow-up STAR TREK adventure?

I would love to see Shelby featured in some kind of pre-TNG adventure, where she was a brash, young lieutenant aboard an early Galaxy- or Nebula-class prototype on her maiden voyage. It would be neat to imagine her in a role like a science or security officer, seen as a hands-on rising star, and throw in some '80's hair to top it off.
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Old December 15 2012, 04:11 PM   #2
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Re: Shelby

Shelby was a lt. cmmdr.

I agree on every point. Shelby was an excellent character. Not only did she "shake things up" a bit among the crew, she did it in a way that was respectful, and did not rob anyone's dignity away.
At the time of this episode, I remember speculating that she would become a permanent member of the cast. It was a bit of a shame that she didn't.

And yes, she was a competant professional, AND pretty damn sexy!
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Old December 15 2012, 04:24 PM   #3
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Re: Shelby

My wife absolutely hates the character and she pointed out why the other night when the episodes were on...

When they're first attacked by the Borg and Shelby comes forward and starts ordering Data to remodulate the phasers, once they break free she has this smug ass look on her face that gives you the impression that she thinks she's the only one who knows anything.

I personally didn't find the character professional or sexy. I thought it was very unprofessional for her to be trying to push for the XO job while Riker was still there and going over Riker's head when he didn't agree with her plan to separate the saucer.

She was an arrogant junior officer who was use to getting her way because she worked for an admiral back at Starfleet.
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Old December 15 2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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Re: Shelby

I've always liked to imagine that if Patrick Stewart hadn't come back for season four, Shelby would have been the Enterprise's new XO with Riker as CO.
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Old December 15 2012, 06:17 PM   #5
Wingsley
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Re: Shelby

BillJ wrote: View Post
My wife absolutely hates the character and she pointed out why the other night when the episodes were on...

When they're first attacked by the Borg and Shelby comes forward and starts ordering Data to remodulate the phasers, once they break free she has this smug ass look on her face that gives you the impression that she thinks she's the only one who knows anything.
Not surprisingly, I don't interpret the scene this way.

I see Shelby's reaction as a major personal victory for her. For some undisclosed period of time, Ms. Shelby worked at some Starfleet Command facility or team responsible for anti-Borg defense research. This we know from Admiral Hanson. But since the Borg had only just returned to Federation space since the J-25 incident, this was the very first time Shelby's work could be put to the test. She thought on her feet and her orders to Mr. Data produced results.

Mr. Data, carrying out Ms. Shelby's orders, saved the ship.

I personally didn't find the character professional or sexy. I thought it was very unprofessional for her to be trying to push for the XO job while Riker was still there and going over Riker's head when he didn't agree with her plan to separate the saucer.
There is only an initial trace of resistance on Riker's part to saucer separation. He simply expressed doubts about it; he never completely dismissed the idea. In fact, Riker later used Shelby's idea (along with a few of his own guerilla tactics) near Wolfe 359 to successfully rescue Picard. Riker made it clear in the turbolift that his real problem was going to the captain without him. I agree that was an unprofessional moment for Ms. Shelby. So was Riker's uncharacteristic handling of her.

She was an arrogant junior officer who was use to getting her way because she worked for an admiral back at Starfleet.
Her "arrogant" pushiness was apparently a driving force behind the anti-Borg operation that impressed a Starfleet admiral. And while there is no direct evidence of this, it is a pretty safe conclusion that this same program, under Shelby's administration, ultimately resulted in highly successful anti-Borg defenses such as Sisko's Defiant.

If you want to see a dramatic portrayal of the "real McCoy" in a pushy program administrator that was responsible for saving the lives of real-life astronauts, check out the outstanding APOLLO 13.
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Old December 15 2012, 06:29 PM   #6
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Re: Shelby

Regardless if you like the character or not, she did bring a very interesting bit of drama that TNG lacked. The TNG command clique through all seven seasons for the most part lived in a bubble, where they're all happy go lucky and are fairly harsh towards all outsiders.

Shelby did penetrate the bubble and did shake things up. She brought a sense of conflict and drama to the command crew that was entertaining and refreshing for TNG. The only person that did this better was really Jellico.
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Old December 15 2012, 06:35 PM   #7
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Re: Shelby

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Her "arrogant" pushiness was apparently a driving force behind the anti-Borg operation that impressed a Starfleet admiral. And while there is no direct evidence of this, it is a pretty safe conclusion that this same program, under Shelby's administration, ultimately resulted in highly successful anti-Borg defenses such as Sisko's Defiant.
We will have to agree to disagree on much of it, but I wonder about her success with anti-Borg defenses? The fleet in First Contact was getting its ass handed to it until Picard came along and showed them the magical spot to hit. The fleet at Wolf 359 also got their collective asses handed to them.

Starfleet got lucky twice beating the Borg in the Sol system, I'm not sure I give any of that credit to Shelby.
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Old December 15 2012, 06:36 PM   #8
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Re: Shelby

Star Grinch wrote: View Post
Regardless if you like the character or not, she did bring a very interesting bit of drama that TNG lacked. The TNG command clique through all seven seasons for the most part lived in a bubble, where they're all happy go lucky and are fairly harsh towards all outsiders.

Shelby did penetrate the bubble and did shake things up. She brought a sense of conflict and drama to the command crew that was entertaining and refreshing for TNG. The only person that did this better was really Jellico.
Agreed.
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Old December 15 2012, 06:50 PM   #9
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Re: Shelby

Wingsley wrote:
The Memory Alpha article on Shelby quotes Ronald D. Moore discussing the mention of "Captain Shelby" in DS9 as saying there was some licensing issue involving the possibility of mentioning/seeing the character again. What is the issue? What is wrong with mentioning this character, or seeing her in a follow-up STAR TREK adventure?
The "Captain Shelby"/licensing issue was to do with Peter David's Star Trek: New Frontier novel series. Basically, Pocket Books were assured by The Powers That Be that Shelby wasn't going to be seen or mentioned again in TV/film Trek, so they were free to do whatever they wanted with the character in the concurrent book series (which features her heavily, and I recommend if you're a fan of the character)
After TPTB "forgot" about their agreement and Captain Shelby was mentioned in DS9, one of the books had to include a bit where it was explained that the newly-promoted Captain Shelby was another Starfleet officer named Shelby, not "our" one (who at the time was first officer of the Excalibur)
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Old December 15 2012, 07:12 PM   #10
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Re: Shelby

If Shelby did have anything to do with the design or construction of the Defiant, her and her team acquitted themselves with distinction, not in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, but in DS9 "The Search, Part II". The Defiant was the first Federation vessel to successfully stand up to a Jem'Hadar task force and penetrate their defenses.

It's a shame Shelby was relegated to novels; if there was a past character from TNG which could have come back to the Enterprise-D to "shake things up" again, it would've been Elizabeth Dennehy's outstanding portrayal of Shelby . Imagine this: if Ronny Cox hadn't been brought in as Capt. Edward Jellico (TNG "Chain of Command" cliffhanger), it would've been a joy to see a newly promoted Captain Shelby come back and take command of the Enterprise-D. They probably could've used the same lines for Shelby that Jellico spoke. Imagine the tension between Shelby and Riker!
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Old December 15 2012, 07:33 PM   #11
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Re: Shelby

Star Grinch wrote: View Post
Regardless if you like the character or not, she did bring a very interesting bit of drama that TNG lacked. The TNG command clique through all seven seasons for the most part lived in a bubble, where they're all happy go lucky and are fairly harsh towards all outsiders.

Shelby did penetrate the bubble and did shake things up. She brought a sense of conflict and drama to the command crew that was entertaining and refreshing for TNG. The only person that did this better was really Jellico.
Way back in the early 90's, I made a similar observation about TNG that lines up perfectly with what you're saying here.

If you look at how the Enterprise-D command crew regards the rest of the TNG Universe, it is much like a Cosmic Clique floating along on some moral island, casting aspersions on the Outsider of the Week, who usually represented the Threat of the Week, and it was this clique's Mission of the Week to use the Technobabble Solution of the Week to send the Outsider of the Week packing.

This seemed especially unfortunate given how the clique responded to Shelby and Jellico, which seemed in this light to be two sides of the same coin.

I didn't like the obvious message in "Hollow Puruits" (something Cinefantastique magazine picked up on at the time) about how Riker and company handled Barclay. If the guy was that serious of a problem, he should've been relieved of duty on the spot. (No consideration was apparently given to the clique's invasion of Barclay's privacy, something that seemed ridiculous after Riker's schmoosing with Minuet.) The writers' repudiation of Barclay's escapism could only be disingenuous, since the story's commentary could only be taken as a derrogatory swipe at TNG's fans, who were simply responding to what the writers were putting out in the first place.
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Old December 15 2012, 07:54 PM   #12
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Re: Shelby

She doesn't quite work as the intended young Riker because we never saw him that obssessed with his career above all else to that extent (he may have placed his job above his girlfriend at one point but it's hard to imagine the guy we met in season one actively trying to get his superior to resign so he could have their job in the middle of a Federation threatening crisis)

But, she's got more personality in two episodes than Troi and Crusher combined and even with the rough edges had lots of potential. Especially compared to how Riker stagnates after BOBW due to the conflict between it successfully finishing his character arc- He's ready to be Captain!- and the need to keep the actor on the show- But he stays first officer for no real reason!.
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Old December 15 2012, 08:04 PM   #13
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Re: Shelby

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Star Grinch wrote: View Post
Regardless if you like the character or not, she did bring a very interesting bit of drama that TNG lacked. The TNG command clique through all seven seasons for the most part lived in a bubble, where they're all happy go lucky and are fairly harsh towards all outsiders.

Shelby did penetrate the bubble and did shake things up. She brought a sense of conflict and drama to the command crew that was entertaining and refreshing for TNG. The only person that did this better was really Jellico.
Way back in the early 90's, I made a similar observation about TNG that lines up perfectly with what you're saying here.

If you look at how the Enterprise-D command crew regards the rest of the TNG Universe, it is much like a Cosmic Clique floating along on some moral island, casting aspersions on the Outsider of the Week, who usually represented the Threat of the Week, and it was this clique's Mission of the Week to use the Technobabble Solution of the Week to send the Outsider of the Week packing.

This seemed especially unfortunate given how the clique responded to Shelby and Jellico, which seemed in this light to be two sides of the same coin.

I didn't like the obvious message in "Hollow Puruits" (something Cinefantastique magazine picked up on at the time) about how Riker and company handled Barclay. If the guy was that serious of a problem, he should've been relieved of duty on the spot. (No consideration was apparently given to the clique's invasion of Barclay's privacy, something that seemed ridiculous after Riker's schmoosing with Minuet.) The writers' repudiation of Barclay's escapism could only be disingenuous, since the story's commentary could only be taken as a derrogatory swipe at TNG's fans, who were simply responding to what the writers were putting out in the first place.
Yeah, that would seem a violation of Barclay's rights. Riker never was friendly towards anyone on the outside he wasn't trying to seduce. Look at how he treated Ro the second she stepped off the transporter pad. He chews her out over an earring and five minutes later she's in a meeting with Troi and her catsuit and Worf and his Klingon bling sash.

Heck, I'd wanna escape to the holoworld too if my professional career consisted of LaForge(like he has room to talk about strange tendencies either after his affair with holo Brahms) and Riker berating my every move over zealously. Even in Lower Decks, Riker berates Lavelle because of two aye's? Thank you commander Dickwad.
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Old December 15 2012, 08:59 PM   #14
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Re: Shelby

^^
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Old December 18 2012, 10:29 AM   #15
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Re: Shelby

Wingsley wrote: View Post
The SD DVD screencaps up on TrekCore aren't perfectly clear to my eye. Was Shelby a LCDR or a CMDR? Did it appear that she was promoted during the two-parter?
I didn't see anyone outright answer this: She was promoted over the course of the episode.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Did others in this forum feel Dennehy's portrayal of Shelby came off as a competent professional or as sexy or both?
I saw her as aggressive, but professional, but certainly not sexy.

She very much came across as one of those people who is going to do what it takes to get the job done and not be scared of the red tape of people who just want to punch a clock. I can relate to this a lot.

I got the impression she saw Riker as a "clock puncher". In many respects, in the long run, she may have been right in so far that Riker got far too comfortable on the Enterprise.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
How was Shelby a "Borg expert" if she never encountered the Borg before the Jouret IV massacre? Since the Federation only knew what the Enterprise-D's J-25 encounter unearthed about the Borg, what was there for her to base her expertise on?
There were actually a ton of Borg encounters previous to Jouret IV. You might remember in the episode "The Neutral Zone" (S01E26) Picard confers with Romulan commander in which both parties agree that there's something fishy going on along the edge of the neutral zone --- that it seemed like a great force just scooped colonies up from both sides of the neutral zone. This was the first evidence of the Borg.

Shelby was probably on teams investigating every piece of evidence from these encounters. If Q hadn't flung the Enterprise directly into the path of that cube, Shelby PROBABLY would have made an encounter with them first.

Beyond that, we know from Voyager (which in fairness, probably wasn't considered at the time of the making of "The Best of Both Worlds") that the Federation was aware, on some level, of the Borgs existence as they authorized a science vessel to go look for them approximately 12 years before the the in series date of that episode.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
I remember reading in magazines about how TNG fans back in '90 had a hostile reaction to Shelby, which seemed ridiculous to me. I thought she was the best character in that episode. I'd want her covering my back. Riker seemed to be irritated with her precisely because she was so much like him, a notion Picard seemed to rib his Number One about.
I have a copy of TV Magazine around that was printed for the premier of the second part of that episode. In it, it said the fans were on their edge with how Shelby would be handled. It said NOTHING about hating her.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Am I the only one who regards her as a kind of young, female version of James T. Kirk?
I didn't!

Wingsley wrote: View Post
The Memory Alpha article on Shelby quotes Ronald D. Moore discussing the mention of "Captain Shelby" in DS9 as saying there was some licensing issue involving the possibility of mentioning/seeing the character again. What is the issue? What is wrong with mentioning this character, or seeing her in a follow-up STAR TREK adventure?
King Daniel Into Darkness nailed the answer to this one.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
I would love to see Shelby featured in some kind of pre-TNG adventure, where she was a brash, young lieutenant aboard an early Galaxy- or Nebula-class prototype on her maiden voyage. It would be neat to imagine her in a role like a science or security officer, seen as a hands-on rising star, and throw in some '80's hair to top it off.
Well the Enterprise was launched along with 3 other Galaxy class ships at the start of TNG. There just weren't any pre-Galaxy classes before the start of the series. The Nebula classes went into service 1 year after the four initial Galaxy Classes came off the assembly line.

The very closest you'd get is a New Orleans class, but it seemed like most people who came out of the Academy were serving on much older ships such as Constitution or Constellation classes. Heck, Riker, LaForge and Picard all served on Constellation classes.
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