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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 July 7 2014, 05:09 PM   #1
HaplessCrewman
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Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

Do you want to read an article where the writer passes off his own opinion as fact? Here's a doozy.

Yet another example of the obsessive nature of fans. What do you think the writer's agenda is?

Why Did Starfleet Allow Families Aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/201...es_aboard.html
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Last edited by HaplessCrewman; July 7 2014 at 05:13 PM. Reason: Incomplete post
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Old July 7 2014, 06:33 PM   #2
T'Girl
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

Nothing new really, other fans have been saying the same things for years.



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Old July 7 2014, 07:31 PM   #3
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

I don't like the disrespectful tone of the piece, but I agree with the writer's assertion that families on ships was a bad idea. How that actually played out in TNG writing is (as another thread recently mentioned) the D rarely fought, and when it did, it seemed to be so heavily armed and shielded that it was rarely in mortal danger. So the D often just sat there and took hits until Picard convinced the opponent to stop firing. This, combined with Rick Berman's famous sonic-wallpaper policy on the soundtrack, led to a duller show than it needed to be.

None of this diminishes that Gene had plenty of good ideas for Trek. This just wasn't one of them.
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Old July 7 2014, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

The intent behind the Enterprise-D was to be a deep-space vessel that would stay away from known territory for a minimum of 15 years. In that context, it's perfectly reasonable to have families aboard, because you wouldn't get a lot of people willing to give up all contact with their loved ones for such a huge portion of their lives. I mean, who do you think goes to settle starbases and colonies? Families, that's who. They're going out onto the frontier and facing danger, but they're going there for the long haul, so of course they take their families along. That was the intended idea here. It just got lost in the shuffle when the show's format shifted back toward rescue, diplomatic, and political missions in known space. The problem isn't that they wanted families aboard, the problem is that they abandoned the premise that justified that.

And I've never bought the "space is too dangerous" argument. It's adventure TV. Anywhere you set it is going to be dangerous. Set a murder mystery series in a sleepy, small Maine town and it's bound to become the homicide capital of the world. No place where a fictional adventure series is set is ever going to be a safe place to raise a family. And in both fiction and real life, there's plenty of danger to civilians on planet surfaces -- natural disasters, warfare and violent crimes (though less so in the Trek universe), industrial accidents, even perils from space such as (in reality) asteroid impacts and supernovae or (in fiction) alien invasions. Hell, the average commuter driving on the freeway probably has a higher likelihood of being killed on any given day than the average officer on a naval vessel, because the latter is far more prepared to cope with a crisis and is surrounded by people and technology equally well-prepared for same. Danger is a fact of everyone's life, but it can be guarded against to a reasonable degree.

That said, I think TNG's oversight was having a single hybrid vessel with a battle section that could separate from the research/crew section. What they should've done was to have a large research vessel with at least a couple of military vessels as protective escorts. Picard would've commanded the science ship and the overall mission and Riker would've been the captain of the defense squadron, leading to more opportunities for conflicting priorities.
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Old July 7 2014, 09:34 PM   #5
wulfio
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

Christopher wrote: View Post
What they should've done was to have a large research vessel with at least a couple of military vessels as protective escorts. Picard would've commanded the science ship and the overall mission and Riker would've been the captain of the defense squadron, leading to more opportunities for conflicting priorities.
I guess Ronald Moore had the same idea.
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Old July 7 2014, 09:37 PM   #6
Christopher
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

wulfio wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
What they should've done was to have a large research vessel with at least a couple of military vessels as protective escorts. Picard would've commanded the science ship and the overall mission and Riker would've been the captain of the defense squadron, leading to more opportunities for conflicting priorities.
I guess Ronald Moore had the same idea.
Err, what?
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Old July 7 2014, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

While not identical, the concept sounds similar to the revived BSG, with the Civilian Fleet led by President Roslin and the military Battlestar Galactica under the command of Adama.
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Old July 7 2014, 10:29 PM   #8
jimbotron
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

From the article:

Roddenberry was part of the creative team of Deep Space 9, and as such, his initiating ideas were allowed to filter into it, but the battle of Wolf 359 was essentially portrayed (from the Sisko perspective) to highlight an end to "families on ships" idea.
Uhhh, no he wasn't. Any Trek fan knows that. But in the comments section, he claims "I've read every biography on Roddenberry and I've been a Trek nerd all my life." Uh huh.

From Memory Alpha / Captains' Logs book:

Regarding Gene Roddenberry's involvement, Berman stated, "Michael (Piller) and I discussed it with Gene when we were still in the early stages, but never anything conceptual." "We never got a chance to discuss it (the concept) with Gene. By the time we had it to the point that it was discussable, he was in pretty bad shape and not really in the condition that it would have been wise to discuss it with him. On two specific occasions I was with him at his house and we tried to bring it up, but it wasn't really appropriate
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Old July 7 2014, 10:50 PM   #9
HaplessCrewman
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

jimbotron wrote: View Post
From the article:

Roddenberry was part of the creative team of Deep Space 9, and as such, his initiating ideas were allowed to filter into it, but the battle of Wolf 359 was essentially portrayed (from the Sisko perspective) to highlight an end to "families on ships" idea.
Uhhh, no he wasn't. Any Trek fan knows that. But in the comments section, he claims "I've read every biography on Roddenberry and I've been a Trek nerd all my life." Uh huh.

From Memory Alpha / Captains' Logs book:

Regarding Gene Roddenberry's involvement, Berman stated, "Michael (Piller) and I discussed it with Gene when we were still in the early stages, but never anything conceptual." "We never got a chance to discuss it (the concept) with Gene. By the time we had it to the point that it was discussable, he was in pretty bad shape and not really in the condition that it would have been wise to discuss it with him. On two specific occasions I was with him at his house and we tried to bring it up, but it wasn't really appropriate
Yeah, that's a pretty obvious and egregious mistake. After I read that rather poorly researched "fact", the credibility of the article pretty much vanished for me.

Pathetic.
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Old July 7 2014, 11:10 PM   #10
Christopher
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
While not identical, the concept sounds similar to the revived BSG, with the Civilian Fleet led by President Roslin and the military Battlestar Galactica under the command of Adama.
Glen Larson's original Galactica also showed a civilian Quorum in the fleet along with the military leadership. Several episodes were built around clashes between Adama's military command and the leaders of the civilian Quorum (sometimes called Council). So that wasn't a Moore innovation, just an existing part of the concept that he made more central.
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Old July 7 2014, 11:52 PM   #11
Armored Saint
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

HaplessCrewman wrote: View Post
Yeah, that's a pretty obvious and egregious mistake. After I read that rather poorly researched "fact", the credibility of the article pretty much vanished for me.
The tone of the text makes him sound rather like an h8ter from comment section than a serious blogger. It's just really basic (and innacurate) information with value judgements.
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Old July 8 2014, 02:59 AM   #12
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

I didn't like families and children on the Enterprise because it just felt way too cheesey 1970s/early 80ish Love Boat style. This despite TNG premiering in the late 80s, a lot of the sensibilities of the show almost seemed like they came from a decade earlier. You have expected Tom Bosely to make a guest starring appearance in some of the early episodes.

Families, children and having a therapist on the ship were all goofy ideas. They should have just made Troi another chief doctor on the ship, and gotten rid of the families part.
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Old July 8 2014, 03:13 AM   #13
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

Whether you agree with families on the Enterprise or not, the article had a mean spirited tone, pushing opinion as facts.
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Old July 8 2014, 03:18 AM   #14
Ithekro
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

At least they didn't go the Galactica 1980 route with the kids.
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Old July 8 2014, 03:31 AM   #15
Dennis
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Re: Embarrassingly Bad Article on Reason behind TNG families

The idea behind it all, actually, was to provide a greater range of potential drama without leaving the confines of the ship by including potential guest stars of all ages and temperaments rather than simply confining the crew to (para)military types. You're building elaborate, expensive sets for a ship that's putatively humongous and populated by thousands of people - so, you use them, there are your stories.

IOW, better bottle shows. It wasn't all that novel an idea; an extension, really, of Roddenberry's original "Wagon Train to the stars" premise for Trek in the early 1960s. Exactly how expansive a series could be produced within budget was always a matter of concern in the early going.

TNG was conceived and put into production within a very short time frame - just about nothing existed on the day in October 1986 when it was publicly announced - nothing written, nothing designed, no series format. Roddenberry's publicly expressed attitude for quite a few years had been "I've already done 79 Star Trek pilots." "Encounter At Farpoint" was not a pilot, per se, in the sense that a studio produces a pilot episode for the approval of a television network. TNG was sold to nearly 200 independent stations around the country without anyone ever having seen five seconds of footage. So there were never test audiences, or "focus groups" or any other significant, influential outside feedback within a time frame that might have affected the initial approach of the two-hour opening episode or the first episodes that followed.
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