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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old October 31 2013, 10:19 PM   #151
BillJ
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

drt wrote: View Post
Lance wrote: View Post
I sometimes wonder which Star Trek shows actually do represent what Roddenberry intended the series to be?
I think this is somewhat of a moving target as it's obvious that Rodenberry changed with the times.

While all of his Star Trek work is humanist at the core, I'd guess one could argue that "The Cage" is probably closest to his original intent for "Star Trek" - as 20 years later, it seems that TNG is more heavily colored by GR's adoption of his "Great Bird of the Galaxy guru" persona.
I find it odd that Roddenberry complained about network interference when making TOS, but when making TNG with the network interference removed, the product wasn't as remotely challenging when it came to dealing with social issues.
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Old October 31 2013, 10:51 PM   #152
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

^Well, Roddenberry's health was declining by the time TNG hit the air. It's possible he wasn't as well read on 1980s social problems as he was issues from two decades before.

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Old October 31 2013, 11:19 PM   #153
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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I find it odd that Roddenberry complained about network interference when making TOS, but when making TNG with the network interference removed, the product wasn't as remotely challenging when it came to dealing with social issues.
Well, a lot of Roddenberry's claims that network prejudices restricted his progressiveness have been challenged or debunked. We know now that the networks at the time actually encouraged racial diversity because of recent studies showing the purchasing power of minorities and thus the profit potential of appealing to them rather than excluding them. In fact, part of the reason NBC rejected "The Cage" is because the cast lacked the racial diversity they'd wanted Roddenberry to give them. And we know that they didn't object to Number One because of sexism, but because they didn't like Roddenberry's nepotism in casting his mistress in the role.

There are some attempts at social commentary in TNG's first season, however awkward they may have been. "The Last Outpost" and the portrayal of the Ferengi were basically critiquing capitalism and the "greed is good" mentality of the '80s. "Justice" tried to push the envelope on sexuality the way TOS did, although not very effectively. "Angel One" was an awkward attempt at an allegory about the sexism that was still pretty common at the time. And "Symbiosis" tried to tackle the drug issue, though that wasn't particularly daring at the time.

As far as the regular cast went, having one of the regular characters be a blind man was a progressive step, I think. So was having a female security chief, in principle, though they rarely made good use of her.
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Old October 31 2013, 11:48 PM   #154
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

^ Not to mention, Encounter at Farpoint had some overt commentary aimed at contemporary America, as well as its sweeping, if not very deep, commentary on human nature.

And about that overt commentary, I've said this before on the board, but it's on topic here. As a line spoken by someone in uniform, Picard's lines here are very bad:

Encounter at Farpoint wrote:
Q: But you can't deny that you're still a dangerous, savage child race.
PICARD: Most certainly I deny it. I agree we still were when humans wore costumes like that, four hundred years ago.
Q: At which time you slaughtered millions in silly arguments about how to divide the resources of your little world. And four hundred years before that you were murdering each other in quarrels over tribal god-images. Since there are no indications that humans will ever change.
PICARD: But even when we wore costumes like that we'd already started to make rapid progress.
The conceit of a character in uniform referring to military uniforms as costumes paints the picture of a character who is both smug and hypocritical, both negative traits in a protagonist. Further, the word costume was used without any evident self awareness on any level of the fact that the character who spoke it was, as a character in a TV show, literally in costume. This is an example of bad writing, in cringeworthy dialog.

And, Hide and Q is a horrible episode.

On the plus side, I think Charlie X (story credit), The Menagerie, and A Private Little War are great episodes.

Also, in fairness, I really like Q's lines in that dialog I quoted.
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Old November 1 2013, 08:54 AM   #155
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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I mean, you could hardly call this a Robert Wise film
Well, let's have a look at 0:05 into this video:



Why, yes. Yes, I could easily call Star Trek: The Motion Picture a Robert Wise film. Easily.

it bares little likeness to anything he's done, before
Wrong again. You should probably check out The Andromeda Strain. See also The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Credits like "A Robert Wise Film" are negotiated and don't prove anything.
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Old November 1 2013, 09:50 AM   #156
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Maurice wrote: View Post
Credits like "A Robert Wise Film" are negotiated and don't prove anything.
... Agreed!!!

Gentlemen, please ... let's not split hairs, over such an old argument. Two seasons of The Original Series and the first Motion Picture were under the auspices of Gene Roddenberry and he defined and shaped both the television and the film series with his creativity and input. I am sure we can all agree on that much, at least ...

And for as much as I love TOS for all its camp and sense of adventure, I'm sure we can also agree that The Next Generation was Gene Roddenberry's pice de rsistance. It's such a deeply satisfying series, on so many levels, that I find it a true vindication of the man's talents and abilities, despite his obvious shortcomings, as a script-writer.
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Old November 1 2013, 10:50 AM   #157
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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Credits like "A Robert Wise Film" are negotiated and don't prove anything.
The statement in question was that one could hardly call TMP a Robert Wise film. Even just the pro forma basis of going by what was negotiated in credits contradicts the extreme position of hardly.

Furthermore, I don't understand how regarding the assignment of director credit to Wise as something that was earned is incompatible with the notion that Roddenberry was a hands-on producer, another assignment of negotiated credit that was also certainly earned.
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Old November 1 2013, 12:44 PM   #158
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post

And for as much as I love TOS for all its camp and sense of adventure, I'm sure we can also agree that The Next Generation was Gene Roddenberry's pice de rsistance. It's such a deeply satisfying series, on so many levels, that I find it a true vindication of the man's talents and abilities, despite his obvious shortcomings, as a script-writer.
No. Not even close.

If Roddenberry had remained truer to his roots, The Next Generation might be more fondly remembered by general audiences.

I find much of The Next Generation dull and self-important. It took itself too seriously and forgot it was suppose to be entertainment.
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Old November 1 2013, 02:41 PM   #159
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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Furthermore, I don't understand how regarding the assignment of director credit to Wise as something that was earned is incompatible with the notion that Roddenberry was a hands-on producer, another assignment of negotiated credit that was also certainly earned.
Exactly. It's completely bizarre to try to argue that an entire tentpole feature film could possibly be the work of only one person. Film is a collaborative enterprise.

But I should point out that I was not debating whether Roddenberry or Wise was more responsible for the entire film. I was responding specifically to the assertion that Roddenberry "delivered beautiful and stunning imagery onscreen." Roddenberry was a writer. He was responsible for the ideas and words and characterizations in the film (along with Harold Livingston, Alan Dean Foster, and Jon Povill). But it makes no sense to credit him for the visual aspects of the film. The look of the film is the responsibility of the director, the director of photography, the editor, the production designer, and the art and visual effects departments, so those were the people I credited.
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Old November 1 2013, 03:00 PM   #160
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

BillJ wrote: View Post

If Roddenberry had remained truer to his roots, The Next Generation might be more fondly remembered by general audiences.

I find much of The Next Generation dull and self-important. It took itself too seriously and forgot it was suppose to be entertainment.
You can make THAT argument about pretty much anything that's been on TV for the last decade.
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Old November 1 2013, 03:06 PM   #161
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

RandyS wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

If Roddenberry had remained truer to his roots, The Next Generation might be more fondly remembered by general audiences.

I find much of The Next Generation dull and self-important. It took itself too seriously and forgot it was suppose to be entertainment.
You can make THAT argument about pretty much anything that's been on TV for the last decade.
So you're saying that The Next Generation was a trend-setter?
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Old November 1 2013, 03:07 PM   #162
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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If Roddenberry had remained truer to his roots, The Next Generation might be more fondly remembered by general audiences.
Huh? At least here in the UK, I find TNG is VERY fondly remembered by loads of people that I wouldn't even call Trek fans. Possibly more than TOS.
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Old November 1 2013, 03:27 PM   #163
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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BillJ wrote: View Post
If Roddenberry had remained truer to his roots, The Next Generation might be more fondly remembered by general audiences.
Huh? At least here in the UK, I find TNG is VERY fondly remembered by loads of people that I wouldn't even call Trek fans. Possibly more than TOS.
Here is the States, TOS is the one the general audiences still know after all these years. That was true even prior to the Abramsverse films. TNG and the rest of the spin-offs really have dropped from the minds of the public.
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Old November 1 2013, 03:53 PM   #164
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

RandyS wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

If Roddenberry had remained truer to his roots, The Next Generation might be more fondly remembered by general audiences.

I find much of The Next Generation dull and self-important. It took itself too seriously and forgot it was suppose to be entertainment.
You can make THAT argument about pretty much anything that's been on TV for the last decade.
Are you kidding? THE WIRE? DEADWOOD? THE HOUR? MAD MEN? Entertaining and thought-provoking, artistic but not pompous.

TNG was a mediocre show with moments of greatness, and it will probably date as badly as any SF series that lasted long enough to be remembered. That hardly compares to TOS or FIREFLY or to put it on a more comparable playing field, DS9.
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Old November 1 2013, 03:58 PM   #165
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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Credits like "A Robert Wise Film" are negotiated and don't prove anything.
The statement in question was that one could hardly call TMP a Robert Wise film. Even just the pro forma basis of going by what was negotiated in credits contradicts the extreme position of hardly.

Furthermore, I don't understand how regarding the assignment of director credit to Wise as something that was earned is incompatible with the notion that Roddenberry was a hands-on producer, another assignment of negotiated credit that was also certainly earned.
Wise normally got the producer credit, so there WAS some backNforth over that.

But I'd guess based on the Trumbull joke-credit, which reads something like 'actually produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg' that GR was hardly hands-on ENOUGH. Also, I'd put the entire effects fiasco wholly on Paramount and the film's producers, because they should have stepped in a lot earlier if the problem was as big as they've made it out to be. Otherwise they should have stayed the hell out of the way and let Abel's folks deliver (the parallels between TMP and STAR WARS in terms of panic over VFX are rather stunning; only difference is that GL was pretty much forced to stick with Dykstra and co, since the whole core group might have bolted if he had found anybody to replace Dykstra. Wasn't that kind of loyalty issue on the Abel/TMP show, though.)
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