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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 February 27 2009, 03:52 PM   #1
JoeZhang
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Was the D an experimental ship?

By experimental, I don't mean technology, I mean the organisation of the crew?


Children and familes on board, a ship's councillor who sat on the bridge next to the Captain?

Obviously out of universe, we get those things because the initial premise of the show was different to what we got but in-universe it seems the set-up of the D was fairly atypical.


We know that Sisko's ship had children on it but any other examples? A failed experiment?
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Old February 27 2009, 04:14 PM   #2
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

Maybe they only had those children on the ship because their parents didn't want/have anyone to leave them behind with.

As the Enterprise was supposed to be a diplomatic/exploration vessel, it would make sense to have a counselor as part of the bridge crew. Deanna probably has several degrees in Xenopsychology or whatever.
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Old February 27 2009, 04:38 PM   #3
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

Yeah, it was one of those things where it tried to reach really far...but after week after week of stories, you can't really make it seem cutting edge. You just sort of have to tell stories.

The same thing happens when you try to say that some new ship will finally, really go out there where no one has gone before and do some honest exploring and seek out new life and new civizations...it can get old (1. Meet new race 2.Have some sort of misunderstanding 3. Resolve it and sail away) and you need more permanent sort of interactions with established characters and alien races.
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Old February 27 2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

Nardpuncher wrote: View Post
Yeah, it was one of those things where it tried to reach really far...but after week after week of stories, you can't really make it seem cutting edge. You just sort of have to tell stories.

The same thing happens when you try to say that some new ship will finally, really go out there where no one has gone before and do some honest exploring and seek out new life and new civizations..
Well that's what the enterprise was suppose to be doing - going on a long-term space exploration mission, that's why the dynamic was set up in that way and then... it never happened...
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Old February 27 2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
By experimental, I don't mean technology, I mean the organisation of the crew?

Children and familes on board, a ship's councillor who sat on the bridge next to the Captain?
That's an interesting interpretation, and it makes sense. Back in '87, I had no idea what to expect, except that there was new Trek on the way. Then a friend in California sent me a copy of the Writer/Director's Guide. While not everything in it was followed, it did show that the show's creators had some major changes in mind from TOS, what with families and all (on-board families did seem to get played down in the actual series, except in evacuations):



The idea of a ship's counselor being as important as medical officers (or more) was there from the start, though maybe that didn't quite follow through fully:

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Old February 27 2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

OTOH, we have seen such a zoo of bridge crews already that it appears Starfleet Captains have broad powers to shuffle Deck 1 as they please. Having the Couselor on the bridge but not the Science Officer might have been a quirk of Picard's, rather than a bold Starfleet experiment.

And later in the show, it was established that other ships of other sizes and types and ages could also have families aboard, whereas it was never quite suggested that the E-D had been trailblazing this particular experiment. We could say Pike's ship already had a contingent of civilians aboard, as we remember an early and prominent corridor shot there featuring two young people dressed in civvies and apparently not even recognizing the Captain, let alone acknowledging him...

That aside, I'm sure Starfleet is always performing some sort of an experiment or another on the hapless crews of its starships.

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Old February 27 2009, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

In Nemesis, I always thought it was odd/humorous that, after the Enterprise was hammered and the Scimitar ripped her a new one, when there was a lull in the attack, one of Picard's commands over echo-intercom was "Counselor Troi to the bridge."

Sure, later on she plays an important part in the battle, but I'm most certain that Picard didn't call her up to be Worf's targeting device.

I will always posit that having the ship's therapist sitting next to the captain in almost all emergencies is one of those things that dates TNG into the 80s.
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Old February 28 2009, 06:22 AM   #8
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

I don't see anything wrong with it. A psychologist could be invaluable dealing with aliens and all kinds of other problems, especially if the field has advanced in the 24th century compared to today, which the sheets above suggest.

And there is no need for a science officer when Data seemed to fill the role just fine.
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Old February 28 2009, 06:43 AM   #9
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
I don't see anything wrong with it. A psychologist could be invaluable dealing with aliens and all kinds of other problems, especially if the field has advanced in the 24th century compared to today, which the sheets above suggest.

And there is no need for a science officer when Data seemed to fill the role just fine.
And what would Troi say after Shinzon's 17th salvo? "Sir, I sense hostility."

Besides, the show made it clear that above all else, Picard himself was a skilled diplomat. If he can't get you to put your guns down, nothing will.
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Old February 28 2009, 05:11 PM   #10
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

Timo wrote: View Post
And later in the show, it was established that other ships of other sizes and types and ages could also have families aboard, whereas it was never quite suggested that the E-D had been trailblazing this particular experiment. We could say Pike's ship already had a contingent of civilians aboard, as we remember an early and prominent corridor shot there featuring two young people dressed in civvies and apparently not even recognizing the Captain, let alone acknowledging him...

Timo Saloniemi
In Too Short a Season, Mrs. Old Decrepid Admiral made a comment about how the quarters on Enterprise were better than the quarters on the Gettysberg. That would seem to imply that years ago there was already some family on starships. I don't think they ever said if she had at one time been Starfleet.
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Old February 28 2009, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

Cyke101 wrote: View Post
EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
I don't see anything wrong with it. A psychologist could be invaluable dealing with aliens and all kinds of other problems, especially if the field has advanced in the 24th century compared to today, which the sheets above suggest.

And there is no need for a science officer when Data seemed to fill the role just fine.
And what would Troi say after Shinzon's 17th salvo? "Sir, I sense hostility."

Besides, the show made it clear that above all else, Picard himself was a skilled diplomat. If he can't get you to put your guns down, nothing will.
Troi was a skilled diplomat herself (especially by the time of Nemesis). I always saw her function as an assistant for Picard's diplomacy. Not to mention, as skillful as Picard was, it certainly couldn't've hurt to have a (part-)human lie detector at his side.
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Old February 28 2009, 05:59 PM   #12
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

As much as I enjoyed watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, it like Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, failed to realize anything close to the series' full potential. The idea of over 1,000 people from all walks of life, exploring space while living and learning from one another, is a fascinating one. TNG ultimately became TOS with a different cast. In that sense it lived up to its title, if not its premise.
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Old February 28 2009, 10:49 PM   #13
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

Cyke101 wrote: View Post
EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
I don't see anything wrong with it. A psychologist could be invaluable dealing with aliens and all kinds of other problems, especially if the field has advanced in the 24th century compared to today, which the sheets above suggest.

And there is no need for a science officer when Data seemed to fill the role just fine.
And what would Troi say after Shinzon's 17th salvo? "Sir, I sense hostility."

Besides, the show made it clear that above all else, Picard himself was a skilled diplomat. If he can't get you to put your guns down, nothing will.
he needs advisers, and Troi was perfectly fine, especially when dealing with new races. It's not a military ship
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Old February 28 2009, 11:36 PM   #14
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

I think the D may have been a technological experiment in the sense that it was the third or fourth ship of its class launched, and this class was in and of itself something of a revolution in Starfleet's way of operations and design.

I also think that the idea of dedicated, long-range 'explorer' type starships was also something of a Starfleet experiment, although clearly the D was not the only or best example of this considering how often they tended to stay within the Federation sphere. (I am of the opinion that the Ambassador was an early halfway attempt at creating such a type of vessel, or at least pioneering the technological advances that would be necessary for a ship of this size, range, and type.)

The other aspects cited as experimental - families aboard, a counselor on the bridge and so on are more reflections of the changes that had occurred in Starfleet subsequent to the TOS/TOS film period. As has been noted, these notions were in the real world a part of the premise of the series and the idea that the D would be 'out there' a lot more than it would be home.

Clearly, though, these are not the only ships that have families aboard. Sisko had his civilian wife and son aboard the Saratoga, and the Saratoga didnt feature saucer separation abilities for getting families away in a crisis, so either Starfleet was irresponsible for allowing civilians to be put in harm's way or these people knew what they were getting into. Surely the 'saucer seperation' of the D wasn't so much a 'save the civilians' feature as a mission advantage for a ship that was originally intended to be isolated in unknown space for long periods. I can't help but think that the 'civilian areas' seen on the ship were really just expansion of the basic crew rest and recreation facilities that have been present on the ship from the beginning. The idea of some facilities being off-limits to the civilians aboard, of course, would be new.

Ultimately I wonder if this fed the image of the ship as a 'hotel in space'?

On a slightly related note, Doug Drexler recently noted in his blog that he designed the Enterprise-J for 'Enterprise' he conceived it as being a massive generational ship that would remain away from the Federation center for years and years, building upon this original, somewhat aborted idea behind the D's mission.

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
As much as I enjoyed watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, it like Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, failed to realize anything close to the series' full potential. The idea of over 1,000 people from all walks of life, exploring space while living and learning from one another, is a fascinating one. TNG ultimately became TOS with a different cast. In that sense it lived up to its title, if not its premise.
Preach it! All power to the engines.
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Old March 1 2009, 04:36 PM   #15
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Re: Was the D an experimental ship?

EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
Cyke101 wrote: View Post
EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
I don't see anything wrong with it. A psychologist could be invaluable dealing with aliens and all kinds of other problems, especially if the field has advanced in the 24th century compared to today, which the sheets above suggest.

And there is no need for a science officer when Data seemed to fill the role just fine.
And what would Troi say after Shinzon's 17th salvo? "Sir, I sense hostility."

Besides, the show made it clear that above all else, Picard himself was a skilled diplomat. If he can't get you to put your guns down, nothing will.
he needs advisers, and Troi was perfectly fine, especially when dealing with new races. It's not a military ship
Never said it was a military ship (now you're putting words in my mouth). Sure Picard needs advisors, but does he need a counselor during a time warp or a battle? The writers nearly eliminated Troi early on in TNG, and it eventually got to the point where the crew would get into tailor-made situations specifically where she herself would be specifically needed (frankly, not necessarily a counselor, either). Is it sufficient to warrant the ship's therapist as a bridge officer? After all, Dr. Crusher isn't one -- she has her own office, her own department, commands a higher rank, and is often herself crucial to first contact missions. In Crusher's case, she only goes up to the bridge if she wants to or if the situation calls for it. Does the therapist need to be on the bridge 40+ hours a week? Just how often do they run into new species and aliens? On a ship of 1000 people, shouldn't she have some, I don't know, appointments? Research? Etc. etc. During a crisis, you can bet someone's fiddling their thumbs, and it ain't Wesley.

Let's say you're a random Starfleet captain. Are you stuck in an anomaly and need a psychic? You get Troi. Are you stuck in an anomaly and you have a non-telepathic counselor who's every bit as good, if not better, has more experience, and is more decorated than Troi? You're SOL there, buddy, thanks to the writers creating just about the only time you'd need a "counselor" in such a situation.

By contrast (and I can't believe I'm doing this), let's look at Neelix. While not a pure counselor/scientist per se, he was pretty darn close to it in function, keeping up ship's morale, helping Janeway during first contact missions, being the go-to guy if you needed to talk to someone. All in all, like Troi. Yet how many times did we see him on the bridge during an anomaly or a battle? Very infrequently, usually because the situation never called for a morale officer.
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