Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by ShatnersToupee, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    My point exactly. This niggly stuff was filtering out over many months/years. It was several more years before the Hurley/McFadden stuff was spelled out. Until then, one camp was deliberately painting the actress as whiny, difficult and always pushing for certain scenes, and the other camp where the cast was saying how much they liked, then missed, Gates McFadden.

    "Backstage politics" is manifested by a series of supposedly "real issues". When political things are happening, no one discusses the elephant in the room.
     
  2. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To be honest, I preferred Diana Muldaur. McFadden's acting could be hokey at times and she often displayed a real lack of emotion.
     
  3. arch101

    arch101 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This interesting post brings to light a common problem when creating a TV show. It's not enough to come up with interesting characters, and it's not enough to give them good scenes in the pilot. Some real thought has to be given into what happens to them over a long haul. Troi's a great example. They just plain ran out of stuff. Fortunately, she settled into a good spot within the show after a couple of years. They really should have mapped out what they wanted to have happen with Crusher and with Crusher and Picard. Then adjust that plan to account for the Pulaski year.
    I agree we should have had some guest appearances from Pulaski over the remainder of the series and maybe DS9 as well. I would have LOVED to see her interact with genetically enhanced Bashir. What conflict THAT would have been.
     
  4. igrokbok

    igrokbok Commodore Commodore

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    Honestly, I don't think Gates could act her way out of a paper bag. Her stilted emotionless delivery was the LAST thing I expected from a ship's CMO on Star Trek. The passion that was evident from what I had seen with McCoy just wasn't there. Having said that, while Muldaur was a fine actress...leaps and bounds above Gates McFadden, and full of the passion that was so severely lacking and believable with Gates, I wasn't looking for a Bones MCCoy duplicate either. Too bad House wasn't available!
     
  5. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    It sounds like the producers used the "hair issues" as an excuse to paint McFadden as a whiner who was difficult to work with in order to protect themselves from a lawsuit. And I'm sure Gates felt like she had to play along since being branded as "difficult" would've seriously hurt her career.

    As far as acting goes, I was never a big fan of McFadden. I thought Muldaur was a good actress, but playing the crusty old doctor isn't easy to pull off. DeForest Kelley managed to make his character likable. It also helped that McCoy was friends with Kirk. But Pulaski wasn't really friends with anyone on the show, certainly not the captain. That made it really hard for the audience to warm up to her.
     
  6. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Well, contractually, none of the actors had to be "picked up" for the second season. She wasn't "dimissed", just "not renewed".
     
  7. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Weren't the actors under 3 year contracts? If so, then it wasn't just an issue of her contract not being renewed.
     
  8. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I believe TNG was different in that they only had everyone contracted for the 1st season initially (with a pickup option past that), as Paramount didn't know if the whole thing would tank or not (there was even a plan to tack on TNG Season 1 to TOS syndication packages as a pseudo 'Season 4' if TNG didn't work out.)
     
  9. Iamnotspock

    Iamnotspock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've heard that too, but I'm fairly certain the cast had to sign a 6-year contract at the beginning didn't they? Patrick Stewart has said repeatedly that the only reason he took on the job at first was because he was assured that a 6-year contract was meaningless, as no one expected the show to be a success.
     
  10. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    It was a standard five-year contract, locking them all into a salary scale that would increment each year but, after the fifth year, they all had to renegotiate new contracts. Getting actors' agents to agree to new salaries at that point is difficult, because new shows would then be offering much higher rates than the older production could afford. What helps is that standing sets are usually costed over five years, so some of that part of the budget can be diverted to actors' salaries, improved dressing room trailers, etc. They also had to negotiate a Season Seven contract.

    But pre-agreed clauses in the standard five-year contract allows the employer, ie. Paramount, to choose to not take up the option on a second year, whereas if the actor wished to leave (Crosby in Season One, Wheaton in Season Four), they have to seek to be released from the contract. The studio can refuse such a request. Similarly, if a show tanks during its first season, and is cancelled, the actors don't get paid for four more years.

    Remember Farrah Fawcett-Majors, who asked to be released from "Charlie's Angels" after one year. The show was such a huge hit, and she was considered to be such a crucial part of its success, her production house refused to release her. She left anyway - Cheryl Ladd was added to the series as Jill's sister - and Farrah was eventually ordered by the courts to return to the series for a certain number of guest spots.

    By the way, there were rumblings that Patrick Stewart was unhappy with his contract and did some kind of negotiation during the hiatus between "The Best of Both Worlds" Parts 1 & 2. His transformation as Locutus was a safety net in case he negotiated to leave. Jennifer Lien (Kes in VOY) was released before the end of her five-year contract. Terry Farrell successfully negotiated a sixth year on DS9, but no agreement could be reached on Season Seven so she kept to her promise and walked.
     
  11. Iamnotspock

    Iamnotspock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Does that mean that Elizabeth Denehey was on stand-by to join the regular cast as First Officer Shelby, with Jonathan Frakes promoted to main series lead?
     
  12. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes.
     
  13. Sybok

    Sybok Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    well, the character was a bitch so..
     
  14. TenLubak

    TenLubak Commander Red Shirt

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    She was cute little chick. If I was Mister Data i would have been quite cross I was passed over for a newcomer of the same rank after I'd worked there for 3 whole years!
    I bed Will Riker secretly liked him and they would hook up and make the useless Troi feel even more useless. No not really but that would have made me happy.
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    :eek:
     
  16. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    As much as I liked the Shelby character, I felt like they didn't really know what to do with her in BOBW Part II. Once Riker became captain, the conflict between the two characters seemed to disappear. Suddenly Riker emerged as the one who knew how to fight the Borg while Shelby just kind of disappeared into the background. And given the Star Trek's less-than-stellar track record for writing female characters, I can only imagine how much they would've ruined the Shelby character over time. Would they put her in a tight catsuit? Would they have her become romantically involved with Worf? Would they tease the audience by suggesting that there was an attraction between her and Riker? And how would her being the first officer have affected the shows that followed? Would Kira still have been female? And if not, would they have made Sisko female instead? And what about Voyager? If Sisko had been female, then they wouldn't have felt pressure to cast a female captain on Voyager. It's interesting to think about differently things would've turned out had Patrick Stewart not stayed with the show.
     
  17. Anji

    Anji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    She was a lot more believable than Crusher that's for sure. You don't get to be CMO and be as nice as Beverly.

    I'm Pro-Pulaski and proud of it. :bolian:
     
  18. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think the mistake the TNG producers made was in thinking they could recapture some of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy chemistry. The problem was that Picard wasn't Kirk and Data, despite being the unemotional one, wasn't really like Spock. If anyone was Spock, it was Picard. Calm, cool, logical and a bit arrogant. Data was Pinocchio. So when Pulaski started picking on him, it made the audience instantly dislike her. McCoy, despite being cantankerous, was made likeable by the fact that he was friends with Kirk. It showed the audience that he isn't just this cranky guy. But Pulaski wasn't friends with anyone so it was hard for the audience to like her.
     
  19. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^^^ Pulaski was friends with Worf. More than friends...
    Don't make me quote examples.
     
  20. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

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    I read a quote from a producer or director in one of the TNG episode guides that Muldaur needed cue cards to remember her lines. That didn't strike me as a way to make a good impression on the cast and crew.