Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in TNG?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Lance, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    I wouldn't call General Chang honorable considering that he betrayed his own people by arranging Gorkon's assassination.

    --Sran
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Good point. Society conditions us to mistake class and refinement for honor. Chang may have been well-spoken and quoted Shakespeare, but he was still a liar and a traitor. Even by Klingon standards he was dishonorable, because he hid behind hired assassins rather than challenging and fighting Gorkon openly.
     
  3. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    I agree. Not only was he a renegade, but he also was responsible for the deaths of two crews (Grissom and the merchant vessel), a Federation scientist, and (indirectly) the destruction of one of Starfleet's most celebrated vessels. And he did all of this in the name of acquiring further knowledge of the Genesis experiment, even as his government gradually worked toward peace with the UFP.

    As an aside, I always laughed the Klingon Ambassador's claims that Kirk should have been extradited following Kruge's death and the theft of the BOP. Kruge took his ship and crew into Federation space- to a sector that even Starfleet officers were forbidden to enter without permission- and carried out each of the actions I've listed above.

    The Ambassador comes off as a bully in his exchange with Sarek and President Roth. He argues that the Klingons have the right to preserve their race but then whines about Kirk standing for himself and his crew. What did he think was going to happen after Kruge killed Kirk's son? Granted, Kruge didn't realize what he'd done until a grief-stricken Kirk shouted at him and called him names, but he shouldn't have ordered David's death in the first place, nor should he have taken two Starfleet officers as additional hostages. Kirk was absolutely justified in taking action to protect his crew and preventing the Enterprise from being captured by the Klingons.

    --Sran
     
  4. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Chang reminds me somewhat of the various villains played by Sir Christopher Lee in that he's exceptionally charismatic- even charming- when dealing with others, be they allies, opponents, or otherwise. It's easy to give him more credit than he deserves because he carries himself so well, but his outward appearance is really just a smokescreen to mask his duplicity and treachery.

    It's fortunate that Kirk and company foiled his plans at Khitomer. I've no doubt he'd eventually have taken the Klingon throne away from Azetbur and run the Empire into the ground in a bloody war with the UFP.

    --Sran
     
  5. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T


    Very good points. Regarding Kruge, he definitely was written as the villain and definitely was coldblooded and nasty (killing his lover and the rest of the smuggling vessel in the beginning, having unarmed hostages murdered, in fact wanting to take hostages in the first place). But when I say he was driven by honor, I mean his own sense of honor code, even if it was warped.

    As to Ron Moore following suit, IMHO, he gets the credit or blame (depending on how you look at it) for the Klingons and Romulans, but when it comes to the Klingons, as you correctly point out, he only continue the tone started with the introduction of Worf, and the episode Heart of Glory.

    And really, they HAD to change the Klingons a little bit, and make them more honorable, because if they were all dishonorable, bloodthirsty betrayers like TOS Kor, wouldn't it violate the Federations' basic principles to ally themselves with the Klingons? I mean the very term Empire in Klingon Empire indicates that the Klingons take over world by force. So they had to tone down their villainy somehow, hence the code of honor concept.

    Likewise, the Romulans seem almost honorable in TOS. Even the Commander in BOT says to Kirk, "In another reality, I might have called you friend." The female Commander was acting completely honorable to Spock, and showed the Enterprise mercy for his sake. In fact, in the Enterprise Incident, technically speaking, it was the Federation that was in the wrong in this case...they violated Romulan space and treaty, and stole the Romulan's new cloaking device! So, when it comes to the TNG era, is it any wonder that the Romulans were made more villainous?

    Personally, I always had hoped that there would have been a peace between the Romulans and Federation, though the reboot movie put a nail in that coffin forever. It seemed that they were moving that direction between Spock going to Romulus, the Federation-Romulan alliance during the Dominion war, and the friendly overtures of Donatra to Picard, during the battle with the Scimitar. It is unfortunate we didn't get at least one more TNG movie before the reboot because I think it would have been possible to end the TNG era with a peace between the Romulans and Federation.
     
  6. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    See, the trouble for me really begins because it does lack consistency with the Klingons in TOS. Oh sure, the excuse could be made that the Klingons in "Errand of Mercy" had their own interpretation of ethics and honor to which they were subscribers, or that as military officers fighting against the Federation in a state of near war, they put aside those rules of conduct (or 'interpreted' them very loosely). But on the other hand, there's little indication that TOS Klingons care for honor at all.

    I suppose (retconning like a man possessed) we might say that for the TOS Klingons, the scent of blood and the glory of battle temporarily supplanted their need to be honorable opponents? :confused:
     
  7. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    And what of "The Trouble With Tribbles?" Poisoning Federation food supplies to take over a planet doesn't sound honorable at all, nor does having an intelligence operative sneak behind enemy lines to do the deed seem like something a warrior race would be capable of. Rather, it sounds like something Cardassians would do.

    --Sran
     
  8. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Well first, Klingon honor is very relative to the klingon in question, and story being told. It seems very fickle, and what is and isn't honorable sometimes is very fluid and changing.

    Also, are people in Western Civilization the same people they were 70 to 100 years ago? You can cite the UK and French Empires after WWII as examples, and even the US in its apparent downward spiral as a world leader. As a nation's world status changes, so does its attitudes and social mores. So why can't the Klingons have changed between TOS and TNG?

    And actually, we did get some explanation for the Klingons changing (albeit somewhat a retcon) in TUC, when the moon Praxis blew up, that changed the entire Klingon economy. They no longer could afford their military budget, which means they shifted from an expanding empire to a world struggling to survive. And later on, the federation came to the Klingons' aid in both the battles of Khitomer and Narendra III. So, with the Federation helping the Klingons both economically and in battle, as well as opening up trade and cultural influence, perhaps the TNG era Klingons had some of the Federations' attitudes rub off on them, and they became more enlightened than the TOS era Klingons, at least relatively speaking?
     
  9. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    When Kor, Koloth and Kang reappeared in Deep Space Nine, I barely recognized them. Not because of the prosthetics or costumes, but because the Klingons themselves had been so radically changed in the interim that none of the three really acted like Kor, Koloth and Kang anymore. The characters were very different on a basic fundamental level, despite obviously being the same actors.

    The reason I mention it is because of the three, Koloth is probably the one whom I least recognized as being anything like he was in "The Trouble With Tribbles". And I don't think it was just because Bill Campbell was playing a much older Koloth. It was because he was playing a Koloth who had to somehow act in a way that felt like what the Klingons had become. And it wasn't an easy fit for him.
     
  10. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Actually I think this is definitely a very reasonable explanation. :) But it still feels, for me, like the Klingons being so obsessed with tradition feels like a bit of an ass-pull. Unless (as I've theorized in other threads recently) we take it that they are all playing up the 'honorable Klingon' bit for the benefit of outsiders? Offering up a kind of Disneyland Klingon Empire, something that looks kinda like the real-deal but is really just pomp and pretense?
     
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Really, the seeds for the Klingons displacing the Romulans were planted back in season 1 of TOS, when the Klingons were created for "Errand of Mercy" to displace the more makeup-expensive Romulans. The Romulans were only used in one more significant appearance in TOS, whereas the Klingons became the Federation's main foe.

    Then in TMP the Klingons got their makeover. We didn't get much of look into their culture or attitudes in that brief appearance, but surely the new look informed how the Klingons were treated afterwards...from that point on, they demanded to be more than scheming moustache-twirlers...and they demanded to be used more than the Romulans, who were pretty much stuck looking just like Vulcans.

    We can thank TNG for bringing the Romulans out of mothballs at all, however they chose to portray them. And that was only after the major misfire of trying to set up the Ferengi as a worthy adversary.

    Over the course of Trek history, the Romulans simply got a heck of a lot less development. They became known for being manipulative pretty much by default, to differentiate them from the TNG-era Klingons. The one capsule description of the Romulans that sticks out to me is when Picard says "It's always a game of chess with the Romulans." Really, this could describe the TOS Romulans in "Balance of Terror" as well. One thing that is often overlooked is that the sub-commander in that episode was being portrayed as an individual who didn't agree with what his people wanted him to do.
     
  12. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    :techman: good post

    I know it seems an ass pull, and maybe it is to an extent, but really, the Klingons were not featured all that much in TOS. We are talking out of 77 episodes, less than 5, I think, and of course, the movies. So, to me, TNG is really what defines what the Klingons are.

    But for an in-universe explanation, it is possible that the Klingons were once more honorable during the times of Kahless, and "devolved" by the times of Enterprise and TOS, and with honorable thought and action making a resurgence and became more main stream by the TNG era.

    Maybe what happened to the Enterprise and TOS era Klingons was sort of like what happened to the Cardassians: a once honorable people who were cultural and artistic, that shifted to a militaristic society once hard times were upon them. Human history has countless examples of this.

    So, at least how I rationalize it, once the Klingons were on the brink of losing their world, the Klingons as a whole people reassessed their situation, and saw that their expansion as a dishonorable empire caused their situation in the first place, and between that, and feeling both a gratitude and indebtedness to the Federation, by the TNG era, the Klingons changed their ways.

    Maybe a real world analogy to the klingons changing would be how humans are now realizing that global climate change is caused, at least in part, by human pollution and are now taking steps to become more conscious of using more efficient means of transportation and being less wasteful of their resources. Hence the term "going green." That attitude didn't really exist 30-40 years ago.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    They were in seven episodes: "Errand of Mercy," "Friday's Child," "The Trouble With Tribbles," "A Private Little War," "Elaan of Troyius," "Day of the Dove," and "The Savage Curtain." Okay, technically only an illusory Klingon was in that last one, but it was our introduction to Kahless.

    And they were also in "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "The Time Trap" in the animated series. The Romulans, meanwhile, were in three TAS episodes: "The Survivor," "The Practical Joker," and "The Time Trap" (in the person of Xerius, who was hardly a typical Romulan or a representative of their government or military). That roughly ties their appearances in TOS, where they were in "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident" and their ships appeared in "The Deadly Years."


    ENT: "Judgment" pretty much confirms that, while also establishing that it was only within the prior generation that the military nobility had come to dominate Klingon society and marginalize the non-military classes.

    Naturally any civilization is going to go through its ups and downs over the course of history. To expect it to remain the same century after century would be most foolish. Indeed, that's what's kind of annoying about the Romulans' portrayal over the various series. TNG and ENT both showed us Klingon culture evolving somewhat over time. ENT showed us a Vulcan society that was very different in the 22nd century than it would become by the 23rd. But ENT Romulans were pretty much indistinguishable from TNG-era Romulans. Why were they so exempt from change? Ditto for the Ferengi, while we're at it.


    No, conservationism has been around for a long time. Indeed, prior to the Reagan era, it was a cause celebre of the Republican Party. Perhaps the most admirable thing Richard Nixon accomplished in his presidency was the foundation of the EPA. And in the '70s there was a big push for ecological awareness and fuel economy, though that was in response to a severe gas shortage. Then there was Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring and the awareness it raised about pesticides, which led to new laws and restrictions on those. Heck, whatever we think about the air quality in our cities today, it was really horrible in the 19th century. Things have improved because of generations' worth of environmental activism. But, naturally, there have been swings of the pendulum. After the shortages of the '70s ended, we got the pro-business Reagan generation and the rise of a backlash against environmentalism in the mistaken belief that it worked against corporate profits. So the gains of the '60s and '70s were slowed or reversed by deregulation, and in time that led to new consequences for the environment, requiring the next generation to do something about it.
     
  14. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Another thing worth considering is that our main window to Klingon culture was Worf, and TNG had occasion to demonstrate that he was practicing an idealized version of that culture. Klingons who were actually functioning members of their society seemed more apt to take what they needed and leave the rest, particularly those who were more ambitious.
     
  15. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    ^Totally. Add to that Worf's being raised on Earth and it's not hard to see how his own perception of Klingon culture would differ from his counterparts. Much of his behavior seems influenced by what he thought his culture was supposed to be rather than what it actually was. I wonder if he'd have been happier living in a different time, when Klingons behaved more like the idealized people he believed them to be.

    It's too bad T'Rul didn't appear again after "The Search." I'd have liked gaining more insight into Romulan culture and don't understand why she was dropped (on camera).

    --Sran
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    Except that usually when we believe a past era was more idealized, it's really a myth.

    Indeed, pretty much the point of Star Trek is that if we want to find a more ideal era, then we need to look to the future, not the past.
     
  17. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    No argument here, which makes Worf's POV all the more interesting. Someone raised in the Federation should know that society in general is getting better, not worse.

    --Sran
     
  18. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    True, but the main point I was making is clear. Just replace Chang with any number of honorable Klingons.
     
  19. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    There's no problem with a culture changing during the passage of time.

    In the 1940's Japanese officers treated their subordinates as scum, beating them for the slightest infraction, and had a reputation for total brutality in China especially, yet thirty years earlier, they were known for their honour and regular friendly fraternising with their men.
     
  20. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Did Ron Moore get the Klingons / Romulans the wrong way round in T

    There aren't that many to begin with.

    --Sran