Gene Roddenberry's weird rules

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Overlord, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    It seemed by the TNG era of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry had a bunch of rules on what should and shouldn't be a Star Trek show. Some of these rules made sense, like no smoking in the future and humans not being prejudiced, while others made no sense, like the fact there can be no inter personal conflict amongst the crew or there can't be space pirates. What other odd rules were there and did you think these rules limited story telling potential?
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    When he started making rules like "the nacelles have to be in pairs" just to spite his (former) friend Franz Joseph and discredit his old Star Fleet Technical Manual, that was when he'd lost sight of what mattered.

    I still smile every time I see a ship with one or three nacelles in Trek. Pettiness fail!
     
  3. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    I think the rules are more from the beginning of TNG, since he died during it. The crew all getting along made for a band ship. Except for Pulaski, who was there in S2, while GR was still pretty involved iirc. Maybe we overestimate Trek's adherence to his rules.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    never mind
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  5. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While credit must be given to Gene for his starting the whole thing and setting it on its course, he certainly became a big part of what was wrong with it too...
     
  6. The Dominion

    The Dominion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I can understand not wanting space pirates to steal to the show, but why ban them completely?
     
  7. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think some of these may have just been to help the writers stay more creative and not rely on simple crutches.

    Space pirates being one of them, maybe it helped them to focus more on the "sci-fi" than a simple "and we're attacked by pirates" story?

    Despite that, though, the trappings of that idea were still used, just disguised. "Rascals" was basically space pirates taking over the ship story, only the pirates were Ferengi. "The Vengeance Factor" also had a version of space pirates. "The Outrageous Okana" was a roguish space-pirate. And, of course, the "Gambit" two parter (I'm focusing mostly on TNG here)

    At the same time, we saw disagreements with the crew often enough. Riker wasn't exactly obeying orders in "The Outcast". For one of a thousand examples (no idea why that's the first example I thought of).

    Just because we hear about these rules doesn't mean they were followed. There's a bit of an exaggeration involved it seems.
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. It's not like there was a whole lot of interpersonal conflict in TOS anyway. With a couple of notable exceptions, most of it was confined to bickering between Spock and McCoy, which more often than not amounted to ribbing between them.

    With TNG, most character conflicts among crewmembers were on a professional nature rather than personal one, IMO, and were generally resolved without someone being stunned by a phaser or tossed head-first over a table.
     
  9. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    The Ferengi were pretty much depicted as "space pirates" in their first appearances. Roddenberry was still involved with the show at this time and I think that pretty much renders that "rule" void.

    It seems that the main thing that Roddenberry was against was depicting the Federation at war. He reasoned that war was something that the humans of Trek would have left behind and therefore there would always be ways for the Federation to settle any conflict without going to war.

    He was also really against any internal plotting and conspiracies where the Federation was concerned. The episode "Conspiracy" of TNG's first season was originally going to be about an actually conspiracy that was free of alien influence. According to some sources, Roddenberry wouldn't allow this and it was rewritten to include the alien invasion. It's also claimed that Roddenberry had been screened TUC just prior to his death and when the film had concluded he planned on contacting his lawyers. Others say that Roddenberry enjoyed the movie, despite it's "anti-trek" plot.

    The Dominion War arc in DS9 was something that had never been done in Star Trek and it was a big risk. Fortunately, the risk paid off and many consider the arc to have produced some of the finest episodes of the franchise. The episode "In The Pale Moonlight" is considered by some to be the greatest episode of the franchise, despite it being almost completely "non-trek".

    Apparently, Roddenberry disagreed with the decision to kill off Spock in TWOK so much, that he was rumored to have leaked the death scene to the media with the hope that fans would boycott the movie. I'm not sure what his motivations for doing this would be, but perhaps not having any decision in killing off a character that he created may have served as a reason if this story is true.
     
  10. milo bloom

    milo bloom Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's always seemed odd to me. It's a great Trek story of the Federation finally making peace with a longtime enemy.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, Rodenberry hated the idea that any humans in the 23rd century, let alone James T. Kirk, would be racist. His humans were supposedly beyond all that.
     
  12. number6

    number6 Vice Admiral

    He liked interviewing all the women personally for a part in the show.
     
  13. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm, I just assumed that this was so that the ships wouldn't look ugly.
     
  14. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You mean like the "no money" thing? :p
     
  15. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Humans can't be prejudice in the 23rd and 24th century, really? Everybody is prejudice in some way. You just have to open your eyes and listen more, then you'll realize how prejudice you are. [chuckle] People do things because they think they have a good reason(s). There are something you don't understand about someone and then there are something nobody understands about you. I don't have to completely understand someone to like, or love, them for this reason. But some people are just more extreme than others and there will always be people like that. That's why we need the government to back off and stop telling us what to do in case of extremists get voted into office and start doing some serious shit that will destroy this country and maybe the world altogether.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  16. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    wasn't a lot of this really later Roddenberry though, not TOS-era Roddenberry?

    The heavy idealism, no money, no inner conflict stuff wasn't really a part of TOS.(I mean,the TVH no money thing was probably used more as an opportunity for easy humor rather than an expression of idealism)


    It kind of reminds me of "Greedo shoots first"-era Lucas where he blatantly contradicts his earlier stuff to express his "personal growth" and changed views.
     
  17. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yup, although TOS Roddenberry had a ultra-patriotic streak, as The Omega Glory shows.

    That said, he did lay out some rules in the TNG bible that should've been followed, especially the ones relating to tech malfunction plots.
     
  18. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    I think it encouraged originality when the writers had to think outside the box rather than go to their comfort of writing about starfleet as if it was a modern day organisation full of modern day humans. Certainly we did see people in Starfleet "fighting" with each other over issues, showing a bit of prejudice even in the early seasons.
     
  19. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sure in the 60s he had less control than he did on TNG, and over 20 years he probably changed a lot as a person. I'm not sure if the "no money" thing has ever meant literally no form of currency, especially when the pilot episode of TNG has Crusher buying pretty materials from the outpost. It's always something I wanted them to explain a bit more.

    I think Gene's rules helped the show become what it was and even after his death they more or less remained mostly as those rules are what shaped the characters.
     
  20. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    By reading this thread, I'm reminded of one of Trek's staples, that often lead to some of its better stories: that is, the trope of the evil/crazy Starfleet captain/admiral. They're not all great mind you (Insurrection), but that wouldn't happen without conflict between humans or in an idealized future.
     

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