Gene Roddenberry's weird rules

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

  1. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No. Just, no. There were lots of TOS-era rules, too. They boil down to ... good writing. Which isn't to say they weren't violated from time to time, particularly in TNG and afterward.

    My three favorites, from TMOST:

    Don't explain everything. Just do it. Roddenberry pointed out that cops on detective shows didn't explain how the firing pin struck the end of a shell, causing the bullet to leave the barrel. Similarly, you don't need the captain to draw a phaser and describe how it works before using it. Or the transporter. Or the engines. GR shared an example of a TOS script that contained many pages about how the ship was to change direction. He deleted it all and inserted, "reverse course." TOS is largely, blessedly technobabble-free, as a result -- even though, of all the series, it was the most scientifically vetted.

    Stay in character: A contemporary U.S. aircraft carrier faces certain destruction. Does the captain reach for and hug his or her first officer in the final minutes? No. Nor should our crew go bananas when faced even with death. They are professionals who are well aware of duty. Would we believe a fleet-wide conspiracy in the U.S. Navy? A mutiny on a battleship? (We still had some, then.) No? Then, Starfleet will never suffer those dramatic cliches.

    And following on from above -- believability -- the captain shouldn't have to ask for everything. For example, readouts on the ship just entering our sector should be given immediately to the captain. He (or she) shouldn't have to weigh down dialogue asking for its configuration, mass, bearing, shield status, etc. This information should be shared as soon as the specialists develop it, just as it would on a real naval vessel.

    There are many more examples and, again, there are many exceptions - but not when Trek is at its best. I recommend "The Making of Star Trek" to anyone interested in TOS's most important aspect: its writing. And, of course, the role of a writer-producer.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    d d d
    ^^^Here, you dropped these. :)
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, they broke this one pretty early on in Balance of Terror. :p
     
  4. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    And debatably in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" when the ship is about to hit the "barrier". Gary Mitchell reaches behind him to grasp the hand of the yeoman. Yeah, he's not the captain so that's why I used the word "debatably".

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    She was supposed to steal them?
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No. But since we don't see her bartering with the merchant, the Federation must have some type of value exchange system in place, i.e. money.
     
  7. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the thing that bugged me most was the TNG 'our heroes don't' clause, the one that basically said that the main characters weren't supposed to admit any sort of character flaw or weakness in the realm of vices or some such (and I'm probably saying it wrong, but I'm functioning on a couple of hours of sleep at the moment, cut me some slack). Particularly, I'm thinking about Symbiosis. As much as I understood making it a Prime Directive episode, I think it would have had a bit more strength had it included not just a direct reference to Tasha having used drugs to get by on her homeworld but also if she'd had a focus in the episode about facing some of the demons of her past. But because of the 'our heroes don't' clause, they just sort of danced around the subject and she took a backseat to the moral dilemma, even though reasonably, she should have had some kind of involvement in the plot because of her prior experience.
     
  8. The Dominion

    The Dominion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They weren't in Balance of Terror.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Crusher: "I'll take the entire bolt. Send it to our starship when it arrives. Charge to Doctor Crusher. "

    No barter necessary, she simply bought it outright.

    :)
     
  10. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Gene was a revisionist. He considered much of The Original Series apocyraphl by the time The Next Generation began.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Which would imply some type of currency exchanged hands. :techman:

    But was "no money" a Roddenberry rule? Wasn't it originally introduced in The Voyage Home?
     
  12. Count Zero

    Count Zero Welcome to the Danger Zone! Moderator

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    The Federation could have some sort of credit system in order to allow itself and its citizens to trade with the outside universe. Within the Federation everyone gets what they want but if they deal with the outside they must provide something in return. Not saying that it necessarily has to work that way but I don't see such instances (another good example is DS9) as a contradiction to the Federation being something akin to a true Communist society (or whatever you want to call it).

    And yes, I also believe that it was first introduced in "The Voyage Home", where it could mean anything, really - Kirk could have just meant that they normally used virtual money. But Picard's statements in "First Contact" can't be so easily dismissed.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Well of course Starfleet has some method of reimbursing others for goods and service. The writers deliberately kept it vague as to how it works. (But it's not necessarily "money", if money is defined as coins and notes, that is.)

    "Credits" were introduced in "The Trouble With Tribbles" when Cyrano Jones was selling tribbles.
     
  14. brian577

    brian577 Captain Captain

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    Each planet probably has it's own economy. What would be the point of the "Bank of Bolias" in the Federation if the Bolians didn't use money?
     
  15. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

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    About vices, what about Scotty and his love affair with Scotch? The guy even hides a bottle or two in his quarters...I'm not saying he was alcoholic, but the man seems to have quite a high tolerance for whiskey...
     
  16. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Everybody gots flaws. Ignoring them isn't going to make you a better person. In fact it probably makes you worse. [chuckle]
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Roddenberry had passed away by the time of First Contact, so it's hard to hang it on him. :techman:
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't he also consider The Animated Series apocryphal? And the movie directed by Shatner? And certain episodes of TNG? Some people believe that if he had lived, he would have held the entire Dominion War to be apocryphal.

    Kirk certainly meant (among other things) that he didn't have anything in his pockets to pay for a pizza and beer. Whatever he used in the 23rd century to buy things (like his house in Idaho), he couldn't use in the 20th century, he didn't have access to his "account."

    Picard said in the future "we're" much like Cochrane and Lily, who were building a warp ship to make money from it. Rose colored glasses Picard doesn't alway make sense.

    Exactly this, each Federation member world likely possesses a unique financial, economic, cultural, political system.

    We know through the episode Little Green Men that 24th century Earth does have a financial system where "money" changes hands. That's about as middle of the Federation as you can get.

    :)
     
  19. Count Zero

    Count Zero Welcome to the Danger Zone! Moderator

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    While it may look like a vice to us these days, Scotty's behaviour regarding alcohol was socially accepted, then.


    It was a more general statement regarding the economy of the Federation. The posts I replied to seemed to go in that direction.
     
  20. A Little Otter

    A Little Otter Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The issue with having the crew fight among themselves was to create a unity on the Enterprise and an us-against-them attitude in the plots. It's not that the characters could never have disagreements, but he didn't want it to become a soap opera where the conflict was caused internally on the ship. Instead, it came from aliens or others off-ship. However, he didn't want space pirates because that idea was too obvious and cheesy. He wanted to set the bar higher than that easy go-to villain.