Is it smart to have families on the Enterprise-D?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by HansentheSwede, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    This is one of the "duck and cover" government propaganda films Christopher speaks of:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfHhKLz6TKc

    They were shown during the '50s and '60s in classrooms or school assemblies, and I remember us doing such drills in elementary school. Sometimes their true intent was disguised as "tornado drills".
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    While watching TNG, I eventually came to the conclusion that the Enterprise's missions were probably atypical of other Galaxy-class vessels and that her sister ships rarely encountered the kinds of dangers that she did (I doubt the Galaxy-class ships we saw during the Dominion War had families aboard, but the Yamato and the Odyssey probably did, though--but the tragic fates of those vessels are more indicative of the inherent dangers of space in general, IMO).

    I think that any civilian that chooses to be a passenger aboard a starship or any Starfleet crewmember who brings their family with them accepts the risks of being in an untamed frontier just like the pioneers and colonists of old did.
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Sigh. I'm tired of this argument. If you going on a vessel in which you're going to spend next couple decades of your life you'd probably want your family with you. Keep in mind that overall life on the Enterprise was extremely boring! Yes every few episodes the ship meets with some sort of situation that could kill all of them in one way or another but those are but a few days worth of time out of SEVEN YEARS worth of the mission!

    It's sort of like saying it's too risky living in the city because a couple of times over the last few of years you almost got in a traffic accident. IIRC "Pen Pals" is an episode where the ship is doing research in a remote part of space and that episode in of itself passes over the course of weeks of time during which the ship was dicking around in that sector doing an analysis of the region. Yeah. Dangerous. Dangerously boring.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Yup. Characters in series fiction get into mortal danger far more frequently than people in real life do -- even people in dangerous jobs. For instance, plenty of police officers go their entire careers without ever having to fire their weapons outside of the practice range.

    This is one reason I like it that a lot of shows these days have shorter seasons. At 13 episodes per year, and including the occasional 2-parter or cliffhanger, it means the heroes only get into trouble roughly once a month on average, rather than every couple of weeks. Still implausible, but not quite as bad.
     
  5. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    In Hiding
    That doesn't even make any sense. Why train children to protect themselves from something they can't be protected from under the guise of protecting themselves from something else.

    The entire point of "duck and cover" was to give the illusion that you could walk away from a nuclear attack.
     
  6. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I'm pretty sure the Odyssey did. There was a line about "offloading all nonessential personnel" to DS9 before going to the Gamma Quadrant, and that likely meant families.

    And as the Yamato was during the Roddenberry era, I'm sure it had families as well.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Then she went into battle without families aboard. I was thinking the same thing about the Galaxy-class ships consigned to the war effort against the Dominion.
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    The best advice I ever saw was a poster at the head shops in the early 70s.

    What to do in case of nuclear attack:
    1. Bend over.
    2. Grab your ankles.
    3. Put your head between your legs.
    4. Kiss your ass goodbye.
     
  9. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Agreed. :bolian: It's a problem with the intentions of the original team being at odds with those of later writers/producers, though people like Ron Moore and Michael Piller seemed aware of the issue but unable to figure out how to resolve it. So the families would appear occasionally when relevant to a story, but would vanish without trace if not.

    IMO they'd have been better off making it a plot point after Best Of Both Worlds, ie. that it was becoming increasingly too dangerous for this kind of civilian presence to be aboard ships. Instead they kind of acknowledged it right up to the death of the Ent-D, and then quietly tried to ignore it (IIRC Janeway acted like the very idea of children on Starfleet ships was unheard of when Naomi Wildman was born; and the Ent-E famously ditched any hint of there being families on board as well).

    Re: the Enterprise originally being a 'deep space' exploration craft: ISTR a season one episode (Conspiracy?) sees Starfleet command being very surprised at the arrivial of the Enterprise in Earth's solar system, with the admiralty even saying that the presence of a Galaxy Class ship in proximity of Earth was rare. Later seasons it seemed like they were always going back to Earth! :lol:
     
  10. Captain Picard.

    Captain Picard. Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    Location:
    Earth
    Exactly, any sensible person would not allow children on a star ship especially the Enterprise!
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That reminds me of how in "Contagion," the crew was shocked at the very idea that a ship could suffer a warp core breach, because the odds against all those built-in safeguards failing at once were astronomical. The nigh-impossibility of such a breach was a critical clue to the fact that it wasn't an accident. Yet within a couple of years, warp core breaches were happening all the time.

    Whenever a new incarnation of Trek comes along -- a decade ago it was Enterprise, now it's Abrams -- some fans scream and holler about every continuity error as if it were some unprecedented corruption of the purity of the franchise and required dismissing the whole thing as alternate or imaginary. But the fact is that every individual Trek series is riddled with continuity errors, and TNG is one of the biggest offenders. You just can't go through such a wholesale turnaround of creative staff as TNG did in its first few seasons without ending up getting a radically different show than you started with.


    But the word "starship" refers to any large vessel capable of interstellar travel. If children and families weren't allowed on any starship of any kind, how could people ever colonize space? How could there be interstellar commerce and tourism and cultural exchange? If you'd said "military vessel," you could've made a case, but generalizing it to any and all starships is as far from sensible as you can get.
     
  12. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    There's nothing quite like internet hyperbole, warp core breeches were rare and some ships like Voyager were able to survive them. The thing about technology on any science fiction series is that it has to fail in order to create drama, transporters failed more often than any other piece of high technology.

    As to the matter of children on starships TNG continued to do stories about children they weren't forgotten about, but they have to work around the shortened working schedules the minors are allowed. It should also be kept in mind that not everybody on Federation starships were in Starfleet and many people would want to bring their children with them.
     
  13. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    There's no reason why television time must equate to real-life time. TNG did it, but no need for a series season to amount to one calendar year.

    Number of eps, length of season, any amount of time in-universe can be portrayed. It needn't be one adventure per week due to television air times.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I agree with you in principle, but try telling that to most TV producers these days. Whether we like it or not, it's quite fashionable to tell stories in real time -- even to write in big gaps in the story corresponding to midseason hiatuses and inter-season breaks. For instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's seasons usually started in the fall and ended in the summer, with the summer-vacation months being skipped over. Deep Space Nine often had a gap of 1-3 months in story time between the events of one season's finale and the next season's premiere, and quite a few other shows have done the same. Just recently, Arrow had its hero injured just before the midseason break, and the next new episode, aired five weeks later, said that he'd spent six weeks recuperating.

    And there are countless shows where events in the previous episode are overtly stated to have happened the week before -- even something like House, where realistically one would expect the team to devote several weeks to each patient. Even when it doesn't make sense in-story, the real-time conceit is pervasive in television today. It's even pretty common, when a date is mentioned or shown in story, to have it be the actual scheduled broadcast date for the episode (although not always -- this past week's Person of Interest was set in late November 2012 according to an onscreen date).

    True, there are some exceptions, like Lost, which took maybe 3 seasons to cover a few months of story time, but then jumped forward in time considerably. But they are exceptions to a very popular rule, for better or worse.
     
  15. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Location:
    At The Laughing Vulcan's party...
    Fictional shows about real historic events can break this rule though. Hogan's Heroes were imprisoned for 6 years, the Germans occupied France for 10 years in Allo Allo, and the Korean War lasted 11 years in M*A*S*H.
     
  16. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    And when children are on a set (even Wil), the production has to pay for a teacher as well. I don't remember the numbers, but child actors were required to have X hours of instruction each day they worked.
     
  17. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Still, we needn't have seen child actors or families on-screen. We could have gotten many more discussions in the Ready Room or on the Bridge about the children, civilians and families onboard, to remind us that they are still a major factor in the series.

    Rather, Ent-D operated much like TOS Enterprise, doing starship duties that really were not appropriate or suitable for the intended mission of the Ent-D.

    Many eps and situations happened without a word or acknowledgement of the kids and civilians on the ship. You'd think it'd be a major factor in all those conference room meetings.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's where my idea of having two ships could've helped -- if they needed to do an episode like that where the ship was on a mission that was inappropriate for the ship with all the civilian scientists and families aboard, then it could've just focused on the military escort ship and left the big research ship behind. Kinda like DS9 episodes that focused on the Defiant rather than the station -- except that DS9 had the same people in charge of both station and ship, which never really made sense.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    But that's precisely what was intended, even till the end of "Encounter at Farpoint": "Let's see what's out there..." as the closing line. Q had prevented the ship going "where none [in Starfleet] had gone before...", Picard defended their right to continue on.

    We had Bjo Trimble at an Aussie convention, just a short while after she'd been on that set, chatting with Roddenberry, Gerrold and Fontana, and her interpretation was that the ship wouldn't be returning to Earth, or UFP space, any time soon.

    The first "Writers' Bible" stats that we wouldn't be meeting "familiar races", such as Klingons, Romulans, Andorians or other TOS species unless members of those races were on board. Hence there were a few Vulcan extras seen during the pilot, reminding us that Vulcan stories were possible. Worf would have been the only Klingon we got to know, unless the ship happened across a Klingon ship, as it did in "Heart of Glory".

    All that changed after "The Naked Now" when, after searching for the SS Tsiolkovsky - which may well have been on their way "out there" - suddenly the huge Enterprise-D was on a local milk run in "Code of Honor", seeking a medicine needed back on a Federation world. The "ongoing mission" beyond Farpoint Station seemingly abandoned.
     
  20. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    On the subject of the families being evacuated to the saucer in dangerous situations, there's something about that which has bugged me ever since I first saw the original pilot: wouldn't it have made more sense to have put them in the stardrive section, which has got a warp drive, allowing them to escape while the parred down saucer engages enemy fire? Wouldn't the non-essentials have a greater chance of escape in the stardrive than in the saucer? What sort of propulsion has the saucer got, anyway? :confused: