Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Captain Clark Terrell, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There are many tales to be told. Some of them potentially libellous, I don't doubt. ;)
     
  2. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Say what? :eek:
     
  3. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    This was talked about around 1980 as a followup to TMP, prior to TWOK.
     
  4. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    It was brought up even after TWOK, too. Roddenberry wouldn't let the idea die and submitted revised scripts when it was time for each new movie. He finally stopped at TUC because he was too ill, but not before ripping Nimoy and Meyer for their story idea.

    --Sran
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Were their scripts? I was under the impression that the idea never made it beyond the treatment stage.
     
  6. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    Most of GR's HG,WT episodes were pretty good.

    And two of them featured a prison chaplain named Robert April.
     
  7. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Yeah. I seem to remember Kirk doing running handstands while racing her back toward SFC (I'm pretty sure they have clothes on again by that point.)

    What's weird is that I don't remember McCoy treating a kid's pet cheetah, though I know I read about that elsewhere.
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Here's a sample...
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
  9. Professor Moriarty

    Professor Moriarty Vice Admiral Admiral

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    FWIW, I'm halfway through volume I of These Are the Voyages (http://www.jacobsbrownmediagroup.com/these-are-the-voyages.html) and from the series' own production history and notes it seems plain that Gene Roddenberry was an inveterate meddler in the scripts of other writers and something of a hack in his own "write" (pun very much intended).
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, to be fair, it's the job of a showrunner to rewrite others' scripts so that they're consistent in characterization, continuity, and voice.
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    re Roddenberry and the "need" to rewrite scripts (emphasis mine):
    So make of that what you will.
     
  12. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Or to hire writers whose visions he respects and talents he trusts sufficiently to let them have their head. I was just reading a piece today with the lady doing that new Jon Voight Liev Schreiber show and she brought one writer over from the UK (he had done a series about a transgendered hit man!!!!) just on the basis of the uniqueness and darkness of his take on things, and took another guy just on the basis of him wanting to move on from MAD MEN (with Weiner's approval.)

    It's probably apples & oranges comparing then & now, given how much more the shows are staff-written now ... but in terms of continuity and voice, I think Coon did a much better job than GR (no more 'space central' or whatever they were calling SFC each week, and certainly more consistency with Spock, though some of that was improved on the acting end too.)
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey Trevanian, is the script excerpt I posted the one you were referring to re wishing you still had it?
     
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Should have been clearer; I meant was their a script for the JFK movie that was proposed?
     
  15. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Very cool. Thank you for posting that. :techman:
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Correct. The "mash-up" script was ST II - where Harve Bennett pulled in one pitch about a weather machine, another featuring a young male Vulcan called Dr Savik, another with Kirk's ex, Dr Janet Wallace and their son, David, and a sequel to Khan's story - and smooshed them all together.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Wasn't that Nicholas Meyer who wrote the new script based on all the elements liked from previous attempts, not Bennett?
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    You said "TVH is actually a combination of two scripts put together", and that is not true.

    Yes. I said Bennett pulled in all the elements he thought worth salvaging from many proposals he had gathered.

    And yes, he was working with Meyer by that time. Then Meyer wrote a full script in a hurry that incorporated them all.
     
  19. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I can't have an informed opinion of Gene Roddenberry and his methods. According to memory alpha, this is the episodes written by Roddenberry, who had 3 post-graduate degrees:

    The Cage - 4 stars.
    Mudd's Women - 1.5 stars.
    Charlie X - 4 stars.
    The Menagerie - 3.5 stars.
    Return of the Archons - 4 stars.
    Bread and Circuses - I don't remember much about it.
    A Private, Little War - 4 stars.
    The Omega Glory - 4 stars.
    Assignment: Earth - I don't remember much about it.
    The Savage Curtain - 4 stars.
    Turnabout Intruder - I don't remember much about it.

    So I like his episodes. They are intelligent, and different from the adventure we find in other incarnations of Trek.
    I also like Hide and Q and Encounter at Farpoint, which he penned for Next Generation. I didn't like Datalore; I thought it had been done before too many times in too many television series.

    So I don't think he was a bad writer. He had original ideas.
     
  20. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ I agree with that assessment basically, HaventGotALife. Roddenberry gets a bad rap for a lot of his personal opinions, but siphon it down to just analyzing his scripts and it emerges that he was a writer whose output was workmanlike but usually servicable, sometimes extraordinary. His best Star Trek scripts are in fact among the very best the series produced IMO. I'd definitely put the original pilot episode in that catagory, truly extraordinary writing that looks like it was much simpler to pen than it probably really was. It's possibly one of Trek's strongest scripts, full of philosophy and true character building that is not executed in a heavy-handed way like some of Gene's later work, but instead solidifies to produce a satisfying whole.

    I would like to qualify this by admitting that he definitely got lazy over time, and he was a bit of a mess in the 1970s and 1980s. Even before control of the franchise was ripped from him, his tussles over the authoriship of The Motion Picture are well documented. He had lost the plot a bit by then, and arguably hadn't regained it even when he was launching TNG. But he was old, and his health was failing. So it's kind of forgivable.

    His last actual (unproduced) story submission for The Next Generation, "Ferengi Gold", was excrutiatingly bad. :vulcan: