What Kinds of Characters?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by David.Blue, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Having a token gay character just to show how politically correct the show is really does both the show and audience a disservice. If it's going to be done, it shouldn't be made a big deal of and certainly shouldn't be cliche or stereotypical. Heck I wouldn't even reveal it until at least half way through the first or second season.

    And I guess single dad could be a character flaw for Sisko being he was boneheaded enough to go up against a Borg Cube with his wife and son below decks. ;)
     
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Exactly how it should be done.

    That's true for any ship with families onboard, they should never be used for frontline combat.
     
  3. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Ulster
    Ambassador Tezrene is one of my favourite characters from the novels. I know it would be hard to have a regular character 7 feet tall, several feet long with a prehensile scorpion tale all dressed up in a spun gold suit but still, it would be nice.
     
  4. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Does seem to me Starfleet doesn't see itself primarily as a military organization. Sisko's ship the Saratoga also might well have just been one of many summoned best speed to Wolf 359. For huge vessels of exploration, like the Kelvin and in theory the Enterprise-D families make more sense. Still, it wasn't Sisko who commanded Saratoga so he can hardly be blamed for her tactics.

    And I personally don't see how hiding a character's sexuality is "Exactly how it should be done" (emphasis added). It might be appropriate of course. But so might a character in a relationship, or one who flirts.

    I personally don't see how a character with a criminal past is so very unbelievable, even a criminal career in which they were never caught. The Federation's institutions aren't perfect after all. Depends on the specifics of character and story. DS9 even had an ep where a traumatized Vulcan officer in Starfleet became a serial killer. And one of Babyon 5's very best episodes deals with a man who discovers he had been a serial killer, was caught, and had his memories wiped as part of the sentence for his crimes. Both of these made for powerful stories, although I'm not suggesting either one be copied.

    But I can imagine a good story in which a ship's doctor had a past that dark, and undiscovered. One detail that springs immediately to mind would be his/her assignment to the starship USS Redemption. Okay, a bit heavy-handed but no more than Voyager. The trick is to make sure it all makes psychological sense in terms of character and to weave it into stories. Mind you, the discovery of same should mean the loss of that character under normal circumstances. So you have to keep it a secret or come up with some reason why Starfleet doesn't rip off their uniform in record time and kick them out! A good reason preferably. Might prefer a backstory where this person was caught and rehabilitated.

    Bottom line, I don't think a criminal past necessarily precludes a character working as a regular on a Star Trek series. Tis all in the details.
     
  5. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    The real trick seems making sure someone can act through the suit or CGI or whatever it is. It can be done, though! Look at Kosh on Babylon 5 or Ood Sigma on Doctor Who. Maybe some kind of encounter suit for a Medusan, complete with vodor?
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    I mean that in the way that their sexuality shouldn't be used to identify them (such as when VOY was launched Janeway was the female Captain). A persons orientation is only a small part of what makes them who they are, it shouldn't be made into their defining characteristic--which could see them turn into a stereotypical "gay" character.

    As a gay man, if the PTB even contemplated going in that direction I'd rather they left the character out rather than have a mincing queen being a bitch on the bridge.
     
  7. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Agree with you about both Janeway and a hypothetical mincing queen on the bridge.

    On the other it is rather fun to imagine Captain Jack Harkness in Starfleet, or a post self-esteem therapy Shane from The L Word.
     
  8. SolitaryJustice

    SolitaryJustice Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    I've been a single dad before. Granted my ex didn't die in a horrible Borg attack, which, I guess, in my case, makes it a flaw. lol
     
  9. SolitaryJustice

    SolitaryJustice Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    If we had a reformed criminal on Star Trek, who's to say he went through the Academy? O'Brien was a chief. I like the idea of NCOs involved more, take some of the stuffy elitism out of the show. Tyrol was one of the best characters on BSG. O'Brien was, too, with DS9. At any rate, maybe this isn't even a Starfleet ship? Maybe it's just a freighter, like Cassidy's ship. Maybe starfleet is destroyed or not worth talking about anymore. I mean, how many of our history's great explorers were affiliated with the military? Air Force was involved with lunar missions, but Hillary and Norgay climbed Everest because they could. Just a thought.
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    I came up with the idea that the majority of the ships responding to Wolf 359 loaded their families (spouses and children) into lifeboats and ejected them into space many lightyears away from the battle site with the Borg cube. Informing Starfleet where to pick them up.

    Except for the Captain of the Saratoga, who was a overconfident fool.

    :)
     
  11. SolitaryJustice

    SolitaryJustice Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    I'm fascinated with some of the kit-bash ships at Wolf 359. The Kyushu was pretty badass looking.
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Well he did have more than a little Klingon in him :vulcan::klingon:

    Its a shame we didn't see them in action, as TNG needed other classes of ships in it (other than Excelsior, Miranda, Oberth, Constellation and Nebula).

    The New Orleans-Class has always intregued me especially the two "tubes" on the saucer and the one at the bottom of the secondary hull--what are they? Torpedo launchers?
     
  13. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    For some reason I always liked the Nebula, Akira and Saladin classes.

    Musing about possible Treks, I thought about a fun way to combine exposition and character by having a ship with a skeleton crew deliver some officers to a remote outpost (replacing those who'll come back with them). When they arrive, a Lieutenant at the Outpost bursts out laughing, asking about the ship's class. Turns out this is the very last Galaxy-class cruiser ever made, on her very last voyage. One of the arriving officers feels indignant, that this other person doesn't give such an old, worthy vessel her due--setting up conflicts for the future. At the same time of course we'd now know the story is taking place about a century or so after TNG. Which goes to show geek trivia has its uses!
     
  14. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    In replying to the TAS thread in General Discussions, one idea comes through loud and clear as far as characters go...

    More women.
     
  15. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I agree with more Aliens and with thinking outside the box. One thing I would add, is that thinking outside the box shouldn't just necessarily mean putting unexpected people in familiar positions. It could also mean showing different positions entirely. There's no particular reason the show would have to revolve around the bridge crew or the senior officers. Depending on the setting, there's no particular reason that there would even have to be a bridge crew, per se. There are a lot of people in starfleet - aren't the ones who aren't 'chief' this or 'head of' that occassionally interesting, as well?

    Not that I'm saying they shouldn't have any senior officers as main characters, but they could easily skew the mix a little in regards to Trek tradition. Let the helmsman or the CSO or the Doctor fade more to the background and bring up someone else to take their places as a main character.
     
  16. SolitaryJustice

    SolitaryJustice Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    The thing that has irked me with Star Trek is that each crew has their own interpretation of the same character. You need a leader who shoots first and asks questions later? Kirk/Riker/Archer/Nerys. You need a kid? Chekov/Crusher/Jake Sisko/Harry Kim/Mayweather. You need someone who can rattle off statistics? Spock/Data/Dax/Tuvok/T'Pol/Seven? Comic relief? Neelix/Quark/Barclay/Bones... the list goes on. The point is, how about someone just write some cool characters and let them do their thing? Not every grocery store has a manager/assistant manager/warehouse guy/checker/delivery driver. Why does every Trek series have to have a captain/first officer/doctor/science officer/engineer that need to be major characters?
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    There was the show Space Above and Beyond where the ship's commanding officer was a occasional seen recurring character. The main characters were mostly junior officers, with a mid level officer commanding them. While we did see the bridge a few times, we never "meet" the bridge crew.

    It's a similar situation on the popular show NCIS, the senior official isn't in every episode, the "crew" is a four member investigation team.

    The original idea for the West Wing was that the President would be a minor character.

    A new Trek show could revolve around a investigative/away team of young crew members, supported by specialists aboard the ship. They would seen interacting with the ship's higher ranking officers only rarely.

    :)
     
  18. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Gotta say the "junior officers" idea strikes me as a good one. And would work on in a variety of settings--starship, space station, colony, etc.

    I had this notion for a character, a half Vulcan/half Andorian. Partially because I rather like the idea of someone who looks like a blonde Vulcan with blue skin! But the more I thought on it, the more it seemed the strength of this idea is of someone who embodies a taboo. These two races have been historical enemies and in most ways seem total opposites. Even their homeworlds! One an arid desert, the other a frozen wasteland. One has no moon, the other IS a moon. But more than that, Andorians evidently have four genders. This person, this halfbreed, what gender might they be? Quite possibly something...unique. More, doesn't this mean this person must be the result of genetic engineering?

    I suppose the idea of this character appeals to me because she (to pick an arbitrary gender designation--and with a note I want to see more female characters) can work as a magnet for prejudice. Not merely because she's the result of a defacto forbidden union--with Andorians and Vulcans both reacting to her poorly--but as the recipient of false expectations. People would see her behavior solely in terms of her heritage. If she remains calm in a crisis, it isn't because she's developed personal discipline it is because of her Vulcan blood. When she holds her own in a firefight, she's told "Must be the Andorian side!" A subtle but pervasive prejudice, one much more likely to show up among her fellow junior officers since they're less experienced. Yet ironically they're also the ones most likely to (eventually) see her as an individual through constant interaction.

    To really work, of course, she needs full development as her own person. Not simply a collection of quirks or details, but a dynamic whole. I know someone who once insisted Honor Harrington (of the David Webber series) is a fully developed character because "she has that Treecat!" *rolls eyes* Although that character does seem to me to have gotten rounder over time--my image of her now is as a wild wolf in human form, but governed by a mighty intelligence and emotional bonds to the humans around her--she still isn't nearly as full as (for example) Esmay Suiza in Elizabeth Moon's Once A Hero. In terms of space opera television, I would point to Aeryn Sun or Chiana on Farscape, Starbuck on the new BSG or Ivanova on Babylon 5. Someone with that level of depth but as a very junior officer and with this baggage of subtle but pervasive prejudice surrounding her.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    I favor the idea that Vulcan is also a moon, in orbit around a gas giant. This would nicely explain the view of the Vulcan sky in TMP. And it would explain how Spock (in ST: Eleven) could be close enough to witness the destruction of Vulcan, he was on another inhabitable moon in orbit of the same gas giant.


    :)
     
  20. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    A good theory, imho.