Why Not A Starfleet Ships Chaplain As A Main Character?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Knight Templar, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. LtChange

    LtChange Commander Red Shirt

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    A bisexual alien atheist chaplain? I might rethink my position :D
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    This isn't just about Trek or Roddenberry. How many shows are there on network or basic cable TV right now that have members of the clergy as main characters? Very few, I'd imagine. There are some in recurring roles, like Rev. Lovejoy on The Simpsons or the nuns on Pushing Daisies, and there's the occasional character who abandoned a religious career for their current job, like Dr. Chase on House, but active clergy members in starring roles, not so much. Shows that have been centered on clergy, like The Book of Daniel and Soul Man, have tended to be short-lived, unless they weren't primarily featured in their religious roles, as in The Father Dowling Mysteries. There's the occasional Father Mulcahy or Rev Bem or Shepherd Book, the occasional successful sitcom like Amen, but they're not common. You're probably most likely to see a member of a religious order as a main character if he's a Shaolin monk who knows kung fu.

    As a rule, TV networks and studios -- and the advertisers who buy airtime on them -- are reluctant to deal much with religion, for fear of sparking controversy. The producers of Deep Space Nine pushed to feature Bajoran religion as a major element of the series, but Paramount resisted, finding even stories about an imaginary, alien religion to be a potential hot potato.

    Of course, sometimes you get a show that's more daring, like Moore's Galactica, which dealt heavily with religion and divinity. But Trek tends to be rather more mainstream, a major cash cow for its studio, and that would create a resistance to embracing religious themes that has nothing to do with Roddenberry's beliefs and more to do with advertisers' fear of controversy.
     
  3. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You could add the Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007) to that list :)
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, clergymembers are far more likely to show up in UK shows than American shows.
     
  5. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    He is dead. Get over it.

    And he was far, far, far from a genius. He basically copied a lot from Forbidden Planet IIRC.

    And given that Deep Space Nine has often been considered far and away the Trek series in the modern era that discarded Roddenberry's ideas the most yet was arguably the highest quality wise, I would say we can put paid to the idea of GRs ideas being "quality" ones.
     
  6. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    The obvious solution to that is to teach savate as a core subject for Catholic priests.
     
  7. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Damn. You beat me to the punch. I was going to suggest a gay chaplain. :)

    Then again, Serenity had a chaplain . . . and look what happened to him!
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Er, as a matter of record, Roddenberry was only really involved with the first movie.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And truth be told, Roddenberry hardly created the original series all by himself.

    If it were a full time assignment and a Starfleet career field, I would imagine it to be a staff position and it's own small department.

    How does one person handle the medical needs of 150 alien species? A chaplain wouldn't have to be an expert in all religions.

    Controversial matters are good. But it hard to see how a chaplain would in fact be controversial, Star Trek is usually keyed to an American audience, a deliberately generic Christian chaplain who ministers equally to all beliefs would be offensive how?

    There are religious characters in all the series, including the animated series.

    And right there is the prime reason to have a Starfleet chaplain.

    If the alternative is absolutely nothing? I would say that acceptance would be positive.

    Military chaplains do this every day.

    Why not? The Federation is a diverse assemblage, why would a atheist aboard a Starship wish to deign their fellow crewmembers of something they themselves don't want to avail themselves of?

    Would that be enough of a reason?

    Historically about seven percent.

    :devil:
     
  10. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's about the only one I can think of :)

    Or omnisexual? Trek's version of Jack Harkness, just in a dog collar and combadge :lol:

    True, but before that they gave us a great character.
     
  11. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Considering Earth's growth beyond Religion (Or even disregarding that and considering all the Dominations we currently have) plus all the Religions of all the Star Fleet Member Worlds, I really don't see how a Position of Chaplain could be managed, you strip away the Denomination, and you simply end up with a Counselor, which we already have.

    No, I think the only way to have a Religious person like that would be for them have a different function on the ship, say an Engineer who just happens to be Religious, and people seek out that Engineer because of their balance and their morals and ethics.

    Or even perhaps someone with the Position of Counselor, who happens to be someone religious. Maybe even center some stories around Religious conflict for them. IE: Their Religious Beliefs lead them to believe the right thing to tell a patient is one thing, but, their Counselor Duties and teachings tell them they should be telling their patient the exact opposite.

    So, yea, a Chaplain as a position, I don't think would work, you'd have to give them another position, but, they just so happen to be Religious.
     
  12. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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    It could had worked on DS 9 if more bajorans were part of the regular cast.
     
  13. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    What use would the Bajorans have for a Chaplain? There's a whole Assembly of Vedeks and a Kai just a Vid-call or a couple hour shuttle ride away. They did have the Temple on the Station, so presumably they had weekly services too.
     
  14. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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    ''chaplain''
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Someone else to look down on the actions of those around them? Didn't we get enough of that with Picard in the later seasons of TNG?
     
  16. The Green Mushroom

    The Green Mushroom Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, that is probably the best way to do it.

    They could even go in deeper, say a Catholic priest whose scientific research led him to join Starfleet (or come aboard for one mission and hang around for the next seven years for some reason). He can be shown occasionally performing mass in his quarters or with a small group of people, occasionally providing religious advice of a more general nature, but spend most of his time reversing negative space wedgies to save the ship.
     
  17. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Does it matter?
    A Chaplain?

    From which culture of which planet?

    Do we have to listen about sermons on the Vulcan Katra, for example?
     
  18. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    How about a Catholic priest who studied with the Vulcan masters before joining a joint center for religious research on Andor that featured Andorians, Humans, Vulcans, Tellarites, Centaurans, Deltans........

    You really don't have to use your imagination too much on this.

    Troi IIRC was only shown counseling human crew members. Shouldn't she have been familar with the mental potential problems and needs of all the different crewmembers?
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say she provided counsel to essentially all of the principal characters at one time or another. As the TNG crew never really dealt with mental illness we don't know the extent of her capabilities in that regard.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Frankly, it probably wouldn't work. How many successful TV series are centered around chaplains/ministers? And is that what audiences would be interested in seeing? People are already incredibly ignorant about other religions and belief systems on their own planet. Adding made-up ones and focusing on a character dealing with those seems like a dramatic non-starter. I'm not saying it's impossible. It's just unlikely to work or find an audience.