Dr. Selar

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Praetor, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I was just contemplating the good Vulcan doctor and her seemingly random single appearance in 'The Schizoid Man.' I've been trying to determine why it was necessary to create the Selar character for the episode? I'm not complaining, as I really like Suzie Plakson in all her Trek incarnations, but it just puzzles me a bit.

    I understand that in the episode there was a medical emergency that precluded Pulaski's full attention from being directed at Dr. Graves, and this is certainly the in-universe reason, but I can't help but wonder what the real-world dramatic reason was? What could Selar do that Pulaski couldn't? Did they create Selar to test the waters as a potential Pulaski replacement?

    Thoughts? :)
     
  2. Michael

    Michael Set to stun Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Aloha Quadrant
    Ask JustKate. ;)
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    That's all you've got? :p ;)
     
  4. Michael

    Michael Set to stun Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Aloha Quadrant
    Well, I'm writing a PM to someone just now. (;)) I can't do it all at the same time. :p
     
  5. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Oh, sure you can. ;)
     
  6. StarryEyed

    StarryEyed Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    That's a good question. There's no reason why Pulaski wouldn't have filled in just as well. Maybe they wanted to minimize major characters who might distract from the Graves/Data dynamic?

    As much as I like to see non-human, established races aboard starships, I think Suzie Plakson was wasted here. Suzie Plakson has a strong, dynamic personality that was wasted in this role. She has a very strong, flamboyant presense that is much more suitable for portraying Klingons or a Q. She was miscast as Dr. Selar.
     
  7. sbk1234

    sbk1234 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I had heard somewhere that she was considered for a love interest for Worf. I don't know if that was after this episode was filmed or not, but maybe that was why they wanted to bring in a new character.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Here's what I recall from when I met Tracy Torme, who was head writer at the time. Roddenberry was keen on replacing Crusher with a crotchety female version of McCoy, hence Pulaski. Torme had advocated an alien doctor, so he promoted Selar's appearance in an episode to test the waters.

    Then Torme conceptualized a running gag where it becomes obvious that Worf is romantically involved with someone. The seeds of the story were to be planted in several more Season Two episodes, including Worf reporting to sickbay covered in bruises. Eventually it was to be revealed to be a partnership with... Selar!

    Berman and Roddenberry disliked that pairing but loved the combination of actors and thought they had rapport, so K'Ehleyr was born. But it nixxed Suzie Plakson's chance to be a semi-regular on the ship.

    When Muldaur was unavailable for the first three eps of Season Three, some members of the writing staff again suggested a return for Selar, but it was a concern that Plakson was too identifiable, now, as K'Ehleyr, and Roddenberry thought it was still too early to have a regular Vulcan cast member, essentially "replacing" Spock.
     
    Bry_Sinclair likes this.
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    That's really interesting!

    In dramatic, in-universe terms, it's easy to suppose that Pulaski was one of those Chief Medical Officers who don't insist on going on silly away missions; a natural facet of her hypercompetent, no-nonsense personality.

    And in practical terms, it's easy to see why the actress and those vying for keeping her a "temp" would wish to impose such a personality on the character. Makes a guest-appearance-based presence more practical, now doesn't it?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    If I told you the real reason, I'd have to kill you. ;)

    I've wondered this myself. Dr. Selar appears in only one episode but she's mentioned many times, according to both my memory and the more reliable one of Memory Alpha. I kind of wonder if she eventually became...fan bait? You know, a little tidbit put in deliberately for us Trek fans to obsess over? I can't think of any other reason to show her once, but reference her many times without showing her. If they just wanted to reference another doctor, why this one? They could have just used two or three semi-random doctor names when they wanted to reference some doctor besides the CMO.

    As for why send Selar down instead of Pulaski, aside from the casting difficulty mentioned by Therin (which seems like the most likely reason to me), I wonder...

    ...Graves was, to put it mildly, quite the girl watcher, in his own curmudgeonly way. I wonder if they just wanted to give him another good-looking female to ogle? That doesn't really seem like an adequate reason, but the scenes where he tries to ogle Selar are pretty funny, IMO, the dirty old man. ;) And maybe they couldn't send down Troi because they didn't want her to have an opportunity to "sense" how desperate he was to find a way to continue to exist?

    None of these reasons satisfy me entirely, but they are what came to my mind as I considered this problem from a dramatic perspective. Eh, what the hey? The end result is a really cool avatar for moi!
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  11. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester
    The Schizoid Man is one of only two TNG episodes I have never seen - the other being The Outrageous Okona. I think I'll keep it that way, so I'll always have two "new" TNG episodes to watch. :)
     
  12. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    In an interview with the Starlog TNG magazine, published at the start of season 2, Michael Dorn confirmed that the intention was for a romantic relationship to form between Worf and Selar. He says something like he's glad they chose that, rather than going with the "obvious" choice of a Klingon woman (kinda amusing in hindsight!)
     
  13. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester
    A Klingon and a Vulcan would have been great, but Worf seems to go for strongly emotional women - K'Ehleyr, Troi and Dax.
     
  14. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2001
    Location:
    Nuevo México
    I like the idea of Worf/Selar relationship--especially if it lead to a Selar and K'Ehleyr cat fight. :D

    Though, I suppose it'd be costly to film.
     
  15. kythe

    kythe Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    US
    I never realized there was a possibility of a Vulcan/Klingon romance, but I'm glad they didn't go with it. I just think it would be a stretch to have any Vulcan and Klingon characters being romantically compatable. They are such complete opposites in ideals and lifestyles. I do wish we had seen more of Dr. Selar in general since she could have been a very interesting character.

    I prefer how Vulcan/Klingon "mating issues" were handled in the Voyager episode Blood Fever, where ensign Vorick tries to choose B'Elanna Torres as his mate. That's about how I think it would go. As Tuvok put it, she was not a logical choice.
     
  16. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Wow, that's actually close to what I was noodling around in my head. I can't believe it was somewhat true! :eek:

    I for one would have liked both more Selar and the idea of a Worf/Selar romance. I could see him being calmed by her logical ways, and being drawn to her as a sort of emotional anchor. And the idea of a Vulcan actually liking a Klingon is great.

    That does make a lot of sense.

    You may be onto something there... they may have wanted to use him ogling Selar as a sort of distraction from all the planetside goings-on.

    Opposites have been known to attract. ;)
     
  17. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral In Memoriam

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    New York City, the greatest city in the world!
    It's too bad they didn't replace both Pulaski and Crusher with Dr. Selar. The bedside manner of a Vulcan must be quite off-putting! And Worf and Selar as mates? That's pretty much out there, but what potential for conflict! Even more so than the Tom Paris/B'Elanna Torres romance! -- RR
     
  18. Alrik

    Alrik Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Location:
    Alrik is on A deck chair, somewhere....
    Very interesting. I was just reading through, what looks to be, one of the original drafts for the script. There was no mention of Selar, Kate was originaly supposed to be the Doctor on site. Having been AWOL from here for a couple of years, I'm not sure what the policy on linking to other sites is, so to be safe, feel free to send a PM if someone wants to see it, or point me to where the current policy is, and if it is ok, I'll link to it. I will say that it is very different to what ended up on screne.

    JustKate

    Just an FYI, Troi was with the landing party on Graves World.
     
  19. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    ^ Really? Man, and I just saw that episode, too, and yet I have no memory of her down on the planet at all. A mind is a terrible thing to waste...

    So why didn't she sense something? See, they should have listened to me. My memory might not be the best, but I do have excellent instincts for continuity.
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    That's not a good sign that Troi's presence was so forgettable... :lol: