How did viewers respond to the death of Tasha Yar at the time?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Sakonna, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I rewatched the scene on Netflix, and it looked to me like they just used the outline of the 2D-animated blob as a moving split screen line between a shot of the uncovered shuttle and a shot of it coated in black goo. It's definitely not a 3D effect.
     
  2. Prax

    Prax Commodore Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Location:
    Middle West
    I have a little tidbit:

    The last episode that Denise Crosby was filmed in was "Symbiosis." in the closing scene, as Picard and Crusher are exiting the cargo bay, you can see Tasha in the background look up at the camera, smile and enthusiastically wave, like when someone walks behind a news reporter. The director left it in, and now it's forever there.

    This was her last day on set. It's a really nice moment and always makes me smile.
     
  3. XCV330

    XCV330 Captain Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2017
    I think I said something like "Data isn't fully functional now" as soon as she died. I thought it was funny. My folks did not.
     
  4. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Thanks -- I never noticed that!

     
    mickmike likes this.
  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    King Daniel Beyond
    I hid behind a sofa and cried, but I was 6 at the time.
     
    Gary7 likes this.
  6. unimatrix7

    unimatrix7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2001
    Location:
    Australia
    This thread prompted me to revisit this episode for the first time in...well, perhaps a decade.

    In my mind this episode represented the worst example of proto-TNG cheese and pompousness, but on this viewing I was transfixed. I could sense the writers striving for something above what had come before, a level of drama and terror that TNG at is cloying worst wasn't exactly known for.

    Armus was an almost sympathetic character, and his interactions with Picard and Troi were insightful and well written. The final solution grew naturally from these insights and was refreshingly free of technobabble.

    Really good stuff.
     
    Sakonna likes this.
  7. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    I liked this episode a lot, especially the Armus creature. The one thing I hated though, was that weird "splotch" (I assumed it was supposed to be blood, but not sure? Impact mark??) on Tasha's face. So carefully drawn and fake-looking.
     
  8. Diotor

    Diotor Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Location:
    Scotland
    Wasn't really all that bothered, never took to her character. The main crew were really just bedding in for the first series, Yar just never developed to any degree.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Which is why Denise Crosby left, or so the story goes.
     
  10. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    So the producers/writers didn't give her character adequate screen time and development, as part of the "ensemble cast," for one of two reasons: a) there wasn't enough time due to other concerns, or b) her acting range just wasn't good enough to warrant it. From what I've observed, it seems to be the latter. She was much better in "Yesterday's Enterprise."
     
  11. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Yes, the character gains poignance by having died before her time, which is paid off in Data's grief, in Yesterday's Enterprise, and then finally in her small role in All Good Things. It may not have been the original plan, but in retrospect having her die is kind of the whole point of creating her in the first place.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I'm surprised you overlooked the more likely explanation: that she was a female character and so the writers didn't give her as much attention as the male characters, or as the female characters who fell into more traditional "feminine" roles. Tasha Yar was far from the first female character to be marginalized and underdeveloped in a TV series, and far from the last. (Remember how Nichelle Nichols wanted to walk away from Uhura until Martin Luther King, Jr. reportedly convinced her to stay?)
     
  13. Sakonna

    Sakonna Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2015
    Earlier I had missed this other item on Memory Alpha

    and now I'm kind of alarmed! The "I don't know what else was in it", he only knows it was strong enough to dissolve glue?!? But they are going to fully submerge this human in it?!?

    That's like one of the dark bits from The Simpsons. "Action!" Nervous actor dives in. "Cut! Perfect, we got it!" Sizzling skeleton surfaces.
     
  14. Sakonna

    Sakonna Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2015
    Very well said. They did such a good job with subsequently using little moments to demonstrate how permanently haunted everyone was by Tasha's death. Data keeping the hologram of her, Troi talking to Worf about receiving promotions due to the death of a crewmate, Riker invoking Tasha when he is outraged by Worf's plan to commit suicide, the way Picard looks at her the first time in "All Good Things".

    These moments happened rarely, but they were so impactful when they did. It really does keep her death reverberating through the entire series, in a way TV rarely manages.
     
    Longinus and Gary7 like this.
  15. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    The 3 women in the ensemble cast (Yar, Troi, Crusher) were all taking a back seat to the men at that early stage of TNG. The focus was mostly on Picard, Riker, Worf, Data, and Geordi. But of the 3 women, Yar was a fixture on the bridge, there where it "all happens." Troi being a counselor would be on the bridge occasionally, with Crusher even less (sickbay is her workplace). So, it wasn't like Troi and Crusher were upstaging her... but you'd expect Yar would have a bit more going since she's head of security and usually on the bridge. It may be due to her being female, but then again... I think it was one person too many. Especially after Wesley was added on as acting ensign. And that's why Yar was replaced with Worf and no additional ensemble cast member was put in Worf's former tactical role. If someone was, then it would look more like a gender excuse.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But Troi and Crusher also had more to do. '80s writers who had trouble writing for women would have an easier time with women who were in more traditional roles like caregiver or love interest or parent. A tough woman of action would've been harder for them to get a handle on. Also, Troi could be defined as a love interest for Riker and a source of emotional support for Picard, while Crusher could be defined as Wesley's mother and a source of romantic tension for Picard. Tasha didn't have as many relationships to allow male-centered writers to define her.


    Worf's first-season role was not tactical, or he would've been in a gold uniform already. He was the bridge watch officer. His responsibility was to command the bridge in the captain's absence and to fill in at any other station as needed. This is why his usual first-season bridge post was the bank of five rear consoles that were generally only crewed when they needed to be (including the science station, engineering station, environmental station, and mission ops station for monitoring away missions). He only stood in for Yar at tactical when she was absent, just as he stood in for Data at ops, Wesley at conn, etc. That's why he was chosen as Yar's replacement when she died -- not because he was already in a security role or because he was a Klingon "warrior," but because his job was to be every other bridge officer's understudy.

    This was partly because Worf's role at the time was defined largely in terms of being a young officer learning the ropes and thus cross-training in multiple disciplines, and partly just because the character was created as an afterthought, so there weren't any permanent posts that hadn't already been filled by other characters (except chief engineer, which they downplayed as a major role in the first season on the theory that the ship was advanced enough to take care of itself, and just to avoid repeating too many of the same roles as TOS used).
     
  17. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    I think Tasha Yarr's "hook" was the problem. It wasn't that being a tough woman of action was the problem (though the way it was written was), it was the fact she didn't have a dynamic to play off of very well save maybe Data romance. Being the survivor of a Mad max esque hellhole is kind of hard to insert into Star Trek's idealized world for an all-ages franchise.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, the idea was that coming from that background gave her a reason to be extra-devoted to that idealistic set of principles, to strive to live up to them. If they'd approached it right, they could've handled her kind of like O'Brien in "Hard Time" -- struggling to live up to the ideals of that society and feeling guilty for falling short of them. Or they could've had her become too overzealous in promoting them, to the extent that it caused problems. Or they could've had her wrestle with whether to break the Prime Directive with a culture reminiscent of the one she came from.

    Still, basing her character on hero worship for everyone around her was maybe not the greatest idea. It was too much a part of Roddenberry's tendency at that time to be too caught up in his own myth as this great visionary philosopher, instead of just a TV producer trying to make a good show. So he wanted to showcase how improved and perfected 24th-century humanity was, and thus he put in a character whose job was to be a groupie for 24th-century humanity. Which would tend to be kind of limiting. If Roddenberry had been less in love with his own "vision," Tasha might've ended up more like Ro -- hardened by her past and skeptical that things could be as rosy and optimistic as the others believed.

    Tasha was also meant to look up to Picard specifically, to be sort of his protegee, but there were two problems with that. One was that Wesley pretty much crowded her out of that role. The other was that Roddenberry injected an element of sexual tension into that relationship, since he was incapable of thinking of a male-female interaction as anything other than sexual. But that was redundant because of the other Crusher.

    So, yeah, I guess there is merit to the idea that there were too many characters. But the fact that the character who got the least development and was the most expendable was one of the female characters rather than one of the males is telling.
     
    Sakonna and Charles Phipps like this.
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Honestly, if you did remove Worf (which would be an awful shame) the easiest route for her would have been the "Complainer" who is always advocating shooting things.

    :)
     
  20. arch101

    arch101 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 3, 1999
    Location:
    10 miles west of the Universal Hub
    It was pretty shocking at the time- for such an "up" show like Trek, and the new one at that, killing a major character. It kinda showed that nobody was safe and added tension.
    Most people felt Crosby would be the next McClean Stevenson, and they were right.