Opinions on best Trek writers?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by eschaton, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

    Oct 2, 2017
    I've been curious as to what other people's opinions are on the best writers in the Trek canon (shows/movies only).

    Personally, I've always been surprised at how little credit Peter Allan Fields gets. On TNG, he only worked on three episodes. He managed to write a great Lwaxana episode (Half a Life) and a great Alexander/Lwaxana episode (Cost of Living). Then he capped off his TNG writing with work on the teleplay of The Inner Light, probably the single best episode of the series.

    His ten episodes of DS9 were incredible too. He worked on most of the great episodes for Seasons 1 and 2, including Progress, Duet, and Necessary Evil. His other early episodes (Dax, The Circle, Blood Oath, and Crossover) were all great as well. He left the writing staff, but still did three episodes - For The Uniform (his only mistep, insofar as it's well written but Sisko is out of character), The Dogs of War, and, of course, In The Pale Moonlight.

    While someone like Ronald D. Moore was certainly involved with a lot more good to great episodes (considering how much more he wrote for Trek) I don't think anyone else pound for pound was involved in so many great episodes and so few stinkers.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    May 12, 2004
    Lancaster, PA
    Maybe not the best, but I think Jean Lisette Aroeste gets overlooked sometimes. She wrote two of the best third-season TOS episodes: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" and "All Our Yesterdays."

    A shame that those remain her only two credits.
  3. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 25, 2017
    I'm partial to Maurice Hurley in the early TNG era myself. Though its very difficult as many of the best Star Trek episodes like "Yesterday's Enterprise" are collaborations.
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  4. 1001001

    1001001 Boorish Jackass Moderator

    Nov 3, 2001
    Russia Occupied America
    Brannon Braga.
  5. captainkirk

    captainkirk Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 9, 2008
    South Africa
    The thing with Braga is that he did actually write some of the best Trek stories (though often in collaboration). For every Threshold and Generations, there is a Timeless and First Contact.
    Vger23 likes this.
  6. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 21, 2017
    I so agree with this and have wanted to give him credit for awhile now but for whatever reason I would forget or who knows what and I didn't. Also as staff writer you got t asume he input into other episodes as well were he doesn't have a writers credit.

    I would like to add Rene Echeveriia I think is the name. He always seemed to write some of the more emotional episodes were you see real character vunerability.

    Also lets not forget that Michael Pillar was a very good writer as well which doesn't always get noticed because people see him as the head writer of entire writing staffs.

  7. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 19, 2013
    Bad Thoughts
    I'm finding that choosing who is the best writer is near impossible as I get more into the details about how stories are broken and scripts made. It's possible that every story has had significant contributions from uncredited staff writers, even large chunks of the final dialogue.

    Among those already mention, I would throw in Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Bryan Fuller. Wolfe seems to have done a great job of bringing world-building elements into dramatic episodes. All the really great episodes that moved the Dominion story along are co-credited to him, and he is specifically credited for developing the key concepts of the Dominion. Fuller (who may be persona non grata for some after Discovery) wrote the strongest episodes of Voyager,IMO. They had sci-f/horror hooks, perhaps not as innovative as Braga's, but delivered strong emotional content with them. His Voyager episodes are among the best, almost the only reason I watch the series.
  8. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 21, 2017
    How have we gotten this far without mentioning Gene Coon, which was a oversight on my part as well. From what I understand he was maybe the key figure for "TOS" being so great to begin with who also had a healthy assist from D.C Fontana and Robert Justman though he wasn't a writer.

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  9. King Bob!

    King Bob! Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    Gene Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana.
  10. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 1, 2014
    Suomi Finland
    These days I try not to focus on who has written what episode so there's no rivalry between different writers and/or episodes.
  11. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 18, 2017
    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    Many writers wrote for the show and each added something. Even in the worst Trek episodes, there's always at least one scene or line that makes up for being less than the sum of the story's parts.

    My particular faves include, but are not limited to the following:

    D C Fontana
    Margaret Armen
    Gene Roddenberry
    Gene Coon
    Norman Spinrad
    S Bar-David
    Paul Schneider
    Jerome Bibxby
    Joseph Pevney
    Jean Lisette Aroeste
    John Meredyth Lucas

    Ronald D Moore
    Branan Braga
    Ira Stephen Behr
    Peter Allen Fields
    Toni Marberry & Jack TreviƱo
    Bryan Fuller
    Robert Sabaroff
    Robert Hewitt Wolfe
    Tom Benko
  12. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 29, 2008
    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    That's good, because I feel like jealousy over which ones of them someone named JesterFace on the Internet thinks is best might result in multiple homicides.

    Little full of ourselves, are we? ;)

    (Relax. I knew what you meant - just picking on you a little about how you phrased it. :D)
  13. Mattadd

    Mattadd Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 19, 2017
    I didn't realize Peter Allan Fields was the writer on so many great episodes. I might have to say he's my favourite now. Although I have one quibble with you, I loved For the Uniform and thought Sisko was perfectly in character, I would say Dax is his misstep.
  14. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 1, 2014
    Suomi Finland
    Language barrier is a bitch. :)
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  15. Farscape One

    Farscape One Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 2, 2017
    D.C. Fontana... one of the true architects of the franchise. I sometimes think of her as 'Madame Vulcan' for her contributions. And since Vulcan is a founding member of the Federation, it's only appropriate that she be considered a founding member of the STAR TREK franchise.

    Gene L. Coon... he, along with Fontana, laid so much groundwork to our universe.

    Michael Piller... I think he doesn't get enough credit. He had a great eye for talent and was a nurturing person for some of the best writers of TNG and DS9.

    Ronald D. Moore... great body of work. He brought a sense of realism to his scripts.

    Ira Steven Behr... a big reason why DS9 was as great as it was.

    Rene Echevarria... his episodes had a lot of emotion to them.

    Joe Menosky... I love how he brings language and mythology into his scripts.

    Brannon Braga... I have to give him credit for his high concepts and running with them, even though a number of them don't work out. Some of his best episodes are when he writes with Menosky.

    Peter Allan Fields... virtually all his episodes are gold. He has the remarkable ability of capturing characters thoughts and inner feelings and bringing them out.

    Robert Hewitt Wolfe... tremendous world builder. He laid a lot of the foundations of what made DS9 great.

    Kenneth Biller... I think his episodes had the most fun in spirit, particularly ones like "MANEUVERS" and "WORST CASE SCENARIO".

    Bryan Fuller... very imaginative, storybook driven scripts. Very similar to how Braga works, but more in the fantasy realm.

    Manny Coto... made ENTERPRISE great during his tenure. He should have been on board from the beginning.

    Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens... only on during season 4 of ENTERPRISE, but along with Coto, should have been there at the beginning.
  16. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 29, 2008
    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    I know native speakers that would make the same mistake or worse, so no worries. :)
  17. sbk1234

    sbk1234 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 24, 2006
    Los Angeles
    David Gerrold is the only Star Trek writer I sort of know, and I've read a lot more of his work than anyone else, so I'll say him.
  18. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

    Jul 12, 2001
    Victoria, Australia
    Michael Taylor has written a number of my favourite episodes, without getting much kudos.

    There are the obvious ones like The Visitor, Bride of Chaotica and In the Pale Moonlight, but then there are more understated gems like Someone to Watch Over Me and Counterpoint.
    Greg Cox likes this.
  19. Flork

    Flork Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Oct 23, 2017
    Eh, I've never understood the big deal about his campy episodes, though he sure has milked his association with Star Trek for all it's worth. I followed him on social media for a while but stopped. For a guy who harps about diversity and Star Trek so much, he had no patience for people who didn't slavishly agree with him.

    My favorite writers are from the original series, though. The shows were just more eloquent -- less technobabble, more story.
  20. sumbuddyx

    sumbuddyx Captain Captain

    Nov 14, 2014
    There's so many who've made my favourite episodes. I love what Joe Menosky did with Latent Image and Brannon Braga with Living Witness. RDM and Mike Sussman both wrote a bunch of my faves as well but I also have really loved how on audio commentaries they describe the writing process and why something is the way it is and are honest about whether something works or not.