What are your ideas for "fixing" an episode?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by LadyMondegreen, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. LadyMondegreen

    LadyMondegreen Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2021
    Location:
    A series of tubes.
    Inspired by a conversation I was having with my partner after we watched Force of Nature (my verdict: "yeesh") the other night. It led into us discussing our opinion of the different kinds of bad episodes: salvageable and unsalvageable. A salvageable episode is one that has at least a kernel of a good concept, and you think could have at least gone from bad to neutral with some tweaks, whereas an unsalvageable episode is a horrible hot mess you can't think of any way to improve. In my opinion, Man of the People falls in the latter category, because I didn't enjoy a second of it and couldn't think of anything to change that wouldn't make me hate it. I originally thought Force of Nature was unsalvageable as well, but I was convinced into thinking about it more and ultimately changed my mind.

    The question for this thread: what's an episode from TNG that you think is "salvageable," and what would you change to make it more enjoyable for you? Obviously, this is very subjective, and I'm sure some things I think are good changes would make some people enjoy the episode less...and none of this is to say I think I could do a better job than the writers!

    My idea for "fixing" Force of Nature would be to up the stakes and make it a little more character-focused. Maybe start the episode with the Enterprise coming across some sort of unexplained destruction to a planet in the sector. Perhaps Picard mentions that he's heard about odd contacts to Starfleet and abuse of the recording system coming from a planet in the sector, but he isn't personally aware of the contents. We cut all the stuff with Data's cat (sorry, Data), keep the stuff with Geordi's contest with the other engineer, and kick off the action with Geordi being abducted from the ship by the alien siblings, rather than them appearing on the Enterprise.

    Geordi refuses to listen to their assertions about warp drive partly from pride and partly because...y'know, they kidnapped him -- but as Serova demonstrates her research to him, after he runs out of arguments, he starts to get the horrible feeling that she's right. While on the planet, Geordi also gets to see some of the early effects of the subspace disruptions for himself (and actually see something of the society being threatened), and we get to see firsthand that Serova is very capable and intelligent -- Geordi comes to respect her, they have exchanges of ideas, and we even have a hint of a burgeoning (ugh, I know) romance of the week -- but despite the fact that Serova has clearly also warmed to him, and has gotten over her initial kneejerk dislike based on his being part of Starfleet, she seems oddly reticent.

    We culminate with Geordi learning too late that she's left the planet on a shuttle, and they're forced to watch as she completes the suicide mission she's been secretly planning this whole time -- the ultimate proof of her ideas. And technobabble something something because the warp core breach was an isolated rather than cumulative incident, the rift ends up self-sealing before it can cause damage to the planet -- resolving my massive issue with the fact that someone who would go through such great lengths dedicating her life to exposing the dangers to her planet would then go out and do something that causes massive, possibly-irreparable harm to that planet rather than any other option. It still serves as a vindication of her theories -- and Geordi is able to return to the Enterprise and tell them what he knows, ending the episode on a somber note.

    Of course, this isn't a full fix in that this kind of change can't just be basically dropped after one episode (only referenced a few more times to little consequence) -- the "warp speed limit" is not at all an interesting consequence, and I'd rather at least see some snippets of them investing time and resources into building a better technology -- if they have theories about technology that could reverse the damage before rifts form, they don't even have to worry about the speed limit, which just slows down the show's action if it's implemented. This makes it less of a good climate change metaphor, but as much of an environmentalist as I am, I think that's a fine sacrifice for more story potential.
     
    Qonundrum likes this.
  2. JaxsBrokenHeart

    JaxsBrokenHeart Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Galaxy's Child; drop the romance attempt by Geordi with Leah entirely.

    La Forge knows from the beginning that she was married but still genuinely wants to be friends with her and get the chance to bond over the Enterprise D. Brahms however could still be cold and clearly resistant to even that, with a subtle resentment about how his changes to the engine greatly differ from the research and she reacts especially when he explains that they came from experience in the field .

    Geordi himself could eventually get upset at this and accuse her of being unable to get past his alterations and see his attempts at being friendly while she in turn could find out about his studies of her biography (no holodeck program reveal) and say he's just angry that she doesn't measure up to his idealized idea and fully embrace what he's done.

    And then after the blowup there can be an acknowledgement of their respective issues, with him admitting he invested a lot in the assumption of Leah as a friend with shared interests. She herself admits that what she's really upset about is that the changed Enterprise really is a better functioning vessel than her designs in in many ways, which stings given how much she invested in the ship as one of her crowing achievements.

    Its no masterpiece but it would make for an easier watch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  3. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    "The Naked Now" - remove the juvenile "hipster 80s raunchy comedy" and flesh out the characters from a characterization perspective instead of making the bulk of them horny. (Or was the TOS original so poorly received?) Yes, the 80s were known for raunchy adult movies (from Police Academy and Porky's) but they didn't fit into TNG. This might be why the same season that had TNN also contained "Coming of Age", which surprisingly is as family-friendly as anything could get. Which reminds,

    "Coming of Age" - not much to change, to be fair. The qualifiers to get to that level of testing to get into the Academy are as ridiculously over the top as they are constrained. Nitpick aside, it's already a halfway decent episode.

    I did with TNG wouldn't have gone back to "waRp COrE breEEEeeAAAaaaACH!!1!!!1!!!!!12" every third episode to dredge out the "come on audience, get ramped up cuz we're gonna dieeeeee!" routine. It worked in its first use because a highly set of improbable circumstances had to take place, but in the end either Geordi underestimated the ship and its designers (despite being out in unknowns that they couldn't know about), or the writers used the same old schlock as a Cliched Reused Crutch ((tm), talk about a CRC error, LOL...)

    Yeah, the warp speed limited to warp 5.5mph was lame, especially as they puked up exposition saying how everyone will abide - oh, except for the Romulans as a token throwaway and then not be bothered cuz it's the end of the episode. :brickwall: DS9 should have explored that, given TNG does a Brady Bunch every week where all is well at the end.

    The metaphor didn't need to be so... blunt... and did her suicide really accomplish anything, apart from the need to ramp up supplies of space valium? It's not impossible to tell an allegory with some tact and deftness. Heck, the story with the silicon crystal had people terraforming a planet - which causes environmental change (albeit positive). At least until the critter came and destroyed it, which then had Picard trying to tap on the glass in a code that said crystal entity would hopefully figure out (in a series of far more contrived events that don't always feel authentic...) On the other hand, using warp speed as a cause does up the ante in unique ways.

    "Ethics" too could have been honed down, while still letting crusher win and not drop the ball at the tail end with the cheesy "redundant brain stem" garbage to ensure the schmaltz was laid on extra-thick. Both doctors had legitmately valid points, the episode preferred to steamroller Crusher at the expense of the other doctor, glossing over way too much, and it got worse with each scene and one scene in the middle is where the tailspin truly begins. Heck, keeping "Ethics" focused solely on Worf may have been the better choice. That suicide subplot is extremely strong on its own, but adding in a debate on medical issues was too condensed and squeezed in too poorly. To the point it made Picard's pompousness in "The Neutral Zone" a walk through the posies by comparison. IMHO, YMMV.

    "Contagion" has a unique little problem, which it tried to resolve by ignoring the fact software can't run of its own accord if the hardware doesn't know what to go do with it. (The probe scan probably determined the hardware and found it was compatible (like a C++, COBOL, or - even worse - a QBASIC developer), then dispatched the program. Romulan technology is not based on the Federation's to the point they could read log files, with the malware automagically adjusting between C++ vs COBOL, never mind the underlying Motorola 68020 vs Intel 80386 processor. It's like sending your friend who has an Android your iPhone app and not wondering why it doesn't do anything. Two different sets of hardware as well as software.) Still, so much of the story is done right that the little nitpicks aren't worth it. But I mentioned them anyway. Why? :shrug:Cuz I'm pedantic. :razz::biggrin:
     
  4. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Yesterday's Enterprise, while not a bad episode, could certainly do with removing the Yar/Castillo romance. It only serves to yet again highlight the fact that the writers couldn't even have a good story idea for one of their female characters, even one that had been dead for nearly 2 & a half years, without shoehorning in a cheesy romance of the week. You're bringing her back from the dead... for that?

    Take that screen time & grow the Guinan/Yar aspect. She's supposed to be dead. Make THAT Yar's central theme. It's WAAAAY more interesting. Blow off Castillo altogether, & make Captain Garrett the featured guest actor. I was way more interested in her anyhow, & she got short changed imho. It's another Enterprise captain for god sake! Make most of her crew dead, & more die when she does, making the story seem hopeless, & her death really have some weight. (like the cliffhanger of a two-parter)

    THEN let Yar herself take command & guide it back to its fate. That's the not so "empty" death the character deserves imho. As she leaves for the last time, have proper goodbyes. Picard could call her captain, for god sake. It would be epic, cooler than Worf's all hands departure in Redemption. Maybe Yar has to take some of the Enterprise crew with her. That right there could be one hell of a two-parter imho
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  5. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Even though the OP has some good ideas, I'm still of the opinion that there's no way to save or fix "Force of Nature".
    No matter what you improve on the episode, the allegory for climate change will always be clumsy, at best, complete tone deaf at worst.
    Why? Because it was always going to be ignored by the later episodes and shows. The whole "subspace damage" and "warp speed" BS did not only, theoretically, throw a wrench into the basic story engine of the whole franchise, but it also offered no new or interesting scenarios or possibilities.It was simply more meaningless technobabble. We were never going to see any consequences or after effects, and that effectively kills the allegory before it was even born.
    Yes the idea that at the end of the episode they develop new technologies does mitigate the whole idiocy, and it would kinda fit the theme of Star Trek that technology can help us. But the better idea, in my opinion is still just not to make that episode.
    In all seriousness, in my opinion, the only TNG episode that I think was even worse in it's allegory was "Th Outcast" :rolleyes: And no I'm not even gonna try to polish that turd.


    Ha, that's similar to what I was just about to write, only with a few differences:

    I'd make Leah very open and personable, and fascinated by the changes that Geordie made, because they confirm a few of her own theories and will allow her to advance her development of the next generation of warp engines much faster than she had hoped. But she'd grow cold every-time Geordie tries to make personal advances. He'd still get upset and complain to Guinan and she'd still discover his hologram of him and get upset.
    They'd reconcile over their attempts to save the Enterprise and the cosmozoan that has attached to it. And finally Leah tells Geordie that she's married...to another woman.
    I'm just not sure how to stretch that to a whole episode...
     
    Qonundrum likes this.
  6. LadyMondegreen

    LadyMondegreen Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2021
    Location:
    A series of tubes.
    Fair! It would never have been one of my favorite episodes no matter what was done to it, but I think the changes I'm envisioning would have at least stopped me from groaning audibly throughout the entirety of the episode. I think that episodes that start out with "how can we make an allegory for [social issue]" tend to come out poorly, and allegories only work in the context of a story you care about and characters you can connect to -- as well as when whatever situation is facilitating the allegory has actual stakes.
     
    Orphalesion likes this.
  7. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    I agree with that, it has to connect with the characters, and TNG was too often a "topic", "allegory" or "science fiction concept" show with the characters just there to move the plot along. That's in my eyes something that modern trek does a lot better (or at least tries to do better)
    And as I said, your ideas would have made an awful episode better.
    The new technologies idea could have even had some use beyond the episode, maybe that could have served as an "excuse" to upgrade the Enterprise D for the movies, so they wouldn't have to destroy it in Generations.
     
  8. LadyMondegreen

    LadyMondegreen Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2021
    Location:
    A series of tubes.
    I've not gotten into modern Trek yet -- I've seen all of TOS, I'm almost finished with my first TNG watch-through, and I'm on season 2 of DS9. I love a lot of the characters on TNG (for a lot of episodes, the only thing that makes me willing to watch is their interactions) but man, are they often not well-served by the plot. One general complaint I have about the series is that there will often be a story where the character whose arc or role is most relevant is either barely or not at all involved -- like how Worf (the security officer!!) and Data (whose love of solving mysteries has been well-established) were only tangentially involved in Suspicions.
     
  9. JaxsBrokenHeart

    JaxsBrokenHeart Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Homeward

    Boraal II is not doomed to planetary destruction, but in light of recent treaties, is going to the Cardassian Union. Nikolai strongly protests this, noting that the latter has no formal Prime Directive and pointing to the recent history of the Occupation as what might happen to them. At best their culture would be disturbed and at worst they could potentially find themselves enslaved no matter what the Cardassians say.

    Picard sympathizes, but notes that any potential transportation would also disturb their culture just as much and any significant moves in regards to the planet could risk conflict with the Cardassians when the treaty is already unsteady. Thus when Nikolai does transport the group onboard the Enterprise holodeck Picard does furiously say that his move may have much bigger consequences than just for the Boraalians.

    Essentially the "Prime Directive states we must let them die" nonsense is discarded entirely with a less definitive fate for the native villagers; thus giving both sides fair beliefs. Picard would have a point in Rozhenko not seeing the big picture with what he did for people that possibly would have been ignored by the Cardassians while he can state that he couldn't take the chance of letting the people he's grown to love suffer the same fate as the Bajorans.
     
  10. Oddish

    Oddish Commodore Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    When the Bough Breaks: This one is brutally, painfully simple... abandon the smarmy "win-win" ending. The Aldeans' infertility is permanent and impossible to cure. Once the children are retrieved, Radue coldly tells Picard that he will no longer share their knowledge: it will die with them. He orders the Enterprise to leave at once. As the ship is leaving orbit, the Aldeans regain control of their equipment and the planet shimmers into invisibility, never to be seen again.
     
  11. Oddish

    Oddish Commodore Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    That episode did make us look hard at the trolley problem. Picard was faced with the choice of forcing Alcar to de-link with Troi and try to negotiate the treaty with his negative emotions intact (saving her but condemning thousands of faceless innocents to death) OR letting him continue (causing Troi's death but saving the people in question). The episode didn't want him to face the consequences of the choice he made (save Troi)... but what if it had?

    Not calling that a fix, but it's certainly an intriguing thought on how much more appalling MotP could have been.
     
    Methuselah Flint likes this.
  12. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    I just wish they had saved the storyline for the TOS crew, made it the sacrifice that cemented peace with the Klingons, and ended up with a transporter/technobabbly way that the TOS crew, rather than death, were given a new lease on life in the 24th Century. Then launched a series of cinematic movies that incorporated, as needed, any combinations from all of the current Trek shows, now including the TOS cast as contemporaries. The buddy-combos available become absolutely amazing, hilarious and exhilarating, as needed.
     
    Methuselah Flint likes this.
  13. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Wow, yeah you're creating a whole new take on the franchise, & I like it, but it's way more ambitious than they were being with this episode
     
  14. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    The story thread itself is too ambitious for a single episode, not a 2 parter, not a movie, not a special event... just a regular episode..... this wasn't just the return of Yar, it was an alternate universe story, a dystopian/war future story AND the demise of a past Enterprise. By using the concept for this episode, they absolutely wasted all of its potential, IMO.
     
    Mojochi likes this.
  15. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2020
    Well, that would certainly...make it more depressing.
     
  16. Oddish

    Oddish Commodore Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Indubitably. But, it would solve a few of the episode's inherent problems.
    1. It would explain why the Federation never sees any Aldean technology or knowledge.
    2. It would prevent Radue's bizarre character inversion. He goes from arrogant kidnapper to broken man to "Oh I'm so eager to lead my people into a new era" in the original... made me wanna puke.
    3. It would have much more gravitas. Way I envision it, Harry (the kid, not the Voyager ensign) keeps his dolphin. He and his dad are together, watching out the back as Enterprise leaves orbit and Aldea shimmers out of sight. Then, pan in on the dolphin and end it there. Way better than Picard getting a Tribble stuck to his back.

    EDIT: 4. As it was, Picard probably risked Data and Riker's lives unnecessarily. With the ability to restore the Aldeans' fertility and repair the planet's ozone layer, all he really would have had to do was offer to do so, in return for returning the Enterprise kids. Taking away that ability would have made the risk to Data and Riker make sense.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  17. JaxsBrokenHeart

    JaxsBrokenHeart Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    First Contact

    Cut the "make love to an alien" scene entirely.

    Give that time to flesh out Krola a bit more, perhaps with an overall shift towards making him an advocate towards advancements and progress on Malcor III in many ways except space exploration. Tone down the genericisms about sticking to their traditional ways and present him more as someone believing that Malcornian society has reached a point of real stability and likely long term improvement with its social programs and domestic policy that he views as not worth risking.

    The world isn't a utopia, but it is experiencing its most prosperous era yet. Thus he initially views Yale's warp engine as a waste of resources that could have contributed to that aforementioned progress, and once contact is made, then he sees the hard earned status they've finally achieved is in danger of being lost overnight.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
  18. Oddish

    Oddish Commodore Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Blechhh! Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. A dreadful moment in a superb episode.
     
  19. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2019
    I don't believe when the bough breaks can be fixed. There is no way that kidnapping 9 children is going to usher in a new generation of people on an entire planet. Just a ridiculous concept.
     
  20. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Location:
    Yeoman Rand's Quarters
    Contagion - One of my favorite episodes but I despise the ending. Yeah, let's destroy the tricorder that contains more information about the Iconians than anybody else has ever been able to compile. Just stupid.

    Same applies to Booby Trap. They find an intact 1000 year old Promelian Battle Cruiser and Picard's solution (the same Picard who reveres Archaeology and History) is to destroy it. There should have been far better options to consider.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
    Phoenix219 likes this.