Your Opinion: Is "Star Trek" Better or Worse Without Gene Roddenberry?

Is "Star Trek" Better or Worse Without Gene Roddenberry?


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I don't know if Roddenberry himself was a good influence on TNG after getting it started, the series got way better once Michael Piller took over. But the idea of staying true to 'Gene's vision of Star Trek' (ie. the vision of the future created by the TOS team of Roddenberry, Gene Coon, Dorothy Fontana etc.) has benefitted the franchise a lot. Writers found Roddenberry's rules about not having interpersonal conflict and so on frustrating, but they made TNG into what it was, something that was different to anything else on TV. On DS9 Ira Behr pushed against Berman's determination to stay true to Roddenberry's vision, and I think having to be creative within those limitations is a big part of why that series is so good.

So I think Star Trek is generally better with the ideas, restrictions, optimism and humanist philosophy attributed to Roddenberry, and when it strays too far from them it loses some of its identity.
 
So, humans should not mourn in the future then?

That was all you walked away from the post with? No one has said that every single idea Roddenberry had, was a good one. Just that generally Trek is better when it doesn't stray too far. Plus. the "humans shouldn't mourn death" thing was from the drug-addled mind of 80's Roddenberry.

No one bats a thousand.
 
That was all you walked away from the post with? No one has said that every single idea Roddenberry had, was a good one. Just that generally Trek is better when it doesn't stray too far. Plus. the "humans shouldn't mourn death" thing was from the drug-addled mind of 80's Roddenberry.

No one bats a thousand.
Hardly.

It was genuine curious question of what should be followed and should not be followed.

I don't see the straying from optimism in current Trek as others do, but that one point always stuck out to me with TNG, among other odd points in humanity. So, again, where's the line? If we say TNG is the high point of the Roddenberry vision, or something that makes it distinct, but then we are selective in its removal then I don't follow.

TOS is always the high point of Trek to me, so I don't disagree with Roddenberry there. I disagree strongly in TNG and TMP.
 
TOS is always the high point of Trek to me, so I don't disagree with Roddenberry there. I disagree strongly in TNG and TMP.

Star Trek is my Trek, the rest are variously successful reinterpretations. TNG tried to be something different, and it did stick out because of it. Some of the ideas were wild and out there. But they got put out there. Only each individual can decide what worked and what didn't.

The Trek we get now, is just built on TNG nostalgia by people who remember that show, and now work in the entertainment industry.

PS... Star Trek: The Motion Picture rules!!!
 
This discussion still confuses me. Because without Roddenberry there would be no Star Trek, so there would be no BBS Forum and this discussion would never happen.
My favorite Treks are TOS and DS9. But without Roddenberry there also would be no DS9 even when it was created after his death.. Maybe people would have created similar sience fiction shows, idk.
Anyway, I don't see much sense in this discussion. No matter if you like Roddenberry or not.
Or do I get something wrong? :shrug:

Making TV shows or movies is a cooperative effort. Many people are vital and need to be doing good work. Yes, Roddenberry was vital, but so were Gene Coon and any number of other people.
It doesn't mean that Roddenberry or any of the others never make mistakes either.
 
Gene Roddenberry was great for TOS. Even okay when he was doing the Convention Circuit. As soon as he started giving lectures at Universities, that's when things changed. That's when Gene's Vision took on a life of its own. From that point on, he was more of a hindrance than a help. Why? Because he cared more about The Vision than the actual movies or shows. To the point where he began to say, "This and this doesn't happen in Star Trek!" and that led to having constant fights with Harve Bennett, who watched all 79 episodes of TOS to prepare for working on TWOK. (I took inspiration from Harve Bennett there, and re-watched all 178 episodes of TNG before heading into Picard. What he did is where I got the idea from.) Whenever Gene said, "This never happened in Star Trek! The 23rd Century isn't like that!," Harve Bennett would point to examples directly from TOS and say, "Yes it did! Yes it was!" The fights with Harve Bennett and him constantly bringing up TOS to defend his creative choices in TWOK (and afterwards) are what probably led to Gene Roddenberry telling new writers on TNG not to look at TOS. He didn't want them fighting back with examples from that series when he proclaimed, "This is what Star Trek must be!"

Four years ago, I went into detail about when The Change took place by listening to what Gene Roddenberry said himself during the 1970s.

https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/let’s-talk-about-the-destruction-of-trek-utopia….303193/page-37#post-13318352
 
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Gene had ideas but seemed best when working with others that wouldn't let excesses take over. Which can be disappointing at times, but the end result being better. The most infamous one is regarding a TNG character, per DC Fontana's compelling Gene not to do it. Another was one of his more famous rants, in having the Kirk movie go back to save JFK. Would Star Trek IV have worked better with Gene's well-trotted idea of having the crew go back in time to save JFK? Probably not; eschewing that in favor of hauling back some whales bypasses some temporal deviations in changing the future and is more in line with "Tomorrow is Yesterday" as Spock was pointing out how the person they brought on board didn't significantly contribute to Earth history. Can't say that about JFK... unless Gene would have him saved, but then they do the time loop again to put things back. Trek is not our universe, it's its own, but even in Trek's universe, changing an aspect will still have potential repercussions. Even TNG's finale of "All Good Things..." shows a great example of how one big event can dramatically change Earth history. Why not go back in time and prevent a volcano erupting? Or prevent the asteroid from killing the dinosaurs just to see an idea of how things will change... plus, I wanna see a brontosaurus develop a racecar. That'd be cool. Or not...
 
This is NOT a knock on DS9, I like DS9, but no. DS9 is NOT what Gene Roddenberry would've wanted. Especially in the later seasons. He objected to the TOS Movies being too militaristic. To the point where he contacted his lawyer and wanted 15 minutes of the more militaristic moments of TUC to be cut. He died two days later. But the point is: there's no way he would've been onboard with the Dominion War. None.

You like DS9 too, so you want it to be something Gene would've approved of, but it isn't. If you like any TOS Movie after TMP, you like something Gene didn't approve of. If you like DS9, you like something Gene wouldn't have approved of.

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Of course, his lack of approval of the TOS Movies is gutted by consenting to be credited as an Executive Consultant. If he was really serious about stopping Star Trek from going in a direction he didn't like, he would've refused to be an Executive Consultant and it would've gone to court, so Paramount could fight for the ability to make Star Trek without him being involved. I think there was a clause in his contract that he couldn't be let go completely, so he could've used that as leverage if he wanted. But then that would've made him look like The Bad Guy to a lot of Trekkies in the '80s, since he spent the '70s telling them he wanted to bring Star Trek back and now he'd be the one holding things up.

I'm actually not that big a fan of DS9 tbh. The Dominion War made it slightly more interesting but the earlier seasons were such a drag. The Bajoran religion/politics episodes were amongst the worst in the whole of Trek imo.
 
Star Trek was definitely better under Gene Roddenberry.

It was slightly worse under an aged up, slightly out of touch older Roddenberry.

However all things considered, Trek is actually one of the few examples where a successful handover of the ownership actually happened. I say this despite not really liking the output of the last 1,5 decades, which IMO strayed too far away from Roddenberry's "vision". But which consistently makes a "return", in SNW and partially in other properties.
Most often franchisees die or become "frozen" once the original minds die. Trek, like otherwise only comics and few franchisees like James Bond, managed to carry on and still produce "new" output.
 
OK, let me offer a preface to this right away - this thread is not being created, to tarnish Gene personally, insult his family, or pick on those who respect him. Having said that, I am trying to present an alternate side to the argument that I've often heard from "Star Trek" fans, about the franchise's creator being "super-brilliant", "a revolutionary", "a genius"...take your pick.

Gene died in October of 1991. I was 11 years old then, so I never got to meet him. But I've read a bit about his life, and I've seen some interviews with his son Rod and the "TNG" cast. Most are pretty complimentary, and seeing as they were either related or worked closely with him, I can understand some of the praise. But beyond his career as a writer, I really think Gene had some deep personal problems. He insisted that no character in "Star Trek" should ever have any addictions, yet he smoked, drank, and used cocaine on a regular basis. He also stepped out on his wife Majel repeatedly, carrying on an extended affair with his executive assistant Susan Sackett, from 1975 until his death.

Now, I don't mention these things to paint him as a monster - we all have things that we fight against, and some of them are so bad that we often don't want anyone else to know about them. But for someone like Gene, with all his flaws, to somehow concoct a story about flawless or perfect people, living in a future utopia where we have magically evolved to the point that all our controversial differences just evaporate? It might make for interesting fiction, but in reality I just don't see it happening. For me, some of the best "Trek" episodes and movies were where the writers and characters dared to branch out, beyond that initial philosophy. For example, there's an episode of "Voyager" where B'Elanna Torres meets her dead father, in the Klingon afterlife. Given Gene's adamant stance regarding humanism, I strongly doubt he would've approved that story being made. But as a viewer, I think it was very brave and creative, taking a risk to steer the franchise in a new direction.

So, what do you all think? Do you like Gene's "perfect people" approach? Do you hate it, or are you somewhere in between? Thanks for reading.

Not really. Like you, I prefer it when Trek writers branch away from the perfect humans approach or the "Federation is perfect" setting. For me, it makes foe more interesting stories.

Hmmm . . . perhaps I do prefer the franchise without Roddenberry. Although I do appreciate him creating it in the first place.
 
Star Trek was definitely better under Gene Roddenberry.

It was slightly worse under an aged up, slightly out of touch older Roddenberry.
Even when Star Trek was current with a fan base desperately trying to save it, Gene was more than happy to use the last episode of Season 2, 'Assignment: Earth', as a backdoor pilot for an entirely new show that has about as much to do with Star Trek as the Sapranos does with Ted Lasso. This could have been the last filmed production of Star Trek and the episode had nothing to do with Star Trek or it's characters. That was Star Trek under Gene.
 
It's true that Kirk and the Enterprise were not the primary characters in Assignment Earth. But sometimes that happens, factors beyond your control leave you with very few choices. I still like the episode.
 
Even when Star Trek was current with a fan base desperately trying to save it, Gene was more than happy to use the last episode of Season 2, 'Assignment: Earth', as a backdoor pilot for an entirely new show that has about as much to do with Star Trek as the Sapranos does with Ted Lasso. This could have been the last filmed production of Star Trek and the episode had nothing to do with Star Trek or it's characters. That was Star Trek under Gene.
Star Trek is a business first and entertainment second.
 
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