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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 06:15 PM
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Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs Star Trek the Junk Generation Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #593 New May 14th, 2020 04:53 PM
Repetition of Rant, but with some realizations

A thought occurred to me as I was thinking about why Star Trek the Next Generation was so … poorly written, or just outright bad. It’s more than the fact that original Star Trek was an adventure and police show, and more than Star Trek the Next Generation being a “family psychology” show dressed up as science fiction. But if you look at the bad stories for TNG, you’ll note that the psychological phenomenon presented are things that people tend to get stuck in, or are unsolvable without some internal realization or therapeutic assistance.

That is to say the audience that “connected” with Kirk and Spock were of a adventurous and “let’s solve the problem” mindset. But the audience for TNG were ostensibly mental ward patience; I.e. if you connected with the story, then you connected with the issue presented in the story, and hence TNG became a televised mental hospital of sorts. And I guess still is.

I just couldn’t stomach the thing. From the two hour premier with Troi’s over acting, to Patrick Stewart’s one arm “the flames are too hot” dramatic style, Michael Dorn’s super-sized skull prosthetic to accommodate his hair, to a variety of episodes; i.e. from the premier of two space jelly fish connecting, to the one where Riker fights his dad in “the ultimate development of the martial arts” … it was really hokey and awful. And still is.

So, it occurred to me that as Star Trek in the 70s and 80s was part of a fantasy zeitgeist of wanting a futuristic reality to come sooner and quicker, and thus offered that fantasy as a televised program, that strategy was inverted and applied to The Next Generation; i.e. if you actually liked the show to a point of cultism, then there was probably something wrong with you on a psychological level.

The lighting was bad, the acting was competent, but punctuated with really bad performance moments that, in retrospect, seem intentional. And the stories weren’t about tacking some problem that affected society but dealing with a personal issue codified as aliens, space ships and the rare monster.

I had a “friend” (a real jerk in retrospect) who kept filling me in on what was happening in the Trek-verse a few years later on. I could never figure out why, because where I liked Star Fleet Battles as an extension of the Kirk and Spock era, which to me is what ST will ever always be, I thought I had made it clear that The Next Generation was garbage, ah, but his religious self thought I was clouded in mind or wrapped up in the whole Star Trek universe. Eh, not so, as at the time I was trying to figure out how to make Car Wars and Traveller come to the big screen by way of small proof of concept films. I loved Star Trek, original Star Trek that is, as a TV show, but … I had other things going on, including a first serious GF who, as it turns out, was again the result of my bio-mother’s incessant tinkering with my life (and no, I don’t like revealing that, but it’s part of the zeitgeist of what was going on at the time).

So, getting back to the topic, The Next Generation was made intentionally … “bad” or wonky, or just off kilter to loop in the fan who, in my opinion, was probably seeking solace through fantasy. That VERSE the fan who liked that fantasy because the technological and scientific aspects of Star Trek, or Space 1999, or Battlestar Galactica, or whatever else was on in the 70s and 80s, was not or were not here yet. Home computers were coming, but the old Bell and Howell Apple Clones or the first IBM PCs weren’t very powerful, though interesting to work with (and game on).

Whether it was Tasha Yar, young Crusher and his Doctor Mother, or Patrick Stewart’s just unattractive psychologist (perhaps psychiatrist) authoritative figure, the whole show was a letdown because of its core objective. The objective being to loop in the smart scifi fan who had issues, and hold him there until he was no longer a fan. To me that’s pretty disgusting TV, but when I think of other garbage that’s been put on American air waves, stuff like “In Search Of” which placates to delusional people who believe in Big Foot, Nessie, UFOs (the alien visitor kind, not just any object in the sky), or …. Roller Derby, supposed “mixed martial arts” (street brawling with threadbare rules), or even junk like American Ninja, I just sigh.

Ultimately all TV and film are about behavioral science. The most basic aspects, as per my previous log entries, are educating the audience on criminality through a variety of police shows or stuff related to law enforcement, or family psychology by way of the situation comedy (not always; Seinfeld was a show about miscreants who mostly operated within the law, but were still jerks to begin with … a few other examples).

Me, as a young film student and Star Trek fan, a Star Wars “enthusiast” (I ilked the production values, but thought “the force” was just ludicrous as a concept, especially in a scifi film dressed as fantasy, or a fantasy film dressed as scifi), and a lover of George Pal and Irwin Allen scifi and fantasy, I honestly thought that film and TV were about telling rocking stories for the sake of telling a rocking story. Turns out that’s not the case. So, if on the odd chance that you’re a young film student reading my nonsense, then it would behoove you to get a degree in either criminology or family psychology with a minor in sociology, because those are the things that producers and marketers look at to green light a project.

With digital cameras that’s not so much the case anymore, as anyone can upload anything now (thank goodness). But, it just means that I should have been an engineer and scientist all along, but that’s another story.

So, to keep it on topic, a Traveller TV series or series of movies, would need some kind of sociological component as well as a overall strategy of what you want your audience to take away with them, or, more bluntly, how you want to affect (effect?) society as a whole.

That “dog fight” you want to write about can’t be about Americans fighting Soviets, because we’re trying to get along with the Soviet to change them, so it has to be in WW2 or before. That band of space pirates you want to write about better have a Pirates of Penzance ending, because you don’t want to promote criminality in space; i.e. Serenities psychiatric strategy where the repressive doctors are seen as the bad buys and the free bootin’ crew are living free with a variety of emotional disorders. Or that “war in space film” you want to make better be about fighting nazis or something that’s nazi like, ergo Battlestar Galactica’s psychopathic cylons or the Shadow War in Bab-5 where the ancients are implied to be the religious basis for Earth’s religions, hence “The Shadows” being demonic like.

Mayor Ed Kock made one of the most profound observations on human behavior during a debate on immigration; “People steal.” *laughter* “They do. And so people like to get away with things…” And that’s how mainstream media, Hollywood, sees the rest of the United States, and in fact the rest of the world. Ergo you get fantasy gratification but always with what they categorize as a positive social spin. Hence Star Trek the Next Generation is about address the fan who seeks solace through fantasy, as opposed to fans who were inspired by the fantasy to improve mankind in their own way without getting bogged down in the fantasy as a means to an end; that is you engage in the fantasy because …. I don’t’ know …. Your history teacher is racist, and you’re black, or there’s a local gang outside that’s terrorizing the school and local neighborhood …. Or something like that.

Ergo, it’s why I think films and TV are bullshit. And as per previous log entries, have thought so since circa 1973 or 1974, but pursued a career in TV and film because I figured that was about as close as I was going to get to making the future happen.

Now, HAVING SAID THAT, I truly wanted to make a Car Wars movie and Traveller series of films because I thought the creativity in both was just outstanding and needed to be shared with the rest of the world. So yeah, I did in earnest want to be part of that. Not anymore.

And one of the things that really helped torpedo that was the Cosbys, and Star Trek the Next (shit) Generation, and its approach to its audience by treating them like a gaggle of mental patience, instead of young minds to inspire for the future. Where Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew went after delusional people and psychopaths, everything produced during, for and after the Next Generation was designed to embrace delusional (or even psychopathic) people.

Imagine trying to film “Shadows” or “Diving Intervention” as a major feature film or TV episode. You’d never be able to do it without massive studio interference.

And Star Trek the Next Generation was just a massive insult to the mainstream scifi fan who may or may not have been an original Star Trek fan.

The bottom line is that Gene Roddenberry was a police officer, and put a lot of police tactics up on the small screen, with a lot of other writers who worked on how to deal with someone who is delusional, psychopathic or what not, up on the small screen in the adventures of the starship Enterprise. Star Trek the Next Generation treated its fanbase and audience like mental patience themselves, notably with the drab hospital lighting for all the episodes.

And that’s why not just TV and films are what they are, but why ESPECIALLY Star Trek the Asinine Generation is an absolute shit TV show.

*EDIT*
This is why I thought the TV show was pure shit when it first aired, and why the catholic friend my biological mother assigned me, a person with whom I had no common interest, as a jerk to the core. A real a$$hole with phrases like "Some people think the devil is just a guy with a pitchfork and horns." Oh really Doctor Schuler? Tell me more … I wonder what f---ing god triceratops or stegosaurus believe in before the f_____g meteor wiped them out … and I wonder if that idea helped them survive. What? No stegos nor tris roaming the plains and swamps today? Gee, I wonder why.
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