Redo Star Trek: TNG so it makes sense (or at least is less stupid)

I happened to see a bit of a TNG rerun last night: it was “Lonely Among Us,” the first-season effort in which Picard gets possessed by an alien presence and Data discovers Sherlock Holmes. It was, of course, awful, redeemed only by the fact that, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, and Denise Crosby sure were purty. (There’s a scene in which Crosby, dressed in the requisite catsuit, struts down the bridge ramp to deliver a message that almost makes up for the fact that they failed to kill Riker in this episode despite several obvious opportunities.)

There’s a lot of odd things in this episode. For instance, fairly early on, the ship, while on a fairly important diplmatic mission, pretty much breaks down; both propulsion & communications are online. In the next scene, Picard is getting briefed on the situation–by the ASSISTANT chief engineer. Why, I wondered, isn’t the chief engineer doing this? For that matter, why wasn’t the chief engineer one of the main cast from the get-go?

All of which brings me to the thread topic: redoing the TNG Bible. While you can’t change the basic premise or attitude of the show–no turning it into BSG or Firefly–you can tweak the elements that exist to make the show more coherent, or less annoying. If you wish, you can specify that you’re making changes for a specific season. You can make one and only one major character addition/deletion in a given season; in other words, you can get rid of Troi OR Wesley from the get go, but not Troi AND Wesley. But you can shuffle people around to different positions.

I’ll start with a few softballs:

  1. Geordi’s chief engineer from Day One. Tasha’s helm officer, and a lieutenant commander; she’s second officer, because Starfleet’s iffy about putting an android so close to the center seat. Worf’s chief of security. Troi is still around, but not nearly as central; as ship’s counselor she explicitly works for Beverly Crusher, and her office is in sickbay.

  2. Written into the bible: Worf must be SHOWN, not merely said, to be a bad-ass. If there’s a hand-to-hand fight, he always either wins or goes down under a mass of bodies, and it takes four or five big guys to do it. And his losing a fight is RARE. The most likely end to someone pointing a phaser at him is that Worf will take away the phaser and make the person eat it.

Anybody else?

  1. Tasha Yar dies in the pilot. In the teaser of the pilot.


  3. Because Beverley Crusher finally came to grips with her sexuality and she and Deanna Troi are lovers. In fact, every episode will contain at least one scene of the two engaged in some sort of sexual activity.

That didn’t take long. :wink:

Professor Moriarty does indeed emerge from the holodeck to take up life in ST:TNG’s century. Because he’s a mathematical genius, he should be able to assume some sort of vital position on board the Enterprise which makes use of his abilities.

This is just because I like the actor who played him, and wanted to see him in more episodes.

Yes, but I gave a justification for it! :smiley:
OK, if we must…4a. Wesley remains a tertiary character, referred to but never seen until Season 2, when he gets the “Chuck Cunningham” treatment.

Sorry, that’s TWO character deletions. You have to pick one. :smiley:

I’d get rid of Wesley myself, as I don’t really want kids on the ship. I could never imagine how anyone was willing to keep their children onboard after they saw that other Galaxy-class ship explode IN THE FIRST GODDAMN SEASON. As soon as word of that got around, Picard would have been flooded with [del]requests[/del] demands for transfers; and if he’d told people he couldn’t possibly accommodate 144 such requests all at once and they’d have to wait their turn, he’d have been flooded with resignations.

Anyway (pretending that 5 is serious), I think if you’re going to have Crusher & Yar be lovers, you need a straight female somewhere for balance. Keep Yar.

  1. No holodeck at least not as a central plot devise. OK I’ll let in the one where they talk about Barkley’s holodeck addiction. Troy was very fetching in that one as I recall…

The tactical officer who fires phasers and photon torpedoes as well as controlling the shields during battle gets a chair, so a minor hit to the Enterprise doesn’t send him flying across the bridge and leave the ship helpless.

My brother and I used to watch this all the time, bit I saw a little over the weekend, and Lordy, this show doesn’t hold up well today. If I was in charge…

More of a hard sci-fi approach. Not all the way, it’s still OK to have magic technology, but things not under the influence of such magic should behave as normal.

Really, truly alien aliens. The technology is now available, there is no need for ANY species to be people with rubber on their heads. We could also junk that idiotic panspermia idea they threw in as pure fanwank.

The ship is presented (in the voice over of all places) as a science/exploration vessel, complete with academics and their dependents. A clearly shown mission of exploration with occasional sidetracks into diplomacty and warfare would be nice. Less episodes that could be summarized as: “We were mapping a nebula, then some crazy shit involving Romulans happened.” Unless we want to change it to diplomacy, or warfare.

Less ship- and federation-threatening peril. It’s OK to have some episodes where the ship is doing some experiment and people just hang around shooting the breeze and doing their jobs.

NO TIME TRAVEL! No time loops, alternate realities, or anything like that either. It’s overdone in sci-fi anyway and really takes away from the tension and continuity of a long running series that does not have time travel as it’s main focus.

Either give a decent explanation for empathic/psychic (whatever) powers and use that consistently or just dump the whole thing. I prefer the latter.

Much fewer plot resolutions that revolve around exotic particles. It’s one thing for the engineer to come up with a new way to use the equipment, but if he does it every other show, then these should already be well understood phenomena.

Overall I didn’t have a problem with much of ST:TNG.

But if I had to make changes:

-No Q.
-No Wesley, and no little Worf kid.
-No holodeck.
-Misbehave a little. Let Riker have a drinking problem. Picard struggles with homosexuality. Troi is a sexaholic. Worf makes rude comments to random ladies in the hall.
-More epic struggles like the Borg attack of Earth.

Also: the tactical officer and the chief of security are NOT THE SAME PERSON.

Put another way, clearer delineation of job duties. This could lead to a bigger cast, but that’s okay if you handle it right.

I’d say the people we see regularly split two ways. There’s one group who never, ever goes on away missions. That’s your captain, chief medical officer, chief engineer, and tactical officer. It is in fact presented as a criminal act, or at the very least enormous violation of regulations, for any of them to voluntarily be away from the ship during any situation that has the slightest chance of escalating into a tactical engagement.

Then there’s the away team types. Away team leadership rotates betweenn the first and second officers (because part of the defintion of ‘second officer’ is ‘first officer trainee.’ You have a junior engineer, a science officer, and your security officer who are in this group. Change Troi from a straight counselor to a medic with counseling training.

The first officer goes back and forth between these two groups.

Also, it’s understood (from a show production point of view) that in the interests of not being annoying, there will be cast rotation over the years. Nobody gets to spend 7 years in one job, except the captain, CMO, & chief engineer, who may reasonably be seen as having gone as high as they can go without a major change of field. But the first officer should have changed around year three (the way they teased us with Shelby was what should have happened), and the 2nd officer the year after that (you don’t want to change your whole command structure at once).

Also, there should be two characters who absolutely, no-two-ways-about it, hate one another and never become friends. They’re able to WORK together–they’re professionals, after all–but off-duty, when one enters the room, the other leaves. It’s not racial, it’s not because of unresolved sexual tension, it’s nothing that ever evolves into affection; they simply clash personality wise.

I’d kill off or otherwise replace Picard. If I can’t give Kirk the big chair, then maybe I bring in Sisco from DS-9, or Janeway, even. The Enterprise needs a Captain that can figure out how to fire the phasers before Season 2.

My changes:

Tasha Yar was a great idea: strong, tough female character who wasn’t bad-looking. Deanna Troi was a great idea: a hot half-alien woman with empathic abilities. I think they should have made them the same character because it breaks away from human archetypes more, and it would’ve given that “character” more to do.

Wesley Crusher should always have been a junior officer, not a gifted civilian. Doing so would put him within the chain of command (decreasing the annoyance factor) and increased Picard’s sense of responsibility for him, given Wesley’s father was lost under Picard’s command. Wesley should also have been allowed to screw up big-time on occasion with his risk-taking intuitive leaps.

The power does NOT go out in every battle. Period. Nobody would design a starship this badly, and if they did, they would FIX IT.

  1. Fewer ultra-powerful godlike aliens whom Troi immediately classifies as “beyond what we would consider a life-form.” The first season had way too many of those.

  2. Wesley Crusher is a bright kid, but not a deus ex machina. That’s the chief engineer’s job.

  3. Holodecks should be used sparingly. Have characters briefly mention their holodeck entertainments, in casual conversation. But, except for Barclay’s episode, never make them a major plot element. Talos IV is quarantined for a reason. And that reason is, VR is a crutch for lazy writers.

  4. Don’t try to pretend that the Federation is a utopian paradise. Technology may cure many ills, even with the best of intentions, people will have conflicts. And besides, paradise makes for boring stories.

Eliminate the first season and any other episode in which Riker is beardless. Other than that, it can stay as is.

I always thought that the problem wasn’t the presence of Wesley, but the fact that he was always, from day one, badly written and ill-used.

You need to let Wesley be a real kid. Not such a goody-goody. Let him be a bit of a troublemaker. He gets one time - in the whole series, mind you - to save the day when the experienced Starfleet officers can’t. If it happens once, it could be a good story. If it happens every two or three episodes, it’s annoying and makes viewers hate him.

There’s no reason there can’t be a Kid character in the main cast - but he should be there in part as an easy opportunity for some exposition. When it’s the Kid who’s explaining things to the adults, you’ve got problems.

I would definitely get rid of Westley. We don’t need children anywhere on this show. Troi can be shunted down to medbay, that sounds nice. All that so fanboys can gawk at titties.

Can we get some seatbelts on the bridge? And maybe a real console for the captain to run his ship? Theoretically he should be able to do most things by himself, without a crew, with the computer.


I have long ago asserted that they blew TNG by not adopting the Hill Street Blues approach to drama. The assertion during Star Trek was always that, as stupid as it seemed to let Kirk go roaming about all over the place unprotected and stuff, it was necessary because otherwise, the main character wouldn’t be central to the show’s plot. Hill Street Blues showed that you could have chiefs AND indians, and the indians and the chiefs could be stars at the same time. So have a bigger cast, and follow the lives of the individual crew members with important duties, like head of the main away team, person who works as the problem solver in Engineering, etc.

You know, kinda like BSG finally managed to accomplish almost… :smiley:

Oh, I agree about Worf. Make him a Klingon, dammit!

And Tasha MUST go. Wesley was annoying, but Tasha was superfluous.

That gave rise to a TV trope: Growing the beard. It’s the opposite of “jumping the shark” and refers to the moment when a TV show becomes noticeably better in quality.

The holodeck was an improvement over the mob & Nazi planets of the original series, but the problem with it is there was no dramatic tension unless the safeties were off. Which made to whole thing stupid. And it makes no sense the holodeck should create a character as smart as Data, who was supposed to be unique. So scrapping the whole thing would probably been better.

I like the idea of Wesley being a junior officer. His problem was he had no experience and always succeeded. It strained credibility too much. Troi as a doctor & not part of the bridge crew sounds good, too.

Something had to be done about the Ferengi. They were never credible as a serious threat, and, fortunately, the writers figured it out after using them once or twice. They should’ve figured it out once someone seriously suggested the energy whips, though.