ST:TNG and Cardassians

(Inspired by today’s Spike TV episodes…)

If the Federation and the Cardassians were at war during the TNG era, why did we never see any of the battles? Is it reasonable to believe that the flagship of the fleet would be dicking around while there are major battles going on?

And could Marc Alaimo have been used a few more times? I recognized him as a Romulan the other day, plus he’s been two Cardassians and a human.

As best as anyone can tell, the Federation-Cardassian War took place before TNG, ending just before we started watching the adventures of the Enterprise. Here’s the Memory Alpha page on the subject: Link me up, Scotty.. You want a real zinger, ask why the Enterprise E was in the Briar Patch playing around with the Son’a and the Ba’ku during the thick of the Dominion War (Star Trek: Insurrection).

As for Marc Alaimo, well, he’s just an excellent actor. :slight_smile:

IIRC The war with the Cardassians was over about ten years before NG begins. Cardassian-hater OBrien’s stories all have him has a young man without rank. He first repaired a transporter in order to escape a Cardassian platoon.

Cardassia occupies Bajor through most of NG. But, Bajor is not a member of the Federation.

The Cardassian war definitely takes place before TNG. O’Brian was a young crewman at the time of Setlik 3, and not yet an engineer. He mentions that the first time he ever worked on a transporter was during that war, as he had five minutes to get the transporter online before he and his comrades would have been attacked by an enormously larger Cardassian force. As he told Reg Barkley on one episode that he’s been working with transporters for 20 years, that puts the Cardassian wars long in the past.

The problem with the “it happened before TNG” chronology is that the dialogue refers to a recent peace treaty between the Cardassian Union and the Federation, which seems to conflict with “it was 20 years ago.”

Weird. Almost as weird as the Federation knowing about the Ferengi’s reputation as a race of traders/businessmen despite never having made contact with one.

And I’m with you on the Enterprise-E/Dominion War thing. In fact, Insurrection would have been a much better movie if it had dealt with the Dominion War than that reject of a TNG script they used.

I’m reminded of the “Darmok” episode, the one where they encountered Paul Winfield speaking in metaphors. They didn’t understand anything the Darmok guys were saying but their computer did have database entried on all the metaphorical references.

ST is full of this sort of thing, but I don’t see anything contradictory about the Cardassian war; the war certainly could have lasted a long time, or a permanent peace treaty could have come many years after a cease fire. What’s for certain is that the war was over when the series began.

What I find more irritating is that they had Cardassians at all. What was the purpose of introducing the Cardassian race? Why not use the Romulans for the same purpose? Or recycle the Gorn? The Cardassians were stupid, just another bunch of bipeds in makeup all wearing exactly the same clothes.

Heck, the Korean War was fifty years ago and though there have been no major battles since, there’s no peace treaty, either.

The whole political/military structure of TNG didn’t make any sense. It was a pussified idealistic mush of a show that claimed talk (especially preachy talk) was the solution to every problem. It wasn’t until the relatively realistic DS9 (after the death of Gene Roddenberry) that we saw Starfleet actually acting in a military fashion. I just recently caught the second-season TNG episode “Peak Performance” and Picard gets all huffy when ordered to participate in a military training exercise, claiming Starfleet was not a military organization.

Geez, I sure hope the real military is out there somewhere, because with that attitude, the Federation would get slaughtered in a heartbeat.

Possibly they’d have to pay royalties to the writers who created these races in the original episodes?

the Cardassians had a pretty specific purpose: they were a morally questionable bunch with whom the Federation had a tenuous peace. perhaps taking over the role the Ferengi were supposed to have before the producers realized that the Ferengi were too ridiculous for the task. the Romulans couldn’t fit the bill… they were always too isolationist and belligerent (at least in TNG) to suddenly be on speaking terms with the federation. the klingons couldn’t serve such a role because the peace with them was too well cemented to make them adversaries and they were too honorable to make them morally questionable.

as for the gorn… come on, they’re giant lizards. they’d have either looked really dumb or broken the sfx budget… probably both (keeping in mind TNG was a first-run syndicated show in the late 80’s-early 90’s). same with tholians, horta, whatever. plus, it’s harder for the audience to relate to creatures that look so different.

you’re admittedly right that TNG didn’t get a lot of use out of the cardassians, but ds9 sure did.

Why? Has the audience gotten dumber since 1969?

it’s just easier to relate to creatures that look and act like… humans. you know, emotions, facial expressions, body language, etc.

as far as i know, no really weird-looking aliens (horta, gorn, tholians) played a large recurring role in the original series. that was left to klingons, romulans, vulcans… part of it, of course, was the budget. but i think the consideration of the audience’s abilty to relate to the characters played a role too.