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Old March 25th, 2009, 05:30 AM   #1
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Default Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Top 10 Things I Hate About Star Trek: TNG

10. Noisy doors.
You can't walk three feet on the Enterprise without some door whooshing or screeching at you. My office building has automatic sliding doors. They're dead silent. If those doors went "wheet!" every time a person walked through them, about once a month some guy in accounting would snap and go on a shooting rampage. Sorry Geordi, the IEEE has revoked your membership until you learn to master WD-40

9. The Federation.
This organization creeps me out. A planet-wide government that runs everything, and that has abolished money. A veritable planetary DMV. Oh sure, it looks like a cool place when you're rocketing around in a Federation Starship, but I wonder how the guy driving a Federation dump truck feels about it?

And everyone has to wear those spandex uniforms. Here's an important fact: Most people, you don't want to see them in spandex. You'd pay good money to not have to see them. If money hadn't been abolished, that is. So you're are sort up against the wall trying to claw your way through it, to get away from the UGLY.

8. Reversing the Polarity.
For goodness sake Geordi, stop reversing the polarity of everything! It might work once in a while, but usually it just screws things up. I have it on good authority that the technicians at Starbase 12 HATE that. Every time the Enterprise comes in for its 10,000 hour checkup, they've gotta go through the whole goofed up ship fixing stuff. "What happened to the toilet in Stateroom 3?" "Well, the plumbing backed up, and Geordi thought he could fix it by reversing the polarity."

Between the maintenance teams' poor lubrication habits and Geordi's confounded polarity reversing trick, it's a wonder the Enterprise doesn't just spontaneously explode whenever they put the juice to it.

7. Seatbelts.
Yeah, I know this one is overdone, but you'd think that the first time an explosion caused the guy at the nav station to fly over the captain's head with a good 8 feet of clearance, someone would say, "You know, we might think of inventing some futuristic restraining device to prevent that from happening." So of course, they did make something like that for the second Enterprise D (the first one blew up due to poor lubrication), but what was it? A hard plastic thing that's locked over your thighs. Oh, I'll bet THAT feels good in the corners. "Hey look! The leg-bars worked as advertised! There goes Picard's torso!"^1

6. No fuses.
Every time there's a power surge on the Enterprise the various stations and consoles explode in a shower of sparks and throw their seatbelt-less operators over Picard's head. If we could get Geordi to stop reversing the polarity for a minute, we could get him to go shopping at the nearest Ace Hardware and pick up a few fuses. And while he's shopping, he could stop at an intergalactic IKEA and pick up a few chairs for the bridge personnel. If you're going to put Worf in front of a fuse-less exploding console all day, the least you could do is let Worf sit down until he is fried..

5. Rule by committee.
Here's the difference between Star Trek and the last best SF show on TV, Babylon 5:

Star Trek:

Picard: "Arm photon torpedoes!"
Riker: "Captain! Are you sure that's wise?"
Troi: "Captain! I'm picking up conflicting feelings about this! And, it appears that you're a 'fraidy cat."
Wesley: "Captain, I'm just an annoying punk, but I thought I should say something."
Worf: "Captain, can I push the button? This is giving me a big Klingon warrior urge to kill something."
Geordi: "Captain, I think we should reverse the polarity on them first."
Picard: "I'm so confused. I'm going to go to my stateroom and look
pensive."

Babylon 5:

Ivanova: "Let's shoot them."
Nightwatch dork: "Are you sure that's wise?"
Ivanova: "Do you know what the chain of command is? It's the chain that I'll BEAT YOU WITH until you realize who's in command."
Nightwatch dork: "Aye Aye, sir!"

4. A Star Trek quiz:
Picard, Troi, Geordi, and 'Tasha Yar' beam down to a planet. Which one isn't coming back? The one who can act!

3. Technobabble.
The other night, I couldn't get my car to start. I solved the problem by reversing the polarity of the car battery, and routing the power through my satellite dish. The resulting subspace an0omally caused a rift in the space-time continuum, which created a quantum tunneling effect that charged the protons in the engine core, thus starting my car. Child's play, really. As a happy side-effect, I also now get the Spice Channel for free.

2. The Holodeck.
I mean, it's VR and all. But do you really believe that people would use it to re-create Sherlock Holmes mysteries and old-west saloons? Come on, we all know what the holodeck would be used for. And we also know what the worst job on the Enterprise would be: Having to squeegie the holodeck clean.

1. The Prime Directive.
How stupid is this pesky idea? Remember when Marvin the Martian was going to blow up the Earth, because it obstructed his view of Venus? And how Bugs Bunny stopped him by stealing the Illudium Q36 Space Modulator? Well, in the Star Trek universe, Bugs would be doing time. Probably in a room filled with Roseanne lookalikes wearing spandex uniforms, walking through doors going WHEET! all day. It would be hell. At least until the Kaboom. The Earth-shattering Kaboom.

^1 And that would be a good thing!
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Old March 25th, 2009, 07:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG



Well stated,
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Old March 25th, 2009, 05:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Star Trek:TNG as BAD SCIENCE.

Quote:
In Star Trek’s universe:

1. Aliens exist. They’re common enough that in just one corner of the galaxy, dozens of intelligent species interact, sort of like our nation-states. But in reality, as we’ve known ever since Fermi asked his famous question “where are they”, intelligent life outside Earth must be somewhere between very rare and nonexistent. Yes, that’s a controversial view which deserves its own post one day, but it’s hard to believe anything else once you’ve built up an intuition for large numbers. Other habitable planets than Earth have existed for billions of years; the average Earthlike planet is older than Earth. That means some other civilization should have popped up in the neighborhood hundreds of millions of years ago — enough time to invent a bicycle and ride it to Alpha Centauri. Galactic and even intergalactic distances are small compared to the distance attainable on these time scales by light or optimized interstellar craft. In far less time still, exponential growth lets a civilization blossom into something encompassing many star systems. And yet we see no sign of any alien intelligence, anywhere. They haven’t taken apart the stars for raw materials, or switched them off to conserve energy. They haven’t sent any humanitarian missions, or unleashed berserker robots to suppress potential competitors. The simplest explanation is they’re not out there — apparently setting up a technological civilization from nothing requires one or more hard steps, perhaps starting with abiogenesis.
2. Almost everyone lives on planets. Star Trek, like most of our thinking about the future, is shamelessly planetocentric. This is just a habit we will eventually get over. There is nothing that makes other planets a particularly good place to colonize compared to environments we could construct ourselves if we had anything close to Trek-level technology. In the long run, civilizations will find it more efficient to expand into outer space, where there is a lot more room. Our asteroid belt, if made into space settlements, could house thousands of times the population of Earth’s surface. These settlements could rotate for artificial gravity, would have unobstructed solar energy 24 hours a day, would make launches into space cheap, and would be less vulnerable to various disasters.
3. Humans are unenhanced. It looks like the next few centuries, probably even decades, will bring advanced genetic engineering, life extension, brain-computer interfaces, mind uploading, and other forms of augmentation. Some of these technologies exist in Star Trek, but they’re only used much by the Borg, a race that’s portrayed as evil, scary, numerous, and fairly stupid. However, these technologies certainly aren’t intrinsically horrible; they can be used to great effect for good as well as evil ends. Extending lifespans is a good idea simply for humanitarian reasons. The same is true of technologies meant to limit or even abolish suffering, as well as those meant to expand opportunities for positive well-being. Even qualities like wisdom, kindness, and dignity are not above being tweaked and emulated. The capability to scan brains and transfer them to other substrates would, among other consequences, allow arbitrary copying of human capital constrained only by available hardware. If we could amplify intelligence beyond human defaults, that would have enormous ramifications; for just one thing, it would greatly speed up scientific progress. It’s hard to see how all governments would not only fail to capitalize on all this, but would also be able to prevent most dissenting groups and individuals from doing so.
4. Economic growth is underemphasized. We’re always finding better ways to do stuff and adding to our stocks of capital, so economies tend to grow by a few percent each year nowadays, and this is a trend that has been accelerating on long timescales — growth was much slower before the industrial revolution and especially before agriculture. As so often, you will find enlightenment by taking out your pocket calculator. At a constant 3% per year, the economy grows by a factor of 7000 in 300 years and a factor of 140,000 in 400 years. At 5% per year, it’s 2.3 million and 300 million, respectively. Lesson: it’s easy to underestimate exponential growth. Artificial general intelligence or molecular nanotechnology, both of which I’ll return to later, would increase the growth rate to something far, far beyond those. Now, it’s true that you can’t blindly assume trends will continue. Trek’s universe, though, certainly doesn’t seem lacking in technological toys that could be put to good economic use, and these people have advanced aliens around to trade with and get ideas from. And yet, although I can’t back this up with anything rigorous, to me, the world in the newer series doesn’t seem that much richer than the world in the older series; the older civilizations don’t seem that much richer than the younger civilizations; and the Earth of Trek doesn’t seem richer than Earth-2007 by nearly a large enough factor.
5. Artificial general intelligence exists, but has not revolutionized society. This is the biggest of all these points. To me, it makes many of the others irrelevant; I hold the opinion that human-level AI, if invented, will blow everything else out of the water. An artificial mind will have a different set of strengths and weaknesses than a human, so if one of them can perform human tasks on a starship, it’s already going to be superhuman in many fields — not just at the genius end of the human scale, but with capabilities far surpassing those we could imagine in any human. Star Trek probably has some silly excuse why Data can’t make copies of himself, but a real AI could create new transhuman capital at a rate limited only by the cost of computer hardware. (Come to think of it, I recall them copying the hologram doctor guy, but I don’t think much came of it.) Superhuman AI would also accelerate scientific and technological progress; imagine the fruits of a century of research compressed into a year, or a day. But although those consequences are relatively easy to think about, they aren’t even the main point of what futurists are calling the technological singularity — they aren’t necessarily what makes the event of superhuman AI entering the stage so sudden and discontinuous. A key insight is that one field of research an AI would accelerate is the field of AI itself. It could design smarter versions of itself that could in turn design even smarter versions. An AI that started out close to human intelligence would thus catapult itself quickly to whatever extremes of cognitive ability could be achieved given the hardware it had access to. That matters, because something that’s much smarter than you can pick out a state of the universe that very closely optimizes its goals, and who knows what those goals and the smartest ways to reach them will look like? This gives the singularity a much-discussed element of unpredictability. With some exceptions, it’s impossible to predict how something much smarter than you will behave, leaving the honest science fiction writer just plain screwed.
6. Advanced nanotechnology exists, but has not revolutionized society. Star Trek’s world has nanorobots, or “nanites” as they call them, suggesting self-replicating assemblers of the kind theorized by Eric Drexler, not just the technology with nanoscale features that the word “nanotechnology” has come to mean. There’s controversy about whether Drexler’s proposals would work, but if they did, they would amount to far more than just a toy you could pull out at a time that’s convenient and then go back to ignoring. Nowadays, it’s supposed that molecular nanotechnology would be based not on roaming assemblers but on desktop nanofactories that could produce a range of products from simple feedstock, including but not limited to more nanofactories (with a doubling time perhaps less than a day!), computers cheap and powerful enough that you could start considering brute-forcing AI, large amounts of consumer goods, large amounts of conventional weapons, large amounts of nuclear weapons, and weapons with entirely novel properties. War would look different and probably much less stable. Humanity would gain not just one but a whole new menu of ways to screw itself over. But there’s an upside, too, in that we could end ancient curses like poverty — some have predicted a post-scarcity economy — and, through nanomedicine, various diseases and other limitations of the human body.
7. Posthumans behave unreasonably. If you could do just about anything you wanted to, if you had all the time in the world to think about who and what you wanted to be, would you really end up just sitting around being enigmatic and half-heartedly harassing mortals, like the Q Continuum? Probably not — nor would most other people, of whatever species. If posthuman civilizations were here, and were indifferent to our plight, and had any preferences on the physical universe’s makeup at all, no matter how weak, they’d have turned those preferences into reality long ago, probably wiping out humanity in the process. If they believed in anything we’d think of as good ethics, they could do a lot better than letting history run its natural, cruel, risky course. Goal systems can be thought of that fall in neither of those categories. It’s hard, however, to think of any that would lead to behavior stable over subjective eons, meddlesome enough to be noticeable, nonsensical enough to give off an air of mystery, and yet restrained enough to leave the basic setting intact.
8. AI is anthropomorphic. The human mind occupies a very specific corner in the space of intelligent programs. It got that way because it was designed incrementally by natural selection in a very specific environment, under various biological constraints like the slow serial speed of neurons. Designing an AI is hard; designing an AI that resembles the human mind is much harder still. Yet Data does resemble a human — just a human whose emotional state is always set to “neutral”. He tends to misunderstand human emotion and social interaction, in the way that humans lacking experience with these things might misunderstand them, even though there’s no reason why, to a general intelligence, they should be mysterious. Going overboard on significant digits is stupid computer behavior, and stereotypical human nerd behavior, but there is no reason why an AI should make mistakes typical of either stupid computers or stereotypical human nerds. And real AIs would not come neatly packaged as androids so we can interact with them the way we would with a human individual without upsetting our intuitions too much. They would be massively copyable, mergeable, tweakable, expandable, decomposable, upgradable, and most probably not confined to any single robot body.
9. Ideas have changed too little. In Star Trek’s society, as far as I know, there is no taboo of ours that has become universally accepted. Yes, the mores of Star Trek’s society are such that we consider them progressive, but progressives as little as 100 years ago would be shocked if they could see what sort of things we consider normal. It’d be unlikely if there were nothing in future customs to shock us. There don’t seem to be any genuinely new ideas on how to have society work, either. I’m thinking along the lines of prediction markets, or even just blogs. Like with many other points, I don’t blame the writers for this; it is in predicting the future of ideas that futurism runs into its hardest limits. But a future with no weird ideas is still deeply unrealistic, and that’s worth keeping in mind.
10. The world remains balanced too precariously between utopia and disaster. If the world needs saving every couple decades, why is it still around in the 24th century? In the real universe, there won’t be any Picards to miraculously save the day, with everyone knowing that, though dramatic tension requires difficulties, the ending will be happy. We will have to defeat existential disasters at a more systematic, institutional level, and by more comfortable margins. Behind every story of extraordinary heroism, there is a less exciting and more interesting story about the larger failures that made heroism necessary in the first place.
Here is the link:

http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/steven/?p=3

I'll have something to say about the stupid technology in another post.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

I'm almost afraid to ask what your thoughts are of GINO...but I ain't stupid.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

I do not discuss that which does not exist. Especially as the house rule is clear about that subject.

I will say this about bad science fiction technology in general using ST:TNG as the example.

1. Rockets should behave like rockets.

2. Gobbledegook badly mouthed gibberish such as treknobabble or nonsense like "prepare to fire photon torpedoes" never makes story sense or real life sense either when "Torpedo them, Mister Worf." is clear and to the point.

CREF 5. Rule by committee. That is: writing by committee-bad writing by committee leads to long expository Geordi treknobabble monologues while the warp drive blows up. Hint: its a motor, silly, THROW THE OFF SWITCH!
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Old March 26th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Star Trek:TNG Science blunders:

Quote:
Evolution According to Star Trek

ST:TNG,ST:VOY

There was an extremely painful episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "Genesis". Written by Brannon Braga^1, this episode showed just how ignorant the Trek producers are about basic science. Captain Picard returns from somewhere to find his crew devolving into their more "primitive forms". You know you've got someone without a clue when a cat devolves to an iguana. The eventual explanation is even hokier: some modified T-cells given to Lt. Barclay by Dr. Crusher caused a runaway virus that devolved the crew.

OK, once might be enough, but Brannon hadn't finished with this story idea. Later on Star Trek: Voyager, Brannon does this again with an episode where Tom Paris and Janeway devolve^a. into newts. Vaguely more believable, as amphibians are considered to be the precursor form of land vertebrates, but our biology just doesn't work that way. You can't trigger genes in a grown adult and make them express themselves totally. If it was that easy to introduce a new gene and have it express itself, we would have cures for cystic fibrosis and a host of other genetic diseases right now. Once a cell has specialized itself, introducing new genes or forcing the expression of existing genes would cause havoc with your immune system as well as your existing body chemistry. This is bad science all around.

^a. Kyle Creasey pointed out that the episode claimed they evolved into those newts like creatures.
^1 One of the "Killer Bees". The other "Killer Bee" was Rick Berman.

Quote:
Intelligent Deuterium Ore

ST: VOY (Not TNG, but I'm going to blame them for this anyway since it was the same bunch who wrote TNG!)

This boner is one of my all time favorites. I forget the episode title* (you wouldn't make me re-experience that pain just to find the title, would you?), but the episode involved Voyager looking for deuterium. The opening scene tells us they are in a new solar system looking for deuterium. They scan a planet and find "deuterium ore" which they go down to fetch only to find the deuterium is intelligent and capable of beating Ensign Kim up (to be fair, even my mother can take Ensign Kim).

Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen. It makes up roughly 0.01%* of the hydrogen in the Universe. An alien visitor to our solar system has more than enough places to find deuterium: our Sun, water ice on Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede, the Kuiper belt, the Oort cloud, the list goes on. I've never heard anyone refer to hydrogen in nature as an "ore". This episode sounds like someone read the technical bible Mike Okuda (who knows something) prepared for the Voyager writers, saw that Voyager needed Deuterium, then proceeded to write it like something from a very bad 30's pulp-SF magazine.

Again, Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen!! It's not a metal* or a mineral!^2
^2 This is also bad science. Hydrogen in the solid state exhibits all the properties of a metal including permanent magnetism. We know this because we make ALLOYS using hydrogen to obtain this magnetic property in its alloyed state with another metal.

Quote:
]Ships Always Have the Same Orientation When They Meet

* All Star Trek Series
* Various

The Starship Enterprise slows to one quarter impulse as it meets a new alien race. The alien ship pulls closer and after hundreds of light years, has the same orientation as the Enterprise.

Why? Solar systems scattered throughout the galaxy will have a random orientation, and most ships will align their orientation to the last solar system they came from. In fact, there is no reason what so ever for them to stay that way in flight (for example, to navigate), yet somehow, they always meet right side "up".

Now there is a simple explaination for this: the other ship choses to match orientation with the other, but have you ever seen Captain Kirk or Picard give the order, "Match orientation, ensign." No, I didn't think so.

I wonder if there's a galactic treaty everyone signed declaring which way is "up" for all races. I'm sure the Organians were behind it.^3
^3 Every science fiction TV series does this, but ST:TNG gets the blame for it, here, because they set the original gold standard. At least Babylon 5 occasionally had shots of ships oriented every which way. We have to wait for the Babylon 5 RIPOFF Deep Space Nine, the best of the Berman Dreks, for Wolf 359 and the Dominion War; for the Killer Bees to finally get a clue. Even then they revert back in Voyager and Enterprise to foul it all up, again. Also, they never seemed to figure out that it doesn't matter what kind of boojem you use for an engine: a rocket is still a rocket. Only with a gravity keel can you zoom and swoop. B5 got that one right too!

And here is my real boner: not only did the Moore Ron in the movie script surgery he did: kill Kirk in the most disgraceful way possible thus -----ing his soul, the Moore Ron's, to the deepest hell there is in the Star Trek universe, but this clodhopper hack typist pulls this one from where no light shines.....

Quote:
]Star Trek Generations' Nexus

Star Trek Generations

Jon V. sent me an interesting e-mail:

This is something I've been thinking about in Star Trek: Generations. Maybe it's not such a huge blunder, but as a physics student I think that it's neat.

When Picard and Data are in astrometrics, the Captain asks Data to list all of the effects of the star exploding. On the list is the fact that a starship had to make a course correction because the star was no longer there, and therefore its gravitational pull is gone. That is bull. The star may not be shining any more, and much of it may have blown off (which it wouldn't have), but all of the mass is still in the general area of where the star was. That means that the gravitational pull is still there, and the ship can keep going on its same course.

When Data shows the path of the "nexus" through the second solar system, it shows the nexus missing the planet by at least a few million kilometers. When the second star is blown up, it happens only seconds before the "nexus" hits the planet. EVEN IF the star's gravity went away, there would not be a very big change in the direction of the nexus in these few seconds, and certainly not enough for it to divert such a large direction.

I can't believe I missed that. I guess I was so attuned to bad physics in Star Trek, it didn't bother me. This is actually a very common blunder in SF. The destruction of a star or planet instantly makes the gravity go away. The gravity is still there if the mass is still there. Those very close (like less than 3 radii) would notice the dispersal of the mass, but those farther away would still feel the effect of gravity as though the planet is still there.

And there is another one. A big one. Did you spot it? "EVEN IF the star's gravity went away, there would not be a very big change in the direction of the nexus in these few seconds..." Recently, an experiment proved something that was generally believed but not really accepted by some.

The speed of gravity is finite. Einstein suggested that changes in gravity would propogate out at the speed of light. So if you could manage to make the mass of an entire star disappear, the loss of its gravity would still take time to propogate out, And in the case of Star Trek Generations, the stars are light years apart so destroying the star would take years at least before its disappearance would be noticed.^4
^4 Here is another blunder by this physicist as well as the dumb Berman Drek writers-principally the one Berman threw off the Paramount lot for incompetence: He Who Who Shall Not Be Named. Energy and matter are both affected by gravity. E=MC^2 is a ratio and an EQUIVALENCE! And not only does gravity not disappear (Conservation) but it also bends light. If you've been checking out the "Just for the Heck of It" thread, http://www.colonialfleets.com/forums...ad.php?t=15913, there are about forty physics teaching videos there alone that pounds that little fact home. Gravity is a space warper. Everything that passes through it gets refracted. Ever hear of the Higgs Field?

Source for the blunders quoted:

http://www.geocities.com/naran500/infamy/star_trek.html

Next up:

Engineering blunders or why ST:TNG is a how-to-die-quick-in-space course.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

And there is the engineering.



Notice where the rocket motors are? Right in the inlet path to the fuel scoops?

What genius designed this ship?
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Old March 27th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #8
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Then there is the power-plant itself.



What genius designed that engine setup? Another engineering blunder that is. Normally you can scram the power plant by cutting off the fuel feed and cut off a fuel leak likewise through something mystical called a fuel flow shutoff valve.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 12:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Durability.

Aside from the continuity gaffes, they built them better in the old days. The Enterprise C does not blow up when hit in the belly.



But see this!



A hit right in the belly for an Enterprise D type, and BOOM!

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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Fortunately for "We surrender", Pickacardanycard, Federation enemies come with the famous fifty cue cards of doom!

Quote:
50 Classic Blunders by Star Trek Villains by Richard Colletta aka (RobotNinja of STO forums) (c) 2008


In no particular order here is my list of 50 classic blunders and perhaps crucial missed points by Star Trek villains, pretty much from memory of obsessive StarTrek watching over the years and in part inspired by the Evil Overlord list. Feel free to pass this around, repost it, etc. just please give credit if you do.

1. Invest in weapons that can penetrate Star Fleet's Spandex Uniforms and bypass the invisible character shields that deflect all fatal shots from hitting essential members of the crew.

2. The bat'letH is great for close combat but make it fire lasers too and you've got a winner.

3. Don't waste any time with speeches. Just kill the Enterprise crew and/or destroy the ship whenever the opportunity presents itself. Its relatively easy. Seriously it is.Quoting Shakespeare at Jean Luc is right out.

4. Don't wait 15+ years to exact your revenge on the Enterprise crew. That's a horrible time spent to failed revenge plots ratio. Instead dive right in against Voyager. Even if you only engaged in one nefarious plot per year that's still ups your chances incredibly.

5. Sure exotic mind-controlling eye visors are fun but what about killing crucial members of the Enterprise off one by one, when you have them in your power instead?

6. You never know when multiple Enterprises are going to pop up out of nowhere from the past, future, and/or parallel universes. Have a few extra cloaked Bird of Preys on hand just in case.

7. Don't waste your time with minor and often unnamed crew members. They're basically just meat-shields for the main crew. Somehow they'll probably die on their own if you leave them alone. Make the red-shirt effect work for you!

8. If you see Wesley, kill him. There's no telling when he'll somehow naively blunder, get a lucky shot, or by some form of incredibly dumb luck foil your plot and save the day.

9. It's usually best to keep female operatives out of the picture. Somehow they'll always end up falling in love with the dummy, Riker, and being unable to bring themselves to kill him; or carry whatever nefarious scheme they were sent to carry out.

10. Tachyon trails are not your friend. Perhaps invest in some research on non-tachyon emitting cloaking technology.

11. Once you have captured any of the main crew of the Enterprise
especially if it's Pickacardanycard, don't waste any time on jail, or silly lights
torture, trials, or trying to sway them to your cause. Just kill them.

12. Don't waste your time boarding the Enterprise. Fire the biggest torpedo/missile/laser/etc. you have at your disposal
at the Enterprise-D. If you have a shot then ram them-unless you are that bozo Reman clone of Jean Luc. Then RUN AWAY!

13. Never transfer all shield power to your weapons. The Enterprise-D will either make some daring maneuver flanking you, modify their torpedoes to lock in on your weak point, or Kirk will arrive out of nowhere to save them.

14. Build a ship with no weak points. If your ship has a "weak point" that is where the Enterprise-D will invariably fire their torpedoes.

15. Before engaging the Enterprise-D in battle calculate how many ships it would take to make the battle unfair. Then bring one hundred times that many ships.

16. Whenever your ships greatly outnumber the Enterprise be prepared for surprise support from Starfleet, or neutral parties, or enemies who have had a sudden change of heart because of the extraordinary and selfless gallantry and compassion shown by the Enterprise crew.

17. Never engage the Enterprise in one on one ship combat with no
less than an entire battle fleet laying in ambush.

18. Once you have captured Pickacardanycard, tie him up and gag him.
Don't allow him to talk. If he does he will invariably seduce you and/or engage you in a moral diatribe that makes you rethink your evil ways, or realize you're not so different, or far more likely bore you to death..

19. Turning yourself into a doppelganger of Pickacardanycard or other crucial crew member never works. When it comes down to "Shoot him!" "No! Not me...him!" the doppelganger will always be the one who gets killed.

20. If you capture any crucial members of the Enterprise, even the incompetent doctor, Beverly Crusher, before you kill them, don't leave them in the vicinity of any basic or mundane implements. They could fix a warp engine with a paperclip and kill you with a cup of earl gray tea..

21. Never use a holo-deck. You wouldn't believe the shenanigans the Enterprise gets into with that thing. You'll increase your own life expectancy astronomically if you just stay away from it.

22. The Enterprise crew travel through time, all the time. We'll assume you can too. Travel back and forward in time and leave ambushes and assassins littered throughout. If you find Data's head, foir example, feed it tom a trash compactor.

23. If you value your life, stick to killing off non-essential crew of the Enterprise. If you directly go after the Captain or other crucial crew members you've already signed your death warrant.

24. If inexplicably you do manage to kill a crucial crew member of the Enterprise make sure you go to any alternate universes and kill them there too.

25. This is a no-brainer but if you have managed to capture a crucial member of the Enterprise *before you kill them* don't bring them any food or go into their cell to check on them if they're sick or something. You're going to kill them anyway. Why break out the hospitality cart and get yourself killed by "the prisoner escape?"

26. Never mortally or fatally wound a crucial member of the Enterprise and then leave them. Make sure you finish them off. After you kill them take their pulse. Make sure they're not in some sort of mental or psychic hibernation either.

27. If you happen to kill the Captain or another crucial member of the Enterprise crew, quickly strip them naked and throw their body into a meat-grinder.

28. Don't make elaborate plans. They always fail.

29. Don't waste your time trying to kill Data. He always comes back to life. Best to avoid him altogether.

30. never employ a Vulcan or half-Vulcan as a spy. Pickacardanycard will
always win them over or over-power them.

31. Don't waste your time trying to take over Data's mind. He will inevitably regain control of his mind and then use what he's learned of your inner workings and plots to foil you. Feed him to a trash compactor instead

32. Never make a nefarious trap whose only means of escape is
solving some elaborate riddle in time. Someone on the Enterprise (Wesley)
will solve it.

33. If you have managed to isolate or capture a crew member of the Enterprise make sure you cut off any and all means of communication between them and any other Enterprise crew.

34. Beware of Troi. In the most unlikely situation, she the most useless a crew member of the ship, may thwart you via empathy. If at all possible find a way to jam psychic communications. A spaghetti strainer will do. Make all your captives wear them.

35. Whenever dealing with primitive civilizations the Enterprise crew will meddle whenever possible. They will inevitably give them the technology they need to thwart you and you take the heat for them violating the Prime Directive.

36. Never announce to the Enterprise crew that they have a set amount of time before your nefarious scheme or trap culminates.

37. Don't bother trying to kill Data. They've got plenty of spare parts. Believe me. Slag him after he comes out of the trash compactor.

38. Never create a nefarious scheme that involves blinding the entire crew. They've already got a blind guy.

39. Don't try to put the moves on Deanna Troi if you don't want faceful of Riker's hairy fist in your mouth.

40. If you're dead set on getting it on with Deanna Troi try doing it telepathically. That's your best bet. Don't forget the spaghetti strainer though.

41. If possible place the Enterprise crew into a situation that will lead to Deanna Troi having to "take the helm". Have an ambush waiting on the closest planet for when she crashes the ship. Honestly...you'd think the Enterprise would have some sort of Deanna Troi-Autopilot mode for those situations. Luckily, they don't.

42. If you're a member of Starfleet with a nefarious scheme, don't give it a code-name and encrypt the files. Rest assured they'll be found out by Barclay, the nerd, before your plan comes to fruition.

43. Don't waste your time creating an elaborate holo-deck simulation that will trap the Enterprise crew. Just kill them.

44. Never trigger your ship's self-destruct sequence while you have Enterprise crew members aboard. They'll get away one second before it explodes. You won't.

45. When planning an evil plot always account for the "Q" factor.

46. Never look directly at the Captain or his bald-headed dome. You will
instantly fall in love, be hypnotized by your reflection, or both.

47. No matter how deadly accurate you are with a phaser some dim
-witted unessential crew member will always get in the way of your shots, so use a plasma granade instead..

48. Before going forth with any diabolical plan, make sure the Enterprise crew hasn't turned the tables on you and put you in a holo-deck simulation designed to make you sympathize with their
point of view.

49. With every evil plot anew, fire all your previous henchmen and lower the odds that one of them is an undercover operative with Starfleet.

50. Before considering going into battle with the Enterprise, or any plot involving the Enterprise or any of the crew do a quick self-check and ask yourself how willing you are to expend the resources needed to carry out your nefarious plot if said plot were 99.9% likely to fail. Also factor in possible death by some sort of Wesley induced horrible explosion.
d.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Another thing wrong with ST:TNG is how easy it is to ridicule it. (CREF previous), but as an addition how about all those Borg jokes?

Quote:
Top 10 Reasons the Borg have NOT returned to fight the Federation

1. New assimilation software turned out to be vaporware; back to square one when the supplier's 1-800 number was disconnected.

2. Assimilation of Locutus caused chaos as the Borg became caught up in a massive Sam Spade adventure game craze.

3. If Earth were assimilated, the commute from the Borg homeworld would be a killer drive.

4. Collective Borg decided a cube was too complex a form - awaiting building of a new pyramid ship.

5. Earth was too blue for their tastes; they were hoping for an emerald green planet, something in a teal, with tasteful lavender clouds.

6. Bidding war for exclusive appearance in Coke or Pepsi commercials too agonizing a choice... returned home to rebuild decision circuits.

7. Earth too close to the sun... would ruin their cultivated pallor.

8. They heard that Worf personally bragged of kicking their butts if they showed their face in the sector again... began laughing for first time, haven't stopped yet.

9. $29 navigation chip failed... they now have NO idea where Earth is... wandering out by the Cardassians, asking for directions.

... And the number one reason the Borg haven't returned to Earth...

10. WESLEY CRUSHER
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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

More Borg Jokes.

Quote:

Top 10 Ways To Deactivate The Borg
Author: Trek Tech

10. Send their e-mail addresses to spammers and overload their circuits

9. Beam Troi over to psychoanalyze them

8. Have Crusher sing on a sand dune in the moonlight

7. 10,000 ships all doing the Picard Maneuver at once

6. Spray their circuits with a garden hose, it'll be a shocking experience

5. Put Ipecac syrup and Dulcolax into the drinking water

4. Take a sledgehammer to all toilets but one

3. Withhold the Valium, warp away as the females swell up and explode

2. Allow them to access to Picard images over the net, unknowingly via
New Zealand, and kick 'em with a $1,000,000 phone bill

1. Plant just one multiplying plastic flamingo in their midst, two
minutes later watch as the cube cracks in half, spilling millions of
hot pink birds into space. They immediately flap to you, squawing
"Momma!" and settle under your deflector dish.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

More dumb Borg jokes.

Quote:
Top 10 Secrets Of The Borg
Author: Trek Tech

10. When no one's looking, they love to wear pink tutus

9. Mr. Twister!

8. They are the executive producers of "Barney"

7. Pink flamingos coordinate all assimilations

6. "We are Microsoft, you will use Windows. Resistance is futile."

5. Inventors of the MMX technology

4. Creation Entertainment corporate executives

3. The only thing that stops them from assimilating worlds is "ER"

2. Even they couldn't figure out Myst

1. They love Picard's bald head.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

I'm getting a feeling that you don't like TNG?
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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Whatever gave you that idea?
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Old March 28th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #16
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I'm getting a feeling that you don't like TNG?
Nah, just 50 or 100 or maybe 1000 things about it...
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Old March 28th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Not to make fun, but it's almost like a one-man onslaught against a television show that's been off the air since 1994...
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Old March 28th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

I will admit, I did like TNG better than the original, but I didn't like DS9 or Voyeger or Enterprise.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

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Not to make fun, but it's almost like a one-man onslaught against a television show that's been off the air since 1994...


"Cause and Effect"
Episode no. 118
Prod. code 218
Airdate 23 March 1992
Writer(s) Brannon Braga
Director Jonathan Frakes
Guest star(s) Kelsey Grammer
Patti Yasutake
Michelle Forbes

There is an expression: "Jump the Shark" made famous by the episode which killed Happy Days when Fonzi jumped the shark.

This piece of stinking brown goo was typical of everything that was/is wrong with ST:TNG.

Bad science
Bad writing
Bad story premise
Incompetent direction
Lousy camera work
Lousy special effects
Terrible acting-especially by Patrick Stewart
About the only thing that redeemed it was I got to see the Enterprise D destroyed again and again and again.

Note that this has been voted by trekkies as one of the ten best episodes of that series?

WHY?
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Old March 28th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #20
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"Cause and Effect"
Episode no. 118
Prod. code 218
Airdate 23 March 1992
Writer(s) Brannon Braga
Director Jonathan Frakes
Guest star(s) Kelsey Grammer
Patti Yasutake
Michelle Forbes

There is an expression: "Jump the Shark" made famous by the episode which killed Happy Days when Fonzi jumped the shark.

This piece of stinking brown goo was typical of everything that was/is wrong with ST:TNG.

Bad science
Bad writing
Bad story premise
Incompetent direction
Lousy camera work
Lousy special effects
Terrible acting-especially by Patrick Stewart
About the only thing that redeemed it was I got to see the Enterprise D destroyed again and again and again.

Note that this has been voted by trekkies as one of the ten best episodes of that series?

WHY?
I'm about to make you unhappy....

It was one of my favorite episodes too! I can't really say why, but for a long while, I liked the idea of taking the same story and examining it from different aspects, etc.

At the time that TNG was in first run episodes, I really enjoyed it. It didn't have the same feel as the original, but frankly, no show spun off of one show ever does.

When I look at TNG now, I can only watch it in small doses - not 4-5 episodes at a time, or even in a week. Out of all the Trek series that were made, it was one I enjoyed, but in some ways, I prefer Voyager (don't flame me) over all of the newer series.

If you look closely at ANY SciFi TV series and examine it closely, they all have the same problems - Wonky science, 2-dimensional characters, etc. Even some of the most modern series produced today don't play by the rules when it comes to science or any other concepts presented in them.

If you want real science, watch PBS, or the Science Channel. In my view, one of the most interesting things about traditional Science Fiction was exploring the unknown and presenting concepts that challenged your brain instead of spoon feeding it to you and presenting it to you as "real". When I read or watch a bit of Science Fiction, I like to enjoy the "escape" from reality, not compare it to my limited perception of reality and my personal knowledge within that framework.

To dare to dream.......I don't think people know how anymore. Sad, innit?

Bryan
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Old March 28th, 2009, 07:33 PM   #21
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

I don't have a snappy quick reply to this that you wrote.. In fact I have to carefully frame the reply so as to give your well reasoned and quite good reply a response truly worthy of it.

I'll leave that for tomorrow I think.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #22
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I don't have a snappy quick reply to this that you wrote.. In fact I have to carefully frame the reply so as to give your well reasoned and quite good reply a response truly worthy of it.

I'll leave that for tomorrow I think.
Damocles -

Don't get me wrong - if you don't like TNG, that's your deal and I've no problem with it. You've definitely given your 10 reasons (and a great many more) as to why you don't like it.

It's just when I hear fans complain about bad science, bad acting, bad characters, etc., there's a ton of other examples out there that have exactly the same problems, yet people still liked them at the time and still like them now. Frankly, I can't think of one SciFi series that doesn't bend the rules when it comes to science in general. The whole idea of Science Fiction is to suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to be taken to another word, another era, or even another universe and enjoy yourself while pretending that it's all believable for the moment.

The minute that you start examining, scrutinizing and picking SciFi apart, nearly 99% of it isn't worth the paper, film, or videotape that it's put on. It's all just make believe and we're all getting to be old, crabby, disillusioned adults that are finding it harder and harder to give ourselves over to the illusion put in front of us and say "it's not realistic".

SciFi is about thinking that the impossible IS possible, not what we think is possible. It's about going way outside the box we have in our head and daring to let those daydreams wash over you and become part of the story.

When you boil SciFi down to facts and concepts, it's basically all just a bunch of crap that's made all pretty and imaginative looking to make it attractive just long enough to hook you in. The choice is whether you decide to let yourself get hooked into it or not. After you make that decision, you either enjoy the ride, or walk away from it saying "it's all just crap".

When it comes to SciFi in general, I prefer to give myself over to it and enjoy it for what it is, not what it isn't. If I didn't, I'd never believe that starships can travel faster than light, that robots can be sentient, or whatever else you put in front of me.

It's art, plain and simple.... All in the perspective.

Bryan
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Old March 29th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #23
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

I for one like Star Trek TNG.
I respect Damocles reasons for not liking it.
Not everyone likes the same series.
If we all liked the same thing it would be pretty boring.
For me science-fiction is always being able to believe in the impossible, the fantastic.
That's why it's called science-fiction!
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Old March 29th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #24
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Time for that answer.

You can write good science fiction on paper or film it; that doesn't violate actual science too much. Don't believe me?

First, the fiction half of science fiction has to follow story telling rules. Its rather basic, You create characters and you create story. Is there any character in ST:TNG who isn't a cardboard cutout caricature, a model for ridicule? Why does Geordi LeForge need a prop to define his one dimensional character? Why does Troi need her gimmick? Why is there even a Wesley? Answer, the incompetent writer couldn't create a Kirk, a Spock, a McCoy, even a Uhuru, to become a being in front of us. I admit the second-rate actors then hired to handle the cut-outs couldn't do anything with the garbage writing they were given for character, but considering where Leonard Nimoy started with his original hysterical martian, and where he wound up? Or where Ricardo Montalban's cliche' superman wound up? No excuse. Seven years where we see characters shrink in front of eyes is unjustified. You know its bad writing when Whoopi Goldberg and Levar Burton can do nothing with their roles. The only one who grew was Michael Dorn, and he had to leave TNG and go to DS9 to do it.

What's even worsen here? You can look at a Johnathan Frakes project where he and Marina Sirtis teamed up and did voice work (Gargoyles, Disney) and see that it didn't have to be that way. They were pretty good in it in Gargoyles!

Anyway that brings us to story.

Just like gimmick characters, the stories were gimmick stories with the alien of the week and the strawman dilemma to solve. There was an attempt about mid-series to bring the Borg onboard as the overriding menace after the Ferengi (moslem term for outsider-funny isn't that?) fell into the same comedy trap that the Klingons (space Vikings, how did aliens patterned after Ming the Merciless, become space Vikings?) fell into. They became shysters and comic crooks as a slap against capitalism, and a supposed counterpoint example of a failed culture to the "socialist utopia Federation. Well guess what? The Ferengi on DS9 were more interesting and energetic, than the Federation character drones!

Off track a bit that was, but the stories usually featured a false social canard or a false technological gimmick that wasn't even plausible, that was solved with a band aid social solution or treknobabble.

Remember that story where Data violates contact protocols to befriend a girl on a planet doomed with plate tectonic failure? Never mind that geology doesn't work like that or that their solution wouldn't work either: its a false premise, to say that the Captain has to decide whether to intervene. The civilization could be endangered by a meteor and saved without any one being the wiser, and the break off of the "Pen Pals" could be justified on PD grounds. BETTER SCIENCE: BETTER STORY-especially, if Wesley is shown to fail miserably in the b story, when he tries to order actual adults around when they try to deflect the asteroid.

If I can write it better (with a cliche' homage to "For the World is Hollow and I've Touched the Sky") than Shearer and Snodgrass, then what does that say about the boob story editor (Brannon Bragga), who passed that trash, "Pen Pals", without sending it back for rewrite surgery?

Try a better example: "A Taste of Armageddon". Same laughable science, but a real social problem (Cold War Fable) where civilization is in a state of quasi-war and the citizens just go around living in a stabilized fantasy where they can ignore the fundamental causes that lead to the state of quasi-war. Kirk forces the decision. Was he right?: We never find out, because after he destroys the fantasy; we are left in story limbo as to whether the Vendicar Eminiar talks succeed. He could have screwed up big time. THAT is story, and that is what makes Kirk a character, and Picard a buffoon.

That takes care of the fiction.

Now Star Trek science is so bad, that it ranks down there with Phil Tucker and Ed Wood. Its almost as bad as Star Wars tech. Shrug. It just is. Star-ships cannot warp space with matter anti-matter reactions. The only force that warps space as far as we know is gravity. Warps are also intervals, They don't move. We saw that in the math as far back as the 1960s.

Now you can move through a warp (across an interval using Sir Isaac Newton) just fine: if you can make the wormhole big enough.

Does this sound familiar?





I always hypothesized that warp drive in the T0S was nothing more than a wormhole inflater and that you were inside the wormhole when you warped, which is why you had those rockets on that dumb saucer. Same with the transporter. That should have been a wormhole inflater like the Stargate. Shrug. Its not my fault that the idiots writing the Berman Drek stuff are not JMS; or the creators of the Stargate concept.

Basic science can still be implausibly right and you can fit story and character to it.

Bumpy-headed aliens:

Stargate kept that down by limiting the numbers of hominids running around and presenting TWO plausible true alien cultures and types.

B5 tried to keep the aliens off screen as much as possible and to limit the numbers as well as well as differentiate in obvious visual cue ways. Some of the aliens were light bulbs, some were insects, some were Asgards (my favorites the Vree). The Humanoid aliens were themselves WEIRD. Minbari were obviously descended from some kind of Nautilus, Centauri had octopus like atttributes, the Narns were kangaroos for Pete's sake! Drazi were monitor lizards!

Berman Drek didn't even try. Once they climbed past the eighty alien count they lost track of the problem. They tried to solve it with a "progenitor episode" that completely failed as a story idea or a premise. Shrug. Bad writing tries to cover itself with the cliche'.

Anyway, I just thought I would point out where the excuse "that everyone does it" is valid only up to a point. You can mitigate and you can adapt to cover with suggestions and cues and pay a little attention to the way the universe actually works.

Or as JMS would say, write it; as if it was real.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 10:45 AM   #25
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Damocles -

As I said, you don't like TNG and I agree with your reasons to not like it. My only issue was in regards to bad science, which abounds in SciFi programming going all the way back to the beginning to today's TV shows.

The characters for TNG - you're absolutely right. As Q once put it "the home for the abandoned, the unworthy, the unwanted...":

Picard - a man who's not comfortable with children, yet assigned to a ship where children live on board (he mellowed with time). Picard was one who excelled through life, but suffered being bullied by his older brother Robert when he was young.

Geordi LaForge - a man that has been blind all his life, but can see with a prosthetic device that allows him to see "better", but not in the same way - yet, pilots a starship and runs engineering as well, or better than anyone else. I won't even get into his family situation.

Data - An android devoid of human emotion, yet has the desire to fit in and be as human as possible. Is he a man, or his he a machine? Is he less than a man, or better?

Tasha Yar - a woman in charge of Security, but as a person, grew up on a planet where society fell apart, without the comfort of a home or parents, but still managed to become greater despite such tragedy.

Worf - the first Klingon to serve in Starfleet. Is Klingon by birth, but raised by human parents when his birthparents died during an attack on the Khitomer outpost. The idea that he is Klingon, but raised as human, yet has an unflinching devotion for Klingon tradition and society, when he's never really known it always befuddled me.

Beverly Crusher - Widowed Medical Officer with a young son. She also seems to share a "past" with Picard on some level - a past that takes years to realize even though the audience knew about it all the time. As mentioned in one episode, she was raised by her grandmother on a failed colony, but no mention of her actual parents.

Wesley Crusher - Young son to Beverly, who just happens to be a "genius" and routinely saves the ship when no other person aboard that are years beyond him seem to be able to. I always liked the idea of Bev & Wes - a small family unit traveling on ship, but they never really properly explored that angle.

Deanna Troi - Half human, half Betazoid - has limited empathic ability. Human father is dead and mother, Lwaxana is just so over the top, you can't imagine that they ever lived in the same house all those years. She also shares a romantic history with the First Officer as well, but not any more.

Will Riker - A real go getter of a guy - tall, good-looking, confident, but who's mother passed away when he was young and his father ignored/bullied him to toughen him up. As mentioned earlier, shares a broken romantic history with Counselor Deanna Troi.

I know that some would either say that all of these people are either the most dysfunctional, yet attractive group of people to travel in space, or that they are "so true to life" because the average person doesn't live the perfect life under perfect circumstances, but is still capable of rising to the occasion and being better than their upbringing.

You could say that they're "cardboard characters", but if you compare them to the characters in Trek TOS during the original series, they've got much more depth and detail to them than say Chekov, Uhura, or Scotty. Even after all the films finished, there wasn't a lot of detail about family, etc. to flesh them out.

Bryan
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Old March 29th, 2009, 11:24 AM   #26
Damocles
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Default Re: Top Ten Things Wrong with Star Trek: TNG

Read your character descriptions and then read this:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caricature

You might not want to exaggerate character back story and then fling it at the viewer apriori. You could let character grow in story and learn about them as they develop. I know more about Uhuru as a person than I do about Troi because I saw Uhuru grow in story. For one thing I know Uhuru over a long time won't fold up and FAIL. The only time I saw Troi as actually worthy of being on a star ship was when she impersonated that Tal Shiar operative when she was kidnapped by the Romulan resistance for their own ends. For once she proved to have a CHARACTER and destiny instead of being a caricature of a psychologist/Federation political officer(Starfleet NKVD zampolit).

You see the zampolit in Troi play out as she plays Major Rakal, the Romulan Tal Shiar she impersonated. Marina Sirtis got it right in "Face of the Enemy" because she actually intuitively understood how the Federation "ship's counselor" was supposed to be played on that "socialist" (read Stalinist) Enterprise. In that episode she drew on the 'archetype' and became an actual character-the political officer and spy.

Well written episode by the way. It was a vary rare TNG character study.

That is one way of how you could define character inside the story. Since TNG did it omnce, I conclude it could be done. Why it wasn't I don't know.
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