Space Ramblings

Tag Archives: Ron Moore

Did Post-Colonial Guilt Ruin Star Trek?

Anthwara

I’m quoting Samira Ahmed who writes

“Captain Kirk was always encountering worlds where computers had gone mad and gained control and needed to be re-set to liberate a superstitious population. (Top tip: This can be reliably done by getting Mr Spock to ask the Master computer to calculate to the last possible digit the value of Pi.)

But look what happened to Star Trek. Fed, I think, by a post-colonial guilt for the treatment of Native Americans, in the 90s it fell increasingly in thrall to superstition. A Native American first officer in Star Trek Voyager has visions which get taken seriously. And let’s not mention the Bajorans of Deep Space Nine – a tribe ruled by “prophets” who live in a wormhole. For Copson it’s a strange development: “30 years ago we had science fiction that was rational and progressive. But more recently it’s irrational, mystical aliens with ancient wisdom.”

I’m not sure that post-colonial guilt was that big of an influence on TNG writers but I could be wrong. Journey’s End was a clumsy episode about Native American post-colonial guilt and it was written by Ron Moore.

It also set up the whole DMZ and Maquis thing and created Chakotay’s backstory.

Journey’s End was written by Ron Moore and it wasn’t responsible for Deep Space Nine, but Ron Moore was responsible for a lot of what happened on DS9 and you can spot the underlying attitude in Ron Moore’s hostility to Starfleet and the Federation.

Ron Moore’s quote about Journey’s End is revealing

I felt that there was a built-in contradiction in a character that we’d said was like Mozart in his appreciation of higher mathematics and physics, yet was just on the same career path as any Starfleet cadet. I didn’t get it – if Wes is truly special and gifted, what the hell is he doing at the Helm? It seemed like he was only going to the Academy to live up to the memory of his father and the expectations of Picard, not because it was his best destiny. “Journey’s End” also seemed like an opportunity to see someone walk away from Starfleet with their head held high and just say “It’s cool, but not for me.” I was tired of everyone in the 24th century saying, “All I want to do is wear the uniform and serve on a starship.” Hey, it’s cool, but it’s not for everyone.

Deep Space Nine became that “Starfleet isn’t for everyone” series. Some people want to encounter aliens. Others want to worship them as Prophets.

Some people want rational and progressive Science Fiction that explores the universe. Others want a story about a Chosen One who is picked by aliens to fight evil.

Deep Space Nine didn’t happen in a vacuum. Babylon 5 came first and it won over a lot of Science Fiction fans. Star Wars with its mysticism did better than Star Trek.

Star Trek was an older product. Its ideas were clean and uncluttered. It looked forward to a future where we could all meet on common ground. Deep Space Nine rejected that future, but TNG was already rejecting it in places. DS9 allowed TNG writers to toss aside the Roddenberry structure and make their argument against everything that Star Trek stood for.

Even when Voyager and Enterprise tried to put the pieces back together again, the writers and producers didn’t understand how to speak that language. There are online fan series that do a good job of connecting to those TOS assumptions and Manny Cotto had his moments on Enterprise, but most producers and writers didn’t get it anymore. And younger audiences also wanted something else.

The most popular space SF television show of recent years was Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica which was like DS9 without any of the restraint or last shreds of plot logic. It was all foretold and predestined and inconsistent and dark and never had to make any sense because making sense was one of those old rational and progressive things that Star Trek used to do.

Chosen ones, dark sides and mysteries that can never be solved told across story arcs dominate genre series on television today. If Star Trek comes back to television right now, I don’t think that will change.

The Trainwreck Live Action Star Wars TV Series

About the only good thing that you can say about the live action Star TV series is that with the House of George selling out the House of Mouse, this thing will probably never see the light of day.

star-wars-1313

What do most people think of when they think of Star Wars? Spaceships and guys with laser swords slashing at each other. Even George Lucas figured out that you couldn’t really get rid of those things and still expect anyone to show up in theaters. He made them hard to come by and drowned them in a load of other crap, but he didn’t get rid of them.

Sources say the live-action series centers on the story of rival families struggling over the control of the seedy underside of the Star Wars universe and the people who live within the subterranean level and air shafts of the metropolis planet Coruscant (the Empire’s urban-sprawl-covered home planet). A bounty hunter may be the main character.

That has some potential if you’re making a syndicated low budget series that’s trying to be the DS9 of Star Wars. Maybe.

But this was a $5 million per episode series that Lucasfilm wanted to retain ownership to and that they ordered 50 scripts for without an actual deal.

The best part is that they ordered some of those scripts from Ron Moore. So we not only have a SciFi Noir crime drama without Jedis or spaceships, but we also have the most overhyped TV SF writer, after Joss Whedon, who trashed Battlestar Galactica, on board to do it.

Ron Moore is Down to Doing Romance Novels

Caprica failed, Precinct 17 didn’t get picked up and SyFy decided it wasn’t in the science fiction business anymore, so Blood and Chrome clashed with its new image of ordering crappy imitation reality shows that other networks did first. So what is supergenius Ron Moore doing now? A cable adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander historical romance novels.

How bad is this crap? I’ll give you the last sentence from the descrip. “Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.”

Viewers with above room temperature IQ’s will be irreconcilably torn between not watching this and moving to a country that doesn’t have television.

Not that we’re in any real danger of seeing this make it to television. Ron Moore doesn’t have a great track record with developing novels into cable shows. He was on Dragonriders of Perth and that never happened. But if it had, I picture a bunch of angry dragonriders wearing suits and driving humvees while screaming non-stop at each other about religion before committing suicide… just like Battlestar Galactica.

Sony decided that it wants to get a chunk of that sweet Game of Thrones action and Outlander probably isn’t the only trashy book series that can be loosely called fantasy being adapted for television. In an environment where Fifty Shades of Grey is being turned into a movie, there’s no real shame in it. But by the time Outlander goes through the process, the heat on Game of Thrones will have cooled and no one will be that interested in an expensive television series about “a gallant and passionate young Scots warrior” or “a passionate love so absolute” except maybe the Hallmark Channel.

But the true passionate love story is the forbidden love of fanboys for Ron Moore’s pseudo-intellectual “makes Lost look like a model of plotting and storytelling” crap.

3 Things I Don’t Want to See in Science Fiction Novels Anymore

1. Divorced Scientist Meets Beautiful Girl Scientist Half his Age – I know a lot of these books are being written by aging professors of one thing or another, but can we put the personal wish fulfillment on hold here. After reading a few dozen books with pages after pages about an aging scientist, his harpy ex-wife and the wonderful brilliant female scientist half his age that he meets on his quest to Contact Aliens / Stop a Nanotech Plague / Discover an Alien Culture / Cure a Corporate Plague, all I have to say is enough already.

2. Global Warming World – We’ve been getting these since the 80’s if not earlier. Not only are they cliche but lately they seem to be written with preachy earnestness as if the author is warning us of what will happen if we don’t use recycled toilet paper. Please stop. Not only is the global warming world a basically lamer version of a generic post-apocalyptic America, it’s basically just soggy, but it’s been done to death, and some of us actually like our Science Fiction, without the luddite aftertaste. It’s nice that you really want to let people know how awful global warming is, but maybe you should write an essay about it, instead of ruining your novel/story.

3. World of the Future Looks Just Like Today – It’s ridiculous that some Science Fiction writers in the 1930’s were able to create a more realistic future than some writers working today. Sure we bash Ron Moore for his ties and hummers Galactica, but some writers of printed SF are just as bad. Take one novel I just finished reading which is set 200 years in the future, but aside from FTL drive (gotta have that) and a force field spacesuit, the rest of the technology is exactly the same. I mean exactly the same. An easy rule of thumb is subtract the number of years the story is set in the future from the present day and look at how the world has changed. Then do likewise for the future.

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