Bryan Fuller’s Top 5 Star Trek Episodes

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As unusual as it is for the Internet, Trek fans seem to be reacting very positively to the news that former DS9 and Voyager writer Bryan Fuller will be the showrunner for the new series (which we’re just calling Star Trek: All Access for the time being). Bryan has 22 writing credits for Trek, which will probably get rewatched more in the next six months than they might otherwise. To help hone in which ones to rewatch (or at least which ones to start with!) we present our Top 5 Bryan Fuller episodes.

5. Barge of the Dead

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that an episode co-written with Ron Moore would be on the list. Barge of the Dead – originally a DS9 Worf episode –works just as well here as B’Elanna vehicle wherein she visits Grethor (essentially Klingon hell) to redeem her mother from a dishonored eternal punishment.

 

4. Relativity

Co-written with Nick Sagan, son of astronomer Carl, Relativity is a time travel story from a different perspective: our heroes are not traveling through time, but rather they are being traveled too. Throw in some fun scenes from Janeway first taking command of the ship and as much Seven of Nine as the audience could demand, and you have a classic episode.

 

3. Living Witness

As close as Voyager got to doing a Mirror Universe episode, Living Witness shows us what we never get to see otherwise: the lasting impact our heroes have on a planet they just visit and leave. We know they’re heroes, but 700 years of history and cultural bias tell a different story…

 

2. Empok Nor

The only DS9 episode on this list, Empok Nor is a “monster in the house” aboard an abandoned station that conveniently uses the same sets as the show’s namesake. A fantastic adventure for O’Brien, Nog, and Garak.

 

1. Bride of Chaotica

One of the challenges that JJ Abrams said he encountered was “how do you make a Star Trek movie for people who’ve seen Galaxy Quest?” If this episode is any indication, Bryan Fuller knows how to do just that: a delightful retro sci-fi send up that is silly, sincere, and smart all at the same time.

Kate Mulgrew’s turn as the eponymous Bride is a pinnacle of retro sci-fi glory. Seriously, you show up to a convention dressed up so you look like a black-and-white Arachnea and everyone will stop you for a picture.

 


 

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This is a list of Trekmovie staff’s favorite Fuller episodes, not Fuller’s favorite episode choices, right?

This isnt filling me with confidence.

@DaiMonRon – “… we present our Top 5 Bryan Fuller episodes” seems pretty unambiguous to me. ;-)

Star Trek: Relativity

I only like Relativity and Living Witness on that list for their “historical” perspectives. Bride of Chaotica was fun but not really what I want Star Trek to do. I don’t really like Barge of the Dead and Empok Nor.

To problem with basically all Trek episodes written by Fuller is that none of them really deal with the original premise of Star Trek…to explore strange new worlds. It’s all sorts of weirdo stuff, episodes that somewhat evoked the FALSE idea that there was nothing left for Trek to explore.

I want straight forward storytelling…no holodeck adventures, dreamscapes, psycho drugs or holographic museums.

1. DaiMonRon

Yes, the headline is confusing

You don’t hone in. You home in. You hone your skills. Pet peeve number 47.

Homing pigeons were bred to fulfill a communications function the need of which is as rare as hen’s teeth since the dawn of the internet. “Homing in”, by now, is definitely as much a candidate for “archaic expression” as pigeon messaging, and the whole issue along with its peevish qualities perhaps might be best avoided by breaking in better understood alternatives such as “close in” or maybe “zero in”?

The only one on this list that I didn’t love was Barge of the Dead, and even that one’s okay. The rest are all classics. Especially Living Witness, even if it doesn’t quite make sense.

@Smike – good point. The last thing we need is someone who thinks the problem with Star Trek is that its Star Trek and only wants to take the premise and drop it into weird scenarios. We got that with Orci and Co.

I like ‘Living Witness’, ‘Relativity’ and ‘Bride of Chaotica’ for different reasons, each one is unique & different from one another. Also I think ‘Course: Oblivion’, another good episode by Fuller, should be on the list.

@8. TUP,

You really need to give the guy some credits for his works in general and his pa$$ion for Star Trek.

=====================

“I learned so much from getting on staff at Star Trek,” Fuller remembers. “I’ve grown as a storyteller using all of the tools Star Trek has taught me that if your big concept idea doesn’t boil down to something very basic and human, it’s a pointless story.

If the nature of humanity – and, no doubt, alienness – will be key themes in his new show, Fuller, a long-time Trekker, won’t be afraid to unleash the kind of big, philosophical ideas Star Trek was always famous for.

“It really is an inclusive world,” he enthuses, “where you have to have everything on your tool belt to be able to use inter-character dynamics versus the metaphor of the high-concept idea. What is the metaphor of the high-concept idea and how does that boil down to a revolutionary human experience? That’s a great philosophy to take into any writer’s room.”

And something that he’ll be bringing back to the final frontier.

http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/star-trek-5-things-bryan-fuller-brings-franchise/

Damn! When I saw the title of this article, I thought it was going to be Fuller’s favorite episodes of all of Trek, and I thought that would tell us something very important about his tastes.

This article is still useful, but TrekMovie’s choice of which of Fuller’s episodes are the best is far less diagnostic of his taste than his personal choices from all of Trek would be.

If you get a chance to interview him, ask him that, huh?

Whille having it in the alternate universe, and being a takeoff from the movies would be very cool, the more I think about completely starting over with nearly zero cannon, the more I like it. Don’t have any of the same characters, don’t have any of the same back-history between now and the century the series starts, don’t have the same alien races, etc.

In this scenario, this are the only elements of current canon that I would provide to Fuller to start with:

1. The Federation exists, with a similar positive philosophy and focus exploration.

2, Starships, warp drive and transporters exist

3. The ship our characters is on is named Enterprise.

That’s it. Let the writers “go wild” with these 3 constraints and give us a nearly entirely original show.

@ Brian Drew

“As unusual as it is for the Internet, Trek fans seem to be reacting very positively to the news that former DS9 and Voyager writer Bryan Fuller will be the showrunner for the new series”

Agreed. I think in the 100’s of post so far on this site, I’ve only seen one fan complain about Fuller:

“Fuller represents a neutral choice—he has Trek cred, but it’s from the worst Trek show in the franchise.” — Cygnus

Sigh!

@Ahmed – I was the first person to post about Fuller and gave him due credit. But lets not forget the biggest Trek fan in Hollywood, Bob Orci, and look how that turned out!

Im on the fence about Fuller. I think he got the job because he really wanted it and seemed like someone who “got” Trek (because the studio sure doesnt get it). He’s a guy that has delivered many TV series, so he’s seen as someone who can deliver on time, on budget and make studio friendly series’.

He did have a dispute on Dead Like Me and was turfed. And that series got a lot better after he left. I cant speak for much of the other things he did. My gf LOVES Hanibal though.

The only trouble with “Course: Oblivion” is that people have to watch the much less successful “Demon” to understand what the heck is going on.

Fuller has made it clear that he loves the fun and characters of the original series and would like to return to that colorful format of Trek story-telling. For this reason alone, I can look at all he did for Ds9 and Voyager and lovingingly say…I forgive you. :)

Living Witness and Bride of Chaotica! are on my personal Top 10 list of best ST: VGER episodes; they’re not just easy choices for that hit-and-mainly miss series, but I’d include them on a hypothetical Best Of Star Trek (all series) episodes list. And with the always interesting (at least visually and in terms of casting) Hannibal as a notable accomplishment, I’m holding out high hopes he can approximate the amazing work J.J. Abrams has done with his two movies in making ST appealingly fun and strong in story and convictions all over again.

Not sure about Barge of the Dead (don’t remember it that well), but I like the other 4 episodes well enough. Empok Nor was particularly memorable for a monster story.

I would be more interested to know which 5 Trek episodes are Fuller’s favorite episodes

@prodigal – Cygnus’ post was hardly a complaint and I also expressed reservations. I’ve seen other posts where people flat out said it was a bad thing.

NEWS FLASH — TUP backs up Cygnus’s malaise on the new series.

Like none of us saw that coming! ;-)

Oddly enough I dont think I’ve ever seen episode #1. I never liked those shows but I have to say I liked all the others.

Fuller did some really fun and introspective stories and all of those are very much Trek as the exploration stuff.

Wasnt a Voyager fan at all. Would have like to have seen Barge of the Dead as the original with Worf. If NEW Trek is going to be like Voyager I may have to skip it. It was the only incarnation I couldnt stay awake during. Sad to say but ENTERPRISE had more Charisma.

7 Rosie, that sets my teeth on edge too. Or maybe it hones the edges of my teeth, if you home in with a camera :-p

12 Corylea; 19 Cyrus, that’s what I was hoping when I first saw this article, but then I re-read the title.

I did really like “Empok Nor.” Good use of resources; creepy ghost-y episode, and Garak, what more could you want. Not in my top twenty DS9 but purty good.

Maybe someday we will find out what Bryan Fuller’s top 5 favorite Trek episodes actually are.
That is the article that I thought I was clicking on.
Oh well, maybe next time.

@ 5. smike

I totally agree, Relativity and Living Witness were some of my favorite episodes of Voyager. And there weren’t all that many to choose from.

Fingers crossed for the new series.

I think we’re in good hands.

They’ve never actually gotten Trek that wrong, even at the worst of times. It’s never been Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine wrong.

Voyager was stale and, I think, constrained by what had come before and by Berman’s stewardship. At that point, it was Star Trek Inc.

Personally, I’m hoping this show isn’t too dark. There can be conflict, moral/ethical struggle and complexity without soul-crushing darkness. I also hope it’s literally not dark — I’d love to see some bright lights and colour (like Trek 2009). I’m a big fan of most of Greg Berlanti’s stuff right now (esp. The Flash) and while some of it is a little too light and simple (Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow) it’s fun, faithful to the originals in ways that work, and it’s watchable TV.

Although, one of the better SciFi shows on right now, and arguably the most Trekky in moral themes, is The 100. It’s dark as heck. But it grabs one by the balls.

I also hope they do something new and original and don’t feel pressured to give fans what they they think we want. We’re almost always wrong. Surprise us.

Whatever themes this new show will cover, I hope it is not ham-fisted.

I don’t care about Tremovie staff’s choices of favorite Bryan Fuller episodes. That really tells us nothing. Can someone talk with Bryan Fuller and write a story on HIS favorite episodes? That would give us a sense of his story-telling sensibilities…

The article title was confusing and misleading.

I’m hoping for a return to exploration and a sense of mystery. As Jack said above, I’d like the show to be literally bright, not all shadows and darkness the way a lot of TV is shot these days. And I’d like to see just “cool stuff,” like Balok’s ship dwarfing the Enterprise in “Corbomite Maneuver” and the wide shot of the surface of the planet Eminiar VII in “A Taste of Armageddon.” These are little things that evoke this future time for us. On the other hand, we require deeper characterizations these days. And perhaps some regular or recurring characters who aren’t Starfleet and so they can provide more conflict. And I’d like to see the camera given more freedom of movement than the more recent Trek shows. I’d also like to see a show where the budget and production values are such that you don’t realize, oh, there’s this week’s two new sets and three guest stars and four EFX shots. Elements to keep: a show open, something with great visuals that we don’t mind sitting through each week. Each episode having its title broadcast. And something to return to: distinctive music. Certainly some of the TOS music would be considered too cheesy these days, but I think too little TV and film productions have distinctive music these days. I always enjoyed hearing little snippets of a show’s theme throughout an episode. And imagine, for instance, Marla McGivers deciding to do whatever Khan says without the background music… Read more »

We need more R Rated Star Trek. Think Deadpool. How great would Voyager have been if it was on HBO instead and had Seven of Nine in a lot of topless scenes. Come on, you know you want it.

Discouraging that none of his favorites are TOS and rather are the staid, boring talk talk talk of Voyager and Deep Sleep Time. Can’t we have something between ADD JJverse and the sedate spinoffs? Something more like TOS and Enterprise?

Misleading title. I read the article and thought, “that’s pretty arrogant, to just pick from the series you worked on.” Then I realised it’s the top 5 he wrote.

Yes, a more adult oriented show would grab my interest.
Not gratuitive T&A but hey, it’s cold in space.
When Trek aired in 66, it was groundbreaking.
Now, it’s nostalgic.
They had this cool ship that did all this cool stuff.
They had cool gadgets that shot out beams, diagnosed illness and saved their behinds on many occasions.
So, Fuller has a tough job. How does he make it feel like Trek to all of us while making it ground breaking at the same time.
As far as his scripts go?
Remember, it was formulaic. Berman and Braga approved everything.
Write a story that fits inside a specific box.
Use that filter and in my opinion, he did a good job.
I am still excited for this new show

NEWS FLASH – Prodigal makes post attacking other posters, has nothing of value to add to discussion.

You really need to either chill out or maybe go see your guidance counselor or something.

They almost certainly won’t go the “adult” route with Star Trek Series 6. CBS wants to attract as many viewers as possible, not limit it to adults 18+.

Besides, the last time Star Trek pandered to the adolescent T&A crowd were the Trip/T’Pol scenes on Enterprise, which were laughably bad.

You want T&A, you have plenty of options on Starz, HBO and Showtime, where shows throw it in just because they can, usually with no real relevance to the plot. Leave Star Trek alone.

I vote ‘no’ on “Star Trek: Westeros”.

We don’t know for certain that The Enterprise is part of the new show, right?

@Thorny

If Voyager and TNG are examples of Trek pandering to Adults, please — by all means — give me a Trek series that panders to older teens/twentysomethings.

@ TUP

Copying my posts and inserting your silly comments is lame, dude. Come on, you can post better and more original than that.

I am flattered though — thanks!

#35. dennycranium – February 18, 2016

Well, given his resurrections fascination and how interesting they can be, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did have a viable Kirk story for Shatner to aid in the anniversary telling.

Call it Star Trek 2017 for now.

Very afraid if these were “the best”. We’re Ron Moore and Manny Coto not available?

@Prodigal – your gimmick of trying to be witty (trying being the key word) is beyond boring at this point. I had defended you in the past but you really are what everyone says about you, arent you? Too bad. Maybe when you grow up you’ll be able to engage in mature discussions without all the foot stomping and crying,

@ TUP

You need to let it go, dude. Stop the whining. You are embarrassing yourself.

@ TUP

You need to let it go, dude. Stop the whining. You are embarras-sing yourself.

@Prodigal – Ah yes, the “no, you” defense. Grow up, child.

Bravo. Excellent picks.

@ Jared Whitley/Trekmovie Staff @ All

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