Ron Moore Blogs About Time Writing For Trek

Two weeks ago TNG and DS9 writer (and Battlestar Galactica co creator) Ronald D. Moore set up his own blog mostly focusing on issues related to the WGA strike. However, yesterday Moore delved into his time as a cub writer for TNG in a post titled “The Trek Journals — One in an Occasional Series.” Moore recalls a particularly amusing anecdote about how the writers would spy on meetings between executive producer Rick Berman and show runner Michael Piller:

At some point, Hans and Ricky discovered that it was possible to actually tell which page of a script was being discussed in Rick Berman’s office with a pair of binoculars and this led to covert gatherings whenever we knew that Michael Piller had been summoned for a “Rick Meeting.” We would crowd the window and trade the two pair of binocs usually at hand to get the perfect view of the script in question, which would invariably be on the coffee table in front of Rick’s chair, while Michael’s sneaker shod feet would just be visible. Rick’s script notes were sometimes visible in his thick red pencil and we would follow along with our copies as he would point to a line of dialog and begin gesticulating with varying degrees of animation, depending on the severity of the note. This went on for some months, until Rick remodeled his office and added shutters to the windows, which brought an end to regular surveillance.

Strike hits BSG
On his blog Moore also talks about how production on the 4th and final season of BSG was halted after shooting the 13th episode (of 20). Moore states:

I refuse to believe that we won’t finish, that we won’t be back to film our final stories, but I know and accept there is that possibility. The strike will be a seminal event for many of us in this business as it’s put literally everything we care about in the balance (if only for a short time so far) for something we all believe is important.

Season 4 of BSG premieres in early 2008. The two hour special BSG TV movie “Razor” featuring Michelle Forbes (TNG: Enisgn Ro) aired last weekend. The extended version comes out on DVD December 4th.

Video of Ron Moore, BSG fans and other writers picketing NBC Universal

Check out more on Ron Moore’s Blog.

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am i first!!!!!!!!
united kingdom

I don’t see why they can’t finish the remaining episodes. So the season is split like Stargate SG1 used to split the season. In the meantime, they can always rerun classic Sci-Fi shows like “The Six Million Dollar Man”, Babylon Five, and Deep Space Nine to fill in the schedule till new episodes can be aired ;)

Does he mention Quiznos? Toasty!

Yes, the writers strike is a bear. The two sides need to quit their s*** and work towards a real solution, perfect or not. I’m with the writers on this, but both sides better come in the room with minds open.

It’s not like Sci-Fi hasn’t given us half-seasons before. I’d also be happier watching B-5 repeats than the drek movies they have every Saturday night.

This is one show that deserves a proper ending.

Don’t follow all the issues on this strike, but I recall it was such a similar strike that put “reality” TV so predominate negating the need for writers. They kind of shot themselves in the foot (and us in the face) back then didn’t they?

Ronald Moore was a great writer. To bad he wasn’t involve on Enterprise.

^I mean is a great writer. From what I hear he is still writing great stuff.

Moore and Braga together wrote some of the worst Trek ever produced.

If Moore is “a great writer”, does that mean all blame falls on Braga??

Well Scifi was supposedly planning to split the 4th season in two anyway, and save the second half for 2009.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to THAT, but it would still be better than nothing I guess.

I stopped watching BSG way back.I gave it a good long look hoping it would get better,but they ruined it.No robot cylons(they’re human now-gee ,saves on costumes).No evil Baltar.Just a weak seedy sex addict.No imperious leader.The list goes on.They just took all the fun out of it.No reason to watch for me.

Re: #9 – “Moore and Braga together wrote some of the worst Trek ever produced.

If Moore is “a great writer”, does that mean all blame falls on Braga?? ”

If you watch the Trek episodes that Moore did by himself they were almost all uniformally good.

If you watch the Trek episodes that Braga did by himself they were almost all uniformally bad.

My answer to your question is “yes”.

Thanks, Steve………, at least, now we know!

Ron Moore and his work at DS9 is the best in Trek history. And as much as I try and want to love BSG, wow, I just can’t. Every single story (including Razor) resorts to stereotypical “stupid chief storytelling.” It is just one stupid chief after another barking ridiculous orders that everyone knows are wrong, but yet still following, until the inevitable conclusion of those decisions being deemed wrong. Wow. If it isn’t Tigh, it’s Dr. Balthazar, if it isn’t Michelle Forbes’ character, it is her commanders. If it isn’t Adama, it’s his son. Man, I really don’t like that show.

And truth be told, Moore and Braga wrote some of the best Trek ever produced. If the list started and ended with First Contact, it would be enough, but it goes way deeper.

Ballzio is right as usual!! I can’t believe the same guy who shines on BSG wrote most of the 90’s Trek!! Blah!!!!! I say there are two Ron Moores and one is a cylon (perhaps the renaisance fair looking version!!) I like the cylon version much better

Even though the 3rd season of BSG was subpar, I would still put it along with The Wire as one of the best shows on television. It’s absolutely amazing.

I have faith that we’ll see the final seven episodes of BSG, though I do hope they get this ridiculousness resolved soon. They can’t take us this far and then leave us to hang.

Get a haircut, hippie!

(i keed … i keed …)

Moore was a great writer. Braga, not so much.

But I still blame Trek’s problems on Rick Berman. Really, the buck stops with him on this one. He’s the one who wanted “Evil Future Guy” in Enterprise – and that development, plus the futuristic looking Enterprise – is what killed the series from the start for me. Season 1, Temporal Cold War withstanding, was okay. 2 and 3, good episodes, but not what I was looking for in Enterprise. Season 4, when they brought in Manny Coto, that was awesome. That was what the show should’ve been to me. And because of Berman, it took them three years until they started writing the kinds of stories they should’ve been.

Berman is also to blame for that drektacular Enterprise theme song. It was his idea. He’s admitted it. Proudly. That probably turned off more people to the series than any other factor. It’s sad, really, because once Berman and the equally icky Braga pulled out of writing every-damn-episode the series actually got good. Those first two seasons are jam-packed with recycled Trek ideas culled from, strangely, some of the weakest episodes of all the previous series.

But Michael Piller was pretty bad, too. Insurrection was as bad a movie as STV. Maybe worse. And Voyager? Awful. Almost totally irredeemable. Even the okay episodes are saddled with the worst dialogue and characters.

Moore was great. Still is. Manny Coto, the Reeves-Stevens’s, Ira Behr. All awesome.

Down with Rick Berman!!!!

Oh, Wait, he’s already canned.

Bring back Sulu, Excelsior, and Coto writting. That would bring Trek fans back to the TV!!

(just my opinion)

Ron Moore is a cool dude. His passion for Trek has always been evident in his work. He obviously understands the human condition and can write about it well. I also respect the fact that during DS9’s run he used to post online responses to viewer questions and criticisms. I think it took a lot of guts to not only read the viewer criticisms but to also respond to them in an honest and courteous manner. I’m glad he created the new blog and hope he continues to provide Trek related anecdotes.

Nuff said.

As a big fan of the original Galactica(Growing up In the 1980’s I would watch it,Buck Rodgers,and the original Star Trek on the weekends) I absoletly hate what they did to It.This Is why with the exception of Batman Begains,It’s sequels,and the upcoming Incredible Hulk I hate reboots(and this Includines Casino Royale.I will take Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnon over Danial Craig anyday) netherless Ron Moore did some good work on Star Trek.Some of the best Next Generation Came from Him.And for helping bring us my second favorate Star Trek Show with DS9 I can forgive him for Galactica.And let’s remember the only true hit Next Generation films were co written by him(however he gets demerits for killing off Kirk)

I’ve been really enjoying his blog since he started up a week ago. I was actually surprised that he began talking about his time on Trek while the strike was still running. He’s repeated commented on his work withing TNG and DS9 over on his official blog on, unfortunately rarely ever updated.

When I was growing up in my teens, Ron Moore was one of the writers I wished I could be. He had a real strong attitude about Star Trek and always seemed versed in science fiction lore. But I feel the longer he was with Star Trek, the darker and out of character his stories became. In particular, I remember watching the Darkness and the Light and feeling like I was watching a different show. It simply didn’t feel like Star Trek. It really didn’t surprise me that he went on to write Battlestar Galactica.

His blog entry on his time in Star Trek only makes me wish that we could hear more from that era production personel. It was extremely fun, and nice to hear that Ron kept so much of his material while he worked on Trek and has preserved it for history.

Also, is absolutely necessary to turn every news item relating to a person who wrote for the modern era of Star Trek into a Rick Berman bash fest. It really is getting old. Can’t you guys just get over it. You’re only annoying those wanting to engage in meaningful discussion and not the guy you really hate.

Hope this strike is worked out soon. i love Heroes and the new Bionic Woman. Trek in the 90’s had its bright spots and its spectacular lows, but hey if you’re gonna suck why not do it in style. Loved the opening credits to Enterprise, coulda found a better theme song tho. A great idea would be to let them do Star Trek on those Sci-Fi channel movie nights. maybe have Coto do the Romulan Wars (a man can dream can’t he?) with the Enterprise crew, or have them rework that Star Trek: the Beginning script, so it isn’t quite as bad, or even an Excelsior movie. Doing that once or twice a year while the Abramsverse is on the silver screen would be awesome but it probably won’t ever happen.

#9 and #12… it’s fun to make snap judgement as to who is a good writer, and who not, and who to blame for something, but the reality is that all writers do some good work and some bad work. Just because they’ve written a bad episode doesn’t necessarily make them a horrible writer; take Braga, for example; sure, he oversaw Enterprise, but he also wrote some of the coolest TNG episodes (Schisms, Paralells, etc); Moore wrote some great stuff, but also some not-so-great stuff. You can’t just stick people into neat little categories of who’s good and who’s bad; it just doesn’t work.

As for Berman, I find myself at a loss to explain the hostility towards him; sure, he oversaw some bad stuff, but it’s almost besides the point; he wasn’t a writer…the main thing he worried about was production. And thanks to him, whatever else you say about the later Star Trek series, you can’t say they were badly produced. And sure, sometimes he was a bit of a jerk, but so was Roddenberry…and I don’t hear anyone attacking him. Everyone just needs to lighten up a bit.

Oh, yeah; and Moore’s a darn cool guy too…

I don’t know who’s really to blame, all I know is that VOY and ENT were painfully generic and derivitive, with poorly developed characters and too many stories that didn’t seem to have anything worthwhile to say. It was just one random, meaningless adventure after another.

How the people in charge couldn’t see that, I have no idea. A lot of the actors were, the critics were, and so was Ron Moore when he tried to join the VOY staff. But somehow it just didn’t get through to Braga and Berman.

I don’t want to be a basher, but damn it, they had two BRILLIANT spinoff concepts with INCREDIBLE potential, and completely wasted them both. Somehow that’s got to come down on them and their decisions.

#14 said “Every single story (including Razor) resorts to stereotypical “stupid chief storytelling.” It is just one stupid chief after another barking ridiculous orders that everyone knows are wrong, but yet still following, until the inevitable conclusion of those decisions being deemed wrong. Wow. If it isn’t Tigh, it’s Dr. Balthazar, if it isn’t Michelle Forbes’ character, it is her commanders. If it isn’t Adama, it’s his son.”

I’ve read your comments several times, each time with an increasingly large grimace on my face. I’m not sure I can manage to say what Galactica is all about, but I’m pretty damn sure it isn’t about what YOU seem to think it’s about.

Name one instance in one episode to back up your point, and I’ll consider believing that you’ve actually seen an episode of the series. Otherwise, I’m assuming that you have no clue what you’re talking about.

And by the way, it’s Baltar. Not Balthazar.

I agree with you, though, that Moore did some fine Trek writing.

Ron Moore is probably the best writer Trek has ever had, whch is probably why when given the reigns of a show, he produced the best one currently on air.

I wish Moore had written the last two TNG movies, another waste.

what a great show. totally unique, and totally beyond spectacular. i serioulsy will be bummed if the final season gets scrapped.

Am I 32nd??? Am I 32nd??? (Oh, god please let me have 32nd post!)

simple – if moore sucked battlestar would suck – it doesnt!!!

berman and braga were the problem!!!

Douchebag! Uhg. I mean…. first!

#28 Since the fellow said “Balthazar”, I guess he’s talking about Galaxy Quest? Or maybe Space Cases, I forget which. Now there’s a show that would be fascinating in a “reimagining”. Haha. (It could star Jewel Staite again!)

Ron’s anecdote about peering into Berman’s office is telling. If Berman had left the writers alone (because clearly, the tale of the red pen indicates how overinvolved he was getting with the writing) perhaps Piller, Braga and others wouldn’t have been compelled to do certain things. I’ve always wished for a “Making of TNG” type book put together by folks like Moore and Behr and Piller. Would be very interesting.

Some defense for BSG though. It’s the aftermath of an Armageddon. Are people supposed to be rosy and nice and perfect? C’mon. This “barking chief” exaggeration is rational. Unlike 9/11 where a few thousand die, a few billion go on… this is a few billion die, a few thousand go on.

As to Razor, that was a real “valentine to the fans”. Casting Forbes in the first place was marvelous. Having Lawless. Getting Steve Bacic to play the original XO. (Too bad he wasn’t named Telemachus. Heh.) I just wish Kendra Shaw’s callsign had been Sheba. Oh well.

Ron is a professional writer, period. Some things work well for me others I don’t like as much. For example his Star Trek television work is as good as anyone else’s. Ron’s work with the Star Trek movies, I don’t like as much. Nor did I like the writing of Mission Impossible 2 or Roswell. With that said he hit a chord with me on Battlestar Galactica. Through his commentaries on nearly every single episode of Battlestar he has made me appreciate what a professional writer can do. Additionally I appreciate his sense of humor. Recently I listened to the commentary he did on Star Trek: Generations and I had a whole new take on him based on the hours of time I listened to his Battlestar commentaries. While I found myself disagreeing with him concerning writing points of Generations I didn’t find myself respecting him a lot more. This with his new writings on his website blog make me a fan of Ron D Moore the person who happens to be a writer.

Moore did a good job with Trek and Braga did his thing well also. I may not have liked what they did all the time, but how many hours of Trek did they put on our TV’s (or now DVD collection)? A hell of a lot and more times than not I find their work provides satisfying viewing experience.

That should say “I did find myself respecting him a lot more.”

I didn’t think that Nemesis was that bad, but I’m not a true Trekkie. Ron’s BSG is refreshing and very dark, which Trek needed to keep some fans from being disenchanted with the shiny happy future that made me want to puke.
BSG is real life after a holocaust, and hard decisions being made, good or bad. People die in war, lots of them, and he had to show how people react to that kind of stress.

What is it with Ron’s ”Jesus” look in recent years..

Every time I look at that photo of Moore I am reminded of the Doobie Brothers! Anybody remember them???

There were sooooo many hands involved in Trek. I do attribute Moore, Wolfe, & Behr with some of the best of it though, but let’s just say what it is in whole….

For the thousands of hours of Trek, some of it is really good, much of it is formula, and some of it is really bad.

As a huge fan of the whole concept in general, I look past the formula and take more good from it than bad and revel in it when it really hits it’s stride.

There were a lot of creative forces pushing and pulling trek to one end or the other. In the end I think storytelling for tv has shifted to more complex and complicated plot lines and character developement, and of all the series, DS9 did that the best and was a bit ahead of the game. Look now at how many primetime dramas are “serialized” rather than episodic.

Anyway, I give Ron M, lots of credit, love Battlestar too, and if he follows the posts, I would say to him, I loved the classic bsg design elements in Razor!, and also wish you would lighten the tone overall once in a while…, and coincidence heavy plotlines become hard to swallow sometimes… even if it makes sense in the overall storytelling… ( i really can’t stomach half the Galactica crew being cylon)

Doug L.

re Harry Ballz…

I’m takin’ it to the streets yo! (have the greatest hits vol 1, good stuff) dl

I really disliked nemesis and insurrection. dl

i disliked nemesis and insurrection, as well.

I dislike ketchup on a lettuce sandwich!

#28 & #35 … I knew I had that dang doctors name wrong. I should have just said Bashir!

Anyway, SPOILER ALERT … when the XO murders someone on the bridge of a ship (and I don’t care what the universe is … with a bullet to the head, but just saying, “I can’t follow that order.” Not for anything like, “I’m taking over.”, and everyone on the bridge just says, “Uh, OK, let’s continue. Because she is tough.” That is ridiculous “stupid chief story telling.”

Also, every order ever barked by a drunken, ignorant Tigh, that Adama just says, “Well, he is a damn fine military officer, it’s fine.” I could go on and on.

But certainly I respect what they are trying to do and the look of the series is great. Just way to heavy handed.

My meaningless opinion.


#46 said, in reference to “Battlestar Galactica: Razor”: “Anyway, SPOILER ALERT … when the XO murders someone on the bridge of a ship (and I don’t care what the universe is … with a bullet to the head, but just saying, “I can’t follow that order.” Not for anything like, “I’m taking over.”, and everyone on the bridge just says, “Uh, OK, let’s continue. Because she is tough.” That is ridiculous “stupid chief story telling.” Gabriel, if you don’t like the new “Galactica,” that’s cool, it’s not for everyone. But I honestly don’t think you’re paying very close attention to the show, because I don’t see how you can feel like all you’re being given by the writers is “stupid chief story telling.” The scene you refer to in “Razor” in which Cain kills her XO for refusing to carry out her orders . . . how can you think that the reason the crew continues is becuase they think she’s “tough”? Do you not understand that these people are SCARED OUT OF THEIR MINDS? Their entire race, themselves excluded, has been wiped out of existence. There is no more clearcut a case of having your back against the wall with a need for your teeth to be out than this one. At this point, all they have to fall back on is their training, their orders, and their leader, so of course they’re going to proceed accordingly. The XO was morally right; but militarily, he was wrong, and he (knowingly) paid the price for it. But “Razor” continue on from that point to be all about the mental and emotional fallout from Cain’s decisions. It fits seamlessly with the existing Cain episodes, and taken as a whole, there is no way in which the content of the story bears out what you seem to be taking from it. As for the Tigh issue . . . well, if you know how Season 3 ends, then you know that it’s hard to say how the Adama/Tigh friendship is going to play out. It may be that Adama’s willingness to cover Tigh’s missteps is going to result in a huge calamity. Maybe not. Either way, I don’t think the show wants you to be fully sympathetic toward Tigh, at any point during his character arc from the miniseries onward. In fact, consider how certain actions of his at the beginning of Season 2 reflect some of Cain’s decisions during “Razor.” But again, bear in mind . . . these people are at war. Tigh is something of a necessity in any condition, because he at least knows his job; and Adama seems to be able to get good work out of him. Here is an instance in which Adama is shown to be a different commander to Cain; probably a better one, at that. I’m hard-pressed to think of an instance in which Adama exhibits this “stupid chief” quality of command. I feel certain that he does at some point, but it’s not coming to be right now. I am CERTAIN, however, that he does not exhibit that quality consistently. Nor does Roslin, or anybody else in a command position. So where exactly have you gotten the idea that all this show is is stupid people barking stupid orders at stupider people who stupidly follow them? Man, I just don’t get it. The problem here may be that all of the major characters are impeccably well-drawn and well-played on a level of realism. NOBODY is all good, and nobody is all evil. Each character — including the Cylons — is extremely human, meaning riddled with flaws, and capable of both good and evil to varying degrees. Admittedly, this is unsual on television, and ever rarer in sci-fi television. This is a show that, unlike almost every other space-based show ever filmed, occasionally calls its captains into question and accountability for their actions. In no way does that make the new “Battlestar Galactica” a better show, but it does make it a different show, and it means that you have to analyze it with that fact in mind if you’re going to get anything out of it. You, sir, seem to have failed to do so. Sorry, by the way, if I sound like I’m trying to force my views on you. I’m really not. I just think that “Battlestar Galactica” is complex stuff, and that you’ve simply been misreading it. Really, my comments are for anyone out there who happens to be reading this and thinking, on the basis of what you’ve said, that they’ll skip the show. More likely, I’m pissing into the wind, but that’s alright, too. I might also add that, like yourself, I was (and still am) a big fan of the original “Galactica,” as well. Different… Read more »

Good salvo Bryant, if you are still reading.

Mostly very fair comments. I certainly appreciate everything you say, and definitely understand that to some the series works. It definitely doesn’t work for me.

(I mean, the people that were slaughter innocently in Razor were scared and caught in the war but still acted the way real people act by saying, “Uh, no. This is wrong. You can’t do this.” But not one person on the military side would deem to challenge a bullet to the head of the #2 with literally 10 seconds of conversation to validate that bullet? Yeah, I’m not buying that.

But let me say this… the acting, production, music, effects are all top notch. And I do appreciate the effort, but as you said, obviously not my frackin’ cup of raktajino.

Anyway, I’m guessing no one will ever read this.

All the best my fellow Trekkies!

No, Gabriel, we’re still reading and your points are well taken!

Let’s take a step back from Battlestar Galactica and go back in time to Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s Fall 1991.
From Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion: Rick Berman: “The other characters in the cast are relatively homogenous; some even might say bland, so we wanted a character with the strength and dignity of a Starfleet officer but with a troubled past, an edge.” The introduction of a strong woman often embroiled in conflict and her acceptance by the fans and writers was “one of our greatest achievements of the season,” Michael Piller added. (From Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
What was the character’s name? Ensign Ro!
Who was she played by? MICHELLE FORBES!!
Ms. Forbes also plays “Admiral Cain” in Battlestar Galactica!
An incredible actress! A talented actress! That’s the point I’m trying to make here, that the actors are working to make you think & feel something about their characters or situation. Mabye you dislike the ruthless way Admiral Cain handled business after the Cylon attack. If you do, that’s great! Ron Moore and the rest of the BG crew are trying to elicit a response from you, to make you think, and think critically, about the world you live in. Their fictional universe has brought up profound questions in its several seasons. These questions need to be asked, especially now, for obvious reasons. There is far too much “reality tv” that asks nothing, answers nothing, and demands nothing from the viewer, except the total suspension of disbelief and critical, independent thought. Battlestar Galactica is a welcome alternative. Thank you Ron Moore and Co.!!