Watch: Writer Pitches Star Trek Script On Mad Men

Did you catch the latest episode of AMC’s Mad Men over the weekend? The Emmy-winning drama is set at an ad agency in 60s, and the show has now progressed to the time shortly after the premiere of Star Trek in 1966. And so for the first time, Star Trek got a mention in Mad Men. Watch the clip below.


Star Trek on Mad Men

On the Mad Men episode "The Christmas Waltz," which mostly took place in early December 1966, we saw the return of the character Paul Kinsey, who has become a follower of Krishna. Previously this character had shown interest in sci-fi, including mentioning his love for The Twilight Zone in season one. Now he was approaching Harry Crane (who handles the agency’s media buying) to see if he could help sell a spec script titled "The Negron Complex" for Star Trek to NBC. Watch the clip below.


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that cool…great writing

Now I want to know if the script made it in, and if it was produced, and if it was, was the episode Spock’s Brain? ;)

It was cool to see the Greatest TV show of 2012 reference the greatest TV series of all time.

“Are you kidding me?” My thought’s exactly, Harry…

With Mad Men creator Matt Weiner being a Trek fan, I figured it was inevitable that TOS got a mention in the show. Didn’t expect it to involve Hare Krishna though…

Looks like Kinsey found “The Way to Eden”—I mean, California.

Didn’t they find out that their weren’t that many Scifi fans in the 60’s?


You mean all those people who made “Planet of the Apes” and “2001” big hits in the late ’60s. The Apollo program…? Moon landings…?

Have been expecting this all season, just with Cosgrove instead of this Orson Welles-looking guy.

What’s funny is that this WAS an idea for TREK, but shot down by network supposedly. Kelley talks about it a lot in the 70s, how he and Nichelle would be on this planet where she had to act the master and he the slave. Am wondering if anybody on MM had heard this story. Wouldn’t be surprised.

And like all but the last 2 eps this season, another fantastic episode.

I was wondering if they were going to mention Trek, especially since Weiner is a fan.


After “Sherlock” and “Mad Men,” I am now awaiting the ‘Game of Thrones’ reference to Trek.

King Joffrey: “Eddard Stark! It is a good day to die! Make it so.”

Swish! *Thud* Scream, etc.

The best part of the episode was when Paul hands the script to Peggy. I was dying at her reaction.

7. Indeed.

Sometimes there’s this idea on here that science fiction became popular only because of Roddenberry and Star Trek and that he was a one-man force breaking amazing, revolutionary new ground and was fighting a world afraid of sci fi. I dig Trek, don’t get me wrong. But scifi was around.

12, It kept getting kicked back into the closet, though. I can tell you that the only reason I didn’t get my ass kicked for carrying MAKING OF STAR TREK in 8th grade was because I made sure when I set it down that it folded open to the Leslie Parrish photo. Probably created a few more TREK fans with that too.

Context meant a lot, too. TWILIGHT ZONE was ‘normal’ enough at first glance that you wouldn’t be considered weird for liking it. AVENGERS too, though that always seemed like another planet to me as a kid. But I remember spaceships as being a real hard sell up until STAR WARS (which is when the lustre first started going away for me.) You may say proton torpedoes, but I”ll always say photon torpedoes.

“Hit television series”??? If I recall correctly, Star Trek never made it past 70th in the weekly Nielson ratings. And Star Trek didn’t accept spec scripts either (Next Gen did for awhile). Frankly, this clip makes me question all the accolades that show has received. Poor writing!

Of course they didn’t take specs, the ep addresses that. That’s why the guy is trying to get the script submitted through an ‘in’ rather than conventional channels (i.e. agent.,which he presumably couldn’t land.)

It wasn’t a hit, but for folks on either coast with color TVs, I’m sure a lot of them had to have watched a little, just to eye the babes before switcihing elsewhere. Remember, while Nielsen’s had TREK in the toilet, the rating stuff based on WHO is watching rather than HOW MANY that came along later would have been ideal, since young folks with cash were among the few watching regularly.

@Anthony Thompson: you obviously haven’t watched the Mad Men episode that you are commenting on, and thus have no idea what you are talking about. Poor commenting!

This is so cool. I never watched Mad Men before, but I WILL watch this episode.

I was so tired that night I kept falling asleep during the show. Never even saw this. I’ll have to watch it again when I’m more awake.

#14 – I think they can be allowed some artistic license on this one to refer to something that’s now a cultural icon. :P

14. Anthony Thompson – If the character liked the show, which he obviously must, having written a treatment, he might call the show a hit whether it is or not. Maybe it was a bit of wishful thinking.

We’re talking a fictional TV show here. The guy might have no idea of the ratings. And how many people back then had any idea that they wouldn’t accept spec scripts.

This has nothing to do with poor writing. It says something about the character that I believe you are missing.

My two favorite shows. Worlds collide, Jerry!


Kinsey (the guy who wrote the script) is trying to get his friend Harry (head of the television ad department at his agency) to get the script read by contacts he has at NBC.

Really though, the scene is meant to show how desperate Kinsey is at this point in his life and how his heart isn’t in Krishna after all.

Try watching the show. It’s good! (but not for everyone)

Kinsey was a regular in season one of the show–and we find out he’s a fan of The Twilight Zone and science fiction. I always suspected that when they worked Trek into the show (which I strongly suspected they would) they would use Kinsey–and they actually brought him back onto the show to do it.

Mad Men is actually a very Star Trek like show–every week they’re exploring this strange alien culture with different values and customs–except it’s America in the ’60s.

That was HILARIOUS!! The “Negron Complex” actually reminds me of an (alleged) Gene Roddenberry story outline at the beginning of TOS that was supposed to have Kirk and Uhura beam down to a ‘reverse racism’ planet where Kirk had to pose as Uhura’s ‘property.’

“Mad Men” is one of my favorite shows on TV right now (since BSG went off the air 3 years ago); right up with “Sherlock” and “Walking Dead.” It’s brilliantly written, filled with rich, complex characters and pitch-perfect period detail. Don Draper is clearly the “Kirk” of this Enterprise…

#9 Ensign Red Shirt~

I too, was wondering when Star Trek would get a mention on the show. Especially since “Twilight Zone” had one early on (and it was also mentioned by Kinsey). Weiner’s geek roots are showing! I love it.


“You may say proton torpedoes, but I”ll always say photon torpedoes.”

;). Ditto,

Sci-Fi writing in the 50s and 60s is great to play with. Hence, “Far Beyond the Stars” being so amazing. I about busted my sides when Harry went to see Kinsey and I saw the shaved head and knot-tail-hairdo thing and robes.

Here’s an article comparing Mad Men to Star Trek:

@24. The Roddenberry concept had Uhura and McCoy having to lead the mission. Uhura would be the slave master… McCoy would have been the slave with the Southern accent.
If you think Southern U.S. stations raised a fuss over the Kirk/Uhura kiss in Plato’s Stepchildren… imagine how they’d have reacted to Southerner McCoy being the slave of black Uhura in 1966!

16. Gorn Born

I was commenting on the clip, not the episode. Do you care to dispute anything I wrote in #14? With facts? I didn’t think so!

@Anthony: As others have pointed out Paul Kinsey was trying to get the script through Harry as if he were acting as Paul’s agent.

The clip reflects the assumptions of the character about whether “Star Trek” was a hit television show and they accepted spec scripts, not factual errors of the “Mad Men” fact checkers and thus “poor writing” as you were suggesting.

#14 – It means little, but “Star Trek”‘s highest ranking in the Nielsen’s was 52nd place in its first season. And, it did accept spec scripts; “The Empath” was one. The episode’s writer, Joyce Muskat, never wrote a script for anything before or since.
I’ve got to check this episode out; I’m grateful for cable’s “On-Demand” services. I try to catch “Mad Men” whenever I can. Especially since my uncle’s Manhattan bar was mentioned in an episode. My uncle had no clue, as he doesn’t watch the show.


You’re right. From Memory-Alpha:

“This episode (The Empath) was written by Joyce Muskat, one of only four fans who were able to sell scripts to the original series, the others being David Gerrold, Judy Burns, and Jean Lisette Aroeste. Co-producer Robert Justman read her unsolicited script and recommended it be bought.”

So, yeah, Kinsey did have at least… a snowball’s chance. ;)

I loved the way Kinsey was drinking and talking at the same time.

It kind of reminded me of when Kirk and Gillian were sitting in the restaurant in STIV.

Love Mad Men

# 28

You’re right; it WAS McCoy… thanks for the fact check! ;-)

I think I read that synopsis in Allan Asherman’s large softcover book “The Star Trek Compendium.”

Jon Hamm needs to be a starship captain. Anyone who sees his conference room speech in this episode and doesn’t agree with me must be smoking something awfully potent.

# 35

If he were ten years younger, I think that he’d also be the BEST Superman ever. No kidding. There was even a superman joke written into one of the episodes earlier this year, when he attempted to fix Pete Campbell’s sink during a dinner party.

Mad Men has one of the best ensemble casts I’ve ever seen.

I’m eagerly looking forward to an announcement by New Voyages that they’ve fast-tracked “The Negron Complex” for a spring 2015 release…