Exclusive: David Gerrold Talks Star Trek’s Legacy & Humor + Relationships w/ Roddenberry & Coon + more


TrekMovie continues to celebrate the Star Trek’s 48th birthday with an exclusive interview with one of the writers for the original Series. David Gerrold (best known for "Troubles with Tribbles") talks to us about the legacy of Star Trek, his relationship with the Genes (Coon and Roddenberry), LGBT characters in Trek and more. Plus we have a contest to win five David Gerrold e-books.

Interview: David Gerrold

David Gerrold is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter who is best known to Star Trek fans for writing “The Trouble with Tribbles”, one of the most famous and beloved episodes of the original Star Trek series.  He went on to pen two episodes of The Animated Series (“More Tribbles, More Troubles” and “Bem”), and served as a story editor on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His non-fiction book, The World of Star Trek, was for many years considered one of the definitive books about The Original Series.

Gerrold has written many non-Trek science fiction books, including the “Star Wolf” series.  His novel The Martian Child was adapted into a feature film starring John Cusack, which was released in 2007.

TrekMovie sat down with the science fiction legend for a 2-part interview where we discussed his feelings about Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, and a great deal more.

TrekMovie: The original Star Trek series is closing in on its 50th anniversary.  Do you feel the show is still relevant half a century later?

David Gerrold: I am biased in the matter. I think the original series is still the best. Part of it is the circumstances in which it was created. We didn’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations. We knew going in that we could be cancelled any time because we did not know we were a big hit. NBC’s demographics showed we were a big hit, but the ratings were just one number, and they weren’t split by demographics at that time and we weren’t in the top 10 so we could be cancelled. So the attitude on the show was a very simple ‘let’s just do the best show that we can, for us – let’s just be the best Star Trek we can be.’ Nobody was worried about ratings. Maybe we will get renewed for a second season and maybe for a third season, but we didn’t have the pressure on us that we were a hit series. When Next Generation and all the other shows came along, the studio already knew ‘we have this big hit, we must not endanger the franchise, we can’t take chances.’ Well if you look back at the original series, we were taking chances almost every other episode. There were the anti-war stories in the middle of the Vietnam War, stories about drugs, stories about mutually assured destruction. We were the only show talking about peace when every other show was justifying war. We were examining social issues such as haves vs. have-nots and all kinds of things. And no one ever said “You can’t tell this kind of story.” It was always about how to make this kind of a story work.  “How do we do good television and tackle this idea?”  

So it was really an idea show, but when we get to Next Generation – even though the studio promised “you can tell any story you want because you don’t have a network censoring you” – what happened was the studio’s attitude quickly became ‘we mustn’t do anything that will endanger the success of the franchise, therefore we cannot risk offending anyone.’ So for that first couple of years, that series was kind of bland.  I believe the original series remains relevant, even though some of the issues we talked about now look quaint. You go back and look at the ambition of the original series and what we were attempting every time out with no money – it was an expensive show but we didn’t have enough money for half the stuff we wanted to do. But if you look at the ambition of what we were attempting, what you see is a landmark in television’s history.

William Shatner holding tribbles of the head of a young David Gerrold

TrekMovie: You were very young when you started in the business, and Gene Coon was a mentor of yours.  What are some of the lessons you learned from him that you have applied to the rest of your career?

David Gerrold: I learned several things. I learned to not be afraid to rip apart the story and dismantle it completely to see what worked and what doesn’t work and you need to get where you need to go quicker. All of the discussions we had on “[Trouble with ] Tribbles” and “I, Mudd” and a few other conversations was “don’t get married to any specific scene, you may have to cut it to get from there to here faster.” But at the same time, don’t throw away the good stuff if this is a very funny scene, or important scene or dramatic scene. So it was a kind of learn how to balance and dance with your own script to see how it worked.  There is something else I got from Gene Coon, which is even more important, which is the integrity of the writing process and respect for other writers. Every writer is a human being and needs to be treated with courtesy and respect. Every script needs to be treated with courtesy and respect. And don’t forget every writer who brought in that script has an investment – both emotional and financial – and you need to respect the writers who are involved in the story you are telling. And to respect the Writers Guild rules. And so the thing I took away from Gene Coon was a respect for the integrity of the process, which I know there are a lot of people in the industry who don’t have that same respect.

Writer/producer Gene Coon – Gerrold’s ‘Star Trek’ mentor

TrekMovie: Touching on another thing about Gene Coon –  I know you are familiar with Marc Cushman’s books on the original series (These Are The Voyages).  In the second volume he talks about Coon’s departure, saying that some of it was motivated by how Gene Roddenberry didn’t like that Coon was adding more touches of humor or levity, like with “Trouble with Tribbles” or “Piece of the Action.” Do you have any insight into that?

David Gerrold: I am glad that Marc was able to find evidence of that in the memos. Yeah, the thing I know about Gene Roddenberry is that he had no sense of humor. He didn’t understand jokes. It was not that he was a grim man. Writing comedy is a strange, bizarre kind of mindset. Not everybody can do it. It comes from timing. You need to have a bizarre sense of a look at the world. It’s manic. I think Gene’s military training kind of beat his sense of humor out him. He took things very personally a lot. I think he didn’t recognize something – which was fairly new at the time, anyway. There was a movie called From Russia with Love. And it demonstrated you could have an action-adventure story and if you punctuated it with funny dialog, then the relationships were cleaner and clearer and made the whole picture a lot more fun. From Russia with Love is the picture that really established the whole James Bond mystique. You have guns, girls, gadgets and quips. So that after James Bond fights Rosa Klebb and she’s got the poison shoes he says “she’s had her kicks.” It says “we’re done.” It puts the punch line on that and you move on to the next moment. And Gene L. Coon got that. You see a lot of that in “The Apple,” which ends with Kirk and McCoy teasing Spock, who looks like a devil with the pointy ears, which is a fun piece of business. And it lets you know these people like each other. When people tease each other, they like each other. Gene L. Coon’s mistake was going over the top. “Piece of the Action” was a little too much over the top. It was slapstick.

TrekMovie: Yeah, the humor was very broad.

It was fun slapstick and I think Star Trek needs one or two of those every season.  I think you need to let your hair down once in a while. Not only is it fun for the actors, it is fun for the audience. We don’t have to save the galaxy every week.  I think Gene L. Coon was trying to bring a sense of scale to the show. I think he got a little slapstick on “Piece of the Action.” I have never liked that episode that much, but I like it better than the one where they went back to the Nazi Planet [“Patterns of Force”]. Trek is a difficult show to do. Not a lot of people understand how to do Star Trek. Even Gene Roddenberry -when we got to Next Generation – was losing his own sense of perspective, because of a series of little strokes.

TrekMovie: A lot of people may not know this but you are the person that
gave James T. Kirk his middle name (in the animated series episode “Bem”). I wanted to know how you came up with Tiberius and if you had any trouble convincing Gene to go along with it.

David Gerrold: No, it kind of just happened. We were at a Star Trek convention and somebody asked Dorothy and I what was Kirk’s middle name and I had just finished a book on Roman history and was still thinking Tiberius and so it popped out of my head, “Tiberius.” And the audience loved it, so later on when we were doing the animated show which was a few months later and we passed it in front of Gene and he said “OK” and that was about it. There was no big deal about it. If we really stopped to think about who Tiberius was and who would name a kid Tiberius? And so when I did my Star Trek novel (“The Galactic Whirlpool”), I explained how Kirk got that middle name, which was more of a nickname than a real middle name. You do things for the fun of it sometimes.

Kirk got his middle name in the TAS episode "Bem" written by Gerrold

TrekMovie: There has been some debate as to whether Star Trek is better as a television or feature film franchise. What are your thoughts on that?

David Gerrold: I think Star Trek works better as a TV series because you can do episode ‘here is an issue, here is a story, here is an idea, a theme, a challenge’, and whether or not that episodes succeeds or fails you can come back next week and take on another. Like Law and Order takes its cases off the front pages of the newspaper. And Star Trek as a series should be doing the same thing, taking its story ideas off the front page of the paper – if anyone is reading newspapers anymore!

TrekMovie: Since the mid eighties, the LGBT community has become much more mainstream in a why that people couldn’t imagine in the 80s. With another Star Trek movie coming in a couple years, isn’t it time for a gay character on the Starship Enterprise?

David Gerrold: Oh it is long past time. It is so long past time. We should see a Jew; we should see an Arab; we should see somebody from South America; we should see people from all over world in a diverse crew. We should also see people of different faiths and we should see gay man or lesbian. Or gosh, they might even have a real relationship. They might have a boyfriend or girlfriend. We are long overdue. Star Trek could have been, and should have been the first show to acknowledge that gay people are part of our society and culture, but instead by the time it happens – if it ever happens – Star Trek will be the last show. Doctor Who is way ahead of us, Battlestar Galactica too. There wasn’t a show on the air that wasn’t having gay characters or something. Well that boat sailed and we missed it. The thing is, there was time when that sort of story was going to be dangerous and that was what Star Trek was supposed to do, the dangerous stories. Now, not only is it not dangerous, but it is boring. Oh, a gay character? We’ve seen that before. It is like the token negro in the sixties. We are long past even the token gay character.

TrekMovie: There has been some questions put to Roberto Orci about doing that and he seems to be receptive, so we will see.

David Gerrold: You know, you don’t do it like "look how smart and clever and whatever we are and here is a gay person." You do it like – there is a show called The Bridge – and one of the reporters – the didn’t make a big deal out of it – but one day she wakes up gets out of bed and besides her is her girlfriend. That’s it.  

Gerrold with William Shatner on set of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"

Check back later this week for part two of our interview with David Gerrold, which will focus on the the development of Star Trek: The Next Generation and his departure from the franchise.

New Gerrold.com Site + Win David Gerrold eBooks

David Gerrold recently rebooted his website, Gerrold.com, and it’s full of new features and free stuff, including a free copy of “The Kennedy Enterprise” when you subscribe to David’s mailing list, free excerpts from David’s newly-released eBooks each month, giveaways, and more. Twelve of David’s classic works have been recently released in eBook formats, and you can get details on those eBooks on Gerrold.com.

trouble with tribbles_giveaway

And you have a chance to win some of those Gerrold’s recent ebook on the making of "The Trouble with Tribbles" plus four more e-books, thanks to David. Just click on the contest embed below.

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Be sure to check in with David on his website, Facebook, and Twitter for information on new publishing ventures and accomplishments, giveaways, author appearances, and more.


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Wow! Great stuff! thank you! =)

Man, I read his “World of Star Trek” book over 20 years ago. That stuff about making a TV show is still relevant today.

Fun interview! Thanks for doing this.

2 Mad, His comments in that book — on writing in general — are very instructive too.

What a great birthday gift for us fans… all this great STUFF!

“World of Star Trek” helped point me at TV. I stumbled and landed in news, but still…

THE KENNEDY ENTERPRISE is a total scream, you folks will love it. I am so happy to see Coon getting some of the respect and acknowledgement he has so long been due. Though the Cushman book apparently has a lot of bad info — TONS of bad info in fact — in it, including crediting Coon with Decker’s demise in DOOMSDAY when it was in fact in Spinrad’s original outline. Just more reason that I’m happily boycotting Cushman’s books (the image issue was enough initially) while waiting for the greatness that will likely be the preston jones TMP tome.

Good interview.

Great interview. Love the insights of TOS veterans and the remembrances of Gene L. Coon by those that knew him. He is so on-the-money describing the important differences of TOS and TNG, things I noticed…and lamented…from the first day TNG hit the airwaves.

I love David Gerrold’s books on Star Trek, particularly The World of Star Trek. Anyone who is tasked with writing for Trek should be required to read that book and learn about “artificial excitement,” “hardening of the arteries,” “puzzle-box stories,” and any formulaic plot that involves the ship “prunifying.” Pretty much everything else that went wrong with TOS Season 3. It would seem that many of these preventable past mistakes keep getting repeated.

In the shows after TOS and TAS, the casting became so whitewashed and American/WASPy. I really wish we’d seen more Starfleet characters from all over the place. I’ve said this before, but compare Court Martial to Conspiracy — in the latter, all the brass is old, white and male (there’s a black, female Captain, but she’s an anomaly for TNG). There were exceptions, but they were just that. Exceptions.

And I really wish they’d had the balls to just show two men or two women holding hands in ten forward (hey, maybe they’re good friends, or from Europe/Asia). Or in the saucer evac scene when a couples carrying their kid and the kid drops the toy — can you imagine if the couple had been same-sex, mixed race and heck, even human/Vulcan? No big fuss, just let the audience decide what it means (hey, maybe they’re not a couple).

The first season of TOS is nearly perfect (only 2 or 3 not-great episodes). The second season has some fun moments — and the third season is a campy mess.

Can we get a followup question to Gerrold? I’d like to know his thoughts on how Roddenberry had just created a series that ran 1963-1964 whose main character was USMC 2nd Lieutenant William Tiberius Rice. Tiberius. A name crafted by Gene Roddenberry. Years before Gerrold thinks he invented it on a stage with D.C. No.

with the LBGT thing I dont think that’s a good idea, as just like religion sexuality is a highly subjective thing, and by focusing on it you can come off as explotiative and tasteless

like take Jack harkness from Doctor who and that god awful show torchwood

as that guy is just a grade A creep and just adding his sexuality to that ontop of that just seems like their doing it for the sake of doing it, rather than it being natural

and Doctor who in general seems like its doing it just to do it and it comes off wrong.

and also the we should take stories from the newspaper thing, god no, I dont want any stupid gun control political correctness crap in my star trek thank you very much,

nor any anti soldier or war stuff in their like they just did with the second episode of the new season of Doctor Who.

which comes off as Pretentious and BS if you’ve ever seen the original era stuff, like with the Doctor who had Jimi Hendrix’s outfit, the third doctor

and look up Diamanda Hagens episode guides of the original series if you want proof of that.

I mean that kind of stuff should not be celebrated nor hated when it comes to being a soldier, you just are, however if you do something Heroic and above the call of Duty, then its worth dwelling on

or having a regret, but to do it in an anti soldier way just like Moffat just did with the new doctor, now that is just wrong.

and I’m talking about that whole not letting her on just because she’s a soldier thing that is mentioned at the end of this review


as it just comes off as show some bloody respect you bloody british twatt, and he could have avoided it by saying he didnt want someone who would jump to an extreme solution without looking at all the solutions first.

so yeah I dont think dwelling on those two things are a good idea for trek. unless its organically grown and carefully handled, of which Moffat has shown he does generally not have the ability to do.

although I liked the concept and the episode regardless, but he just needs to shut up about the anti war/violence/gun and soldier crap.

and I dont want trek to turn into that either, where they treat phasers like their personal nukes and other tastless political crap they could do with them.

and that is the problem with media in a nutshell, there is no standard of decency when it comes to taking stories out of the newspaper for tv shows

like some tasteless episode some show did about some bombers bombing new york like they did here in MA with the marathon running on CBS or NBC, I forget the name but it had some female lead as the main detective

so there needs to be decency and respect above all else when it comes to writing fiction that is based on reality, and at the very least dont take it directly from the headlines as it comes off as propaganda and fear mongering otherwise.

or being a fear merchant. and star trek should Not be that, it should be an engaging escape from reality, and if it has to take on issues, do it like the Drumhead did, and give a good warning to the world that is still very pertinent to this day


and I challenge Moffat to do anything as good as that, and I know he will never make anything that great.

@13 – chuckle.

In it’s purest ‘Roddenberry form’ – Star Trek is:

-anti-religion (see Who Watches The Watchers).

“For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain. If people need religion, ignore them and maybe they will ignore you, and you can go on with your life. It wasn’t until I was beginning to do Star Trek that the subject of religion arose. What brought it up was that people were saying that I would have a chaplain on board the Enterprise. I replied, “No, we don’t.”
― Gene Roddenberry

-anti capitalist

“The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity.”
― Picard in First Contact

-pacifist (numerous episodes, but especially Encounter at Farpoint, Errand of Mercy, A Private Little War, Nor the battle to the strong).

“The Strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them.”
― Gene Roddenberry

-accepting (multi-racial crew).

“Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
― Gene Roddenberry

You write that the rather brilliant Dr Who needs to stop with the ‘anti war/violence/gun and soldier crap’. Oh dear – you must so very much hate Star Trek episodes like A Private Little War, Errand of Mercy or most Star Trek in general.

As for your comments about stupid gun control laws, gun ownership was effectively banned here in the UK in 1997. Since then, gun crime has fallen and we now have one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world.

In the UK, we had 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people in the year 2010.
In the USA, there were 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the year 2011.
source – Wikipedia

Different countries, culture and circumstances. But these are the facts, presented without comment.

“and star trek should Not be that, it should be an engaging escape from reality,”

Have you seen Star Trek?

I’m still confused by a lot of the pronouncements online of what Star Trek should be that have little to do with what Star Trek actually was.

The other delusion is that Star Trek was entirely about peaceful exploration. Sure, if all you’ve seen was the opening titles and Shatner’s “Space…” monologue. There was conflict (and benevolent Empire building) — in fact, look at Kirk’s line in Journey to Babel:

AMANDA: My husband has nothing against Starfleet. But Vulcans believe that peace should not depend on force.
KIRK: Starfleet force is used only as a last resort. We’re an instrument of civilisation. And it’s a better opportunity for a scientist to study the universe than he can get at the Vulcan Science Academy.

14. Although, Bread and Circuses mentions Son-worship as a good thing.The companion in metamorphosis refers to the Creator. Roddenberry said a lot of things later on, but I think the proof is in the pudding. Trek deals with false gods, but was it ever specifically, directly anti-religion.

Star Trek is IDIC, plain and simple. You don’t have to be anti-anything to enjoy it. Just have an open mind.


Yeah, since Roddenberry co-wrote Bread and Circuses, it’s difficult to see him as being anti-religious. Maybe anti-fundamentalist. Or anti-Roman. They really didn’t come off well in that episode. [snigger]

@16. Star Trek was on occasion quite forceful in promoting an atheist agenda.

“Horrifying… Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No!”

Picard – who watches the watchers

“Do you realize the number of discoveries lost because of superstition… of ignorance… of a layman’s inability to comprehend?”

— Star Trek: TOS episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”

Roddenberry was an outspoken atheist and you can see it in his writing where he frequently comes to the conclusion that worshiping a god is unworthy of people. Case in point: Return of the Archons, where Landru is a cipher of Jesus, the body is representitive of the church and the lawgivers ciphers for priests.

“Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.” (Gene Roddenberry)

David has said that the Cushman books on TOS put his and the others to shame (which is true). They are that good! Truly mandatory reading for any serious Trek fan. In the books, Cushman uses lots of original letters and memos to sort through the Roddenberry / Coon dynamic. It’s very enlightening.

Very enjoyable interview, looking forward to Part 2. You guys know how to throw a birthday party – kudos!

I have no issue with a gay character in Trek except that in order to make people happy, you would pretty much need a neon sign over them saying “hey, this person is gay”. Gerald gave a great example but given the number of people we have seen in Trek, you don’t think one or two might have been gay? None of the main cast may have been gay but that doesn’t mean others weren’t.

#4. Marja – September 8, 2014

Speaking of Bond, did you notice that Denzel is actively lobbying for the role?

James speaks TRUTH!! =)

Hear! Hear!

…although, just because one rejects religion, It doesn’t necessarily make them “atheist” ;-) (semantics, i know…)

I see Gene as “spiritual”, rather than religious (certainly not a nihilist)

Roddenberry considered himself a humanist and agnostic. There are certainly LOTS of Christian references in TOS. You can hear his amazed voice telling Kirk about the “real” Thanksgiving turkeys. Catspaw references Halloween, of course. Bread and Circuses has the ironic ending of two Jewish actors (one playing a Vulcan) speaking in awe of the Christ. I tend to think that Roddenberry’s anti-religious beliefs (not the same as atheism) ebbed and flowed. I know that I have experienced such changeable feelings. It’s tough to turn your back on a belief system you were raised with. In any case, I see Trek as more humanistic than atheistic. I see the message as “we will get better, despite our imperfections, and will make great things happen.” TNG got preachy about it. TOS benefitted from multiple points of view and creativity. Roddenberry was a great producer, but he was not the only man on the bridge.

I welcome contrasting opinions.

I’ve always thought that DS9 was more of a spiritual successor to TOS than TNG was–although, I liked them all.


I agree with you, though I’m not sure how Thanksgiving turkeys are a Christian reference. Unless you’re a Pilgrim, it’s not so much a religious holiday. Same goes for Halloween. I think they’re about… eating.

At Thanksgiving, the faithful thank God.
The state holiday is secular, but has its origins in Christian belief joined by non-Christian native Americans.

Or you can always eat meatloaf on the last Thursday in November.


The Wikipedia entry on Gene Roddenberry also has a nice paragraph on his religious views. Apparently Brannon Braga was told by GR that the crew were all atheist.

I agree with some if the other posts that Star Trek expresses a humanist philosophy.

Which is probably the most unrealistic thing in Star Trek. All of humanity is atheist? Really? Not even some Buddhists? Maybe some converts to Vulcanism? Or the Bajoran religion. Hey, Klingon Mormons! Now that would be interesting.

I think “atheist” or “agnostic” is an easy way of saying “non-religious”…

however, they are NOT the same thing… ;-)

Gene (and Star Trek) reject religion, NOT (consciousness related) spirituality =) i.e: Buddhist, Vulcan, Bajoran etc. SPIRITUALITY

Very excited to see David at PureSpec this November in Edmonton!

I really think that what Roddenberry said about Trek after doesn’t really matter — like any art, what matters is the art itself. Views change, recollections get foggy and people outright lie when talking about their creations.

Atheism is the view that there is no creator God; agnosticism wishes to see proof that God actually exists before belief is possible.

Christianity, Judaism, Hindu and Islam are Theistic and Buddhism is NON-theistic. Non-theistic is not synonymous with A-theistic. It means that Buddhist Dharma advances no opinion on the notion and/or reality of a (creator) God.

16 Jack, Although, Bread and Circuses mentions Son-worship as a good thing.The companion in metamorphosis refers to the Creator. Roddenberry said a lot of things later on, but I think the proof is in the pudding. Trek deals with false gods, but was it ever specifically, directly anti-religion.

No, that episode was definitely not Humanist or Spiritualist in nature [Roddenberry was a Humanist, Majel Barrett a Buddhist]. It was, at the end, Christian, and as a non-religionist I found it [and still find it] somewhat offensive. But, I guess I should take it that this one planet had founded this great peaceful religion.

A religion that on Earth, consigned “heretics” to die by fire for the sake of a man-founded church doctrine.

It strikes me that the Vulcans have spirituality similar to Buddhism, perhaps even Zen Buddhism, with its emphasis on meditation, peacefulness, and detachment.

18 James, Landru is a cipher of Jesus, the body is representitive of the church and the lawgivers ciphers for priests. Or, the lawgivers could be seen as the Inquisition. [shrug]

21 TrekRules, They could show gay characters simply by having a same-sex couple stand together in concern at a critical momennt, or a couple sharing a kiss before one leaves on a mission. It doesn’t need to be a “LOOK! We’re gay!” dialogue moment, it can be something in the background. Enterprise crew passing in the hall and briefly kissing, or playfully ruffling the other’s hair. Jiminy. And cast and characters are quite different. TOSSulu never presented as gay [it wasn’t safe for an actor to come out as gay or even play a gay character in the ’60s, unless you count Off-Broadway stage plays]. And Mr Takei, who played Sulu, didn’t come out until the gay marriage issue ticked him off.

22, Disinvited, Denzel would be a good Bond [although he’s not British].[Personally I like to see him in acting-acting roles, not action roles, but he’s convincing even when he just does expressiveness in his face and eyes, much as Harrison Ford does.] I wonder if he would have to work with a British dialect coach, or if the writers could come up with an American working for MI-6 ….

28 CmdrR, At Thanksgiving, the faithful thank God. The state holiday is secular. Indeed it is, and as a non-religionist, I still have plenty to be thankful for! Friends, family, food, shelter, joy in life, the star-stuff that we all share, consciousness — and of course, Trek ;-). As you say, TNG got “preachy” about Agnosticism and Federation beliefs, but Picard was, ironically, reading “The Varieties of Religious Experience” in one episode. DS9 showed Major Kira, a religious woman, functioning in a joint Federation/Bajoran environment with her religion intact. My problem with religion or ahteism is when people with those beliefs prosiletyze their beliefs to others, or enforce their religious beliefs in law for all the people.

31 IANH, I think you’ve hit it right on the nose.

34 Rose, I’ve always thought of agnostics as “believing in ‘something,’ they’re just not sure what it is, but they believe a force is at work in the universe. But I could be wrong about that. It is what I always claimed for myself when I began practicing Spirituality. Heh-heh, I know I’ll set off all the scientists here when I say I’m pulling for Dark Matter as the Web of All Existence :-)

#35. Marja – September 11, 2014

Didn’t he already play a UK citizen? Was it in THE MIGHTY QUINN? I think he was a Chief of Police on one of the islands off the US Atlantic coast that was (are?) still a member of the UK? British Virgin Isles? I could look it up but it’ll probably be a more interesting exchange if I just let you fill in my lapses and correct my errant memories.

36 Dis, Yeah, Denzel played a police detective with a beautiful ex-wife [“ex,” I think, because he was too dedicated to his job]. She was involved with some bad folks, I think.

There was a lot of concern from his superiors about the “effect on tourism” and he was concerned with cleaning out the criminal elements, who I think did a lot of “ganja” …

I think it took place in Bermuda or the Bahamas. Seemed like they were speaking with Jaimaican accents, but perhaps they are common in the region. Or maybe the gang was from Jamaica. As I recall, the government Denzel’s character worked for was still a British Commonwealth.

Good movie, I really enjoyed that one.

#37. Marja – September 12, 2014

“Good movie, I really enjoyed that one.” — Marja

Me too, but more importantly I think we’ve come to a consensus via that, that the man has demonstrated he can deliver a compelling performance as a UK citizen?

#35 – Marja – This is the Urban dictionary meaning of Agnosticism which is what I also thought it meant –


“Christian Zealot: God loves you and everyone. He will save you
Agnostic: Prove it.
Atheist: There is no way that a god can exist.
Agnostic: Prove it.”

“It was, at the end, Christian, and as a non-religionist I found it [and still find it] somewhat offensive. But, I guess I should take it that this one planet had founded this great peaceful religion.”

Yes, I think it was about a group of people who had founded a peaceful religion based around the Son of God, a people still unstained by how many human beings here on Earth have made a muck of what is known as Christianity, while others have deliberately abused it for their selfish, most unholy ends.

It is almost criminal that David Gerrold’s The Star Wolf Kickstarter effort didn’t succeed. THAT was an incredible sci-fi novel series by him; it deserved a chance to be produced. And DC Fontana and others were onboard for it!

Please, Mr. Gerrold: Rally and try, try again…

Simple really: The Federation of TOS was about the American Dream, part of which has Christianity as a moral foundation. People are imperfect, there’s still money (we see traders, crewmembers talk about bring paid – the money thing was a gag in the comedy STIV) and the aim is to make contact with other cultures and learn.

The TNG Federation was the Soviet Union, atheist, anti-religion, dealing in perfected human beings who were good comrades, never arguing with each other. The state takes 100 per cent of their income, thus restricting civilian travel outside of a Federation space and much of their exploration work was evangelising the Federation and showing a culturally imperialist streak trying to get as many planets to join them as possible.

I think TNG is basically communist.