Jonathan Frakes And Denise Crosby Can’t See Star Trek: TNG’s Racially Charged “Code of Honor” Playing Now

Throughout its history Star Trek has been lauded for its displays of inclusion and diversity, however, there is at least one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that fails to meet these standards: “Code of Honor.” Now a couple of TNG actors are pointing out how this racially insensitive episode is a particularly poor fit for today’s climate… and was all along.

The “embarrassment” that is “Code of Honor”

This weekend, GalaxyCon brought in Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar, Sela), and John de Lancie (Q) for the second of its two Star Trek: The Next Generation virtual events. The panel started off with a discussion of the TNG pilot “Encounter at Farpoint” and when the moderator jumped forward to discuss the series finale Frakes interjected with, “Are we just going to wipe right through ‘Code of Honor’ is that what you are planning on doing here?”

“Code of Honor” was the fourth episode of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, airing first on October 12, 1987. The episode focuses on the Enterprise’s visit to the planet of Ligon II to pick up a vaccine only available from Ligonians. While not human, the Ligonians were humanoid and all depicted by Black actors, with a society and dress styled on non-specific African tribal culture. The main crisis of the episode involves the Ligonian leader Lutan kidnapping Crosby’s Lt. Yar, a blonde white woman. In the years since the episode has aired, many members of the cast and crew have called it out for being racially insensitive.

Denise Crosby with Patrick Stewart and James Louis Watkins in “Code of Honor”

Frakes bringing up “Code of Honor” during the GalaxyCon panel resulted in the following exchange:

MODERATOR: Well, we’ll talk about anything you want to talk about.

FRAKES: The embarrassment heaped upon us in season one, mostly on Denise.

CROSBY: Can you imagine playing that right now in this climate?

FRAKES: [nodding] That’s what I am trying to lead the witness to.

CROSBY: Wow, wow.

MODERATOR:  Maybe there were some good intentions there, but they got buried along the way.

CROSBY: [shaking her head] Nah, nah, nah.

This is not the first time Frakes has showed his disdain for the episode. In 2011 TrekMovie reported on Frakes calling it a “racist piece of shit” during a STLV panel. Speaking with TrekGeeks on Thursday, Frakes had this to say about the varying quality of TNG episodes, “In those days we did 26 episodes a year and you know they are not all going to be home runs… think of season one, “Code of Honor,” specifically.”

And Frakes is not alone. In 2012 Brent Spiner told TrekMovie he felt the “Code of Honor” was “racist” and the “worst” of the series. At a TNG reunion panel in 2013 Michael Dorn referred to it as “the worst episode of Star Trek ever filmed,” and at a 2010 DragonCon panel LeVar Burton agreed with the assessment that the episode “stinks,” adding “without question.”  In the book The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, season one TNG writer Tracy Torme said the episode was “offensive,” likening it to the 1950s sitcom Amos ‘n’ Andy.

The original story for this episode called for a reptilian alien race with a culture more like Japanese samurai. The African theme and casting of Black people for the roles were brought in by director Russ Mayberry, who was fired during production by TNG creator Gene Roddenberry and was never hired to direct another Star Trek episode again. In his review of the episode Star Trek author Keith R.A. De Candido wrote: “Apparently, the casting of entirely African-American actors as the aggressively primitive Ligonians did not sit well” with Roddenberry.

Fans and critics also rate “Code of Honor” poorly. It has the lowest IMDB rank of the first season of TNG, which is already considered the worst of the series. Like with all things Trek, there is no critical consensus, but there are many serious detractors for this episode. Den of Geek says “Code of Honor” is “possibly the worst piece of Star Trek ever made,” Jammers describes it as “idiotic,” Screenprism calls it “pure trash,” and OkayAfrica describes it as “absurdly racist.”

Jonathan Frakes as Riker in “Code of Honor” with James Louis Watkins as Hagon and Jessie Lawrence Furguson as Luton

Frakes sees Roddenberry’s vision in Black Lives Matter

Recent weeks following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody have seen a global series of protests against racial injustice and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. On that Thursday live stream, where Frakes called out “Code of Honor,” he also spoke about the protests:

It’s so important that it’s taken over the COVID news, that the human news of a new awareness of the Black Lives Matter culture is leading the news cycle all over the world.  I think it’s exciting and I think I think it’s powerful because it’s gone on this long. I sure hope it outlives the 24-hour news cycle and is part of people’s thoughts and hearts and feelings, and hopefully people are reevaluating the way they treat each other.

Later in the panel, he tied it into Star Trek creator’s Gene Roddenberry’s vision:

I think and I hope and I believe that not only will be we be able to put the bigotry behind us but there is a future in which we will be color-blind where all lives will matter and it would be ideal. It’s really part of Roddenberry’s vision that there be no racism and there’d be no sexism and I’m very optimistic that the positive results of this worldwide awareness of how appalling people of color have been treated for centuries is the change. That there will be radical real change in people’s hearts and in their minds and I’m very optimistic that when things settle down people will behave differently and there would be more honor and more respect. I’m not usually this serious but I really believe that this is the time, and long, long past.

On Saturday’s panel, Frakes and Crosby appear to be highlighting how “Code of Honor” is especially problematic for 2020, particularly with the national conversation going on regarding racial injustice and the Black Lives Matters movement.

Jonathan Frakes, Denise Crosby, and John de Lancie in Saturday’s Galaxy Con virtual panel

Media companies are examining racially insensitive library content

Racially insensitive content has become a critical issue for studios and streaming services in June. In the last week, a number of streaming services have been looking at their content libraries and removing content considered to be offensive. Netflix has been removing episodes and in some cases entire series with problematic content, including one episode of the popular comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia featuring blackface. The BBC removed an episode of the 1970s comedy Fawlty Towers for racial language, only to reinstate it after star John Cleese called the decision “stupid.” Earlier in the week, HBO Max removed the classic film Gone With the Wind but plans to reinstate it with a new introduction by African-American scholar Jacqueline Stewart.

Jonathan Frakes continues to be very involved with the Star Trek television shows streaming on CBS All Access, directing for all three current live-action Trek series, and appearing in two episodes of Star Trek: Picard. Neither Frakes nor Crosby has called for CBS or other streaming services with Star Trek content to remove “Code of Honor.” However, both actors seem to want to bring the issue of this episode not living up to Star Trek standards into today’s conversation about how Black people are depicted in film and television.

Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar with Karole Selmon as Yareena


Keep up with all the Star Trek conventions and event news and reports at TrekMovie.com.

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Today’s standards? That episode didn’t even live up to the standards of when it was produced. For whatever reason, they couldn’t be bothered with disguising a real Earth culture or aspect of humanity with alien masks or forehead bumps and just fell back on space Africans from a Buster Crabbe serial. It was always bad.

And yet, I still wouldn’t want to see it removed. People should learn from history – and see how bad television gets made!

It’s a while since I’ve saw this episode but it always made me uncomfortable. As AllenWrench said above this episode doesn’t even have the ‘justification’ that it was a product of it’s time so there is a case I guess for banning this episode. I found it interesting in the article that they said the original script was based around reptilian aliens. Maybe if they did remove it they could remake it in animated form, kind of like they’ve done with some of the lost Doctor Who episodes but basing it more on what was written on the page and removing the ghastly racial stereotypes.

On the whole though I’m not a huge fan of banning/censoring all these old shows. I’d prefer warnings/disclaimers put in front of them advising viewer discretion and making it clear that the studio no longer condones the values on display. I think there’s an argument that sweeping historic entertainment under the carpet is counterproductive as your losing a key barometer for measuring social progress. These old shows are almost like a microcosm for days gone by and they can provide a context for the perspective and values of different generations and groups which is useful when trying to create a dialogue that builds bridges.

If you look at a show like TOS now through the prism of modern values there are elements that appear both racist and sexist but in the context of the period it was aired it was groundbreaking to the extent that one of the most powerful voices in the history of the fight for racial equality begged Nichelle Nichols not to quit the show. I remember a few years back when Friends had come to Netflix. There was a lot of coverage in the UK about how a lot of the younger generation were branding it racist and homophobic. Without doubt if they were making Friends today there’d be big changes in terms of the casting and some of the dialogue but I always felt that in it’s day that show was mostly progressive.

Ultimately I guess I just feel that if you bury the past then how are people supposed to educate themselves? Like the old saying goes: those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it,

Good points Corinthian7.

I would be comfortable if this one were pulled from the library. It disturbed me on first-run. It basically has no redeeming value.
I never rewatch it if I can avoid it.

At least a warning is needed. It would also make sense for it to bump up to a 14+ rating (as do a few other TNG episodes for more usual reasons). As a parent, it definitely was an episode that I didn’t want our kids seeing with one of us being around for the conversation.

Last thought, the story of this episode really backs up why oversight by the showrunner and supervising director is necessary. How did this guy get such racist costuming and casting preproduction work done on a script about reptilians? How did they get to the point of filming before someone put their foot down?

Bad pieces of art have at least one redeeming value – to illustrate and educate in how NOT to do something.

@AllenWrench and that’s a first class example!

That’s the real head scratcher for me TG47. I mean we know that there was turmoil behind the scenes in the early days of TNG but even so with so many people involved in the production you have to think that they all must have been talking amongst themselves about it so you do have to wonder why more people didn’t say anything. I guess we can only assume that nobody wanted to risk the steady paycheck by being the troublemaker and with all production chaos going on in the background it just slipped enough the net.

I think that having a higher rating for content that is racially insensitive could be a good idea. Likewise recording new introductions providing additional context like what HBO Max are doing with Gone With The Wind. In general I think the banning and censorship of media is a slippery slope but I think media providers do need be proactive in terms of drawing attention to outdated and inappropriate ideas that are present within their historic content as not every parent is as responsible as you and your wife when it comes to having those conversations with their kids.

It seems that no one did put their foot down.

Other than the director unfortunately

While it isn’t a good episode to me, saying that it is racist or racially insensitive is kind of ridiculous. We literally make everything racist and racially insensitive these days. Me saying “I am not absolutely ashamed of being white” and refusing to bow my knee in some ridiculous gesture of remorse for crimes I didn’t commit is now consitered a “white supremacist” attitude. It litterally makes me not care anymore. Just be an insensitive “racist” and don’t worry about it. It’s a lot easier than not being a racist these days. Seriously, people need to loosen up.

Cody,

The fact that you type that as if you sprang forth into this world fully-formed, earned every benefit you extracted from it and in no way did you tap an illegally, immorally, unjustly, and egregioysly extracted from an essentially uncompensated spectrum of non-white labor used to generate an enormous and largely exclusively white wealth that favored your white crying hospital-assisted birth over most non-whites is why there are marches all over the planet this day.

What people are saying today about everything else being racist is immaterial. This specific episode was always considered backward and racially insensitive.

I’m not ashamed of being white and I don’t feel any direct personal responsibility for anything my white ancestors did. That doesn’t mean I can’t call out racist bullshit from the past, identify and oppose systemic racism and racist violence today, and do whatever I can within my own means to help make things better, and to treat all people with human dignity and respect. Being proud of your culture doesn’t make you racist or a white/black supremacist, but your victim complex here is telling. Nobody is saying it’s wrong to be white or that you have to feel guilty about it. Nobody is saying white lives *don’t* matter. They’re just saying stop treating black people like animals and killing them in the street without provocation, and reminding the world (which needs reminding still, apparently, even in 2020) that Black lives *also* matter.

👏👏👏👏👏

Cody, as a POC may I address this? Apologies for length but…

Nobody is trying to make you ashamed of who you are. And nobody is accusing you, personally, of crimes you did not commit.

If you personally take offense when people call something racist, maybe this is an opportunity for you to examine why you react that way.

If you assume people are somehow calling you, personally, racist when we discuss a piece of media that many people find offensive — it seems like you have some understanding of why they find it offensive, but you don’t want to deal with an uncomfortable discussion.

Rather than have that uncomfortable discussion, you seem to want to sweep away other people’s feelings, rather than actively listen to them try to understand and learn.

It’s a natural desire to avoid discomfort, but at this moment in history, it’s impossible to do so.

Taking a knee isn’t a gesture of remorse, it is a gesture of support and recognition. You’re not obligated to do it (and where did anyone say that you did?), but you shouldn’t ascribe incorrect motives to those that do.

For many Black people in America, their perception is that the social contract is broken. They were promised equality after 400 years of mistreatment, and they still do not have it. They do not have a level playing field. The colour of their skin makes their life harder in a society that is still structured along notions of Whiteness (a social construct, google it).

Taking a knee says two things – one, it is an acknowledgement of police mistreatment of minorities, well documented. Two, doing it during the national anthem is a piece of 1st Amendment protest, that calls it to public attention. Until the promise implied in that anthem is fulfilled, kneeling calls out inequities.

Saying that people should ‘loosen up’ is incredibly dismissive of the very real struggles that Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour go through. Pretending these struggles don’t exist, that they do not cause immense amounts of stress, that Black men in particular have to carry themselves a certain way in the world to be perceived as non-threatening… or that there is a literal collective amount of PTSD inflicted on minorities…

If anyone should loosen up, it’s the police when they turn routine traffic stops into deadly encounters. It’s white women who use 911 as their personal concierge service number to have Black and minority people evicted from their sight (or worse – and there is a long history of ‘protect the white woman’ behind murders and massacres). It’s election boards who gerrymander, for fear of how minorities might vote. It’s food deserts. It’s predatory lending. It’s the 13th amendment’s loophole for enslaving prisoners.

I’m truly sorry that having to face the reality of racism upsets you. Nobody is blaming you for it, but I would ask you to ask yourself: Are you helping or hurting when you ask people to “just get over it?”

Thank you. Cody is misguided

TNG was full of racism and sexism, they just made it more subtle and in some ways even more insidious.

Take the portrayal of Worf as a absentee father figure, he didn’t even worry about his son, just dumped him on his own parent and never thought about him again for the whole run. A not so subtle dig at Black fathers. Thankfully DS9 reversed that trend with Sisco and then even pointed out Worfs crappy behavior later on but TNG did nothing about it.

The there is LaForge, good engineer, crappy relationship partner, he is dismissive of the needs of any companions, emotionally distant and flees at the first hint of building a serious lasting relationship. Sound like a black stereotype, because it is. That doesn’t even get into his whole holo-rapiness in one episode that he doubles down on where later on being caught and makes his victim apologize to him. Imagine that playing out today, a person who covertly collects a woman likeness, forms a relationship with her then lashes out for her not sharing his affections where he is confronted with her in real life. Stalker playing the victim.

Look at a comparison of Riker vs say Troi or even Crusher. A man sleeps around and there is consequences for his female companion but a woman sleeps with a man and she suffers some inexplicably imbalanced overreaction, often involving physical and/or physiological torture. It isn’t even a one off but an entire theme that plays out over and over again. Heck Riker is responsible for getting one woman literally sexually lobotomized because he couldn’t kept his hands off of her.

How many times is Crushers opinion dismissed out of hand because the men are talking? She’s a doctor not a real officer but you never see that attitude towards a male doctor in Trek. Troy gets a similar treatment to the point where they dedicate an entire episode to playing with the idea that she is an inexplicably untrained officer when it comes to basic leadership principles that even a cadet would learn in their first academy year. Don’t even get me started on the single mother can’t control her child trope.

Hippo,

Re: you never see that attitude towards a male doctor in Trek.

Well, I certainly recall VOY’S holoDoc getting plenty of that attitude and to the audience, he’s unmistakenly a white male.

You do do a good job of showing that while STAR TREK did succeed in its goal of sneaking progressive tales past strongly racist, sexist, etc. television networks censoring it to the contrary, because of systemic problems stoked by the networks’ and the Trek parent corporation’s now obvious good ol’ boys clubs, it was left a very flawed product for all its success.

Uh, I’m not arguing that Worf was a lousy dad, but he didn’t totally forget about Alexander. Remember, he later came to live with him on the Enterprise, and in DS9 we saw him and Worf come to some understanding about his lousy fathering skills.

McCoy was dismissed plenty of times by Spock and even a few times by Kirk.

I was a baby when that episode first aired, but when watching the series recently, I did wonder how they got away with it. I had always seen Star Trek as progressive (apart from the sexualised female characters) and was a big fan of Voyager when I was a kid.

I too am of the opinion that episodes like this shouldn’t be removed entirely, but instead used to open a discussion on why they are wrong. There is a subculture of Star Trek fans who would see nothing at all wrong with that episode. Putting some sort of disclaimer, or a short preface from actors involved in the making of the episode might be more fitting. I think education is a lot more important than erasure.

Last edited 1 month ago by Shannon

“Code” is not great, that’s for sure. Wouldn’t want to see it banned, though. Not a fan of overt politics in entertainment. Recent Trek could be criticized, as well. Burnham isn’t exactly a shining example of fortitude, and why have an Asian as the main villain in the Mirror Universe? I know what they were doing; modern characters are more antihero than hero, but nobody should throw stones. You can always find fault in any show, if you look hard enough. Voyager had a more diverse cast than the new shows. Think most people just want good entertainment.

Voyager over Discovery? How??? Voyager didn’t even have a regular Black character.

Ummm Tuvok?

Characters not cast members… Tuvok is a darker-skinned Vulcan. We’re talking about human racial diversity here. If Tuvok is Black, then most Klingons are Black. It’s not the same thing.

When people talk about representation, they’re not just talking about characters. The fact is a black actor was hired and his skin color was represented on a network television series, pointed ears notwithstanding.

Voyager probably had the most diverse cast out of all the shows, at least with the main cast. DS9 probably had the most diverse actors overall when you include all the supporting players.

And yes in Star Trek we are talking both, humans and aliens. And in TOS, most of the Klingon actors were white, including the movies. They didn’t really start using black actors for Klingons until TNG and on and even them most of the actors were still mostly white. In fact pretty much every major Klingon character in the franchise NOT Worf was usually white, including Discovery.

Tuvok is a black Vulcan character. Aren’t blacks darker skinned humans? It’s a shame that while Star Trek: Enterprise was set on planet Vulcan on several occasions, I saw no black Vulcans. Tell me, if Tuvok played a custodian instead of Chief of Security, would you think the character was a black Vulcan? Why is it so hard to fathom that there are black Vulcans and Klingons? After all, there are black humans.

Ah Tuvok?

Don’t let the pointy ears fool you, Tim Russ is very much a black human being.

You’re missing the point, and I’m not an idiot.

No one said you’re an idiot. Lighten up, Francis.

You know, rather than doubling down on this silliness, you could just admit you forgot about Tim Russ being in the cast. There’s nothing wrong with that. You just forgot.

Gotta go with this. We all make mistakes, no biggie, and this wasn’t a big deal. And in a day or two people usually just move on. To keep fighting about it only drags it out more.

Tuvok!

Politics has ALWAYS been part of Star Trek.

“Not a fan of overt politics in entertainment.”

And you’re watching Star Trek?

“Not a fan of overt politics in entertainment.”

Dude, this is Star Trek we are talking about, not Star Wars.

Get real! :-)

I agree, but not everyone looks at the strong social messaging seen in all the various iterations of Trek as the reason they watch the show. There are plenty of just “fun” and entertaining episodes that appeal to many.

The main villian is only Asian because they made one of her main mentors/positive influences asian. No matter what race that character was it would be the same in the evil universe counterpart. The point was to see that person alive again.

It is interesting how different viewers interpret various shows. This past weekend former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came out and praised Discovery for its diversity saying it is one of the “best morale-boosting dramas on television”. Perception is reality for both Kev-1 and Kareem.

I had no idea he was a Trek fan until now! Very cool!

Ban nothing, and you’re safe.

— Jefferson Davis, 1862

Well, what can I say? You win! That’s a great argument!

You people really are a bunch of Manicheans, aren’t you?

Regardless of where your philosophical compass points, if ‘do no harm’ is a basic tenet, then consequences for violating that may include bans. You’re not safe (or less safe) if slavery is not banned, and someone with the influence and might desires you as a slave.

Nachum,

I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

Nachum,

According to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, “you people” is a racial microaggression, or to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthorthy:

We in The South find, if you use the phrase “you people” to superiorly distinguish yourself from others,

you’re a racist.

https://sph.umn.edu/site/docs/hewg/microaggressions.pdf

Sorry. That term is hardly enough to determine if someone is a racist. No one has demonstrated that microaggressions reflect implicit prejudice or aggression.

https://aeon.co/essays/why-a-moratorium-on-microaggressions-policies-is-needed

ML31,

I cited a source that says its etymology stems from a racial microaggression which is the only way I’ve ever heard it used, coincidentally, in the land of my birth. You claim to have a counter etymology with a far more common non-pejorative socially acceptable usage. Cite your source and demonstrate. I like to learn new things.

ML31,

I see your cite where before I did not. Fascinating read.

In the South, they hide big honking insults and racial slurs behind seemingly innocuous micro ones, but I have no evidence Nachum is from there.

Fair enough. I’m not saying someone is or isn’t but that is quite the label to put on someone based on such flimsy evidence. At least from my point of view.

ML31,

It was a trigger phrase for me, and you where right to point out I wasn’t really making the case that my emotions led me to believe that I was.

Nachum.

However, one has to ask, “Do you have some problem with bunches of Manicheans?”

I’m not a fan of politics in entertainment but I agree with them on that episode. The overt racism is too much. Not fit for today’s standards and back then either.

This episode should just be pulled from regular air but still publicly available on DVD or whatever with a disclaimer like those old racist Looney Tunes.

I remember that ep — which I haven’t seen since the 80s — as even having a moronic comic bit with Geordi explaining about comfortable shaving to Data. Director later did 18 IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT eps, so can’t say he was deliberately trying to make a racist statement with CODE, just an insanely bad creative call.

I remember watching it when it aired and, for the first 20 seconds or so, thinking it was great that they had so many black guest stars, since that was still rare.

And then, it was like “oh no” — especially with all the white people lecturing about how civilized and advanced Starfleet was.

Personally, I don’t think it should be pulled. We shouldn’t pretend that bad decisions didn’t happen.

That said, I’m not Black – so I don’t think my opinion is relevant here.

But I’ve argued the same for some pretty horribly homophobic things.

tHiS 👏iS 👏wHaT 👏tReK 👏hAs 👏AlWaYs 👏BeEn 👏AbOuT

I habitually skip that episode when re-watching the series, and there are some real stinkers in season 1. This episode has always made the rest look better in comparison.

‘Code of Honor’ is a bad episode, but when you mix it with an episode like ‘Justice’, you’d have to winder just what kind of people were involved with this series. In CoH, You have a very judgemental, arrogant and very aggressive culture who condone kidnapping and are willing to allow whole civilizations to die out. In Justice, you have this near Utopia like culture who are not just openly friendly with outsiders, but are willing to have sex with people they’ve literally just met. Their laws may include death for stepping on the grass, but unlike the Ligonians, there are characters who show sympathy and even suggest leaving the planet before Wesley’s execution. Tasha Year’s kidnapping? A fight to the death.

Code of Honor and Justice are my Epoxy for the worst Star Trek ever made.

Epoxy?

Anyway, I still think “Lonely Among Us” is worse. The other two at least make a little sense, offensive ((African warlord gots to have his Tasha) or silly (death penalty for walking on the grass) as they may be. LAU just doesn’t make any sense at all. And “Angel One”, egads. I’m still amazed TNG survived Season 1.

Angel One was also terrible. At the time, it seemed like they were coming up with ideas that might have worked in the ’60s/70s but sure didn’t anymore.

But, yeah, it seemed like a parable about the dangers of feminism, even though it was ostensibly about the opposite.

Personally, I always found The Outcast problematic. Although it was supposed to be an ellegory to gay rights etc, It seemed to envision a lesbian tyranny — a culture that abandoned all sexual/natural reproduction and banished someone for being essentially straight and falling for Riker. It was like the fever dreams of some anti-gay rights people who’d argued that we’d destroy the family and ban straight people.

Frakes’ idea of casting a man may have helped a little, but….

Jack,

Almost? I believe they actually DID recycle the 60s’ NAKED TIME script.

When I saw Angel One, I immediately recognized some similarities to the story in Planet Earth, Roddenberry’s second ‘Dylan Hunt’ post Armageddon television pilot from the early 70s.

In Planet Earth, Dylan Hunt wakes up to a society where women are dominant. Men are subordinate, submissive and keep the homes. Marriages are polygamous with one with and several husbands. One of the women is attracted to Hunt and wants to add him to her household. He, of course, tries to convince the other men to push for equality.

So I figured that someone took Roddenberry’s story of role reversal to the extreme of a female only society but didn’t think it through at all.

TG47,

Re: PLANET EARTH

In the first few minutes of FARPOINT, I immediately knew Roddenberry was far more interested in using TNG as he had the first series: to resurrect and get to air story ideas shot down by the networks before: THE QUESTOR TAPES, GENESIS II, PLANET EARTH, etc. than he was in connecting to its supposed progenitor.

Which is why, Disinvited, that I find any assertions about a kind of ‘one true Roddenberry vision’ or concept for Star Trek dubious at best, and downright silly as a rule.

The crucial thing is that Roddenberry had stories that he wanted to be able to realize on television. If it took ditching cerebral Trek like The Cage and pitching a ripped shirt, action hero captain and a ‘wagon train to the stars’, Roddenberry would do it. If Saturday morning cartoons or made-for-TV movies were the available vehicles, he did it. I’ve actually always suspected that the original ‘Dylan Hunt’ post Armageddon made-for-TV movie pilots could have been concepts for very early Prime Universe stories post WWIII and building towards a better society, but for whatever reason Roddenberry had them stand alone.

By the way, I am so glad that Roddenberry’s idea of Troi with 3 breasts was shot down early in the development of TNG. He definitely had a bit of a thing for female aliens with a titillating difference: green Orion dancers in early TOS, main female character with two belly buttons (and 2 hearts) in Genesis Two. This edge of sexist titillation really pulls down the gender equality promoting ethos of the franchise and should be avoided. (Although Discovery did much the same by indulging Avika Goldsman with the Klingon urination on the wall shot in the S1 finale.)

Gene Roddenberry’s barely restrained libido is well known from his non-trek works and a ton of behind the scenes info on the trek works.

IIRC, the TNG bible likened Dr. Crusher’s gait to that of a stripper.

Drew,

And thanks to NBC, CBS and Viacom’s recent admussions we know neither were the libidos of their good ol’ boys clubs as well. Pardon me if I don’t find NBC and Paramount’s past misogyny partucularly scurrilous as they attempted to cover it up, in part, by pointing fingers at Gene.

“In Justice, you have this near Utopia like culture who are not just openly friendly with outsiders, but are willing to have sex with people they’ve literally just met?”

You mean like Sweden?

While we’re making a list, allow me to nominate “Up the Long Ladder” to go down the short rope.

Definitely Drew.

It’s up there with the most cringy. Basically, a toss up with Voyager’s Threshold, but Threshold at least has a couple of redeeming scenes.

‘Up the long ladder’ seems like the worst kind of pandering to 19th century prejudices against the Irish in the United States and UK.

It’s wincing to see a genuine, Award-winning Irish actor from Ireland (Colm Meany) be obliged to react to the low-tech colonists. Doubtful that his obvious wish to avoid the ‘colonists’ required his acting skills.

it’s racist by today’s standards w/o a doubt… and it was racist back then… the fact that the director was fired and roddenberry was uncomfortable with it and sounds like they were stuck with it and with a 26 ep schedule probably couldn’t afford to cancel that one completely. would be interesting to hear more of the “making of” aspect of it.

though the racism makes it the worst as a TNG episode along with it being just bad i think there are a few others thank rank a little below without racism… masks? actually is that racist too? and that clip show.

we also can’t ban everything that we find or was racist by todays standards or homophobic or sexist. you know how many 80s movies use the f word for gays? half of john hughes movies would be gone. ricky spanks lucy. OMG it’s so weird. eddie murphy and that delirious special. ok maybe part of that needs to be “retired”. but i’m not for banning. don’t erase history. i like what hbo is doing vs just caving to pressure and banning the movie.

tom riker,

Re: rewriting “history”

Since it is fiction and therefore art, there’s no “history” being rewritten. However, the art would be defaced if changed without the consent of the original artists.

But as Paramount has already replaced lots of things they regard as FX “anachronisms” in STAR TREK why not fix this episode’s anachronisms by rendering the lizard civilization as scripted?

Practically, that’s not a viable option, that’s a huge expense to revamp a badly-regraded story. It’s putting lipstick on a pig and giving it a crocodile skin handbag.

Ian,

I thought about that lipstick on a pig angle too, but then Paramount spent money reimaging SPOCK’S BRAIN. Come to think of it they must have done CODE as well too so it’s not as if they’re unwillibg to throw money at abominations.

I Love Lucy has been off broadcast television for a long time because it is full of cigarette product placements. (And not even Lucille Ball’s brand as it happened…they stuffed her brand in the packages of the sponsor’s cigarettes).

If we can limit kids’ access to cigarette product placements, perhaps we can do that of explicitly racist and sexist content.

TG47,

That’s a good point, people are acting as if for most of these 50 years Trek episodes have been shown EXACTLY as they appeared when 1st aired which is patently false. They’ve been edited to service more ads in all sorts of nonsensical ways.

Good luck ordering Song of the South on streaming or disc, and good luck hearing on the radio the Dire Strait’s song Money for Nothing with it’s original lyrics.

I would have no problem if for future streaming and disc agreements, they just left this crap episode off of Season One…it’s a really bad ep anyway. Who would really care?

Methusalah,

Re: Who would care?

Art historians, and possibly the curator and patrons of The Paley Center?

Then pull it and put it in a museum, in context? That way the historians can look at it all day, and invite the public to discuss what is wrong with it? Sort of the way we do with other things we deem too offensive for public glorification.

For instance, when we tear down the statues of Confederate Generals, we don’t do it to erase them from history. We do it to end the public glorification of their deeds. Those statues should be preserved in museums and their names written in history books, so we can learn from the actions of men in the past, and help shape a more enlightened future.

Similarly to what HBO is doing with Gone With the Wind (a culturally significant work of cinematic art), perhaps it is as simple as putting a title card with a bit of context before the episode plays.

Aucka Lukaum,

I’m from the South, those statues came into being for the sole purpose of erasing history. Lee specifically did not want Confederate statues made because he felt they would serve as hot pokers in their eyes reminding them of what losers they were.

Tearing them down restores history, previously erased in service to eliminating duly elected black representatives, etc.

I don’t think it should be pulled. We can’t pretend that these mistakes didn’t happen.

Exactly, this is getting to 1984 levels of rewriting history.
Also the attitude that it can’t be censorship as its not the Govt is an outdated definition as most power is now with corporations. Govts actually have virtually no power.

tenza,

How in anyway is rerendering fiction, which Paramount has done numerous times to make Trek more marketable, rewriting “history”?

It’s defacing art, but the only way it could be rewriting history, as fiction is not real, is if they make the originals unavailable, but to my knowledge they have made all the originals of episodes they’ve rerendered available for purchase.

That’s just flat out wrong. The stock market and corporations are fully regulated in North America and Europe, and even more regulated in Asia by governments. You have it backwards. At any time, the SEC has the power to break up any major corporation for a variety of reasons in its toolbox. Same in Europe. And much more so in Russia and Asia.

Now today the U.S. government is not doing nearly enough in this area. But the power is there. I guarantee if the Dems win this Fall, Facebook will be blown up next year (forced to split up and divest many of it’s companies/divisions), as it very much needs to be as it’s in the public good to break them up.

And much more so in Russia and Asia.

At the risk of diverting this thread from the very real topic of racism: you’re seriously proposing that the government’s relationship with society be more like it is in *Russia*?

WTF? I did not propose anything of the sort?

I stated a fact that Russia and most Asian countries wield significantly more power over corporations that in the U.S. and Europe, but that even the U.S. and Europe have significant power over corporations. I was refuting a rather silly statement from tenza that governments in general have lost power over corporations in the world today — that’s just flat out incorrect and shows a lack of understanding of political science and corporate governance.

tezna,

Well that’s the whole problem with corporatized art, Paramount and CBS have numerous court cases won saying they own it and can do whatever they want to it and they have.

It is a total falsehood that some 1984 novel line would be crossed if they made changes to address this when they have been making changes to this art all along.

For example, first STAR TREK was originally created with ONE, count ’em, one channel of sound, Then it was remixed to two, then Dolby Surround, etc. and it continued through the decades and they didn’t stop with just the sound changes.

As far as making STAR TREK episode changes goes, it’s continued long after the real 1984 came and went.

The real question is why have all their past changes to address anachronisms, been acceptable to you but now, they have to suddenly draw the line at anachronistic, even for the era of its production, racially stereotyped casting and costuming?

It’s too late, Paramount has changed their commercial art to make it more “marketable” numerous times. There’s no reasonable argument to make for them to stop now.

Back when it came out, my black friend, who had a great sense of humor about the stupidity of things like this, called the episode “Visit to Planet Homeslice”. lol. nuff said.

My question is how did that episode get made in the first place. Why didn’t someone ever say, “No, I am absolutely not doing this!” People involved with the production can criticize it all they want, but then they should say why they are not hypocrites.

A director was fired, that’s a pretty big deal. In TV you don’t have the luxury of abandoning something that’s gotten as far as they’d gotten with casting and costuming. It costs money and it costs time, things they didn’t have in abundance while keeping to a 26 episode commitment. None of the cast would have been in a position to refuse to do the scripts barely a couple months into their contracts. Even if anyone lobbied Paramount for more money to make them prosthetic aliens, the time factor would have been against them as well. The only thing to examine is how it got as far as it did before the director was let go.

“Even if anyone lobbied Paramount for more money to make them prosthetic aliens”

IIRC, they supposed to be lizard people in the first place. We got the African tribal people to save time and money.

There’s likely a very interesting documentary to be made on how this came to pass that should be shown before any further airing of this episode.

Hilarious to me that 60s Roddenberry with his pro freedom, capitalism Classic Trek puts out a racially enlightened series versus 90s Roddenberry with his “utopia” socialist TNG. Ironically the one thing in TNG that works is when the Borg as an evil collective uni mind they quite write in when 90s Roddenberys “rules” bite the dust. Message Spock?

You do realize the Borg are all white dudes, don’t you?

Pro-capitalism? lol

Classic Star Trek didn’t even use money.

TOS did. They were buying and selling Tribbles for “credits”. Obviously some form of currency.

The dilithium miners in Mudd’s Women were also seeking to make a fortune and so were the mining colonists in Devil in the Dark. They were happy the Horta was going to make them all rich. I am sure there are plenty of other examples in TOS.

I’ve said this before, every Star Trek series showed Starfleet officers using money in some form. This has never been in contention. Even in TNG. Literally the first episode, Encounter at Farpoint, you saw Beverly buying fabric in a market.

So money has ALWAYS been part of Star Trek in every show or century. The only issue is does it still exist on Earth or not and you can probably argue it did in TOS at least but since they never directly say an Earth currency we know like dollars or pesos, then you can argue they may not have it either by that period.

Funny enough I was just reading an interview last week that Ron Moore gave awhile ago and he mentioned when he started working on the show that Roddenberry was telling everyone that money no longer existed ANYWHERE, including the Federation itself. But he and others thought that idea was nuts and just ignored it lol.

I don’t have an issue with money not being used on Earth but it has to exist SOMEWHERE, especially when you are dealing with so many aliens or societies not part of the Federation.

Haha especially on Ferenginar!

I’m pretty convinced Ferenginar is the only planet that requires an entrance fee to visit. ;)

I’ve heard it said that the economy of the Federation is based on energy credits. Work is paid in energy which can be traded, spent for goods and services (transporter use, shuttle fare, computer use etc?) or used in replicators. Many services would seem to be free at the point of use, in a single-payer system (education, medicine). It could be that people pay into the collective service funds through taxation.

We have not seen any direct mention of inherited wealth that is transferred from parents to children, and thus, no 4th generation rich kids.

There is private family property – after all, Picard has his family vineyard – so maybe intergenerational credit wealth is taxed at a high enough rate that people don’t just get rich off compound interest (if such a system even exists). Or maybe your credits just go back to the central pool when you die, if you don’t specify where they should go.

It does seem like there’s a blurry line when it comes to private and public institutions, like the Daystrom Institute – it’s clearly the work of Richard Daystrom and his apprentices, but what is it exactly? A Federation-funded think tank? A worker-owned collective? A degree-granting institution?

It’s probably better if they just keep the economics of the Star Trek universe extremely vague. Just the idea of businesses being profitable and people dealing with credits is about as far as it should probably go.

Tiger2,

That interview only further confirms my contention that in TNG Gene rewrote STAR TREK to get his failed pilots’ concepts to air.

He knew darn well Kirk opened an account at the Bank of Iotia in the Federation’s name.

On Discovery Harry Mudd’s stepfather/Stella’s dad is super wealthy too.

Can you imagine the fan uproar today if Season One of TNG originated new on CBS-AA? TNG wouldn’t make it past the first season today — it was really that bad! Season 1 only becomes “somewhat watchable” when you have the context of having seen the full seven seasons.

As far as first seasons go, Kurtzman’s two series to date are much, much better than TNG first season (AT THE TIME) appeared to be.

Agreed. It seems – particularly when Roddenberry was there – like there was a hangover of a 60s-70s style of television production when sensibilities were starting to shift.

Compare to the contemporary Twilight Zone revival that was on CBS at the time, which felt a lot fresher – or shows like Max Headroom which pushed a lot of big conceptual stuff and experimented more with its cinematography. TNG S1 definitely felt more safe visually.

The costumes in this episode seem straight out of 1966, with that emphasis on shiny metallic fabrics.

I think one of the biggest issues with S1 is that the dialogue was horribly clunky, and even for sci-fi, strayed far from naturalism. A lot of earnest exposition, a lot of weird pauses and beats that would get tightened up a lot by S3.

It stunk then and it stinks now.

“Code of Honor” is one really bad episode. Maybe that shouldn’t be on TV anymore. Star Trek can do better than that.

HBO recently pulled Gone with the Wind from their HBO Max streaming service because of it’s racist undertones. They plan to bring it back with an explanation on its historical context.

Gone with the Wind is not a movie I would watch personally but race relations in America is a complicated issue.

Star Trek and Gone with the Wind are completely different things but both are affected by the state of our culture today.

I’m an African American black man and my skin color does make me feel insecure sometimes.

White supremacy still exists and racism won’t vanish overnight. We can have good hearts and care for one another. Now is the time to do things right and make a better future happen.

Well said!

Gone With the Wind is a particularly complicated example.

One the one hand, it absolutely had racist undertones. I’d argue for placement of those tones above under, but YMMV.

But it also has the performance of Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Academy Award (best supporting actress).

It wasn’t until Trek-alum Whoopi Goldberg herself got the same Oscar for her performance in Ghost that another black woman won any category of Academy Award.

Code of Honor, of course, has no such distinction or nuance. It’s only value to history is as a reminder that it happened.

The episode was always shockingly offensive and inept, but a great deal of Star Trek has some outdated representation, especially with regard to Women (TOS and Enterprise in particular). “Code” definitely rises to a higher level and could certainly be pulled from streaming services without much fuss, but it may have unintended consequences by bringing more attention to it. I think the only people watching it now are fans who have seen it already. Just like TOS, TNG is getting so old that peopled tend to look at it with a different lens, fully aware that some of it is very outdated in both production and thinking.

It is “Fawlty Towers” by the way not “Faulty Towers”. And the banning was insane. The episode “The Germans” is brilliant and anti racist. Censorship in its stupidest form.

Nobody wants to understand that Star Trek is racist anyway. Racism has only been moved out of the earth. To say that ALL Vulcans are logical and ALL Klingons are violent warriors and so on is a racist generalization. In Star Trek only humans are unique individuals. In the case of the Code of Honor, this becomes particularly evident because black actors are involved. If it had been a race of reptilians the problem would have been superficially solved, because a little make-up would have masked the usual racism that if it is vented on the alien of the week is good for everyone. However I believe that in the pre-production phase it passed because the director will have presented it as a brilliant idea to save hours of make-up. As greedy as a ferenghi …

Stop baiting. Developing and diversifying every species featured is pointless, ridiculous, and impractical. They only need to be developed enough to tell a story, which is really just meant to be a reflection on our own species anyway. If all you get out of it is racism, then maybe that speaks more about yourself than it does Star Trek.

He’s not baiting. Those are his personal beliefs.

I fully agree. If making the aliens lizards means it is less racist, then we would have to say: Lovecraft wasn’t racist at all. I always thought Star Trek reinforces those with racist thought patterns.

Ale,

I definitely do NOT agree with your implied contention Gene intended to show a future universe devoid of racism, and failed. He only intended to portray one where we, of the planet Earth, had managed to transcend it, on Earth, among the human race itself. Those few times Kirk would concoct some reason to hurl epithets like “half-breed” at Spock and his first officer would get his dander up, it was more than obvious a form of racism (specieism?) was alive and well in the Federation, at least.

You get it. Thank you very much

Racism might be worse in the future then it is now. Especially when humans start to contact other alien civilisations. Klingons being violent warriors is actually true. But yeah that could be considered a stereotype not racism. Vulcans being logical is a naive assumption to have

Okay maybe that’s on you and not Star Trek. You are comment was promising.

DS9 really took on some of the issues of stereotyping of aliens both overtly and subtlety.

Think of Nog and Rom being engineers.

“To say that ALL Vulcans are logical and ALL Klingons are violent warriors and so on is a racist generalization.”

1. Thankfully, then, Star Trek has never done that with Vulcans or Klingons.

2. These are fictional civilizations. They are metaphors for rationality and violence in the human psyche. You are treating them far too literally.

I have simplified to clarify the concept. In my opinion the problem is that superficially the idea that Star Trek gives of an alien race is full of prejudices. Obviously when dealing with a character of that species it acquires facets that make it unique. unfortunately this usually happens also because this character grows and improves as a result of the interaction with humans. See Worf grown up with humans or T’Pol or the ferengi of DS9 and so on. It is an attitude of colonialist paternalism. Don’t get upset. I believe it is the best way to improve as humanity but I recognize its limitations. I believe that over the course of its 50 years the various authors have had to act on the borderline between allegory and politically correct and sometimes have misaligned their efforts by crossing that limit and showing the problem. and we can also learn from mistakes, sometimes even more.

Then the questions becomes, do we remove all problematic art from everywhere? Do we remove all of Polanski’s films from existence? or all of Woody Allen’s films? or even Star Trek The Motion Picture because of Stephen Collins involvement? I don’t think this is either viable or doable. What I think is that these “problematic” elements need to stay for people to learn from them and not make the same mistakes going forward. They’d be there for us to cringe at, but if even 1 or 2 people learn something from them and improve themselves as a result, it will be a success.

alphantrion,

When it comes to art, I generally agree with you on this, regarding it a defacement, but once CBS started removing anachronistic looking, to their marketing eyes, chronometers to keep casual viewers from changing the channel and missing the ads, it becomes hard for marketing to say “We draw the line at removing anachronistic offensive racial stereotyped depictions.”

Mind you, I’m not expecting them to spend one penny repairing the damaged narrative, but I’d be very surprised they don’t change the look so that this generation of viewers don’t change the channel or stream when it comes up in rotation. Their goal is to make it the least offensive as STAR TREK background noise that people won’t actively turn off.

Good points Disinvited. Cancel culture is the norm.

Faze Ninja,

While Cancel Culture could become a factor in their changing the episode, that was not my point. My point is they’ve been changing these episodes all along to fine tune them for whatever they believe will make them more marketable. In light of that, it is just silly to now claim that any changes they make to attempt to address this would be “rewriting history” when they have never STOPPED “rewriting [STAR TREK] history” in an attempt to make their episodes more marketable.

They rewrite history in so far as they claim Star Trek was always progressive but in fact it was bigoted, sexist and homophobe in a disturbing amount of times.

I’ve been thinking about the Netflix evidence that while globally TOS and TNG draw a larger number of viewers to try the shows, its Voyager that holds onto its audience and gets more total streams.

Folks here have tried to argue that it’s because TOS and TNG are available on higher quality remastered video or given other reasons.

What if the real reason is that when people come to TNG or TOS and hit some of the sexually or racially coded clunker episodes they are turned off and decide that the shows aren’t for them?

However ahead of its time the Trek franchise has been overall, it definitely has plenty of moments that are cringy now. And there are certainly episodes that regrettably don’t represent community values for kids. I don’t think anything would be lost by making episodes like Code of Honor off-limits to under 14 kids without parental consent. We’ve been pleased that Naked Now and some of the other first season episodes have a 14+ content rating so that the parental control filter has limited access.

TG47,

The problem with your analysis is that VOY is NOT free of clunky misogynistic, etc. episodes as UPN mandated many such nonsensical things more than likely due to both Viacom and CBS’ long systemic and recently admitted good ol’ boys club.

Definitely agree that Voyager has its sexist episodes.

The whole Kes-Neelix relationship has smarmy feel, and Seven as a Borg-in-a-catsuit has earned a lot of consternation.

That said, if people start with the first season of a series, Voyager likely has less off-putting episodes.

Censorship or defacement is not the answer. Bring awareness to controversial issues instead. Gone with the Wind is a perfect example of what you’re talking about.

Content that was not shown in Germany because it was offensive to a German audience: Sound of Music, TOS-Patterns of Force. Shown but cut or re-edited to change controversial references: Hitchcock’s Notorious, East of Eden and Die Hard.

Faze Ninja,

While I definitely don’t cotton to censorship or defacement, let’s not kid ourselves that Paramount, CBS or Viacom hasn’t allow TNG episodes to be censored in other countries such as those in the UK or Germany, for example.

I brought up Germany in a post that waits for moderation for some reasons I don’t understand. But I want to add that at this date Germany took back the censorship of those episodes.

odradek,

Re: Germany took it back

Which changes absolutely nothing about the fact that Trek’s corporate owners have allowed it to be censored, and are allowing it to be censored. And will continue tolerating its censorship in the future.

@Disinvited

No, I did not say you were wrong with that. But it proves that fans will demand to see the episodes in the original uncensored form. And in the end that way will be more profitable.

TOS had several eps censored in Texas, because they suggested characters were possessed. They had no prob with high body counts in B&C and others, but woooh, evil demonic possession!

Fortunately, we now live in a world where it is more difficult for individual localities to censor material, thanks to VPNs, torrents, etc.

The examples you give are different from “Code of Honor”, though. In the case of Code of Honor the work itself is the problem. In your other examples, the push to ban them is based more on actions of the artists than the actual content of the artwork.

That is true. I think better examples would have been Shakespeare, Wagner or Dickens.

My thinking is like this though, should we really try to get rid of everything that scares us? How are we gonna learn from past mistakes if we pretend that these mistakes never existed? I think that destroying or getting rid of problematic aspects of the past is just the easiest and immature way of dealing with this issue. The more complex way is to discuss these, put them in the educational curriculum and teach them to the new generation from a young age why these were wrong and we should not repeat these kind of actions.

alphantrion,

Re: correcting mistakes

I’m sorry but you are the one making mistakes if you think Paramount has not been correcting mistakes when they previously remixed the audio or rerendered the FX.

True, perhaps they shouldn’t have and I agree once you open this can of worms, then you have the incentive to change everything else, but this also makes the original product lose some of its uniqueness. This why people were and still are so up in arms about George Lucas tinkering with the original Star Wars films. My general, bigger point here is that we should learn to accept to live with our mistakes and try to make sure we don’t repeat them in the future, instead of burying our heads in the sand and just trying to change or fully erase these past mistakes.

alphantrion,

Re: learn to accept

Well, copyright is a monopoly which entitles Lucas, et al to do it.

But I fear that while you are wistfully wishing for how things ought to be in regards to art that you are belaboring under the misnomer that art has ever been the way that you wish.

Example, Leonardo da Vinci’s many paintings have been extensively analysed and revealed he was constantly revising many of them.

You are right of course, but through these examples I think a more general discussion is warranted where can we keep the art separate from the person who made it or do people have the right to ask for certain art to disappear because they don’t conform to a specific way of thinking? This is a slippery slope.

I remember watching that when it came out. I Wondered how could they make something as racist as that. Where were their heads at the time? Delete that episode.

Or just don’t watch it. It is useful as an instruction manual on what NOT to do.

Code of Honor does have ONE redeeming factor: a terrific score by veteran composer Fred Steiner, who worked on TOS. In fact, the music for this episode is the most TOS-like of any TNG episode. It’s a shame Fred didn’t get to do any other episodes, but Rick Berman was known to prefer elevator music for the series (see practically any interview with Ron Jones).

Thanks for the info on the music. Some of the cues made me wonder if they had lifted it from TOS.

Great ! Let’s just remove evey single trace of our history. Let’s NOT learn anything from our past.

You guys are crying about a start trek episode !?!? It’s a tv show . Who cares.

I cannot believe how sensitive and STUPID you little millenials are becoming. It’s time to pop mommies t#tty out of your mouths and grow up.

Andrew Pelser,

You are the one confused about rewritten history. I was born and raised in the segregated South. The Confederate States of America, its political representatives and soldiers neither fought nor died for the Union Flag, Old Glory, but rather traitorously served to kill those that did, and they also tore it down triumphantly capturing in battle. THAT is historical fact.

I am totally flabergasted that my president and others somehow have rewritten history so that flying the American flag in the vicinity of these traitorous symbols somehow lovingly honors it, but the descendants of slaves silently kneeling while THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER with its stanza glorifying slavery plays, somehow is intolerable and dishonors it more than the blood the CSA spilled?

“I was born and raised in the segregated South. The Confederate States of America,”

Wow… you must be at least 150 years old! What’s your secret?

Wallace was still flying the confed flag in the late 60s in defiance of all recognized law, ML. Seen MISSISSIPPI BURNING lately.

The CSA ceased to exist in 1865. It doesn’t matter what flags may or may not be flying. That “country” ended 155 years ago. It’s like saying you were born in the Republic of Hatay. That would make that person 81 years old. Regardless of what flag was flying over that territory 50 years later.

Perception. Their own perception was that the CSA was forever.

Irrelevant. The country physically does not exist not matter what.

State of mind accounts for everything with some people, facts be damned.

OK. Obviously I cannot argue with that.

As a Turkish person, I find it interesting that you mention the Republic of Hatay here. I didn’t know many Americans knew about that part of our history.

I tried to think of a nation that no longer exists that also was not recent. That one reigned for only a year or two and thought it a decent one to use to make my point. So there you go…

I just appreciate the fact that you know about it and about its history. Hats off to you sir :))

Ml31,

Well, the Kingdom of Hawaii would do it for me, but I am uncertain as to whether its flag currently flies on an indigenous nation’s land or not, but I suppose that introduces and includes Amerind Nations’ banners for consideration, as well?

ML31,

One of my points is that those monuments, most created 60 years after that fact, had a specifuc mission themselves to rewrite that history which you cite.

I wasn’t getting into the overall topic at hand here. Only just saying the CSA ceased to be when they rejoined the USA in 1865. I just thought it funny when you claimed to have been born in the CSA. So I responded with the light hearted comment about you being 150 years old.

ML31,

Re: Born in the CSA

And I appreciated the laugh, which, nonetheless, also fed into my broader point and narratuve.

ML31,

LOL, well in my neck of the woods they certainly did everything in their power to make it seem like the CSA. So, in a way, your conclusion isn’t half wrong.

Mom, a child of Louisiana, never missed an opportunity to talk about the south ‘rising again’, and had the kids pose with the confederate battle banner on a few occasions. The CSA may not have territory anymore, but it certainly lives on as a state of mind for some people.

Millennials? I was born in 1964. No one, anywhere is suggesting removing American history, we just recognize that it’s time for an accurate telling of it. When that happens, I guess we’ll find out how sensitive you are when the monuments to slavery and the confederacy honor it’s victims, not the traitors who took up arms against this country.

Considering how close the cast of TNG is, and was back then, I wonder if Dorn’s view of the episode in any way impacted how Frakes and Crosby feel about the episode. I know my personal views certainly have changed over my lifetime after considering the way my peers look at things – especially regarding social politics. Btw, I know some may not be big fans of Discovery, but I was surprised to read former-Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is. He came out and praised Discovery for its diversity saying it is one of the “best morale-boosting dramas on television”.

Looking back at my youth, I am amazed to realize the impact popular culture had on me – especially how what I saw on TV and movies impacted the way I felt about myself as a minority growing up in a non-diverse little town in rural southern Ontario. Today, for most of us with decades of life experience, we now have a good sense of who we are and our own personal morality. Therefore keeping or removing certain episodes that we have all seen many times is not really impactful for me. Instead perhaps it is time for fans and for the keepers of the CBS library to consider how certain episodes impact young viewers who are still trying to discover themselves. That perspective may help those who will decide to keep or remove certain episodes like Code of Honour.

Really… were there ANY good episodes in Season One? And this one smells like a Star Trek II episode rewrite. I don’t know if samurai lizards would be less offensive

Heart of Glory. The ONLY good episode in season 1.

Agreed on GLORY, though I’d say CONSPIRACY and WHERE NO ONE are near-misses with a lot of good stuff in them. I’ve seen HoG at least 20 times, twice as much as any other TNG s1 ep

Yes. Conspiracy I liked as well. Always wished they followed up on it. But oh well…

11001001

I like Encounter at Farpoint.

On a more positive note – back in the 60’s there was a LOT of discrimination for black actors, and as much as this episode may offend – not only were the actors getting a pay check, but if their contracts added royalties, they are still getting paid – as are ALL the black/Hispanic actors who take horrible roles that depict them as gang members/criminal drug dealers and the Muslims who are terrorists today – or Native Americans in the early Western movies. I have a Jewish actor friend who was cast as an Islamic terrorist – he took the role, got paid. Yes, this was a horrible episode, but relative to what is being aired today, it could have been a lot worse.

The Director of this episode, Russ Mayberry, was the racist one in the room. Evidently, he insulted the black cast, and it was obvious at the time that he had some problems with race. Will Wheaton said as much.

Is there some solid info on this, cuz he directed 18 episodes of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT after this, which based on its cast and storylines, certainly suggests he did NOT have an issue with race.

kmart,

You have to admit that with a name like, Mayberry, it almost begs for the assumption that Southern whitebread pride was somehow involved.

kmart,

Mayberry, was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. His hobby was race car driving.

He directed Disney’s magical “fun” take on the Civil War in their tv movie, THE MILLION DOLLAR DIXIE DELIVERANCE, where Brock Peters plays another one of his stereotyped put upon victim in jail roles as an imprisoned black Union soldier who escapes and connects up with some Yankee children kidnapped by the Confederates for ransom and he eventually faces a lynch rope and some weird magic that some critics claim further perpetuates Disney’s “magical Southern Negro” SONG OF THE SOUTH nonsense.

I am so glad that I completely missed the existence of that Disinvited.

I know it’s a bit revered in American culture, but we steered our kids clear of a lot of Disney until they were preteens.

kmart,

“A native of Duluth, Mayberry did some acting himself while getting his bachelor of science as a theater major at Northwestern in Chicago. Later he worked as stage manager in the so-called Chicago School of live! TV on shows like “Kukla, Fran and Ollie,” Garroway and “Stud’s Place.” He also did a hitch with the Leo Burnett ad agency before coming to Hollywood. Now Mayberry wants to become a movie director, and why not? Anyone who has directed The Monkees, as he has, in their commercials for Yard-ley’s and Kellogg’s, can’t be disqualified for lack of experience.” – appeared May 17, 1967 in ARIZONA REPUBLIC from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 11, from LOS ANGELES TIMES service story by Hal Humphrey

https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/117477221/

kmart,

From that same article:

“We shot two days on location in Sonora, then went back to the studio for interiors. There were four principals in the cast, plus 20 extras. The (commercial’s) story has to do with this little old lady sitting on a train eating Rice Krispies, but the train is under an attack from Indians, and there is so much shooting and yelling that she can’t hear the snap-crackle-pop of the Rice Krispies. So she pulls the emergency cord and everything comes to a sudden halt, including the fighting, while she listens happily to her Rice Krispies. I think you’ll like it. I used 11 real Indians.” – Russ Mayberry

appeared May 17, 1967 in ARIZONA REPUBLIC from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 11, from LOS ANGELES TIMES service story by Hal Humphrey

FWIW the article’s author said he hadn’t seen a real Indian on television since Silverheels on THE LONE RANGER.

I hope I got the attribution right. Newspapers.com’s OCR is atrocious.

kmart,

The source for the second hand account, conveyed by Wheaton from a review of the episode where he said he has no personal memory of the production, was something Wil read but never cites.

https://web.archive.org/web/20110326183101/www.tvsquad.com/2008/04/28/star-trek-the-next-generation-code-of-honor//

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” ~ George Orwell, 1984

This pandering, revisionist history is utterly ridiculous. Frakes trying to peddle this and complain about “The Outcast” – all after the fact – is “look how WOKE I am!! See! See! I matter!!” nonsense.

And the self-righteous supporters in the comments section, utterly smashing any opposing view like fascists… Yet another forum taken over by elite, “I’m right, you’re racist” revisionists.

It’s been fun, Trekmovie, but just like an industrialist in “Atlas Shrugged”, I am OUTTY!! You can burn civilization down if you’d like. You’ve been doing a darn good job of it since Karl Marx: THAT is your legacy and your root, folks.

C-YA, you woke OSTRICHES!!

“Ignorance is Strength!” ~ George Orwell, 1984

So the Ligons were a strong, proud people with an ORIENTAL-style, mashed-up culture. ALIEN in attitudes and beliefs. UNIQUE (you know, IDIC and all that rot).

The Ligon actors were black actors, WHO WERE GIVEN WORK POTRAYING __A L I E N S__… Jessie Lawrence Ferguson was great in this, btw.

And we have to rend flesh and gnaw teeth because, what, black actors were portraying a race that believed in polygamy? Stole women? Fought to the death? Strike sticks together? …Is that what it is, because I’m having to start dipping into my “racist well” and pulling out racial generalizations – like a lot of you have done here, including Frakes – to get the racial offenses triggered. I’m not as comfortable with that as most of you seem to be…

FASAfan,

People aren’t grossing about stereotypes being presented affronting fellow fictional characters in the narrative.

Hiring a black actor to play an alien named Jar-Jar Binks is fine, but forcing a black actor to perform stepnfetchit routines in order to have and hold that job is still demeaning for the actor even if it is veiled by cgi for the audience.

And it gets worse, when there’s no cgi veil, and black actors have to perform routines straight out of the KKK literature. And it doesn’t get any better your pointing out the characters “aren’t human” because even that serves the KKK crap just as well. THAT’S what makes it offensive, even for its era.

Interesting.

I’d say something very positive came out of this episode after all: It’s not some kind of “You love it or hate it”-episode – everyone agrees it’s a bad one. And that doesn’t even have anything to do with current events, it was always like that. That tells me that the human race is not as bad as media might imply.

I would like to see more episodes where humanoid alien civilizations are, say, majority black or Asian. (Sans racial stereotypes, of course.) If a Vulcan beamed down today to Beijing or Kinshasa, she wouldn’t find white people everywhere.

Yep Code of Honor might very well be the worst episode of Star Trek ever. It’s certainly the most offensive.

I want ST:TNG entirely remade with a much more diverse cast, with an African-American captain and senior officers. I want the original ST:TNG to be removed from the archives..period.

I never liked Patrick Stewart, Frakes, etc. The best actors on the show were Burton and Dorne.

Period.

—screen shot taken of this post. if moderator does not post it, he/she will be ousted as the racist they are for silencing a black voice. BLM will cancel the F*ck out of you….

I love it.

Someone seems a bit triggered.

You are creating a false straw man argument attacking things that nobody is saying. Your hostile and juvenile attacks on people you don’t like suggests that it is likely you who has issues to work on, not the people that you are lamely “satirizing”.

I just watched Code of Honor after likely not having seen it since 1987. It is a wretched episode on all fronts. The aliens of the week are clearly stated as being not human, but there is no attempt to portray them as anything but a primitive African tribe stereotype out of a bad Tarzan movie. The fight scene between Tasha and the queen looks like two women in Jazzercise outfits clawing at each other with huge sea urchin gloves.

It is genuinely a wonder that TNG managed to pull out of a nosedive of two seasons filled with garbage episodes like Code of Honor and become a classic television series.

Racist piece of shit best describes it. However I’m not for censoring it or other insensitive content. Let people see it so it hopefully galvanizes them to take action.

They need burn every copy of that episode. NOW!

I don’t think it should be pulled from streaming. However, it would not surprise me if it quietly vanishes from reruns after this.

I always enjoyed that episode, thought it was an interesting culture.

Guess the whole season will have to be taken off the streaming services now. Eventually Star Trek will just be 8 characters in a room being sad about their lives. Maybe Kurtzman should just release a series that follows a ships counselor. That’s where we’re heading anyway. Just embrace it.

“Code of Honor” may not have been TNG’s only “racist” episode. What about “Who Watches the Watchers” from season 3. This focused on an alien race which were similar to Native Americans revering Captain Picard as a god after an accidental violation of the Prime Directive. Quite a number of time, you can hear them addressing him as “The Picard”! They even had Troi and Riker disguised as the aliens in an effort to throw them off, but they weren’t as simple as they thought and were eventually forced to reveal their true selves. I’m not Native American myself, so I’m not sure how they actually feel about this episode. But this would come to light now with all the news of NFL’s Washington franchise finally changing its name from that awful racist term which I won’t print here.

If the episode code of honor had been done with all white people… would anybody have noticed or cared about the culture of those aliens? Answer = No

Last edited 1 month ago by Cougarland