That time Stargate SG-1 remade the worst TNG episode ever


#1

Continuing the discussion from Angry men stamp their adorable little feet after Marines degender job titles:

Whoops, looks like the 5-day period passed. This probably deserves to be in a separate comment anyway.

Much like TNG reusing a couple of Phase 2 scripts, Stargate SG-1 has a recycled TNG episode, sort of.

Emancipation is written by Brad Wright, Jonathan Glasner…and Katharyn Powers. If you’re a huge Star Trek fan, you might remember her name…

And much as Code of Honor is reviled as being horrible and racist, so is Emancipation. This time, though, instead of Yar being kidnapped, taken prisoner, forced into marriage, and then forced into fighting the groom’s wife to the death in what is widely considered to be the worst episode of Star Trek ever, this time Carter is kidnapped, sold into slavery, and becomes the white savior who brings girl power to a planet of Mongols, has to participate in a fight to the death…and is considered to be the worst Stargate episode ever.

To be fair to Katharyn Powers, she has a lengthy resume of TV episodes she penned, and the original episode pitch was for a society based somewhat on the bushido code.


#2

Both episodes were awful, but at least Carter was a badass. No disrespect to the actress Denise Crosby who played a really excellent Romulan villain later on (albeit with a pretty contrived back-story), but Yar was a terribly written character.


#3

As I understand it Yar’s writing is why Miss Crosby left and expressed regret that she didn’t get more episodes like Yesterday’s Enterprise.

Personally I have to wonder at why the federation didn’t do anything about her home colony given she described the place as having roaving rape gangs and complete anarchy. I mean… yea I get non-interfearance but Yar would have been someone that was a citizen clawing out of there demanding help… and at the end of the day starfleet intruded and made sure the balanced anarchy between the two biggest gangs continued.

God I hated that episode for trying to come off as federation still retains moral high ground even though this was a human colony that one of the flagship’s bridge officers came from… is complete hell.


#4

Yeah, the writers handled her character really poorly, and that later episode on her home colony was pretty bad. There were a couple of apparently human colonies that I guess opted out of the Federation. But Starfleet followed the Prime Directive until it was a little bit inconvenient, then wrung their hands for three minutes before tossing it out the airlock.


#5

And then got cold feet when presented wit ha chance at establishing order al the way because ‘oh crap we kinda did a thing’ then acted all morla high ground.

No data. Yar would have been disappointed that you weren’t there to make it quit.

I just see Yar storming into someone’s office when she got word that starfleet and or the federation would not send aid to establish order and help the colony rebuild ‘because you are not a government official. you are merely a refugee and so we cannot act simply on your word’ and decking someone.


#6

Yeah, I can’t think that the Prime Directive would apply to a human colony.

So for some back story on this, on Reddit, on both /r/startrek and /r/daystrominstitute, they have this rule that you can’t just explain something away with, “it’s this way because the writing sucked.” If you want to bandy about a fan theory about Trek, you have to justify it in-universe. So here goes:

About 95% of what we know about the Federation is about their space navy. They don’t get paid, but they get to use the replicators, they get to go play on the Holideck, and so on. What we know of that space navy is almost entirely about the officers. As far as the Federation goes, another 4% is devoted to Earth.

I have this fan theory that the Federation is actually a dystopia. You see ships escorting civilians, shuffling off supplies to colonists, and so on, and on these other planets, you see that they often have capitalist societies, organized crime, poverty, lack of education, and so on. How often did Kirk’s Enterprise help out human mining colonies?

My feeling is that the post-scarcity wonders are reserved for Earth and Starfleet. For someone like Tasha Yar to immigrate to the post-scarcity society, she has to join Starfleet. There, she can live a life free from rape gangs, have near limitless access to food and resources, and so on…within the confines of a military lifestyle.

Service Guarantees Citizenship, in other words.

And why doesn’t Starfleet impose some sort of will upon the planet? Well, Turkana IV severed ties with the Federation. Even if they’d been part of the Federation, I wonder if the Enterprise would have even had the legal authority to do anything. You have to think that in the case of society breaking down, a Captain could phone home and have someone declare martial law.


#7

Eddington’s ‘who wants to dare leave paradise’ speech comes to mind.


#8

There is also the episode, told from the POV of Sisko giving a log entry, about how he worked with Garak to get the Romulans into the war against the dominion by cooking up some fake information about a plan to invade Romulus (by the dominion). It eventually turned into an assassination of a Romulan senator. And while the entire tone of the episode seems one of regret, by the end of it, Sisko says he can live with it… Not to mention the whole TNG/DS9/Voyager Marquis stuff, which is of course where Eddington’s loyalties lie. Chakotay is a Marquis primarily due to the fact that planets that had been settled by Native Americans were just unceremoniously handed over to the Cardassians in the last TNG season. Or you can see the treatment of those who were genetically enhanced illegally as children (basically, instititionalization for most of them, with the noted exception of Bashir).

So I can see some real traction for @Mal_Tosevite intriguing fan theory here. You really only start to see cracks in the federation as a political entity once Roddenberry passed away. He was pretty firm on the notion that the universe was “post-historical” in the sense that humanity/federation had worked out it’s problems, meaning that can’t be a source of conflict. I think as you get into the era past Roddenberry’s death, hidden depths and a much stronger sense of moral ambiguity were added to the universe by subsequent show runners, which made it a much better set of series, IMO.


#9

This is the reason why in STO I have a problem with historically antagonistic political entities (klingon empire and the romulans) joining the federation. I don’t WANT them to be part of the federation because I’m not convinced in the federation’s rightness. Oh I admit it’s probably not a terrible place to live, but they assimilate you… and you don’t even realize it.

DS9 also added in a touch of spirituality that TNG seemed to go out of it’s way to gleefully stamp on. Believe in God or not as you like but we all wish to believe in something bigger than ourselves.

IN the pale moonlight was one of the all time best episodes, purely because Sisko and Garek’s actors were so damned phenominal in conveying a lot of emotion.

Also I hate Roddenberry’s insistence that there is no conflict because you pretty well gut out a large method of exploring storytelling.


#10

I agree with all of this… it’s been great getting to go back and re-watch the entire set of Trek series with my daughter, because I get to see it again through the lens of having a more complicated sense of modern history through my grad studies.

I agree about DS9 and religion too. Making Sisko a spiritual figure and making the wormhole aliens the prophets of the Bajorans is a very interesting angle to take on it too. Complicates what religion can be based on rather than a mythical “sky god” or what have you.

And yeah, it’s an amazing episode… well written and acted. Just confirms my view that DS9 was the best Trek series…

Funny how that seems sort of like the Borg, eh, one of the biggest bads in the universe, doesn’t it?


#11

I remember reading somewhere that the borg were supposed to represent a sort of funouse mirror twisting of the federation. Forceful conversion rather than willingly joining. Stripping of indaviduality as opposed to accommodating diverse cultures and histories.

I’m very sure that’s from the trexpertise channel’s video about the borg.


#12

That’s interesting… I can imagine that’s true.

I’ve never watched the trexpertise videos… on you tube, I assume?


#13

They explore sexuality in trek, the role of women, native american depictions, pre-warp contacts humans had with aliens, the borg, why trek mmovie villains tend to suck… And a lot of other things. Very well narrated and I recommend to anyone that’s a fan.

Also from one trekkie to another, thank you for introducing your daughter to this and watching with her.


Have fun.


#14

Thanks for the link! I was not aware of this web series, so I’ll have to check it out!

Yeah, introducing her to popular culture that was important to me has been great. She enjoys it too (although she’s a totally otaku right now).


#15

Right? They basically started to explore the cracks in the foundation (DS9) while Roddenberry’s body was still warm.

Shatner’s documentary Chaos on the Bridge explores some the behind the scenes tension between Roddenberry’s utopianism and the need among the other writers to tell a dramatic story (utopia being boring). I’ve seen a few different interpretations of the Federation, from @Mal_Tosevite’s dystopian reading to Roddenberry’s humanist perfectionism and everything in between - even a pretty good argument that the Federation is a sort of post-scarcity laissez-faire economy. My feeling is that it’s kinda cool that it lends itself to such disparate interpretations. I like the Wagon Train to the Stars of TOS. I like the Childhoods’ End dimension of TNG. But in the balance, I prefer the fallibility of the DS9 Federation. DS9 didn’t jump ship on Roddenberry’s whole premise, but it did put it under a bit more scrutiny, IMHO.


#16

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