Ask Dayton #20 – Fishnets for the Win!
Dear Dayton: If you were given the chance to script doctor Star Trek V, can you tell us what changes you would make? Also, if you could for Star Trek: Nemesis, what would you do to improve it? I feel that Star Trek V had some good ideas and moments, but it fell so short, as did Nemesis.
Also, choosing from characters across all the series, can you give us your idea of the ideal bridge crew (and if you wanted to put someone like Kurn as the XO or Ops office, cool!)? Thanks Dayton!
Yes, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis get bad raps, much of which is deserved. On the other hand, both films—for me, anyway—have bits which are among my favorites across all of the movies. Call me a sucker, but I really like the campfire scenes in Star Trek V (minus some of the jokes, which I’ll address shortly), and the musical score is one of Jerry Goldsmith’s underrated efforts. As for Nemesis, the scene with Picard and B-4 where he’s talking about Data is a nice moment, as is Picard’s farewell to Riker. The scene with the Enterprise ramming the Scimitar is pretty damned effective, too. It’s really too bad they couldn’t find a decent story to weave in and around these things.
As a friend of mine, blogger and Trek enthusiast Jerad Formby, said during a roundtable discussion, there are times during Star Trek V where the Kirk-Spock-McCoy relationship in particular is depicted better than at any point during any of the films. On the other hand, a fair bit of Star Trek V’s troubles stem from its downsized budget after production already had commenced, along with overreaching in some respects while playing it too safe in others. After the critical and commercial success of the previous film, the humor of which was consistently listed among its strengths, there was an obvious attempt to up that ante in the next movie. With exceptions which can be counted on one hand, this almost always fell flat, and in some cases the jokes were so bad they were painful. I’m talking Zookeeper painful. I’m talking The Situation at Donald Trump’s Comedy Roast painful. Anything withPaulyShore painful. I mean it; most of the jokes in this flick are violations of the Geneva Conventions with respect to torture and other inhumane acts against prisoners of war, all right?
What changes would I make to it? Aside from performing trauma surgery on the wet toilet paper serving as humor in a good hunk of the script, and perhaps exploring the question of why a Vulcan—and a heretofore unknown sibling of the entire franchise’s most famous Vulcan, to boot—would give two tenths of a tinker’s dam about the God worshipped by humans, the first thing I’d get rid of is the Uhura naked-feather dance thing. If this was Nichelle Nichols in 1969, I’d be all over it. I might even sneak a peek at the old undercarriage if we’re talking Nichelle Nichols in 1979, but 1989? Yeah, starting to look a little creepy there, like a porn star who’s a decade or so past any semblance of a viable on-screen life in the biz suddenly deciding to make a comeback as a “cougar,” banging studs who weren’t even born the first time she did her thing on camera.
Hmmm…. That analogy might be a bit harsh, now that I think about it. And not for nothing, but now I’m wondering if I might’ve given it a tad more thought than could be considered healthy.
I think the word that we’re looking for at this particular juncture is “Anyway…….”
We could talk about the flaws in this flick all day, but my biggest change, were I in charge, would be to give Shatner back his budget so he could film the climactic ending he’d originally envisioned, with rock monsters stomping the shit out of everything. This also would allow him to hire a special effects studio that could produce footage that didn’t look like it was ripped out of an unused episode from Jason of Star Command.
As for Nemesis, the first thing I’d do, after watching a few reels of dailies early on during filming, is let Stuart Baird know that as a feature film director, I think he might make for a good second-string fry-o-later operator at the McDonald’s down the block, and put Jonathan Frakes back in the driver’s seat. I’d get rid of the entire B-4 subplot (even the scene I liked) and that stupid diversion to the planet so Picard can drive his dune buggy. Those had to have been pulled from an orifice even deeper and darker than the one which gave birth to Sybok. I suppose I could probably write in some dialogue for the scene right after the oh-so light-sensitive/”My eyes hurt! I have to live in the dark!” Remans board the Enterprise, and have some no-name ensign at the back of the bridge ask why nobody just turns on all the damned lights.
But, now we’re just starting to pick nits, so you know what? Never mind. I’d probably just do what I did in 2002: Get up and go sneak into the James Bond flick playing next door.
Now, on to the second part of the question, and my ideal bridge crew. This is actually pretty easy: I’d get Data, and once you have him you really don’t need anybody else. He can handle every station, doesn’t need coffee breaks, and won’t bitch about the long hours. Meanwhile, I can have the other positions filled by members of the Pussycat Dolls dance troupe. I might even let them keep their fishnet stockings when they wear their TOS-style mini-skirts and go-go boots.
Who am I kidding? Fishnets for the win.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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