Star Trek Secrets Revealed By William Shatner In ‘Chaos On The Bridge’ Documentary

    August 25, 2014
    Val Powell
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William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge is a one-hour documentary that brings to light the tumultuous beginnings of one of the most successful franchises in TV history.

Written and directed by William Shatner, Chaos on the Bridge offers an enlightening look at the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The documentary premieres on Monday on HBO Canada.

Twenty years after TV audiences said goodbye to the show, Trekkies will get an insider’s take on how Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry first envisioned the show as well as how his battles with his own personal demons affected the series.

Shatner, the original Captain James Tiberius Kirk, conducts candid interviews with The Next Generation cast members like Sir Patrick “Jean-Luc Picard” Stewart, Denise Crosby, Jonathan Frakes, and John de Lancie. The cast members reveal a situation of confusion as they remember the egos, the infighting, the fan backlash, the bluffs and threats and how Roddenberry and the show’s producers tried to weather it all.  The documantary further reveals that the cast didn’t seem sure they should even make a new Star Trek series at all.

“The first and second seasons of The Next Generation are almost unwatchable,” says Ronald D. Moore, a former writer on Star Trek. Moore would go on to create the Battlestar Galactica reboot.

The documentary also promises to be full of unvarnished insights and recollections from the likes of Paramount television’s then-president John Pike, series writers Maurice Hurley and D.C. Fontana, producers and spin-off shepherds Rick Berman and Brannon Braga and many other behind-the-scenes crew.

The interviews and insights all point to the genius of Roddenberry’s creative vision which brought the series to life. However, the credit for the success that allowed Star Trek to gain a new series and new movies goes to his successors, who took over the show as a result of Roddenberry’s ailing health and death in 1991.  It was only when they shifted the show’s focus towards making it more about the characters and conflict, that the series soared to unprecedented heights.

  • Jerome Gorden

    Star Trek: The Next Generation is the quintessential progressive propaganda show. One episode, Times Arrow, featured Mark Twain. Deanna Troi (the Enterprise’s Freudian psychiatrist) has the following conversation with him:

    Counselor Deanna Troi: Poverty was eliminated on Earth, a long time ago. And a lot of other things disappeared with it – hopelessness, despair, cruelty…
    Samuel Clemens: Young lady, I come from a time when men achieve power and wealth by standing on the backs of the poor, where prejudice and intolerance are commonplace and power is an end unto itself. And you’re telling me that isn’t how it is anymore?
    Counselor Deanna Troi: That’s right.
    Samuel Clemens: Hmmm… Well… maybe… it’s worth giving up cigars for, after all.

    The Communist rhetoric is depressing. They even get in a progressive jab against smoking. In the very first episode, Picard and Q mock the American military. Q appears in a World-War II military uniform, and the following conversation ensues:

    Q: Captain, thy little centuries go by so rapidly. Perhaps thou will better understand this.
    (A flash of light and he is wearing a 20th century US military uniform, with a cigarette in his hand)
    Q: Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the commies. All it takes is a few good men.
    PICARD: What? That nonsense is centuries behind us.
    Q: But you can’t deny that you’re still a dangerous, savage child race.
    PICARD: Most certainly I deny it. I agree we still were when humans wore costumes like that, four hundred years ago.

    The show is full of Eastern religious thought but is violently opposed to Christianity. In one episode, Hide and Q, Q appears as a Catholic monk. Holding a rosary, he says, “Let us pray…for understanding and for compassion.” Picard replies, “Let us do no such damn thing!”. In Who Watches the Watchers, Picard is mistaken for a God by a Vulcan-like race called the Mintakans. Apparently religious people are naïve idiots. The following nonsensical, atheist conversation ensues:

    BARRON: The Mintakans wish to please the Overseer [GOD], but they can only guess what he wants. They need a sign.
    PICARD: Are you suggesting?
    BARRON: You must go down to Mintaka Three.
    RIKER: Masquerading as a god?
    PICARD: Absolutely out of the question.
    BARRON: The damage is done. All we can do now is minimise it.
    PICARD: By sanctioning their false beliefs?
    BARRON: By giving them guidelines. Letting them know what the Overseer [GOD] expects of them.
    PICARD: Doctor Barron, I cannot, I will not, impose a set of commandments on these people.
    BARRON: Like it or not, we have rekindled the Mintakans’ belief in the Overseer [GOD].
    RIKER: And are you saying that this belief will eventually become a religion?
    BARRON: It’s inevitable. And without guidance, that religion could degenerate into inquisitions, holy wars, chaos.
    PICARD: Horrifying. Doctor Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No! We will find some way to undo the damage we’ve caused.

    But the show loves Buddhism. “The Traveler” is a Buddhist alien who informs Wesley Crusher that he can manipulate reality with his thoughts (arghh!).

    The Klingons are barbarians. They are misogynistic morons who love to start wars. They are also religious. Their anti-progressive beliefs are so extreme that they often reach the level of absurdity. The Klingons are a ridiculous, irrational representation of Conservatives. The message here is that any culture that challenges progressive ideology must be barbaric and stupid.

    The show is actually racist. The Ferengi are greedy capitalists. Some people have told me that they are a stereotypical, racist representation of Jews.

    Anyway, I’ll stop there.

    • Tim

      Man, that wasn’t a comment, that was an article! Pretty good one too.

    • Brian

      You need to get a life, because obsessing over a 30 year old show isn’t it.

      • Jerome Gorden

        Right back at ya bud.

      • Chrysalis Changeling

        You need to get a life because being a fail troll on the internet, telling people to get a life because they like what you don’t isn’t it.

        • Jerome Gorden

          Ya, ya. I’m a “troll” because I said something negative about your beloved show. You telling people to “get a life” is a joke, and you know it.

          I actually like TNG. I trained myself to ignore the messaging and enjoy the show for what it is (on the surface). Nevertheless, the underlying progressive propaganda was annoying, and there is nothing wrong with me exposing it. Any fan of the show who is honest with himself knows what I am saying is true.

          • Chrysalis Changeling

            You’re not a fail-troll because you “Said something bad about a TV show”, idiot! You’re a fail-troll for going onto some random article and telling people to get a life for literally no reason!

    • msnyc10

      Not to mention feminist ideology; a female visitor to the Enterprise asks Captain Kirk: “What has space done to women Captain? Are they still women or just…people”. This might symbolize the hypocrisy feminism was to embrace over the next 40 years; how to remain women (special) AND people (equals) at the same time. Seems to me they did a great job of it.

      • Jerome Gorden

        I don’t know if this was an attempt at sarcasm. In any case, the feminist propaganda was, in fact, fairly heavy as well. As I said in my original post, there is hardly any progressive ideology that Star Trek: The Next Generation did not try to shove down our collective throat.

        Captain Janeway (from Voyager) was picked to be captain merely because she was a woman. It’s the same warped ideology that the Democrats subscribe to. Hillary Clinton is a terrible orator and has no charisma. She is going to be the nominee in the next election not because she is a good leader, but merely because she is a woman. In other words, the progressive ideologues in the Democratic party simply want to make an ideological statement.

        The season three finale, Best of Both Worlds, featured Lieutenant Shelby: an arrogant, mean, competitive woman who is angry at Riker for apparently no other reason except that she wants his job . Shelby berates Riker for being a whimp and a loser, and proudly proclaims that she (a woman) would be far more capabale of doing his job:

        RIKER: You disagree with me, fine. You need to take it to the Captain, then fine. Through me. You do an end run around me again, I’ll snap you back so hard, you’ll think you’re a first year cadet again.
        SHELBY: May I speak frankly, sir?
        RIKER: By all means.
        SHELBY: You’re in my way.
        RIKER: Really? How terrible for you.
        SHELBY: All you know how to do is play it safe.
        RIKER: When it comes to this ship and this crew, you’re damned right I play it safe.
        SHELBY: If you can’t make the big decisions, Commander, I suggest you make room for someone who can.

        Star Trek was instrumental in helping to pioneer the warped idea that there must be equal representation of males and females in all areas of work; and that if this is not the case, there must be some nefarious male oppression at work. The female affirmative action programs that we see in so many work places are a result of this ridiculous ideology. The negative impact that these programs have had on our society – on both males and females – have been devastating. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you watch the presentation by “Karen Straughan” (link below):


        What’s annoying about all of this is that the show marketed itself as this friendly, family-oriented show that is not pushing any ideological agenda. In reality, it was pushing a very powerful one.

        • gto2300

          Your assessment of the “Riker/Shelby” issue is totally off base.

          Shelby was RIGHT Riker was a wimp and a loser. You forgot to quote the Admiral in the beginning of the episode who assumed that Riker would take the Captain’s position he was offered…That is why the admiral brought Shelby to the Enterprise in the first place…

          Admiral J.P. Hansen: This is the third time we’ve pulled out the captain’s chair for Riker. He just won’t sit down.

          Of course she was angry…Wouldn’t YOU be? THREE OFFERS were turned down. You forgot the other quote from her

          Commander Shelby: All you know how to do is play it safe. I suppose that’s why someone like you sits in the shadow of a great man for as long as you have, passing up one command after another.

          The Shelby character while a bit heavy handed actually only seems that way when compared to the rest of the regular female crew. The same could be said of Michelle Forbes’ Ensign Ro. Riker treated Shelby like she was any other person after his job..He beat her down verbally like a good commander should. She overstepped her bounds on HIS ship and he called her on it.

          Shelby had a point. I remember thinking the same all those years ago…Of course the reason he never left was that they never intended him to leave and replace him…That would be difficult for the writers to bring in a new character…Or maybe Frakes had a contract for 7 years and they didn’t want to pay him for work he wouldn’t be doing

          • Bill

            wow… talk about swallowing too much uranium in geology class… whew… thanks Mr. Obvious…

          • Jerome Gorden

            I think your missing my larger point here. The entire story ark about Riker’s unwillingness to take command of his own ship (his wimpiness) was part of an ideological agenda. Shelby’s character was WAY over the top in my opinion, and she was written that way for a reason: they purposely wanted to show an aggressive, mean, competitive woman dominating a weak man who was unsure himself. In other words, Shelby’s character was cast as a female to promote the feminist agenda of the show.

            The feminist agenda in Star Trek is well known. I actually applauded the attempts in the original series to include women in leadership roles. But in Next Generation, it went over the top. Shelby’s behaviour was just bloody annoying, even if Riker was acting like a wimp. I wanted to yell at her and say, “What the *uck is this weed up your a&& ^itch? Cut Riker some slack.” Maybe you thought her behaviour was justified. I did not.

            Let’s get one thing straight here. You’re obviously not going to be offended by the show if you support all the radical ideology that underlies it: radical atheism, Communism, radical feminism, Christian bashing, etc. What bothered me is that a lot people did not recognize the ideological agenda. The show marketed itself as something family-oriented and non-controversial. Neither was true.

          • gto2300

            But she never “dominated” him so you missed again…He stood up to her and put her in her place

            Shelby’s character was put there to bring some much needed CONFLICT into the show. Season 3 was where Gene was less involved and Ron Moore and Brannon Braga got more control. With them came things like the Riker/Shelby deal, Ensign Ro and even Wesley Crusher breaking the rules and covering up a death at Starfleet Academy

          • Jerome Gorden

            Yes, Riker finally grew some balls after Shelby kicked them a hundred times.

            What makes it all the more annoying is that Riker was not really a “wimp”, at least not in the same sense that Barclay was. Barclay had real problems with his confidence; Riker did not. Riker was merely having some self-doubts about what he wanted to do with his career.

            Shelby’s aggression towards Riker was totally self-serving. She did not try to relate to his situation at all. It was motivated completely by ambition. This kind of behavior is actually promoted by radical feminism. When a man in our society displays any kind of extreme ambition or competitiveness it is called “greedy, misogynistic and self-serving”. But when a woman does the same thing, it is called “female liberation”.

            Let me ask you one question: do you think the writers of TNG would have ever reversed the gender roles in this situation? I don’t think so. They never would have shown a female first officer getting brow-beaten for her lack of boldness by a male officer of lower rank. It just wouldn’t happen in TNG.

          • Jerome Gorden

            One other thing. I can’t recall any scene where Riker really “put Shelby in her place”. He tried to during that conversation in the Turbo-lift. But in the end, Shelby ended up putting him place in his place, even though she was a lower-ranking officer. That doesn’t make any sense. Riker should have confined her to her quarters for insubordination.

            They did succeed in adding more “conflict” to the show, but they imbued that conflict with all sorts of subtle feminist messages.

        • msnyc10

          I was not being sarcastic at all. I remember seeing that episode as a teenager and being highly offended by it and have often thought of it as I deal with women/feminists in the real world; the expectation of being treated equally but also as special creatures. After all men are just…people. The ones who die in droves in the beginning of the episodes because their lives are expendable. That comment actually stuck with me for years. and yes I agree with you about the feminist ideology.

        • msnyc10

          BTW when I said ‘seems they did a great job of it’ I meant in implementing a society where women are both equal AND special (or as Napoleon the Pig put it ‘more equal than others’)

          • Jerome Gorden

            Sorry about the mistake. That last line was what made me think that.

    • Rick Leonardi

      Stop with this nonsense! So because TNG was progressive it was bad? Religion is garbage in my opinion and I agree with Rodenberry in being explicit that in the future humanity has moved away and mocks the idiocy of Christianity and other monotheistic faiths.

      • Jerome Gorden

        Thanks for confirming my theory that there was a radical agenda behind this show. Much appreciated.

        • Rick Leonardi

          thanks for confirming my idea that hypocrites exist. how a close minded religious nut can follow star trek, the antitheses of everything you believe, boggles my mind.

          • Jerome Gorden

            I can explain it very simply. I’m not close-minded.

    • The Goat

      Yada yada yada! Come on man we all know the world they created is simply not possible. This is a STORY so they made it up.

      Of course you think it is some sort of Liberal plot to undermine capitalism and Christianity…

      That confuses me…Science and Christianity are at opposite ends and you expect a sci-fi show to support ANY faith?

      • Jerome Gorden

        “…Science and Christianity are at opposite ends..”.

        This is completely untrue. You’re defining all Christians as Fundamentalists even though the vast majority of them are not. However, that’s a very complicated conversation which I don’t have time for right now.

        The real problem is that the show has a reputation for being “open-minded”, and a great promoter of tolerance. It did promote greater tolerance for certain ethnic groups. That was a good thing. But it also promoted ideologies such as radical Feminism, Communism, and Atheism. It did not just promote these ideologies, it subtly criticized and mocked anyone who opposed them. It was tolerant in one sense, but quite intolerant in another.

    • Laqudis

      Seems the Klingon, conservative tie in, is right on the money. However, your communist comments are insane, you obviously have way too much time on your hands.

      • Jerome Gorden

        Dude, the Klingon connection was the weakest, even though I think it’s true. I mean, it could be argued that they, as a race, represent many different things. The Communist one was the most obvious. This is all assuming you’re not being sarcastic…

    • http://www.shrox.com shrox

      So, basically the entire human spectrum of failings was on display, and you don’t like that?

    • Vidia27

      “Counselor Deanna Troi: Poverty was eliminated on Earth, a long time ago. And a lot of other things disappeared with it – hopelessness, despair, cruelty…”

      That’s almost the same exact words she speaks to Zefram Cochrane in First Contact. LOL

    • captcorajus .

      Wow… your worldview a clusterfuck of idiocy. It’s really fascinating to see how a TV show produced in the cold war era of the late 1980s, and just after the fall of the USSR that presented a hopeful and positive future for humanity is viewed in the dumb downed propaganda era of Faux News.

      Was Star Trek anti capitalist? Definitely. Communist? Ridiculous. The facts are that our society can not continue with an out dated, 16th century economic system that requires infinite growth. Its unsustainable, and in a world with advanced technology like ours currently… much less that of Star Trek, its not required. Your assertion is simply ignorant at best.

      Racist? Seriously? Ridiculous. Proof positive that Conservatives simply can not comprehend nuance.

      The Klingons did not represent ‘Conservatives’.. they represented Humanity’s past.

      The Feregi represent the dangers of unregulated capitalism. How you got that they were Jews is more telling about you than the show.

      … and yes, you should stop there. You’ve embarrassed yourself enough.

  • Mike

    Loved Star Trek from the beginning as someone who has seen every episode of tng I agree that from the 3rd season on it was much better and remember thinking at the time it seemed so plastic and bland. And I didn’t really have anything to judge it against but now looking back it seems clear. I didn’t love all the versions but although I am fond of the original (was 12 when it appeared on tv) I have to say Voyager is my favorite (and I disliked it at first also). TNG was very well done and enjoyable. Deep Space 9 grew on me as well but never became a favorite. And Enterprise I feel would of developed into a favorite if it had gone on a few more seasons (it was just hitting its stride when it ended).

    • Vidia27

      LOL I have to laugh at your remark about Voyager, because TNG was always my favorite of the four up until the mid-2000s when I began rewatching them all through Netflix. Fast-forward to 2014, and Voyager has now been my favorite for the past several years.

      All four have their downsides, though, the couple boring episodes per season that I can easily skip over if I feel like it.

  • ogdenlane

    Actually Jeffrey Hunter was the original Kirk; I believe he died about the time of the
    show’s beginning from a fall at his home.

    • cgreen1971c

      Jeffrey Hunter was Captain Christopher Pike, not Kirk. And he appeared in an episode where Spock went back to save him

      • Howard Kraft

        The 2 part episode where Spock went back to save Pike was actually the original pilot plus additional scenes filmed to make the story fit into the Kirk’s Enterprise story line. Indeed, the pilot had Jeffrey Hunter as Capt. Christopher Pike as the ships captain with Majel Barrett (Mrs. Gene Roddenberry) as Number 2 (basically the 1st officer). The Spock character was meant to be a 3rd banana part at best. The pilot was at first turned down and Roddenberry was given a chance to re-write it. Shortly there after Hunter(some called him the next James Dean) did indeed die in an accident. Paramount also insisted that there should not be a woman so high up in Starfleet as to be the 1st officer. Once the re-write was done, a new captain had to be chosen. Shatner got the job. Roddenberry made the non human Spock the 1st officer and his Barrett was written out. After the show was renewed for season 2, Barrett was written in as Nurse Christine Chappel (changing her hair from black to blond).

        • http://www.shrox.com shrox

          Mr Hunter passed in 1969, a year after Star Trek was cancelled.

          • Jody Williams

            Hunter was offered the kirk captain position after the pilot..His wife talked him out of it.

  • Dr_Zarkov

    I was so disappointed with the often boring and preachy leftist ‘Next Generation’. Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one.