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"All Good Things..." 20 Years Later
May 23, 2014 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga discuss writing the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale.
Moore: "The great irony of it all is, we spent a year on Generations, and 'All Good Thingsā€¦,' we wrote in a month. We just plowed through it, banged it out. It did not go through radical changes in the drafts. There were production changes, as always, but it was basically what we wrote, pretty close to the first or second drafts. And it turned out beautifully....

"And Generations was the opposite experience."
posted by audi alteram partem (43 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
That makes me realize that we're now as far removed from TNG as TNG was from TOS (technically, more removed -- 20 years vs. 18). That's just weird.
posted by Etrigan at 1:48 PM on May 23 [21 favorites]


Yeah, but one spacetime anomaly and BOOM you're back watching Data and Mark Twain, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.
posted by curious nu at 1:54 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


20 years? yikes
posted by thelonius at 1:56 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


How long did they spend on "These Are the Voyages..."? Half an hour, including cigarette breaks?
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:00 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


I still haven't watched it. I can't stand to fully accept that the series is over.

#patheticthefinalfrontier
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:19 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Astro Zombie's comment has it right
posted by lalochezia at 2:25 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


How long did they spend on "These Are the Voyages..."? Half an hour, including cigarette breaks?
However much it was, it was too much.
posted by Flunkie at 2:26 PM on May 23


Seriously, 'All Good Things...' should have been the movie release.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:29 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Was just trying to pull a post together on this; was stymied by the fact that "All Good Things..." is apparently available to watch online, but only in the US. So I was trying to find an international version that wasn't sketchy, and the best I found was part I of it on Daily Motion.

I also found Journey's End, the Frakes-hosted retrospective of the series.
posted by nubs at 2:35 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


That last scene still makes me well up a bit.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:45 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


20 years? yikes

Think how I feel. I watched TOS the first time it aired.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:49 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


20 years? yikes

Think how I feel. I watched TOS the first time it aired.


I remember sitting with my friends whenever the local UHF station reached the end of its syndication run of TOS (every weekday at 5) and figuring out which days the best episodes would air. Arguments over holidays, arguments over airing order (based on not just "official" publications, but also previous runs of the show on that channel).

If you had told me that some day I would be able to call up any episode I wanted, whenever I felt like it, and watch it while sitting on the toilet... well, you would have blown my goddamn mind. They couldn't even do something like that on Star Trek, for crying out loud.
posted by Etrigan at 3:07 PM on May 23 [27 favorites]


Astro Zombie's comment has it right

I maintain that the Federation is best understood as a horrifying, joyless, bigoted version of the Culture.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:31 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


When Patrick Stewart joins the crew at the poker table, it's such a sweet moment. And when he says "...and the sky's the limit" as the shot moves up and away. *Such* a great ending.
posted by jasper411 at 3:53 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


The real question is, how many re-watches did it take before you noticed the Pasteur plothole? (&/or that the anomaly is visible before (after?) it was created?)

I must've seen it 10 times before having it pointed out to me. At first, I found such a blatant mistake really disappointing, but in time I've come to respect the episode more for it. This was a couple hours of TV that were so on point in terms of emotions, pacing, character, etc., that those achievements virtually obliterate those mistakes.
posted by lesli212 at 4:17 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


God, for how good the arcs and endings of TNG and DS9 were(especially if you consider it more as "when it gained steam > finale")... what the hell happened to voyager?

I'd love to read a retrospective on that
posted by emptythought at 4:25 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I'm still hoping that somehow someone convinces Paramount to make one final Picard and Q movie and it's heartbreakingly beautiful in every way.
posted by dng at 4:31 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


what the hell happened to voyager?

I'd love to read a retrospective on that

I could have sworn there was a post with a Moore interview some time back touching on Voyager, but I can't seem to find it. There's this with Moore on ST:TNG. In searching I did come across this interview where Moore discusses what went wrong, from his perspective, with Voyager.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:34 PM on May 23


I'm still hoping that somehow someone convinces Paramount to make one final Picard and Q movie and it's heartbreakingly beautiful in every way.

And i'm still hoping one of the new sparkle trek movies either has Q or the borg in it.

i mean, your idea is better, but still.
posted by emptythought at 4:41 PM on May 23


They'd probably ruin it all by casting Ricky Gervais as Q. And a cyberman as the borg.
posted by dng at 4:54 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


wesley crusher was so annoying. there was one episode where he was sentenced to death for a minor infraction on another planet, and i was hoping to see him executed; when he was spared, i threw my hat at the wall.
posted by bruce at 5:06 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


I maintain that the Federation is best understood as a horrifying, joyless, bigoted version of the Culture.

I kinda agree with you but I recently had a revelation which makes all the Trek's more palatable.

I'm not sure exactly how old the Culture is, but saying hundreds of years, if not thousands of years is probably safe. They've had a long long time to adjust to being a post-scarcity society.

There was still a certain level of scarcity in Kirk's time (not much with transporter technology already being mature), but, 100 years later in Picard's time, there's very little one has to worry about regarding availability of anything.

But that's only 100 years, only 300+ years since they nearly wiped themselves out in a nuclear war, followed by the invention of the warp drive. So society hasn't adjusted yet. The Federation is a conservative scarcity style government ruling over a post-scarcity society. The government frowns on or bans things like life extension via brain transfers (hardware or software), any radical biotech or transhumanism, any serious use of AI, still planet-based for settlements without any real efforts towards alternatives, very little in the way of interesting drug use, and the military is still one of society's key pillars. The holodeck could be used for all sorts of things but they think of it as almost solely entertainment. However, they have mostly moved past capitalism so the Federation has made some progress.

With this in mind, Star Trek, as a story of the transition from ugly human nationalism (based on the scarcity of everything) to post-scarcity utopia, becomes much more interesting.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:18 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


I just watched TNG for the first time all the way through and some of it was pretty dated and there were some really bad episodes but the finale was superb and really clever in the way that it handled telling us what happened to all the characters. Kind of reminded me of the 6 Feet Under finale but with the flash forwards totally integrated with the plot of the episode.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:55 PM on May 23


Why does this Captain Picard guy look like Professor Charles Xavier from the X-Men?

Is Commander Riker really Wolverine too?

Is Q The Beyonder?
posted by Orion Blastar at 6:32 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Honestcoyote, I'd hope that the Federation could mature into something better. But you forgot to add that the Federation is quite content to watch millions to billions of people die, entire civilizations of sentient beings burn, because it can't be arsed to actually think about the morality of interference.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:47 PM on May 23


But you forgot to add that the Federation is quite content to watch millions to billions of people die, entire civilizations of sentient beings burn, because it can't be arsed to actually think about the morality of interference.

I'd argue it's even more complicated than that. They intervene when they want to and ignore the prime directive, and then they cite the prime directive when intervention isn't beneficial and primly watch people die. But when to intervene and when to step away is a difficult problem for any dominant power. Just ask the United States, who often gets it very wrong on both sides.

Even the Culture isn't always consistent about when to send in Special Circumstances and when to just let the primitives burn themselves out with atomics. So, some problems never go away no matter how advanced or enlightened you are.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:04 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Section 34 needed to be explored more.
posted by Renoroc at 7:23 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I always wondered what it was like on the bridge during the poker game at the end. Would've made for a nice post-credits shot.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:57 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Section 34 needs to be arrested.
posted by Flunkie at 8:31 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Errrrr, 31.
posted by Flunkie at 8:35 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


The real question is, how many re-watches did it take before you noticed the Pasteur plothole? (&/or that the anomaly is visible before (after?) it was created?)

That bothered me a bit the first time I saw it, but I was able to rationalize it away. When the Pasteur first visited where the rupture was, it hadn't been created yet. When they fired the tachyon pulse, it created the rupture and began the anti-time reaction. When the future Enterprise found it, the anti-time reaction wasn't yet strong enough for it to be expanding backwards through time. If they hadn't gotten to it right away, they wouldn't have seen it. Alternately, one could presume that the rupture actually expands backwards and forwards through time.

I mean, c'mon. Didn't you pay any attention in Elementary Temporal Mechanics at the Academy?
posted by heathkit at 8:54 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


because it can't be arsed to actually think about the morality of interference.

You seem to have missed the episodes where they think about it quite a bit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:22 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


the finale was superb and really clever in the way that it handled telling us what happened to all the characters. Kind of reminded me of the 6 Feet Under finale but with the flash forwards totally integrated with the plot of the episode.

Except that it wasn't a real future. Or at least, it was a future that, after the resolution of the plot was assured to not actually come to pass.

It's really quite impressive how "All Good Things" worked as a self-contained story. Reading that interview, I'm really glad they didn't overdue it on the callbacks and just stuck to revisiting Encounter at Farpoint.

In Toronto, they showed the episode in the Sky Dome, to 40,000 some odd people. When the upgraded Enterprise-D de-cloaked, there were loud gasps in the stadium.

And yeah, Generations...you know, I didn't mind it as much as some others. It's worthwhile to re-watch. And it's easily the second best of the NextGen films for me. There's some good stuff about Kirk and Picard examining their choices in life. Like, legit self-examination and character exposition that you didn't see much of at other times and in other trek. But Moore got it right, having them scramble eggs together is quite the missed opportunity. And Capt. Harriman?!? Oi vey.
posted by dry white toast at 9:59 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Ron Moore on Voyager. (Warning: the formatting is kind of horrible.) It's before BSG, but you can see how some of the things that he wished he'd been able to do on Voyager seeped into the BSG concept.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:14 PM on May 23


Yeah I could never get into Voyager. It just seemed confusing to me. TNG represents, to me, the spirit of optimism in the late 80s/early 90s when it seemed that everything was going to work out. The Cold War was over, history was over, and now markets and democracy were going to make the world one big happy global village, tied together by this amazing new thing, the internet. I loved TNG growing up because of this optimistic outlook, and that the show was about a group of close friends who got together every week to have amazing adventures exploring the universe. What's not to love about that?

That illusion was holding firm through the end of TNG, but DS9 started to get a little darker. But by the mid to late 90s, it was apparent to anyone paying attention that all this triumphalism was bullshit. The siege of Sarajevo dragged on until 1996, as NATO and the UN were unable to stop the bloodletting. Further east, in the former USSR, all the wonderful promised liberal reforms were failing, and life expectancies were falling as the economy collapsed under the weight of kleptocracy and so called reforms. DS9, it seems, picked up on that a lot sooner than the regular news media,which were, by the late '90s fully in internet triumphalist mode. Voyager? I found it unwatchable. I skimmed Moore's interview and I like how he emphasizes that the writers and set designers of Voyager never really accepted the premise, that Voyager was stranded 100 years from home. In a way, this is like the US in the late 90s-- shit was going wrong, we were light years of where we should have been, but people just wanted to keep pretending that everything was okay. I see from Wikipedia that Voyager's last episode was in May of 2001-- and somehow, that is just perfect.
posted by wuwei at 11:54 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


That illusion was holding firm through the end of TNG, but DS9 started to get a little darker.

Someone wrote a really eye-opening piece (linked here, but I can't find it), that argued that the ST universe was changing (Dominion War, Borg, etc etc), but that the Enterprise crew wasn't. They were a ship of fools, increasingly irrelevant to the real world, with completely unreasonable, unbending ethics.

All those "evil" Admirals they thwarted? They were the adaptable good guys who knew which was the wind was blowing, and by stopping them Picard was stopping the evolution of the Federation into what it needed to be to survive.
posted by Leon at 1:19 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


I'm not so interested in the internal logic of the series. More interested in what the series says about the times in which it was made.
posted by wuwei at 4:37 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


In Toronto, they showed the episode in the Sky Dome, to 40,000 some odd people. When the upgraded Enterprise-D de-cloaked, there were loud gasps in the stadium.

Oh my God I was there and I remember that exact moment.

Oh my God that was twenty years ago.

I was 15 and with my best friend (also a huge ST nerd) and it was just the best.

Especially considering that CityTV ran a poll for a while beforehand and played the top-rated episode before the finale: Yesterday's Enterprise, which too was just genius and brilliant.

But I agree that All Good Things... should have been the first movie.

oh my god I was 15 once
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:23 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


TNG was the closest I've ever come to being a nerd. I am so glad those days are done.
Occasionally, every few months, Queer Devil and I will get together and watch a old episode. There are still a few that I still love. They don't seam dated. They give me the feeling that every episode gave me when it was new. Those episodes are few. Disaster and Rascals come to mind. I just can't watch it now. In fact I want to turn every Star Trek Series in to something like this.
Imagine turning 178 episodes into 1013 mini never existed episodes. Now there's a show!
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:20 PM on May 24


Is Commander Riker really Wolverine too?

I am just using this comment as an excuse to introduce more of the online community to @RikerGoogling, enjoy.
posted by Fizz at 6:56 PM on May 24


All Good Things is the standard by which other final episodes are measured. All the other Trek last episodes were terrible, except Voyager which was pretty good.
posted by LarryC at 8:59 AM on May 25


I started recently reading the post-TV series, original-timeline Star Trek novels. It's a surprisingly engrossing world, continuing the stories of that universe without the restrictions of TV. It's definitely not post-scarcity, and it's definitely not static; without the need for TV continuity, big things happen.

I've never even tried to read the tie-in novels, but these original, shared-world stories I'd recommend to any Star Trek fan.
posted by eemeli at 9:26 AM on May 25


except Voyager which was pretty good.

Except that bit where they chucked out the prime directive, the upholding of which was pretty much the reason they were stuck 70 years from home in the first place and the justification for all their sacrifices etc.
posted by biffa at 2:19 AM on May 26


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