Imagination Connoisseur (and author), Ian Samuels, breaks down the writing and character development in various STAR TREK series and draws a clear line between good writing and strong characters.
Rob, Archduke of Artistic Excellence,
There have been a number of discussions over the years on the quality of writing on a series. So, let us look at STAR TREK for the best quality of writing and where it is lacking.
I believe one of the ways we can see strength of writing on a series is the development or even growth of a character. Looking at STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES (ST:TOS), the writing quality shows through not just in specific character development – although you can certainly see that in Spock – but the more obvious relationship/friendship development of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.
When we look at STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (ST:TNG), there are only brief glimpses. We do see a difference between the straight-laced, even possibly cold Captain Picard in Encounter at Farpoint (the series premier episode) and the Picard we get in Family and in All Good Things, seven years later. But we see little development of Wesley Crusher. He was just a cliched ‘child genius’ character from the start and we don’t see any real development of that.
In STAR TREK: VOYAGER (ST:VOY), the best example of where the writing was a letdown was Harry Kim. He started out as a typical Starfleet Ensign, seven years later he was still a typical Starfleet Ensign there was no real development.
Finally, we turn to the best example of character development and series writing. STAR TRE: DEEP SPACE NINE (ST:DS9) and the character of Nog. Nog starts out as a thieving Ferengi kid who was nothing but trouble and was illiterate. Through his friendship with the Starfleet Commander’s son, Jake Sisko, he develops. Jake teaches him to read and as he grows as a character to the stage where he becomes the first Ferengi in Starfleet. He becomes a Starfleet Officer and plays an important role as a member of the crew of the Defiant during the Dominion War.
He has the most drastic character change, but we see it evolve. We see him go through the difficulties of losing a leg, an episode that real injured veterans have praised for its realism.
Of course, this was not only due to great writing but also the great acting of Aron Eisenberg who unfortunately lost his battle to kidney disease 21st September 2019, less than six months ago.
So, in memory of Captain Nog, the first Ferengi in Starfleet and to the great writing of ST:DS9. Let us never forget the 75th Rue of Acquisition: “Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum”. Nog/Aron is now among those stars.
– Ian S.