Rick Berman answered more fan questions about his time working on various Star Trek series.
The questions in the second part of the Berman interview include the following topics: Gay characters in Star Trek, a lack of familiarity with the original series and how/if that impacted his work on Star Trek: Enterprise, favorite supporting characters, rethinking how he would do Star Trek and more.
In the time of the original series, Star Trek was groundbreaking in how it addressed controversial topics of the day. However, later Trek seemed to take a step backwards into addressing only safe areas, which meant that other than in more of an oblique way (as in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Host and Outcast and Deep Space Nine‘s Rejoined as well as Enterprise‘s Stigma), addressing issues such as homosexuality did not happen. “As Michael Piller had said many times, the idea of seeing two men or two women in Ten-Forward holding hands was not really going to be an effective way of dealing with it,” said Berman. “So Gene [Roddenberry] basically didn’t do anything about it, and then when Michael and I were involved with the concepts of the stories on the show, we just felt it would be better to deal with concepts of prejudice against homosexuality and topics like AIDS metaphorically, in ways other than human gays on board the ship.
“So we developed a number of different stories that dealt with same-sex relationships, that dealt with metaphorical diseases that were similar to AIDS. But they were all done in alien fashion to try to get people to think about these things as opposed to just hitting it right on the head, which would be having a gay character on the ship. It’s something that Michael and I discussed. It’s something that Brannon Braga and I discussed, that Jeri Taylor and I discussed, and we never really got around to coming up with a way of just adding a gay character. So we tried to deal with it in a more abstract science-fiction way.”
If Berman could do Star Trek over again, what would he have done differently? “If I had to do it all over again, I think I probably would have paid more attention to the fans than I did,” said Berman. “Not that I ignored the fans, but I was very, very busy and I was not really one of the people who kept abreast of how the fans were feeling about things. I think if I had to look back at one thing I wish I had done differently, it probably would have been that.”