Responding To 'Defending Braga'By Steve 'Berserker' Perry
Posted at July 8, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT
"I am a Star Trek fan. I have been one for more than half of my life, and I dedicate a rather large amount of time to watching the episodes, reading the novels, and, since about a year or so, surfing the internet to read about my favorite series. Over the past few weeks, however, my trust in the internet has received a severe blow, after I witnessed the uproar following the news of Ron Moore's departure."
Because you don't like internet reporting of Star Trek affairs? In other words, you would like to be completely ignorant about the goings-on of the show, never knowing how the finished product is reached upon? We are not doing this because we get off to bashing Braga. Sorry, Brannon, but you're not that important to us as a person. We are doing this because we are concerned about the future viability of the frnachise you so love.
"About two weeks ago, I stumbled across a rather surprising post at the TrekWeb message boards. In the post, TrekWeb's Berserker stated that "there will be a big bit of Trek news in the next week. I won't say what, I have a good guess, and I am not sure when. But I think something that may surprise us will hit." Of course, I started wondering precisely what it was: Would TrekWeb have news on the new series? Would Voyager get home? Unfortunately, the TrekWeb people didn't give out any extra info, beyond saying that 'it would be a bad surprise' and that 'it involved a person.'"
We did this because we did not want a scandal. This is serious stuff and we did not want to go forward until we were sure. When we became sure we went forward.
"Then, a day later, TrekWeb's Steve Kruztler put up a news item most of you will have read already, announcing that "Ron D. Moore is leaving the show... Many speculate that [his reasons] may have involved unreconcilable differences with the show's executive producer, Brannon Braga.""
It should be noted that Mr. Moore himself emailed Trekweb asking that only his comment in the report be removed. he did not argue with any of its actual claims.
"In the two weeks that followed TrekWeb's announcement, many more rumors surfaced about Ron Moore's departure. The kindest just mentioned that Ron Moore's 'Survival Instinct' script was "ripped apart" by Braga, while some rumors even went as far as accusing Braga of sexually harrassing his staff members."
Don't confuse the issue by mixing in Braga's personal behavior with his conduct toward Moore. His personal behavior is merely an example of how power has gone to his head and in any regard he has openly bragged about some of the more salacious aspects of it. The real issue is his failure as Executive Producer.
"The absolute low point in this was a post at Ain't It Cool News, which based itself on a Usenet report, traditionally not one of the most reliable sources of information."
Except that I know the source of this information and that it comes from a reporter of an established national magazine.
"Rather interesting is the fact that, according to Deja, the author of this Usenet report (a certain 'recook77') seems to hang out a lot at the alt.gossip.royalty newsgroup, which certainly does not make him any more believable to me."
But it does not make him any less believable. Does the fact that I hang out in B5 newsgroups mean that I am predisposed to B5 and thus will do anything to undermine Trek?
"Fortunately, after thinking about all these rumors for a while, several other aspects didn't seem to be that truthful either. Just to get this out of the way, I think we can safely assume that Ron Moore has indeed left or is intending to leave Voyager, but what do we know beyond that?"
Obviously leaving a show two episodes in after signing a two year deal suggests a problem. Second, if this were in fact the case, all parties involved would be much more forthcoming, no?
"Moore could very well be staying at Paramount to help develop the new Trek series, as several rumors already indicated."
But the "rumors" we are reporting indicate that one of the reasons he left was that he learned that he was out of the loop with regards to that project.
"According to a recent post at the TrekWeb message boards, Ron Moore still has an office at Paramount. It is still being manned by his assistant Jennifer and presumably by Moore himself as well. Jennifer apparently confirmed that Moore has left Voyager - but there is no indication at all that he has left Star Trek as well."
Jennifer never said that. To begin with, you show an amazing willingness to believe posts that agree with you, but not ones that don't. May I ask why?
Second, nothing Jennifer said indicated much of anything. Mr. Moore would continue to have an office as long as his script was in production. Your claim simply doesn't make sense. A new show would be at least a year and a half away, and Moore leaving now to work on it after joining Voyager simply doesn't wash.
"Furthermore, this Jennifer apparently said that 'Survival Instinct' "wasn't torn apart by the others at all," unlike what most of the rumors suggested. Of course, news reports about this have been severely conflicting - some sources claimed that the script was torn apart by the entire writing staff, others claimed that Braga couldn't handle the quality and wrote childish comments over the script, and now there are claims that Ron Moore himself was the only one to rewrite the script."
At not time was it said that the entire staff tore it apart. The other two rumors are not "severely conflicting." Braga was knee deep in Equinox and could not go back and rewrite someone else's script. He could, however, write childish comments all over it. According to Trekweb's own sources, the episodes itself was barely rewritten and all indications are that Moore did the rewrites.
"Of course, the reports that Braga "couldn't handle the quality" of 'Survival Instinct' sound like nothing more than low personal attacks - it's not as if Braga isn't a good writer either. This is, after all, the man who gave us 'Cause and Effect' and 'Parallels.'"
The issue isn't quality - it's that Braga sees himself as being overshadowed. SI could be crap, but if Braga sees himself as losing the spotlight, then you have a problem.
And Braga's writing stint with Voyager has been wildly inconsistent. He's written some of the worst episodes in Trek history, including Threshold and Rise. Many of his best still feel like pale shadows of his better TNG work.
"Braga is also the man who gave us 'All Good Things' and 'First Contact,' written in tandem with... Ronald D. Moore! Moore and Braga are two of the closest friends in the Star Trek franchise,"
Moore evidently thought the same, until Braga stabbed him in the back. You have to realize that Moore and Braga writing together is not the same as Braga being Moore's boss. Once again, Moore left in a hurry for some reason, and I have seen nothing from the Braga defenders to credibly explain that.
"and only recently finished writing the 'Mission Impossible II' script together."
You're revealing your lack of knowledge there. Their MI2 work came and went.
"The idea that the two of them would get into a fight over writing abilities is beyond laughable."
Not when the role of Executive Producer in a lucrative new series is at stake.
"What could, of course, have happened is that Ron Moore had to re-write 'Survival Instinct' to fit in with Voyager's premise. Moore himself has acknowledged that he doesn't know the show or its characters, and that he would just learn as he went along. Of course it's logical then that his script would need re-writing: he doesn't know Voyager, so how could his first attempt at writing a Voyager script immediately be perfect? Maybe (and this really is just a maybe, and as much unfounded as all the other reports),"
In fact, it's far more unfounded.
"maybe Ron Moore didn't like how he had to re-write his script, and decided to quit the show instead. The same thing happened with people such as Harlan Ellison and David Gerrold, who to this day continue to cast themselves as victims of the Big Evil Producers."
First of all, Moore has done nothing to fan the flames. Second of all, this explanation makes zero sense. Quitting a lucrative job after one episode? Does that make sense to you? Moore is a talented writer capable of writing anything from Klingons to cloak and dagger. Him quitting because he can't write Neelix with a baby in the crib doesn't wash. He's a strong character writer and frankly I don't see how he could have any more trouble adjusting than other new writers like Taylor.
"The reports about Braga terrorizing and even sexually harrassing his staff are so low that I won't even attempt to go into them in any detail. Suffice it to say that, if this is indeed the case, why haven't we witnessed a mass exodus from Paramount over the last few months?"
People put up with a lot to keep decent jobs. Actually, some of them stayed because they hoped Moore would be a bulwark against Braga.
"Unfortunately, the attacks on Braga's performance as Executive Producer seem to originate solely from internet fandom, which has always had a rather strained relationship with him."
I think the widly inconsistent nature of his product and his clear disdain for the Trek tradition has a lot to do with that.
"It seems to me that many people who still held a grudge against Braga now saw the perfect opportunity to damage him in public."
Not so. Steve K was thrilled beyond belief at Equinox, and loved the script to part two. He wanted to pitch to Voyager. I don't care what you say but I judge the show as I see without seeing the personalitiess behind it, and I will do the same next season. We call them as we see them.
"It really was no great surprise to me to find several Usenet postings by this aforementioned 'recook77' fellow, in which he mentions that Braga 'really doesn't seem to give a shit [about Voyager]', suggests that the only reason Braga came as far as he did would be if he had kinky snapshots of Paramount executives, and in which he calls Braga sexist. How much trust can we then place in him when he claims to have 'an e-mail from an acquaintance' who supposedly knows everything about "secret meetings" organized by Braga?"
So basically you are saying that Braga is not the evil person, recook is. It's difficult taking you credibly about being against internet bashing when you do it yourself. The person doesn't like Braga, but I know who his source is and that's more important than the messenger.
"Perhaps even worse are the comments by someone calling himself 'Berserker,' who posted several comments at the Psi Phi message boards about Braga "badgering his own secretaries with lewd comments among other things" and later on claiming that he had heard quite a few things, but wouldn't divulge them because they're that sick and serious"."
My motivation was explained in the post, which you decline to note. Braga is a lecher and I don't feel someone who treats women that way should be writing a vision of a free future. Maybe that's just me. I don't want there to be any illusions about Braga being a soft little soul who believes in the idealds of Trek.
"Destroying someone in such a way is rather easy - I can post to Usenet as well, claiming that "I've heard quite a few nasty things about John Doe, but I won't bother offering any proof here. Let's also overlook the fact that he wrote some great stories - what matters is that he's a sexist, so he shouldn't run Star Trek. Why do I think so? Oh, well, because I know things that you don't, and unfortunately I can't go into any detail about them here!""
Doesn't that make sense, though? I liked Equinox. But SOMETHING I heard changed my opinion of him rather quickly.
And in any regard, Braga talks openly about some of his activities in a recent book published about the people behind the scenes of Trek. That he does these things really isn't up for dispute. If I was interested in pure gossip I'd be telling you which of the Trek actors is gay, but I'm not, because I'm worried about the franchise, not telling stories.
"Without any doubt my statements would be instantly believed in by everyone..."
No. If you don't believe that Braga doesn't do certain things, then you're just not listening to the man himself.
"Unfortunately, there is no way for Brannon Braga to defend himself against these anonymous attacks."
Last time I checked he uses the internet quite a bit and is free to respond. His failure to do so is somewhat suspicious given the seriousness of the charges.
"Whatever he says, he'll forever be damaged by this gossiping."
Absolute garbage. He makes millions and will produce a new Trek series. He is doing fine.
"What, unfortunately, the gossipers do not seem to realize is that not only has Braga been damaged by these attacks, but Star Trek as well. Over the past week, I've seen several people turn from firm believers in Star Trek and Voyager to pessimists convinced that the franchise is dying, and sick of all the things that supposedly are happening at Paramount."
This is a good thing. People should not accept Trek for being Trek, but demand quality TV. Trek isn't any old TV show - it's a show with a history and it means something. If you don't mind people more interested in money than in ideas in charge of it, that's your choice. The rest of us will demand better however.
"The first few months of the sixth season will be crucial in determining Voyager's future, and certainly slamming down hard on the show's producers won't help one bit."
Actually the ratings are awful and I don't think it matters much any more.
"I know that many people thought of Voyager's fifth season as the best yet, with the writing significantly improved over the previous years."
Me among them. There were only two episodes that were awful.
"Episodes such as 'Drone,' 'Timeless' and 'Someone To Watch Over Me' (all of which had Braga credited for parts of the story or teleplay) were regarded by many as being very good, and certainly showed that Braga is still a very talented writer."
Good episodes, but not great. It is time you realize that Voyager will not produce an Inner Light. Drone was a retelling of TNG's The Offspring and Timeless was only strong because of the work with Kim. It is clear that Voyager under Braga may become consistently good but never great.
"If we want Star Trek to live on, the last thing we should do is spread around rumors attacking Braga in some of the lowest ways imaginable."
Actually I am resigned to the fact that it won't matter either way. He's in charge, like it or not.
"I hope that, in the next few days, Braga and Moore will be releasing a joint statement explaining precisely what happened."
Hell will freeze over first.
"I also hope that Ron Moore will still be staying with the Star Trek franchise, perhaps in a role on the new series, as there is no doubt about the fact that he is one of the greatest writers Trek ever had."
Hell will freeze over first.
"The same, however, is true for Brannon Braga, who has done an amazing amount of work for Star Trek. I'd like to call on all online Star Trek fans to show Braga some respect, and at least give him the right to a bit of privacy."
I don't care if he screws goats. However getting rid of Moore for petty personal reasons opened him to attacks on his personality. He made his character flaws an issue. This isn't Clinton being set up.
"Unfortunately he is not able to defend himself, and so we should be cautious when looking at anonymous reports attacking him. Accusing him of sexual immorality certainly has no relevance at all when discussing his role on Star Trek, and is also extremely offensive and unfair to the man."
No, it's not fair or unfair, it's the truth, and in any regard you're missing the larger issue of him bashing Moore.
"I'd like to end this rant with a quote I found at the Psi Phi message boards: "Brannon is an extraordinary gifted writer, a kind-hearted soul,and a good friend. So gett off his back. Find another target for your venom." Who first said this? That's right: Ronald D. Moore."
Which was said, what? Two years ago?
The bottom line is that you've chosen to call me, Steve Krutzler, Glen Oliver, and all of our many sources liars because you like Braga rewriting a time travel idea for the ninth time. I would understand if you merely cared about the man's reputation, but your stand seems to ignore the misfortune that has befallen a real Trek man, Ronald Moore, and your stand seems more geared on attacking us for calling Braga a lecher rather than countering the fact that his actions got rid of a great writer at the expense of the show you so love.
We're the one on the side of good Trek and we will be proven right.
Read our Ron & Brannon Feature for more on this!
Steve 'Berserker' Perry is one of the people behind TrekWeb.
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