Moore Talks DS9 Evolution

By Michelle
December 7, 2003 - 5:51 PM

Former Trek writer and producer Ron Moore continued to speak about his career on Trek, including the evolution of his relationships with executive producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman.

In the second part of a long interview at IGN, Moore described his collaboration with Braga on The Next Generation as "great", explaining that Michael Piller first paired the writers to work on "Reunion" in the fourth season.

"He was the intern trying to make his bones as a writer," Moore recalled. "It's hard to find writing partners you can work with. You have to work with them very intimately, there's a tremendous amount of trust that has to exist between the two writers – because you have to really be able to sit in a room and say, 'That sucks. It doesn't work,' and that the other guy doesn't take it personally. And that you're really being honest with each other, and you're not competing about who's getting more words in."

Describing the collaboration as "like a marriage", Moore noted, "We had different strengths. I had a good sense of structure and a good sense of structure, and Brannon had a sense of the bizarre and the fantastic, and the unexpected, and surprises within scenes and within stories. It was just a really positive, good flow that went back and forth between us."

Though Moore refused to try to analyze Braga's work or comments on Enterprise, stating that writers tend to try to look at the positives on their own shows, he speculated, "I don't know if he's happy doing it anymore. He's been doing it now for longer than I did, and I did it for 10 years – and that's a long f***in' time to work in one universe and one idea."

Though Moore said he considered moving to Voyager as TNG neared the end of its run, excited at the idea of being on a show from the start, he met with executive producer Ira Behr and became excited about the prospect of working on Deep Space Nine:

It was a darker universe. It was a more ambiguous universe. The characters were more complicated. The storytelling was freer. It wasn't a true serial, but it was moving in that direction inevitably. Everybody knew from the beginning that the show's tug was going to be into continuing stories, because that was the show...eventually you would kind of have to deal with the fact that the Bajorans were still there. What's happening with them this week? So it sort of just became a continuing story, and that's something I was drawn to. I wanted to write a continuing story, and I wanted to play long arcs and develop characters, and not just to some standalone stuff.

Moore said that as Berman and Piller became more involved with Voyager, Behr gained more control of Deep Space Nine and "won, I would say, the lion's share of the battles that he would decide to fight on – and the show, as a result, became better and really carried his imprimatur of what he thought Deep Space could be."

The staff at DS9, he added, "loved the original series. We, the writers, all grew up with, admired, and were very fond of the original show, so we stretched those muscles whenever we could." He emphasized the all-male staff's "being guys together", spending weekends and lunches together, saying, "t definitely spoiled me for future series! 'Cause it ain't like that all the time!"

The show's evolution was a point of conflict among the producers, according to Moore. "I remember when we got into the Dominion War, Rick was adamant at first that the war would only take 3 or 4 episodes at the most, and we just said, 'Sure!' We lied," he admitted.

I remember one particularly insane argument that Ira and Rick had when Nog was injured and ended up losing a leg, there was this ridiculous extended argument that I was in a room while Ira was on the phone. We had written the draft where he had lost both his legs, and Rick was just appalled. "We can't lose the character's legs!" And we were like, "No, we've got to. We've got to have somebody who's injured in this war who's not just a guest star in the background." It was a very important point. And the argument got to the point where they were arguing about, "Well, does it have to be one leg or two? And is it above the knee or below the knee?" It was just, like, they were negotiating over where Nog was to lose his leg. It was just absurd.

Moore laughed about DS9 being considered the bastard stepchild of the franchise and joked that Paramount wouldn't even give him a free set of the DVDs after he sat for interviews and commentary for it.

Over time, he said, "the notes tended to become more conservative. 'Don't take as many chances.' 'Be safer.' 'Don't go out on a limb with this.' 'Be careful we still like the character.' 'Don't let the character make too many mistakes.' 'Don't get too crazy with the ideas.' They were just always conservative. You were always pulling back from something. You were never given a note saying, 'Go farther. Go wilder. This needs to be more shocking.'"

Moore's interview will complete on Monday, the day of Battlestar Galactica's premiere on Sci-Fi. Today's much-longer section appears here.

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