"Where None Have Gone Before"
A few people have written to me wanting to know how they could get or read a copy of this script. I figured the easiest way to deal with the requests was to post it, so here it is.
Diane Duane and I wrote "Where None Have Gone Before" in early 1987 for the (then) new syndicated Star Trek TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. (For Diane's memories of this project, click here. Bear in mind, however, that she has mistakenly labeled the outline "second draft premise" and the revised premise "second draft outline".) We were brought in very early on in the series' production by David Gerrold, a good friend and a story editor on the series. (David wrote one of the most fondly remembered episodes of the original , "The Trouble With Tribbles".) At this time none of the crew had been cast or, in some cases, the characters even finalized on paper. (Tasha Yar's name kept fluctuating, with Heisenbergian unpredictability, between "Tasha" and "Macha".) The sets were still being built, so we had no real idea of the environments our characters would be playing in, and in most cases, no real sense of who they were. (Mostly we were told who they were not: "Picard is not Kirk. Data is not Spock. Dr. Crusher is not Dr. McCoy." Etc.)
The story that we originally pitched to Gene Roddenberry bore very little resemblance to what we eventually wound up writing, and virtually no resemblance whatsoever to what was finally produced. (That's typical of writing a freelance TV script, especially for a new, high-profile show. The irony of TV writing is that, as a freelancer, you get used to seeing shows air that are completely changed from what you wrote, but with your name still on them; as a staff writer, you see shows produced that are very close to what you wrote (or rewrote) but with the freelancer's name on it.) Our pitch was based on Gene's well-known fondness for stories involving the Enterprise meeting God -- or at least, as John Lennon once said, "Someone dressed up like God." Diane and I decided to go him one better, and pitched a story in which the ship ultimately becomes God, in a sense. (Check Diane's archives of the "second draft outline" to see what I mean -- keeping in mind that the outline is the premise and vice versa.) Gene loved the story, bought it immediately, and, as is usually the case with show-runners, promptly started making suggestions that would completely change it.
We went back and forth like that for awhile, trying to incorporate Gene's notes, which had the story veering wildly in all directions (in my opinion the whole 5th act of our script is out of left field as well as rather superflous). Nevertheless, we were told that we were seriously being considered for staff positions.
Then one day we were told out of the blue that our script needed a total rewrite and that we were no longer in the running for staff. It was years later that we learned the full story, which I won't go into here. Suffice to say that it isn't one of my favorite memories of working in TV ...
As far as the aired version goes, Diane and I have mixed feelings. For my part, I'm glad that it's still considered one of the best of the first season -- it was even submitted for Emmy consideration. (And a tip of the hat must go to Maurice Hurley, who did most of the rewrite and made no attempt at credit jumping, even though he probably could have gotten a shared credit. I'm grateful that he did the honorable thing every time those green WGA residual checks arrive in the mail.) Nevertheless, I must admit that I thought our story was better. Judge for yourself.