The Genius of the Borg as a Plot Device

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 12, 2010 in Star Trek, Videogames |

Picard as a BorgThe charm and the problem with the original Star Trek series was that there was never a mess that Captain james T. Kirk couldn’t get out of — and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan turned this aspect of the series into a stellar plot device. But looking at this promo video of Star Trek Online: Borg Faction made me realize that what makes the Borg a brilliant plot device is that not only do they outclass Federation technology, but on top of that they’re pure evil.

Resurrection of the Daleks

Now some fans have critiqued the Borg for just being a rip off of the Daleks from Dr. Who: But for me that’s a superficial comparison because Dr. Who (and the Time Lords) are on some equal footing with the Daleks. On the other hand the Federation isn’t in the same league as the Borg. In fact the irony of the first Star Trek: The Next Generation script is that the ever so annoying character Q is a rip off of sorts of Dr. Who.

Gene Roddenberry

Of course the interesting thing to me is that as much as I hate to admit it, the credit for the Borg seems to have to go to not just D.C. Fontana but also to Gene Roddenberry himself. The reason that this surprises me is that while I think of Roddenberry as a brilliant producer I never really gave him credit for his actual script writing skills. Part of the reason for that is that the original writers on the first Star Trek series were so damn good that Roddenberry just isn’t in the same league as say a Harlan Ellison.

Star Trek: The Motion Sickness, err Motion Picture

Above: Star Trek: The Motion Sickness, err Motion Picture.

I also blamed Roddenberry for the disaster that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture — so in a way the Borg are a pretty good redemption for that sin. Of course to me the real unsung genius behind Star Trek will always be D.C. Fontana. Dorothy Catherine Fontana not only wrote some great episodes of the original series (The Enterprise Incident comes to mind) but she also has done great work on so many other shows from The Six Million Dollar Man to The Land of the Lost. Of course sadly she left Next Generation after a dispute with Rodenberry — although she came back later to work on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Below: D.C. Fontana from back in the day!

D.C. Fontana

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