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CGT: Computer-Generated Trek

Category: Random Musings

Published July 25, 2004

(I was originally planning to have my review of Stargate: Atlantis up by now, but I haven’t seen the second episode yet, so that’ll have to wait.)

In my random browsing and searching this morning, I happened across a link to the Star Trek: Voyager Plot Generator. Now, I’ve seen plenty of jokes before about plot generators for Trek episodes, but this one really takes the cake — not only is it really seamless in putting the elements together, but it’s almost believable (most of the time). Here’s a good example:

“Threat”
WRITTEN BY : Joe Menosky.
STORY BY : Brannon Braga.
DIRECTED BY : Robert Duncan MacNeill.

When a virus spreads throughout the ship, The Holographic Doctor must perform a risky move and deal with personal inner feelings.

Really, can’t you see that as an episode of Voyager? Granted, the description is vague enough that it could probably be applied to just about any series you want, but I think that’s beside the point. <thbbt />

All I can say is, one of the reasons I really enjoyed the third season of Enterprise was because it seemed that they actually left their plot generator behind. Practically none of the episodes — aside from a few of the really awful ones like “Extinction” — were random mish-mashes of various plot elements. Instead, they were directly derived from the central plot of the season, the Xindi arc.

Maybe it’s just the reality of the difference between episodic and arc-based storytelling. Maybe Enterprise will be going back to using the plot generator in the fourth season (I already hear they’re going to be doing “mini-arcs” rather than a big season-long arc, I’m sad to say). But if we end up getting more of the poor quality stories that we got throughout most of Voyager and the first two seasons of Enterprise, I may get really upset. After finally discovering modern storytelling last season, it would be a real shame if Berman and Braga forgot the lessons they learned.

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