Myriad Universes: The Outer Light
Right, here’s another essay on a story I had a lot of high hopes for and had planned to look at in extreme detail only to have those hopes deflate pathetically as soon as I looked at the story in question. Well, let’s just get it over with so we can move on, shall we?
I guess in hindsight I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Sequels inevitably always ruin anything, and doing a sequel to “The Inner Light” of all stories seems like a recipe custom-tailored for disaster. This seemed like it had potential though-In one of his many chats on AOL, Ron Moore had this to say reflecting on “The Inner Light”:
“I’ve always felt that the experience in ‘Inner Light’ would’ve been the most profound experience in Picard’s life and changed him irrevocably. However, that wasn’t our intention when we were creating the episode. We were after a good hour of TV, and the larger implications of how this would really screw somebody up didn’t hit home with us until later (that’s sometimes a danger in TV – you’re so focused on just getting the show produced every week that sometimes you suffer from the ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ syndrome). We never intended the show to completely upend his character and force a radical change in the series, so we contented ourselves with a single follow-up in ‘Lessons.’”
Thing is, “Lessons” more or less sucks, as we’ll see next season. And this is interesting, as it’s claimed Rick Berman and Michael Piller had a fairly strict “no sequels” policy on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and this was used as justification for turning away a pitch for a follow-up to “The Inner Light” penned by the story’s original writer, Morgan Grendel. So if the producers were opposed to sequels sight unseen, why did “Lessons” (and a fuckton other things, like everything having to do with Worf or the Borg) get greenlit? Or if they were actually open to sequels to things like “The Inner Light”, why did they turn away the one the original writer himself came up with?
The answer comes when we take a look at “The Outer Light”, a fanfiction comic Grendel produced in 2013 in collaboration with Andre Duza and TrekMovie. And it seems that answer is simply that “The Outer Light” isn’t very good.
Responding to a distress call on…some planet, the Enterprise finds a crashed starship that looks suspiciously like the Kataan probe that engaged Captain Picard in the ancestor simulation exercise that leaves him wanting more than anything else to become Kamin again. Beaming down against Commander Riker’s protestations, the Captain discovers the crashed ship contains Kataanian scientists who have been preserved in suspended animation for centuries, one of whom miracuolsly happens to be Kamin’s wife Eline! Unfortunately for the Captain, Eline has also brought her husband with her, some dude who’s not named Kamin and is so forgettable despite being the primary antagonist I’ve since forgotten his name and don’t care enough to go back and check.…