So as a lot of you know, I’ve published four books with Enclave Publishing with a fifth on the way. I’ve been included in two anthologies and written two novellas. But I bet you didn’t know that I also wrote four scripts for three different TV shows.
I suppose, in the interested of full disclosure, I should confess that these were spec scripts and I didn’t even bother to send in half of them.
See, back when I was in college, I heard a rumor that the folks who produced the Star Trek TV shows actually accepted scripts from fans. If you had an idea, you could put it all together and send them in. Eventually, someone would read them and, if they liked them well enough, they would make them into an actual episode. It may sound far-fetched, but from what I understand, it actually happened at least once. The catch was, you could only submit two scripts per person. After that, you were done for all shows pretty much forever.
So, armed with that knowledge and the address of the production company, I set to work on my own script ideas. And I decided to focus my creative juices on Deep Space Nine.
In the end, I wrote two scripts. Both episodes focused on Worf (because c’mon, Worf is awesome) with subplots that were thematically linked:
In one episode, Worf’s son Alexander came to Bajor, seeking a specialized genetic therapy that would suppress his Klingon DNA and make his human side more dominant. Worf was naturally opposed to this, wanting his son to embrace who he was. It turned out that Alexander was feeling conflicted about his Klingon side since his mother was murdered by Duras. Jadzia Dax played a big role in getting Alexander to find peace with himself. In the end, Alexander decided to suppress his human side (because apparently, my college age self thought this was a good solution for someone with deep-seated issues of self-loathing. Needless to say, I would write this ending differently today).
That particular episode featured a subplot about Quark’s father. Turns out that Quark’s dad really wasn’t dead. Instead, he had gone into hiding. See, his dad had once been rich thanks to being part of an Orion slave girl smuggling ring. However, after suffering a crisis of conscience, dear old dad faked his death and went on a sort of spiritual pilgrimage, one that eventually brought him to DS9. At first, Quark is furious at his father for not only abandoning them, but for being rich and not passing along his wealth. But when his father’s former associates show up, looking for revenge, Quark and Rom help their dad escape and continue on his journey.
In the second episode I wrote, a new alien race is thinking about joining the Federation, and so a Starfleet officer brings them to Deep Space Nine to take a look around. Jake Sisko rescues one of the delegates (who was the king of the aliens, if I recall correctly) from an assassination attempt, prompting the rescued man to give Jake his daughter to be his wife. Jake doesn’t want to be married. And it turns out that his new wife had a suitor who takes issue with the new marital arrangement.
But Jake isn’t the only one with women troubles. The aforementioned Starfleet officer is none other than Deanna Troi, who was chosen as tour guide because the Enterprise was the one who made first contact with the aliens. Troi takes this opportunity to try to rekindle her romance with Worf. Naturally, Jadzia Dax doesn’t appreciate this (just as a historical note, all of this took place before Worf and Dax got married). When a group of alien terrorists attack the station, Jake is saved by his wife’s old suitor (allowing him to hand off the inconvenient bride) and Worf realizes that he loves Dax.
Once I had both of these scripts ready, I sent them off to Paramount and hoped for the best.
But I didn’t just write scripts for Deep Space Nine. I also put together a script for Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, telling the story that I desperately wanted to see on that show.
It opened with a new arrival to Metropolis, a certain purple zoot-suited clown prince of crime. The Joker has come to town. You see, Lois and Clark had done a big expose on a chemical weapons dump outside of Metropolis. The Joker needed some of the chemicals in that dump because it was a key component in making his nefarious smilex gas. And as long as he was in town to pick up the gas, he decided to wreak his signature style of mayhem on the city. He even managed to temporarily incapacitate Superman with kryptonite-laced smilex. Eventually Superman manages to confront the Joker, but the Joker escapes, only to be caught by a mysterious figure who stays in the shadows. That same individual eventually confronts Superman, hinting that he might be willing to help him on future difficult cases.
That’s right, folks, I came up with Batman Vs. Superman and wanted Dean Cain to be the titular Superman! Okay, not really, but still…
But I still wasn’t done yet. My last attempt at writing for an existing TV show was for one of my favorite creep-fests, namely The X-Files.
Mulder and Scully are brought out to a small, midwestern college campus to investigate a series of unusual murders. The local police are stumped because the killer never leaves any evidence. Mulder hypothesizes that the reason why is because the killer can turn invisible, a theory that everyone scoffs at. Eventually, after working through all the obvious suspects, they realize that the killer is actually a kind-hearted old archaeology professor who specialized in Greek antiquities. Apparently the professor had found a ring that turned him invisible and, armed with this unusual ability, had set about indulging in his more base nature.
Believe it or not, this particular episode was in no way inspired by The Lord of the Rings. I can say that with absolute certainty because I hadn’t read the books yet (that might be the subject of another confession for another week). Instead, it was an extended riff on Plato’s Ring of Gyges myth.
So what happened with all of these scripts? Well, in the case of the Lois & Clark and X-Files scripts, once I finished them, they languished in a drawer until I threw them out. I mean, I had no idea how to show them to the producers of either show, so I was kind of stuck.
As for my two DS9 scripts, like I said, I did send those in and I really hoped for the best. But shortly after I sent them in, the show did their own stories that kind of made my ideas irrelevant. Alexander showed up on his own as part of the Dominion War, and eventually Worf and Dax got married, meaning that my idea wouldn’t work.
Since my days in college, I haven’t tried writing TV scripts. That doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas. I do. For example, I still think that Berlanti Productions should do an epic, mutli-show crossover event with all of their DC properties (including Supergirl) that centers around Darkseid. And occasionally, I’ll have an idea that screams to be let out (like my idea on how to bring Jenny back to Dr. Who). But I’ve mostly been focused on books.
But still, it’s fun to dream…
So how about you? Have you ever had an idea for a TV show episode? If so, what show? And what are you willing to share about your idea?
UPDATE: You know how I said I threw those scripts out? Yeah, not so much.
I’d encourage you to get those scripts back out and post them as fan fiction, even if they’re AU at this point. That’s what most of my script ideas have become, and many people have done the same to produce some great fan stories.
I wrote plenty of fan fiction when I was at university – though not with any intention of getting them produced. I posted them on the old alt.startrek.creative usenet group. Anybody remember those? I did a TNG story that featured Harry Mudd, and another that combined Chris Pike with John Harriman (yeah fan-fic authors seem to love cross-overs) and then created my own series. (I think it was call STAR TREK: CONDOR).
About ten years ago, I wrote two episodes (in script format) of a series about Superman’s parents called Krypton. It was kind of an end-times thriller set in the Superman universe.
Ah, it was all good practice.
Links please! 🙂 And never apologize for writing fan fiction. It’s an artform like any other art. I am very fond of many fond authors, and consider them true authors in every sense of the word.