Originally, Snodgrass had Riker and Wesley teaching Data how to swim in the show’s teaser. ‘I would like to do the swimming pool scene,’ she admits. 'I think it could have been very funny. But Brent Spiner and I have never agreed on that. Brent is much more in love with the poker scene.
'In retrospect, what has come out of it is exciting. The poker game has become an ongoing thing that people are using. Richard [Manning] and Hans [Beimler] came to me and asked whether I would mind if they used the poker game in one of their scripts. I want to create a sense of community - that this is a weekly card game. So, they wrote a wonderful scene with Worf in the game just kicking butt and taking everyone for everything they’ve got in The Emissary. I’m glad because it makes me feel like I’ve done something that has expanded the mythos in a little sort of humanizing way.’
In the October 1989 issue of Starlog, Star Trek writer and story editor Melinda Snodgrass talks about the first TNG poker game, in her script “A Measure of a Man.” I had no idea we were this close to crew swim meets. Glad it turned out the way it did.
From the October 1989 issue of Starlog interview with Melinda Snodgrass:
“I have the Hollywood Cinderella story of all Hollywood Cinderella stories…George R. R. Martin, producer on Beauty & The Beast and a close friend, said that he thought I would be good at screenwriting because of my strengths in characterization and dialogue. So, I wrote a spec script for Star Trek and everyone from my agent to George said it was just a calling card. The day after I delivered the script to my agent, the writer’s strike started and everything went on hold.”
But in October, 1988:
“I flew out and I thought it would be a pitch session…I had three other story ideas clutched in my hot little hands. I met with co-executive producer Maurice Hurley and after we talked for a few minutes, he said, ‘I love this script. I’m going to buy it.’ I just floated out of the office and went home to New Mexico to make some necessary changes.”
After finishing “A Measure of a Man,” Snodgrass was called to another meeting with Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman (at the time co-executive producer with Hurley):
“At the end of the four-hour session, Maury turned to me and said, 'I’m going to give you a job.’ The next day my agent called to tell me they wanted me as story editor. One week later, I came out and started work. So, that’s the Cinderella story. I sold a spec script, which you’re never supposed to be able to do, and I was hired not as a staff writer - the normal entry-level position - but as story editor. It still feels very strange.”
The original show was basically incredibly optimistic…It said, ‘Hey, look, Ma, I’m in outer space. We made it.’ Again, Gene is the most optimistic human I’ve ever met. It was a very liberal show. It had very strong female characters for the time, even though they were telephone operators and nurses. To have women, in essence, in a combat situation and aboard a military vessel was a startling idea.
We’re still trying to figure out the right tone for Troi. I know it’s difficult when you have a mind power-based person, but everybody takes the easy way out. ‘I feel great pain.’
We have not yet seen Troi truly being a ship’s counselor. I mean, this woman has 80 thousand and 11 degrees in psychology and human development, and she’s there to actually counsel if you’re having a problem. However, Gene believes humanity is infinitely perfectable and that in the next 400 years, we’re going to take this step forward into homo superius. We will be able to leave behind the petty parts of our nature - jealousy, greed and those sorts of things. That’s lovely and optimistic, but if people can handle their own problems, then what can Troi do?
I’ve been toying with Troi as an ambassador. She would be used when we first contact a new culture or have cross-cultural dealings. I think Troi should be a member of the Away Team every time one goes down, particularly if there’s an alien culture. We’ll probably downplay the empathic nature as well.
In the October 1989 issue of Starlog, writer and story editor Melinda Snodgrass speculates on where the writers will take Troi’s character. Snodgrass’ comments are so awesome, but it’s really too bad it never happened. Yes, Troi did get to counsel a couple of people and help liaise with some alien leaders, and she got a bigger bump when Jeri Taylor came on in Season 4, but never the kind of sustained importance and profile Snodgrass seems to have been contemplating at the end of Season 2.