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10 July 2014
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Interviews | David Gerrold
From K7 to DS9

How did you feel about the Deep Space Nine episode Trials and Tribble-ations?

Picture They denied they were doing a tribble sequel over and over and over, and I kept hearing the rumours, over and over and over.

Finally they announced it, and I picked up the phone and called Rick Berman. I said, "Rick I just got a phone call from [someone], and they want an interview and I told them I'd get back to them. It would be really embarrassing for you guys if I said Paramount hasn't told me anything at all about this, it would be a lot better for everybody if I could say this is really a great thing". Rick said "You know, you're absolutely right."

He was an absolute gentleman about it, so they bought me in to be an extra in Trials and Tribble-ations. They gave me a copy of the script and treated me very kindly. I read the script and I said, "You guys are going to get an Hugo nomination off of this, this is the best Star Trek script I've ever read, it is absolutely brilliant."

They did a marvellous job of taking the Deep Space Nine characters and weaving them into the [Original] Star Trek characters. There was a moment with the director Jonathan West when everybody was lined up in front of a monitor with a video tape of The Trouble With Tribbles, because they wanted to see how this scene that we were about to shoot was going to fit in.

They're saying, "Well it's, there's the scene where they're all lined up and Kirk is balling them out," and they're running through the tape and I was standing there and I'm looking at it and I say, "No, you should scan that tape backward, reverse it because the scene you're looking for happens [there]."

On the sound stage, nobody ever contradicts the director and there's this silence, and the director says, "David's right, if there's anybody who knows this show it's David," so they run it back to the right scene.

A minute later they're setting up the tribbles in the corridor and he says, "Are there enough tribbles or are there too many tribbles? Or what?" I said, "Well this scene comes between this scene and that scene and you're fitting it in here, therefore there's too many tribbles, we need to take about seven or eight of them away…" I suddenly realised I'm directing the director.

The episode turned out beautiful. I think it was the best episode of Deep Space Nine ever and possibly the best episode of Star Trek after the Original Series. I want to give a lot of compliments on that one. The Art Department totally recreated the original sets, they recreated the look and feel, they got the same paints, the same size cords to make the corridors the same, they matched everything.

There were only two things they couldn't match and they found matches for them both by accident. They couldn't find the original stuff but they were able to create matches that photographed perfectly. They used the same make-up from thirty years ago, the same lenses, the same lights, the same lighting, even the same film stock, so that when you go back to that it looks identical and it matches perfectly to the original Star Trek footage.

Then they did a new master of the original Star Trek footage to get an absolutely pristine copy and it looked perfect. It looked so good that the studio decided to remaster all of the seventy-nine episodes for the DVDs. All in all I think it was one of Paramount's best ideas.

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