The Trouble with Tribbles turns 51


December 29 1967 one of the most famous episodes in Star Trek franchise history aired on CBS for the first time. Today I’d like to share a personal take on the episode.

When I started watching the Original Series, long after it’s first run, I remember being immediately taken with the concept of the Tribbles, these furry, purring aliens who meant no harm, and caused no problems unless of course you fed them or happened to be a Klingon.

It was right around the time my family got our first pets, a dog for my brother, and a cat for me, in some ways my furry little friend reminded me immediately of the Tribbles, she would purr for me, and hiss or growl at my brother and his friend. I suspected they might be Klingons. The jury is still out.

The Tribbles came from a love of small animals

A college student and aspiring 23-year-old writer named David Gerrold was the brains behind the episode, it was also his first time receiving money for something he wrote. As a result of the openness of the Star Trek producers to accept unsolicited scripts, a policy many aspiring creatives wish could return.

David wrote the concept for the episode, then titled ‘The Fuzzies’ shortly after watching the first episodes of Star Trek on the premise that aliens shouldn’t have to be scary to be a threat, he said in one interview “What if they’re cute but we don’t realize they’re dangerous? What if you had white mice or gerbils that got onto the Enterprise and got out of control?”

I’ve always thought this was an interesting story for the series, while it had the usual subtext, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, then to learn later in life that it had been written by a person who, except for time and space, could have been just like me was all the more inspiring.

A bright future, and a visit to the past

David would go on to become a multi-award winning author and screenwriter, working on many more Star Trek related properties.

In 1996 he also got a chance to play a security officer in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode ‘Trials and Tribble-ations’ which saw the crew of DS9 revisit the events of the original episode and play a part in preventing the timeline from being altered.

An excellent story of coming full circle with one of your creations.

Now for a bit of a cheap plug

it wasn’t my intention in writing this article to end it this way, but in writing today it’s made me consider some of the opportunities I have been presented with in my own creative endeavours and I’d like to add that writing for Redshirts Always Die has been a great pleasure so far, the team is really coming together and I feel like we’re putting out some great work, so I’d like to take this chance to both thank the team here, and to offer you, the aspiring writer out there, an opportunity to join our team and share your love of Star Trek with the world.

All applications are welcome regardless of writing experience.

Next. The Top 6 ways the Star Trek franchise can move forward. dark