When Star Trek: The Next Generation was just getting started, the seas were not calm. In fact, they were more than a bit rocky as the first season has been described as tumultuous with producers and writers having to contend with Gene Roddenberry’s demands when it came to the characters, themes, and ideas. It was such a dysfunctional place during that time that, according to story editor David Gerrold, thirty writers left during the first season.
The mass exodus and discord was so bad that William Shatner produced a documentary, Chaos on the Bridge that had producers, writers, and actors providing details about the problems they had working with Roddenberry and his set-in-stone rules, one of which was that there could never be conflict between the Enterprise crew members. There was also the problem of Roddenberry’s last minute script changes.
After the first season, which ended in 1988, Roddenberry’s health took a turn for the worse, and he didn’t have as much influence over the writers. That offered opportunities for them to use ideas that he never would have approved since they deviated from his original vision. But even after her passed away in 1991, he remained a big part of the series, and his presence was felt by all, including executive producer Rick Berman, which led him to do something quite unusual.
Berman had a small bust of Roddenberry on his desk that had a blindfold wrapped over its eyes. His explanation was that whenever writers would come up with an idea that he didn’t believe Roddenberry would have approved of, he blindfolded the bust when the story was discussed. While that might have kept Roddenberry’s spirit (or ghost if that’s something you believe in) from seeing the script, one would think that plugging the ears would have been just as important.