Star Trek: The Next Generation had its fair share of strange and/or downright unlikeable episodes. That happens to any series that runs for seven season, and usually, the first season is the roughest start. That was especially true of The Next Generation, but it did have its questionable episodes in the ongoing seasons, one of them being "The Royale," the 12th episode of season 2.
In this episode, Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Lieutenant Commander Data (Brent Spiner), and Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn) beam down to investigate a mysterious planet and find it decked out like a casino. Aliens accidentally killed an astronaut's crew in 2037. So, to keep him, alive, they recreated what they thought was his world from a novel the astronaut had been reading, Hotel Royale., which takes place in a casino. Though the astronaut has long been dead when Riker and his team beam down, the manufactured humans the aliens created to keep the astronaut company are still alive and well.
This episode was written by Tracy Tormé, but you won't see his name in the credits as he asked for them to be removed. Instead, Keith Mills is used as a pseudonym because Maurice Hurley, one of the producers on the first and second seasons of The Next Generation, rewrote the script without
Tormé's input. And the result was something Tormé disowned as he explained in 1995 oral history book "Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages" by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross. (via Slashfilm}
""One of the executive producers and I had a severe disagreement about how the show should be done, and for reasons which I believe are personal rather than professional, I was informed that I was being removed from the script. At that point, I immediately told them that I wanted my name off the script, because I knew the direction they were going to go in, and I just knew with all my heart that it was a bad choice. I've completely disowned the piece." "- Tracy Tormé
Tormé had originally called the story "The Blue Moon Hotel," and the script had a lot of humor as well as surrealism. It was, by Tormé's account, bigger than anything the series had done to date. But when Hurley rewrote it, it became something the writer calls "stupid."
""Basically, there's one person who had this disagreement with me and removed me. I felt like a lot of the comedy was taken out. A lot of the surrealism was taken out. I feel that it's very heavy-handed now, and it's gone from being a strange episode to being a stupid episode.""- Tracy Tormé
Many fans find this episode enjoyable, but knowing the quality of Tormé's writing, "The Blue Moon Hotel," would have probably been even better. One only has to rewatch "The Big Goodbye" to know just how good it could have been.