Star Trek’s Genesis Episode Allowed Gates McFadden To Settle A Sickbay Frustration – SlashFilm


Since McFadden played the chief medical officer on the Enterprise, she was on the sickbay set a lot, and likely had time to think about her character’s office, her day-to-day medical responsibilities, and the fact that Dr. Crusher had to oversee the physical wellbeing of over 1,000 people living on the Enterprise. It irked her that when characters visited sickbay, Dr. Crusher was typically there by herself. Occasionally, a character required serious medical attention, but then sickbay would become a space devoted to only one patient. Very occasionally, one might see someone being treated in a background shot, but there was frustratingly little activity otherwise.

The opening sequence of “Genesis” corrected all that. McFadden employed fluid camera movements, shooting, in one take, Commander Riker having cactus needles pulled from his back, Barclay complaining of imagined illnesses, and Data bringing in his cat, Spot, for a pregnancy checkup. In the background, other extras and medical professionals walk around checking on experiments and treating patients. It’s the first time sickbay had had that much activity. McFadden said that too many sickbay scenes throughout “Next Generation” were “static.”

Of course, that opening take provided an interesting challenge, as McFadden had to work with a cat. Not only did McFadden have to choreograph multiple actors to “dance” around her camera, but her shot had to settle on a cat … and the cat wasn’t happy. She recalled:

“Anything you do with cats can be very difficult. (…) What was hilarious to me is because I love cats, and I’ve had cats all my life. You get them purring and it’s easy. But Spot was not happy that day. You can see by the face, which was like, ‘My agent does not want me to do this.'”

Luckily, Spot did fine.

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