The first TV writer I ever met was Melinda Snodgrass. She wrote the legendary Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Measure of a Man (and The Ensigns of Command and The High Ground, among others) and served as story editor for the second and third seasons.
The Measure of a Man is a fan-favorite and a thoughtful exploration of what it means to have rights. – via Wikipedia
In the episode, the rights of the android officer Lt. Commander Data are threatened by a scientist who wishes to dismantle him to produce replicas of him. Captain Jean-Luc Picard fights in a Starfleet court for Data’s right of self-determination in order not to be declared mere property of Starfleet.
From Melinda Snodgrass’s The Measure of a Man:
Picard: The decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind of a people we are, what he is destined to be; it will reach far beyond this courtroom and this one android. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom, expanding them for some, savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him, to servitude and slavery? Your Honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life; well, there it sits! Waiting.
For Data it’s not about embracing his humanity, but embracing that he is an sentient android that deserves to be treated with equality. – via TheDailyFandom
…in this case, instead of the typical “robot who wants to be human” conflict that is often presented in science fiction, Star Trek presents an android who accepts himself as what he is and just wants to be free to decide.
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