A look back at Star Trek with DC Fontana

We all know Gene Roddenberry is the creator of Star Trek, but how many of you know the name D.C. Fontana?

I didn’t know her either, but then I started checking out her credits, and thought, wow, how cool. This woman worked on a lot of great shows, including the original Star Trek, The Six Million Dollar Man, Babylon 5, and Land of the Lost.

As Fontana told Written By Magazine, Dorothy Catherine “D.C.” Fontana sold her first script when she was 21, and being a woman was never an issue in a business that’s usually a boy’s town.  

“When I came to producers, they never said, ‘You’re a woman, you can’t write this.’ They said, ‘Give me a good story.'” And of course, Star Trek always had a mixed crew of people, black, white, male and female. Fontana even said at first they put the female Enterprise crew in pants, but that lasted two episodes.

Fontana wrote a lot of westerns like Bonanza before moving on to Star Trek in 1965. Actually, she was working on a 1964 pilot for Gene Roddenberry, the military drama The Lieutenant, then moved into Star Trek.

Fontana was a script consultant on the show and also wrote the episodes Charlie X, Tomorrow is Yesterday, This Side of Paradise, Journey to Babel, Friday’s Child, By Any Other Name, The Ultimate Computer, The Enterprise Incident, That Which Survives (under the pseudonym Michael Richards), and The Way to Eden.

As Fontana told IGN, “Gene was very good to work with because he had a great sense of humor. And he was a really fast writer, which was necessary when we needed to get a show on the set and it was his script to rewrite. He could just power through one in a day and a half or two days and it was done and ready to shoot.” She also recalled the Tribbles episode was written by David Gerrold when he was 24, a hell of a first credit.

Fontana later moved on to Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, and wrote Trek video games, as well as the comic Star Trek: Year Four. She’s also written for the TV versions Logan’s Run and Buck Rogers. Her favorite Trek character to write, if she had to pick? Mr. Spock.

Fontana’s in her early seventies, and she’s been in the business for fifty years now, but she’s not resting on her laurels. As she told Written By, she’s shopping a new project, which she calls a “family, action science fiction show. Nobody’s doing that right now.”