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Narendra "Naren" Kanakaiah Shankar (born 1 April 1964; age 58) is a writer and producer who joined the writing staff of Star Trek: The Next Generation as an intern during the latter half of the fourth season. He then wrote several episodes for The Next Generation and for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as one first season episode for Star Trek: Voyager, and worked as science consultant during TNG's sixth season and as story editor during its seventh season. Shankar also contributed to the video games Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity and Star Trek Generations.

As an aspiring Hollywood writer, he sent a spec script to Jeri Taylor who didn't want to buy it, but liked the writing enough to hire Shankar as writing intern on the show. Shankar himself is a Trekkie and went to the early Star Trek conventions in the 1970s. (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 21, p. 17) He was able to fully indulge his passion on the occasion of the production of the sixth season homage episode "Relics", on which he served as the science consultant. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, pp. 24-25)

He was interviewed by Bill Florence for the article "Naren Shankar – Herald of "The First Duty", published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 21, pp. 14-18. Shankar describes his position as science consultant as "…something of a misnomer, because the job generally doens't have a whole lot to do with science. I'm more of a story consultant or creative consultant with scientific overtones. I get involved with the technical jeopardy aspect of episodes." He has subsequently been featured in the "The Next Generation's Impact: 20 Years Later"-special feature on the extra DVD disc of the TNG Complete Series Boxset.

Shankar gave Michael Piller notes on the script of DS9: "Emissary". (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, pages 132-135)

Career outside Star Trek

Despite having somewhat downplayed his role as such himself, Shankar was able to serve as a science consultant on The Next Generation, as he held a 1990 PhD in engineering physics and electrical engineering from Cornell University. [1] But he didn't want to work as scientist and moved to Los Angeles to become a writer.

After his time on Star Trek, Shankar became an associate producer on seaQuest DSV during its final season and also wrote several episodes for the series. He then became a writer for The Outer Limits from 1997 through 1999, working with Harlan Ellison, among others, sharing with him a 2000 Writers Guild of Canada Award for the episode "The Human Operators". After stints as a writer and executive producer of the Sci-Fi Channel's Farscape and NBC's short-lived UC: Undercover, Shankar became a consulting producer and head writer on the hit CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He has earned a number of award nominations for his work on this program, including two, 2003 and 2004, Emmy Award, a 2005 PGA Award and a 2006 Writers Guild of America Award nominations, shared with his fellow producers. He served as executive producer on CSI until 2010, and continues to write for the series, including the Trek-spoofing episode "A Space Oddity" featuring Liz Vassey, Wallace Langham, Kate Vernon, and Ronald D. Moore. Shankar also made his directing debut with the tenth season episode "Working Stiffs" (2009) for which he also wrote the story. This episode features Trek alumni Wallace Langham, Liz Vassey, Tracy Middendorf, and Tom Virtue.

Between 2011 and 2012, Shankar joined the production team of the fantasy television series Grimm as writer and executive producer. Steve Oster worked as producer on this series and Barney Burman as special effects makeup designer and creator.

In 2013, Shankar was named executive producer for the futuristic television series Almost Human, produced by J.J. Abrams and starring Karl Urban, which was canceled after one season, before moving on as showrunner for the newly conceived 2015 science-fiction series, The Expanse (served by Concept Designer/Illustrator Ryan Dening), produced for what was now SyFy. That series incidentally, was cancelled by SyFy in 2018 after three seasons, but was saved by a fan campaign – very similar to the one that saved Star Trek: The Original Series for its third season back in 1967/68 – , when conglomerate owner and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company Prime Video had picked up the production and exclusive streaming rights for the series, now as an "Amazon exclusive". [2] Contrary to Gene Roddenberry, who was replaced by Fred Freiberger back then, Shankar continued to serve as the series' showrunner.

Star Trek credits

External links