Breaking into Hollywood in the 1980s, Goodman was mostly a comedy writer; he got his start on “The Golden Girls” and his last job before “Futurama” was “Family Guy.” As a die-hard Trekkie, he was a natural fit to write “Where No Fan Has Gone Before.”
A loving “Star Trek” homage, this 2002 “Futurama” episode features the cast of “The Original Series” reprising their roles (minus James Doohan and the late DeForest Kelley). In the 31st century, “Star Trek” remains banned due its rabid fanbase starting a war in the 23rd century, after which the (heads of the) original cast left Earth. The Planet Express crew, at Fry’s urging, sets out to find them and the only existing copies of the original 79 “Star Trek” episodes. They find the cast is being held captive by Melllvar, a gaseous alien and the ultimate Trekkie.
Goodman’s next job was as a writer and consulting producer on “Enterprise” — “Where No Fans Has Gone Before” helped him get his foot in the door. While co-creator Brannon Braga hadn’t seen the episode, writers John Shiban and Chris Black (who sat in on Goodman’s interview) had. Goodman did his homework and repeated ideas Braga had said about “Trek” over the years (“‘The great thing about ‘Star Trek’ is one week we can write a Western and one week we can write a mystery.’ I was quoting [Braga], but he didn’t know that”). Braga and his partner Rick Berman also wanted a comedy writer’s lighter touch on the series, so Goodman soon got the job.
Goodman co-wrote three “Enterprise” episodes (“Precious Cargo,” “Judgment,” and “The Forgotten”) and has solo credit on one (“North Star”), later calling the job, “a dream come true.” Simple enough story, right? However, there was another reason that Braga wanted Goodman.