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FrontierTrek January 19 2013 09:04 PM

Fascinating TAS Information
 
We recently interviewed Andy Mangels at TrekCore. Andy has written a new book with Lou Scheimer about Filmation with a lot of previously unrevealed information about the creation of TAS.

http://www.trekcore.com/merchandise/...interview.html

During his interview, Andy revealed that TAS had originally been conceptualized as a companion show to TOS and the two were to air simultaneously! A really fascinating concept, one that I wasn't previously aware of...

Christopher January 19 2013 09:35 PM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Wow, so the idea of having a Trek series and its spinoff on the air at the same time was around decades before DS9!

I'm not sure I'd agree with Andy that doing an animated series today would be a risky or unusual move. It's actually common these days to have animated shows to cross-promote with movie franchises -- we've currently got them for Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Avengers, and Transformers, for example, and the Transformers Prime animated series is actually produced by Kurtzman & Orci, who have expressed interest in doing a new Trek animated series too -- and may even be actively developing one.

SchwEnt January 19 2013 11:41 PM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
As fascinating as the news itself is that stuff like this is only being revealed now, after almost 50 years.

After all these decades, after all the obsessive fandom, there are STILL things yet untold?

Christopher January 19 2013 11:45 PM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

SchwEnt wrote: (Post 7561159)
After all these decades, after all the obsessive fandom, there are STILL things yet untold?

When it comes to TAS, the redheaded stepchild of the franchise, that's not surprising. If you look at past reference books, they go into a lot of depth about TOS and TNG and such, but usually have only brief, cursory sections about TAS if they cover it at all (the first edition of the Star Trek Compendium skipped it entirely). I don't think Scheimer himself has been interviewed about it all that much over the decades.

SchwEnt January 20 2013 12:38 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Sure. I know Gerrold and Fontana and some others have spoken quite a bit over the years, about many things. Even they didn't know or say anything about a concurrent TOS/TAS series?

Either way, I love TAS :techman:

Warped9 January 20 2013 12:52 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
There aren't too many things in TAS that throw me.

- the inflatable Enterprise ("The Practical Joker")
- the oversized tribbles ("More Tribbles, More Troubles")
- the fifty foot Spock ("The Infinite Vulcan")
- the shrinking crew ("The Terratin Incident")
- the de-aging crew ("The Counter-Clock Incident")

And yet the latter two ideas were used in later live-action Trek of TNG and DS9...though I didn't care much for them there either.

"More Tribbles, More Troubles" I don't care for at all because it's such a pointless story. On the other hand I really like "The Infinite Vulcan" except for the stupidity of Spock's clone being fifty feet tall. :wtf:

jayrath January 20 2013 01:00 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

SchwEnt wrote: (Post 7561159)
As fascinating as the news itself is that stuff like this is only being revealed now, after almost 50 years.

After all these decades, after all the obsessive fandom, there are STILL things yet untold?

It's not that I don't welcome and sincerely value this new information, but I would additionally welcome confirmation and additional detail from Gerrold, Fontana and even Shatner, who owned a piece of TOS.

I'm a little worried that it might turn out to be something like . . . Martin Luther King, Jr., telling Nichols that there should be an animated series during the original TOS run.

Shazam! January 20 2013 01:19 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

Warped9 wrote: (Post 7561420)
There aren't too many things in TAS that throw me.

- the inflatable Enterprise ("The Practical Joker")
- the oversized tribbles ("More Tribbles, More Troubles")
- the fifty foot Spock ("The Infinite Vulcan")
- the shrinking crew ("The Terratin Incident")
- the de-aging crew ("The Counter-Clock Incident")

They're brilliant ideas. I'd rather those than more "we've gone to planet X to mediate between two cultures..." stories.

Christopher January 20 2013 02:02 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

SchwEnt wrote: (Post 7561363)
Sure. I know Gerrold and Fontana and some others have spoken quite a bit over the years, about many things. Even they didn't know or say anything about a concurrent TOS/TAS series?

No reason Gerrold would've known, since he was just a freelancer at the time. And given that the idea was scuttled by the show's cancellation, that suggests it wasn't really being considered until around 1968-9, by which point Fontana was no longer on staff. Which makes sense, given that Filmation had only been producing TV series since 1966, and presumably they would've needed a few years to establish themselves as a viable company before talking about doing TV spinoffs. So this discussion would've presumably happened at a time when the only people involved on Paramount's end were the likes of Roddenberry, Fred Freiberger, Douglas Cramer of Paramount, etc.

And keep in mind that we did already know about the preliminary proposals for an animated show with teen sidekicks learning from the adult TOS characters. We just didn't know about the timing of that idea.

Of course, interviews given decades after the fact can be erroneous due to imperfect memory. I'm curious to know whether this detail comes only from Scheimer's recollections or if the book contains documentation to confirm the chronology of events.

Still, this version of the story makes sense. I have some old fanzines that were published while TAS was in production and on the air, and they had interviews and articles covering the production along with Filmation artwork. And they don't say anything about the teen-proteges idea. On reflection, I did always find it a bit hard to reconcile the existence of that idea with what I'd known before about the history of TAS. If it was a proposal abandoned years earlier, that would explain why it wasn't mentioned in those fanzine articles about the development of TAS.


Quote:

Warped9 wrote: (Post 7561420)
There aren't too many things in TAS that throw me.

- the inflatable Enterprise ("The Practical Joker")

Which is actually a lot more plausible than you'd think.

Quote:

- the oversized tribbles ("More Tribbles, More Troubles")
Made more plausible by the fact that they were really colonies of hundreds or thousands of regular-sized tribbles. Basically just a more integrated version of an insect swarm or a bait ball.

Quote:

- the fifty foot Spock ("The Infinite Vulcan")
- the shrinking crew ("The Terratin Incident")
- the de-aging crew ("The Counter-Clock Incident")

And yet the latter two ideas were used in later live-action Trek of TNG and DS9...though I didn't care much for them there either.
Those were pretty stupid, yeah. Although the mechanism for shrinking used in DS9 made vastly more sense, since it was basically a topological/dimensional alteration and they thought through the physics of different-sized air molecules and the like. The theory behind "The Terratin Incident" is incredibly stupid. Organic life forms shrink because their DNA is curling tighter? That doesn't make any sense, because living things are not made exclusively of DNA. It's only found in the chromosomes, along with other types of molecule. And its shape is vital to its ability to convey instructions to the body. Twisting DNA tighter wouldn't shrink people, just kill them.

And everything about "Counter-Clock" is stupid and incoherent. None of its ideas have any logic to them and none of them could work. Just for one example, why would reversing time produce black stars on a white sky?

My big problem with "The Practical Joker" -- aside from the juvenile behavior of the crew -- is that it uses sitcom-amnesia logic to cure the problem. Why would a second trip through the cloud fix the computer instead of just making it worse? As a child I figured it was because they flew through it in the other direction, but that's a pretty stupid explanation. Also, the episode's portrayal of the effects of nitrous oxide is cartoony and inaccurate.

Sector 7 January 20 2013 03:46 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
The most fascinating part of the article was that Gene Roddenberry wanted a gay character on TNG. If that would have happened, perhaps we would have been fully accepted by now. As it is, many of us in the US, and elsewhere, are still waiting for full equality.

jayrath January 20 2013 03:54 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 7561693)
If it was a proposal abandoned years earlier, that would explain why it wasn't mentioned in those fanzine articles about the development of TAS.

With all due respect, it could also mean that it's complete fiction. Non-evidence is evidence of nothing.

Christopher January 20 2013 04:41 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

Sector 7 wrote: (Post 7562188)
The most fascinating part of the article was that Gene Roddenberry wanted a gay character on TNG. If that would have happened, perhaps we would have been fully accepted by now. As it is, many of us in the US, and elsewhere, are still waiting for full equality.

Rather, he was belatedly open to the idea after resisting it for some time. David Gerrold (who was closeted at the time) wanted to include a gay couple in the background of the "Blood and Fire" episode he was writing, which was an allegory for AIDS and the discrimination it provoked (or exacerbated), and his conflict with the producers over whether to take that step was part of what led him to quit the show before it had even premiered.



Quote:

jayrath wrote: (Post 7562227)
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 7561693)
If it was a proposal abandoned years earlier, that would explain why it wasn't mentioned in those fanzine articles about the development of TAS.

With all due respect, it could also mean that it's complete fiction. Non-evidence is evidence of nothing.

And I did explicitly acknowledge the possibility that Scheimer's recollection was in error, so you don't need to tell me that. However, again, we do know for a fact that the teen-sidekicks prototype concept did exist. There is even surviving concept art which has been reproduced in The Art of Star Trek and elsewhere. The only thing in this article that we didn't know about it already was that it was developed while TOS was still on the air and intended to coexist with it.

For what it's worth, one of Filmation's first TV series was a Batman cartoon that premiered in 1968, while the live-action Batman sitcom was still on the air. So it doesn't seem unlikely that Filmation would've explored doing the same thing with Star Trek around the same time. They might've been trying to develop animated spinoffs of other live-action shows too. The bulk of Filmation's output was adaptations of pre-existing works, including live-action TV series, and at least one more, The Brady Kids, did air while its live-action original (The Brady Bunch) was still in production (and its Lassie's Rescue Rangers debuted just months after the live-action Lassie ended its run). So the idea of Scheimer trying to convince networks to let him make animated versions of their current live-action shows is entirely plausible.

Grant January 20 2013 06:40 PM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

Shazam! wrote: (Post 7561519)
Quote:

Warped9 wrote: (Post 7561420)
There aren't too many things in TAS that throw me.

- the inflatable Enterprise ("The Practical Joker")
- the oversized tribbles ("More Tribbles, More Troubles")
- the fifty foot Spock ("The Infinite Vulcan")
- the shrinking crew ("The Terratin Incident")
- the de-aging crew ("The Counter-Clock Incident")

They're brilliant ideas. I'd rather those than more "we've gone to planet X to mediate between two cultures..." stories.

Yes, the oversized tribbles was genius.

King Daniel Into Darkness January 21 2013 12:11 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 7561693)
My big problem with "The Practical Joker" -- aside from the juvenile behavior of the crew -- is that it uses sitcom-amnesia logic to cure the problem. Why would a second trip through the cloud fix the computer instead of just making it worse? As a child I figured it was because they flew through it in the other direction, but that's a pretty stupid explanation. Also, the episode's portrayal of the effects of nitrous oxide is cartoony and inaccurate.

I figured the thing that possessed the Enterprise computer never wanted to be there. It was snagged somehow as the ship first passed through, and so when the ship returned to it's home it GTFO ASAP.

I thought "The Practical Joker" was probably an inspiration for Next Gen's "Lonely Among Us"

Christopher January 21 2013 12:31 AM

Re: Fascinating TAS Information
 
Except that according to the episode, it wasn't a possession, but a malfunction. In Spock's words: "Apparently, subatomic particles from that field have invaded our computer's circuits, much like bacteria infect living matter. As a result, the Enterprise is suffering the electronic equivalent of a nervous breakdown."

Sure, you could surmise that Spock was wrong and it was an alien entity possessing the thing -- but the catch is that Kirk wouldn't have known that. He would've been acting on Spock's theory, because, come on, it's Spock. So if he believed the malfunctions were caused by contamination from the cloud, then he would've expected a second cloud passage to worsen the problem, not solve it. So what would've been his motivation for tricking the computer into going back to the cloud?

And that's another thing. It was the computer, not anyone in the crew, that set the ship back on course for the cloud. If there'd been some entity caught up in the computer that just wanted to get home, it would've done that right off the bat instead of days later, and it wouldn't have needed Kirk to goad it into doing so. The computer thought it was playing a nasty practical joke on Kirk, taking him to the one place he claimed he was terrified to go (which was, of course, Kirk playing a joke on it). And that means that the computer didn't know that returning to the cloud would have any effect on it. I don't see a way to reconcile that with the alien-possession theory.

And that's even though I wish I could. It would help make sense of the whole stupid situation. I mean, to be capable of humor and pranks and deception, the computer would have to be sentient and emotionally aware -- able to understand and anticipate emotional responses, able to extrapolate and predict other beings' perceptions as distinct from its own, etc. That's far beyond the capability of 23rd-century or even 24th-century Starfleet computers. Heck, even Data couldn't handle something as psychologically and socially complex as humor. So it would make much more sense if the computer had been possessed by some alien prankster entity. But that just isn't consistent with the way the story plays out, and it wouldn't make sense of Kirk's decision even if it were true. Sorry.


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