Santa Kang wrote:
Do you have evidence the studio demand "Western elements". The show was pitched by GR as "Wagon Train to the stars. Wagon Train being a popular western. It was conceived as a "space western" from the start. What were the "Western elements" in WNMHGB? It seems as "cerebral" as The Cage. Both involve antagonists with mind powers. Both explore how great powers impact people. The friend goes power mad element in WNMHGB is universal and not unique to Westerns. I'd say the plot of WNMHGB would be more at home on The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits than Bonanza or Gunsmoke.
NBC rejected the episode, following its production, and declared it was "too cerebral
." Robert Butler found he could relate to this statement. "Apparently, the network, at its level, was feeling exactly as I did," he remarked. (Starlog issue #117, p. 55) According to Gene Roddenberry, he had a similar response to the news. "I sort of understood [NBC's verdict]," he said. "I wrote and produced what I thought was a highly imaginative idea, and I realized I had gone too far. I should actually have ended it with a fistfight between the hero and the villain
if I wanted it on television [...] because that's the way shows were being made at the time. The great mass audience would say, 'Well, if you don't have a fistfight when it's ended, how do we know that's the finish?,' and things like that." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 10) Besides finding the episode too intellectual, NBC also cited criticisms such as the presence of a female first officer on the bridge and the character of Spock being too alien for audiences of the time. (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, pp. 14, 20, 52; et al.)
Western is the wrong word, action vs. thematic density (sounds not as presumptuous as cerebral
) might be a better description. This conflict is present in all Trek and if you take a look at the movies the ones who balance these two elements well are usually good movies.