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Old August 24 2012, 04:09 AM   #9
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

I don't understand how airdate order came to be considered the authoritative one. For decades, at least from the time The Star Trek Compendium came out in 1980, production order was the universal standard. Reference books listed them in production order, they were stripped in syndication in production order, the first home video and DVD releases were in production order, and The Star Trek Chronology listed them in production order. For a generation, it was universally, officially accepted that production order was the correct order. Yet for some reason, when the first box sets came out in 2004, they were done in airdate order, and somehow the standard that was universal for a quarter-century has been completely reversed in the past 8 years. That's just weird. (Well, not completely. The Pocket Books timeline and the novels still assume the episodes occurred in production order.)

Especially since production order makes more sense. There wasn't enough continuity for there to be any huge discrepancies in airdate order, but a few show up, like the second pilot with its different sets, props, and uniforms being aired third, or "The Corbomite Maneuver," with Kirk reacting to Rand as if she's only just been assigned to him, coming tenth. And you can follow the gradual development and refinement of characters, sets, and concepts better in production order. There aren't any advantages to airdate order that I can see.

Oh, and if you want a list of the episodes in stardate order, there's one on pp. 12-13 of the Ballantine edition of The Star Trek Concordance. It doesn't really make sense, though, since the lowest stardate goes to the animated episode "The Magicks of Megas-tu," among other oddities.
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