Danger Ace wrote:
Roddenberry villified NBC who in reality were more than fair to him by allowing him to make two pilots when the norm was one. They gave him three seasons despite poor ratings (wherein he abandoned ship, thereby, sabotaging the third season). He was routinely dishonorable in his dealings with others (under a variety of circumstances). So then the question becomes to what extent does the "good" outweigh or overshadow the "bad" (or vice-a-versa")? Where does one balance excusing GR's negatives while praising his positives?
So what? The first pilot was still better and Roddenberry was rightly pissed off that he had to Western-ify his Star Trek. When it comes to creative people vs. the studio I don't have to think twice about whom I side with and I certainly don't pretend that being a stubborn egomaniac (instead of a studio whore) is bad when you try to bring your vision onto the small or big screen.
Balance? When people use words like dishonorable, villify and sabotage and then talk about balance they are just bullshitting. If you don't like the guy (based on what others said about him) don't beat around the bush and just say it.
Thankfully I don't care one iota about what kind of a person he was. I care about his work.
The "two pilots was unheard of at the time..." has always been GR BS. BOTH "Gilligan's Island" and "Lost In Space" got second pilot attempts before they finally aired.
GR also likes to claim he was the one who tried to make the cast "more inter-racial" for the second pilot, when in fact it was a general directive memo from NBC corporate that had more to do with it (based on marketing studies by advertisers at the time.) Also, Star Trek was NOT the first show to showcase inter-racial characters on NBC (or TV in general); as "I Spy" was doing it a full year/TV season before "Star Trek" aired. I have a feeling, had that memo not been circulated, we'd have had another WASP/Forbidden Planet-esque style, nearly Arian crew make up.
NBC also had NO PROBLEM with a "woman as second in command" per se; and informed GR that he could indeed keep "Number One" female IF he re-cast the role (the Execs knew about his and Majel's relationship (and BTW GR was still married to his first wife while all this was occurring), and aside from the fact they indeed didn't believe she had the acting chops to carry a lead role; they were MORE concerned (given the projected cost per episode of the series) as to what happen if/when Majel and GR split up. They didn't want a situation where a lead was now the 'Ex' of the show's Executive Producer. GR of course decided to not recast and combine Number One with the Mr. Spock character.
Lastly, one of the main issues NBC had with the pilot WAS the cost (over 1 million dollars); and they were indeed concerned that Desilu couldn't/wouldn't be able to produce weekly episodes on a smaller budget; so one of the things the second pilot was - was a 'proof' to NBC that they could produce a workable/watchable and entertaining episode on what would amount to their smaller weekly budget.
So, in the end the MAJORITY of GR's claims about the 'evil NBC network' wanting to dumb down his 'vision' (tm) are mostly fantasy. The network was the one footing the bill for most of this; so they wanted to be sure they got what was promised. If NBC were that 'evil' per se, I doubt they would have shown as much interest in the series as they did (and they did lot to make it happen as well as what GR was responsible for.)
The interesting thing to me is that the second pilot honestly wasn't any more or less 'cerebral' per se. It still dealt with the human psyche and mental powers; and had about the same level of action -- Pike had the combat with the Kaylar, and Kirk the final hand to hand battle with gary Mitchell in the end (although I concede that the fact the fight came at the end was probably a more accepted plot structure in those days - and went over better with the Execs.)