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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old May 16 2012, 06:55 AM   #1
Joel_Kirk
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Joel Revisits TOS....

I know Warped9 is "doing his thing" with TOS/TAS(and I'm enjoying his thoughts on both series) this post is just a marker for future plans; I probably won't add to this thread until next week...given my schedule.

In addition to TOS (a series I haven't watched in a long while) I will be looking at:

TAS
TNG Season 1, including "Data's Day"
ENT Season 4, including "E2"

(Of course, those reviews not TOS or TAS won't be in this area).

These reviews will possibly be sporadic.
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Old May 16 2012, 10:40 AM   #2
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Can't wait! I love "Revisiting" Threads.

For TOS Are you planning on production order, airdate order, or the always experimental stardate order?
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Old May 28 2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

^^

Sorry for the late reply.

I'll be doing airdate order....with the exception of the two pilots.

The Cage Review

-Story -
The Enterprise answers a distress signal from Talos IV, but finds out it is a trap to get to Captain Pike; a plan by the inhabitants, the Talosians, to repopulate the dead planet.

-Theme -
The human need for freedom, to be an individual. A theme which crops up frequently in the franchise.

-Plot Holes/Stuff Overlooked -
Given the time period this pilot was produced - before there were shows that had season long arcs - it's unlikely things would have been answered over the course of the series if Jeffrey Hunter's Pike had remained commanding lead of the series. As I recall, Star Trek was supposed to be an anthology, each episode standing on its own. So, what stood out for me:

• Christopher Pike questions his command, and this isn't given closure at the end of the episode.
• The Talosians want “slaves” to repopulate, to "perpetuate the species." Once they explain these intentions after Pike fights his way out of the "cage" of the title, they seem to get sympathy from Pike. However, the Talosians still have their plans set, only Pike doesn't figure into those plans...since he was deemed "too violent."
• Vina, who has experienced "discipline" by the Talosians, has a constant sympathy for them. She has been abused, yet becomes apologetic with her abusers.
• Why didn’t the Talosians, with their power across long distances, sense that Pike wouldn’t be adequate for control? And, aside from the fact that he is the lead charcter, for what specific reason did the Talosians pick him?

-Other Observations -
  • The Bruce Greenwood incarnation of Christopher Pike definitely seems to be a different version of the same person, sort of like an incarnation of one of the Doctors from Doctor Who.
  • Jose “Joe” Tyler seems to be a little reckless...or at least a little too active. He could use a chill pill from Dr. Boyce.
  • The crew would get a bit more diverse - racially - in the next pilot, obviously. However, The Cage, of course, wins points for having the strong female commanding officer, Number One.

-My Score-
3 out of 5
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Old May 28 2012, 02:06 PM   #4
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post

• Christopher Pike questions his command, and this isn't given closure at the end of the episode.
Between the conversation with Boyce in his quarters and the fact he got to explore other roads his life could have taken, I'd say the episode does give closure to this specific point. Pike looks to be rejuvenated when he takes command of the Enterprise at the end.

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
• Vina, who has experienced "discipline" by the Talosians, has a constant sympathy for them. She has been abused, yet becomes apologetic with her abusers.
Stockholm Syndrome?

I've always loved The Cage. 5/5. But then I love The Omega Glory too, so what do I know?
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Old May 28 2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

With regards to Vina's sympathy, the Talosians did save her life and tried to make her happy. They did have a bit of a tragic history as well.

As for why the Talosians picked Pike; I think it was as much that he was Vina's dream man as Vina was his dream girl. They seemed to want to make Vina happy, until Pike rejected her then they cast her aside and got Number One and the yeoman.

I'm not sure how Pike leaving damned the Talosions to extinction though.
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Old May 29 2012, 02:15 PM   #6
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

I've only seen The Cage through the lens of The Menagerie. I was grateful every time the episode took us back to the frame story of Spock's court martial because The Cage is some tedious stuff, man. Pike is unlikable (some of the more tedious episodes are bearable, I find, if only for Kirk's charm), it crawls at a snail's pace, and it has that same morality tale feel with the disfigured woman rendered beautiful by magic later echoed in Mudd's Women (which at least had Mudd and Kirk to get us through it, as well as some genuine pathos).

I can't complain about the effects or costumes, though, because the entire series is limited in that respect. But the pacing, acting, and writing, IMHO, are brutal.
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Old May 29 2012, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Now that I think of it, does anyone else get that MST3K feeling every time the court martial in The Menagerie assembles to watch the events of The Cage unfold?
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Old May 29 2012, 02:32 PM   #8
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

NavisPacifica wrote: View Post
I've only seen The Cage through the lens of The Menagerie. I was grateful every time the episode took us back to the frame story of Spock's court martial because The Cage is some tedious stuff, man. Pike is unlikable (some of the more tedious episodes are bearable, I find, if only for Kirk's charm), it crawls at a snail's pace, and it has that same morality tale feel with the disfigured woman rendered beautiful by magic later echoed in Mudd's Women (which at least had Mudd and Kirk to get us through it, as well as some genuine pathos).

I can't complain about the effects or costumes, though, because the entire series is limited in that respect. But the pacing, acting, and writing, IMHO, are brutal.
You should actually watch the episode before passing judgement on it.
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Old May 29 2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Perhaps so, but I'm not sure I can make it through without a couple of witty robots and a few intermissions.
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Old May 30 2012, 04:05 AM   #10
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

If NBC had bought Star Trek as a series based on "The Cage" it's still possible Roddenberry could have made further changes before going into series production. We just have no idea what those changes might have entailed. "The Cage" is in many ways a rough draft, a first effort. NBC liking "The Cage" but wanting changes and then asking for a second pilot forced Roddenberry to make changes. Jeffrey Hunter choosing not to return also forced Roddenberry to make changes with his lead character. As a result he not only changed the actor he also changed the character's name and consequently that changed the character's personality. And in extent in changed the overall feel of the show.

Jeffrey Hunter was more the classical type of Hollywood leading man. He was very clean cut with defined features and somewhat of a more reserved bearing in his portrayal of Pike. William Shatner was somewhat more everyman (albeit still handsome) in appearance and more expressive in his portrayal of Kirk. Eliminating Number One and making Spock the "emotionless" one played off well with Kirk's more outgoing nature. It wouldn't have played the same with Pike who was also somewhat reserved. And having Spock reserved made Number One redundant, so goodbye.

We''ll never know how well TOS might have done if they had gone forward into production based on "The Cage." We can only speculate.
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Old May 30 2012, 04:44 AM   #11
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

OT but, anyone else think that Hunter would have been the model for Stan Lee's Fantastic Four? He always looked and sounded like Reed Richards to me.
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Old May 30 2012, 02:37 PM   #12
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

smalltalk66 wrote: View Post
OT but, anyone else think that Hunter would have been the model for Stan Lee's Fantastic Four? He always looked and sounded like Reed Richards to me.
More like the other way around. FF #1 was published in 1961, "The Cage" produced in 1964 (unless you mean Hunter's persona in pre-1961 productions).
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Old May 30 2012, 03:11 PM   #13
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Vina, who has experienced "discipline" by the Talosians, has a constant sympathy for them. She has been abused, yet becomes apologetic with her abusers.
You think this is a plot hole? You know any abuse survivors? I'd call it a reasonably observant bit of characterization.

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Christopher Pike questions his command, and this isn't given closure at the end of the episode.
No.

Pike is traumatized by the consequences of decisions he's made and is considering fleeing to a less stressful existence. The entire episode is then devoted to examining this fantasy and Pike addresses it and his conclusions about it directly and at length in his closing speech to Boyce.
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Old June 4 2012, 05:24 PM   #14
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

trekkiebaggio wrote: View Post
I'm not sure how Pike leaving damned the Talosions to extinction though.
It was the human race's "unsuitability" for captivity that they said condemned them to extinction. Humans had been their last hope because no other species had shown such "adaptability."
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Old June 4 2012, 08:09 PM   #15
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

smalltalk66 wrote: View Post
OT but, anyone else think that Hunter would have been the model for Stan Lee's Fantastic Four? He always looked and sounded like Reed Richards to me.
Sounded? Not sure I follow.

Actually, if you've ever seen some of the early-ish drawings inked by Kirby himself (rather than by Dick Ayers or Joe Sinnott or Chic Stone) you can see that Reed Richards looks a bit like…Jack Kirby.

Still, I always thought Guy Williams would have made a "Fantastic" Reed Richards.
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