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

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Old June 4 2012, 08:37 PM   #16
Harvey
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
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.
On this point, you might be interested in the series pitch, which justifies Tyler's behavior with this chestnut...

The Navigator. José (Joe) Tyler, Boston astronomer father and Brazilian mother, is boyishly handsome, still very much in the process of maturing. An unusual combination, he has inherited his father's mathematical ability. José Tyler, in fact, is a phenomenally brilliant mathematician and space theorist. But he has also inherited his mother's Latin temperament, fights a perpetual and highly personalized battle with his instruments and calculators, suspecting that space – and probably God, too – are engaged in a giant conspiracy to make his professional and personal life as difficult and uncomfortable as possible. Joe (or José, depending on the other party) is young enough to be painfully aware of the historical repute of Latins as lovers – and is in danger of failing this challenge on a cosmic scale.
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Old June 6 2012, 11:16 AM   #17
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
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."
Yeah, but I don't know how humans would save Talosians?

I got the impression that Vina and Pike would be an Adam and Eve, but they'd only breed humans so that wouldn't help the Talosian race. Perhaps they wanted to harvest human DNA?

Or did they just mean that humans would be able to survive on the barren planet and find a way to help the Talosians?
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Old June 27 2012, 01:03 AM   #18
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Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Story
The Enterprise comes across a buoy from the SS Valiant, discovering an incident involving crewmembers attaining high ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception) levels after venturing through an alien cloud. After the Enterprise comes across that same cloud, two members of Kirk’s crew who have high ESP levels, including friend Gary Mitchell, change for the worse.

Theme(s)
Power Corrupts, friendship; the good of the many outweigh the need of the one; the awesomeness of Gary Lockwood.

Questionable Plot Points/Plot Holes
Somewhat minor, but it was interesting how the two people affected by the cloud were coincidentally both on the bridge, and the other 9(?) unseen people not on said bridge, died.

Miscellaneous
Some other nitpicks I have not necessarily plot holes, but may be related to plot points. It was a bit confusing, for me, how the Valiant, ESP, and the energy/alien cloud thingy tied together, but I got the gist for the overall story. Also, everyone thought that they had Mitchell under watch on Delta Vega, but Lee Kelso (who comes off as a cooler, competent, non-accented version of “Trip” Tucker) should have kept on his toes while corresponding with the Enterprise while on his communicator. Furthermore, it was a nice touch to have Kirk still recovering, with gauze over his right hand at the episode’s finale. Overall this was a straightforward story, more action-oriented than the previous episode, The Cage, with the Kirk-led crew a bit more “alive” in their interactions than Pike’s crew.

The crew, at this point, is slowly but surely getting mixed racially, at least for a 1960s program, but still needing strong females. As we will see in upcoming episodes, the crew (and background extras) would become racially mixed; of course, it will continually be debated on how much screen time and depth those (non-traditionally white) characters would get, but for now, we have Alden, who is the “black” character in charge of communications and is shown taking part in repairs; Sulu is present, but doesn’t really have any lines as I recall, just on hand as a department head. There is also an Asian male (who has no speaking lines), in scenes in the transporter room. As for the females, Liz Dehner, arguably, is a strong female character, noting a smart remark from Gary Mitchell...but eventually killed off; Yeoman Smith’s role is just to stand next on the bridge and look pretty. Lt. Uhura would later, occasionally, take on the reigns of a sexy, strong female (primarily in Mirror, Mirror)...but also utter “I’m scared” at some points in the series.

Spock is going through changes physically, as he is worked in as a lead character. He still "yells" his orders and actions, and has prominent upswept eyebrows; both his yelling and eyebrows, would be toned down in later episodes....

The awesomeness of Gary Lockwood is awesome. His onscreen characters, unfortunately, seem to have issues whenever he is in space. For example, affected by an alien cloud that gives him delusions of grandeur (as Gary Mitchell), and attacked by a monotone computer on the way to Jupiter (as Frank Poole). Aside from the unfortunate occurrences, Gary Lockwood as Gary Mitchell gives us a brief, likable character (somewhat like Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike). Mitchell uses slang we’re familiar with, like “man,” and introduces a new word term like “nova,” a word that comes off to be synonymous with “awesome” or “cool” or “out of sight” (i.e. damn, she was so “nova). Indeed, Gary Lockwood, is a cool actor I would like to meet and possibly work with someday.

This particular episode is part of the first season, which I feel is the strongest of the classic Trek series. The only nitpicky, light, moment is Gary Mitchell having Kirk “pray that he will die quickly” and Shatner giving his possessed, dramatic performance which will be seen in different forms later on over the course of the series. Here, I think it is passable, since majority of the episode, Shatner is pretty serious and you do get the weight of the problem that hangs over him for this episode. You had some individuals – still do probably - who tend to base the classic series on the 3rd season and bypass the gems of the first season. As aforementioned, the Enterprise feels alive, as crewmembers fill the corridors, something seen less later on in the series. In sum, this is still an early episode with a hint of things to come: The friendship between Kirk and Spock, Spock and his battles with logic, Uhura, and her Starfleet skirt and boots uniform, McCoy, Chekov, and Sulu at the helm.

This episode was an improvement over The Cage, but there were stronger episodes to come. Therefore, my score is: 3.25 out of 5.

Next up
The Carbonite Maneuver*
(“Put Captain Kirk in the cargo hold…”)



*(Yes, of course, it's The "Corbomite" Maneuver!)
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Old June 27 2012, 01:58 AM   #19
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Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
we have Alden, who is the “black” character in charge of communications and is shown taking part in repairs
Interestingly, Lloyd Haynes was hired to be a series regular as Alden, but was dropped by Roddenberry after the second pilot. He doesn't make much of an impression in the episode, unfortunately, but it's interesting to speculate what the series might have been like with him on board.
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Old June 27 2012, 10:37 AM   #20
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Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Harvey wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
we have Alden, who is the “black” character in charge of communications and is shown taking part in repairs
Interestingly, Lloyd Haynes was hired to be a series regular as Alden, but was dropped by Roddenberry after the second pilot. He doesn't make much of an impression in the episode, unfortunately, but it's interesting to speculate what the series might have been like with him on board.
How could he make any kind of impression since he basically has nothing to do?
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Old June 27 2012, 08:04 PM   #21
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Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Pretty much. If I hadn't read Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, the fact that Haynes was supposed to be a regular would have completely passed me by. I wonder if Roddenberry's re-write cut down his role, or if it was always so non-existent?
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Old June 28 2012, 02:00 AM   #22
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

^^

I may have to re-read my copy of Inside Star Trek: The Real Story.

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Old June 28 2012, 02:33 AM   #23
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Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
It was a bit confusing, for me, how the Valiant, ESP, and the energy/alien cloud thingy tied together, but I got the gist for the overall story.
I always thought that was crystal clear. The barrier affects people with ESP. The Valiant's log is a hint of what's to come, and drives Kirk to act without a lot of exposition.

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
The awesomeness of Gary Lockwood is awesome. His onscreen characters, unfortunately, seem to have issues whenever he is in space.
Department of Redundancy Department? lol

I wasn't aware Lockwood was ever in space. Too bad for his characters.

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
...introduces a new word term like “nova,” a word that comes off to be synonymous with “awesome” or “cool” or “out of sight” (i.e. damn, she was so “nova).
Or "wild", "crazy", etc.
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Sulu is present, but doesn’t really have any lines as I recall.
SULU
Astro sciences standing by, Captain.

SULU
If you want the mathematics of this,
Mitchell's ability is increasing geometrically.
That is, like having a penny, doubling it
every day. In a month, you'll be a millionaire.
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Old September 11 2012, 10:52 PM   #24
Joel_Kirk
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Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Maurice wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
It was a bit confusing, for me, how the Valiant, ESP, and the energy/alien cloud thingy tied together, but I got the gist for the overall story.
I always thought that was crystal clear. The barrier affects people with ESP. The Valiant's log is a hint of what's to come, and drives Kirk to act without a lot of exposition.

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
The awesomeness of Gary Lockwood is awesome. His onscreen characters, unfortunately, seem to have issues whenever he is in space.
Department of Redundancy Department? lol

I wasn't aware Lockwood was ever in space. Too bad for his characters.
I guess I should have said: "His onscreen characters, unfortunately, seem to have issues whenvever they are in space..."

Maurice wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
...introduces a new word term like “nova,” a word that comes off to be synonymous with “awesome” or “cool” or “out of sight” (i.e. damn, she was so “nova).
Or "wild", "crazy", etc.
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Sulu is present, but doesn’t really have any lines as I recall.
SULU
Astro sciences standing by, Captain.

SULU
If you want the mathematics of this,
Mitchell's ability is increasing geometrically.
That is, like having a penny, doubling it

every day. In a month, you'll be a millionaire.
I stand corrected...
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Old September 12 2012, 04:51 AM   #25
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Warped9 wrote: View Post
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.
I dunno, I think we have a pretty good idea. It's fairly clear that a huge factor in the show's popularity, possibly the single biggest factor, was Shatner's charm & charisma, and his chemistry with Nimoy. With Kelley too, but most importantly with Nimoy.

If they had gone forward into production based on "The Cage", with Jeffrey Hunter as the captain and without Shatner as the show's center, it seems likely Star Trek would have sunk without a trace.

That sounds like a slap at Hunter, and I don't mean it that way. I like him in other things, and I like his Captain Pike. But first-season Shatner brought something incredible to Kirk, and Star Trek is built on Shatner/Nimoy.
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Old October 3 2012, 12:08 AM   #26
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The Corbomite Maneuver

Story
:
Mapping an area of space, the Enterprise comes across a space buoy and destroys it, drawing the attention of a bigger ship called the Fesarius, which deems the Enterprise crew violent and must be destroyed.

Theme(s):
  • Never judge a book by its cover...
  • Themes of Maturity...

Plot Points/Holes/WTF? Stuff:

  • We don’t get what Balok actually does. He is the only one of his kind, we assume, and just goes around space “testing” people; and if he deems them non-threatening he invites them over for Tranya to exchange knowledge. So, what does he do to those who don’t pass his test?
  • At one point in the episode, Kirk, after leaving McCoy, calls the lift to the bridge, but heads to his quarters. Now, are his quarters near the bridge? Or did the lift computer automatically know...? (This little bit was just odd).

Miscellaneous Notes:

As aforementioned, this is the clichéd “test” story...where humans are tested by aliens to see if they are worthy of something (be it life, knowledge, etc). TOS will have many more of these episodes, and even this type of story will creep into TNG, particularly with the “Q” character. Arguably, Ben Sisko’s life is a test of the Prophets.

In this episode, I felt the size of the Enterprise. It is busy with crew, it is (for lack of a better term) “alive”...unlike later years of the show, where the corridors are usually have very few passerby; and the corridors usually are populated by those who are the main characters, guests, or those actors playing security officers.

The theme of “never judge a book by its cover” is in regards to the crew seeing Balok, and expect an imposing creature, but coming across a presumably knowledgeable humanoid that resembles a little boy....with a grown man’s voice....and an addiction to a beverage called Tranya, which I think tastes like Tang. (Production notes, if I remember correctly, stated the drink was actually grapefruit juice). In turn, Balok has his expectations overturned when he meets the crew of the Enterprise (or, at least, three of them) and finds people willing to learn from him.

Even though I was mistaken that Sulu had no lines in Where No Man Has Gone Before Sulu spoke, I still think his character is more noticeable here than that previous episode. He is at the helm now...and I definitely remember him having various bits of dialogue! Too, his character seems cooler (literally) than the anxious “white guy” Bailey who is more action before thinking...aka “that guy who looks like the professor from Gilligan’s Island”. Moreover, Sulu’s “Asianess” is not played out; he is just a character who happens to be Asian, and he is an Asian male character.

On the note of Bailey, he is the standout guest character, and possibly even a Mary Sue character; a foil to the main characters, especially in regards to comparing him with Sulu. However, towards the end, he is given the chance to “grow up” as he is given the choice to travel with Balok and exchange ideas. Bailey is also the brunt of a cliché, where a younger character reminds the older lead of his or her early years; in this particular episode it is McCoy who brings up that Bailey may remind Kirk of his younger self. (This cliché will turn up in TOS again, as well as TNG several times, and in other shows and franchises). With that said, I can believe the Chris Pine version could grow into this 1st season Kirk. (This goes back to the idea of Bailey being a foil to the leads, here particularly Kirk, who comes off the more mature individual).

Uhura seems to be on the command track (since she is wearing yellow, and Trek lore seems to have those wearing yellow looking to have their own ship someday). Even though her dialogue is next to nothing, at this time, it is interesting to have a sexy black woman on the small screen. Too, she is not doing anything different since Dorothy Dandridge was doing the same years before on the big screen, but still was limited because her ethnicity. (Of course, even Nichelle Nichols would complain her character wasn’t doing much, but told by M.L.K - Martin Luther King, Jr. - that her presence alone was something). Of course, today, I expect a lot more from a franchise that claims to be the forefront in diversity: *cough* Enterprise and Ensign Travis Mayweather *cough**hack*

The producers were - possibly unconsciously - promoting James T. Kirk to be the cool, seasoned starship captain. This is apparent when he is walking bare-chested in the corridors while crew scurry around him to their stations. This is an interesting contrast to Picard of the 1st season, who was almost unlikable, crochety, elitist, etc. However, Kirk is also a bit sexist, when he mentions that he is upset at whoever assigned him a female yeoman....in this “diverse” future. Hence, the future of Trek isn’t perfect. There is still sexism, and what we may gather from other episodes - not only in TOS, but the franchise - racism. Still, aside from that character flaw, he is more level-headed than his TNG counterpart (in this 1st season, not as reckless as he is usually made out to be) and the “William Shatner” persona or ego didn’t cloud the character as it will in later years of TOS, and the movies.

Lastly, John D.F. Black’s name was familiar to me, as I noticed that he wrote or co-wrote some films in the “blaxploitation” era, namely Shaft, which wasn’t a “blaxploitation” film per se, but inspired the era, since said film was successful.

Score:

I was going back and forth with 3.3 and 3.4, since this is a clichéd story (even for its time, I think) but a good dramatic story that is usual for the 1st season. So, I give it a 3.35. The overall pacing is slower, more dramatic than later seasons; and unlike some other Trek franchises, the TOS 1st season, at least for me, is the strongest.

Next Up:
Mudd's Women
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Old October 3 2012, 05:13 AM   #27
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Bailey is in no way a Mary Sue character.

The story of Corbomite is cliche only in that elements of it were repeated so often afterwards. I'm betting most audiences at the time never saw the reveal coming.
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Old October 3 2012, 08:09 PM   #28
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Uhura has nothing to do in the episode because she's a character Roddenberry added when he re-wrote the episode. She got some of the lines that were supposed to go to Bailey.

John D.F. Black's tenure on the show wasn't long. He was the associate producer/story editor for the first thirteen episodes of the series, but conflict with Roddenberry sent him packing. His only writing credit is for "The Naked Time."
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Old December 6 2012, 05:22 AM   #29
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Mudd's Women Review

Mudd's Women Review

Story
Harry Mudd and three female companions who are also his cargo - Eve, Ruth, and Magda - are picked up by the Enterprise; at the same time, the Enterprise is on the way to Rigel 12 to pick up dilithium - er - “lithium.” When the Enterprise reaches Rigel 12, the lonely miners refuse to give up the lithium when they become aware of Mudd’s cargo, the women, who are looking for romantic partners.

Themes/Ideologies
Like the previous TOS episode, a theme in this episode is: “never judge a book by its cover.” Harry Mudd and the women are all hiding something. Eve, in particular, is hiding more due to lack of confidence; a feeling that she isn’t complete without a male partner.

Now, even though there is sexism in the Star Trek universe, as evidenced in previous episodes, women - in Enterprise crew - are allowed to retain their feminism, be sexy, be professional; unfortunately, that ideology is overshadowed by the sexism of the episode.

Plot Holes/WTF stuff
Early in the episode, the writers make Harry out to be the villain of the piece. While being held with the three companions in the briefing room, he mentions how he will control the Enterprise in the ear range of a security guard standing watch; and this take-over isn’t addressed later on in the episode. (Did Harry have a change of heart or plan?) Moreover, his goal seems to be profit not necessarily the well-being of the women, but later on he seems to care for Eve when she goes missing. Hence, Harry Mudd is written and depicted as an inconsistent character, as well as a character who really poses no threat since the security guard stood listening without notifying someone in authority, unless he was so mesmerized by the women he couldn’t do anything....but, even that would be a stretch.

The drug that changes the three women from “melting humanoids” to beauties, is inconsistent like Harry Mudd. First, Kirk and Harry beam down with the pseudo-gelatin version of the Venus drug and give it to Eve as if they knew she would be changing at that moment (which, given everything that was happening, Harry Mudd couldn’t know...and he hasn’t shown himself to be that intelligent to even gather Eve was changing, even if he was calculating it in his head). Harry, nor Kirk would have known she would be taking the pseudo-drug to show (for the episode’s lesson) that beauty is not only skin deep. For example, what if it was Ruth or Magda that was present? What if Eve decided that she wasn’t going to take the drug anymore?

Lastly, Kirk has all the power in the episode. Granted he may be going the diplomatic route, but the miners on Rigel 12 are basically saying they need to get laid before they can hand over the dilithiu...er, “lithium” to the Enterprise crew. If the situation is as desperate as it seemed, Kirk could have beamed down teams of scientists and security to look for the lithium to save the 400+ crewpeople on board, and prevent the engineering disaster.

Miscellaneous
Harry Mudd lives up to his name: He is literally hairy, and he is metaphorically hairy. The last name “Mudd” could also add to much hinted sleaziness of the character...but, as aforementioned, this sleaziness comes into questions when he seems to actually care of the well-being of Eve and possibly the other women. This goes along with the theme of ‘never judge a book by its cover;’ however, it still makes the Harry Mudd character inconsistent, since he also comes off overall as a non-threatening buffoon.

The three women follow the theme of never judging a book by their cover as being very beautiful; my favorite is Susan Denberg’s Magda, who reminds me a bit of another Swedish actress, May Britt. The women aren’t that lovely in reality (and no explanation is given as to why they look “different” without the drug) but they seemed to be tagging along to find men they can latch onto as lovers, and they will stop at anything to do so...even seduce male Enterprise crewmen (although, that seems to be dropped when the Enterprise comes into contact with Rigel 12). Eve seems more content to be waiting hands and feet for the miner, Ben Childress, or at least lending a women’s touch to the mining environment. Now, Eve wanting to find “Mr. Right” isn’t “wrong” but she feels she isn’t complete unless she finds aforementioned “Mr. Right”...and even throws herself to Kirk in order to gain his attentions.

Sexism and female objectification are apparent in the episode, of course, but there is a clash of ideologies. The women with Harry Mudd only want to find men to please and throw themselves at any willing male who smiles their way, however, with the Enterprise women, Uhura, in particular, in her tight-fitting yellow miniskirt and black go-go boots seems to be cool, composed, respected even though she is somewhat objectified and could easily match “Mudd’s women,” in looks; even though she doesn’t really do much in this episode; I’m basing this on the years I’ve known the character as well as the character’s tough incarnation in the 2009 film. Too, I believe we see a female crewmember wearing trousers; so, with Uhura and “Mudd’s women” there is a clash of statements or ideologies that have women as objects in this episode, but says that women can be still professional and sexy in the Star Trek universe. Interestingly, the Star Trek franchise later on (save for the 2009 film) says that women have to be fully covered in order to be respected, that they can’t wear skirts, because that will automatically objectify them. Interestingly, TNG -Star Trek: The Next Generation - introduced a “skirt” for men that many fans hated(for various reasons which could include masculinity issues, gender role issues, etc...) Later Star Trek - including fans - robs women of their femininity, or says women are closer to be respected if their femininity is suppressed; ironically it also tells men to “keep their pants on” and even tells men how they should dress and act because they are men. Therefore, as mentioned in previous reviews, Star Trek as a franchise isn’t as progressive as it wants to believe.

In the episode, there is a sense of urgency, there are stakes (things will “get real” if the lithium isn’t attained) but this urgency (and stakes) aren’t enough to sustain the episode. Kirk had the upper hand throughout the episode, and the miner’s sexual issues (arguably, “immature” sexual issues) could have been something to handle after the lithium was attained.

The overall lesson of the episode that “beauty is not only skin deep” is not a strong or novel lesson, it clashes with the images and ideologies seen in this episode, one of which is that women aren’t complete without men. So, I give this episode 2.5 out of 5. The weakest episode so far in Season One TOS, I think, an episode which definitely could have been more focused. However, William Shatner is again reserved in this episode, and his character works better this way; he knows when to joke and when to be serious. I like when he chuckles thinking one of the miners is actually joking when it is stated that the lithium won’t be turned over unless they get to be with the women.
Next Review
The Enemy Within
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Old December 6 2012, 03:43 PM   #30
AtoZ
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
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.
I dunno, I think we have a pretty good idea. It's fairly clear that a huge factor in the show's popularity, possibly the single biggest factor, was Shatner's charm & charisma, and his chemistry with Nimoy. With Kelley too, but most importantly with Nimoy.

If they had gone forward into production based on "The Cage", with Jeffrey Hunter as the captain and without Shatner as the show's center, it seems likely Star Trek would have sunk without a trace.

That sounds like a slap at Hunter, and I don't mean it that way. I like him in other things, and I like his Captain Pike. But first-season Shatner brought something incredible to Kirk, and Star Trek is built on Shatner/Nimoy.
I see it this way also. Unmistakeable energy and synergy from Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley. I think beyond the great concept, actors and characters that we saw in The Cage, there is an unseen factor at play between the Big 3 that is rare, invisible and.....unmistakeable.
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