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

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Old December 27 2012, 05:45 PM   #1
Mutara Nebula 1967
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Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

It seems strange that Roddenbery or none of the others sitting around the writing room stopped for a a minute to think "We just sent these guys three days back in time and now they have to live the three days over...we can't say that the cold start implosion method will allow them to visit any planet in any time because if they go back to say visit the Revolutionary War then the crew will have to live out the rest of their lives in the 18th & 19th century. This form of time travel is a one way trip to the past"

Also you would think that someone would note how perhaps the Enterprise miracuously nabbed the "1 & 10,000 chance" or whatever the figure was and did not explode. Maybe the next starship that tries it goes kaboom.

I guess we can assume rational heads prevailed and that's why the cold start implosion is never mentioned again except for the indirect reference from Scotty in TNG "Relics".
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Old December 27 2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

Spock did in fact state at the end of Naked Time that the technique could allow for many trips to the past. Which they made use of -- most notably in Gary 7 and TVH. But it wasn't the cold start that did the trick. 'Twas the slingshot from accelerating out of a deep gravity well.

Incidentally, there was no writer's room in TOS. That didn't happen until TNG.
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Old December 27 2012, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

Mutara Nebula 1967 wrote: View Post
It seems strange that Roddenbery or none of the others sitting around the writing room stopped for a a minute to think "We just sent these guys three days back in time and now they have to live the three days over...we can't say that the cold start implosion method will allow them to visit any planet in any time because if they go back to say visit the Revolutionary War then the crew will have to live out the rest of their lives in the 18th & 19th century. This form of time travel is a one way trip to the past"
The original intention was that the end of "The Naked Time" would be a cliffhanger leading directly into "Tomorrow is Yesterday." Rather than being thrown back 3 days, they would be thrown back to the 20th century. And naturally TiY would've established how they could use the technique to return to the future. But the network didn't want that kind of continuity between episodes, because they wanted to be able to air the episodes in any order (and because the complicated post-production and effects work meant that some episodes took longer to complete than others and there was no guarantee they could be shown in production order). So the connection between the two episodes was abandoned and TiY was postponed until later in the season -- yet, for some reason, the writers kept the time-reversal ending to "The Naked Time" even though it didn't serve a purpose anymore. Most likely the decision came late enough in the game that they just didn't have time to rewrite the ending extensively and come up with some better, non-time-warpy way of ending the episode.

And jayrath's right. "Writer's room" is a term that emerged in the 1980s, I believe. TOS just had the executive producer, the producer, and the story editor. Much more of the writing was done by freelancers in those days. After all, storytelling was more episodic then, so the process wasn't as centralized as in this age of seasonal story arcs and tight continuity.
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Old December 29 2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

There were shows with writer's rooms prior to the 1980s, but Star Trek didn't have one. Recall that The Dick Van Dyke Show was based on Carl Reiner's experiences in a writer's room in the 1950s.

Star Trek relied heavily on freelancers, with Roddenberry, Coon, and Fontana on staff to do re-writing (along with others I won't list out of laziness).
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Old December 29 2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

Ah, yes, but I think that was more the case with comedy/variety shows than with dramas.
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Old December 30 2012, 01:19 AM   #6
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

That seems like the case to me. Also at Desilu, Mission: Impossible didn't have a writer's room, either -- just a few staff writers to do re-writes and a lot of freelancers.
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Old December 30 2012, 02:26 AM   #7
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

And The Twilight Zone's writers' room was basically Rod Serling's office.
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Old December 30 2012, 07:44 AM   #8
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

I don't know as much about The Twilight Zone's production, but Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont were pretty important, too, weren't they? I recall Serling saying that the three of them should carve up a writing Emmy he earned for the show like a turkey in his acceptance speech.
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Old December 30 2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

^Of course Beaumont and Matheson contributed many scripts, but as freelancers. They weren't actually story editors or producers on the show. This is the difference between TV writing then and TV writing now. Today, most of the writing on a series is done by people who are actually under contract and getting a regular salary. If a show's producers like a writer's work and want that writer to keep contributing, they'll hire the writer as a story editor. But in the past, it was possible for the majority of the writing to be done by freelancers paid on a script-by-script basis. A freelancer could sell a show dozens of scripts over its run, but would still just be a freelancer they knew they could rely on. (It's basically the same kind of relationship I have with Pocket Books. I've written over 20 distinct works of fiction for them over the past decade, but I'm not an employee of the company, just a freelancer that they keep hiring.)
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Old December 30 2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

I think Naked Time is dramatically brilliant, but scientifically the most BOGUS episode of Trek. I really should put this on my worst trek eps list.

1. The space suits used on the planet are a joke. Not only can you take your glove off, but the hood is not sealed!

2- The way Riley takes over engineering is ludicrous! Scotty: "He ran
in, said you wanted us on the bridge." YEAH, RIGHT! Just 'cause Riley's wearing a gold shirt gives him the authority to hijack the ship -- RIGHT!!!

3- "The Enterprise is in a tricky orbit and we're spiraling down toward
the planet and it takes 30 minutes to regenerate the engines"?? Truth is It takes VERY LITTLE POWER to keep even a large vehicle in orbit, even if there is a shift in gravity. (I DON'T BUY IT -- THIS ENTIRE CONCEPT IS TOTALLY BOGUS SCIENCE)

5- And THEN just to get out of orbit around the planet they have to come up with an intermix formula and go back in time??? NO, NO, NO! This episode sacrifices science and common sense in the name of drama like no other!! ~ Atoz
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Old December 30 2012, 05:28 PM   #11
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

1. The space suits used on the planet are a joke. Not only can you take your glove off, but the hood is not sealed!
I don't think there ever was any intention of portraying these as "space suits" or "isolation suits" of any sort. They appeared to be simply for warmth: our heroes expected no lack of breathable air and no chemical or biological threats when they beamed down (Spock only began worrying about the latter after having spent time down there), but they did expect bitter cold. Also, the plot element of Joe Tormolen taking off his glove seems to be the driving force behind the creation of the glove in the first place, so obviously the intent wasn't to create something that would really protect the characters from the threat of the week.

(I DON'T BUY IT -- THIS ENTIRE CONCEPT IS TOTALLY BOGUS SCIENCE)
Well, a "shift in gravity" is of course unknown to today's science, but it's bread and butter for the 23rd century depicted in the show. And I'm not being particularly poetic about it: our heroes literally wipe their feet on gravitic mysteries as a matter of utter routine and established (pseudo)science and (futuro)technology.

It's way better than having a ship plunge from orbit without pleading an exotic gravitic phenomenon, such as happens in "Court Martial".

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Old December 30 2012, 07:03 PM   #12
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

Mister Atoz wrote: View Post
1. The space suits used on the planet are a joke. Not only can you take your glove off, but the hood is not sealed!
They're not spacesuits, since Psi 2000 did have a breathable atmosphere. According to The Star Trek Concordance, they were called anticontamination suits. Basically they were hazmat gear.

3- "The Enterprise is in a tricky orbit and we're spiraling down toward
the planet and it takes 30 minutes to regenerate the engines"?? Truth is It takes VERY LITTLE POWER to keep even a large vehicle in orbit, even if there is a shift in gravity.
Actually it takes zero power to maintain a stable orbit. The Moon orbits the Earth; the Earth orbits the Sun; etc. None of them needs engines or thrust to do so. Orbit is a freefall trajectory -- essentially falling toward an object, but falling sideways fast enough that your course loops around it over and over. (I like to paraphrase Douglas Adams: The secret to orbit is knowing how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.)

So yes, the trope used in many TOS episodes and other sci-fi shows of a ship losing power and falling out of orbit is basically nonsense. However, there is such a thing as a forced or powered orbit -- not a literal orbit at all, but using thrust to hold station over a particular location. Which might be necessary in order to maintain a transporter lock on the region your landing party has beamed down to, or to maintain sensor contact with a particular area you're studying. In such a case, losing power would cause a ship to fall out of its orbit.

Alternatively, if an orbit is low enough to impinge on the outer atmosphere of a planet, that can cause drag that slows the orbit. This is why satellites and space stations tend to fall out of orbit after a few years if they don't use occasional thrust to cancel out the drag (this may be what you were thinking of). It's hard to see how this could cause a starship's orbit to decay in a matter of mere hours, but a starship does have more area and thus more drag than a satellite, and the heat and radiation from its engines might turn the air into plasma and increase its drag (since the hotter molecules are hitting the ship harder and imparting more force).


NO, NO, NO! This episode sacrifices science and common sense in the name of drama like no other!! ~ Atoz
Oh, there are far worse ones. "Wink of an Eye" springs to mind. If they were sped up so much, how could they feel gravity? It would take them subjective hours to fall. How could they push through the air molecules that would resist their movement thousands of times more than usual? If they could, it would create hurricane-force winds inside the ship. How could they talk to each other, since the speed of sound between them would be subjectively thousands of times slower than normal?

Not to mention any episode involving incorporeal consciousness or mind-switching. Or the magical psi powers that countless TOS characters had.
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Old December 30 2012, 10:30 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: Wild & Wooly thinking at the end of "THE NAKED TIME"

According to The Star Trek Concordance, they were called anticontamination suits. Basically they were hazmat gear.
And even that is something of a fan interpretation going against evidence. After all, the suits were clearly not used in a way that would keep contamination out, and weren't designed to look particularly airtight, either. We see suits featuring hoods with visors again in e.g. VOY "Timeless", and they are used simply to keep the wearer warm there...

I wonder what the original script says about all this?

Interesting how Joe Tormolen fails to observe any sort of hazmat discipline; is then told by Spock to start observing it; and nevertheless fails to announce that he has already violated it, despite the intoxicating effects of contamination supposedly working very slowly on most people. Subsequently, the transporter is used to decontaminate the landing party. Possibly Tormolen has been trained to think that hazmat discipline does not involve wearing gloves because it depends solely on the decontaminating abilities of the transporter?

Regarding the orbit issue, the visuals make a major effort to show that something really weird is happening to the planet below: we see what looks like a somewhat absurd shift in rotation speed. This basically calls for two wrongs making a right: if the planet is really spinning up like that, it's probably also collapsing into a clump of neutronium or something, so that conservation of angular momentum is observed! Maintaining orbit above a planet in such a process of collapse might indeed be wrought with relativistic problems of all sorts...

In any case, "The Naked Time" does better here than the remake "The Naked Now", where an exploding star spits minuscule objects in random directions and the hero starship quite absurdly happens to stand right in the path of one of those. It's not the rocket science that is implausible there - it's common sense already telling that the odds of a collision are way too low to carry the plot.

"Wink of an Eye" springs to mind. If they were sped up so much, how could they feel gravity?
Well, if they were sped up so much, they'd explode anyway. But if the speeding up is not a biological thing at all, but rather a "time anomaly" separating the victims into time pockets of their own, with the surface of the pocket (possibly human-shaped) more or less smoothly merging the two timeframes, as in the VOY not-quite-remake "Blink of an Eye" (or TNG "Timescape"), it all makes perfect sense.

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