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

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Old January 3 2013, 08:02 PM   #31
gottacook
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

To follow up on the above comments as well as on my earlier one: The slapdash nature of the episode is the main reason for dilution of the impact of any meaningful speeches that the script had to offer. By the time "The Way to Eden" was produced, the end of production was coming up fast - this is, what, no more than four episodes earlier than "Turnabout Intruder"? - and no one cared about the story-editing, scene-to-scene continuity, etc., by then. (Or the people who did care had already left: The Gerrold 1973 book says explicitly that D.C. Fontana "quit when it [her episode "Joanna"] became 'The Way to Eden.' ")

The music, on the other hand, was very much non-slapdash and required some careful preparation by its very nature. Likewise the musical instrument design, the egg logo on the costumes, etc.

Oh, and another not-so-bad thing that happened in autumn 1969: the Vietnam Moratorium protests began.
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Old January 3 2013, 08:24 PM   #32
Mister Atoz
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Xlnt commentary, Trek God.

It would have been interesting if they'd cast somebody who comes across not so evil and "delinquent" as Skip Homeier. (much earlier in Homeier's career he played delinquent youths with regularity) They could have had Sevrin be more positive at first, then have his character change as the episode progressed, much like Roger Korby or Dr. Tristan Adams. The episode would be much better IMHO if Sevrin used Aux Control to release Anesthesia gas (as in Space Seed), then they can make their escape to the planet and eat their poisoned fruit. Just a thought.

Korby was a remarkable character, as he remains somewhat sympathetic and even defensible even up to his demise. He never came across as wholly evil.

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~ Mr Atoz

source: http://www.well.com/~mareev/TIMELINE/1968-1969.html
.

~ Atoz[/QUOTE]

Good list, Atoz.

Other events of '69 used to make judgements about the negative effects of the counterculture:



On that note, "The Way to Eden" walks a fine line of both condemning the extremes of the counterculture, while supporting Sevrin's desires for a technology/materialism-free society, as noted in the Spock dialogue. With Spock's understanding, audiences would at least need to wait a moment to consider the goals before damning Sevrin's group.[/QUOTE]
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Old January 3 2013, 08:52 PM   #33
Timo
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Planning as in corporate communities have little concern for the green-centric, free lifestyle, and emphasize materialism of thought and lifestyle.
Seeing "corporate" planning in Spock's tirade is but one way to interpret it. But planning is key to being green, and it is impossible to be green without planning at a communal level. Free lifestyle can never be ecological.

This is a more current "surprising accuracy" about the tired old dialogue than its "prophetical" 1960s-70s interpretation.

Those professing a green lifestyle reject the pre-fab, materialism/clone mentality seen in such communities
Sure. But planned communities (not "such", but of other sort, which Spock may equally well be interpreted as having referred to) are the only way to a green lifestyle. Rejecting the artificial and the manufactured categorically, without thought, only leads to excesses and unsustainable exploitation of resources. So perhaps we should hear in Spock's words a deep damnation of Sevrin's ideals, equally abhorrent to our fellow Vulcan as the idea of the little caveman still living inside all of us.

In the very next phrase, Spock does deny he feels any sympathy towards the group... And has difficulty understanding their way of thinking, perhaps because it makes so little sense, to him and to the 21st century audience.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 3 2013, 09:24 PM   #34
jayrath
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

IMHO, everyone's overthinking. It was a bad episode then (yes, I'm that old) and it's a bad episode now. I sincerely think it's wonderful that some above have researched the year it was broadcast, but it would be more useful to look at how other TV shows at the time treated the youth movement/hippies/counter culture, etc. I recommend viewing the era's various Dragnet treatments.
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Old January 3 2013, 09:34 PM   #35
Dale Sams
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

jayrath wrote: View Post
IMHO, everyone's overthinking. It was a bad episode then (yes, I'm that old) and it's a bad episode now. I sincerely think it's wonderful that some above have researched the year it was broadcast, but it would be more useful to look at how other TV shows at the time treated the youth movement/hippies/counter culture, etc. I recommend viewing the era's various Dragnet treatments.
I LOVE Dragnet '67. That 'blue boy episode'. Heh.
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Old January 4 2013, 07:09 AM   #36
Gary7
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Citing what was going on around the time that "The Way To Eden" was written and produced is very relevant... and that's something you have to appreciate about ALL of TOS when looking at it. Sadly, as far as I can see from comments made on TBBS over the years, most people who trash TOS simply can't relate or appreciate those times... and thus they're locked into being blind about it, never to turn around and see TOS as something truly worthwhile.
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Old January 4 2013, 11:14 AM   #37
Timo
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

For me, it's something of the opposite: in terms of 1960s TV entertainment, TOS has very little to offer to me, but in terms of an exotic alien environment with absurd customs and mores, it's a scifi experience nonpareil. And that's before you add the space monsters and rayguns!

Social commentary on issues that do not pertain to my own existence is pretty enjoyable to watch wholly out of context: in terms of tackling the problems of 1960s life, TOS is an embarrassingly feeble effort, but if I treat it as a dramatic effort to first create these odd problems and only then have our heroes address them, it becomes much more impressive. TOS didn't invent the hippie movement, but what if it had done that very thing, for purely dramatic purposes?

I'm a sucker for "Vic's" in DS9, too...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 4 2013, 12:48 PM   #38
Robert Comsol
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
"With Spock's understanding, audiences would at least need to wait a moment to consider the goals before damning Sevrin's group."
Rewatching the episode I found it (positively) amazing how open-minded Spock is towards Sevrin and his followers but then again, Spock was the prominent "alien" / outsider of the series, totally entitled (and expected) to cast a different opinion or point-of-view on certain issues than his fellow shipmates which also ensured this character's outstanding popularity.

Occasionally a victim of prejudice himself (McCoy in "The Ultimate Computer": "Finally the right computer came along" ), Spock was always good to battle ignorance: "Computers make excellent servants, but I have no desire to serve under them!"

Come to think of the worst episode I'll always find myself ending up with the first one aired, "The Man Trap". The series premise was to seek out new life, not to destroy it. Fortunately, the producers seem to have later realized what a terrible episode the first one aired had been and redeemed themselves with episodes like "The Devil in the Dark" (a paradigm shift) and Spock's ongoing concern for the destruction of sentient life forms.

Needless to say, that one of the most idotic decisions of CBS, IMHO, is the TOS(-R) presentation on Blu-ray disc in the airdate order (at least, presenting the episodes in the stardate order could have qualified as "imaginative").

Bob
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Old January 4 2013, 01:57 PM   #39
Timo
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

We'd get a somewhat sexist opening episode in the stardate case, but on the other hand, TOS would go out with a real bang!

Speaking of stardates, "Girls" and "Dagger" form one of the few cases of potential overlap. "Miri" in between extends over the starting date of "Dagger", and seems to start only one stardate after "Girls". It's sort of fitting that the first two episodes both take place out in the sticks, but would an important penal colony also be in those distant reaches where Miri's anomalous planet has been hiding from human discovery until Kirk's visit?

It's an unfortunate case of non-serendipity, as all the other episodes actually work really well in stardate order, often much better than in airdate or even production order...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 8 2013, 07:40 PM   #40
EnsignRicky
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

No. The Alternative Factor is really that bad.
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Old January 8 2013, 08:11 PM   #41
SnowboredShipCapt'n
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

The Way to Eden is in my "so-bad-it's good" category, though some distance behind Spock's Brain.
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Old January 9 2013, 03:00 AM   #42
plynch
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Nice character moments for Chekov. Adults exasperated with the youth, but Spock sympathetic, that's a nice character touch too. Plus I like it, which has little connection with reason, I suppose. I like the music too; as noted above, that's a haunting "Yay, brother" moment over the fallen crew. The bicycle wheel girl, too. Yup, we reach, this episode and I.
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Old January 9 2013, 03:52 AM   #43
SchwEnt
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

The idea isn't that bad at all and many of the themes are fitting for TOS.

A disillusioned group, people seeking harmony with nature, disaffected outcasts turning their backs on technological conventions and authority, the common TOS idea of finding a paradise... these could be worked into a very Trekkian story.

That they used an obvious analog of '60s hippies was perhaps too on-the-nose, especially dating it.

TOS has used stand-ins for Communists and Soviets and Vietnam and other modern-day institutions with success.

I wonder if "Eden" would have worked better if the story characters weren't so blatantly space hippies. If their ideas and purpose were similar, but maybe portrayed as something less obvious.
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Old January 10 2013, 02:19 AM   #44
Warped9
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

I've never had a reactionary dislike of "The Way To Eden" and I was born in 1959. By 1970 when I first saw the episode I was already aware of hippy culture even if I didn't fully comprehend it. In the end it often seemed to me that the hippies and many (but not all) of the youth movement were rejecting established convention yet without any real alternatives.

I didn't take the episode as a direct allegory of the times. I simply accepted it as an adaptation of the hippy or youth movement idea put into a science fiction story. Like "Spock's Brain" there is a worthy story at the heart of it, but like "Spock's Brain" it isn't fully explored and fleshed out. Star Trek was still essentially an adventure/drama and had to get on with the story. It's rather like The Dark Knight Rises getting cut up because it doesn't fairly and fully address the social divide between rich and poor---Hello! It's a comic book superhero story dressed up with some sense of "realism."

Actually you might argue "The Way To Eden" gets its point across more clearly than The Dark Knight Rises.
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