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

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Old March 21 2013, 02:55 PM   #76
mos6507
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

Sadara wrote: View Post
Provided that Starfleet did have Kirk under constant, strict surveillance and worry about him snapping a twig, why test the M5 on his ship? Why not test it on a ship where the captain wouldn't be as unhappy with becoming redundant?
Because if everyone always does the most logical thing, nothing bad ever happens and you don't have a show.

This is an episode about people making the WRONG call, out of hubris. Daystrom made the wrong call, and so did Wesley, by buying into the M-5 hype and empowering him.

This is pretty much the same backdrop for other "Technology goes wrong" stories like Westworld or Wargames or Skynet in Terminator. You can't have a clusterf*ck unless people in power express too much faith in technology and give that tech too much power.

One can also see analogies to nuclear accidents like 3-mile island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima. There's always a zillion red flags visible in the rear-view-mirror, but the people in power, either through their own stupidity, cheapness, or faith in technology, did not take proper precautions. This stuff happens all the time. People do dumb things, and apparently still do in the 23rd century.
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Old March 21 2013, 07:11 PM   #77
bbailey861
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

Maurice wrote: View Post
It's just bad writing.

This episode is full of it. For instance anything as complicated as a starship is going to be internally vulnerable to sabotage by its chief engineer. And the idea that any system could bypass manual override means it ain't actually a manual override.
This one nails it in a nutshell for me. In many cases, Scotty, being the Chief Engineer, and clearly in love with his ship, would have a multitude of suggestions to bring to Kirk and Spock to try to fix a problem. It always seems it is either Kirk or Spock who comes up with the suggestion. I know it is the confimes of a TV show and Shatner is the star, so Kirk will always come up with the solution - but it just ain't so in real life. It's shit like this I just have to let slip by and keep on just enjoying the show. I don't think that would be the case if it were being written today.
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Old March 21 2013, 10:34 PM   #78
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

From the "For What It's Worth" Department, James Doohan had this to say:

"The final episode on this volume [Star Trek The Original Series United Kingdom VHS Volume 2.8 from July of 1997] is "The Ultimate Computer." This story was developed by a mathmetician named Lawrence Wolfe who loved Star Trek. He came to [series producer John Meredyth] Lucas with a completed script. While it was an excellent idea, it needed rewriting, because Lawrence had become so fascinated with his M-5 computer and its creator Dr. Daystrom, that the script did not feature our regular characters at all. Even Captain Kirk was hardly in the show--having been superseded by the computer! Dorothy Fontana took the script and re-wrote it. She brought Kirk's role to the fore to deal with the way he felt about losing his ship. In previous episodes, Kirk had defeated a computer--either by asking it The Unanswerable Question, or by confusing it with logic. Dorothy felt this was a trend in danger of becoming repetitive, so in this script when Kirk tries out both on M-5, the computer tells him to "forget it." The captain is forced to dream up a moral dilemma to regain control of his ship."

If Dorothy had a clunky line that made made Commodore Wesley sound like he wasn't the model commander or tactician, my hunch is that the original script was pretty much devoid of any jeopardy for Kirk, and, like a pendulum, she might have erred a bit in the other direction, by making Kirk look threatened when no starfleet commander would "actually" jump to the conclusion that Wesley jumped to. "Just bad writing?" Meh. I cut her a litle slack for writing a clunky line in an episode that I think is one of the strongest of the series.

Of course, if I could be one tenth the writer Dorothy is--either in quality or prolificness--I'd be a happy camper.

Hail, Dorothy!
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Old March 22 2013, 12:54 AM   #79
HarryM
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

It has one of the best Kirk scenes ever, "All I ask is a tall ship", so the Wesley oddness is rather minor.
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Old March 22 2013, 01:50 AM   #80
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

This is not bad writing.

You may not like it, that doesn't make it bad.

Wesley is an ass, and you didn't like it, I understand, that doesn't make it bad so much as unlikable.

If you want bad writing, we can discuss Spock's dialogue and actions in "That Which Survives"

Seriously, I think that's worth a thread.
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Old March 22 2013, 03:29 AM   #81
HarryM
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

For what it's worth I really never thought much about Wesley anyways (besides an underlying annoyance with him), the episode overall is solid. And Wesley does redeem himself in the end by guessing that Enterprise is disabled and it's not a trap.
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Old March 22 2013, 11:55 AM   #82
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

If you want bad writing, we can discuss Spock's dialogue and actions in "That Which Survives"

Seriously, I think that's worth a thread.
I'm game. And yes, I'll be in the "plausible character development, logical choices, good leadership" camp.

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Old March 22 2013, 05:31 PM   #83
CrazyMatt
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

I don't know why people are ragging on this episode... it's easily the best from the 2nd half of the second season. Whether he's the Lexington's actual captain or not, Wesley comes off as a very good starship (fleet?) commander, and while he's a bit anal at times (the "Captain Dunsel" comment comes to mind), at least he's not gone crazy like Matt Decker or Ron Tracey.
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Old March 22 2013, 05:57 PM   #84
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

I think it's a solid episode and posts that accuse it of "bad writing" are painful to see.
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Old March 24 2013, 01:43 AM   #85
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

It's bad writing because it's not thought out logically. I give D.C. the benefit of the doubt because of the speed at which teleplays are produced, but that doesn't mean the flaws aren't there.
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Old March 24 2013, 11:24 AM   #86
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

HarryM wrote: View Post
It has one of the best Kirk scenes ever, "All I ask is a tall ship", so the Wesley oddness is rather minor.
Well John Masefield's Sea-Fever is a magnificent poem. I'm glad that Star Trek quoted it, otherwise I might never have learned it. And that would be a sad state of affairs indeed.

For anyone interested in reading the whole work:

"Sea-Fever"

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).
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Old March 26 2013, 02:04 AM   #87
FKnight
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Re: Commodore Wesley confuses me

I thought this episode was great especially now that I've viewed it after seeing TNG and DS9. I got a real kick out of seeing the crew behave, in light of what we see on TNG, as complete neophytes when it comes to new technology. The funniest part was seeing Scotty lose his shit over the M5 shutting off lights in unoccupied parts of the ship to save power. Who doesn't think that every starship, at least in the 24th century, doesn't have this feature in their computer system?

Daystrom: "You must commit the M5 to handle it's approach, the orbit, and then to analyze data regarding landing party recommendations."
We can almost be certain the E-D's navigation system and mission operations computers do this. There are probably entire subroutines for different away team/mission scenarios that present mission commanders with recommendations upon approach to the planet and inform department heads of important updates.

Kirk: "All it's done is make the required course changes and a few simple turns, Mr. Sulu and Mr. Chekov could have done that with their eyes closed."
Daystrom: "Yes, but you see, the idea is that they didn't have to do it."
Spock: "Captain, I am forced to agree with Dr. Daystrom. With the course information plotted into it, his computer could have brought us here as easily as the navigator."
This is exactly how every TNG era ship works. The CON officer is babysitting cruise control and GPS.

It also made me realize just how far behind TOS tech is from TNG tech and the fact that most of the crew on the TOS Enterprise was needed just to keep the thing moving, while on the TNG Enterprise, while they had a huger crew, it was more about mission specialization with regard to exploration, and probably only a handful of those 1014 people were required to actually run the ship.

It is good that by TNGs time, however, manual overrides were improved (somewhat) and they kept a human crew to actually make the decisions while keeping all of the good advances. I guess it would have been kinda cool in "Booby Trap" to have Picard scoff at the idea of turning the ship over to the computer and maybe reference the M5 incident.
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