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

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Old May 3 2013, 11:04 PM   #76
horatio83
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote:
So what? The first pilot was still better and Roddenberry was rightly pissed off that he had to Western-ify his Star Trek.
I'm curious as to what you mean by this. His pitch was "Wagon Train to the stars" and he was trying to duplicate the tone, style and attitudes of the "Adult Westerns" that were popular at the time.
There were no Western elements in "The Cage". He delivered his pilot, a typical 50s/60s kind of sci-fi story with a light psychoanalytical touch. For the guys from NBC it was too brainy and they wanted more action/adventure. So perhaps Western-ify is the wrong word and it is more precise to say that the two pilots rather show that this conflict between story depth and action has been with Trek since its birth.
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Old May 4 2013, 12:05 AM   #77
Nerys Myk
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Depends on what "Western elements" are. Heck, The Cage even has a horse in it and Pike is wearing jeans!!!!! But on a more serious note, it has Pike fighting the Kaylar and choking a shapeshifting Talosian. He also threatens to blow the Talosian's head off and the crew uses a laser canon to blow the top of a mountain off. Its not exactly an hour of navel gazing. Both pilots feature "ESP" with the Talosians illusion powers and Gary's telekinesis. Both have their talky elements. Both even have "ice queen" characters. Both have captains in conflict. Pike over staying in the service and Kirk over having to kill his best friend. I've never been quite sure why The Cage is more "cerebral".
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Old May 4 2013, 12:15 AM   #78
horatio83
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

I totally agree, it is a well-balanced story. But I guess it was perceived as too cerebral by the powers that were because of Pike's doubts, Number One and the sexual stuff about Vina wanting to be young again and so on (or rather the way this was handled, with cold distance). I think it is more a matter of overall atmosphere and The Cage was certainly THE Trek story which was most inspired by Forbidden Planet. I'd even claim that it tries to replicate its atmosphere.
Talking about Forbidden Planet, it is as if somebody perceives Forbidden Planet to be too brainy because of the monster from the id or rather their ids. A tiny touch of vulgar psychoanalysis does not really make the story utterly brilliant or too difficult for anybody to understand but I can see why studio executives might think so.
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Old May 4 2013, 12:40 AM   #79
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Danger Ace wrote: View Post
Roddenberry villified NBC who in reality were more than fair to him by allowing him to make two pilots when the norm was one. They gave him three seasons despite poor ratings (wherein he abandoned ship, thereby, sabotaging the third season). He was routinely dishonorable in his dealings with others (under a variety of circumstances). So then the question becomes to what extent does the "good" outweigh or overshadow the "bad" (or vice-a-versa")? Where does one balance excusing GR's negatives while praising his positives?
So what? The first pilot was still better and Roddenberry was rightly pissed off that he had to Western-ify his Star Trek. When it comes to creative people vs. the studio I don't have to think twice about whom I side with and I certainly don't pretend that being a stubborn egomaniac (instead of a studio whore) is bad when you try to bring your vision onto the small or big screen.

Balance? When people use words like dishonorable, villify and sabotage and then talk about balance they are just bullshitting. If you don't like the guy (based on what others said about him) don't beat around the bush and just say it.
Thankfully I don't care one iota about what kind of a person he was. I care about his work.
The "two pilots was unheard of at the time..." has always been GR BS. BOTH "Gilligan's Island" and "Lost In Space" got second pilot attempts before they finally aired.

GR also likes to claim he was the one who tried to make the cast "more inter-racial" for the second pilot, when in fact it was a general directive memo from NBC corporate that had more to do with it (based on marketing studies by advertisers at the time.) Also, Star Trek was NOT the first show to showcase inter-racial characters on NBC (or TV in general); as "I Spy" was doing it a full year/TV season before "Star Trek" aired. I have a feeling, had that memo not been circulated, we'd have had another WASP/Forbidden Planet-esque style, nearly Arian crew make up.

NBC also had NO PROBLEM with a "woman as second in command" per se; and informed GR that he could indeed keep "Number One" female IF he re-cast the role (the Execs knew about his and Majel's relationship (and BTW GR was still married to his first wife while all this was occurring), and aside from the fact they indeed didn't believe she had the acting chops to carry a lead role; they were MORE concerned (given the projected cost per episode of the series) as to what happen if/when Majel and GR split up. They didn't want a situation where a lead was now the 'Ex' of the show's Executive Producer. GR of course decided to not recast and combine Number One with the Mr. Spock character.

Lastly, one of the main issues NBC had with the pilot WAS the cost (over 1 million dollars); and they were indeed concerned that Desilu couldn't/wouldn't be able to produce weekly episodes on a smaller budget; so one of the things the second pilot was - was a 'proof' to NBC that they could produce a workable/watchable and entertaining episode on what would amount to their smaller weekly budget.

So, in the end the MAJORITY of GR's claims about the 'evil NBC network' wanting to dumb down his 'vision' (tm) are mostly fantasy. The network was the one footing the bill for most of this; so they wanted to be sure they got what was promised. If NBC were that 'evil' per se, I doubt they would have shown as much interest in the series as they did (and they did lot to make it happen as well as what GR was responsible for.)

The interesting thing to me is that the second pilot honestly wasn't any more or less 'cerebral' per se. It still dealt with the human psyche and mental powers; and had about the same level of action -- Pike had the combat with the Kaylar, and Kirk the final hand to hand battle with gary Mitchell in the end (although I concede that the fact the fight came at the end was probably a more accepted plot structure in those days - and went over better with the Execs.)
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Old May 4 2013, 01:02 AM   #80
marksound
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

^^ Add to that the casting of Shatner as captain. He had a better "range" and was already a known property in TV land. It's my opinion that Shatner sold the 2nd pilot.
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Old May 4 2013, 01:06 AM   #81
horatio83
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Noname Given wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
Danger Ace wrote: View Post
Roddenberry villified NBC who in reality were more than fair to him by allowing him to make two pilots when the norm was one. They gave him three seasons despite poor ratings (wherein he abandoned ship, thereby, sabotaging the third season). He was routinely dishonorable in his dealings with others (under a variety of circumstances). So then the question becomes to what extent does the "good" outweigh or overshadow the "bad" (or vice-a-versa")? Where does one balance excusing GR's negatives while praising his positives?
So what? The first pilot was still better and Roddenberry was rightly pissed off that he had to Western-ify his Star Trek. When it comes to creative people vs. the studio I don't have to think twice about whom I side with and I certainly don't pretend that being a stubborn egomaniac (instead of a studio whore) is bad when you try to bring your vision onto the small or big screen.

Balance? When people use words like dishonorable, villify and sabotage and then talk about balance they are just bullshitting. If you don't like the guy (based on what others said about him) don't beat around the bush and just say it.
Thankfully I don't care one iota about what kind of a person he was. I care about his work.
The "two pilots was unheard of at the time..." has always been GR BS. BOTH "Gilligan's Island" and "Lost In Space" got second pilot attempts before they finally aired.

GR also likes to claim he was the one who tried to make the cast "more inter-racial" for the second pilot, when in fact it was a general directive memo from NBC corporate that had more to do with it (based on marketing studies by advertisers at the time.) Also, Star Trek was NOT the first show to showcase inter-racial characters on NBC (or TV in general); as "I Spy" was doing it a full year/TV season before "Star Trek" aired. I have a feeling, had that memo not been circulated, we'd have had another WASP/Forbidden Planet-esque style, nearly Arian crew make up.

NBC also had NO PROBLEM with a "woman as second in command" per se; and informed GR that he could indeed keep "Number One" female IF he re-cast the role (the Execs knew about his and Majel's relationship (and BTW GR was still married to his first wife while all this was occurring), and aside from the fact they indeed didn't believe she had the acting chops to carry a lead role; they were MORE concerned (given the projected cost per episode of the series) as to what happen if/when Majel and GR split up. They didn't want a situation where a lead was now the 'Ex' of the show's Executive Producer. GR of course decided to not recast and combine Number One with the Mr. Spock character.

Lastly, one of the main issues NBC had with the pilot WAS the cost (over 1 million dollars); and they were indeed concerned that Desilu couldn't/wouldn't be able to produce weekly episodes on a smaller budget; so one of the things the second pilot was - was a 'proof' to NBC that they could produce a workable/watchable and entertaining episode on what would amount to their smaller weekly budget.

So, in the end the MAJORITY of GR's claims about the 'evil NBC network' wanting to dumb down his 'vision' (tm) are mostly fantasy. The network was the one footing the bill for most of this; so they wanted to be sure they got what was promised. If NBC were that 'evil' per se, I doubt they would have shown as much interest in the series as they did (and they did lot to make it happen as well as what GR was responsible for.)

The interesting thing to me is that the second pilot honestly wasn't any more or less 'cerebral' per se. It still dealt with the human psyche and mental powers; and had about the same level of action -- Pike had the combat with the Kaylar, and Kirk the final hand to hand battle with gary Mitchell in the end (although I concede that the fact the fight came at the end was probably a more accepted plot structure in those days - and went over better with the Execs.)
The second pilot is more focused on action, features no self-doubting protagonist and fewer women. So Roddenberry's claims seem fairly consistent whereas you story about the studio wanting proof that the show could be done with a smaller budget seems fishy. Why not simply cut the budget, air the pilot and shoot the series instead of wasting an entire pilot? No, they obviously wanted an admittedly only slightly different product.

And why do people care about Roddenberry's sex life?
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Old May 4 2013, 01:30 AM   #82
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

horatio83 wrote: View Post
The second pilot is more focused on action, features no self-doubting protagonist and fewer women. So Roddenberry's claims seem fairly consistent whereas you story about the studio wanting proof that the show could be done with a smaller budget seems fishy. Why not simply cut the budget, air the pilot and shoot the series instead of wasting an entire pilot? No, they obviously wanted an admittedly only slightly different product.
Why doubt what's been reported by multiple sources over the years?


And why do people care about Roddenberry's sex life?
Not so much about his sex life but how he treated women while preaching about a better future. Sort of like a religious figure preaching against homosexuality then being found gobbling a snake on the Men's Room floor.

Roddenberry had a great vision, but the guy was a creep. A proven liar, thief and adulterer.
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Old May 4 2013, 01:36 AM   #83
Nerys Myk
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

The fewer women thing is on Roddberry's head. He chose to eliminate Number One because he couldn't keep Majel in the role. Still the second pilot features a woman in a key role and one shown to be a competent and highly intelligent professional. He does make up for it in the series by have three female characters: Rand, Uhura and Chapel.

I think Noname Given's "story" is backed up by Justman and Solow in their book. They might even have the memos.
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Old May 4 2013, 01:46 AM   #84
horatio83
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

BillJ wrote: View Post
Not so much about his sex life but how he treated women while preaching about a better future. Sort of like a religious figure preaching against homosexuality then being found gobbling a snake on the Men's Room floor.

Roddenberry had a great vision, but the guy was a creep. A proven liar, thief and adulterer.
Yep, burn the adulterer on the pyre.
It wasn't the middle ages but the sixties so how the hell do you know what kind of arrangement he had with his wife? Not everybody is a Puritan and adultery is no crime. Ever read stats about it? The fraction of people who cheat in their life is around .5. Talking about preaching, it looks like you will be very busy.

Thief? Now that's a pathetic low shot, even for Roddenberry bashers. If Roddenberry is a thief every Westerner is a thief because he indirectly exploits somebody in the 3rd world.

The guy started a sci-fi franchise I like and most of his ideas were good. Not being a saint while having a vision of a better future does not make you a hypocrite. It's as if somebody said that people who fight against climate change yet use planes are hypocrites or that rich people who want higher taxes are hypocrites.
Obviously this is just an attempt to obfuscate that one doesn't really care about Roddenberry's vision.
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Old May 4 2013, 01:48 AM   #85
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

horatio83 wrote: View Post

Thief? Now that's a pathetic low shot, even for Roddenberry bashers. If Roddenberry is a thief every Westerner is a thief because he indirectly exploits somebody in the 3rd world.
You may actually want to read up on what Roddenberry did to Justman and Courage and Fontana and Gerrold before calling it a "low-shot".
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Old May 4 2013, 02:00 AM   #86
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Noname Given wrote: View Post
Lastly, one of the main issues NBC had with the pilot WAS the cost (over 1 million dollars); and they were indeed concerned that Desilu couldn't/wouldn't be able to produce weekly episodes on a smaller budget; so one of the things the second pilot was - was a 'proof' to NBC that they could produce a workable/watchable and entertaining episode on what would amount to their smaller weekly budget.
Agree w/ most all of the rest of your post, but I think the million figure is even a little high counting BOTH pilots, with CAGE at something like $630,000 and WHERE NO somewhere over 300 grand.
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Old May 4 2013, 02:10 AM   #87
horatio83
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

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You may actually want to read up on what Roddenberry did to Justman and Courage and Fontana and Gerrold before calling it a "low-shot".
Life is finite, time is limited. I have better things to do than read hagiographies or condemnations of Roddenberry.
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Old May 4 2013, 02:14 AM   #88
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

horatio83 wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
You may actually want to read up on what Roddenberry did to Justman and Courage and Fontana and Gerrold before calling it a "low-shot".
Life is finite, time is limited. I have better things to do than read hagiographies or condemnations of Roddenberry.
Well, here's an FYI...

He wouldn't allow Justman, Gerrold and Fontana to have co-creator credit on TNG even though they deserved the credit. It would have upset the "Holy Order of the Rod".

He wrote "lyrics" to the TOS end music so Alexander Courage would have to share any royalties that were made with Roddenberry.

Just for starters...

Roddenberry wasn't a very nice human being.
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Old May 4 2013, 02:19 AM   #89
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

horatio83 wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
You may actually want to read up on what Roddenberry did to Justman and Courage and Fontana and Gerrold before calling it a "low-shot".
Life is finite, time is limited. I have better things to do than read hagiographies or condemnations of Roddenberry.
Backing down when faced with historical fact while trying to maintain moral superiority? Priceless..
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Old May 4 2013, 02:24 AM   #90
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" is a better television story than "The Cage," so it's not remarkable that the network was happier with the second pilot.

All of the stories about how "disappointed" Roddenberry was with making changes to the show were after the fact.
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