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

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Old August 6 2013, 10:04 AM   #106
Myko
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I enjoy how many of the "nits" we know were already found by DeForest Research back in the sixties but ignored by the production staff.
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Old August 6 2013, 10:36 AM   #107
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Myko wrote: View Post
I enjoy how many of the "nits" we know were already found by DeForest Research back in the sixties but ignored by the production staff.
True -- although there are a couple that they didn't get quite right. One, the claim that Alpha Centauri wasn't likely to have planets. We've already found one possible exoplanet around Alpha Cen B, and it's a major target star in current exoplanet searches. Two, they were right to point out that the selective breeding experiments would've had to be going on in the '60s or earlier to produce adults by the '90s, but in real life, eugenics programs seeking to breed superior humans existed as far back as the 1880s. Of course, they all defined "superior" as "white," but if there had been a program that had correctly understood that you need genetic diversity for increased fitness, and if it had continued in secret from the 1880s onward, then the fifth generation of offspring might've been born around the late '60s or early '70s, and that could hypothetically have been enough time to produce the desired results with a lot of luck. (Of course the term "genetic engineering" hadn't been coined yet in 1966, so the episode assumed the supermen were the result of a more conventional eugenics program. It wasn't until TWOK that the genetic-engineering explanation was used.)

And just think... we came this close to a movie called The Wrath of Govind.
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Old August 6 2013, 02:11 PM   #108
TREK_GOD_1
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Already the narration at the beginning of "Forbidden Planet" is clear evidence, that Roddenberry borrowed from it, IMHO. But I can't find fault with that.
...or how the exterior bridge design is a direct swipe from the ship in Universal's sci-fi mini-classic This Island Earth...




So, it is not a stretch to conclude Roddenberry and his associates borrowed from well-known or visually striking sci-fi movies from the previous decade, much in the way endless late 70s/80s films took their design cues / feel from the first Star Wars film (1977) whether ILM worked on them or not.

In the early 1970's, the production design in films like "Silent Running" or "Dark Star" were apparently trying to claim "we are the same league as 2001" (or making fun of it), so I'd say that Roddenberry also wanted to claim or suggest that Star Trek is the same league as "Forbidden Planet".
Not a stretch at all.

The only thing I still don't like, is that both pilots ("The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before") were just too derivative regarding the plot.

Then we have "Where No Man Has Gone Before" where we have a human being whose only difference to Dr. Mobius in "Forbidden Planet" is that he is consciously aware of his god-like powers (Yawn again).
The significant differerence is that Mitchell did not isolate himself on some remote world, reject the attention of others, or find himself consumed by his own inner demons/alien technology. Almost from the start, Mitchell realized his potential and wanted to extend his reach beyond his former life on the Enterprise. As a character, the audience was made to feel for the hybrid hero/villain--one could not sympathize with Morbius. Morbius would be imitated---only by producers such as Irwin Allen, who milked the "remote / sneaky scientist" plot too much on his 4 sci-fi TV series of the 60s.

The 2nd pilot had its own force & voice, and it has much to do why it sold TOS, instead of being rejected as some clone of "that movie from a few years ago."
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Old August 6 2013, 04:31 PM   #109
Robert Comsol
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
...or how the exterior bridge design is a direct swipe from the ship in Universal's sci-fi mini-classic This Island Earth...

Ouch...are we getting a vivid image how Roddenberry told Matt Jefferies what he wanted the ship to look like? Put pictures on a wall and then say "I like this and this element from the others, combine these into a new design that has recognizable, familiar features but still looks fresh and significantly different"?

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
The significant differerence is that Mitchell did not isolate himself on some remote world, reject the attention of others, or find himself consumed by his own inner demons/alien technology.
I'm afraid I don't see that much of a difference. Mitchell was isolated in sickbay and started to isolate himself in his delusions of grandure, he lost his compassion for others and was in fact consumed by his inner demon aka "Number One" ("The Prisoner") and became "evil" (i.e. militantly selfish).

Alternately I could invoke "Charlie X" although this Episode is rather derivative of what we'd just seen in WNM.

My point is that both "Forbidden Planet" and the two aforementioned episodes (and to some extent "The Cage", too, because the Talos death penalty was apparently designed to discourage others from learning the superhuman telepathic powers of the Talosians...) essentially dealt with the concept that man was too imature and inexperienced to deal with such godlike powers.

I think that TNG's "Hide and Q" was a nice tip-to-the-hat to these early TOS episodes (and though somewhat naive not that bad at all).

Which reminds me of one thing: What happened to the TOS energy barrier? Unless my memory is flawed I don't recall it ever being mentioned again in TNG...maybe a Q thing, indeed?

Bob
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Old August 6 2013, 04:34 PM   #110
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Creative people find inspiration in all kinds of things that came before. This doesn't mean they "ripped off" other people's work. To "rip off" someone else's ideas is to copy them wholesale. And people can come up with similar ideas without deliberately ripping off someone else's work.
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Old August 6 2013, 05:31 PM   #111
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

These days they justify it by saying it's not a rip off or plagiarism, because it's an homage.
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Old August 6 2013, 06:59 PM   #112
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Melakon wrote: View Post
These days they justify it by saying it's not a rip off or plagiarism, because it's an homage.
No, that's just overt cynicism. One can be inspired or influenced by someone else's work without copying it line-for-line or word-for-word. Many people can come to the same idea independently without any knowledge of what someone else is doing, and just because someone can later say the first one to the solution was ripped off by all others doesn't automatically make it true.

Was GR and other Trek creators influenced and inspired by Forbidden Planet and other works? Yes, most likely. Did they blatantly rip off those previous works down to the last detail? No.

Hell, the essential concept for Forbidden Planet isn't new if you look back into the SF pulps. So who was FP ripping off?
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Old August 6 2013, 09:59 PM   #113
Robert Comsol
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

@ Melakon

I agree. Though I believe homage does qualify after a considerable amount of time has passed, and I do not consider a decade such a considerable amount of time.

@ Warped9

According to my knowledge there is not a sharp definition of the borderline between "borrowing" something and obvious plagiarism.

Allow me to invoke a later example. As a film you had "Star Wars" and as a rival follow up TV series "Battlestar Galactica" (which resulted in an inconclusive lawsuit between 20th Century Fox and Universal).

The whole look of BSG looked like a clone of SW (no wonder, many of the behind the scenes artists of SW worked on BSG) but the entire story premise was totally different than SW.
So I don't really see that much plagiarism at the expense of SW.

On the other hand you have "Forbidden Planet" and as a follow up TV series you had "Star Trek".

The problem I see here is that Roddenberry did copy the story premise, i.e. a United (Federation of) Planets cruiser on patrol duty, and the basic plot element (what happens if man becomes like God?).

On behalf of ST and Gene Roddenberry I nevertheless have to admit that he turned a mediocre concept into something better and superior.

As a TV series "Forbidden Planet" would have sucked: The character of J.J. Abrams...pardon...Adams was hilarious. The captain always reacted to events, was hesitant and even made fun of in the story (with the doctor being the actual hero). Roddenberry was also correct that the character of the chef was rather redundant, both as a comic relief and as a member on an otherwise fully automated ship.

But despite my love for TOS, I don't think I confuse "inspiration" with "plagiarism". I'm pretty certain that without "Forbidden Planet" the Star Trek we know would have turned out quite different - if ever...

Bob
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Old August 7 2013, 12:26 AM   #114
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Harvey,

Excellent articles, as always. Thanks.

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Old August 7 2013, 01:58 AM   #115
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Warped9 wrote: View Post
So who was FP ripping off?
William Shakespeare. It's well-known that Forbidden Planet was inspired by The Tempest. Which, ironically, is the only Shakespeare play that isn't a remake/adaptation of a specific earlier work.
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Old August 7 2013, 10:14 AM   #116
Robert Comsol
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Christopher wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
So who was FP ripping off?
William Shakespeare. It's well-known that Forbidden Planet was inspired by The Tempest.
"Well-known"? Since the topic of this thread is to separate myth from fact, this is a good occasion to debunk this particular myth.

I recommend reading Shakespeare's actual work. The protagonists in "Forbidden Planet" differ so vastly in their roles and actions from the characters in The Tempest that it's most definitely not an adaptation (and neither an inspiration, IMHO).

It would be like saying that Pike is a carbon copy of Adams, Boyce is a carbon copy of Ostrow and Vina is a carbon copy of Altaira, which apparently is not the case.

Bob
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Old August 7 2013, 04:33 PM   #117
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
So who was FP ripping off?
William Shakespeare. It's well-known that Forbidden Planet was inspired by The Tempest.
"Well-known"? Since the topic of this thread is to separate myth from fact, this is a good occasion to debunk this particular myth.

I recommend reading Shakespeare's actual work. The protagonists in "Forbidden Planet" differ so vastly in their roles and actions from the characters in The Tempest that it's most definitely not an adaptation (and neither an inspiration, IMHO).
And I'd strongly recommend you read one or more of CFQ's superb articles on the making of FP, which make it very clear that THE TEMPEST is absolutely the basis for the film's story.
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Old August 7 2013, 05:43 PM   #118
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Seriously, Robert Comsol? You actually think that I, a professional writer in the English language, could somehow not already be familiar with Shakespeare? I don't think you thought that one through. Heck, I even wrote a whole Star Trek novel that was loaded with Shakespearean allusions and themes, including a central character named Ariel, sections named "Rounded With a Sleep," "Brave New World," and "Abysm of Time," and a Miranda-class starship which I included specifically for the Tempest nod.

You are, of course, correct that there are major differences between the play and the film's story. But that is why I said the film was "inspired by" the play rather than "adapted from" it. As trevanian points out, the filmmakers have made it clear over the years that the play was their inspiration.
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Old August 7 2013, 11:28 PM   #119
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
Harvey,

Excellent articles, as always. Thanks.
Agreed, I have come to look forward to this every week. A great project, and well done.

Christopher wrote: View Post
But that is why I said the film was "inspired by" the play rather than "adapted from" it. As trevanian points out, the filmmakers have made it clear over the years that the play was their inspiration.
Yeah... To claim that FP wasn't even "inspired" by The Tempest is contrary to just about everything ever written about the movie.
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Old August 8 2013, 05:53 PM   #120
Robert Comsol
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Christopher wrote: View Post
Seriously, Robert Comsol? You actually think that I, a professional writer in the English language, could somehow not already be familiar with Shakespeare?
Hear, hear...Do you really need to invoke "the argument of authority"?

Christopher wrote: View Post
You are, of course, correct that there are major differences between the play and the film's story. But that is why I said the film was "inspired by" the play rather than "adapted from" it. As trevanian points out, the filmmakers have made it clear over the years that the play was their inspiration.
Yes, you said "inspired by" but I first wanted to deal with the myth that it's an adaptation, which it most definitely is not.
But seriously, how does "inspired by" qualify amidst the obvious facts?

Supposedly, Dr. Morbius is Prospero, his daughter Altaira is Miranda, Commander Adams is Ferdinand, Robbie the genie Ariel and the Monster from the ID probably Caliban, but in summary FORBIDDEN PLANET is definitely an antithesis:
  • Prospero brings the travelers against their will to the island, Morbius wants them to return to Earth
  • Prospero schemes for Miranda to meet Ferdinand, Morbius tries to prevent her encounter with Adams (thus giving birth to his monster)
  • Caliban’s assasination plans are unsuccessful, the Monster from the ID kills Morbius
  • and while Ariel is set free in the end, Robbie continues to serve the space travellers as astronavigator.
Bob
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