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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old September 4 2013, 01:18 AM   #31
Christopher
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Can't remember though, was Questor before or after Nimoy's stint on Mission: Impossible?
Nimoy was on M:I from 1969-71, the two years immediately following ST. The Questor Tapes was aired in January 1974.



CorporalClegg wrote: View Post
For one thing, had it not been for Star Trek, Meyer would still be a hack nobody. And, frankly, outside of Trekdom, he is a hack nobody.
Well, that's neither true nor fair. Before TWOK he was known for his best-selling Sherlock Holmes novel The Seven Per Cent Solution (whose film adaptation he wrote the screenplay for) and its sequel The West End Horror, and for directing the successful 1979 film Time After Time. He also wrote the 1975 TV movie The Night That Panicked America (a dramatization of the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast) and directed the influential 1983 TV movie The Day After, both of which got him Emmy nominations. The Day After was the highest-rated made-for-TV movie in history up to that point (at least) and helped influence a lot of people's attitudes toward nuclear war. And Meyer was offered the job immediately after he finished production on TWOK, and thus before it was released, so it's doubtful that he got the job because of TWOK.

So if Meyer had never done Trek, he'd still be famous for his Holmes work, Time After Time, and The Day After if nothing else, and he'd still be the recipient of multiple Emmy nominations and an Oscar nomination. Indeed, "outside of Trekdom," I'm sure he's already more famous for those thing than he is for TWOK and TUC. Trek is a pretty minor part of his career, all told.
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Old September 4 2013, 02:01 AM   #32
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Pretty sure the feedback/letters page in STARLOG summed up the view of the JFK story. Remember something very much like, "If Spock phasers JFK, that will end my ever viewing STAR TREK again." 100% unfavorable. The 1985 TWILIGHT ZONE ep that dealt with this idea was clunky in a lot of ways, but worked (due in no small part to Andy Robinson somehow making JFK credible without really having the handsome aspect), but that was an anthology show, a one-off.
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Old September 4 2013, 02:07 AM   #33
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post
For one thing, had it not been for Star Trek, Meyer would still be a hack nobody. And, frankly, outside of Trekdom, he is a hack nobody.
Anybody who can write CONFESSIONS OF HOMING PIGEON is no goddamn hack.

If you're gonna jump his shit, do it for that sellout job he did rewriting the end of FATAL ATTRACTION.

I don't think QUESTOR really represents GR consistently. I think most of the good stuff is Coon; I'd bet anything that John Vernon's character says is pretty much all Coon.

Richard Colla gave an interview discussing QUESTOR and Nimoy's exit. I don't think it is STARLOG, but it might be; I keep thinking it was ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS.

Now the 'seduce the rich old lady spy' bit, that's GR. In fact I remember that INSIDE STAR TREK album where he explains how he wanted to have the robot seduce Dana Wynter, but of course TPTB would not permit it.
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Old September 4 2013, 02:25 AM   #34
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post

For one thing, had it not been for Star Trek, Meyer would still be a hack nobody. And, frankly, outside of Trekdom, he is a hack nobody.
The Day After makes him a bit more than a "hack nobody."

He never was an A-list director, but he's had and continues to have a successful screenwriting career.
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Old September 4 2013, 03:03 AM   #35
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

And this thread has inspired me to put Time After Time in my DVD queue. It's been ages since I saw it all the way through. And it's Malcolm McDowell vs. David Warner -- who can resist? (Interesting that both of them went on to be very mean to Captain Picard...)
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Old September 4 2013, 03:19 AM   #36
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Sran wrote: View Post
TVH is actually a combination of two scripts put together. Bennett wrote the film's beginning and end. Meyer has everything in the middle, including the bulk of the San Francisco scenes, as he used a lot of ideas that were in Time After Time.
The latter part of this is accurate. The former is not. Bennett and Meyer worked very closely in putting together the script for The Voyage Home -- there was a draft put together by Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes, and it was tossed out (which is when Meyer got involved -- and then they went to WGA arbitration, similar to what happened with the credits for The Undiscovered Country).

The script for The Voyage Home was not a mash-up, but rather a result of Meyer and Bennett collaborating. There is definitely a tonal difference between the acts, but it's not like they were acting independently of one another.

Don't believe all the bullshit in the Shatner books.
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Old September 4 2013, 03:32 AM   #37
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Lets remember how bad the first two seasons of TNG were when Gene was the showrunner, he was still doing the show like it was stuck in the 60s!
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Old September 4 2013, 03:50 AM   #38
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Timby wrote: View Post
The script for The Voyage Home was not a mash-up, but rather a result of Meyer and Bennett collaborating. There is definitely a tonal difference between the acts, but it's not like they were acting independently of one another.
Right. A lot of collaborations entail the writers each taking a different subplot or portion of the story as an agreed-upon division of labor -- then rewriting each other's scenes to give it consistency.


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Lets remember how bad the first two seasons of TNG were when Gene was the showrunner, he was still doing the show like it was stuck in the 60s!
Except with a lot less censorship.

And actually Roddenberry was only the showrunner in season 1. It was Maurice Hurley in season 2.
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Old September 4 2013, 03:54 AM   #39
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, that's neither true nor fair. Before TWOK he was known for his best-selling Sherlock Holmes novel The Seven Per Cent Solution (whose film adaptation he wrote the screenplay for) and its sequel The West End Horror, and for directing the successful 1979 film Time After Time. He also wrote the 1975 TV movie The Night That Panicked America (a dramatization of the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast) and directed the influential 1983 TV movie The Day After, both of which got him Emmy nominations. The Day After was the highest-rated made-for-TV movie in history up to that point (at least) and helped influence a lot of people's attitudes toward nuclear war. And Meyer was offered the job immediately after he finished production on TWOK, and thus before it was released, so it's doubtful that he got the job because of TWOK.

So if Meyer had never done Trek, he'd still be famous for his Holmes work, Time After Time, and The Day After if nothing else, and he'd still be the recipient of multiple Emmy nominations and an Oscar nomination. Indeed, "outside of Trekdom," I'm sure he's already more famous for those thing than he is for TWOK and TUC. Trek is a pretty minor part of his career, all told.
Nonsense.

Of all those you mentioned, the only thing of any worth is Holmes book and even that is barely a blip on the radar. Cracking the NYT best sellers is a lot like landing on the Billboard Top 10: unless you get to number one or get there a more than once, everyone is going to completely forget about you within a couple of years. And all of his Holmes books (I think he wrote three?) have faded into obscurity. I wouldn't be surprised if Christopher Bennett was more widely recognized as a fiction writer than Nick Meyer, these days.

The TV films are meaningless as are the accompanying Emmys. Unless you win, no one cares. And even had he won, they're still TV movies.

Calling Time After Time a "success" is a gross over-exaggeration. It made 13M. For comparison's sake, that same year, TMP took home nearly that much in one week. Outside of science fiction circles, hardly anyone has heard of it let alone seen it. That's not to say it isn't a good film. Personally, I think it's better than Khan. But let's not make it out to be something it isn't.

On the other hand, TWOK (for better or worse) has managed to carve out its own little slice of pop culture pie. I'm sure this has more to do with the associated memes than the film itself, but it's still worthy a modest amount of recognition. Therefore, I have no doubt inquiring minds are redirected to his IMDB page via TWOK than they are Time After Time.

Furthermore, if asked at random, most people aren't going to recognize his name. Those that do (at least those who can spell it ), are most likely going to remember him as: "The guy who directed that Star Trek movie."

Even the two most successful films he's ever been involved with are hardly associated with him. His work on Prince of Egypt was dubious at best--I was never clear as to what he did, exactly. And he co-wrote (One of four, I believe.) Sommersby, which I didn't even know about until fairly recently. Everything else he's done has stayed completely beneath the beam.

50 years from now, his "legacy" (for lack of a better term) is going to be The Wrath of Khan. That was evident by 1991, which brings us back to my initial point.
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Old September 4 2013, 04:13 AM   #40
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

^People can be poorly remembered without being "hacks." A hack is someone who lacks talent, and while I don't care for Meyer's interpretation of Star Trek, I would never accuse him of being untalented. In fact, I rather like most of his non-Trek work that I've seen.

As for "just TV movies," I have to wonder if you're old enough to remember The Day After. That was more than just a TV movie. At the time, it was intensely controversial and provocative. For many people, it was the first time they'd been exposed to the horrific details of what a nuclear holocaust and its aftermath would be like. It was all over the news for weeks, our teachers talked to us about it in school... it was the television event of the decade, at the very least. Heck, my father didn't even want me to watch it, because he thought my 17-year-old mind would be too emotionally fragile to handle the horrors. I had to reason with him extensively to convince him to let me watch. Turns out it didn't shock me much at all because I'd already read books like Hiroshima and The Fate of the Earth and Cosmos and knew the dangers and consequences of nuclear war already. But for a lot of the nation, it was stunning and revelatory. No TV movie in history has been less "just a TV movie" than that one.

So if people remember Meyer more for TWOK today, that's only because nuclear war now seems like an obsolete issue. Also it was a harrowing and uncompromising film, not exactly something one would want to seek out for repeat viewings. But by all rights, if history remembers Meyer for any single film, it absolutely should be The Day After.
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Old September 4 2013, 04:21 AM   #41
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
Lets remember how bad the first two seasons of TNG were when Gene was the showrunner, he was still doing the show like it was stuck in the 60s!
Except with a lot less censorship.

And actually Roddenberry was only the showrunner in season 1. It was Maurice Hurley in season 2.
Hurley was the sole showrunner for season 2? Really? You learn something new everyday!
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Old September 4 2013, 04:38 AM   #42
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Totally agree with you about Meyer not fitting the 'hack' descrip, which is BS, but disagree rather strenuously about THE DAY AFTER. While it falls under the heading of 'nice try,' it was nowhere near as impressive as SPECIAL BULLETIN, a show NBC did around the same time that carried a helluva lot more impact.

I think THE DAY AFTER had to deal with a lot more censorship problems than just about any TV programming I can recall, and that's just based on reading the old CINEFEX article ... also I think it suffered from losing its original director, Robert Butler (TOS' THE CAGE, HILL ST BLUES pilot) when he had to bow out and work on REMINGTON STEELE.

Could also be that there were just too many good intentions, so the cast may have attracted more attention for starpower than performance (I remember being surprised and distracted by Lithgow and JoBeth Williams, with both of them very prominent from 1982 feature films, and thought the film would have worked better with less-recognizable character actors -- which is what SPECIAL BULLETIN did for the most part.)

The thing I remember most about THE DAY AFTER broadcast was that the network ran a 45min feature afterward (I think that was because they lost all their usual advertising after the bomb dropped, so they had a lot of dead time left over) with political types discussing nuclear war.

Pretty sure McNamera was there, not sure who else. But it was more upsetting than the movie for me, because its hard to compete with genuine political types when it comes to menace (that was a very frightening time -- I remember absolutely being convinced that civilization would not weather Reagan's occupancy of the big house, and in that sense was of the same mind as Meyer, that we could not possibly get out of the 20th century intact.)

Back on topic: has anybody brought up PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW as an example of GR's writing talent? Pretty sure that is his only feature credit. Also, it'd be interesting to see if his talked-up take on a sexed-up TARZAN (pre-BoDerek) ever actually got written up, or if it was just vaporware.
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Old September 4 2013, 04:41 AM   #43
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Dream wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
Lets remember how bad the first two seasons of TNG were when Gene was the showrunner, he was still doing the show like it was stuck in the 60s!
Except with a lot less censorship.

And actually Roddenberry was only the showrunner in season 1. It was Maurice Hurley in season 2.
Hurley was the sole showrunner for season 2? Really? You learn something new everyday!
That TNG 'continuing mission' book is not without a few flaws, but it is pretty frank about a lot of what was going on & going wrong behind the scenes in early TNG. Worth a read, to be sure, and that's coming from somebody who wasn't even much of a fan of the show.
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Old September 4 2013, 04:47 AM   #44
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

trevanian wrote: View Post
That TNG 'continuing mission' book is not without a few flaws, but it is pretty frank about a lot of what was going on & going wrong behind the scenes in early TNG. Worth a read, to be sure, and that's coming from somebody who wasn't even much of a fan of the show.
All I know about Hurley is that he is notorious for introducing the Borg and harassing Gates McFadden till she got fired. Thankfully, McFadden was able to come back after Hurley left.

How was Gene Roddenberry in terms of his treatment of women?
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Old September 4 2013, 05:33 AM   #45
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^People can be poorly remembered without being "hacks." A hack is someone who lacks talent, and while I don't care for Meyer's interpretation of Star Trek, I would never accuse him of being untalented.
"Hack" is not a synonym for untalented. It's neither implies as such, nor is it necessarily pejorative. "Hackneyed," however, is a word I'd use to describe the majority of his portfolio.

I think Stephen King is a hack. I also think he's one talented SOB.

Heck, my father didn't even want me to watch it, because he thought my 17-year-old mind would be too emotionally fragile to handle the horrors. I had to reason with him extensively to convince him to let me watch. Turns out it didn't shock me much at all because I'd already read books like Hiroshima and The Fate of the Earth and Cosmos and knew the dangers and consequences of nuclear war already.
A wonderful anecdote, but it still doesn't change the common perception of TV movies. While I would agree it isn't always fair--there are some TV movies I think are brilliant--the fact of the matter is they are almost never subject to re-airings. They are also rarely printed on distributable media. Even the good ones. The ones that are lucky enough to make it to video (It was one of the lucky ones.) are usually subject to the back of the store or, worse, the dollar bin. They simply don't the sustainable pop-culture permanence that features do. People forget about them and those who created them. This has nothing to do with political atmosphere or any other outside influence.

But do you think people really pay attention to the writers and directors of this things the same way they do feature films? I don't know how it was then, but from what I can remember growing up the TV listings in the newspaper always had the directors for features, but never did for any TV Movies. I guess the paper figured it a waste of valuable space because people just didn't care enough.

I haven't paid attention in years, but I'd bet it's often the same nowadays with DVR menus. People just don't care as much. This is probably because, with TV, directors are often perceived as less important than producers. And had he not been involved with one of the most successful films of the previous year, would most people even have noticed his name or would they have just glanced over it and moved on?

But by all rights, if history remembers Meyer for any single film, it absolutely should be The Day After.
Maybe is should be, and maybe it's unfair, but wishing for something doesn't make it so.
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