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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old September 16 2013, 08:10 PM   #1
JT Perfecthair
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Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

My particular age group was just a bit too young to watch TOS during first run, rather I caught it in the early 70s when it started to run on "local" channels. I'm in western Canada so local in this case was whenever a smaller affiliate stations in Seattle played it. Each time you watched a Trek broadcast back then you got a slightly different show, as it was cut more and more to allow for more commercial time. I swear some of them were only half an hour long when they were done!

So who decided on the cuts? Did the studios ever provide a shorter length edit to allow for the syndication? Or did each station have some intern cut out what they felt were "the less important bits"?

Is this handled differently today for the post TOS shows, where syndication is planned from the start?
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Old September 16 2013, 08:16 PM   #2
MacLeod
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

Well if you look the running time for episodes when TNG started was about 44mins, by the time ENT finished it was closer to the 42m. So episode times have still decreased.
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Old September 17 2013, 12:46 AM   #3
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Well if you look the running time for episodes when TNG started was about 44mins, by the time ENT finished it was closer to the 42m. So episode times have still decreased.
TOS was about 50 minutes!
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Old September 17 2013, 01:12 AM   #4
Green Shirt
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

When Trek was syndicated in the early 70s, IIRC it was shown in my area only on WMAR, Ch.2. The cuts I remember from that era were sometimes the "less important" scenes (such as the Mexican Chili Peppers part from The Man Trap). I remember first seeing that scene when we finally got a rooftop antenna to pull in the D.C. stations who cut their eps differently. These types of cuts didn't ruin the episodes, but removed some of the flavor.

Other cuts really made you wonder what was going on in the story. The worst of these was the teaser cut in Mudd's Women. The episode began with a closeup of Lt. Farrell and his line "We're protecting him, sir. Won't be able to hold it long". The viewer had no idea what was going on up to that point.
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Old September 17 2013, 01:20 AM   #5
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

I don't know, but they should be arrested.

And the cuts have gotten worse. I did a little experiment a while back where I DVRed one of the episodes on the MYTV station. I took a rough estimate of the actual show part. It was "Operation: Annihilate!" and it clocked in at about 38 minutes.
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Old September 17 2013, 08:23 AM   #6
Captain Rob
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

I hate MeTV.
They cut to a commercial at random times. Usually midscene, and sometimes in mid sentence. When someone gave me the TOS DVD box set (3 plastic colored cases) for a present. I was seeing new footage for the first time in almost every episode.
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Old September 17 2013, 10:12 PM   #7
Frontier
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

I imagine any network does their own cuts.

It's not Trek, but I find it annoying how childishly Hallmark channel cuts shows like "Fraiser" and "Golden Girls" (guilty pleasure on the last one; so sue me!)

They are constantly bleeping out (well, muting) the most low-key of "profanity" - words like "crap" and "ass" and "hell" and "damn" - simple stuff you can hear at 8 pm. Even if the rerun is airing at 11pm or 2 am, it'll still be muted if someone says anything above "heck" - and I find that really lame and silly. Especially when you're talking a show like "Golden Girls" or something, lol.

As far as time cuts and Trek... I imagine it's individual networks that decide how/where. I know BBCAmerica cuts TNG for time.

I wish we had a law or something against such. Something about preserving the artists original intent. :P I hate to see anything cut, especially by hacks and for time and content. I can't watch a movie on anything but pay cable or DVD. If it's on basic cable or broadcast, it's just been cut to shit by the moral crusaders and the advertising bean counters.
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Old September 18 2013, 02:15 AM   #8
Shawnster
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

Well, this explains a lot for me. I bought The Nitpicker's Guide to TOS and that book lists the syndication cuts. I was confused because I know I saw many of those scenes that were cut, but I have only seen TOS in syndication. It makes sense that I could remember those scenes if local stations made their own cuts. I watched TOS reruns from at least 4 local affiliates over the 70s and 80s.
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Old September 18 2013, 05:03 AM   #9
scotpens
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

When Trek TOS was first syndicated in the early 1970s, the episodes were on 16mm film. Individual TV stations that bought the show made their own cuts -- often with abrupt and very noticeable splices.
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Old September 20 2013, 03:24 AM   #10
Phingerz
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

I had also noticed cuts in episode syndication more and more. Growing up, I remember the original series before syndication. Continuing this affection for Star Trek, I started attempting to record all of TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise during initial airings religiously. Now, my appetite for them is not as strong.
Does anyone have an idea of how to share these nicely labeled recordings on VHS tapes? Give them a loving home perhaps?
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Old September 20 2013, 09:35 AM   #11
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

Having access to all of the series on Netflix and Amazon now, I was shocked to find out how many scenes that I had never seen before.
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Old September 20 2013, 10:09 AM   #12
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Re: Who cuts up the episodes when they reach syndication

When I started watching TOS reruns as a teenager I would have said they were cut up by blind people.
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