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

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Old December 18 2013, 08:42 AM   #121
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

I read somewhere that the Andersons were saddened by the fact that everyone is ready to nitpick the science of the show (ignoring the stories they wanted to tell) and in meantime "Star Trek" has a "free pass" for all its inaccuracies...

Edit. Wikipedia tells me that the quote is from this book: "Destination: Moonbase Alpha, Telos Publications, 2010"
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Old December 18 2013, 09:29 AM   #122
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Zaku wrote: View Post
I read somewhere that the Andersons were saddened by the fact that everyone is ready to nitpick the science of the show (ignoring the stories they wanted to tell) and in meantime "Star Trek" has a "free pass" for all its inaccuracies...

Edit. Wikipedia tells me that the quote is from this book: "Destination: Moonbase Alpha, Telos Publications, 2010"
It's their own damn fault, for not getting in front of the problem early enough. Andrew_Kearley is correct that Koenig et al. said that their survival was a miracle. However, not only didn't the writers lead with the idea that a higher power was responsible for all the mechanics of the moon getting blasted out of orbit, but also they never unambiguously said that anyway.

AFAIK, any way of making sense of the events in "Breakaway" involves some sort of retcon. My way of approaching the problem is to lay all unexplained phenomena about the Moon's departure on the shoulders of the rogue planet Meta, which was the source of a mysterious signal in the pilot. Unfortunately, Meta is a thread that's been dropped by the very next episode.

Somehow, the premise of the show was never fully disentangled from its conception as the sequel to UFO, in which aliens would steal the Moon as a means of disarming Earth. (Apparently, the alien gravity ray doesn't cause the Moon to dissociate into a stream of particles, and it's easier to just make the Moon leave orbit than to destroy it; perhaps the aliens are reserving the possibility of brining it back someday.) Although higher powers were encountered on several occasions who hinted at cosmic purpose and destiny, no counterpart to the UFO aliens ever appeared in Space: 1999 who could be said to be responsible for the whole thing. Having a half-baked premise was the problem, and it could never be overcome, despite what are in my opinion a number of worthwhile episodes, including most of Byrne's.

On the subject of what Freiberger et al. could have done to keep the show from crashing, where do I begin? Frankly, the higher power stuff is all but jettisoned for the second year. There is no follow-up that I know of whatsoever to the climax of the first season, "The Testament of Arkadia", which surely should have been a game-changer for the Alphans, in terms of understanding their place in the cosmos.

Instead of moving towards a higher purpose, the whole thing devolved even closer to GNDN (goes nowhere, does nothing). I would have been concerned with at least establishing a meaningful premise besides being forever lost in space, simply lurching from one random threat to another. In Star Trek TOS, you knew where the Enterprise stood. In Lost in Space, there is at least some hope that the Jupiter 2 will find Earth someday. In 1999, the Alphans had no such hope, and the show ultimately seemed to be all about falling away into nothingness, sorta like The Incredible Shrinking Man. Shrinking Man is a brilliant movie, but it would make an awful TV series, since he just never stops shrinking (unless he did, but then he wouldn't be shrinking anymore).

Even in Quantum Leap, the whole thing is seen to be for some higher purpose.
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Old December 18 2013, 09:38 AM   #123
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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Instead of higher purpose, the whole thing devolved even further to GNDN (goes nowhere, does nothing).
It isn't a running subplot that they were hoping to find a planet suitable for colonization? (Or something similiar, It 's been a long time )
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Old December 18 2013, 09:55 AM   #124
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Zaku wrote: View Post
Coach Comet wrote: View Post
Instead of higher purpose, the whole thing devolved even further to GNDN (goes nowhere, does nothing).
It isn't a running subplot that they were hoping to find a planet suitable for colonization? (Or something similiar, It 's been a long time )
In a Gilligan's Island kinda way, yeah.

What I mean is, at some point it became clear that their chances of colonizing a planet were no greater than those of Gilligan and pals making it back to the States.
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Old December 18 2013, 10:12 AM   #125
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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Getting back to 1999, but not to diss it. While I could never buy into the nature of how the moon got flung into deep space, it made for some very evocative imagery. But how do you retain that "look" and yet have some "sliver" of plausibility in the overall concept? I've suggested the following in a few other threads and forums.

Don't have a conventional explosion tear the moon from its orbit. As stated by others earlier, that just won't work. Instead, have it be some sort of warp/jump/hyperdrive what have you kind of experiment gone horribly wrong. Yeah, yeah, I know, that DeviantArt piece with the space station set in 2099 presents the same basic idea. All I can say is that you will just have to trust me when I claim I considered a similar idea years BEFORE reading that piece. (No, I'm not claiming that artist used my idea. It's just one of those instances independent parallel thinking.) Chief difference, in my scenario, it's not just a space station that suffers the accident, but like the original concept, it's the whole freakin' moon.

Either the accident is caused by human technology and error, or, since the series was influenced considerably by Kubrick's iconic film "2001", take it that one step further and have it be alien technology humans have found upon the moon. Maybe that's the reason for the base, to analyze the artifacts, and somehow we "stupid apes" manage to activate it without being able to control it. The best the Alphans can do to is to notice certain patterns that serve as warnings when the thing starts up and shuts down, thus giving them the opportunity to explore using their own comparatively limited technology like the Eagles.

Eh, don't mind me; I'm just rambling.

Sincerely,

Bill

That's interesting stuff. It gets the moon's interstellar travel in motion and makes internal sense. An idea like that in pre-production might have saved the show from all the disrespect it got.

My old pet idea for Space: 1999 goes even further toward scientific plausibility, at the cost of giving up the galactic playground. Have an asteroid hit the Earth (like in Armageddon or Deep Impact), while the moon and Moonbase Alpha remain unscathed and still in Earth orbit. The Earth becomes enshrouded in a massive dust cloud and all contact is lost.

The Alphans have to deal with this tremendous tragedy (is everyone we ever knew dead?) and figure out whether, when, and how to fly blind down into that dust and survey what's left of the world. Between the enclosed, well-ordered, but emotionally devastated Alphan city on one hand, and Eagle flights down into the new wilderness and savagery of Earth on the other, I think you could get a series out of it.
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Old December 18 2013, 01:10 PM   #126
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Coach Comet wrote: View Post
On the subject of what Freiberger et al. could have done to keep the show from crashing, where do I begin? Frankly, the higher power stuff is all but jettisoned for the second year. There is no follow-up that I know of whatsoever to the climax of the first season, "The Testament of Arkadia", which surely should have been a game-changer for the Alphans, in terms of understanding their place in the cosmos.
Well, that's the whole problem really, and why I generally regard the first season as a separate entity, and the second as a rather disastrous attempt at a reboot.
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Old December 18 2013, 02:12 PM   #127
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

So, if the show premise had been Nuclear Waste technobabble explosion technobabble space warp that swallows all the moon technobabble and the plot of following episodes had been exactly the same (except the random space warp of the moon), would people have liked the show more?

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Old December 18 2013, 03:24 PM   #128
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Coach Comet wrote: View Post
What I mean is, at some point it became clear that their chances of colonizing a planet were no greater than those of Gilligan and pals making it back to the States.
Oh well, if it' s any consolation...

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Old December 18 2013, 03:31 PM   #129
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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Oh well, if it' s any consolation...
Yeah, that's a fan-film written by Johnny Byrne, and of course starring Zienia Merton [the wiki on it].
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Old December 18 2013, 05:30 PM   #130
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Zaku wrote: View Post
So, if the show premise had been Nuclear Waste technobabble explosion technobabble space warp that swallows all the moon technobabble and the plot of following episodes had been exactly the same (except the random space warp of the moon), would people have liked the show more?
I doubt it. The moon explosion premise is an easy target, but I think the series' problems go far beyond it. For the most part, though, the series always looks cool (even if it's quite derivative of 2001: A Space Odyssey).
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Old December 18 2013, 05:34 PM   #131
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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Maybe the first tellers of the myths used them as attempts to understand the cosmology and workings of the universe, but the myths were still being told by Greeks at a point when Greek science had moved beyond them. By that time they were understood as allegories and symbols.
Actually, myth, religion, and art have always been understood as symbol, the interface between the known and unknowable. It's mainly in our age that we concretize the forms and interpret them literally. On the one hand you have the fundamentalist believing in literal angels, people with bird wings sitting on clouds, and on the other hand you have Zecharia Stitchin believing the gods are space aliens. Both extreme sides misinterpret myth as literal fact.

Myth has to do with connotations rather than denotations. The denotation of God pulling a rib from Adam is that this is historically how woman was made. If you're stuck with the denotation, you imagine literal supernatural or extraterrestrial beings involved in the act. A modern allegory could be the pulling away from the earth a "rib" to form the moon, a worldwide symbol of the feminine and the cycles of time and of life (as well as the ability of life to throw off death and be reborn as the moon casts off its shadow). The moon is also connected with the serpent, a creature who sheds its skin as the moon sheds a shadow, a creature which also appears with Eve in the garden of Eden. It's at the snake's behest that the woman initiates mankind out of the eternal and into the field of time.

The connotation of the story has to do with the unity behind all apparent diversity, the opposites we see in the world (such as male and female) ultimately coming from one primal source. This mythological truth is to be neither scientifically proven nor "believed," but, through the myth and associated rituals, experienced.
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Old December 18 2013, 05:48 PM   #132
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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I doubt it. The moon explosion premise is an easy target, but I think the series' problems go far beyond it. For the most part, though, the series always looks cool (even if it's quite derivative of 2001: A Space Odyssey).
From the hilarious recap/review of Agony Booth
http://www.agonybooth.com/tv/Space__1999/Breakaway.aspx
Bain is playing Dr. Helena Russell, the base’s chief medical officer. Actually, “playing” might be too strong a word. She just stands there, speaking in a whisper without any inflection or emotion in her voice whatsoever. And I’m not talking about this one scene. She goes through the entire series like this.

This isn’t a screencap. It’s an eight minute video.
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Old December 18 2013, 05:57 PM   #133
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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Actually, myth, religion, and art have always been understood as symbol. It's mainly in our age that we concretize the forms and interpret them literally.
That's true, but it doesn't mean they didn't consider the myths to have no reality. They were attempts to codify the reality around them, to give it meaning; it's just that their approach to doing so was very different from our modern approach. They saw truth more as a function of the stories they told than of some external, objective phenomenon. Generally it's only when writing/printing enters a society that a more objective view takes hold, because it's only then that the stories with which they define the world take on a permanent, objective form rather than being reinvented by every teller.
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Old December 18 2013, 09:05 PM   #134
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Zaku wrote: View Post
So, if the show premise had been Nuclear Waste technobabble explosion technobabble space warp that swallows all the moon technobabble and the plot of following episodes had been exactly the same (except the random space warp of the moon), would people have liked the show more?
No. General audiences don't care.


Coach Comet wrote: View Post
Somehow, the premise of the show was never fully disentangled from its conception as the sequel to UFO, in which aliens would steal the Moon as a means of disarming Earth. (Apparently, the alien gravity ray doesn't cause the Moon to dissociate into a stream of particles, and it's easier to just make the Moon leave orbit than to destroy it; perhaps the aliens are reserving the possibility of brining it back someday.)
I don't recall ever reading/hearing the before.

Anyone who thinks the Moon can act as a "shield" has no idea how far away the Moon is (25ish Earth radii away), so if the UFOs just attacked when the Moon was on the far side from their approach vector...
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Old December 18 2013, 11:23 PM   #135
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

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From the hilarious recap/review of Agony Booth
Didn't make me laugh.

Actually, I'm increasingly of the view that the perception of Barbara Bain's performance is badly affected by the episodes being played at the wrong speed.
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