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

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Old December 20 2013, 04:34 AM   #166
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

I'm enjoying the Space 1999 discussion that has broken out in this thread, as I am currently in the middle of rewatching the entire series. I have to admit that the show isn't exactly as great as I had remembered it to be, but to be fair, I was ten when it first aired here in the States.

The 70's were a golden age of sorts for pop sci-fi, from Trek reruns, to 1999 and Battlestar Galactica, and culminating in Star Wars and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

As for Fred Freiberger, perhaps he shouldn't be judged so harshly. Trek was already on borrowed time before he took over, and short of NBC putting it back in a better timeslot and the production budget being increased, I don't believe that anything or anyone was going to be able to save it at that point.
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Old December 20 2013, 04:45 AM   #167
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
plynch wrote: View Post
Just watched the 2099 promo.

No no no no no no no no no. The last straw was the super sweet 70s typewriter she was using and they turn it into a MacBook. Argh!!!
Irony of ironies, too. In the 70's, the original producers envisioned a typewriter being used in the future. Now, someone sees a "MacBook" in use in 2099. What's the "improvement" in that?
Yep, making it look like a recent model of an iMac is just as dated, it will let everyone who views it in the future place it as something from circa-2010, which is just as "bad" (worse really since it's a deliberate revision) as being able to place it in the late-70s because of the typewriter.

I had a chance to sit down and watch that "Space:2099" video today. Oh man, where do I begin... I get the tweaks and enhancements to say the starfields and fixing the missing sound effects, etc. But oh boy, the outright retconning of the new 2099 date is poorly executed, and the attempt to change the reason why the moon was thrown out of orbit to a wormhole is also poor and just doesn't seem to have any real point.
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Old December 20 2013, 05:27 AM   #168
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Push The Button wrote: View Post
As for Fred Freiberger, perhaps he shouldn't be judged so harshly. Trek was already on borrowed time before he took over, and short of NBC putting it back in a better timeslot and the production budget being increased, I don't believe that anything or anyone was going to be able to save it at that point.
Perhaps not, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't have been nice to have a better-written final season so it could've gone out on a stronger note. Or to get the originally pitched versions of episodes like "Spock's Brain" or "The Mark of Gideon" or "The Way to Eden" that didn't have the silly aspects of the final versions.

Although I think Roddenberry bears much of the responsibility there because of his decision to basically wash his hands of the show. I mean, I get that he had to think about his future and focus on his next project, but at least he could've made more of an effort to leave the show in good hands, like promoting Bob Justman to producer or asking John Meredyth Lucas to stay on.
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Old December 20 2013, 05:49 AM   #169
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Push The Button wrote: View Post
As for Fred Freiberger, perhaps he shouldn't be judged so harshly. Trek was already on borrowed time before he took over, and short of NBC putting it back in a better timeslot and the production budget being increased, I don't believe that anything or anyone was going to be able to save it at that point.
Perhaps not, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't have been nice to have a better-written final season so it could've gone out on a stronger note. Or to get the originally pitched versions of episodes like "Spock's Brain" or "The Mark of Gideon" or "The Way to Eden" that didn't have the silly aspects of the final versions.

Although I think Roddenberry bears much of the responsibility there because of his decision to basically wash his hands of the show. I mean, I get that he had to think about his future and focus on his next project, but at least he could've made more of an effort to leave the show in good hands, like promoting Bob Justman to producer or asking John Meredyth Lucas to stay on.
I'm not making an accusation here but could GR maybe subconciously not wanted Star Trek to be a 'success' without him. So he put the 'wrong' people in. Or was it still his baby despite everything?
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Old December 20 2013, 01:54 PM   #170
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

SpHeRe31459 wrote: View Post
LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
plynch wrote: View Post
Just watched the 2099 promo.

No no no no no no no no no. The last straw was the super sweet 70s typewriter she was using and they turn it into a MacBook. Argh!!!
Irony of ironies, too. In the 70's, the original producers envisioned a typewriter being used in the future. Now, someone sees a "MacBook" in use in 2099. What's the "improvement" in that?
Yep, making it look like a recent model of an iMac is just as dated, it will let everyone who views it in the future place it as something from circa-2010, which is just as "bad" (worse really since it's a deliberate revision) as being able to place it in the late-70s because of the typewriter.
Yeah, I don't see what the issue is with the typewriter. It still doesn't seem out of place to me watching it today. In fact, it's easy to assume that Helena is deliberately using a piece of retro technology because she's writing up the dragon incident for her own benefit - she doesn't want to make an official computer record that might be read and reproduced.
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Old December 20 2013, 02:16 PM   #171
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

This Space: 2099 is atrocious, both in conception and in execution. This sort of thing really gets my goat (is lucasization going to be a word?), especially in conjunction with bowdlerization, such as was perhaps in a sense done here, as was definitely done to Star Wars, but definitely and to a greater degree, as was done to The Martian Chronicles. I had a lot of problems with TOS-R, but this 2099 takes it too a new low, and makes TOS-R look like a textbook case for how to do everything right. Gotta love the narration in the video that has the tone which suggests that naturally this is all good.
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Old December 20 2013, 02:26 PM   #172
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Elf Spock wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Push The Button wrote: View Post
As for Fred Freiberger, perhaps he shouldn't be judged so harshly. Trek was already on borrowed time before he took over, and short of NBC putting it back in a better timeslot and the production budget being increased, I don't believe that anything or anyone was going to be able to save it at that point.
Perhaps not, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't have been nice to have a better-written final season so it could've gone out on a stronger note. Or to get the originally pitched versions of episodes like "Spock's Brain" or "The Mark of Gideon" or "The Way to Eden" that didn't have the silly aspects of the final versions.

Although I think Roddenberry bears much of the responsibility there because of his decision to basically wash his hands of the show. I mean, I get that he had to think about his future and focus on his next project, but at least he could've made more of an effort to leave the show in good hands, like promoting Bob Justman to producer or asking John Meredyth Lucas to stay on.
I'm not making an accusation here but could GR maybe subconciously not wanted Star Trek to be a 'success' without him. So he put the 'wrong' people in. Or was it still his baby despite everything?
Interesting point. I never entirely understood why he walked away either - it was on the air after all, and if any profits were being generated, he'd split them with Paramount/Desilu (and, it is rumoured, Shatner), but perhaps Roddenberry felt that the show was a lost cause, was backbreaking work and that he had plenty of other great TV concepts he wanted to do that would surely be all hits.

Freiberger, it is said, was Roddenberry's choice to produce Season One - Gene probably thought Freiberger was a great hire, and he finally got the guy he wanted all along.

It is possible as well that stories about Gene Roddenberry were circulating around Hollywood by this point, and few wanted to work with him. Roddenberry may have been a gifted, visionary creative force, but from everything I've read, he is the sort of person you would run a mile from having professional dealings with (in my opinion).
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Old December 20 2013, 02:42 PM   #173
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Roddenberry walked away from Season Three in large part because NBC placed STAR TREK in the Friday 10 pm death slot. After all the letter campaigns to keep TREK going, he felt that the ratings would suffer and elected to abandon the sinking ship.
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Old December 20 2013, 03:24 PM   #174
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Elf Spock wrote: View Post
I'm not making an accusation here but could GR maybe subconciously not wanted Star Trek to be a 'success' without him. So he put the 'wrong' people in. Or was it still his baby despite everything?
No, that doesn't add up. It was only "without him" because he chose to direct his attention elsewhere. His other staffers had moved on, but he was still the executive producer of the show up until it ended. If he'd chosen to, he would've still been the head writer as well. If anything, it would've been self-destructive to sabotage a show that was still officially his.


Botany Bay wrote: View Post
Interesting point. I never entirely understood why he walked away either - it was on the air after all, and if any profits were being generated, he'd split them with Paramount/Desilu (and, it is rumoured, Shatner), but perhaps Roddenberry felt that the show was a lost cause, was backbreaking work and that he had plenty of other great TV concepts he wanted to do that would surely be all hits.
I agree. It's easy for us to forget today, but back then, ST was just another TV show. It was only the second show Roddenberry had produced, and while he was probably proud of it, he expected it would be just one early stepping-stone in a long career. So once it was clear that ST was doomed, he felt he had to begin focusing on what came next. He didn't know that ST would end up being his only success.


Freiberger, it is said, was Roddenberry's choice to produce Season One - Gene probably thought Freiberger was a great hire, and he finally got the guy he wanted all along.
Right. He wanted to leave the show in what he believed were capable hands. But with nearly everyone else moving on and Roddenberry stepping back, there was just too little creator continuity, too little guidance for the new staff in how to handle the show.


It is possible as well that stories about Gene Roddenberry were circulating around Hollywood by this point, and few wanted to work with him. Roddenberry may have been a gifted, visionary creative force, but from everything I've read, he is the sort of person you would run a mile from having professional dealings with (in my opinion).
Maybe, but I think that was more the case in the TNG years than at this time. He was able to get TOS collaborators to work with him again on other projects: Fontana on TAS and TNG, Justman on Planet Earth and TNG, Coon on The Questor Tapes. So the Roddenberry of the '60s must not have burned his bridges as thoroughly as he did later in his career.
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Old December 20 2013, 05:33 PM   #175
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

On that INSIDE STAR TREK LP from the mid 70s, when being interviewed on stage by Shatner, GR says that if he had it to do over again, he'd've line produced season 3 even after being given the death time slot.

That could just be self-serving claptrap, especially given that by 1975, TREK had turned into the syndication monster nobody anticipated and was already being evaluated and reevaluated for big-screen revival, but I don't suppose you can rule out the idea that he was sincere.

Maybe he really thought Freiberger could mainstream the show to some degree (though I still can't see why Lucas wouldn't have been a better candidate, since he already proved he could do the same - maybe DC Fontana has some knowledge about the Lucas situation she hasn't yet chosen to share? I mean, it was nearly 20 years on the whole bit where she admitted to having rewritten CITY, and she had actually gone so far as to write a letter to CFQ in the 80s specifically refuting the very idea) and then GR could just chime in occasionally to keep it from being perverted into something he didn't want.
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Old December 20 2013, 10:16 PM   #176
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

I suspect the reality was several things.
  1. It's actually very common for series creators to step back from their shows after a season or two because you never know how long a series will run (even hits are cancelled sometimes) and you always want to have something in the queue.
  2. You get a paid for every episode of each show just because you're the creator, even if you've left the show, so you're still making money on it even if you move on. The more shows you have on the air, the more dough you get.
  3. Gene claimed he told NBC he would come back and line produce the show in the 3rd season based on the timeslot he was promised, but when the show got bumped to Friday at 10 (because of Laugh-In) he felt that in order to have any credibility with the network in future bargaining he had to stick by his guns and step back, since his coming back to line produce was contingent on the timeslot. (I can't speak to how true this is.)
  4. The 10pm timeslot really was a death sentence for a show whose audience was that which Star Trek's was, so Gene may well have thought he'd better focus all his attentions on selling something new.
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Old December 20 2013, 11:06 PM   #177
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

After reading the sample online of the These Are the Voyages book, I have a different feel for GR. He had written for many series. He had many ideas. You get one going, burn out (S1), hire good lieutenants and move on to your next idea/creation. We view him now as TREKCREATOR Roddenberry, but at the time, he was Gene R, writer-producer in '60s/70s TV.

Sometimes I've finished writing a piece of music or song and sort of don't care if it gets performed. It was a puzzle, a challenge, now it's complete, move on. An imperfect analogy, but GR maybe was a more restless creative spirit than we Trek-centrics conceive.

2. Someone asked what I teach, wherein I would use BW movies. I am a HS school instructor in beautiful Escanaba, MI, in the upper peninsula, on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. I currently teach Civics, Econ, and Psych. Just today, the day before break, I had to leave my psych kids in suspense of the Bad Seed. It gets weirder and weirder, and they have to wait until January to find out what happens. They were ready to rebel when I hit pause today. Victory. I do have to prep them it is a filmed play, so WAY talkier than moder movies. So I agree with someone above who thought BW is not the prob, but it is associated with a style of movie so different from the noise/action (dare I say Abrams/Jackson??) style that is the now.
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Old December 21 2013, 12:57 AM   #178
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

plynch wrote: View Post
After reading the sample online of the These Are the Voyages book, I have a different feel for GR. He had written for many series. He had many ideas. You get one going, burn out (S1), hire good lieutenants and move on to your next idea/creation. We view him now as TREKCREATOR Roddenberry, but at the time, he was Gene R, writer-producer in '60s/70s TV.

Sometimes I've finished writing a piece of music or song and sort of don't care if it gets performed. It was a puzzle, a challenge, now it's complete, move on. An imperfect analogy, but GR maybe was a more restless creative spirit than we Trek-centrics conceive.
ST was only the second series he'd created and produced. I doubt any producer wants to peak that early in their career. He probably hoped to move on to a fuller career that would include a number of different successful series. He certainly had a bunch of SF ideas and got several of them to pilot stage, and almost to series stage with Questor, though it fell through. Heck, he developed the initial idea for Assignment: Earth in 1966, during ST's first season. He wanted to have more than one show on the air at the same time, or at least to have something to fall back on if ST got cancelled.

I wonder if Roddenberry would've gotten more shows on the air if he had been easier to work with. How much did he shoot himself in the foot, career-wise, with his behavior and attitude?
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Old December 21 2013, 02:46 AM   #179
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

I suspect, massively. And it's a real shame. What might have been?

If the US entertainment business is anything like the one where I live, people are forever meeting up at awards nights etc, and, generally the whole thing is usually a gossip fest about what is going on behind the scenes at other companies.

The goings on at Desilu would have been spread far and wide.

Anyway, back to Freiberger, you do have to feel for the guy taking all the heat for season 3 over the years. We will never know, but I suspect a Roddenberry produced season three without the likes of Fontana, Coon, Black, Solow, Justman etc around him would not have been any better than what was served up by Freiberger/Singer - who knows, it could have been worse.
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Old December 21 2013, 03:18 AM   #180
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Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Botany Bay wrote: View Post
We will never know, but I suspect a Roddenberry produced season three without the likes of Fontana, Coon, Black, Solow, Justman etc around him would not have been any better than what was served up by Freiberger/Singer - who knows, it could have been worse.
Interesting

But IMO Season 3 wasn't all that bad.

It had some really good episodes that defined aspects in the Star Trek universe. It also had a few duds.

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