RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,073
Posts: 5,397,924
Members: 24,733
Currently online: 582
Newest member: herneetkaur

TrekToday headlines

Two New Starship Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26

Trek Actor Wins Emmy
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26

Trek Retro Watches
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26

New DS9 eBook To Debut
By: T'Bonz on Aug 25

Trek Ice Cube Maker and Shot Glasses
By: T'Bonz on Aug 25

City on the Edge of Forever #3 Preview
By: T'Bonz on Aug 25

TV Alert: Shatner TNG Documentary
By: T'Bonz on Aug 25

Forbes Cast In Powers
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

Dorn To Voice Firefly Character
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

No ALS Ice Bucket For Saldana
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 21 2013, 03:20 AM   #181
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Botany Bay wrote: View Post
I suspect, massively. And it's a real shame. What might have been?
Who knows? I'm on the fence about whether Assignment: Earth would've made a good series; the idea had potential, but the actual episode didn't necessarily sell it too well. I've read the script for the original, non-Trek-related '66 pilot, and it was pretty awful. I get the impression it was meant more as a sitcom, sort of like My Favorite Martian but with more spy-vs.-spy, but it wasn't at all funny. The proposal Art Wallace and Roddenberry did for the Trek-spinoff series sounded a lot more interesting. It stressed that the crises would come from human flaws and foibles rather than aliens and fanciful phenomena (which was largely to contrast it with the competition, The Invaders). That could've made it a nice, smart drama, and one with diverse story possibilities, or it could've proved limiting.

There was also The Questor Tapes, which was basically a rehash of the A:E premise (cool, intelligent being uses alien tech to shepherd Earth away from self-destruction), but I think it would've been a stronger series, since Robert Foxworth and Mike Farrell had a great chemistry, a lot like Kirk and Spock. I never felt Robert Lansing and Teri Garr had the same kind of rapport. (Of course, if A:E had gone to series, there could've been a cast change -- either a new sidekick or a recast Roberta, without explanation in either case, which was common back then.) Although a Questor series would've been stronger if the movie hadn't already resolved his quest, if there'd been some ongoing mystery about his origins and nature.

Then there's Genesis II/Planet Earth. That had potential, and was designed to be a "Hundred Worlds" series like Trek, visiting a different exotic culture every week, just on post-apocalyptic Earth instead of space. Actually this idea was executed elsewhere, in the Logan's Run series and Ark II on Saturday mornings, with limited success. So G2/PE might not have lasted much longer than those. G2 definitely wasn't viable in that form; Alex Cord wasn't an appealing enough lead, the PAX culture was too sterile and unsympathetic, and the look was rather unappealing. The retooled, mostly recast Planet Earth version worked much better, though, and could've spawned a viable series -- although it would've been marred in retrospect by some rather ugly Native American stereotyping where Ted Cassidy's character was concerned.

The other Roddenberry pilot that got produced in his lifetime was the supernatural-themed Spectre, which I've never seen, so I can't speculate on how it would've worked as a series. But in David Gerrold's The World of Star Trek, it was mentioned that he was working on an idea called The Tribunes, involving near-future police officers using advanced technology and methods. I've always wondered what that might have been like.

Then there was Battleground: Earth, the pilot that was posthumously made into Earth: Final Conflict. I gather the aliens were more unambiguously villainous in the original, meaning it would've been more like V (which was why it was changed).
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21 2013, 03:57 AM   #182
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Elf Spock wrote: View Post
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.
Agreed.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991, 2013-?
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 21 2013, 06:54 AM   #183
Botany Bay
Commodore
 
Botany Bay's Avatar
 
Location: shores of Australia
View Botany Bay's Twitter Profile
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Elf Spock wrote: View Post
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.
Agreed.
Seconded.

The only ones in season 3 I have to force myself to sit through are "And The Children...", "Let that be..." and "Plato's Stepchildren".

For Season 2 I struggle with "I, Mudd", "Omega Glory", and "A Private Little War".

In season 1, it's "Mudd's Women", "The Alternative Factor", and "Operation : Annihilate!".

So Season 3 (in my opinion) has no more horrible episodes that the others. I think what drags it down is that the mediocre episodes number far more - there was just way too much time spent aboard the ship, talking, and the ship was just far too empty - we needed to be meeting new characters in that third season, but for budgetary reasons it seemed like the 430-man Enterprise was run by our seven main characters and half a dozen redshirts.

To give you an idea of how frustrating it must have been trying to make Star Trek's scripts come alive on a budget of ~$200,000 per episode, this is a quote from the late, great Bob Justman I found in the new TOS book by Cushman (2013) :

"Sometimes I get the feeling the only way we could achieve a STAR TREK segment on budget would be to have 60 minutes of Mr. Spock playing kazoo solo as Captain Kirk holds him in his arms while standing in a telephone booth."



The man was a genius. And consider he made that comment in 1967, before a couple of rounds of further budget cuts and a couple of contactually binding salary increases for the leads. Freiberger really was up against it.
__________________
"Sometimes I get the feeling the only way we could achieve a STAR TREK segment on budget would be to have 60 minutes of Mr. Spock playing kazoo solo as Captain Kirk holds him in his arms while standing in a telephone booth."
Bob Justman, 1967.
Botany Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21 2013, 07:42 AM   #184
LMFAOschwarz
Fleet Captain
 
LMFAOschwarz's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Coach Comet wrote: View Post
Gotta love the narration in the video that has the tone which suggests that naturally this is all good.
Funny you should mention that. I was thinking the tone of the narrator reminded me of a training video from the human resources department!
LMFAOschwarz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21 2013, 10:38 AM   #185
LMFAOschwarz
Fleet Captain
 
LMFAOschwarz's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Maurice wrote: View Post
Most action packed episode of 1999 evahr!
Took me a while to get to this video. Actually it's quite good! I love how well it mimics the type of directing and camera work you'd see on 1999. The moving camera in the Eagle cockpit was actually a nice touch. There's also very little ambiguity of story considering without dialogue, it's essentially a silent movie.

My favorite little touch has to be the floppy antenna on the moon buggy.

All that, and even a light-hearted joke ending that actually made me chucle!
LMFAOschwarz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 01:21 AM   #186
trevanian
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Christopher wrote: View Post
The other Roddenberry pilot that got produced in his lifetime was the supernatural-themed Spectre, which I've never seen, so I can't speculate on how it would've worked as a series.
I remember forcing myself to sit through SPECTRE and finding it hard to believe that with such a great couple of principalcast members, it could be so flat and almost unwatchable.

I think QUESTOR shot its wad for a different reason than having already resolved Questor's nature (his incompleteness actually does work to make the characters complementary if it went to series); the series wouldn't have had John Vernon's character, which is what gave the thing its genuine complexity and depth (I've always thought that character was nearly entirely Coon's.)

Having bought QUESTOR on DVD recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Vernon character is just as good as I remembered (I pretty much remembered the dialog at the end verbatim, even though it had been decades.)

I suppose that they could have had a similar character in the series, but I can't imagine him having the ethical weight. I absolutely see Vernon's perspective about man, and I always tear up when he takes the homing device (have watched the last 10 minutes about 5 times already since buying it.)
trevanian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 02:53 AM   #187
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

True, it is strange that the movie cuts off much of what would've been interesting to see in a series. But it does make it more satisfying as a movie than a lot of TV pilots, because it has more closure.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 08:55 AM   #188
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Well, let's not forget that it wasn't always the case that pilots were aired. Had the show been picked up it's possible the pilot would have never aired, especially if it contradicted the series to follow.
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 03:51 PM   #189
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Maurice wrote: View Post
Well, let's not forget that it wasn't always the case that pilots were aired. Had the show been picked up it's possible the pilot would have never aired, especially if it contradicted the series to follow.
Not in this case, because The Questor Tapes was a "backdoor" pilot, designed to work as both a standalone TV movie and a pilot for an ongoing series. That way, if the series didn't go forward, the expense of the pilot would not be wasted, because it could still be aired and syndicated as a movie, which it was. So it was always going to be aired. This is how all of Roddenberry's '70s pilots were done. Other notable '70s series like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Incredible Hulk also began as TV movies (2-3 movies, in fact) before debuting as weekly series.

Indeed, TQT was picked up as a series before the pilot aired, but it aired anyway. It fell through because Roddenberry had a falling out with Universal and NBC about the direction for the series. They wanted to drop Mike Farrell's character, and -- yes -- to disregard the ending of the movie. Roddenberry refused, so the deal fell through. They may have been right about the latter, but Roddenberry was right about the former: the show needed the Questor-Jerry relationship.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 04:01 PM   #190
CorporalCaptain
Vice Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

B.J. Hunnicutt was really good for M*A*S*H. I think TV got the better bargain, as it was.
__________________
John
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 04:19 PM   #191
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Yeah, but Roddenberry was entitled to fight for the good of his show, not some other show that would benefit from his loss. The Questor-Jerry relationship was the heart of the movie. It had the potential to be as compelling a pairing as Kirk and Spock. I can't believe NBC (or Universal?) wanted to get rid of it.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 05:15 PM   #192
CorporalCaptain
Vice Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Yeah, but Roddenberry was entitled to fight for the good of his show, not some other show that would benefit from his loss. The Questor-Jerry relationship was the heart of the movie. It had the potential to be as compelling a pairing as Kirk and Spock. I can't believe NBC (or Universal?) wanted to get rid of it.
You know, I'm not saying that the behind-the-scenes info that we have on The Questor Tapes is false (I mean, how would I know, right?), but we already know that Roddenberry's version of events with respect to, how do I put it, some of the other shows he's worked on are at least somewhat dodgy. Given that we're talking about something that arguably would have sabotaged the premise of the show, I'd like to understand more fully what the sources are for the narrative. Because it sure sounds incredible.
__________________
John
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 05:56 PM   #193
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Coach Comet wrote: View Post
You know, I'm not saying that the behind-the-scenes info that we have on The Questor Tapes is false (I mean, how would I know, right?), but we already know that Roddenberry's version of events with respect to, how do I put it, some of the other shows he's worked on are at least somewhat dodgy. Given that we're talking about something that arguably would have sabotaged the premise of the show, I'd like to understand more fully what the sources are for the narrative. Because it sure sounds incredible.
Actually this information doesn't come from Roddenberry, for the most part. There's a great article with interviews with all the major decision-makers which unfortunately went offline five years ago, but thank goodness for the Internet Archive:

https://web.archive.org/web/20081121...stor_tapes.htm

Although proud of what had been accomplished in the film, Roddenberry had a number of run-ins with network and studio executives that made bitter the making of a film that would ultimately be embraced by the critics. Despite this, a 13-episode go-ahead was given for The Questor Tapes, with Foxworth and Farrell continuing in their roles. Joining the actors behind the scenes, besides Roddenberry, were producers Michael Rhodes and Earl Booth and story editor Larry Alexander, who notes that there were numerous creative differences with NBC and Universal.

...

Perhaps the biggest "innovation" was the decision to abruptly drop the Jerry Robinson character. This alteration is best summed up in a November 7, 1973 revised bible to the series which is simply called "New Questor Series Format." On page one, it notes, "Questor is a dual-quest series. He is being sought and, at the same time, is a seeker himself. Questor is a fugitive from the five-nation combine headed by Darro or a Darro-type. They know the android is alive somewhere and want to recover what they consider to be a fantastically valuable ambulatory computer. Questor is himself a seeker, his quest being to discover his purpose and reason for having been constructed and given the imperative of helping mankind. Why am I here? Who and where is this mysterious Vaslovik who created me?" The paragraph concludes with this particular beauty, "We ignore the ending of the pilot in which he did find Vaslovik and got a full explanation of his identity and purpose."

...

One of the primary proponents behind this shift was producer Michael Rhodes, who points out that it was his suggestion; a suggestion the studio seemed to support completely.

"What Universal had bought in their own minds, maybe without realizing it, was the relationship between Mike Farrell and Robert Foxworth," opines Rhodes. "But in developing the scripts for the series, we realized that each character was flawed in their own way and as long as they were together they were perfect. They made a complete person, so you really couldn't create any jeopardy for them because they had each other to handle what the other was missing. You had to separate them, but when you separated them you didn't have the relationship. It was really a vicious circle. It didn't work."

Rhodes is the one who thought it would be best to forget Questor's discovery of his purpose. "It was radical surgery," he says, obviously the only person on the creative team who thought that this was the way to go. "It's The Fugitive, then, because you've got all these government bad guys chasing him. He is still very vulnerable because he's incomplete. He's got parts missing and can make the same kind of relationships in each episode that he had with the Mike Farrell character."

Earl Booth was not pleased with this direction, noting that it felt like the decision to drop Robinson was made "overnight."

"It mystified me," he admits, "because whatever the thrust of the show was, you had an alien -- really -- whose communication with the modern world was completely nil unless he had someone to talk to, and it was then that I began to see that what the people at Universal wanted was basically a carbon copy of The Fugitive, which they have tried to copy many times and for the most part have been unsuccessful. I personally felt that this was wrong. To have this unique being constantly chased by people who are after him for whatever stupid reason, I could never tell, was ridiculous. From that point on, things went downhill."

...

Throughout the preparation period, Farrell was in almost constant contact with the producers and Gene Roddenberry. One day, however, his phone call to Michael Rhodes went unreturned. He wasn't concerned until a second phone call wasn't returned either.

"It was a Friday -- I'll remember that for the rest of my life," he reflects. "Over the weekend, all of those little gremlins went to work on me. Finally, my agent called and said, 'I don't know what this is about, but I've got a message here that you and I are being asked to come to a meeting at the Tower on Monday morning.' Over the weekend I didn't sleep well and I thought, 'I'm being dropped from this goddamn show and I can't understand it.' I finally got a hold of Gene and he said, 'Oh my God, nobody called you? Yeah, there's a problem. Some people think the series will work better without the Jerry character.' I may be creating dialogue to serve myself but as I recall, Gene said, 'I think it's a crazy idea, but we have to bow to some degree to the powers.' Anyway, the long of the short of it was that the decision was made that Questor would more likely be in jeopardy if he didn't have Jerry to get him out of trouble, so they were dropping the Jerry character."

Farrell's tale doesn't end there, though. A couple of months later he received a phone call from an executive named Mervin Gerard, who had been given the assignment of making the series "happen." The first thing he did was view the original pilot film.

"I will forever hold Mervin high in my regard," smiles Farrell. "He told me that after watching the pilot he went to [Universal's] Frank Price and said, 'Tell me who the idiot is who decided he wanted to drop Mike Farrell from the show.' 'I'm the idiot.' 'What works about this show is the chemistry between these two characters; they together become the one person that we root for and you destroy it by eliminating the human character. I'm not going to do this show unless we resurrect the Jerry character.' By this point I said to Merv, 'You're very sweet to tell me this story, because it obviously does a lot for my ego, but I wouldn't touch this thing with a ten-foot pole after what they did to me. That feels like exactly the wrong move.' He tried to persuade me, but as I understand it, for reasons having nothing to do with that, they finally decided just to shelve the whole thing.

...

By the time that Gerard had tried to convince Farrell to come back to the series, Roddenberry himself had decided that he had had enough and left. Having come off of his well-documented battles with NBC executives during the run of Star Trek, he had no interest in going through that again.

"I think the Jerry Robinson character was vital to Questor," he said in the mid '70s. "You can't have just the android; you've got to have a partnership between an android and a human. Then they wanted Questor to be constantly on the run from the scientific consortium. That's not the way I wanted to go and maybe I was wrong. But I really didn't want to do a chase series. So I just let it die."
So that's confirmation from multiple people, including the very person whose idea it was to drop Jerry and change the ending.

I think Rhodes was shortsighted there. You could say that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy make one perfect person among them, complementing one another's weaknesses, but that doesn't mean it was impossible to put them in jeopardy or conflict.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 06:13 PM   #194
CorporalCaptain
Vice Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Wow, thanks! Just to clone The Fugitive, huh? Well, The Incredible Hulk was that, and I guess, in the Hulk, Frank Price got a successful Fugitive clone.
__________________
John
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22 2013, 09:42 PM   #195
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
Well, let's not forget that it wasn't always the case that pilots were aired. Had the show been picked up it's possible the pilot would have never aired, especially if it contradicted the series to follow.
Not in this case, because The Questor Tapes was a "backdoor" pilot, designed to work as both a standalone TV movie and a pilot for an ongoing series. That way, if the series didn't go forward, the expense of the pilot would not be wasted, because it could still be aired and syndicated as a movie, which it was. So it was always going to be aired. This is how all of Roddenberry's '70s pilots were done. Other notable '70s series like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Incredible Hulk also began as TV movies (2-3 movies, in fact) before debuting as weekly series.

Indeed, TQT was picked up as a series before the pilot aired, but it aired anyway. It fell through because Roddenberry had a falling out with Universal and NBC about the direction for the series. They wanted to drop Mike Farrell's character, and -- yes -- to disregard the ending of the movie. Roddenberry refused, so the deal fell through. They may have been right about the latter, but Roddenberry was right about the former: the show needed the Questor-Jerry relationship.
True that. I didn't recall they'd aired the pilot after deciding to pick up the series. One wonders if they'd have ultimately changed Questor's background since they'd "spoiled" it in the TV movie.
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.