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

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Old November 6 2011, 08:45 AM   #1
Vulagr
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German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

An episode of the original Star Trek series in which Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock dress up as Nazis to infiltrate a far-right alien regime is to be aired on public television in Germany for the first time ever Friday night.

State broadcaster ZDFneo has evidently decided that German viewers are now ready for the episode “Patterns of Force,” 43 years after it was first broadcast in the United States in 1968.

The episode, part of the second season of the immensely popular science fiction franchise, sees the Starship Enterprise visit the planet Ekos in the M34 Alpha System to investigate the disappearance of John Gill, Federation historian and one of Kirk’s erstwhile professors at Starfleet Academy.

The Ekosians, at war with the nearby planet Zeon, are intent on wiping out all the Zeons living on their planet – and destroying Zeon itself - in what they call a “Final Solution.” The Ekosians refer to the Zeons as “Zeonist pigs.”
http://www.thelocal.de/society/20111104-38661.html

I think they finally realized that it's an anti-Nazi episode.

But I just realized something about it I'd never realized before.

Zeons = Zionists.

Oy.

Le sigh.
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Old November 6 2011, 03:14 PM   #2
KirksStuntMan
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Those poor Germans! Now they have to endure watching one of the worst ST episodes ever produced. It seems like every time GR and company ran out of script ideas they would just slap their collective foreheads and say, "Let's do another parallel planet episode!" Ugh!
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Old November 6 2011, 04:37 PM   #3
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

KirksStuntMan wrote: View Post
It seems like every time GR and company ran out of script ideas they would just slap their collective foreheads and say, "Let's do another parallel planet episode!" Ugh!
It wasn't about ideas, it was about money. Creating a new alien world from scratch every week would've been very costly, so the only way Roddenberry could convince the studio and the network that it would be affordable to produce the show at all was by coming up with the parallel-Earths idea, which would allow them to recycle costumes, sets, props, and the like left over in the studio warehouse from earlier productions (for instance, "A Piece of the Action" was specifically written to make use of leftovers from Desilu's The Untouchables). Yes, it was a fanciful and implausible notion, but it was a necessary compromise to make the show practical to produce. Holodeck episodes in the later shows had a similar justification behind them.

In print, imagination is the only limit on what you can put in a story, but on film or television, the inescapable limiting factors are money and time. No matter how rich and far-reaching your imagination, you can't pull it off if you don't have the budget or time for it. So you have to do the occasional money-saving episode, like a parallel-Earth story or a holodeck story or a shipboard bottle show or, gods forbid, a clip show, so that you can save up your money for the episodes where you do let your imagination run crazy.
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Old November 6 2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

I like that episode.
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Old November 6 2011, 05:01 PM   #5
KirksStuntMan
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Christopher wrote: View Post
Creating a new alien world from scratch every week would've been very costly, so the only way Roddenberry could convince the studio and the network that it would be affordable to produce the show at all was by coming up with the parallel-Earths idea, which would allow them to recycle costumes, sets, props, and the like left over in the studio warehouse from earlier productions...
One parallel Earth story was marginally okay, but several scripts of the same genre was just too much to swallow. NBC pressured GR to show the viewers strange new worlds and civilizations. Seeing a re-hash of National Socialist Germany or Ancient Rome was pretty much schlock television. Damn aliens copycats anyway. At least they haven't mimicked the 1970's disco era yet. Ugh!

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Old November 6 2011, 05:08 PM   #6
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

I enjoyed the episode. As far as "parallel worlds" go it was one of the better eps. (IMHO)
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Old November 6 2011, 05:23 PM   #7
KirksStuntMan
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

The best line was delivered by Spock when he tells Kirk, "You should make a convincing Nazi."

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Old November 6 2011, 05:47 PM   #8
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

One often overlooked advantage of the parallel worlds episodes is that a strong morals story can have a better impact. Yes, saving money is a key factor, but it also helps tell the story, perhaps better than the same story on a very alien planet.

In the 1960s, Nazi Germany's actions were still fresh in people's minds. The shock factor of seeing Nazi uniforms was a visual reminder that this must never be allowed to happen again.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:01 PM   #9
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

KirksStuntMan wrote: View Post
One parallel Earth story was marginally okay, but several scripts of the same genre was just too much to swallow. NBC pressured GR to show the viewers strange new worlds and civilizations.
There were conflicting pressures -- on the one hand, to show new things, but on the other hand, to save money. Remember, the parallel Earths were not an afterthought. The concept was integral to Roddenberry's initial series pitch. It was part of what sold the show in the first place, because it made the show affordable. It's spelled out on page 4 of the original 1964 pitch document:

The "Parallel Worlds" concept makes production practical by permitting action-adventure science fiction at a practical budget figure via the use of available "earth" castine [sic], sets, locations, costuming, and so on.

AS important (and perhaps even more so in many ways) the "Parallel Worlds" concept tends to keep even the most imaginative stories within the general audiences famee [sic] of reference through such recognizable and identifiable casting, sets, and costuming.
This is what NBC bought up front. It was always meant to be a core element of the show. That initial format document includes summaries of several possible parallel-Earth episodes, including "President Capone" (basis for "A Piece of the Action"); a caveman/dinosaur episode; a world paralleling 1964 but with an Orwellian police state in charge; a world whose inhabitants had duplicated important figures from Earth history as gladiators (perhaps an antecedent of "Shore Leave"); the self-explanatory "Camelot Revisited"; a "frontier log-fort" colony; a planet "exactly duplicating St. Louis, 1910" except with women enslaving men; and a planet duplicating the plantation-era South but with blacks enslaving whites.


Seeing a re-hash of National Socialist Germany or Ancient Rome was pretty much schlock television.
To the modern eye, yes. To viewers in the 1960s, not so much. It wasn't so different from what you might find in a Twilight Zone episode or a B movie of the previous decade. Even the prose science fiction from earlier decades (and ST drew heavily on the pulps of the '30s-'40s) often portrayed alien worlds as skewed variants on Earth cultures or environments. It was more about using the exotic settings as allegories on aspects of human nature and society, in the tradition of Swift's Gulliver's Travels. (And Gulliver's Travels was actually a working title for Star Trek. Swift's work was very influential on Roddenberry and Herb Solow as they developed the show. The use of captain's logs derived from the idea of taking a "traveler's tales" approach.)

And the explanation behind the parallel in "Patterns of Force" made more sense than a lot of them. This wasn't a planet that just coincidentally duplicated an Earth culture the way the "Bread and Circuses" Roman planet did. This was a planet that had fallen under the influence of a misguided human who deliberately recreated Nazi Germany due to a gross misunderstanding of its merits and dangers, and who thereby resurrected the horror that lay at the foundation of that state. It's a chilling concept, and not completely implausible, given how many Neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers are out there today.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:16 PM   #10
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Paramount Pictures rejected GR's initial ST:TMP script idea about Kirk and Spock traveling back in time to the JFK assassination. The big wig execs must have had enough parallel worlds during the TOS because they thought it was too esoteric. However, then they chose a TMP script that was curiously similar to TOS episode "The Changeling". Weird parallel stuff does happen in Hollyweird.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:27 PM   #11
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

KirksStuntMan wrote: View Post
Paramount Pictures rejected GR's initial ST:TMP script idea about Kirk and Spock traveling back in time to the JFK assassination. The big wig execs must have had enough parallel worlds during the TOS because they thought it was too esoteric.
That's a non sequitur on multiple levels. Time travel and parallel Earths are two different subjects. Also, it doesn't make sense to expect a production policy for a modestly-budgeted weekly television series to have bearing on a feature film. And thirdly, the executives making the decisions were different people. The people who made the decision to buy and pay for the show were the executives of the NBC television network, and it was produced by Desilu Studios, which was only later merged with Paramount when Gulf + Western bought them both in 1967.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Christopher wrote: View Post

That's a non sequitur on multiple levels.
You're starting to post comments that sound like Nomad.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:36 PM   #13
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Besides, we're talking about the same execs who thought that Harlan Ellison's idea for a story that begins at the very beginnings of life on Earth should have a few Mayans in there somewhere, because one of the dummies had just read Van Daaniken (ptui!). We're talking dolts who probably didn't realize that "sci-fi" and science fiction were the same damn thing.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:47 PM   #14
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

^ Considering the apparent lack of imagination that some of the execs who worked in the studios and networks displayed, it's amazing that ST ever made it to the airwaves in the 1960's. In their book, Herb Solow and Bob Justman estimated that Paramount netted approximately at least a billion dollars from a "failed" television show and its progeny.
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Old November 6 2011, 06:51 PM   #15
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Re: German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Christopher wrote: View Post
and a planet duplicating the plantation-era South but with blacks enslaving whites.
For a 1960’s American audience? That would have been something to see!
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