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

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Old December 30 2011, 07:26 AM   #1
A.V.I.A.F.
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Submitted for your approval...

To my knowledge Rod Serling has never written a Star Trek script yet he was well regarded by GR. Does anyone know if RS was ever approached by GR to write a TOS script?

I am a huge fan of Twilight Zone TOS and of Serling's approach to science-fiction. This got me thinking the other day as to how some of the TOS episodes might have been different if Serling had written them. I have always felt that one of the greatest things about TOS was that there were many different writers who, although they had to stay true to the overall structure of the show's setting and characterizations, brought their own special something to the shows they wrote.

Here is what I came up with if Serling had written some of the episodes:

The Tholian Web would have been told solely from Kirk's persepective from the point that he gets trapped in the spatial interphase until he is recovered. Think about that!

The ending of Mirror, Mirror would have shown Mirror Kirk and company returning to the ISS Enterprise and bearded Spock reassuring them and Mirror Kirk how good it was to have them back and of how he had to convince the alien (good) Kirk that he would consider overthrowing the Empire just to get him to leave. They would all share a laugh at the incredible craziness of a peaceful Federation and Spock would chime in about how illogical they were. The point being that good and evil are subjective and not absolutes after all, or some deep stuff like that.

Amok Time: we only find out at the very end the reason for Spock's ailment and the subsequent fight to the death with Kirk because Spock remains tight-lipped and because the whole exchange on Vulcan is done entirely in Vulcan.

Any thoughts on these or ideas for other episodes from a Serling angle?
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Old December 30 2011, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

How about: During the ion storm encountered in "Court Martial", Kirk sees "some THING" crawling around out on (and messing with) the port nacelle, panics, and accidently jettisons Ben Finney's ion pod....

... sorry ... I could not resist!

This is an interesting concept, A.V.I.A.F- I must think about it later to offer a more constructive suggestion.

Last edited by Robert D. Robot; December 30 2011 at 08:10 PM.
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Old January 2 2012, 09:13 PM   #3
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

"Spectre of the Gun" has a Twilight Zoneish feel to its production.

And you can almost hear Serling making a comment about love and destiny in The Twilight Zone at the end of "The City on the Edge of Forever."

A.V.I.A.F, I agree with RDR that the concept is interesting.
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Old January 2 2012, 09:50 PM   #4
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

Robert D. Robot wrote: View Post
How about: During the ion storm encountered in "Court Martial", Kirk sees "some THING" crawling around out on (and messing with) the port nacelle, panics, and accidently jettisons Ben Finney's ion pod....

... sorry ... I could not resist!

This is an interesting concept, A.V.I.A.F- I must think about it later to offer a more constructive suggestion.
I like that one.

I'd just throw out there that instead of having the comedy banter at the end of the episode, we'd probably have some kind of twist ending.
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Old January 3 2012, 01:05 AM   #5
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

Rod Serling's GALILEO SEVEN......

There are limitless possibilities here.
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Old January 3 2012, 01:58 AM   #6
A.V.I.A.F.
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

foxhot wrote: View Post
Rod Serling's GALILEO SEVEN......

There are limitless possibilities here.

Oh good call! I totally agree! What if the Taureans somehow communicated to the crew of the G7 that they would leave them alone provided that a member of the G7 was given up for a sacrifice to their gods. An interesting dilemma ensues as Spock ponders the idea in light of their hopeless situation. He confides that he is considering it to McCoy who goes absolutely ape-shit, but an interesting philosophical debate ensues.

If Spock surrenders one, the rest can then focus unhindered on trying to get off the planet and back to the Enterprise. Puts a creepy spin on the whole "good of the many vs. the good of the few or the one." What will Spock do? How will the rest of the crew react? Is there a hidden twist we only discover at the end (i.e., the whole thing was a test a la Kobayashi Maru to see how Spock would respond during his first command but no one on Galileo knows this until the end. That this is his first command is a point that is mentioned by McCoy at least twice during the episode). What do you think?
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Old January 5 2012, 11:56 PM   #7
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

A.V.I.A.F. wrote: View Post
To my knowledge Rod Serling has never written a Star Trek script yet he was well regarded by GR. Does anyone know if RS was ever approached by GR to write a TOS script?
Mmmm. I'm sure I've seen this discussed somewhere. I think Serling was just always incredibly busy with his own stuff. Certainly, GR approached lots of established science fiction writers in Star Trek's formative years, and managed to get input from several of them: critiques on his premise if not actual scripts.

I'd like to see Serling's take on "Turnabout Intruder".

This is interesting:
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_Twilight_Zone

Additionally, several TOS episodes bear a strong resemblance to earlier Twilight Zone episodes:
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Old January 6 2012, 06:03 AM   #8
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

Richard Matheson wrote Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and The Enemy Within.
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Old January 6 2012, 07:24 AM   #9
A.V.I.A.F.
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Therin of Andor wrote: View Post

I'd like to see Serling's take on "Turnabout Intruder".

Well, I think that if Serling had written it AND wanted it written as the series finale, it might have ended with Lester transferring into Spock's consciousness just before she "died." The episode would end with everyone thinking that everything was set right and then we would have a subtle reveal at the end where we discover that Spock is now really Lester. Of course, this would have prevented the subsequent films and other appearances of Spock in TNG and so forth.
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Old January 6 2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post

This is interesting:
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_Twilight_Zone

Additionally, several TOS episodes bear a strong resemblance to earlier Twilight Zone episodes:
Very cool! Thanks for citing this. I have often noticed several TOS actors in Zone episodes. People Are Alike All Over also featured Paul Comi (Stiles from Balance of Terror).
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Old January 7 2012, 12:52 AM   #11
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

Rod Serling not just writing a ST episode - let me bring tears to your eyes by taking your idea one further - imagine if you will,.. GR still focused on the series, and Serling actively functioning as the head writer, over seeing all the submitting writers.

I get goose-bumps just imaging how RS's dark and heavy trade-mark TZ treaments would have kept oh so many TREK scripts from playing the way the did,.. and instead kept unexplored space,.. creepy, lonely, and pensive,... and kept the crew and their mission in proportion to the vastness of space itself.

You know how most of us agree 'The Corbomite Manuver' is a great episode? Well, I feel much of that is due to the same 'tension of uncertainty', or commonly called: Fear of the Unknown,... SR was a MASTER of exploiting this,... and while this vibe was portrayed in SOME TREK episodes, sadly, things became too familiar, too fast, on-board the good ship Enterprise,... even space itself became so 'routine', that instead of having it played out, the writers simply reduced the whole thing to a single line, we heard too many times: 'It's like nothing we've seen before'.

Good writing - from what the books say - comes from SHOWING, not TELLING,... and the really outstanding TREK episodes, regardless of how clever their conflicts or gimmicks, always SHOWED - meaning dramatized the thing - and it is the care of this detail in NOT using exposition to substitute for quality and careful scripting, which RS MIGHT have been able to keep infused as the overall coloring of the feel of the series,..

ah,.. perchance to dream,...

GREAT QUESTION!!!!
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Old January 7 2012, 03:00 AM   #12
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

One of the Galeleo seven would have been a crew member that died a year earlier on a similar planet.
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Old January 9 2012, 07:21 AM   #13
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
kept unexplored space,.. creepy, lonely, and pensive,... and kept the crew and their mission in proportion to the vastness of space itself.


GREAT QUESTION!!!!
Awesome answer, too.

I love the idea of RS writing Trek. I think I love it more now that I would have done as a kid, though. I think the way TOS is was more accessible to me then.

AVIAF, I think you have some great ideas. Particulalry like the idea for Mirror, Mirror.
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Old January 11 2012, 05:51 AM   #14
A.V.I.A.F.
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

WillsBabe wrote: View Post
Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
kept unexplored space,.. creepy, lonely, and pensive,... and kept the crew and their mission in proportion to the vastness of space itself.


GREAT QUESTION!!!!
Awesome answer, too.

I love the idea of RS writing Trek. I think I love it more now that I would have done as a kid, though. I think the way TOS is was more accessible to me then.

AVIAF, I think you have some great ideas. Particulalry like the idea for Mirror, Mirror.
Thanks! Of course, I don't mean to suggest that all of TOS should have been Serlinesque, but I think it would have been great if he had written one or two.
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Old January 11 2012, 04:38 PM   #15
Gary7
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Re: Submitted for your approval...

I'm glad AVIAF brought this up, as a few times in the past, I had thought about Rod Serling contributing to Star Trek.

Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
Rod Serling not just writing a ST episode - let me bring tears to your eyes by taking your idea one further - imagine if you will,.. GR still focused on the series, and Serling actively functioning as the head writer, over seeing all the submitting writers.

I get goose-bumps just imaging how RS's dark and heavy trade-mark TZ treaments would have kept oh so many TREK scripts from playing the way the did,.. and instead kept unexplored space,.. creepy, lonely, and pensive,... and kept the crew and their mission in proportion to the vastness of space itself.

You know how most of us agree 'The Corbomite Manuver' is a great episode? Well, I feel much of that is due to the same 'tension of uncertainty', or commonly called: Fear of the Unknown,... SR was a MASTER of exploiting this,... and while this vibe was portrayed in SOME TREK episodes, sadly, things became too familiar, too fast, on-board the good ship Enterprise,... even space itself became so 'routine', that instead of having it played out, the writers simply reduced the whole thing to a single line, we heard too many times: 'It's like nothing we've seen before'.
I like this even more. I'll bet that Serling wouldn't have done it. He was the head of his entire TZ production and it was his baby. Star Trek wasn't. He had a bit of an ego, so being pulled into someone else's production would feel like a step down for him. Money is of course an enticement, but I doubt they had the budget to bring in Serling to begin with...

But, as we all know, Serling had a passion for sci-fi. Let's just say that he saw the 1st season of Star Trek and was really intrigued. Then, there's a lucky moment where it looks like he'd be free to take on Season 3 from Roddenberry. Of course, Gene had a HUGE ego, and I'll bet that he'd make a big stink about it. But then, it would mean him coming back to the show, and given the circumstances he wasn't going to anyway.

If Serling took over Season 3, it would have been a hit, I think. It would have made for a darker season, more engaging, and despite the Friday night death slot, I think it might have recovered enough to move to Thursday nights mid-way, and then make way for a 4th Season.
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