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

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Old September 7 2012, 04:41 PM   #61
Cap'n Claus
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

I agree Stiles was a bigot: Kirk called him on it and Stiles saying "we'll do things without your help, Vulcan" was not only racist, it was actionable. Spock could have slapped him down right there.

Boma was simply reacting to Spock's unemotionalism. He may never have been exposed to a Vulcan before and was never on a landing party with Spock in charge. Logic wasn't saving lives at that point, so Boma, being volitile, he reacted emotionally. So I'm iffy about labeling him a bigot based on that.

Next:

The Squire of Gothos is a good episode. Not a favorite, but William Campbell gives Trelane many dimensions and he's a lot of fun to watch. Obviously Roddenberry liked the character enough to have Q inspired by him (John DeLancie's performance in Hide and Q makes this extremely obvious) and he is a good character. The final twist is Roddenberry's version of a Twilight Zone ending and it fits the series. Even as a kid, though, I always chuckled at Kirk's saying "dipping little girl's curls in inkwells." Even in the 70's, the reference was dated and I remember only being exposed to inkwells in art classes. And they certainly weren't large enough to shove a girl's hair into.

A large amount of time for the supporting cast and they're used to great effect. It is actually kind of weird to see a landing party actually consisting of only the appropriate people; McCoy and two non-regulars. Neither Spock nor Scotty go down. Had this been the second or third season, it would have been quite different. Yeoman Ross was gorgeous (another Janice stand in?) and one wishes she was retained.

When Kirk shoots out the mirror, the goofy cartoon sounds really pull me out of the action. Super serious music and wacky "boings" and slide whistles. I guess it plays up the childishness of Trelane, but when he persues them with the planet (even with the not so great visuals) it's terrifying. A strange juxtaposition of atmospheres.

The "popping" in and out was well done. Someone actually locked down the camera and the dematerializations are very smooth (this is what I look at a thousand views in). I love the scene when Trelane vanishes while Kirk is in my sword thrust. It's perfectly done, an apparent combination of split screen and camera stoppage.

It seems weird to have McCoy and Spock make such a big deal about being in a "void, star desert," and "a barren waste" when we never once stop seeing stars in the background. Of course, to be far enough away to have total blackness and no starts would probably put them way outside our galaxy. So I assume they mean Trelane's planet is a rogue in the huge gap between solar systems.

At this point in the season, having them out of production order won't make difference. The style is settling in and everyone's getting a handle of the characters. Of course, I expect some exceptions.
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Old September 7 2012, 04:47 PM   #62
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

Boma's behaviour works in service of the story. It's a pity we never hear anything about the aftermath. Still, it serves the story and also paints him in a bad light as a character, again serving the story as it's supposed to.

It's not so much what Boma was saying, but more so how he went about it.

We also have to remember that we're not really seeing 23rd century humans in action, but rather 20th century people. Back in the '60s it mightn't have seemed so obvious that they were contemporary characters in a futuristic setting. Today it looks different because of TNG and the rest emphasizing the idea that future humanity would be somewhat less emotionally ruled. In that light Boma looks worse than he might have as seen strictly fron a 1960s/'70s perspective.
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Old September 7 2012, 05:09 PM   #63
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
I agree Stiles was a bigot: Kirk called him on it and Stiles saying "we'll do things without your help, Vulcan" was not only racist, it was actionable. Spock could have slapped him down right there.

Boma was simply reacting to Spock's unemotionalism. He may never have been exposed to a Vulcan before and was never on a landing party with Spock in charge. Logic wasn't saving lives at that point, so Boma, being volitile, he reacted emotionally. So I'm iffy about labeling him a bigot based on that.
One of the good things about Enterprise's portrayal of 22nd-century Vulcans is that establishing a prior history in which humans had reason to develop a negative opinion of Vulcans does a lot to explain why characters like Boma, and to a lesser extent McCoy, reacted to Vulcans the way they did. It's not just free-floating prejudice; there's a historical reason why that prejudice would exist. It really fits together nicely.



The Squire of Gothos ... The final twist is Roddenberry's version of a Twilight Zone ending and it fits the series.
Except Roddenberry didn't write it; Paul Schneider did. TOS wasn't anywhere near as showrunner-driven or staff-driven as a modern show. Since the focus was more on an anthology-style approach, telling solid, self-contained stories without a lot of continuity, the writing process was much more freelancer-driven. So it's important to resist the impulse to think of Roddenberry as the singular auteur behind TOS -- although he certainly did what he could to promote that perception.

(Note, also, that Schneider created the Romulans in "Balance of Terror.")


When Kirk shoots out the mirror, the goofy cartoon sounds really pull me out of the action. Super serious music and wacky "boings" and slide whistles. I guess it plays up the childishness of Trelane, but when he persues them with the planet (even with the not so great visuals) it's terrifying. A strange juxtaposition of atmospheres.
I wonder if it would've really been perceived as wacky at the time, though. Probably people back then had more exposure to machines that were actually spring-driven and might make sounds like that upon breaking. Just a speculation, though. Maybe it was just due to the much more limited libraries of sound effects that would've been available in pre-digital times.


It seems weird to have McCoy and Spock make such a big deal about being in a "void, star desert," and "a barren waste" when we never once stop seeing stars in the background. Of course, to be far enough away to have total blackness and no starts would probably put them way outside our galaxy.
Not really. Most of the stars we can see with the naked eye are within a few dozen parsecs, at most a few hundred if they're bright enough. I think that Earth's Sun would fall below naked-eye visibility if you were more than 80 light-years away, though I'm not sure I remember the number correctly. We can faintly see the overall glow of the galactic disk, i.e. the "Milky Way" for which our galaxy is named, but that's only in a narrow band of the sky.

Of course, the viewscreen could've been magnifying the light from more distant stars to make them visible...
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Old September 7 2012, 05:21 PM   #64
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

I recall reading in an astronomical t ext I have here somewhere on my bookshelf that Sol would likely become invisible to the naked eye beyond 55 light years or so.
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Old September 7 2012, 05:36 PM   #65
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

We have seen star deserts in Trek thrice, I think: this one (which doesn't actually look like anything much), the one from ENT "Daedalus" (where stars indeed are invisible, at least when the brightly lit starship is also in view), and the one from VOY "Night" (likewise). This is in addition to all those exotic cavities-in-space like VOY "Void", that is.

There were no real size constraints on the desert in the TOS episode, allowing it to be smaller than the VOY one, which at one point was 5,000 ly across and may have been related to the space between galactic arms (not starless by any means, but perhaps more conductive to the existence of such deserts for some reason).

In contrast, there was a size constraint on the desert in the ENT episode. It couldn't really be all that far away from Sol (or whatever star system it was they picked Erickson up from), since NX-01 couldn't get there very fast. However, it was said to be at least 100 ly from the nearest star when they started testing the transporter innovation. Would that be enough to attenuate the light from all the stars in the sky? Of course not, since most of them are illuminating Earth's night sky from a considerable distance. So we might have to assume the Barrens were surrounded by some sort of an obscuring cloud, in addition to being free of stars. The combination might not be all that unusual, actually... And obscuring clouds within a hundred lightyears of Earth are definitely a real-world phenomenon, although one 200 ly across at a distance of mere 100 ly and pitch black would be sort of prominent.

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Old September 7 2012, 05:44 PM   #66
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

Christopher wrote: View Post
Except Roddenberry didn't write it; Paul Schneider did. TOS wasn't anywhere near as showrunner-driven or staff-driven as a modern show. Since the focus was more on an anthology-style approach, telling solid, self-contained stories without a lot of continuity, the writing process was much more freelancer-driven. So it's important to resist the impulse to think of Roddenberry as the singular auteur behind TOS -- although he certainly did what he could to promote that perception.
My bad, I did a knee-jerk on this one since he seemed to like the "alien turns out to be flawed immature godlike being" twist. It pays remember the credits.

Weird, I've watched this show for decades, read all the behind the scenes debunking books, and I still made that leap.

At the same time, he did rewrite a lot of the scripts, yes? Putting the so called "Roddenberry touch" on everything to make it fit within the format. Of course, others like Coon and DC Fontana and the other producers and story editors would have as well.

I wonder if it would've really been perceived as wacky at the time, though. Probably people back then had more exposure to machines that were actually spring-driven and might make sounds like that upon breaking. Just a speculation, though. Maybe it was just due to the much more limited libraries of sound effects that would've been available in pre-digital times.
I'll buy the springs, but the slide whistle when the flames go up and down seemed a bit much.

Not really. Most of the stars we can see with the naked eye are within a few dozen parsecs, at most a few hundred if they're bright enough. I think that Earth's Sun would fall below naked-eye visibility if you were more than 80 light-years away, though I'm not sure I remember the number correctly. We can faintly see the overall glow of the galactic disk, i.e. the "Milky Way" for which our galaxy is named, but that's only in a narrow band of the sky. Of course, the viewscreen could've been magnifying the light from more distant stars to make them visible...
Always learnin' something. I haven't seen the TOS-R version in a few years, did they do anything with the stars in the exterior shots to support the dialog?

Back to BoT, I really liked the submarine style action, being a fan of Voyage, but I can see why they didn't stick with the phaser crew as seen here. It completely gobs up response time (especially when your man in charge of the phaser station has to make a dramatic pause before finishing the order). From today's episode

Kirk: "Now, fire blind, lay down a pattern!"
Stiles: "Traverse pattern, all phasers fire!"
Tomlinson: "Phaser one…..FIRE!"
Ugly Guy: "Phaser one, fire."
Weapons fired.


Compared to later episodes:

Kirk: "Mr. Chekov. Photon torpedoes, fire!"
Chekov: "Aye, keptin!"
Weapons fired.


I also always liked the original sound mix which never had the torpedo sound over the shots of the Enterprise firing. They added them to the DVDs, which throws me off every time.
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Old September 8 2012, 05:28 AM   #67
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

Christopher wrote: View Post
There's a feeling pervading those early episodes that this wasn't a show about larger-than-life cosmic heroes, but a show about a community of professionals doing a day-to-day job – that just happened to be in outer space in the future.
plynch wrote: View Post
...there were the rec dec, botany, gym scenes all showing us a level of casual interplay among the crew (aside from big 3) that clearly declined from the midpoint of S1 onwards.
...I prefer the earlier feel.
YES!

Another example is the bar scene in Court Martial, where Kirk walks in and the room turns cold against him. Finney had a lot of friends in that room.

The Enterprise crew and captain had peers in the earliest episodes, and their standing among their peers was important to them. That feeling of them having a whole galaxy around them, that went by the wayside around the midpoint of season 1, never to return. I always missed that. I loved the old feeling, it made the future more tactile, more real.

The very strongest individual episodes come after this sequence. But I still think these were the strongest string of episodes, because of this feeling of building up a whole galaxy around the Enterprise.
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Old September 8 2012, 03:30 PM   #68
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

^I get what you're saying, but I don't think I'd use that phrasing, "building a whole galaxy." The early episodes gave a strong sense of a larger human community, sure, but the sense of the broader galaxy beyond humanity took a lot longer to develop. There were surprisingly few early episodes involving visits to planets with active alien civilizations; we got Balok and the Romulans, but the planets they visited were mostly human colonies, wilderness planets, or the ruins of dead and dying races, if they even visited a planet at all. It wasn't until the second half of season 1 that stories about aliens started to outnumber stories about humans. Similarly, for the first half-season, the Enterprise was depicted as an Earth ship; the first mention of the Federation wasn't until "Arena," with "United Federation of Planets" first used in "A Taste of Armageddon," and it wasn't until "Errand of Mercy" that it was explicitly stated that the Federation included a nonhuman world, specifically Vulcan (although as late as "Friday's Child," Kirk referred to it as "the Earth Federation").
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Old September 8 2012, 03:51 PM   #69
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

Christopher wrote: View Post
Oh, and if you want a list of the episodes in stardate order, there's one on pp. 12-13 of the Ballantine edition of The Star Trek Concordance. It doesn't really make sense, though, since the lowest stardate goes to the animated episode "The Magicks of Megas-tu," among other oddities.
My personal fanon explanation for this particular anomaly is because, in "The Magicks of Megas-tu", the Enterprise was at the center of the galaxy, in support of the idea that stardates have a spatio-temporal basis.
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Old September 8 2012, 04:04 PM   #70
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

I gotta say I do rather like the episodes in Stardate order although there is that one glitch with "The Magicks Of Megas-Tu." Otherwise it mixes in the TAS episodes with the TOS ones although the bulk are still toward the end. I also found that the intermixing of episodes tends to happen around the end and beginning of seasons.

In Stardate order Chekov is definitely seen there before Khan shows up in "Space Seed" and Arex and M'ress are also there before the end of TOS.
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Old September 8 2012, 05:03 PM   #71
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

I don't like mixing TAS with TOS because of the changes to the sets. In TAS, the bridge has a (long-overdue) second exit door just to the left of the main viewscreen (this was incorporated in the Franz Joseph and Mike McMasters blueprints), and main engineering was reconfigured so that the master status display was on the aft wall next to the rear grille, plus some sort of vertical tube assembly was installed in the middle of the room.
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Old September 8 2012, 05:09 PM   #72
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

^ I like the idea floated here on the BBS that the graduated cylinder in the middle of the TAS engineering room is an upgrade on the way to the Phase II and/or TMP engineering room. IMO, that and the other details you mentioned make TAS mesh better if it all comes after TOS, if that's what you're saying.

One could go with the idea of TAS as the 4th and/or 5th year of the five-year mission, with TOS being the first three.
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Old September 8 2012, 05:09 PM   #73
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't like mixing TAS with TOS because of the changes to the sets. In TAS, the bridge has a (long-overdue) second exit door just to the left of the main viewscreen (this was incorporated in the Franz Joseph and Mike McMasters blueprints), and main engineering was reconfigured so that the master status display was on the aft wall next to the rear grille, plus some sort of vertical tube assembly was installed in the middle of the room.
I can easily gloss over a lot of the stuff seen in TAS because a lot of it is off anyway. One of the things I can't help but notice is how often the uniform insignia are drawn askew. Then the bridge rails and consoles were curved rather than angled. The hangar area was enormously oversized as were the shuttlecraft. And the Enterprise was often poorly proportioned.

If the animation had been more fluid it would be easier to overlook a lot of that, but even back in the day I couldn't help to see those things.


CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
One could go with the idea of TAS as the 4th and 5th year of the five-year mission, with TOS being the first three.
I've long subscribed to the idea that TOS and TAS show us pretty much the 5-year mission with some stuff unseen and WNMHGB happening about a year before the 5-year mission.
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Old September 8 2012, 05:17 PM   #74
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

I count TAS as part of year 4-5 of the 5-year mission, but with various novels and comics coming before and after it. And yes, treating the changes in the TAS designs as a refit does fit well with that.

There's also the matter of the force-field belts. If they had those in the third season, why use the heavy spacesuits in "The Tholian Web?" It makes more sense if the belts were a new technology introduced after the third year. (And then abandoned after TAS for what I'd think would be the obvious reason that they have no safe failure mode. If a spacesuit's power cells fail, the suit doesn't instantly disappear and leave you gulping vacuum.)
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Old September 8 2012, 05:24 PM   #75
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Re: Watching Trek in Airdate Order

^^ Yeah, there are a few early novels that I could accept as part of the five-year mission. I also like some of the stuff from Marvel Comics' Early Voyages as part of Pike's early time aboard the Enterprise. I also like D.C. Fontana's Vulcan's Glory, but I balk at Scotty being aboard the Enterprise that early. Mind you he could have been there for a bit and then been transferred only to return several years later.
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