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

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

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Old May 3 2015, 10:21 PM   #1
Dove
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Watching for the first time - please advise!

Hi! I'm planning to start watching the Original Series very soon, and I noticed early on that there's a discrepancy between the production order and the airdate order. So I have two lines of questioning:

1) Does it matter very much which order I watch the episodes in? I know many people must have grown up watching them rather haphazardly during syndication - how badly can a viewer jumble the viewing order before it starts to undermine said viewer's ability to follow the plot of the show?

2) I know that the earliest merchandise followed the production order, as does Memory Alpha, but since 2004 all the DVD releases follow the original airdate order, as do Wikipedia and IMDB. My question is, during syndication in the 70s, prior to the first episode releases on VHS, how were the episodes numbered by (a) the fans and (b) the syndicating networks? If you grew up in the 70s and became a Trek fan by watching syndicated episodes, what would you consider to be the "first" episode? And how vehemently would you consider an alternative interpretation to be incorrect?
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Old May 3 2015, 10:32 PM   #2
TOSalltheway
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

Watch The Cage (not The Menagerie ) followed by Where No Man Has Gone before, and then The Corbomite Maneuver. After that it matters very little in the first season. The later episodes in seasons 2 and 3 do make the odd reference to earlier events so dont jump that far ahead.

I envy you, having virtually memorized these episodes I wish I could see them again fresh and for the first time.
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Old May 3 2015, 10:37 PM   #3
Dove
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

Any insight into fan beliefs about proper order based on when and how the fan first viewed the show? I ask specifically because I'm writing a story where the character was born in 1968 and grew up watching syndicated episodes, so I'm hoping to get some insight into what that was like.
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Old May 3 2015, 11:36 PM   #4
Kor
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

Try watching them in stardate order.

Just kidding.

I agree with TOSalltheway. The first few episodes should definitely be watched in production order.
All episodes were written to be self-contained stories and not to rely on deep knowledge of previous episode plots (except the two-part episode "The Menagerie"). But in the first few episodes there are some differences in cast, crew, and uniforms which can be a little weird if you don't watch in production order.

Kor
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Old May 4 2015, 12:16 AM   #5
The Old Mixer
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

Yeah, I find production order to be preferable, especially for the earlier episodes of the first season.

I generally wouldn't recommend starting with "The Cage", though...you'll be getting the bulk of its story soon enough in "The Menagerie" (episode 16 in production order, IIRC). "The Cage" wasn't shown as its own episode in broadcast or syndication...seeing it outside of the framing story of the "The Menagerie" is essentially a bonus feature.
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Old May 4 2015, 01:35 AM   #6
Shawnster
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

It really doesn't matter, though. Most of us never saw "The Cage" until the late 80s or early 90s. "Where No Man..." was not shown first. The only 2 episodes that MUST be watched in order is "The Menagerie" two parter. Even at that, you can do what you want.

Those of us that grew up on Trek in the 70s and early 80s did not watch it in any kind of order. Well, I shouldn't speak for everyone. I'd try to catch Trek whenever it was on, and it was on a lot and often on more than one TV channel. There was a stretch of time where I could watch 3 Trek episodes on Sunday on 3 different channels over a period of 4 hours.
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Old May 4 2015, 08:37 AM   #7
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

You can't go wrong with production order, except I would leave "The Cage" for the end, treating it as number 80.

That way you'll get the original fan experience of seeing "The Menagerie" with its mystery intact, and you basically get "The Cage" as well.
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Old May 4 2015, 08:55 AM   #8
HIjol
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

I agree with Zap. I watched them in airdate order, because I am a fossil and am old enough to have seen them as they aired. Your project sounds very interesting, and I am sure there are those on this Board that could answer further questions or have things bounced off of them, should you need to. Good Luck!
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Old May 4 2015, 02:00 PM   #9
J.T.B.
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Those of us that grew up on Trek in the 70s and early 80s did not watch it in any kind of order. Well, I shouldn't speak for everyone. I'd try to catch Trek whenever it was on, and it was on a lot and often on more than one TV channel. There was a stretch of time where I could watch 3 Trek episodes on Sunday on 3 different channels over a period of 4 hours.
Agreed. I think the episodes were numbered in production order for syndicated use, and where I lived they were basically shown that way. But, the order was also frequently re-started or "jumped," so to the viewer it seemed somewhat random. I realized later that the rotation was heavier on seasons one and two, but I didn't know that at the time because I had no reference material to tell me anything about episode order, seasons etc. There were some episodes that I seemed to catch a lot more than others, too ("Devil in the Dark," "Miri" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday" probably the most frequent), to the point that I kind of burned out on them.
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Old May 4 2015, 03:33 PM   #10
johnnybear
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

As long as you don't watch them in the BBC order you should be fine! That is one order that makes the stardate order appealing believe me!
JB
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Old May 4 2015, 04:05 PM   #11
HIjol
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

The Best Order is in BBS Order!
You also get the Best Analysis and Commentary!
And, Inside Scoops and Extras NOT Found on Other Compilations!
Plus; .gifs .galore!

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Old May 4 2015, 05:02 PM   #12
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

The order you watch doesn't really matter. Last time I watched through was original airdate order, and other than the slight oddness of the crew and uniforms changing a bit for the second pilot (which is sixth episode, or somesuch) it all flows fine.
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Old May 5 2015, 01:05 AM   #13
SAndrews10
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

I watch Season one in production order and Season's two and three in airdate order.
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Old May 5 2015, 06:46 PM   #14
Mytran
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

I used to do that (and even arranged my video recordings in that order!) but later realised that even in Seasons 2 and 3 there are developments and nuances in the characterisations and relationships spilling over into the episodes which are only made clear by viewing them in production order: I'm thinking of the relationship between Spock and Bones in particular.

For a casual observer though, it's not something worth losing too much sleep over. Enjoy!
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Old May 5 2015, 07:34 PM   #15
Jeri
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Re: Watching for the first time - please advise!

I started watching in Sep 1966, so I watched by air date; I don't think it matters. Watch whatever order is easier by DVD or Netflix or whatever method you're using.
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