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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old September 5 2013, 02:54 AM   #61
Christopher
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Harvey wrote: View Post
But on premium cable (especially HBO, but also Showtime -- not sure if Starz has gotten into the business yet) the TV movie is an important and growing part of programming.
Maybe, but I see that as being almost a different medium. Premium channels aren't necessarily available to the same audience as commercial or basic-cable networks, due to the cost. And the style and content of the programming tends to be different.

What I miss are things like the TV movie series we used to have, things like Columbo or the '80s Perry Mason revival. I always thought that would be a good format for Star Trek, a way to get more stories per year than feature films would allow with a higher budget than weekly TV would allow. It could've been a good format for SFTV in general, but we rarely got any series like that. There was the Universal Action Pack including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and TekWar, but both of those went to weekly series a year later. And the original Battlestar Galactica was intended to be a series of 2-hour movies, but the network insisted on retooling it into a weekly series (which is why it had so many 2-part episodes and why the 1-parters, which were written in haste when the decision was made, are so weak in comparison).

For some reason, over the decades, broadcast TV has gotten more and more limited in format. In the early days, in the '50s, there were shows that lasted 15 minutes or 45 minutes; and from then through the '70s there were frequently shows that ran 90 minutes. But eventually those faded out in favor of a more standardized selection of half-hour sitcoms, hourlong dramas, and 2-hour TV movies, plus miniseries emerging as a format in the '70s and '80s. But these days network TV doesn't have movies or miniseries at all anymore, and basic cable only infrequently does. It's odd that the options keep narrowing.
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Old September 5 2013, 03:15 AM   #62
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Well, Fox is dabbling with limited series at the moment. That's one of the things that got 24: Live Another Day off the ground so fast. But the entertainment environment has certainly changed dramatically in the past decade or so.
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Old September 5 2013, 03:35 AM   #63
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

^Yeah, but limited series are still made up of hourlong episodes.
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Old September 5 2013, 03:38 AM   #64
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Yeah, but limited series are still made up of hourlong episodes.
Probably the economics of fifteen or forty-five minute time-slots don't work for the networks.
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Old September 5 2013, 03:59 AM   #65
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Prestige TV movies do seem to have moved to the premium channels. I'm thinking stuff like Game Change or Temple Grandin or You Don't Know Jack and so on. And not much in the way of genre material, alas.

But such projects attract lots of attention and praise and awards, so I'm not convinced that TV-movies are dismissed as hackwork or ephemera.
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Old September 5 2013, 01:57 PM   #66
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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But that's not "two scripts put together." That's two authors dividing the labor on a single script. If you'd just left out that first sentence, you would've been fine.
Or, as it usually called, "a collaboration."

And that's not at all an unusual way to write something together. Just the other day, I was reading an interview with a two-man team of TV writers, who explained that, rather than write every scene together, they tend to split the plot between themselves and edit each other's scenes.

Closer to home, I've collaborated on at least two novels that way. For example, when John Betancourt and I wrote a Deep Space Nine book together, we divided the plot and characters between us. He wrote all the Away Team scenes (with Kira and Bashir and Dax) and I wrote all the scenes on the space station (with Odo and Sisko and the rest). Then we tied everything up by writing the final chapter together.

Sometimes it's just the most efficient and time-effective way to get a project done on time.
Indeed. I also recall reading this is how Bob Greenberger, Friedman, Peter David and Carmen Carter split up the TNG novel "Doomsday World".

It's not uncommon.

Back to the thread subject - I don't think Roddenberry was a terrible writer. Not astounding either.

In many ways, he was a lot like George Lucas - great with concepts and ideas, but struggled with the execution in isolation. He was also very good at identifying talent in others.
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Old September 5 2013, 06:13 PM   #67
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
On another topic, look what I found while searching GR's credits on IMDb:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2461750/

It's a failed 1962 TV pilot Roddenberry wrote, evidently a cop show called A.P.O. 923. The lead character is Captain Philip Pike, and the second lead is called Lt. Edward Jellicoe! No surprise that Roddenberry reused character names a lot, but he was dead by the time the character of Captain Edward Jellico was created for ST:TNG (by Frank Abatemarco and Ron Moore). Just coincidence, or did someone dredge up this bit of Roddenberry trivia and decide to pay an homage?
Freaky weird coincidence, I think, since Ron Moore has said that Edward Jellico was inspired by Admiral John Jellicoe, the British commander at the Battle of Jutland.
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Old September 5 2013, 06:33 PM   #68
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

trevanian wrote: View Post
Back on topic: has anybody brought up PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW as an example of GR's writing talent? Pretty sure that is his only feature credit.
I actually really liked that movie. I had no idea whatsoever that GR had anything to do with that movie.
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Old September 6 2013, 02:09 AM   #69
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

I think the reason I checked the credits and noticed GR's name was because Doohan was in it (a cop, I think), and HE sure wasn't getting a ton of post TOS work.
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Old September 6 2013, 09:18 PM   #70
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
Sran wrote: View Post
BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
The Robert Foxworth role, or the Mike Farrell role?
Foxworth. Nimoy was supposed to get the role- and actually did have it for a while- until it was decided that Foxworth was a better fit. Nimoy called Roddenberry and screamed at him over the phone.

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Foxworth was convincing as an unfinished android. I think they made the right choice.

I do too. Foxworth was a more boyish/likeable type of actor, just as Brent Spiner was later when cast as Data. You gotta remember that actors live and die based on casting. They tend to get pissy over things that wouldn't have necessarily made these things better to the audience.
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Old September 6 2013, 11:42 PM   #71
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

There's more to Nimoy's ire than simply being mad that he wasn't cast. According to I Am Spock, he was most mad that Gene kept him on the hook for the project because the writer-producer had a problem telling people bad news. IIRC.
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Old September 7 2013, 12:23 AM   #72
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

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There's more to Nimoy's ire than simply being mad that he wasn't cast. According to I Am Spock, he was most mad that Gene kept him on the hook for the project because the writer-producer had a problem telling people bad news. IIRC.
Something I can totally empathize with. My boss lied to me once because he was scared I'd be angry at him if he were honest with me. As it turns out, I was mad at him anyway.

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Old September 7 2013, 12:29 AM   #73
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

I had a friend like that in high school. He could never stand to confront me with bad news, even something as simple as calling me up to say that he couldn't make a planned meeting. So I'd take the bus to where we were supposed to meet and wait there for ages, and sometimes he'd show up an hour late and sometimes he'd never show at all. He never figured out that he upset me more that way than he would've by just cancelling in advance.
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Old September 7 2013, 12:36 AM   #74
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I had a friend like that in high school. He could never stand to confront me with bad news, even something as simple as calling me up to say that he couldn't make a planned meeting. So I'd take the bus to where we were supposed to meet and wait there for ages, and sometimes he'd show up an hour late and sometimes he'd never show at all. He never figured out that he upset me more that way than he would've by just cancelling in advance.
Yes! This is exactly it! My boss told me, "I just didn't want you to be upset." I thinking, This is more upsetting than what you might have said otherwise. How old are you?

Thinking about my OP, it's really amazing how childish Roddenberry comes off in Shatner's book. Granted, Shatner is Shatner. But he was there, and a lot of what he says is supported by Nimoy- whose statements I've always attached more credibility to- Harve Bennett, Nick Meyer, and others who figured prominently in the making of each film. I can understand his being upset that his creation was slowly being taken away from him. But his idea for a JFK movie would never have fit with what the other writers/producers were trying to put on screen.

JFK Dies Star Trek Style might have worked as a TV movie or a film in isolation, but not as something mixed in with the TWOK trilogy or any of the other films. Then again, TMP might have worked with Decker in command. But we'll never know.

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Old September 7 2013, 12:43 AM   #75
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

BillJ wrote: View Post
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^Yeah, but limited series are still made up of hourlong episodes.
Probably the economics of fifteen or forty-five minute time-slots don't work for the networks.
Seems like I remember sometime in the 70s ABC moved All My Children and One Life to Live from a half hour to a 45 minute format. I don't think it lasted long before they moved them both to a full hour.

Granted, it was a long time ago and it was just daytime soaps, but it has been done in recent decades. Maybe not as successfully as the network would have liked, but it has been done.
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