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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 October 12 2013, 07:04 PM   #1
Nero's Shadow
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What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

I've been a fan for many years and always have time for TOS but I've been thinking about what makes it so iconic. ??? There are many facts and likeable things that I love.

One of mine is the famous quotes that the series gave us !!! He's dead jim !!! Live long and prosper and many many more !!! But did this happen and make the series iconic at the time.?? Or did this happen after the show had finished. IMO it was after !!!

So what and why in your opinion makes the series iconic for you ????
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Old October 12 2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

First, make no mistake: for the most part, it's good television, with excellent production values, good actors, good scripts, and excellent music.
That said: It got lucky. There are dozens of shows from the 50s and 60s that are as good, or better. In the era of the space race this show captured the imagination; it filled a niche that most other shows weren't occupying.
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Old October 12 2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

Spock also had something to do with it. Even if people had never watched the show, they probably knew about "that guy with the ears". I wasn't that crazy about Spock or his hairstyle, which sort of made him look like Moe Howard.
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Old October 12 2013, 07:50 PM   #4
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

I agree with beaker that a great deal of it is owed to luck and serendipity, in many ways. That they lost Jeffrey Hunter and wound up getting William Shatner was a tremendous stroke of serendipity, for instance: Hunter was one of many interchangeable square-jawed handsome hero types of the day, whereas Shatner made the Captain's role genuinely distinctive, in particular bringing touches of humour to the role that we likely never would have seen from his predecessor.

(And much-mocked though the "Shatnerian school of acting" is in some quarters today, Shatner was and is a genuinely gifted actor whose over-the-top, go-for-broke attitude and natural charisma make his roles memorable.)

Nimoy's improvised-by-stages building of the Vulcan mythos, and Roddenberry's willingness to run with it, also gave us a character that was a representative of a surprisingly interesting attempt at alien culture-building, which by its example implied that other alien cultures in the setting could be explored too. Spock as a character fired the imagination.

They had a strong design team, good music, some interesting scripts drawn from a vital age of American SF writing, and also happened across a vivid three-man-band dynamic with Kirk, Bones and Spock that's usually involving (if sometimes a bit crudely-drawn).
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Old October 12 2013, 08:32 PM   #5
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

There's also the simple-but-distinctive brilliantly-colored uniforms, instantly recognizable.
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Old October 12 2013, 08:38 PM   #6
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

I like it.
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Old October 12 2013, 08:40 PM   #7
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

Then there's the Enterprise itself. Any school kid could draw it and make it recognizable with just a crude circle and 3 lines.
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Old October 12 2013, 08:46 PM   #8
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

Some of you make it sound like Trek was an iconic hit right out of the box, when it was commercially shaky during its original run and became a widely-recognized hit in syndication. A show that had been relegated to a 10 PM Friday night time slot in its original run found a much wider audience when it was run at 5 PM every weeknight...it became the right show at the right time.
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Old October 12 2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
A show that had been relegated to a 10 PM Friday night time slot in its original run found a much wider audience when it was run at 5 PM every weeknight...it became the right show at the right time.
This.
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Old October 12 2013, 10:08 PM   #10
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

BillJ wrote: View Post
The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
A show that had been relegated to a 10 PM Friday night time slot in its original run found a much wider audience when it was run at 5 PM every weeknight...it became the right show at the right time.
This.
That late afternoon for high school and college age folk was a good time for it. Also, there were not a host of competing stations for its attention. Today, were the series starting out, it might find a place on some small cable network and never be noticed by folks at large.
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Old October 12 2013, 10:57 PM   #11
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
Some of you make it sound like Trek was an iconic hit right out of the box, when it was commercially shaky during its original run and became a widely-recognized hit in syndication. A show that had been relegated to a 10 PM Friday night time slot in its original run found a much wider audience when it was run at 5 PM every weeknight...it became the right show at the right time.
Oh I don't know. I wasn't there, but the perception I've gotten is that, while not commercially successful by the definitions of 1960s television ratings, it did have a fanbase, and that the people who were watching it were loyal viewers. And yes, it would also seem that despite the rep that it got as being a "failure", it did in fact actually have a cache with a mainstream audience at the time. Sure, they weren't watching it en masse..... but it isn't like nobody knew about it until syndication saved the day.
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Old October 12 2013, 11:07 PM   #12
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
First, make no mistake: for the most part, it's good television, with excellent production values, good actors, good scripts, and excellent music.
That said: It got lucky. There are dozens of shows from the 50s and 60s that are as good, or better. In the era of the space race this show captured the imagination; it filled a niche that most other shows weren't occupying.
Agree.

It also filled the social commentary void left by the departure of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone.
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Old October 12 2013, 11:20 PM   #13
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

Lance wrote: View Post
Oh I don't know. I wasn't there, but the perception I've gotten is that, while not commercially successful by the definitions of 1960s television ratings, it did have a fanbase, and that the people who were watching it were loyal viewers. And yes, it would also seem that despite the rep that it got as being a "failure", it did in fact actually have a cache with a mainstream audience at the time. Sure, they weren't watching it en masse..... but it isn't like nobody knew about it until syndication saved the day.
It had a fanbase, but it didn't become an iconic part of general popular culture until more people were exposed to it in syndication. Had it not reached the magic number for syndication, it would be a little-remembered show that might have enjoyed a cult resurgence two or three decades later via home video release. For that much, the original fanbase deserves some credit, as they helped to push the original run of the series to the point where it had enough episodes for syndication.
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Old October 12 2013, 11:28 PM   #14
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

BillJ wrote: View Post
The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
A show that had been relegated to a 10 PM Friday night time slot in its original run found a much wider audience when it was run at 5 PM every weeknight...it became the right show at the right time.
This.
I see the truth in this. But, I believe it was all the reasons that BigJake stated in his post that made it ultimately the right show at the right time when it was viewed by a larger audience.
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Old October 12 2013, 11:54 PM   #15
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Re: What Makes TOS So Iconic ????

Well yeah, it couldn't have been the right show at the right time if it had been crap. Once people were exposed to it, it caught their attention, entertained them, and fired up their imaginations.

At the risk of being perceived as saying it was a kids' show, I think it helped immensely that it was being played in a kid-friendly time slot. Kids of my generation grew up with Trek on TV every weekday, and if they were watching it, the rest of the family was seeing it too. Joe Sixpack got home from a hard day of work, plopped down on the couch, and what was Junior sitting on the floor watching...?
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