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

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Old March 22 2014, 08:05 PM   #1
BigJake
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Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I found this interesting comment on "Return of the Archons" from Robert Sawyer in my FB feed:

Robert J. Sawyer wrote:
Watched ST:TOS "The Return of the Archons" on Blu-ray. Ugh. Not only is it slow-paced, it looks awful -- backlot exteriors, bland interiors, a mishmash of period clothing -- and it sounds awful, with horrid looping of dialog in the exterior scenes. Despite a dream-team guest cast of TV character actors -- Harry Townes, Jon Lormer, Torin Thatcher, Sid Haig -- it's just painful to watch. And Kirk's cavalier decision to violate the Prime Directive is reprehensible. And although this is the first (of many) time Kirk talks a computer to death, it's also the least effective. I know the first season of TOS is much lauded, and the third season denigrated, but I'd take season three's space hippies of this season-one turkey any day.
Never been a fan of "Return" myself -- though OTOH who can imagine TOS without Landru and "you are not of the Body!" -- but maybe he's being too hard on it? Anyone care to step forward and champion this Episode's honour?
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Old March 22 2014, 08:10 PM   #2
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I've always like "Return of the Archons". It gave us the Prime Directive and the Red Hour. The Beta III-A culture always seemed like a precursor to the Vulcan culture we see in "Amok Time".

As far as violating the Prime Directive goes: is a culture that has weaponry that can destroy orbital craft so easily protected by it?
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Old March 22 2014, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

For Christ's sake, just about everything was shot on backlots in those days, and dialog in exterior scenes always had to be looped. Is this guy expecting 21st-century filmmaking technology in a 1960s TV show? It seems like he's just enjoying the sound of his own snark.
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Old March 22 2014, 08:27 PM   #4
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Yes, I've already seen this. I know Robert Sawyer. I've also been participating in the ensuing discussion on FB.

Part of his observation can be attributed to watching the episode on Blu-Ray where '60's era production sins are made more visible than they could have been on DVD or especially as seen on old CRT televisions.
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Old March 22 2014, 08:34 PM   #5
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Yes, I've already seen this. I know Robert Sawyer. I've also been participating in the ensuing discussion on FB.
Interesting, so I've probably seen you there.

Part of his observation can be attributed to watching the episode on Blu-Ray where '60's era production sins are made more visible than they could have been on DVD or especially as seen on old CRT televisions.
Yeah, I was wondering about that. The old shows really weren't designed to be shown on massive hi-def screens.
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Old March 22 2014, 08:39 PM   #6
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

scotpens wrote: View Post
For Christ's sake, just about everything was shot on backlots in those days, and dialog in exterior scenes always had to be looped. Is this guy expecting 21st-century filmmaking technology in a 1960s TV show? It seems like he's just enjoying the sound of his own snark.
I agree. Idiotic "Monday morning quarterbacking" 47 years too late.
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Old March 22 2014, 08:39 PM   #7
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I have no clue who Robert Sawyer is, nor do I care frankly. This is why I'm not going to bother googling his name.

Suffice it to say, my opinion of ROTA is pretty much the polar opposite of his. I adore the episode, love the sets/locations both inside and out, and always thought the costumes were superb - adding to the "feel" of the show nicely.
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Old March 22 2014, 08:50 PM   #8
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

It's been one of my favorites from the time I first saw it on NBC. My favorite moment is Landru summoning the Body as Reger tries to lead the landing party to a safe house. If this is the same Robert Sawyer (I had to look him up) who writes science fiction, I suppose it's easy to take an air of superiority to a program that first aired when you were 6 years old.
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Old March 22 2014, 08:51 PM   #9
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Lokai: Fair enough on disagreeing with him. Good SF writer, though, if you ever feel like Googling him when you're less annoyed with him.
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Old March 22 2014, 09:09 PM   #10
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Robert J. Sawyer is an established and successful science fiction writer for about the past twenty years or so. He's Canadian and lives in Mississauga, Ontario west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

He's a good writer and a HUGE TOS fan. I met him through a number of Toronto Trek conventions and we have been on a few convention discussion panels together.

I've read quite a few of his books, but certainly not all. Yes, he's a good writer and has written on a number of ideas. He is also invited frequently for numerous speaking engagements. Apparently he has also gotten to know several other established SF writers.

My favourite novel of his is Starplex. Reading that convinced me he could have written a helluva TNG episode if he'd gotten the chance. Another of his books I liked dealt with a first contact where an alien might have murdered a human being and is put on trial. It was like Law & Order meets science fiction. Another good one was Rollback dealing with reversing the aging process. Mindscan dealt with copying a human mind and downloading it into an artificial body.

I really have to catch up on some of his more recent books. He averages one new novel a year.
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Old March 22 2014, 09:17 PM   #11
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Red Planet Blues. It's gotten a more mixed response than a lot of his work, but in a way that makes it sound like exactly the kind of genre-bending that a TOS fan would produce (and appreciate).
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Old March 22 2014, 09:21 PM   #12
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I really wish he'd gotten the chance to write Alien Exodus...
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Old March 23 2014, 12:43 AM   #13
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Grant wrote: View Post
47
And there's that number again.






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Old March 23 2014, 12:58 AM   #14
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I love Archons because we get to see Spock punch a guy in the face.
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Old March 23 2014, 02:06 AM   #15
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Push The Button wrote: View Post
I love Archons because we get to see Spock punch a guy in the face.
Wow I've got to see that episode again just to see that.

Archons worse than Eden, that Robert Sawyer guy must be on space drugs.

Although I must admit Eden has grown on me over the years so its probably up to second worst episode IMO.

And Archons would be in my bottom 20. Not because of the looping or backlot sets or limited budget or costumes though. If Sawyer had been here for our discussion of a few months ago he would have realised the clothing mismatch was intentional.

The problem with the PD on this planet, was did everyone agree to be ruled by a computer, or did some perhaps well-intentioned guy (Landru) overstep his competence?
To me what happened here is sort of what happen on Miri's world. Some scientists imposed their well-intention but dangerous experiment on an entire planet.
And I think overall GR (at least in TOS) had the intent overall that to show it is wrong for man (sentient beings) to be ruled by computer and I'm amazed that people scream PD violation in that case.
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