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

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Old March 23 2014, 02:13 AM   #16
Hober Mallow
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I haven't seen "Archons" in years. Isn't that the episode where everyone goes crazy at the beginning of the story... and it's never explained?
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Old March 23 2014, 02:28 AM   #17
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
I haven't seen "Archons" in years. Isn't that the episode where everyone goes crazy at the beginning of the story... and it's never explained?
It is explained in the episode.
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Old March 23 2014, 02:35 AM   #18
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
I haven't seen "Archons" in years. Isn't that the episode where everyone goes crazy at the beginning of the story... and it's never explained?
If you're referring to the "Festival" where everyone breaks loose in an orgy of destruction, looting and raping (well, implied raping), we assume it's Landru's way of letting the populace periodically release their pent-up emotions, since they're so tightly controlled and affectless the rest of the time.
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Old March 23 2014, 02:39 AM   #19
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
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.
I get where Sawyer is coming from: if a society "chooses" to be ruled by a computer, however that "choice" came to be made, has the right to continue that way as it chooses whatever our sensibilities might think about it.

But of course, practically speaking, Enterprise was under attack by Landru and "Archons" set up the principle that Kirk would never let the Prime Directive get in the way of saving his crew and his ship. Which really was perfectly sensible; the only confusion comes from the fact that the Prime Directive was introduced as "a starship captain's most solemn oath" for which he would give "his life, even his entire crew."
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Old March 23 2014, 02:42 AM   #20
Hober Mallow
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

As I recall, James Blish's explanation for the festival in one of his adaptions was that it was a means of population control.
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Old March 23 2014, 02:49 AM   #21
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

This was the first time the Prime Directive was mentioned in the series though (according to Memory Alpha), so the finer points of it were probably pretty hazy at the time.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:00 AM   #22
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

To be honest, Archons isn't really that great and the last couple of times I tried to watch it I had trouble staying awake during it. I'm not sure I'd go and say something like it being worse than The Way to Eden (although I had no problem staying awake last time I watched that) but it certainly isn't on my list of favourites.

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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.
Starplex is awesome. Another of my favourites from him is the Quintaglio trilogy, a series about a society of evolved dinosaurs.

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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).
Red Plane Blues is also really cool. The melding of science fiction and a detective story really works and makes for a unique and memorable story.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:19 AM   #23
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

I show the Festival clip to my government classes as a demo/metaphor/comedy of the dangers of anarchy. Some of them still remember it at this point in the school year and will say "festival" unbidden, if we are discussing law as opposed to anarchy.

And no, it's never explained in the ep. Who knows? Maybe it's some bad code in the Landru program.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:28 AM   #24
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

BigJake wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
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.
I get where Sawyer is coming from: if a society "chooses" to be ruled by a computer, however that "choice" came to be made, has the right to continue that way as it chooses whatever our sensibilities might think about it.

But of course, practically speaking, Enterprise was under attack by Landru and "Archons" set up the principle that Kirk would never let the Prime Directive get in the way of saving his crew and his ship. Which really was perfectly sensible; the only confusion comes from the fact that the Prime Directive was introduced as "a starship captain's most solemn oath" for which he would give "his life, even his entire crew."
No-one seemed happy about Landru's rule when Kirk was there.
I suppose Kirk could have just tried to escape Landru and let the people to their fate.

Technically is this even a PD world? Landru knows about space flight. It even has some greater technology than Starfleet. Its not Kirk's fault he keeps his subjects in ignorance.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:30 AM   #25
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Maybe Festival is their version of pon farr.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:32 AM   #26
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

BigJake wrote: View Post
if a society "chooses" to be ruled by a computer, however that "choice" came to be made, has the right to continue that way as it chooses whatever our sensibilities might think about it.
If there was any evidence that the Betans chose that, I'd welcome it. But there isn't any.

They chose Landru, yes. But they chose Landru the person. They did not choose Landru the computer. There's the difference.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:32 AM   #27
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

CommishSleer: It's never been super-clear to me what worlds the Prime Directive applies to and which it doesn't. Beta III appears not to have spaceflight, but it's been previously contacted and has other forms of advanced technology, so... ??? Even come TNG era it seems to have been a grey area.
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Old March 23 2014, 03:34 AM   #28
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

To me "Archons" is a middle-quality episode. I agree that the production design is bland to the point of boring, but they didn't have the money to anything better. On the other hand, this is another case where an episode without its own score makes tremendous use of tracked music.

I think a prominent role for a strong female guest star would have enhanced this episode and given it the something extra it was missing. Lt. O'Neil should have been a great-looking woman, and the part should have been bigger.
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Old March 23 2014, 05:30 AM   #29
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

BigJake wrote: View Post
CommishSleer: It's never been super-clear to me what worlds the Prime Directive applies to and which it doesn't. Beta III appears not to have spaceflight, but it's been previously contacted and has other forms of advanced technology, so... ??? Even come TNG era it seems to have been a grey area.
The trouble with this planet and that in 'Fridays Child' and 'A Private Little War' and 'Organia' was that Starfleet actually sent them to these planets. Starfleet can't be wanting them to preserve the PD that much
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Old March 23 2014, 06:16 AM   #30
Timewalker
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Re: Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

BigJake wrote: View Post
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?
I enjoyed it. I liked seeing Sulu get off the Bridge, and McCoy had some good material in this one, too.

I've never read anything by Robert Sawyer.
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