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

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Old October 3 2008, 09:24 PM   #16
david g
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

I like The Man Trap and think it did okay as a premiere ep (not that I watched it at the time, having been born in 1969!), but I would definitely have gone with WNMHGB. To me, it sums up the core themes of the series perfectly, and is a great episode to boot.
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Old October 4 2008, 08:05 AM   #17
Brutal Strudel
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

david g wrote: View Post
I like The Man Trap and think it did okay as a premiere ep (not that I watched it at the time, having been born in 1969!), but I would definitely have gone with WNMHGB. To me, it sums up the core themes of the series perfectly, and is a great episode to boot.
WNMHGB is one of my rotating faves and, having it air first, the differences between it and later episodes wouldn't seem so strange (though I first saw it in syndication, just as out of context). So yeah, it would have been a good choice.
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Old October 9 2008, 07:40 AM   #18
Noname Given
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Red Ranger wrote: View Post
Back on topic, if The Corbomite Maneuver was indeed one of the eps in the can, I think that would've been a better debut. It has more of the elements that define TOS than The Man Trap possesses.
FYI - While the live action portions of The Corbomite Manuever were done (it was the first 'regular' episode filmed); it was the 9th shown only because it was the most 'effects heavy' episode filmed to date, and it was taking longer than expected to complete those effects.
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Old October 9 2008, 02:30 PM   #19
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Noname Given wrote: View Post
Red Ranger wrote: View Post
Back on topic, if The Corbomite Maneuver was indeed one of the eps in the can, I think that would've been a better debut. It has more of the elements that define TOS than The Man Trap possesses.
FYI - While the live action portions of The Corbomite Manuever were done (it was the first 'regular' episode filmed); it was the 9th shown only because it was the most 'effects heavy' episode filmed to date, and it was taking longer than expected to complete those effects.
Which is truly sad - CM is absolutely the THIRD pilot that defines the show and its characters for time immemorial -

McCoy is there, and is established right away as Kirk's friend AND advisor

Sulu is in his proper situation

Scotty is more established as an important part of the crew - in fact, MORE important than almost the rest of the first season! It was only when Gene Coon came on board, that Scotty started rising in importance. It was Coon who started to let Jimmy Doohan's personality come through, and really give us the Scott we all know and love...

Only (ironically) Spock is still a bit of an enigma, both personality and performance wise- it took Nimoy and the writers a while to get a grip on the character...

In many ways, CM is much more like TNG than the rest of the series - a glimpse of what Trek might have been like if it had not become the Kirk & Spock Show...
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Old October 9 2008, 04:26 PM   #20
Captain Robert April
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Noname Given wrote: View Post
Red Ranger wrote: View Post
Back on topic, if The Corbomite Maneuver was indeed one of the eps in the can, I think that would've been a better debut. It has more of the elements that define TOS than The Man Trap possesses.
FYI - While the live action portions of The Corbomite Manuever were done (it was the first 'regular' episode filmed); it was the 9th shown only because it was the most 'effects heavy' episode filmed to date, and it was taking longer than expected to complete those effects.
A lot of it depends on how you define "in the can." I define it as completely done and ready for air, and by that scale, they really didn't have much to choose from.

"The Man Trap" was the only one of the finished episodes that purported to show all the characters in character for the entire episode (the argument can be made that a lot of folks weren't exactly themselves, but then again, it was early, the actors were still trying to figure out their characters). "The Enemy Within" and "The Naked Time" wouldn't have worked as debuts because those pretty much require you to know the characters better for the stories to have any appreciable impact, and "Charlie X" was a slightly weaker story (and it helps to better know how the ship operates normally to better appreciate just how disruptive Charlie is). "Mudd's Women" was a bit silly in parts, and "The Corbomite Maneuver" wasn't ready. And besides, "The Man Trap" had a proper sci-fi monster running around killing folks (another point, "The Man Trap" was the first regular episode in which anyone actually dies, a key factor in mid-60's action/adventure television).

Is it any wonder I prefer production order?
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Old October 9 2008, 08:47 PM   #21
Ryan Thomas Riddle
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Kirk here wrote: View Post
Elder Knight wrote: View Post
As "The Naked Time" was supposed to depict the crew acting out of character, had it been the debut, you wouldn'y know them in character.

(Of course, TNG used their "remake" of this story very early, as I recall.)
Actually, "The Naked Time", *did* show them in character. The whole point was to show what was really inside them, without their masks on.
Exactly. "The Naked Time" showed the emotional demons that each character kept buried deep within especially with the two leads, Kirk and Spock.

For Spock, it was his submerged emotions and human side. For Kirk, it was his lonliness ("No Beach to Walk On"). Both of which came out during their confrontation in the briefing room.

However, if I were to choose the first episode to air, I'd have gone with the thrid filmed, "The Corbomite Maneuver" because it gives us a "day in the life" event aboard the starship Enterprise and introduces the characters, their roles and very much gives us the impression that he ship is alone in the night.
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Old October 10 2008, 02:39 AM   #22
Maurice
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
A lot of it depends on how you define "in the can." I define it as completely done and ready for air, and by that scale, they really didn't have much to choose from.
From a Hollywood standpoint, there's only one definition for "In the Can": the film/episode is completely FINISHED, since the phrase literally meant the completed film reels are in their canisters ready to be shipped to theaters or to the network for airing.

"Wrapped" means the principal photography has concluded.

Between those two you're "in post (production)".

"The Corbomite Maneuver" was wrapped and in post but not in the can at the time the series premiered.
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Old October 12 2008, 05:50 AM   #23
RobertScorpio
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
A lot of it depends on how you define "in the can." I define it as completely done and ready for air, and by that scale, they really didn't have much to choose from.
From a Hollywood standpoint, there's only one definition for "In the Can": the film/episode is completely FINISHED, since the phrase literally meant the completed film reels are in their canisters ready to be shipped to theaters or to the network for airing.

"Wrapped" means the principal photography has concluded.

Between those two you're "in post (production)".

"The Corbomite Maneuver" was wrapped and in post but not in the can at the time the series premiered.
Cool..then by your account what episodes were 'in the can' other than MAN TRAP..or was that it? Because Shatner, Nimoy and Roddenberry have all stated it was a bad 'choice' to go with it...

Rob
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Old October 12 2008, 06:51 AM   #24
Borjis
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

EnsignHarper wrote: View Post
CM is absolutely the THIRD pilot that defines the show and its characters for time immemorial

yep and the last remnants of visually obvious wardrobe change....spocks big collar and uhura in gold.
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Old October 12 2008, 05:49 PM   #25
Captain Robert April
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Uhura was also in gold in "Mudd's Women".
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Old October 12 2008, 06:11 PM   #26
Captain Robert April
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

RobertScorpio wrote: View Post
DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
A lot of it depends on how you define "in the can." I define it as completely done and ready for air, and by that scale, they really didn't have much to choose from.
From a Hollywood standpoint, there's only one definition for "In the Can": the film/episode is completely FINISHED, since the phrase literally meant the completed film reels are in their canisters ready to be shipped to theaters or to the network for airing.

"Wrapped" means the principal photography has concluded.

Between those two you're "in post (production)".

"The Corbomite Maneuver" was wrapped and in post but not in the can at the time the series premiered.
Cool..then by your account what episodes were 'in the can' other than MAN TRAP..or was that it? Because Shatner, Nimoy and Roddenberry have all stated it was a bad 'choice' to go with it...

Rob
Well, consider that production started around July, and first episode produced, "The Corbomite Manuever", wasn't ready by that first week in September, and although one of the most effects heavy, it certainly wasn't the only one that needed extensive work in post production. That leaves the ones that were relatively light on effects, and of those, we're not talking a lot of powerful stories at this point of the game.

"Man Trap", at least on paper, looked like the strongest of the bunch, with a good ol' fashioned creature running around killing people, good use of the planet set, a couple of phaser shots, an on-set explosion, and half of the shots of the ship are resused shots from the pilots. And it doesn't require the audience to have already seen the show to know what's going on, nor does it give the impression that this might be a parody show of some sort, like "Mudd's Women" or even "The Naked Time" might to the uninitiated.

So, under the circumstances, I really can't fault the decision to go with "Man Trap".
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Old October 13 2008, 06:43 PM   #27
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Out of all the complete episodes, I would have gone with the obvious (40+ years later) choice of WNMHGB.

1) again, for the costume, set and character/make up changes.

2) It is really good at establishing Kirk and Spock and is a nice prologue to their friendship.

3) it has ship and planet action. It kicks the planet episodes off to an extremely convincing start with the amazing matte painting of the Lithium Cracking Station and the amazing mountain ranges used in The Cage.

Also, very few episodes really caught the feeling of being out there in space, far from command and on their own, as this one.

Justman and Solow, in their book, considered WNMHGB as too full of exposition, but I never once felt that way. The episode kicks into gear before the opening titles roll, and there's plenty of action. Noboyd stops and states the point of the show, the ship or their mission. It asks you to pick up what you can along the way. In this regard, both men were dead wrong, it would have made (and does make) a really good opening episode.

Also, it's fairly sophisticated SF for the period. A monster show is all well and good, but Roddenberry wanted Star Trek to be a cut above the usual TV SF fare. Monsters were all over the dial on The Outer Limits, Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He wanted Trek to be considered far away from at least the latter two shows. Kicking the series off with exactly the kind of monster show that critics and viewers were sick of was a bad move. It immediately put Star Trek in the "kiddie show" mindset for a lot of people. No matter how well written the script, it had a monster, weird electronic music (again, I love it) and a very over the top finale (Kirk screaming and Spock beating the shit out of "Nancy").

WNMHGB would have put Trek in the "more mature" category straight away if it were run first. It would have shown amazing production values and some truly great performances as Shatner carried the episode.
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Old October 13 2008, 07:24 PM   #28
Captain Robert April
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

The issue with WNMHGB was probably the drastic differences in sets, costumes, and cast (like I've said before, I don't think they ever planned to air either pilot, until their utter poverty of finished episodes forced them into it). It's possible that at the time they were selecting the first episode, WNMHGB might've still had the Quinn Martin style titles and act breaks and different theme music, meaning it really would've stood out from the other episodes, at least until certain changes were made (kinda weird how the opening narration was left out, but that all hinges on just when it was re-edited to better match the regular episodes; might've been before they'd decided on the opening voice over).

In any case, you want to establish a feeling of familiarity with a new show before you start challenging the audience with stuff out of left field (which, again, leaves out "Mudd's Women", "The Enemy Within", and "The Naked Time", along with both pilots).
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Old October 13 2008, 08:00 PM   #29
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
The issue with WNMHGB was probably the drastic differences in sets, costumes, and cast (like I've said before, I don't think they ever planned to air either pilot, until their utter poverty of finished episodes forced them into it). It's possible that at the time they were selecting the first episode, WNMHGB might've still had the Quinn Martin style titles and act breaks and different theme music, meaning it really would've stood out from the other episodes, at least until certain changes were made.

The differences in the sets and costumes would have been less jarring if the audience hadn't seen two prior episodes with the more finalized uniforms. It would have been a change once, not twice.

I can't say for certain, but since Man Trap was run only two weeks before WNMHGB, it's pretty safe to assume the print was recut and formatted when Man Trp ran. Maybe, maybe not, but even though it was kind of a mad dash to figure out which episode went first, I can't believe the whole season was like that. They must have known they were going to run it early on.

As for never intending to air the second pilot, I don't think that was much of a concern. Unless there's a huge change in format or cast, TV show producers generally intend to run their pilots (sometimes first, sometimes not if they don't really set up the situation). It's a huge waste of money to not do it. They would be updated to fit the style of the series, but still run. The Cage was so different, they couldn't run it as a regular episode, but WNMHGB had enough in place where it could be run and at least have most of the regular characters in it. If they didn't change soundstages, much of the show might have looked like WNMHGB.

Worst case scenario would have been an Irwin Allen situation with Lost in Space. He cut up his unaired pilot and spread 99% of the footage across 5 episodes, and only tossing a couple of quick shots never used. Gene's use of The Cage was probably the best solution for Trek and added to the backstory.
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Old October 13 2008, 09:12 PM   #30
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Re: If not MAN TRAP..then what

Well, obviously going with The Man Trap as the series opener was a huge mistake. Look how it put Star Trek in a hole that it has never come out of.




The Man Trap, no doubt, was the best choice. The only other option for me would have been The Corbomite Maneuver, but obviously the extensive special effects of that episode weren't ready yet.
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