Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by CrazyMatt, Mar 25, 2014.
3rd place in a three network world is NOT a success, it's last place.
But all of those were half hour comedy shows, and would have cost less to produce. "Gomer" and "My Three Sons" were already established shows with a following. "That Girl" started the same year as Star Trek and ran 5 years.
I just finished this tonight (shot my whole evening in fact :/ ) and it was a good book. I'll be reviewing it shortly.
It reminded me why I love Star Trek. After running a Trek board for almost 10 years, sometimes I forget that I do love Trek.
I've read most of the book now... and I am quite satisfied. Contents are similar to the extended and revised version of the first season edition.
There are a few errors I've detected, but those are more than counterbalanced by the mountain of background production information that I've never seen elsewhere. None on this information seems to contradict what is known from other trusted sources. A great example is the chapter dealing with the departure of Gene Coon--the author (using original interview material to buttress his conclusions) fills in a lot of the blanks while still, again, meshing with the information we knew from the Solow/Justman book.
As with the first season edition, the real benefits of this book are the production memos and the interviews. I learned more about how my favorite episode, "The Doomsday Machine," actually came to be the episode we know and love, than I had previously from any other source.
I know some on this board don't like this author and would encourage you not to buy this book. That's their right. I'm not going to worry about what the ratings meant and whether the author has the composers correct for each episode. The former doesn't matter much to me and the latter I can find out by reading Jeff Bond's superb book (or listening to the superb LA-LA LAND soundtrack).
Bottom line: For the fan who's interested in how the series was produced from initial story pitch to final product, there is no other product that matches this book. I give it my endorsement without reservation.
I have to say I largely agree with this.
The other thing I'm finding of interest are the details and workings between GR, NBC and the studio. It was interesting to learn that Desilu suits were (mostly) the ones not enamoured with Star Trek. And it's interesting to see NBC's claims of support through Stan Robertson (and others) even as they made decisions that hurt the show. I'm also amused over many of the things the network and censors would fret over that no one would blink at in the slightest today.
In regard to the ratings. I'm not accepting that TOS was a breakout hit (and Cushman doesn't actually say that), but it did better in first season than many of us have been led to believe for all these years. The show was reaching its target audience. But other forces were at work to hurt the show. To a point GR was right in what kind of series he seemed to hope for and it's admirable that he would resent and resist efforts to water it down. But he also couldn't resist picking a fight with people who could have been allies. Not all of NBC's feedback was bad, but network suits are not just machines and they could easily get irritated with someone who could be difficult to work with to the point of hedging their support and promotion of a quality show any network should want in their stable. We're learning that not everything we've heard all these years was a lie, but we weren't hearing the whole truth either. As time went on softer than hoped ratings were not in themselves the cause of the show's demise even as they could serve as justification. Other shows doing worse continued to get picked up. But also NBC didn't help the cause by scheduling the show where practically no series could flourish no matter how they spun it.
Regarding GR's rewrites. I have to say that it's easy to vilify GR, but often enough his changes could be for the better. No one is really a saint or complete villain in this. It's a bunch of talented people not always agreeing on how to make something work. No one was always right or always wrong. Not all Gene Coon's or D.C. Fontana's ideas were brilliant either.
The other inescapable issue is how while Star Trek could be admired and praised by many few seemed to really appreciate what it took to make such a series. Of course the studio had a right to be concerned with its finances even as they had a show that simply couldn't be done right on the cheap. As fans we can bitch and moan and obsessively nitpick the series and individual elements to death even forty years after the fact, but it's quite apparent a lot of people were making a genuine effort to make it the best they could under brutal conditions. One simple aspect of this were the post production effects. TOS needed something approaching feature film resources to do the show justice, but time and budget and resources available conspired against that. Today many can laugh at and dismiss certain elements of the show's production, but they do so in ignorance of the conditions that production operated within.
It is interesting that NBC didn't try to force GR out, but then maybe it's just as well they didn't. Even though he could be a pain he still had something to bring to the show, and that something could well have been missed if he were gone.
Feeling maddeningly ambivalent about this.
I am glad people are enjoying it, and it should generate lots of great threads. I want to jump in and join the fun, but the previous book just drove me mad with the typo's, errors and sloppiness.
Has the season 2 book been better edited than season 1?
I noticed one typo that tuck out to me so far. Somehow a @ symbol got inserted into a word. Nothing else has registered to distract me.
Even though he delivered a powerful performance it's interesting that William Windom doesn't (or didn't) have much of an opinion of TOS or SF in general. To him it seems to have been all basically the same silly stuff.
It looks like @ got inserted instead of closing quotation marks in a number of places. Software glitch?
The most surprising thing so far has been the assertion that there were 3 "Nomads."
I personally don't believe that there was more than one but the book states that Marc Daniels said there was. It looks like to me that there was only one that was capable of being hung from a wire, mounted on a dolly or simply stood up on the base. Marc Daniels indicates that there was a separate "Nomad" for each case and a "light weight" model that hung from the wire. Honestly, I'm not buying it. I can't believe that with the budget constraints that they would have built three when one or at the most two would have been needed. I will go back and look at the episode and see if there is any evidence that there was more than one. Any thoughts?
There might have been some specially built for different functions, like the extending antenna or a light suddenly coming on. Does the voice-activated circuit seem to be working when Nomad's hanging on a wire? I watched it just last week and can't remember. It always seemed to have the random light patterns going on behind the grill.
That seems suspect. Pieces of Nomad was reused in later episodes (The Enterprise Incident and Requiem for Methuselah comes to mind), but never in a way that suggested there was more than one Nomad.
Hey feek61, that's a familiar looking avatar.
My husband just gave me his old laptop. It has the " and @ interchanged. Its very frustrating. He says its because its an 'English keyboard'.
Well you never know where these things may turn-up. You know what I mean?
The Atari 800 also had double quotes as shift 2, where an @ would be on a PC on Mac. Not that such a thing should excuse obvious typos.
And more irony!!!
I'll never forget receiving my Amiga 2000 in the late 80s. When I unpacked it, the keyboard was unrecognizable. I called the place I ordered it from and they said "That's the German keyboard. A lot of people prefer the German keyboard." I think I said "In Germany, I suppose. I'm in New Jersey. Send me the right frickin keyboard, please?"
I can't recall any book I've ever purchased that was without something to criticize. Maybe less so when it comes to novels or stories because there I'm more concerned with the story and therefore I have different expectations.
When it comes to reference books it's much like reading a columnist's opinion piece in that in varying degrees columnists or authors bring their own agendas to the field. That doesn't necessarily invalidate what they're saying, but it's something to remember. In like manner I will often read or reference opposing sources to try getting a bigger picture of an issue.
Cushman's books are falling into those categories. I'm enjoying them immensely even as I can question some of the content. The images issue has largely gone by the wayside for me. I think the greater majority of these images have already been seen widely over the years and even those few rare ones I don't recall ever seeing are rather small and printed in commonplace black-and-white. They don't impress as anything special. It might have been different if they had been reprinted in large size and in colour on nice glossy paper, but that isn't the case.
I don't think I've ever read any reference book that was truly complete and unbiased and that certainly includes books I've held a high opinion of.
In terms of typos and grammatical errors sadly it's not only this not being the first time I've seen such things it also seems to be becoming more common. I see such mistakes in newspapers, magazines, professionally published works and it's all over the internet in supposedly professionally presented writings.
I think there's a lot to enjoy in these three volumes even as I think they would have made an even better impression if they had been properly and more vigilantly proof read. Someone like Harvey or someone else who could have pressed to make certain the distinction between fact and opinion were clearer and that what is presented as fact has been clearly validated.
There is nothing wrong with presenting an opinion and then laying out your case and how you came to your conclusions. But the better you present your case the more weight given your argument and conclusions.
Separate names with a comma.