Has Fred Freiberger been misblamed for Season 3 over the years?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Lance, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Zaku

    Zaku Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you liked the premise, Ellison expanded its original screeplay for the series much better in Phoenix Without Ashes.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You've forgotten some of Earthman, Come Home (understandably, as the book is rather overpacked). Amalfi and the New Yorkers use spindizzy drives to send the planet He hurtling into deep space, on contract; and they later use the same gimmick to destroy Vega's Orbital Fortress by hitting it with a planet. The New Yorkers even ride the latter planet off to the Greater Magellanic Cloud.

    In The Triumph Of Time we learn the Hevians have mastered the control of their spindizzies and used the planet to visit a region of intergalactic space where the universe is coming to an end, too.

    (I'd be very surprised if Doc Smith or Edmund Hamilton didn't do some planet-flinging, too, but I'm not well-read in either. Smith might have just leapt right to warring parties tossing universes at one another anyway.)
     
  3. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes I remember liking it as a child too. I came in at the 2nd or 3rd episode so for all I know they had some valid explanation for what happened.
    I liked the cast, the commanders, the professor guy and they had an Aussie in it until Maya appeared (but I liked her too).
    And I'm a sucker for those Pommie spaceships (the Eagle I think).
    I haven't seen it since its initial run so maybe I wouldn't like it nowadays.
    I'm thinking now how fast must Luna be travelling (approx 50 times the speed of light I'm guessing). Then how fast must those Eagle spaceships be able to travel if they go to an inhabited planet every week, muck about there and then catch up with Luna. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong though.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I happen to like reading Ellison, but I read that comic adaptation and found it utterly meh.
     
  5. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I've never gotten through the Ed Bryant authorized novelization either, though Ellison's long intro is worth reading.

    The real gem that came out of STARLOST is Ben Bova's novel THE STARCROSSED, which is kind of a futuristic comic spin (in the vein of NETWORK) on THE STARLOST. If you find the 70s-era paperback, there is a picture of the lead character on the cover that is unmistakably Ellison. Bova worked on the show for awhile too, as did Doug Trumbull. Talk about squandering a wealth of talent!
     
  6. Zaku

    Zaku Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    An interesting piece by Norman Klenman, who was called in to work on The Starlost because the production team were unable to deal with Ellison
    From: http://www.snowcrest.net/fox/star2.html
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Ellison is one weird guy.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've never understood why Ellison kept trying to work in TV when he hated it so much. I mean, he couldn't bear to have his words or ideas altered by other people, but TV is clearly a collaborative exercise, so why was he even surprised when he wasn't able to get his way all the time? It seems to me that if you don't want to compromise, you just don't choose to enter into a collaboration.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Logic and retionality from a human being? Really? :)
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Plenty of human beings are able to put their egos in check enough to participate gainfully in collaborations. Plenty of other human beings recognize that collaboration doesn't suit them and choose to work solo.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, but we're talking about Ellison.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Uhh, which is my point -- that it's not generic human behavior, it's Ellison behavior. So your prior comment is confusing.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder if by chance Janice Lester could be a distant descendent of Ellison. Hmm...
     
  14. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

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    Well, despite the negative comments upthread, Space: 1999 series 1 is the greatest space opera type show ever made. What's interesting in the context of this thread is the way that Star Trek season 3 is perceived as going much serious than the previous seasons - whereas one of the "flaws" Freiberger identified in Space: 1999 was its lack of humour, which is why it went in the opposite direction to Trek, injecting lots of appalling jokes and humour into the show. Despite all that, I'm also going to speak up for Freiberger, because he was in exactly the same situation as he was in Trek: an executive producer (Roddenberry in the one case, Gerry Anderson in the other) who basically washed his hands of the whole show, and let Freiberger get on with it.
     
  15. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Barbara Bain injected a lot of unintentional humor in the show. Landau also from time to time. Bain could be catatonic one moment and cringe-worthy the next. Some moments she even forgot to blink on extra-long takes. For what it's worth they were equally commendable on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, so perhaps it was bad direction in 1999 or real-life marital issues.
     
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    "What, and leave show biz?"

    That line is a cliche (and I think it is the last line of that novel I mentioned above too), but it is still true.

    Plus, when you're captivated by a particular medium, as Ellison clearly is with cinema and even the idea of TV, you're going to be drawn back to it like a moth to flame (really big on cliche today, sorry, a seriously downer day.)

    His I ROBOT script reflects his dedication to bring something across that was more than lowest common denominator. It doesn't always work, but it tries, and the visuals very much presage the kinds of shots that we've only been able to do in the digital era, so he was setting the bar pretty high.
     
  17. Zaku

    Zaku Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    An interesting bit from Somehow, I Don’t Think We’re In Kansas, Toto, an essay by Ellison about his experience on Starlost (at this point he had already left the production):

    Any Star Trek historian can confirm this? :)
     
  18. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Maybe GR should have recommended Freiberger, just so the guy's streak with taking on sf shows about to be cancelled would be even more complete.
     
  19. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    Probably both, but amazingly she and Landau only divorced in the early 1990's-my guess is that they stuck with each other to raise Juliet (Landau), and after she grew up and left the house, it was complete splitsville. Bad humor or not, Space: 1999 was bogus from Day One, as I've said before, and nothing Freiberger could do could even save it.

    Although his script for I, Robot was most likely great, nobody wants to risk pissing him off, and so, it was never taken into consideration or even produced-the price he's paying for being the way he was before.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The trouble with these he said/she said type stories is that we can only guess where the truth actually lies. I was pretty skeptical about Elliison's behavior re "City" until I read his first draft and, putting my producer hat on, had to admit that Roddenberry, Justman et al had grossly exaggerated the supposed unfilmability of it. This isn't to say the first draft was filmable as a Trek episode, or that Ellison wasn't a bear to work with, but it was also painfully obvious that the other parties were exaggerating the living fuck out of their claim re the actual script. My guess is that in retelling the story over and over and the back and forth with Ellison everyone lost track of what actually happened and the tale got taller over time on both sides.

    One of these days I'll read the "City" first draft again and I'll "give notes" on it as I would on any other script, and I'll point out exactly what I think is wrong with it as a TV script and as a Trek episode. That should be fun. :)

    As to Starlost, I can't say which draft of Ellison's script was made into the comic adaptation, but my recollection was that it was dramatically inert. If this is an example of what he thought the first episode should be, it didn't speak well for the series.

    Getting back to Mr. Freiberger, I did some research into his career a while back in order to correct a number of dubious claims on the Wikipedia entry about him, and one thing that became apparent was that there may have been no Season 2 of 1999 without someone like him being hired, as he pitched Lew Grade on changes that interested him enough to back a second series:

     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013