If not MAN TRAP..then what

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by RobertScorpio, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    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
     
  4. Borjis

    Borjis Commodore Commodore

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    yep and the last remnants of visually obvious wardrobe change....spocks big collar and uhura in gold.
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Uhura was also in gold in "Mudd's Women".
     
  6. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    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".
     
  7. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    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).
     
  9. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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. :rolleyes: :p




    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.
     
  11. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Lots of shows never aired their pilots, especially when there were substantial changes made between the pilot and regular production. "All in the Family" is a prime example (different actors played Mike and Gloria).
     
  12. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "The Man Trap" offered action and suspense as well as a creepy alien creature. Things that mattered just as much in 1966 to the networks looking for maximum appeal and ratings as now.
     
  13. EEE

    EEE Captain Captain

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    Boy, you're not kidding! Horrible choice! I mean, it hooked me! ...while it hasn't ruined my life, it became an addiction I never could quite kick.

    For me personally, The Corbomite Maneuver is the epitome of Star Trek (on many levels). I would have gone with that (if it had been possible) in spite of the fact that one of the best lines of the episode was really set up by WNMHGB.
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have to go by my account, I'll go by the documentation. According to Inside Star Trek, in order to sell the strange new worlds concept, the only real choices for the premier episode were thought to be "The Man Trap" and "The Naked Time". WNMHGB was considered too expository. "Mudd's Women" was out of the running because "the opening-night critics would have had a field day with...'space hookers...'" "Charlie X" was too gentle, and "The Enemy Within" lacked the scope of the series premise. Justman wrote, "I later realized NBC was right."
     
  15. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    I've always wondered about that choice myself. If only Star Trek had had a different opening episode, the show might have made it out of its first half-season instead of being a flash in the pan barely remembered by a few fans... :)
     
  16. Basil

    Basil Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If I could choose any first season episode, I'd go with Charlie X or The Enemy Within, both of which feature enough technology and "strange worlds" sensibilities to sell the show as intelligent sci fi. They are also strongly Kirk-centered, and regardless of the revisionism later, it's obvious in the early episodes that he's the focus of the show. Balance of Terror would be a good action-oriented episode to jumpstart the series, but it relies less on the sci-fi premise and more on the war movie formula to create its primary drama.

    By the time WNMHGB airs, I would have hoped that they could have filmed a brief framing sequence to show that the episode predates the five-year mission -- perhaps with a segment showing Kirk in the present day addressing a group of cadets on the perils that might await them or receiving yet another commendation and delivering it to the family of Gary Mitchell.
     
  17. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Which seems to be the general opinion of Roddenberry, Shatner and Nimoy. And since those three hardly agreed on anything in those days, its a sure bet they are right.

    Rob
    Scorpio
     
  18. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sigh. You know I didn't mean it made people consider Star Trek a kiddie show FOREVER. :rolleyes:

    But what Man Trap did do was show the critics the highly touted new SF TV series was just another monster rally with a high body count and a grim cast. Instead of it being considered a winner right out of the gate, it was considered a reject from "the kidvid bloc." Check out the national reviews if you don't believe me. It's all about first impressions

    WNMHGB was a better episode to kick off the series, as it aimed higher, had better procution values and had more layered and dimensional performances. As such, it might have been better appreciated in the press and got more people to check it out.