Improve the Third Season

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Botany Bay, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Your task : see if you can improve on poor Fred Freiberger's work - pick an episode or aspect of the third season that bugs you, and suggest how it could be improved.

    Assume that, unlike Fred, after you've paid the actors, you have a budget similar to that of the first season episodes at your disposal.

    I'll start us off :

    Spectre of the Gun

    Make the Melkots the formidable telepaths Spock warns of, and film the show on a complete Western town backlot, with the Enterprise crew in Western clothing.
     
  2. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    More improvements to SPECTRE, which I consider one of year three's best:

    Shoot KIRK instead of Chekov and make it permanent, no illusion. Pull out the rug, Spock. Promote Spock to Captain, Scotty to First Officer and add James Doohan to the opening credits. That'll work.

    PLATO'S STEPCHILDREN: Show Uhura and Chapel being jerked about on the Enterprise bridge and sickbay and forced into tne transporter room. Add as much TV-level nudity as possible while they change for the Platonians. Have Scotty kiss Uhura when they are both in relatively peak condition. Don't have Scotty fight it in the slightest.

    THE EMPATH: Cut out that interminable 48-minute Act Four sequence where Kirky and Spocko are pinned behind the wall of pink energy. Also please omit Shatner's enema-inducing pain contortions with the Ivory Snow music gone horribly wrong in Act Two.

    REQUIEM FOR METHUSELAH: Throw this borefest out completely, and consider using the Rayna character for a less snooze-inducing episode. Or......have the landing party be Scotty, Uhura and Sulu and have the Big three be shrunken down with the Enterprise toy instead.

    DAY OF THE DOVE: No changes. It's just about perfect. Well, there are two small things. Don't have McCoy lead the sword charge instead of Spock. That's a blooper in procedure. No, have SCOTTY lead the charge in front of Spock. Also, credit Jamie Farr for his two cameos as Scotty's backup in Acts Two and Four.

    THE LIGHTS OF ZETAR: Substitute Uhura, Carolyn Palamas or (heh-heh) Helen Noel for Mira Romaine's character. Uhura could actually have her own episode if it's her. Do NOT substitute Chapel. She's already been occupied. And if it must be Romaine, have her head spin around and use her projectile TV-approved vomit on Kirk.

    SPOCK'S BRAIN: I don't approve of changing comedies.....but I suppose Uhura could beam down instead of Sulu or Chekov. Also leave the ending open for a sequel of some kind: ''Sulu's Ear,'' ''McCoy's Appendix,'' ''Chekov's Spine, Blood Vessels and Nervous System,'' ''Uhura's Boobs,'' ''Scotty's Penis,'' ''Kirk's Ass,'' that kind of thing. Snark detracted. Pulling out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  3. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ask Gene Coon what needs to be changed in "Spock's Brain" to get him to allow his real name in the credits...and do it!
     
  4. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd love to see how the armchair fan would actually function if she or he were thrown back in time to produce the third season. New studio ownership, slashed budget and increased salaries for regular cast members -- some of whom are spatting, wretched time slot, absent executive producer, associate producer who just quit, questionable scripts already approved, desperate need to do quality material while still looking for new audience appeal...

    I think Frieberger did just fine, thanks.
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the associate producer didn't "just quit." That happened half-way through the third season, due to a variety of problems Justman was having with the production. Obviously, money would be an issue to whoever was running the series, but the real problem in the third season was the writing, and the new writers brought in for the third season weren't especially good at writing Star Trek.

    With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to say that Bob Justman should have been promoted to being the producer, and allowed the rest of the hires to follow from his guidance. Freiberger didn't do a bad job, but the talent he brought with him didn't turn out to be a good fit, including Arthur Singer.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In that case, hire more guest stars and extras. Restore that sense the first season had that there's a whole crew aboard doing all sorts of work in the background, giving it a more realistic texture. Also, do more location shooting. Or at least dress up the Stage 10 planet set more convincingly, as was done in earlier episodes like "Metamorphosis" (though I think they did a fairly good job with that in "Spock's Brain," at least).

    Also, resist the temptation to give Spock all the exposition. In "Spectre of the Gun," Kirk and McCoy should've known more about Earth history than Spock did. And in "Requiem for Methuselah," did it really make sense for science geek Spock to be such a liberal-arts expert all of a sudden that he could recognize Brahms's handwriting and Leonardo's brushstrokes on sight?


    The clothing maybe, but I disagree about the set. The minimalist, surrealist setting of the episode was a feature, not a bug. It was supposed to be unreal, after all, and it wouldn't have had nearly the same eerie, Twilight Zone-y atmosphere on a backlot.
     
  7. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That’s the perfect way to ruin the episode, IMO. Without its stylized, minimalist sets and surreal atmosphere, “Spectre of the Gun” would have been just another mediocre Earthlike-planet-on-the-Forty-Acres-backlot episode.

    And the Children Shall Lead:
    Make the children believably innocent-yet-dangerous, like little Anthony in the Twilight Zone ep “It’s a Good Life” or the kids with psionic powers in Village of the Damned. Have Gorgan the Friendly Angel played by a real actor, not a celebrity lawyer. And get rid of that suggestive fist-pumping gesture.

    And make Shatner dial it down a notch or two when Kirk is losing his cool.
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Spock's Brain: I have more of a love for this episode than most, my only changes would be have the women possess good average intelligence. The teacher would still give them (and McCoy) superior smarts. Lose the ticky-ticky sound as Spock moves.

    Also include a brief line in sickbay that when Spock brain was remove, the medulla/hindbrain was left behind. This would have explained how his body survived long enough for McCoy to place his body on life support.

    The Enterprise Incident:
    Retain the original idea that what the Enterprise officers stole wasn't a standard cloaking device, but instead a advanced prototype. Explaining why the Romulan ships couldn't track the Enterprise when cloaked.

    The Paradise Syndrome: Show (new FX) the deflection beam emitting from the main deflector.

    And The Children Shall Lead: Recast the Gorgan with a kindly, grandmotherly type actress.

    CHAPEL: What would you like for your pleasant surprise?
    STEVE: Chocolate wobble, pistachio, and peach ice cream.
    CHAPEL: Here you go.
    STEVE: This is vanilla ice cream.
    CHAPEL: Isn't that a pleasant surprise?

    Whom Gods Destroy:
    At the risk of spending more money, I would improve the makeup of the Andorian character.

    That Which Survives:
    Have the Enterprise thrown a shorter distance. Only fifty light years? When the tricorder is set to automatic distress, a line that it for if a starship happens by.

    Turnabout Intruder:
    Change Janice's line to "Your life as a starship captain, doesn't include women."

    :)
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Good points. Buried underneath this episode is a genuinely scary story waiting to be told.
     
  10. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    I see what you mean, but it would be even more unlikely for Kirk or McCoy (or, really, any Enterprise crew member or the ship's computer) to recognize Brahms' handwritten music notation as his and no one else's. Assume for a moment that there are a few thousand musicologists in the world today who would recognize a previously unknown manuscript as written by Brahms - probably the actual number is much less than that - and then extrapolate forward a few hundred years; hardly anyone alive then would have the necessary expertise to be certain of such a thing, even if they had hours or days on Flint's planet to study it. But this is Spock, with the endlessly capacious mind, we're talking about.

    The whole issue could have been finessed if Spock had said that by musical analysis alone - made possible by virtue of his memory of Brahms' whole corpus of work - he could identify the unknown waltz as the work of Brahms. But the visual element (our view of the manuscript itself) would have been lost. Perhaps Bixby even wrote it that way in the first place, with a verbal explanation only, and it was found to be ineffective as TV.

    (I have always had great admiration for the waltz itself, by Ivan Ditmars - and I cringe at the thought that so many viewers of the episode over the years have only heard the syndication-cut, grossly abbreviated version without the contrasting central section. What a wonderful thing that the piece was commissioned for the show.)
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Agree!

    I once read a really interesting Australian newspaper journalist's review of an 80s repeat of "The Empath", never a particular favourite of mine - but the review made me appreciate it. The reviewer noted that the episode wasn't as dated as many others, due to being mostly filmed on a darkened, empty sound stage. Also, I'd only ever seen damaged prints before, and this version showed me the two tortured, dead scientists in their transparent display tubes. Very disturbing/effective.

    In 1980, as I slowly caught up on all the eps I'd missed, I happened upon the movie "Barbarella", at my ST club's Christmas party. I decided that John Phillip Law (Pygar, the blind angel) would have been perfect as a feisty Andorian crewmember to join TOS's third or fourth season. Imagine my surprise, decades later, when plans were afoot to add Shran to Archer's crew had it gone to a fifth season.

    I also would have loved to have seen Alan Dean Foster's double episode for the fourth season of TOS, featuring Kirk's Klingon exchange student former-roommate from the Academy. ADF eventually used this idea to pad out "Star Trek Log Seven" (TAS adaptations) to a novel-length story.
     
  12. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Whoa, that was originally an episode idea? Fascinating.
     
  13. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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  14. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You mean ask him to not take a contract job at Universal? Because that's the only reason he couldn't use his real name in any third season Trek episode, or put any significant time into Trek scripts.

    I think he made the better personal decision to split in the second season, much as Star Trek suffered in his absence.

    Arthur Singer was going to be hired anyway. According to his book, Bob Justman had him at the top of the list for third season Story Editor.

    Improving the third season (which I enjoy greatly as it is) would only really happen if NBC put Trek at the early Monday slot. Then Roddenberry would have stayed on, along with Justman. Who knows who would have been asked to fill in? Would John M. Lucas been asked back? Probably not; for reasons not evenLucas knows, Roddenberry didn't seem to want him there. However, maybe someone like Don Ingalls could have been recruited. I could defintely see William Read Woodfield joining up. He and Allan Balter were leaving Mission Impossible (the timing may be a little off, I don't have my referneces handy) and Woodfield has been quoted as wanting to work on Star Trek. He would have clashed mightily with the re-writing Roddenberry, but some of the episodes that year could have been incredible.
     
  15. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There’s only one way to improve “Whom Gods Destroy”: MORE YVONNE CRAIG! :drool:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, I didn't know about that contract conflict. I had just figured "Lee Cronin" was Coon's version of Harlan Ellison's "Cordwainer Bird." :lol:

    That being the case, though, maybe it was his not being able to "put any significant time into Trek scripts" that accounts for "Spock's Brain." :D
     
  17. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Spock's Brain is a workable premise and some rewriting could have saved it. Rather than remove his actual brain, his intellect could have been stolen, sealed in a portable receptacle, leaving the physical brain behind (like Star Trek III and his Katra). Then figuring out how to return his intelligence would be the issue and no real super-surgery would be required. Keep zombie Spock on the ship until necessary. Or have Kara just take his entire body (lock Spock and barrel) and then remove his intelligence on the planet. They find Spock, but the shock ending of the act is that he is mindless. Turn the women into more intelligent people who desperately needed Spock's mind to save their fragmented civilization and this may have been a real winner. None of these changes would have cost more money and might have even led to a great season opener.
     
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting. Thanks for the correction. No matter how many times I read that book there's always a piece of information or two that slips from my memory.
     
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I reread it all the time, usually over meals. I also pick up more stuff each time, it's a hell of a reference. It really puts the third season ito perspective and hopefully lifts a little of the dark cloud off Fred Freiberger. For all his faults as a producer, I think he did the best he could.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I think Freiberger made some mistakes, but he's been unfairly demonized. It's too bad he couldn't contribute to the book, though. Since Herb Solow left near the end of season two, and Bob Justman left half-way through the third season, the picture of that last year it presents isn't as detailed as the book's description of seasons 1 and 2 (as well as both pilots).