Is Kirk a Well-Defined Character?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps of interest to this thread is a bit of commentary from the October 14, 1981 de Forest Research memo for Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks, Harvey. That kind of sums up my whole issue for starting this post. Where can we see more Kellam de Forest Research memos? I mostly know the name from THE MAKING OF STAR TREK.

    BTW, it was many years and the advent of the Internet before I knew that Kellam de Forest and Deforest Kelley were both using their birth names and the similarity was a coincidence.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    UCLA has many of his memos from the original series in the Roddenberry papers. The one from TWOK is in the Nick Meyer papers at the University of Iowa. I haven't located any other Trek memos by the company as of yet, though.

    (Although de Forest himself certainly wrote or co-wrote the ones for TOS, Joan Pearce apparently was the one most responsible for the TWOK memo, according to other documentation. When de Forest's company went bankrupt, the company she moved onto, Joan Pearce Research Associates, took over the franchise).
     
  4. Keith1701

    Keith1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is true of course.:)
     
  5. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Theodore Sturgeon once noted that Kirk as a concept wasn't distinctive, so it absolutely fell to Shatner to bring more to it ... and then hope the writers picked up on the strengths. Clearly Gene Coon knew how to do it, giving him the speeches (which manage sometimes to be cringe-worthy and powerful at the same time, don't ask me how.)

    Shatner's own notion of wearing command like an old comfortable jacket is the thing that absolutely works for me; I find that a much more progressive view of command than the king-on-throne aspect that Stewart often offers up on screen, and that is probably why I like Brooks (when he isn't asleep) too. It's why I would have liked Janeway if VOYAGER hadn't been unwatchable, too.

    Having said all that, I still think the quiet-pro Kirk of pre-Coon TREK to be at times awesome; 'go to your quarters or I'll pick you up and carry you there' is just pitch-perfect. The relative mildness of Kirk in the movies seems less like affectation than just sounding the wrong note ... kind of like Sean Connery's sudden verging on Roger Mooredness in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, where Sean's 'eye of the tiger' appears during the opening 'kobayashi maru' ripoff but never during the film proper.
     
  6. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    I have to disagree. Kirk was never designed to be an "everyman." J.T. Kirk was always meant to be exceptional. He was the youngest man to captain a starship in Starfleet. He was an ideal - highly capable, highly intelligent, open-minded and prone to introspection while being robust and dashing. He questioned and was unafraid of the answers.

    And I have no idea were one would get or justify the Spock as the "Devil on a shoulder" allusion.
     
  7. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Him, Spock and McCoy were more or less intended to be archetypes as characters: Spock as the Superego, McCoy as the Id and Kirk as the Ego who chooses between them.

    They just happened to be played by good enough actors to pull it off.
     
  8. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    Speaking personally, Captain James T. Kirk as portrayed by William Shatner is very well defined. Given the totality and span of material (I am old-school 'canon' just legal right-holders produced live-action (though I won't argue inclusion of TAS)). We know who he is just as much as Mr. Spock and more than the other characters of TAS. Based on what we know of him we could reasonably predict his overall behavior and reactions. We know roughly what to get him on his birthday and what topics not to bring up in conversation ... what more do you want or expect?

    I also respectfully disagree with the pov that Shatner had to put more work into his character than Leonard Nimoy did with Mr. Spock because I don't believe that is true. According to many sources, Nimoy was very concerned about things making sense, being reasonable and well motivated. He worked things out and strove to fill in gaps. Leonard practiced due-diligence and did his homework in preparing. It is also why his input into the TOS films (especially III to VI) was so invaluable.

    But again I gush. ;)