Is Spock the main character of TOS?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by albion432, May 2, 2014.

  1. albion432

    albion432 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Is Spock the main character of TOS (sans Abrams reboot)? Here are some facts to support this idea:
    1. Spock is the only TOS character whose immediate family we see and get to know with any depth (we do see Kirk’s (dead )brother, sister-in-law, and nephew in one episode, Kirk's son in ST:II (thank you Nerys Myk for reminding me!) and McCoy’s father is briefly seen in ST: V).
    2. Spock is the only character we see throughout all stages of life; birth, childhood, early adulthood, on through old age. Spock is featured in more segments of Star Trek than is Kirk.
    3. Over the entire corpus of filmed adventures, Spock changes more than any other character, which is what we expect to happen to the main character.
    What other evidence is there to support the idea that Spock is the main character of TOS?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Kirk was meant to be the main character of TOS. But Spock was the breakout star, proving hugely popular with viewers (especially female viewers) and getting more fan mail than the rest of the cast combined. So the network kept pushing for more Spock, wanting to elevate him to the main character. If Roddenberry hadn't resisted that pressure, Spock might've ended up following a similar route to Dr. Smith in Lost in Space or Fonzie in Happy Days, completely dominating the show to the expense of its nominal leads. But Roddenberry and Shatner both strove to keep Kirk central as he was intended to be. At Isaac Asimov's suggestion, Roddenberry played up the friendship and partnership between Kirk and Spock, making them inseparable and equal. McCoy was also able to stay central due to his friendly rivalry with Spock.

    So it isn't really right to say "Spock was the main character" as if that were the intention all along. He was the breakout character.


    Source, please? I haven't heard that before, and it sounds unlikely. We know that Roddenberry was inspired by the Horatio Hornblower novels, so it seems likely that the first character he conceived was the captain (although it took him a long time to settle on a name).

    A lot has been written about the development and production of ST, but I can't recall reading anything about Roddenberry's earliest creative process before the original 1964 pitch document, which lists multiple characters including Captain April (later Pike), Number One, Jose Ortegas (later Tyler), Dr. Boyce, the "probably half-Martian" first lieutenant Spock, and Yeoman Colt, in that order. Note that Spock is second-last in the list, hardly the position you'd expect to find the lead character.


    Well, technically. Early Kirk is really the exact same character as Pike, and McCoy is the exact same character as Boyce (he'd even tried to cast DeForest Kelley as Boyce and then Piper). All he really did was change their names and recast the actors.

    And the reason he didn't fight for Number One too is because he didn't want to admit that the network objected to him casting his mistress, so he abandoned the character altogether and claimed later that the network had forced him to drop her because they weren't ready for a female first officer (even though they actually quite liked the idea).


    That's a consequence of the popularity Spock gained once the show was on the air. It doesn't reflect the original intentions for the character.
     
  3. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    1) No. Number One and Spock were created for the first pilot.

    2) No. The Captain and Doctor charcters also survived with name changes.

    3) No. His are just the ones that offer the best opportunities for an episode. And we only see them in one episode. We meet Kirk's son in TWOK. And of course we meet his parents in ST09.

    4) No. I don't see how that makes him the main character. We hear alot about Kirk's past too and that is the impetus for many episodes.

    5) Does he? Kirk changes too. The guy we see in Season One is different than the one we see in latter TOS and in the films.
     
  4. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I thought the Enterprise was the main character
     
  5. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Points 3, 4 and 5 are strongly related to Spock's specific nature as half-human/half-alien.
     
  6. bbjeg

    bbjeg Admiral Admiral

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    I wouldn't say there is one main character of Star Trek, there's three.
     
  7. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Solid points--especially the references to Dr. Smith (and Will Robinson to a degree) and Fonzie's "takeover" of their series.
     
  8. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, nice analysis Christopher.

    As Nimoy painfully found out when the Shatner/Nimoy tensions reached a flashpoint -- according to Roddenberry -- "Bill is the star".

    But the evidence sure suggests, that as far as the public goes, Spock was the star.

    I'm with bbjeg, to me, Star Trek was the story of three friends : Spock, Bones and Kirk. Logic, humanity and the guy who has to decide which is better. When Star Trek veers away from this, it's just not as magical.

    Welcome albion.
     
  9. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    +1
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    :techman:
     
  11. albion432

    albion432 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Which was, as noted, the result of Spock being popular with the fans. Though he was already a lead and billed second in the credits from the start of the first season. He also gets some big scenes in the fourth episode (Naked Time), is the driving force behind the plot of The Menagerie and is very important to the plot of The Galileo Seven. So it not like he's some secondary character pushed to the foreground like Fonzie or Urkle. Still the majority of the plots are still focused on Kirk throughout the series.
     
  13. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I used to wonder if Star Trek was "about" Spock. From "The Cage" until 1987 (when TNG debuted), Spock was the only character who appeared in every single production.

    For a long time it was Spock and the Enterprise, but then ST III came along, and of the two entities, only Spock was still standing when the closing fanfare played.
     
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The main character for me in TOS has always been Kirk. If you go to the original concept, the main character was The Captain. Spock was always a secondary character, but the size of his role in the series became larger due to fan response in the 1960s.
     
  15. albion432

    albion432 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But like Spock, at the end of the next film after being destroyed, the Enterprise was back. :techman:
     
  17. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Spock is the main character of TOS.

    You're just fooling yourselves if you think otherwise :lol:
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    And Servalan is the main character of Blake's Seven.
     
  19. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Who is this Servalan you're talking of? Sounds like a wonderful, clever, gorgeous ,powerful person.
    I'm Commishioner Sleer. I've never heard of her.

    And Avon was star of Blake's Seven. Everyone knows that too. :lol:
     
  20. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Please, everyone knows it's Vila.