Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Grant, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The success of the original Star Trek in key demographics has been greatly exaggerated, especially by Roddenberry. It's a myth that NBC only began measuring audience demographics after the series was cancelled. In fact, the fact that the show's limited audience was composed of demographics that the advertisers liked was one of the factors in its renewal for a second and third season in the face of overall low ratings.
     
  2. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    The old Trek myths will never die.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    As long as lazy journalists keep relying on them and CBS and/or Paramount keep using them for marketing purposes, I doubt it. But, one can try.
     
  4. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Remastering--like digging up previously cut footage and adding to theatrical versions once on DVD/Blu Ray is a trend--even if the film was not a Star Wars-sized blockbuster (see the so-called "complete novel" of Coppola's The Outsiders) therefore it is a gamble based on the economy, base interest, etc. Its not as though the public was demanding TNG to be remastered.

    Regarding TNG's market value--again, the series reached a 20th anniversary, and the media attention paid to it was next to nothing--the opposite of the reaction to TOS' 20th--and 40th.
     
  5. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Which means what? A costume change, as it was the late 70's and the same costumes and ship designs of TOS had to reflect the advancement of years--like the actors and their characters (not to mention the production standards set by productions such as Star Wars). Additionally, the early Phase II production work already set that ball in motion with the genesis (no pun intended) of what would become the movie engineering deck, bridge consoles, etc. But it was the same characters and situations. There was no reimagining, and Phase II--or TMP was never said to be that.

    Timo used the Voyager dates as a means of eastablishing a fairly fixed period of 8 years between TOS and TMP:


    ....so its only short a decade by 2 years.

    Subjective--which is no official statement that TMP was a reimagining....because it was not meant to be, and was not.

    One, Roddenberry's latter day rejection was an ego/vanity thing, once ST was truly a big screen creature. Notice that he was not actively saying this before TMP's debut.

    Two, there was a mutual interest in Trek returning; Filmation (and another animation house) wanted to adapt it (remember, the early 1970s was a hot period of old TV series adapted into the cartoon format, such as The Addams Family, Gilligan's Island, My Favorite Martian, I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family, and specials based on Lost in Space and Gidget) but from the articles i've read, TOS' mighty syndication feat prodded NBC into wanting a return of TOS.

    "Around here" is not the general public. TOS' post network success occured because it was grabbing more than those who followed/campaigned for it while on NBC.

    New fans (child and adult) discovered the series and became Trekkers by the shipload, media critics had to take a second look at what was fueling the phenomenon, which also triggered a merchandinsing boom not seen when TOS was first run. Keep in mind, this occured only a couple years after cancellation.

    On the other hand, TNG and DS9 (immediately after series end) just how many swelling numbers were/are discovering the series (particluarly in a period where home video gave the shows an added exposure advantage TOS did not have in 1970).

    TNG made the leap to film, but with each new entry, the Berman project managed to dig a rather deep grave for his era. Ever notice how Paramount/CBS is not exploring the return of TNG, or a first DS9 film? If--after so much time--either series is not exactly starting a post 1st run phenomenon of its own, perhaps it is time to ask "why?"
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  6. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    After enough time it becomes clear whether a show has elevated to pop culture icon or not. Regardless of the original ratings, TOS has many times over. It is right up there with I Love Lucy as one of the top TV shows of all time. But TNG has also become part of that club--to a lesser extent. But the other shows haven't. You can tell TNG has become immortal in the way it's used for humor on the web (Picard facepalms, etc...) and on TV (Family Guy, Big Bang Theory). Everyone knows TNG whether they are Trek fans or not. I don't think people view TNG with the same reverence they do TOS. It simply did not break as much ground. However, it is an enduring symbol of the era of the late 80s. And since the prime buying demographic is nostalgic for that era, that is why they went back to remaster TNG.

    Do I think they will do the same for the other shows? It's possible, but I think it would be more of a PR move on CBS' part to please the die-hards than something they think would really pay off.

    There is a halo-effect with JJ Trek. The same thing happens with old superhero properties like the Bill Bixby Hulk or any reboot (Starsky and Hutch). People become interested in other takes on the same material. I don't think the average juvenile JJ Trek fan would find DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise that interesting. They never grew up with these shows and all these shows either suffer from bad writing or deviate too far from what people like about Trek or both.

    As for the movie era deviating from canon, the original production design for TOS started in what, 1964? And even then, with the gooseneck screens and things, it was very much warmed over Forbidden Planet. By the time the final episode aired, TOS had gone from looking contemporary to looking like a cartoon caricature of SF. 2001 was Trek's contemporary, and even shared an actor (Gary Lockwood) from Trek's pantheon, and yet 2001 still feels barely dated compared to Trek. (HAL even looks like it has isolinear memory ala TNG.) I've seen the Phase II screen tests and they were not advancing the look very much, at least with the uniforms, which were going to be exactly the same as TOS. By the time they got to TMP they had the opportunity to reflect how much our vision of the future had changed. The TOS enterprise was nice for its time but the TMP enterprise had a lot more thought put into it.

    The hype behind JJ Trek, and I remember even Cawley being sold on this when he visited the bridge, was that JJ was making Trek feel plausible, but it doesn't. Sure, the FX are better, but the ship designs suck. Engineering looks like a brewery. They designed things to suit a particular gag or to evoke a style but not because it made any technical sense. TMP had science advisors, but I don't think JJ Trek ever did. Trek seemed to still have a mission of being "speculative fiction" back with TMP. JJ just treated the Trek property as you would a comic book one.

    I stand corrected. JJ Trek had a science advisor. You'd never know it, though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You really have no idea what you're talking about and it shows.

    I love Star Trek: The Original Series. It is by far my favorite TV series ever, nothing else even comes close. It could be incredibly awesome and appallingly bad, watching The Cage and And the Children Shall Lead over the last few days confirms it. I once heard that a third of TOS was great, a third of it average and a third of it bad and it's the truth.

    What your analysis lacks is that the TV business was far different when TOS and TNG hit strip syndication respectively. When TOS hit, there was nothing like it and no home video or cable networks to speak of. The Original Series was the only game in town, competing with sitcoms and the nightly news for eyeballs and there was no time-shifting. I know, I was there.

    The Next Generation and its spinoffs had some pretty stiff competition. Starting with folks ability to buy material on home-video and time-shift as well. Why watch the same episodes fifteen times if you have a choice? Yet TNG and its spinoffs were still deemed valuable enough for The National Network (Spike TV), to pay a billion dollars to Paramount to buy the exclusive syndication rights for a number of years. Then last year, Netflix paid two billion for CBS' back catalog of shows based primarily on the strength of having all of Trek to show.

    Did the TNG movies fail? Absolutely! But I think that has more to do with Paramount not bringing in movie people to make the movies than people not liking TNG. And lets not forget that Roddenberry (The Motion Picture and TNG season one) and Bennett (The Final Frontier) nearly drove the franchise over a cliff as well.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The new film was no worse than the original series, which frequently ignored the science advice of Harvey P. Lynn (in the first season) and de Forest Research (all seasons).

    You may recall that Isaac Asimov became involved with the series with an article in TV Guide -- which criticized the series for scientific inaccuracy!
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Roddenberry's management of TNG was poor, but the ratings were good enough that it didn't matter. They were also good enough that Bennett (and Shatner) bungling the fifth film with the original cast didn't matter much, either.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Scientific accuracy has never been one of Trek's strengths in the thirty-five years I've been watching. Regardless of series or movie. :lol:
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I remember there being questions about whether there would be follow-up films to TMP and TFF, due to them not performing to studio expectations.
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed on TMP. As for TFF, I suppose my point was that the success of TNG on television had secured the franchise's position at that point. Shatner and Bennett's failure put serious doubt as to the possibility of a sixth feature film with the original cast, but the franchise's future was not in doubt at that point.
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    It means that costume changes aren't what I think of as re-imagining.

    Interestingly enough, Phase II was going to use a variation of the TOS uniforms.


    .Again, what was said is irrelevant. What appeared on the screen is. Tone and characterization.

    That's nice, but Voyager didn't exist in the late 70s. So its unlikely that Roddenberry had 8 years in mind when he started work on Phase II/TMP. The only time stamp we have is it being two and a half years since Kirk was "out there" and him having five years of experience "out there".


    Equally subjective. Though its clear with the additions of Decker, Ilia and Xon, the character dynamics of Star Trek were being changed ( and would be used later as the blue print for TNG)





    Links to said articles?
     
  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    A question for those in the know. After it canceled Star Trek, did NBC have any connection to Star Trek in anyway? IIRC, Paramount pretty much owned the show and could do what ever it wanted once it was canceled, including shopping it to a different network. Was there some sort of "first look" clause between Paramount and NBC regarding Star Trek that resulted in TAS being on the same network as TOS or was it coincidence? Or perhaps Roddenberry and Filmation went to NBC first, because of its prior relationship with the series.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek was owned by Paramount and the Norway Corporation (Roddenberry's production company). NBC did not have a stake in it, as far as I know.
     
  16. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    No offense, but are not making much sense: if the people behind a production tell you--or rather do not tell you a production is a reimagining, then no reimagining exists. Defining the content begins and ends there, not with how one audience member sees it.

    ...which is the end result of what the producers intended: TMP was the same continuity as TOS. Nothing from the production parties involved or the filmed script suggests anything else--the reason to this day, TOS and the films are seen as a joined series. The TMP versions of the characters show growth, so naturally, they were not going to behave exactly as seen ten years earlier when serving on the original Enterprise. That's growth--far different than the trend of TV reunion movies were the actors are instructed to go through the same routines of yesteryear.

    The only true reimagining in ST occured in NuTrek and in parts of ENT.

    That's not reimagining, or anything close to it. Xon was eliminated, Nimoy returned, but even if he (Nimoy) refused to don the ears again, Phase II and TMP were "the continuing adventures of," not an alternate universe, reboot or a seperate continuity.


    I'm talking about old magazine articles of the period.

    However, NBC's next move began with calling for another live action series, but, as noted on page 52 of Star Trek: Where No One Has Gone Before (Dillard, 1994) in the wake of learning the demographic impact TOS had:

    ...but the interest remained. Enter Filmation Associates, which scoped out ST as early as 1969.

    Next, in the new bio Lou Schiemer: Creating the Filmation Generation:

    So, it is historically established that both Filmation & NBC wanted more TOS.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Once again, the demographic thing is a myth.

    And I'm not sure how Enterprise counts as a re-imagining. It seems more like you're using the term to indicate things you don't like.
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    If they don't tell you, then the possibility exists. Heck, even if they tell you it isn't, it can still be one. Of course we are talking about the late 70s, the term "reimagining" wasn't even part of the lexicon back then, even though the concept existed.

    I'm doubt I'm alone in this. But I was quite clear that it was argument that "could be made" not a hard fact.

    I didn't see any "growth" just a change in characterization. Kirk being an admiral isn't character growth.



    Of course it's reimagining. They're changing the role of Kirk by adding Decker as a "Kirk in training" type character. The absence of Spock also alters the dynamic of Star Trek's cast.

    I'm familiar with the history behind Phase II and TMP's development, so Nimoy coming back isn't news. Saying its the "continuing adventures" doesn't make it either production any less of a "reimagining". TNG is pretty obviously a reworking of Phase II even though its set 100 years in the "future".

    The older the book the more likely it was just regurgitating the "myths".

    As for the more recent book:

    Still the question remains. Did NBC contact Filmation or did Filmation contact NBC?

    And, if NBC was so hot to acquire Star Trek to tap into the demo they desired, why a Saturday morning animated series that was unlikely to reach that demo?
     
  19. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    No, that's creating something the producers never said.

    That's no different than Star Wars fans arguing George Lucas somehow did not follow an alleged storyline when the prequel film Jedi did not fight a group of warriors all dressed like Boba Fett during the Clone Wars, just because the novelisation of The Empire Strikes Back claimed that occured.

    The take away: Lucas never promised that, and it was not in his prequels screenplays, so any fans losing their minds over this would-be omission are doing so based on their own false conclusions/wishes...much like the "TMP is reimagined" notion.

    One cannot have facts--even "soft" facts if the established history is disregared in favor of opinion.

    Subjective, and you must have watched another film if the main theme of an older Kirk wanting to return to "his place" in the captain's chair, and Decker making him feel his years did not hit you over the head.

    That age/purpose issue is explored character growth.



    Changing a dynamic is not "reimagining." You need to understand what "reimagining is"--and that is a new, altered version of a basic concept, with no casting or history/story continuity to the original. A fine example of this was the early 90's Dark Shadows revival series, which featured all new cast, altered character relationships, and had no connection to the relationships and specific situations of the 1966-71 soap opera. That is not TMP in any way, shape, or form.

    Adding younger characters to an established series is as old as the medium, and usually occurs for any of a number of reasons:

    A. when a series has run so long its principals are too old to continue.

    B. or the PTB feel "fresh" blood needs to be added for whatever reason.

    C. to add generational conflict to the established older characters. Series such as E/R used this plotting gimmick every few years, as some new, hothead, or know-it-all doctor ended up at Cook County to cause friction with the veterans.

    However, by your standards, if Decker means ST was reimagined, then Chekov's season 2 debut/taking script parts meant for the absent Takei/adding a youth element could mean TOS season 2 (in tradition of this "reimagining" stretch) is another series altogether, with little to no connection to TOS season 1, as the Sulu dynamic in relation to the series leads was largely modified in favor of Chekov, with his youthful energy, Russian pride, etc.

    ...but that's not the case.

    You are trying to fight against the facts, which do not support any sort of "reimagining" of ST at the Phase II or TMP stage. Your perception is not historical reality. Again, aside from the aforementioned ENT's various changes, the only complete reimagining in franchise history was NuTrek.

    1994 was not some ancient period of your so-called "myths" about ST, otherwise, the same book's chapter about other possible Enterprise captains (Jack Lord and Lloyd Bridges among them) should be disregarded as myth in the present day...despite the fact they were documented considerations still accepted as fact.

    You need to read the rest of Scheimer's book.... :)

    You read the main reason: a projected live action budget was too expensive at the time, but ST became a smoking hot brand, so as Schiemer pointed out, NBC wanted Trek, and--as the sequence of events proved--they would take it in any form.

    Moreover, you seem to forget that ST was appealing to adults and children, so once Roddenberry, Fontana, et al, were promising the same serious level of science fiction (more often than not), they realized adult fans would tune in.

    Historically speaking, this was not the first time adults watched network cartoons, as Hanna-Barbera's Jonny Quest and The Flinstones also attracted adult viewers.

    Adding to that, the well-known Los Angeles Times reivew of TAS from 1973:

    It was clear the article's writer (Cecil Smith) was just grasping what NBC and ST fans already realized: cartoon or not, adults would tune in, and contrary to Smith's prime-time suggestion, the time change was not needed to reach that demographic.
     
  20. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    You can re-imagine a series and stay within continuity. Buck Rogers underwent some reimagining in it's second season. It doesn't have to be a new start with a new cast. The term for that is a reboot. NuTrek branched off from TOS so its in continuity. Its "past" prior to the birth of James Kirk is the same as the one seen in TOS. TOS was reimagined between pilots and between the second pilot and the first episode filmed. Names were changed, characters added, sets altered and the concept fine tuned for the network.

    Enterprise is a prequel. It contains a few retcons, but what Trek series doesn't.

    Assuming that just because one piece of information in a book is true makes everything in that book true is incredibly naive, foolish and shortsighted. That Lord and Bridges were considered for the part of the Captain is a matter of records and aren't a Trek myth. The Trek myths are things like the Network didn't want a female XO or they were resistant to casting nonwhites.

    The the opinions of a reviewer is not the same as NBC's. Show me a memo from NBC about how they'd love to have TAS in primetime or a new live action show, then you'll have something worth believing.