New Book about TOS: These Are The Voyages

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by neoworx, Jul 13, 2013.

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  1. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    No doubt about it. As good as this book is, these errors detract from the overall enjoyment of the reading experience. It has all the earmarks of a project rushed to the publisher.

    I certainly hope that a second printing contains the corrections.

    The Solow/Justman book claimed WNMHGB was not considered for the premier showing because it was "too expository" (not really sure what that means), as well as the fact several of the characters (most notably the doctor), costumes, etc. were different than the production episodes.

    With those factors in mind, it speaks volumes about Desilu's financial straights and the production team's ability to meet early first season air dates that NBC allowed WNMHGB to be broadcast as the third episode. I imagine a lot of viewers who had watched the first two episodes broadcast were confused by what they saw, 'what happened to McCoy?' and 'why did the uniforms change?'
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Sam Rolfe probably would have been better off going back to Norman Felton.
     
  3. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I wonder if Star Trek would have found wider acceptance with the critics and audience if TCM had been the first episode broadcast. 'Man Trap' was a sort of boring episode and the salt creature played down to critic's misconceptions that sci-fi was all about monsters.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Possibly, although it's worth nothing that the series gained some critical acceptance after the drubbing 'The Man Trap' received (even if its ratings slowly slipped). After all, the first season was nominated for Best Drama at the Emmys, and Cushman quotes from a few reviews at midseason (IIRC) reversing their earlier pans of the series based on the premiere episode.
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Man Trap was dour and downbeat and a rotten choice for a first episode, but given where the production was at that point, it's debatable whether there was any better choice that was actually ready to air.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is really the only other good candidate, and there's a good argument against it that's already been stated.

    The other episodes available were (according to Solow/Justman, since it's in my lap):
    "The Naked Time" (a better episode once you know the characters)
    "Mudd's Women" (space hookers would have made for a worse introduction to the series)
    "The Enemy Within" (I can understand NBC's objections; it's awfully dark as a lead-in)
    "Charlie X" (okay, but a ship-bound tale)
    "The Man Trap" (lots of planet action, all the regulars)
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^Exactly.
     
  8. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know. I've recently rewatched Corbomite Maneuver, and it seemed to drag a lot more than I remembered. It's basically people just staring at the viewscreen for an hour, waiting for long periods for something to happen (or not happen).

    Of course I realize I've seen these episodes way too often, and people had much longer attention spans back then, so maybe it would have seemed a lot more exciting and fast-paced at the time.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Re: "The City On The Edge Of Forever."

    This is possibly the most complete account of this story's evolution from initial pitch to filmed episode that I've ever seen. What I get out of this is Ellison's ego and inability to accept his story being rewritten to fit Star Trek's format. That's the crux of it. He could have written the most beautiful and brilliant thing ever, but if it can't fit within what has already been established in the series then it's useless. Yeah, it could have worked for The Outer Limits, but he wasn't writing it for them. If he wanted it to stay as is then he should have written it as an original non Trek story and gotten it published that way.

    The fact he could never get over it speaks to me of the guy's pettiness. No one at Desilu said his story was bad---in fact everyone loved it---but they were absolutely right it couldn't work for Star Trek in it's original form.

    What this situation also underlines is no matter how people try to be reasoned and objective about anything as happens so often personal agendas, egos and human frailties come into play. The myth of NBC disliking Star Trek is truly busted. What, or who, NBC had a growing problem with was Gene Roddenberry. The very man who created Star Trek was becoming a liability in keeping it on the air because he was pissing off the very people who allowed his creation to be realized in the first place.


    At this point Gene Coon hasn't been at his new job for long, but he's already shown to be a writing machine. The guy was incredible. Gene Coon and D.C. Fontana---what a pair. :techman:
     
  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Out of curiosity, have you read Ellison's book about the episode?
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Not yet. It is on one of my "to do" lists, but being between jobs presently I've cut back on a lot on expenses except the occasional indulgence such as TATV and the odd movie.
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    It's worth reading; Ellison sets straight a few "facts" (including at least one that is printed in Cushman's book) and is rather thorough in describing Roddenberry's post-broadcast behavior. It also includes Ellison's two drafts of the outline, Ellison's first draft of the teleplay, and a partial draft of his re-write. Much of Cushman's chapter originates from Ellison's book.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Done.

    Despite a rough start Star Trek's first season had all the signs of being a winner. It certainly was far from being a dog. I'm interested to read in more detail why the show was on the verge of cancellation despite having an apparently mostly positive first season. That said I have some inkling as to real reasons NBC mightn't have been pleased.

    Overall I think this was a good and worthwhile read even with some of its errors. As such I look forward to the next volume.

    The things I liked most were learning new tidbits I hadn't known before and the dispelling (or at least clarification) of certain long accepted myths along with seeing the evolution of initial story ideas to final form. I'd like to have learned more about story ideas that were in development but ultimately didn't pan out.

    I agree with Harvey and others that I'd also liked to have seen more regarding Kellum de Forest Research. Some of that could have been fascinating.

    The pictures do break up the text some, but in of themselves they're like an afterthought and nothing special. The cover is just blah(!).

    All things considered, yep, I'll spring for Volume 2.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Kellam de Forest; de Forest Research.

    (It's okay; internal memos keep spelling it "Kellum").

    I transcribed all of the surviving TOS research reports his firm did (along with their reports for TWOK) in preparation for a PhD that I haven't been able to start yet. I also interviewed de Forest, twice. Although he doesn't have much to say about Star Trek (it seems like other researchers did most of the work on the series), but I'll certainly be blogging about them at some point.
     
  15. SpHeRe31459

    SpHeRe31459 Captain Captain

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    Slightly OT, but what field will your PhD be in?
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Cinema/Media Studies (or an equivalent program; they often have different names). Just have an MA right now.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Sweet. :techman:
     
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Am I the only one who giggles at the oddness that Kellam de Forest is associated with a show featuring De Forest Kelly?
     
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nope. Count me on on that. When I was a kid of like 7, I thought they were the same person.
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I don't giggle, but when I first read about this when I was about twelve or so I found it a bit confusing.
     
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