Robert Sawyer goes off on "Return of the Archons"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by BigJake, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    The idea of running into humanoids speaking Standard American English is already stretching things beyond the realm of probability.

    Science Fiction, in most cases, isn't really about imagining truly typical examples of alien life, but rather alien examples of typical (human) life.
    It's allegory, it's morality tale, it's anthropological thought experiment. It's not a scientific projection of evolutionary probabilities regarding distributions of sentient species.
     
  2. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Honestly, on a most basic level, I find Archons to be a tremendously enjoyable and entertaining episode to watch. That's it really, no further discourse or philosophical analysis etc., is required for me!
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    +1
     
  4. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Spock does indeed get to sock somebody in the jaw. Kirk even gives him a great little quip about it: "Isn't that a little old-fashioned?"
     
  5. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, but who is so "not getting it" that he would judge older productions based on a very surface-y technical observation? I was watching a few Hitchcock films on blu-ray and not once did I see production standards of the period as a problem, or something preventing me from enjoying an overall great work.
     
  6. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Meh, Sawyer wouldn't be the first person in history to forget to take the full context into account.
     
  7. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    :techman:

    I'm off to fire up my media player and watch this terrific episode before I go to bed. I haven't revisited it in quite a while, and I'm in the perfect frame of mind right now!
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The lesson to be learned in all this is that science fiction writers shouldn't try to be film and television critics.

    Edited to add: Unless they're Harlan Ellison.
     
  9. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is The Future, friend. We're all film and television critics. :rommie:

    Peace, joy and tranquility to you all. Blessed is the TBBS, and all of its posters.
     
  10. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ok, I'm watching the episode right now. As someone else mentioned, it definitely has a Twilight Zone/Night Gallery sort of creepiness to it, which I'm kind of enjoying.

    Does anyone else get the impression that they were deliberately trying to mimic Salt Lake City circa 1880 with the set design and costuming? Not to mention the backhanded slap at religion in general, as represented by the "Cult of Landru?"
     
  11. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    I find it hard to buy that he's a big TOS fan when he can nitpick a particular episode for using backlot exteriors and noticeably-looped dialogue. It makes him seem unfamiliar not only with TOS, but with 60s TV in general...which he's old enough to remember watching first-run. I'm a decade younger than him and I don't blink at the production values of that period of TV, never mind let it ruin otherwise-entertaining shows.
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I can testify he is a big TOS fan but, of course, like many others here on the TBBS we can disagree on what works (or not) for each of us individually.

    That said I have posted some refutation of his points on his FB discussion.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Sawyer almost wrote a Star Trek novel once (featuring Arex from Filmation's TAS!), and his proposal and sample chapters gave birth to two later original SF novels:
    http://www.sfwriter.com/armada.htm

    For me, I think my major problem with "Return of the Archons" was the 12-hour clock on the alien planet. How much cooler if it had alien numerals, or just ten digits?
     
  14. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Organia isn't a PD situation because it's a war-with-another-galactic-power situation. Obviously Starfleet doesn't give a rat's @ss about the PD in that sitch.

    "Archons" is a PD situation. And as far I understand the PD, it does not matter if the people of the world chose their current culture/civilization or not: what matters is that's what the Enterprise found, and that's how they should leave it. Period. No debate. UNLESS---the Enterprise (or whatever ship is visiting) is in danger from the planet/culture/civilization. Then the PD is set aside.

    The problem is Kirk may have had an opportunity to scram unscathed and un-PD-breaking (or as little as could be managed) when he had O'Neil back safely. As Lindstrom lampshaded:

    LINDSTROM: Captain, now that we've got Lieutenant O'Neil, let's beam up out of here.

    Lindstrom was right (even if he probably was just thinking of getting out of the creepy place and not the PD)--although only minutes (maybe half an hour?) later Kirk is in contact with Scotty and finding out the Enterprise is under deadly attack. If Landru's heat beams were trained on the Enterprise before O'Neil was saved, then Kirk was not violating the PD.

    Although one might think the PD would require the sacrifice of a few personnel, if not one's whole ship, and perhaps they should have written O'Neil off from the beginning. Which raises another issue: WHY wouldn't the transporter beam O'Neil up at the beginning? Couldn't they locate him via his communicator? It sure doesn't look like there was enough time between Sulu's desperate communication at the beginning and his beam up for the lawgivers to take all of O'Neil's equipment. It was seconds.
     
  15. GeorgeKirk

    GeorgeKirk Commodore Commodore

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    I also enjoy this episode's Twilight Zone vibe. Honestly, at this point in time every episode has been thoroughly dissected, analyzed, and reviewed by everyone and their brother. If someone expresses an opinion different from your own, why even bother to dispute it?
     
  16. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Dude. This is the Internet. Do you have any idea the possible cosmic ramifications of allowing someone to be wrong on the Internet? ;)
     
  17. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Why not? This is an opinion based BBS, if members here posted opinion (or reported opinion) and nobody responded - it'd be an excruciatingly dull place to hang out.

    Although, as previously stated, I just love this episode plain and simple - I don't believe its age, or the accrued body of analysis attached to it, should prohibit further discussion for anyone who wishes to do so.
     
  18. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    This is correct. Allowing a false perception by an Individual to go uncorrected by the teeming masses could result in future generations reading said Individual's false perception and believing it to be valid truth. This could have the unfortunate result of the entire collapse of human civilization within 50,000 years and possibly the destruction of the universe.
     
  19. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    First time a saw this episode i stopped it to look for what i thought was a previous episode i had missed because it was called the Return of the Archons. lol


     
  20. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Do you think he may have exaggerated to simply initiate a debate about an episode he doesn't like?