TAS: why not canon?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by PCz911, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I really think canon is harder to determine now. There are no Roddenberrys, no Bermans, no Abrams overseeing everything in television and film anymore. We don't really know who's calling the shots.
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I don't think it really matters. Canon is more important to the fans than it is to the creators of the material.

    "The Klingons were always suppose to look that way."
     
  3. martok2112

    martok2112 Commodore Commodore

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    That is probably my second favorite episode, for the very reasons you stated. :). It sits just behind "Yesteryear" for me. Uhura and Chapel really have some nicely expanded roles throughout this series.

    In truth, I personally consider TAS to be years 4 and 5 of the original five year mission...even though there aren't enough episodes to support such a notion. :)
     
  4. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    I think in GR's head it mattered, as he was spinning forth a universe (with the help of Coon, Fontana, et al.). And I know he had weird idiosyncrasies: TAS was in, then out, etc. But now, it's just a property wherewith to make money for shareholders. To us it's something we love, and an alternate universe to think and feel about, even to post on a BBS about. A job versus a love object. So, yes, it does matter more to us. Hence the oxymoronic "personal canon" often spotted 'round these parts. YMMV
     
  5. drt

    drt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Do we actually even know how Rodenberry really felt about TAS? My understanding is the statements stating it was decanonized by Rodenberry came from Richard Arnold, and I think it's been demonstrated that Richard Arnold had his own agenda.

    This is pretty much how I look at it, too.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Then why is garbage "Plato's Stepchildren" canon when fantastic novels like Prime Directive aren't? The official policy is a separation by media, not quality control. The closest we ever got to that is a footnote that Gene Roddenberry considered STV: TFF apocryphal in the Trek Ency (and decades later, there was a similar comment posted online by the Okudas regarding VOY: "Threshold"), but did that ever stop Paramount or CBS including it in box sets? Nope. In practice, they (meaning whoever's in charge at the time, be it Roddenberry, Bennett, Berman or Abrams) just ignore the bits they didn't like going forward.
     
  7. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    One is a produced episode from TOS--the other is a novel. If we were to employ your criteria, then anything subjectively considered "fantastic" suddenly becomes canon--whether it is a novel, comic book, or even questionable descriptions on the backing cards of action figures. It is that kind of thinking which--for some time--destroyed Star Wars continuity, as everything from every source was argued or used as canonical source, when the films were created to tell the story, without "help" or embellishment from other sources.

    Recently, the SW PTB has revised its canon list, dumping much of the dreaded "expanded universe" which polluted the series since the 80's.

    Star Trek should be handled in the same way.
     
  8. PCz911

    PCz911 Commander Red Shirt

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    Interesting. Forgive my ignorance, but what was Richard's agenda and why/how did it affect TAS?
     
  9. PCz911

    PCz911 Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow, hadn't thought about that before. This is a really good point. Who is at the helm? Or is it just a corporate property run by a committee of faceless bureaucrats? JJ Is off on star wars and is likely abandoned his rebooted universe. Are they planning to have someone else come in? Will it be like batman, where they have numerous re boots?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    According to Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation by Scheimer and Andy Mangels, NBC gave Roddenberry complete creative control over TAS as part of his contract -- making it one of the only shows in TV history where the producers were given absolute carte blanche, free from network interference (The Simpsons is the only other example I know of). Given how much Roddenberry clashed with the network suits, I'd think that at the time, he probably loved it. And TAS therefore probably represents the truest example of Roddenberry's vision of Star Trek -- at least, at the time it was made -- than anything else in the franchise. Whether he changed his mind about it in later years, though, I can't say.

    As I understand it, the main reason Paramount distanced themselves from TAS in the '90s was because Filmation went bankrupt and the ownership of TAS was unclear. But that's no longer the case -- CBS owns it completely along with the rest of the franchise. TAS is included along with the other shows on the "canon-only" reference sites Startrek.com and Memory Alpha. Multiple productions including DS9 and ENT episodes and the 2009 movie have referenced elements from it. And we tie-in novelists never get told we can't refer to it. So I think TAS is as canonical as anything else now. The reasons for its decanonization -- the bankruptcy and either Roddenberry's or Arnold's agenda -- ceased to matter two decades ago, and the ban has not been observed in nearly as long.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But even when the Star Wars books and games were suppose to be "canon", Lucas and others freely contradicted them whenever they felt like it.

    "Canon" means more to the fans than the creators.
     
  12. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Being in canon doesn't imply being in continuity. James R. Kirk is canon, but Kirk's middle name is Tiberius.
     
  13. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    I think to GR, "canon" and "Continuity" were what he liked at the moment. He was more than happy to dump something from the continuity of his creation, even if it was in the canon.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Yeah. We know that he claimed parts of TOS apocryphal when he created TNG. He even wrote in the TMP novelization that what we saw were dramatizations of Kirk's adventures during TOS.

    Roddenberry didn't seem to have any issue ditching things he no longer cared for.
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    All Roddenberry cared about was telling the stories he wanted to tell, and making money. That he got famous for one of his shows was just gravy.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's pretty much how it is for most creators. "Canon," after all, is just a word for the stories told by the creator (or the franchise owner) as opposed to stories told without their involvement. So canon is, by definition, the version of the story as the creator chooses to tell it. And creating a story in the first place is a long process of trial and error and revision and editing and abandoning ideas and replacing them with new ones -- and usually the version that gets published/released is not the absolutely perfect representation of the creator's vision, just the best approximation they were able to manage when time or money ran out. So plenty of creators want to keep revising their work after it's come out. We've seen it with Roddenberry. We've seen it with George Lucas. A number of novelists have completely rewritten their old novels or stories. David Gerrold has done it multiple times. Arthur C. Clarke did it with his first novel. Joss Whedon's Buffy series retconned elements of the movie to reflect his original intentions. And so on.

    Heck, a novel I'm shopping around now is an expansion/continuation of my first published story, and it changes enough about the story's events that it "decanonizes" the original work (or will if it gets published). I'd been hoping at first to expand it in a way that would be consistent with what was already there, but I discovered enough flaws in the original work that I had to make some fundamental alterations, and once that became necessary, it freed me to rethink the whole thing from the ground up and make it much stronger.
     
  17. trekshark

    trekshark Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I've always considered it canon regardless of the official policy
    Afterall, it had the original cast reprising their roles and some of writers from TOS
     
  18. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Not meaning to step on anyone's toes, but there is a slight flaw in this story: there was no World Wide Web until 1993, and most ordinary folks didn't start accessing the internet for personal/commercial use until the later half of the 1990s. This being the case, Star Trek could not have had much of a web-site (if any) while TNG was in production, and definitely not while Mr. Roddenberry was alive.
     
  19. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  20. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I understand it, during the '70's Star Trek fans were very interested in what was called "official Paramount." It was a attempt by the fans of the time to begin to figure out what parts of Trek was real and what wasn't, what information would one day be referred to as "canon."

    When did the term canon begin to be applied to Star Trek anyway?

    :)