The Cage & Captain Pike

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by EnriqueH, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Threads usually take all kinds of twists and turns. That's what makes them interesting to read. :techman:

    As far as Pike and Company go, I doubt we'd be here discussing this show fifty years later if Hunter had been the lead.
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    There is really only so much you can say about "The Cage." It's one standalone episode with next to nothing (canon wise) as followup except Pike's eventual fate in "The Menagerie."

    There are tidbits of worldbuilding and backstory in "The Cage" that can be retconned or rationalized within the larger continuity of Trek, but very little else.

    Contrast this with what we learn in WNMHGB.
    - Kirk and Mitchell have been friends for fifteen years.
    - Kirk was a serious student at the Academy.
    - Kirk plays chess with Spock for recreation.
    - Kirk had a prior command.
    - Spock has a human ancestor (revealed later in "The Corbomite Maneuver" as his mother).
    - Spock cuts to the heart of things with his logic.

    Additionally the entire cast of WNMHGB simply feels more accessible and real. Their performances really sell the Enterprise and the Trek universe as a believable setting.

    "The Cage" is full of ideas, but it feels somewhat cold and sterile. Boyce is the one who seems the most real with Pike a close second. The rest are mostly types rather than characters. We learn Pike is introspective about a recent mission gone bad, but nothing else beyond that.

    It's a matter of overall execution. There is simply something a bit stiff and dry about "The Cage" and its characters in general. It looks great, but there is a spark missing to really bring it to life.

    I like "The Cage" bridge better than the WNMHGB version. I like the Enterprise exterior in "The Cage" better than the WNMHGB version (the big differences are the nacelle end caps and the impulse engine detail). Then again the WNMHGB version is lighted. I wish we could have gotten some more ship exterior shots in "The Cage'" but then again the big miniature wasn't lighted yet and the small 3-footer miniature didn't convey a sense of size.


    In fairness we can pick it apart now, but in 1965 it's easy to see how strong an impression it would have made. It really isn't far off feature film standards of the day.
     
  3. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I don't think really anyone is denying that Kirk, Spock and company were better than the Pike and co. crew.

    I just find The Cage so well made and interesting that I would enjoy, in an alternate universe, seeing a few more of their adventures.

    But I think part of the allure or curiosity of seeing more Pike and co. has to do PRECISELY with the very thing some of you are criticizing them for: the fact that we learn so little about them is also strangely part of the reason I would be curious to see their further adventures.

    But again, there's no doubt that the right cast was ultimately chosen.
     
  4. dswynne1

    dswynne1 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" feels more suited for a movie environment than a television pilot. In fact, in a perfect world, if I could make a wish, I would have had a movie trilogy featuring Pike, and then go on to have the TOS television show for five seasons (set years later). Also, I would allow for Young Spock being more emotional, who would later become the more rationale, more logical version that we all know and love. And, I would definitely have a running joke go on where NO ONE knows if "Number One" had a "real" name or not. Is she an alien? Immortal? Or is she just a human with a wicked sense of humor? I know that in some literature (fandom or legit), Number One did have a name. In fact, one fan-centric text had her be the older sister of Nurse Chapel (named Arianna Chapel).

    Hopefully, we'll get more pre-TOS stuff in the near feature, though I doubt it...
     
  5. telerites

    telerites Commander Red Shirt

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    Shatner was the man for me and the accompanying cast was awesome but I thought Hunter's take on Pike was very good and could have still made ST successful. I do think the other cast could have evolved but did not start as polished as Kirk and crew.
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder whether it would have made for a better pilot to see the "episode" before The Cage that resulted in Pike's funk rather than witnessing the aftermath with only allusions to what occurred. Kind of like DS9 opening with the battle of Wolf 359. It's only a small portion of the episode, but it not only starts things off with a literal bang but gives us the information we most need to know about Sisko going into the show.

    In that sense, The Cage could have been the second episode in the series. This might have appealled more, because while The Cage is interesting, in the end it has no serious repercussions for Our Heroes (until The Menagerie, at least), while in WNMHGB Kirk is forced to kill his best friend. Granted he's a best friend we've only met in the episode, but still, I think that's something that hits harder than the events of The Cage.
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I liken "The Cage" to early TNG. The ideas were there, but the execution is somewhat off as it's a first effort and practically no one is really comfortable. It might also have something to do with directing. Was the cast of WNMHGB really better or more suited to the subject matter, or perhaps the director of WNMHGB had a better handle on things and got more out of the cast?

    I will say that a pet idea of mine would be to see an animated feature or series that picks up after "The Cage" leaves off--there's a decade worth of untold stories there. I would tweak it a bit in terms of characters, in similar fashion as was done by Marvel Comics, as well as make it just a bit more consistent with TOS' overall continuity. I wouldn't emulate TAS' animation style, but maybe go for something more like the original Johnny Quest (which is of the same early '60s era as "The Cage"). Of course, the writing would be pf paramount importance, and given the calibre of writing in some of the DCAU straight-to-video features I've seen we know it's possible to to have adult level storytelling with animation. It should be at least on the same level as the early '90s animated Batman.

    If not an animated project then a fan production project done in similar style as Star Trek Continues would be cool.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    There's been handful of Pike novels. See Post #2 in this thread.
     
  9. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    This just makes me miss Pike and his crew. It's too bad they couldn't have done more with them in another way.

    I think Pike would have been a really interesting character to get to know, he certainly seemed to have that deep nobility that Kirk has. His whole problem isn't that he's tired of being a Captain, it's that he lead people into a dangerous situation and some of them were hurt and killed. He can't repay that back to them and he doesn't want to have to make life and death decisions like that anymore knowing he can't save them all. That's a huge burden, he feels personally responsible for his people, like Kirk and Decker. Cmdr. Decker just about had a nervous breakdown from his crew dying, Capt. Tracy also seemed to have some kind of psychotic break, but he turned nasty from it. We never saw Jim have to lose his whole crew but whenever he lost anyone, you could see it hurt him, and we're catching Pike at really bad time. Boyce is trying to get him out of his funk when this whole false message distracts them. It's hard to judge by one mission how he would have been, but there's one more thing we have to see his character, he deliberately saved cadets from a dangerous situation at terrible risk to himself. I'm sure he didn't want to be horribly crippled, but he couldn't stand to not save them from that fate. I'd just like to have gotten to see more, but I'm grateful for what we did get.
     
  10. Last Redshirt

    Last Redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks, man. I'll be sure to add them to the backlog. :D
     
  11. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I will probably take a look on the recent comic adaptation of Ellison's version because I only know the "great" lines, but even the episode itself is quite "independant". The Enterprise itself isn't really important in the episode. I supposed Ellison expected to have the same creative liberty he had with The Outer Limits.
    You would have said the same thing with Pike. Kirk was always shocked to lost a crewmate. The problem wasn't how Kirk was written, but how the stories were.

    This! Despite the precise context in the Cage, there's not much background development. In the other hand, the department heads on the bridge in WNMHGB is unnatural and a bit weird.
     
  12. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Funny to see this now. I just watched the "commentary track" for WNMHGB and something they remark upon is how much you learn about Kirk, Spock and even Mitchell just in the opening scenes.
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    That might have worked if "The Cage" had been structured as a teaser and 4 acts. The teaser could have simply been the landing party beaming down to Rigel VII (or already walking around to save fx costs), discovering the fortress, then some Kalar warriors appearing, with a zoom-in and fade out on Pike's face. Roll title. Act One runs as normal, with mention of the earlier battle and casualties.
     
  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I think "the Cag:e was just a platform to prove Desilu could produce a show like Star Trek.
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The impression I've gotten over the years is that NBC accepted responsibility for the choice they made. They seemed to feel Desilu and Roddenberry proved they could deliver the goods as promised but that the network had simply picked the wrong story to shoot.
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    The story didn't high light the characters as well as it should have. A mistake they corrected in WNMHGB.
     
  17. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    They picked the one episode they knew would be the most technically difficult to produce. Weird aliens, space ships, meteoroids, dream sequences, green women, and a laser cannon blasting a hillside.

    I wish we'd seen more laser cannon like stuff in the series, it's one of my favorite scenes.
     
  18. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I don't think it's necessary, because we end up seeing it anyway when the Talosians make Pike relive it.
     
  19. Last Redshirt

    Last Redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just came across this and I disagree. I feel as thought Kirk took it personally every time a crewmember under his command got killed. In fact, I'm pretty sure the TMP novelization acknowledges this. Not to take it as solid canon, but, it's a good interpretation in my opinion.
     
  20. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The fireworks display it gives off is probably the most elaborate FX in all of TOS. They probably spent more doing that then all the FX in Tholian Web.