TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate order?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Botany Bay, Dec 21, 2013.

?

I'd like to watch TOS in...

Poll closed Dec 28, 2013.
  1. Airdate order

    3 vote(s)
    10.3%
  2. Production order

    26 vote(s)
    89.7%
  1. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There seems to be a lot of interesting new info about the original series appearing on blogs and in books at the moment, and the TOS Blu Rays are getting much cheaper so I think a TOS forum episode viewing run is needed to share your reviews, information, memories, myths and misconceptions, all of the stuff we do here, episode by episode, once a week.

    The only question is in what order should we go through them? Airdate (nice and easy to follow with the DVD's/Blu-Rays) or Production order (watch it all evolve).

    Majority rules, so please vote and we can get started :bolian:
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Why no third option? Like "other" or "random"?
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Watching it in 'stardate order' is an interesting alternative too. Chekov was seen on board the ship before the original encounter with Khan! ;)
     
  4. EnsignHarper

    EnsignHarper Captain Captain

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Absolutely production order - only way to see the characters develop - ESPECIALLY Spock. It also is easier to discern the difference when the show goes through the changing story editors/producer changes, from Roddenberry/John DF Black, through Roddenberry/Carabatsos, and then Coon/Fontana.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    There are some shows where airdate order makes more sense, because the stories were written to occur in a certain order but had to be shot out of order for various practical reasons. For instance, TNG's "Unification, Part 2" was shot before Part 1 due to Leonard Nimoy's availability, and the premiere episode of Sherlock's first season was shot last because the producer wanted to give the actors time to get comfortable in their performances and give the show the strongest start possible.

    But this is not the case with TOS. Its airdate order was arbitrarily selected by the network for reasons that had nothing to do with story continuity, because at the time, most shows didn't have much continuity. Broadcast order was subject to the vagaries of how long it took to complete the effects work (which is why the first episode shot in season 1, "The Corbomite Maneuver," wasn't aired until midseason) or the preferences of the network (which is why both seasons 2 and 3 opened with Spock-centric episodes).

    For the most part, then, the order makes little difference. But there is an advantage to production order, because what change and development did occur was in the actors' performances, the set design and construction, the evolution of concepts, etc. There are some things that make more sense in production order, at least in season 1. Clearly the second pilot, with its different crew and sets and uniforms, works better as the first Kirk episode than the third. "Corbomite" has Kirk complaining about being assigned a female yeoman, which works better if it's Rand's first episode rather than her fifth.

    Granted, though, there are a couple of things that don't work so well in production order either. Chapel confessing her love for Spock in "The Naked Time" would work better some time after we saw her lose her fiance in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", but it's three episodes earlier in both orders. And "Court-martial" and "The Menagerie," which both feature Starbase 11 but with different commanding officers, are consecutive in production order. It's possible that was done to allow reusing the sets, with the episodes never meant to air consecutively, and indeed in broadcast order there were seven episodes between them. That's one thing that's better in airdate order, but that alone is not enough for me to recommend it.
     
  6. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Either way is fine. Since the release of the DVD's, I tend to watch them in that order, which is production.
     
  7. CaptPapa

    CaptPapa Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    I always watch it in production order - it's only logical. ;)
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Huh? The original individual DVD releases were in production order, but the season box sets were in airdate order out of some sort of desire to recreate the original viewing experience or something, and I believe the Blu-Rays are as well.

    If it begins "Where No Man," "The Corbomite Maneuver," "Mudd's Women," then it's production order. If it begins "The Man Trap," "Charlie X," "Where No Man," then it's airdate order.
     
  9. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    While I can almost half-understand their reasoning for switching to airdate order for the original DVD boxsets (if the aim was to somehow replicate the original experience somewhat), I do wish they had reversed that decision for the Blu Rays. Production order is the best way to view them, and it's a real pain in the ass having to get up and switch the discs all the time just to watch them in the order that they should have been presented in all along.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Yeah, it's weird how the conventions have changed. Initially, The Making of Star Trek and The Star Trek Concordance listed the episodes in airdate order, so that was the original standard. Then the 1980 Star Trek Compendium listed them in production order, and that became the standard practice in all subsequent references and video releases for the next 24 years. (Note that The Star Trek Chronology lists TOS in production order.) Yet then the DVD box sets came along in 2004 and suddenly embraced airdate order, and somehow that's become fashionable again ever since. Even StarTrek.com's episode guide for TOS is in airdate order, although Memory Alpha still defaults to production order. It's an ongoing source of annoyance to me. For nearly a quarter-century, a whole generation, there was pretty much a universal standard for TOS episode order, yet in the past decade it's been thrown out and now there are two competing orders. What the hell happened?
     
  11. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Now that I know what the production order is, I prefer watching them in that order, starting with The Corbomite Maneuver. Where No Man Has Gone Before, while a great episode, still looks too much like The Cage, which sets it apart from the rest of the series, in my opinion, while Corbomite has all the familiar elements: McCoy, (helmsman) Sulu, Uhura, redshirted Scotty, a non-smiling Spock, the regular uniforms and bridge configuration, etc.
     
  12. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    [QUyou OTE=Lance;9038137]Watching it in 'stardate order' is an interesting alternative too. Chekov was seen on board the ship before the original encounter with Khan! ;)[/QUOTE]

    Interesting. The stardate Decker mentions in "The Doomsday Machine" is significantly higher than the episodes produced immediately before ("Amok Time") and after ("Wolf In The Fold"). I assume they did this because they expected the extensive opticals required would cause the episode to be aired later in the season than what actually ended up happening.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of stardate vs. broadcast order vs. production order...
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    No, they didn't really pay much attention to stardate order at all, and they had no idea what order the episodes would air in, because that was the network's decision. The stardates generally, roughly tended to increase from the start to the end of a season, but nobody paid enough attention on an episode-by-episode level to keep anomalies from creeping in. For instance, "The Squire of Gothos" had a stardate in the 2100s while the episodes produced around it had stardates in the 3000s, and "The Gamesters of Triskelion" dropped down to the 3200s after a string of episodes that were mostly in the 4000s.

    I suppose it's possible that stardates could've been assigned fairly early in the script process, and that some scripts may have taken longer to get into production than others. But I don't think there was ever really much rhyme or reason to it. The goal with TOS was to keep the timeframe vague, so stardates were deliberately meant to be devoid of any real chronological information.
     
  14. mattman8907

    mattman8907 Captain Captain

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    I watch them in production order. but i wouldn't mind watching the episodes in Stardate order as well, might be nice to see the five year mission play out stardate by stardate.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    I don't see why stardate order would be interesting in any way. They're just numbers that are mentioned in passing once or twice an episode. They have no significance to the story or the characters. And watching in stardate order would be terribly disconcerting because of the random jumping around among different seasons and phases of the show. If you included TAS, then "The Magicks of Megas-tu" would be the first episode, before the second pilot. "Patterns of Force" would come betwen "The Squire of Gothos" and "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" "Catspaw" would immediately precede "Shore Leave," which would feel a bit repetitive. Ditto "Amok Time" being immediately followed by "This Side of Paradise." The third season and TAS would be largely interspersed. And where would you put the five episodes that have no stardate?
     
  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    Well, it isn't that different to production order, I only suggested it (tongue in cheek) to throw a little variety into the mix (ie, if the above two in the poll are the only options we have, then at least 'Stardate Order' offers a third alternative). ;)

    I do recall that in the heady days of the 'wilderness' years between TOS and TMP, the fanzines at the time were crazy about analyzing TOS from any perspective possible, including Stardate order... not that it actually revealed any hidden insights or otherwise overlooked notes of continuity. :) Personally *I* much prefer to watch TOS in production order, and continue to be somewhat mystified that TPTB have defaulted to the IMO inferior airdate order for most of the home media releases since DVD came along.

    Production order allows for the entire series to be seen from concept to finalization. The development of TOS, and therefore the fundamentals of the franchise, unfold in front of us, as the character relationships develop and solidify in a natural way, etc.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    ^Well, since DVD box sets came along. The original, individual DVD releases were in production order.
     
  18. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    ^ There was also a monthly magazine -- don't know if it was a PAL region exclusive -- which used to come with DVDs attached. For some reason those too were presented in production order even as the season boxes were not.

    Production order really is, in my opinion, the only 'logical' way to go. :vulcan: ;)
     
  19. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Captain Captain

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    Re: TOS forum original series viewing run : Production or Airdate orde

    While I can understand younger fans' desire to use Production Order as the way to watch the series - and it DOES work to some degree to show progression - as an old, original fan who was there watching the premiere on NBC, "airdate" order has always felt correct to me. Thus, I'm thankful that the DVDs an Blu-rays utilize that order.

    I suspect that CBS Home Video, in their infinite wisdom, chose airdate order because that's the way ALL of their DVD sets are presented - for all series - not just STAR TREK.

    Harry