What do people feel about Gene?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by TheLobes, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Executives involved with Trek other than Roddenberry - specifically Solow and Justman, the latter a man of particular modesty and common sense, as these folks go - never seem to have perceived the NBC folks as the craven, dishonest or benighted collection of knaves that GR liked to conjure up.
     
  2. DS9

    DS9 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well, what can I say? He founded my favorite franchise of all time as well as the best sci-fi franchise of all time. His vision and concept were ahead of his time. The multi-cultural cast, peace on earth in the future, people from various planets getting along...I love it.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That seems to be a bit of revisionist history to me. Roddenberry returned to Star Trek because it was the best (and perhaps only) way for him to make money. He wrote and produced a number of television pilots in the 1970s -- all of them failures. He wrote and produced a feature in 1971 -- Pretty Maids All in a Row -- a critical and commercial failure, too. Other scripts he wrote during and after Star Trek never even made it to production. His primary source of steady income in the 1970s was on the lecture circuit, and that was due to his association with Star Trek -- college students weren't lining up to see the creator of Genesis II, after all.

    Roddenberry threw himself into Star Trek because it's all he had left.

    Which is not to say that he left a bad legacy for himself in that regard. But half the legends about Roddenberry are either self-flattering lies or exaggerations that the man himself made popular. He was hardly a "visionary," and he could be an asshole when it came to business dealings (particularly evident from reading Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, although any autobiography written by a member of the cast will carry equally damning anecdotes).
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, all of them aired, and some were rejigged and aired again. The pilots might have failed to go to series, but at least a sale was made, in each case, in that the work made it to the screen. Many Hollywood pilots go nowhere.
     
  5. Distorted Humor

    Distorted Humor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Gene had one good idea, and a few lukewarm ideas, but his one good idea was very good one. I disliked his hate towards religion, but that just me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Pilots that fail to go to series are by definition failures. That they ended up being aired as movies-of-the-week is not unusual. A studio has to make some money from the high investment a pilot episode requires somehow. Burning them off as movies-of-the-week has been their method to those ends since the beginning of television.
     
  7. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, each of those were commissioned as movies-of-the-week rather than one-hour pilots in order that the studio and network get something usable out of the process regardless of whether a series was purchased or not. All of these pilots failed to sell as series.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    And I said that. My point was that many, many Hollywood pilots never get seen by the public.
     
  9. The Boy Who Cried Worf

    The Boy Who Cried Worf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A sincere man with a vision that changed the direction that Sci-Fi was going.

    Also kind of a shameless self-promoter who wasn't adverse to putting personal aggrandizement over the truth.

    A man with a humanistic vision for the future that included participation by all the people of earth.

    Also probably kind of an old-fashioned hound when it came to women.

    He also should be applauded for giving us TNG, but deserves a lot of the criticism directed toward the early years of that show.
     
  10. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Because not all pilots are produced as stand-alone TV movies. The whole point of doing that, in those days, was to ensure that at least some of the cost of the pilot (borne by both the studio and the network, BTW) could be earned back by advertising. That the networks aired those pilots doesn't mitigate the fact that they were all failed projects.

    The 1970s was the heyday of the network television movie in the U.S. ABC, for example, had a weekly timeslot devoted to them (ABC Movie Of The Week - which aired Planet Earth, BTW). There was therefore a continual, weekly demand for made-for-television movies and a concomitant tendency to greenlight potentially expensive pilots at the ninety-minute length precisely because most would fail to be picked up.
     
  11. corpusearthling

    corpusearthling Ensign Newbie

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    Gene R. created ST, and honed the concept with TNG. Even when TNG improved in S3, it did so with the elements created/approved by GR. Trek isn't just a proven, brilliant story format, it's an inspiring vision of the future, special enough so that by the time others tried that tack, they just seemed pale copies of Trek (e.g. Buck Rogers '79, Seaquest).

    He was a credit thief? Welcome to Hollywood! That's how things are done there. Not to excuse it, but he was hustling to be a successful producer in a brutally competitive industry. Saintly types don't get their shows onto network TV. Rod Serling, Irwin Allen, Glen Larson all get the same charges.

    Also true: he was a better producer than a writer. However, he apparently did a lot of re-writing, including of TOS S1 (season of seasons!) and that may never be credited. Fans complain that he left TOS, then complain that he showed up for TNG? Give me a break! His work speaks for itself, and the franchise reflects Roddenberry's vision more than that of any other individual. He had help, but if he wasn't around: no Star Trek.
     
  12. { Emilia }

    { Emilia } alta moda Moderator

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    Roddenberry was a good spokesperson but I think Herb Solow and Bob Justman deserve more credit than they usually get. Also most people who worked with him during the original TOS run said Roddenberry's a terrible person.

    Anybody read that book Herb Solow's wife wrote about Roddenberry? There's 2 nice podcast interviews with Solow and his wife (each taking about 2h) which are very much worth listening to btw. (Episode 37 and 38 of the Starbase 66 podcast on simplysyndicated.com)
     
  13. JennaL

    JennaL Ensign Red Shirt

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    Without Gene, there would be no Star Trek and without Star Trek.... well thats unthinkable isn't it!? Credit where credit's due. RIP Gene
     
  14. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The question is too broad for a sensible answer. Let me ask a different question: what other 1960s TV producer do people still talk about today?

    Rod Serling is one. Roddenberry is another.

    Sol Saks? Sheldon Leonard? How about Sherwood Schwartz? No?

    How about the 1970s, then. Norman Lear? Larry Gelbart? Do they or anyone else continually excite attention?

    Or how about Nat Hiken in the 1950s?

    Roddenberry was in many respects like Disney. He created something larger than himself. Doesn't mean we have to be pals with him. But we can appreciate the unique and flexible vision that he brought to a medium that is by definition collaborative. Perhaps toward the end of TOS' run he relied too much on collaboration, and gave away too much of his responsibility to others, or to the wrong "others," but that's just a matter of degree and taste.

    He seemed to be pretty crummy toward women, and to some close professional associates, but I have no idea how other producers of that era behaved in private. For all I know, he was the prize of the bunch.
     
  15. Freman

    Freman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Without Gene, there would be no Earth: Final Conflict....I mean, Star Trek.
     
  16. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You left out Andromeda.;)
     
  17. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Why does the world insist on practically ignoring Gene's most majestic creation of all: Pretty Maids All in a Row? :D
     
  18. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I guess one of these days I'm gonna have to see that.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I actually really enjoyed that in its day. Reminded me of a raunchy "Room 222" meets "The Graduate". Indeed, Angie Dickinson's seduction of a young student was extremely reminiscent of Anne Bancroft seducing poor ol' Dustin Hoffman in TG.
     
  20. JewelsNeeJulian

    JewelsNeeJulian Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not having met the man, I cannot say much, but after hearing enough stories from the TOS and TNG cast, the man was a worse creep than Shatner back in the old days

    That he created TOS gives him some credit, but his personal behavior was bloody appauling.

    at the end of the day, He created Star Trek and should be given credit. But we should not forget some of his less savory habits