Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggling.

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ConRefit79, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. ConRefit79

    ConRefit79 Captain Captain

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    I've heard several times that they wanted to make a Gary Seven series. Was that the plan when they made the Assignment Earth episode? If so, wasn't Star Trek struggling at the end of its second season? Why try to start a new series instead of improving your current series?
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    You have to understand how TV works.

    A show can get cancelled for any number of reasons, not always ratings related. Show creators typically keep pitching ideas even if they have a successful series because you have no idea how long that show's going to run, and you a) don't want to be out of a job, and b) the more shows you have on the air, the more money you make.

    And Assignment: Earth wasn't the only show Gene pitched during Trek's run. It was the only one he was able to get produced in a fashion by doing it as a "backdoor pilot".
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  3. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Why try and create a series out of that character in the first place? That episode is the least Trekky Star Trek episode I've ever seen. If they were hoping for Star Trek fans to watch it they were barking up the wrong tree. I'm sure some would have watched it but it held no appeal to me.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Heck, if TREK was struggling and facing possible cancellation, all the more reason to want to line up your next gig in advance. You don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, or pass up a chance to reap the rewards (and financial security) of having more than one show on the air.

    Look at all the failed pilots Roddenberry tried to launch in the lean years after TOS: Genesis II, Planet Earth, Spectre, etc. I'll bet he would loved to have had an "Assignment: Earth" series to fall back on instead.

    How many different shows is Greg Berlanti producing these days? Or Shonda Rimes? Or Chuck Lorre?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  5. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Of course it was an un-Trekky Star Trek episode. It was a backdoor pilot for Assignment: Earth, and, except for the Star Trek elements used to introduce the characters, was written as the pilot for that show.
     
  6. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    But why do a spin off of Star Trek that has nothing to do with Star Trek?:confused:

    I've heard of backdoor pilots but so far I've only seen ones that have characters or elements from the shows they're spun from. I wasn't familiar with this other style up until now.
     
  7. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    It wasn't really a spin-off in that sense...it was a backdoor pilot. They used Trek to make it because Trek was in production and they could squeeze it into Trek's format.

    What the show was likely trying to aspire to be was a spy show...the spy genre was big in the 60s, and there were many shows in that vein. It could have been Wild, Wild West in the opposite direction...futuristic spies instead of 19th-century spies.
     
  8. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Thank you. I didn't understand that about it but now I do:)

    It wasn't a spin off at all. It was a cheap way to make a pilot using the budget of an existing series:lol: I think I have seen something like this before but I could be wrong. Is that how Mork & Mindy came along? I remember there was an episode of Happy Days with Mork but it must have been before Mork's show came on air.
     
  9. Magellan

    Magellan Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Ever see the Nanny episode "Chatterbox". It's another backdoor pilot that does not feature any of the existing characters(past the first couple of minutes) and basically hijacked the show for a whole episode. Arguably, it does at least contain elements of the real show because it reuses the exact same formula as its parent. It's not that uncommon for backdoor pilots to just sorta do whatever and see how it goes.
     
  10. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    I was thinking of bringing up Mork as an example, but I wasn't sure if his first appearance on Happy Days was a deliberate back-door pilot or just a guest appearance that proved so popular that they spun it off. His second appearance led directly into the series, IIRC.
     
  11. JWPlatt

    JWPlatt Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    I would have watched it if the same stars, Robert Lansing and Teri Garr, were in the series. If they were changed out, it would have affected my interest. I would also be more interested in exploring Seven's civilization as a story than Earth assignments as a primary focus. If the stories were mostly Earthbound to save on production costs and ease of story-telling, that too would have affected my interest. I also wanted to know more of the mystery about Isis (Memory Alpha lists the character as Isis but I thought her name was M'Isis), but perhaps with about the same weight as that in the episode - one scene per show in humanoid form.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Exactly. Lots of TV producers do more than one show at once. How many shows did Quinn Martin produce in the '60s?



    Because originally it wasn't connected to ST at all. Roddenberry first developed and pitched A:E as a half-hour series in 1966 -- his first-draft script is dated just two months after TOS premiered. It was a rather different premise with Gary as a time traveler from the distant future, sent back to fight time-traveling "Omegans" named Harth and Isis, whose science looked like sorcery and satanism and who were trying to change Earth's history to prevent its bright future as a galactic power. And it read like a rather inept attempt at a "stranger in a strange land" sitcom like My Favorite Martian, complete with a suspicious detective that Gary stymied with his futuristic technology.

    But when Roddenberry failed to convince any network to invest in shooting his pilot script, he reworked it into a Trek episode so that he could use Trek's budget and resources to shoot it as a backdoor pilot. Making it a Trek spinoff was his plan B after plan A failed. He and Art Wallace dropped the proto-Temporal Cold War aspects and made it more about an advanced alien subtly guiding humanity through its turbulent adolescence -- an idea he'd give another try with The Questor Tapes a few years later.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    You may be conflating Isis with M'Ress, who was the cat-woman on the Animated Series.

    Personally, this was always one of my favorite Trek episodes growing up, and it always felt very STAR TREK-ish to me. You had time-travel, a transporter device, a weapon that harmlessly stuns people, a chirpy female computer, a mission to help humanity advance into the future, and a cool, reserved protagonist in the vein of Mister Spock.

    (Albeit with a heavy dose of Sixties Spy-Fi, like THE AVENGERS and THE MAN FROM UNCLE and OUR MAN FLINT, thrown in.)

    As I've often argued "Assignment: Earth" is to THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL as "Star Trek" is to FORBIDDEN PLANET. Basically sixties TV shows inspired in part by the classic SF movies of the previous decade, which gave them a similar feel.

    I always felt cheated that we never got to see the further adventures of Seven, Roberta (and Isis), which is probably why I wasted no time bringing them back in the novels, once I got my foot in the door . .. :)

    (In fact, "The Return of Gary Seven" was the very first idea I pitched to Pocket Books years ago, although I ended up writing a few other books first, just because DS9 and VOYAGER books were needed more urgently back then.)
     
  14. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Quinn Martin in the '60s? How about Quinn Martin in the '70s? Most of the parodies of Quinn Martin productions, like Police Squad, are based on the shows from the '70s, so those are the ones the audiences knew best. For instance, Barnaby Jones, Cannon, A Man Called Sloane, The Streets of San Francisco. Even shows that premiered in the '60s carried over into the '70s, like The FBI and The Fugitive, even if in reruns and syndication.

    I'll never forget the phrase "Tonight's Episode - " whichever it was called.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    I still think somebody needs to reboot "Assignment: Eternity." You don't even need to connect it to STAR TREK this time around; in fact it's probably better if you don't. Just do a cool spy-fi show about a secret agent trained by mysterious aliens and his more down-to-earth sidekick (and shape-changing feline familiar).

    It would probably appeal to folks who like AGENTS OF SHIELD or SLEEPY HOLLOW.
     
  16. YJAGG

    YJAGG Captain Captain

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    plus he was a pilot for Pan Am, ( my mom worked in scheduling and knew him well enough to say hi in the halls, [but not enough to for anything cool for me{thanks Mom!}]) anyway All the pilots lived in fear of losing their job to bad eyesight, or other health reason and most had "side jobs/ business " as a back up. So I get his trek paid for pilot and I think there would be a logical audience cross over
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Exactly, I don't recall people being terribly particular when it came to genre stuff back then. We watched STAR TREK, we watched BATMAN, we watched WILD, WILD WEST and TIME TUNNEL, and THE TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS and BEWITCHED and I DREAM OF JEANNIE.

    I was pretty much an omnivore when it came to anything that had a fantasy or sci-fi element in it (although somehow LOST IN SPACE never really appealed to me). And I would have surely watched ASSIGNMENT: EARTH if it had become a weekly series, regardless of tenuously it might have related to STAR TREK.
     
  18. Tracy Trek

    Tracy Trek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    Another good example of a back door pilot is how the characters of NCIS were introduced in an episode of JAG.
     
  19. YJAGG

    YJAGG Captain Captain

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    well the 70's was ripe with it,
    Love American Style gave us Happy Days, which gave us both, Laverne and Shirley, Morkl and Mindy and Joanie love Chachi

    Mary Tyler Moore gave us both Rhoda and Lou Grant (which was a total change of character for Ed Asner)

    All in the Familiy gave us both the Jefferson's (which gave us Checking in ) and Maude, which gave Good Times.

    Threes Company gave us the ill fated Ropers and Jack's place

    Hell the Norman Learvese is HUGE

    Six Million Dollar Man gave us the Bionic Woman
     
  20. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Gary Seven - Why try create new series when current one is struggl

    And to speak of stealth pilots, there was a Mary Tyler Moore episode which was just that for a series that'd be workplace sitcom for the staff around a Ted Knight-esque congressman. I thought the pilot plausible but correctly not picked up.