Is TAS considered canon, and a close "cousin" to TOS?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Leathco, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    In short, TAS was put on the shelf for legal reasons related to the shutting down of Filmation, and had nothing to do with the perceived quality or "worthiness" of TAS to be considered part of the Star Trek canon. That Roddenberry didn't feel it necessary to explain this legal nicety to his gofer Richard Arnold really isn't surprising, nor is it surprising (sad, but not surprising) that Richard was allowed to continue in his "GR doesn't like TAS anymore" fantasy because any comment from Paramount, pro or con, likely would've played holy hell with the negotiations over the rights to TAS.

    Once those rights were secured, TAS was back in the fold. Rick Berman just forgot to make an official annoucement.
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Well, I do know that Richard himself had a major dislike of TAS and, when Arex and M'Ress popped up in DC Comics' post-ST IV, he wasn't very impressed vetting manuscripts containing those characters. The winding down of Filmation was muddying things even more and a Pocket novel, "The Captains' Honor", had been rumoured to be containing the kzinti (ultimately renamed the M'dok for that novel).

    As for GR, I believe it was probably his lawyer who suggested distancing TAS from TOS (and TNG) - because in 1989 everyone was embroiled in the lawsuit that DC Fontana and David Gerrold were involved with, suing GR and Paramount for co-creatorship of TNG... for which they were eventually awarded an out-of-court settlement that no one was allowed to discuss.

    He saw no need. The only reason the "no TAS" rule got out in 1989 was that someone angrily leaked the memo to GEnie and Usenet. (It is also partly quoted in DC Comics' ST Series II, #1)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's because there was no official policy that needed to be changed. It's the individual showrunners who decide what's canon; it's not some formal doctrine, just a matter of creative choice. Roddenberry wanted TAS to be ignored, but as soon as he died, that ceased to be binding.

    And really, an online poll about this is as irrelevant as an online poll about what next week's weather should be. It's just opinion. The only people whose opinion actually means anything on this subject are the people writing and producing new onscreen Star Trek productions. And as we've established, they've often included references to elements from TAS -- although they've always been fairly minor elements like ship and planet names, and the only TAS episode whose plot has ever been directly referenced or followed up on to any degree is "Yesteryear."
     
  4. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Well, with regard to the Kzinti, there was a legitimate legal issue there, since they were brought in from a preexisting property (granted, it was done by their creator, but Larry Niven seems like a pretty reasonable guy and I'm sure a good deal for all wouldn't be hard to reach).

    Bjo Trimble has made it quite clear that during her fairly extensive contact with GR during the production of TNG, at no time did he express any dissatisfaction with TAS, let alone suggest that any future updates of the Concordance exclude any reference to it.

    Yeah, that sounds like his lawyer. Still, it might've been prudent to give Richard a bit of hint that TAS wasn't being completely disavowed, just put off limits for legal reasons, so that he didn't go off on some personal jihad to rid Star Trek of that shameful Saturday morning cartoon.

    Does anybody have a copy of the full memo? I hate having to work from partial info and supposition, no matter how logical and correct that supposition seems to be.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    TAS likes:
    - New ship designs (even if some of them didn't make sense).
    - Alien crew members and exotic aliens.
    - New alien landscapes.
    - Generally above average subject matter and writing for the medium of the time.
    - New Enterprise interiors.
    - Some of the music tracks.
    - Likenesses of the familiar characters.
    - Most of the stories.

    TAS dislikes:
    - Stiff animation.
    - Extensive reuse of same shots (well so did TOS) and over reuse of same music cues.
    - Occasional questionable ideas: a fifty foot Keniclius and Spock clone, a time reversed universe, "BEM" (botched depiction of a colony being), "The Practical Joker," revisiting Cyrano Jones and a giant tribble...
     
  6. number6

    number6 Vice Admiral


    I agree 100% on all the likes. On the dislikes, I forgive the first two because of the medium. The others definitely point to my only gripe with TAS ( and in fact all of Filmation productions) is that the humor is extremely dopey.
     
  7. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    It should be noted that both "Bem" and "More Troubles, More Tribbles" were originally planned for the hoped-for fourth season, before Fred "Star Trek isn't a comedy" Freiberger showed up and bungled things up.
     
  8. number6

    number6 Vice Admiral

    I loved those episodes as a kid, but the humour is so dopey.
    All the Filmation shows had that.. Gerrold had that dopiness in Land Of the Lost as well.. Mudd's Passion, however, is exquisitely dopey.

    :cool:
     
  9. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Randyland
    I love those episodes NOW, and the "dopeyness" is part of their charm.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    Funnily I could see "Mudd's Passion" working in TOS given a proper rewrite and different sensibility to the story. Indeed I think many of the TAS stories could have served TOS with some fleshing out and some rewriting. That shows in Alan Dean Foster's adaptations.

    But I'd have zero interest in revisiting tribbles and Cyrano Jones. And "Once Upon A Planet," well...maybe, if done right.
     
  11. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    If those dialogue tracks without the music of effects still exist, I'd love to take a crack at reediting them into a more realistic rhythm and see how close the episodes clock out compared to live action episodes.
     
  12. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Outer Graceland
    And real Trek wasn't?

    Thank goodness for small favors. Go Fred!
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Actually, there's a quote in his "Playgrounds of the Mind", IIRC, where he says something like, "If the kzin ever return to Star Trek, it'll be me who does it..." Although he was more recently going to let Jimmy Diggs put them into ENT.

    Yes, I know. Fans seem to interpret licensees being asked by the ST Office to not use TAS as a source (1989-1991) as GR not liking TAS. Although, at the time of the memo, GR didn't particularly like Fontana and Gerrold. They were suing him.

    Fans weren't told the reasons in 1989, just RA's quote that "TAS characters do not cross over with the movies", was how he put it at conventions.

    But the bit about TAS was a tiny part of the memo. It essentially asked that licensed tie-ins use the parent shows (and their main casts) as springboards for stories, not characters and events from the cross pollination of other tie-ins.

    No one seems to have found a version. It was definitely copytyped on to Usenet and GEnie, those pre-Internet electronic bulletin boards, but the disgruntled ST authors of the day. As I said, Bob Greeenberger quotes a small part, in regard to Arex and M'Ress being off limits, in the lettercol of DC Comics "Star Trek" Series II, #1.

    Somewhere here I have my old backcopies of a Brent Spiner newsletter, edited by Melody Rondeau (haven't seen the box in over a decade), and there's a strong possibility she reprinted the memo as she reported the ongoing feuds (and the memo?) being reported by the novelists of the day (esp. Jean Lorrah, Brad Ferguson and AC Crispin, IIRC), as they battled Richard Arnold to get their work through the vetting process. Melody was mainly publicising the rewrites ordered upon the Data novel, "TNG: Metamorphosis". "That memo" was not meant for fan distribution; it was sent to the licensees, but I definitely saw it in the endless dot matrix printouts my friend used to download from GEnie every few weeks.

    A few years ago, during online searches, I found Usenet quotes from Crispin and Lorrah that I remembered from the day, and they are in my Andor Files site. But not the full memo.
     
  14. froot

    froot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Location:
    Guarding the Compound with the Grey Wardens
    I'm a huge TAS fan, myself. In my little head, TAS fits perfectly with TOS, and Arex and M'Ress are a part of the interpid Enterprise crew, canon be damned.

    I didn't realize the whole history behind the Roddenberry memo - this is is a very interesting read!

    There are novelizations for all the TAS episodes. If TAS isn't canon, and Trek novels aren't canon, are the TAS novels extremely non-canonical? Or are they so non-canonical that they loop back around and become canon?
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    I find Alan Dean Foster's adaptations of the TAS episodes for the most part more convincing than the actual episodes. He fleshes things out so the stories don't seem so abbreviated and edited. And in prose it's easy to imagine the stories unfolding in TOS' live-action "reality."
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    This.

    As long as Paramount can still make money off of it... its' canon. :lol:

    It's all canon. Especially the 50 foot tall Spock.
     
  17. Commodore_Rook

    Commodore_Rook Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    It has to be Canon, TAS gave us one crucial piece of information that is still used today: Captain Kirks middle name! In the episode "Bem", we finally learn what the "T" stands for, Tiberious of course!
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    It also establishes Robert April as the ship's first commander and Sarah April as the ship's first Chief Medical Officer (even if "The Counter-Clock Incident" is a silly story). And it gives us some neat backstory about McCoy in "The Albatross."
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    I wish I could find it (and I will one day), but as ST:TMP was being produced, Gene R once sent out a Q&A publicity blurb to all the fan clubs giving an update on the movie. (I thought it was in the Lincoln Enterprises movie newsletter, but I checked them all.)

    Someone asked if Arex and M'Ress would be in the movie. GR doubted it would be possible, at that time, to do a believable, live-action Arex but... that he'd tried to cajole Majel Barrett into taking two roles in the movie: as Dr Chapel and M'Ress! Majel was steadfast in her refusal to consider trying to act under the required prosthetics.

    Certainly, at that point, GR had no major problems with integrating TAS into future ST.

    Well, that factoid was canonized in live action... by ST VI.
     
  20. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2001
    Location:
    Australia
    I consider TAS canon. As much as the other TV series and movies. It's referenced in DS9, VOY, ENT, and in the new Abrams film. It happened.