TOS 3rd Season:Who's To Blame???

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by KirksStuntMan, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Agenda

    Agenda Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    It seems uncharacteristic of Leonard Nimoy to care about being the series lead. He's never seemed like the prima donna type. Shatner on the other hand, as much as I like him...
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, I'm not sure what the specifics of Nimoy's actions were, but I think most of the pressure to elevate Spock to stardom came from elsewhere -- from the huge, rabid following Spock had among female fans, and from the network that wanted to capitalize on it.

    I think what's always mattered to Nimoy was having a substantive role to play. It's not that he wants more screen time for its own sake, but he wants the roles he gets to be meaty and worthwhile and significant to the story -- which is why he turned down a cameo in Generations. So I think he would've been pushing, not necessarily for Spock to get more lines than Kirk or whatever, but for the stories to give Spock a meaningful role that served and developed his character. And he would've been backed by the network saying "Yes, yes, give us lots and lots of Spock so our sponsors can sell more stuff to his devoted female fans." But that would've been countered by Shatner going "Hey, wasn't I supposed to be the star of the show?"
     
  3. KirksStuntMan

    KirksStuntMan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    On Deck 4
    This kind of competition for attention and publicity happens all of the time in Hollywood. ST wasn't immune from the petty squabbles that also plagued other shows such as Laverne and Shirley, Starsky and Hutch, Miami Vice, et. al. I recall a quote by Sylvester Stallone who stated that actors are just little children vying for attention and if they don't get it then they pout and cry.
     
  4. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    It's not so much of a prima donna thing as straight-up survival. In Shatner's autobiography, he explained it as terror that if he let any bit of his leading-man cred slip, it would be the first step on a road that ended with the Kirk character being made redundant and Shatner being fired and replaced with a less-expensive actor (or not replaced at all and just letting Nimoy become the sole lead, with an even greater benefit to the bottom line). Nimoy probably had a similar view that if he was playing the most popular character and was carrying the show in any notable way, but that wasn't being reflected behind the scenes, it'd make it more likely for him to get screwed in the long run, so he should be sure he was getting all the compensation that he could justify.

    IIRC, Shatner mentioned that he'd expected a similar level of ambitious go-getting from the other actors, so when they didn't protest him grabbing extra lines and screentime, he assumed it was because they were confident about their own roles and didn't think it was a big deal. I think I read about Koenig telling a story that fit with this, where during "The Undiscovered Country," Shatner asked for a close-up during one of Chekov's lines, and Koenig spoke up and said he figured he should be in close-up, since he was the person that was actually speaking. Shatner shrugged and said, "Sure, no problem." Koenig just thought, If I knew it was that easy, I'd have done it twenty-five years ago.
     
  5. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Outer Graceland
    S3 is as good as S2, due to less silliness and fewer theme-planet eps. More dogs in S3, but that is better than boring. Obviously few location shoots. More stylish, though, perhaps to compensate. I'm ok with Fred.
     
  6. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nimoy sent a memo to the higher ups with some very specific complaints about how Spock was being handled, or rather mishandled, to the point where one would wonder why Kirk even had a science officer in the first place. He ended it with, "Or should I just start wearing pigtails and saying, 'Ugh, kimosabe'?"

    A prime example of the fights he had with the producers is probably the climactic scene in "Whom Gods Destroy", where Nimoy had to get the guilty parties physically on the set and demonstrate why the scene as scripted (with Garth, as Kirk, knocking out Spock, Kirk and Garth fighting it out, and Spock coming to just in time to see a triumphant Kirk grinning with Garth unconscious on the floor), focusing on how Spock was 1) armed with a phaser, and 2) was not an idiot. So credit Nimoy with how that scene played out on screen, along with giving Shatner something much better to play.
     
  7. KirksStuntMan

    KirksStuntMan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    On Deck 4
    I can't recall who made the comment, but one particular ST critic complained that ever since Spock had his brain removed in "Spock's Brain", he was never the same logical Vulcan after that. After seeing his occasional emotional and irrational behavior in some 3rd season episodes...I have to agree!
    :confused:
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    Fred Freiberger may not have been the best thing to happen to Star Trek, but he also didn't deserve the vitriol some fans direct towards him. In fact, Roddenberry wanted him for the FIRST year of Trek, but Frieberger already had plans for a European trip and withdrew his name from consideration. And as to his supposed reputation as a show killer, most shows get cancelled, and when you bring in a new producer to try to shake things up on a series that is already on the downhill slide, what are the odds that said producer will be successful?

    As to Justman becoming a producer, in TV the producer was usually the head writer, and Justman never wrote a single episode of Star Trek, so while I could see him as a line producer, he didn't have the background to be a producer like Coon or Roddenberry.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Justman contributed more creatively than the credits would indicate. For instance, he submitted the original proposal for what became "Tomorrow is Yesterday," but was never given credit for it.

    For what it's worth, Freiberger never had a writing credit on Star Trek either (although he had numerous writing credits elsewhere).
     
  10. Maximara

    Maximara Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    That is true but it you look at TV shows of the 1960s and 70s it was rare for any show to last past it's second season. Nevermind that by that time Nielsen had been around long enough that the Networks knew how to manipulate things to help keep shows they wanted...and help kill shows they didn't.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But contrary to the myths Roddenberry spun, NBC did want to keep Star Trek. They enjoyed the prestige of having such a smart, sophisticated, innovative drama on their network (though maybe that sentiment was eroded away by the third season's diminished quality), and more importantly, its visual spectacle prompted a lot of people to buy color TVs and put money in the pockets of NBC's parent company RCA. So they benefitted on more than one level by having the show on their network, and they recognized that. But ultimately the ratings just couldn't support their desire to keep the show around -- at least, as far as they knew. If they'd started keeping track of demographics a couple of years sooner, they would've seen that ST had very strong ratings in their most desired demographic, which might've convinced advertisers to continue sponsoring the show and let it stay on the air longer.
     
  12. Maximara

    Maximara Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    The interesting thing is that "Lee Cronin" was a pseudonym for Gene L. Coon so in production order Coon wrote "Spectre of the Gun", "Spock's Brain", "Wink of an Eye", and "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" :wtf:

    It has been said if you view TOS in production order rather than airdate order things make slightly more sense and for the first season I agree but for the third it doesn't help.
     
  13. RaymondJames

    RaymondJames Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    I rewatched TOS with my mate:klingon: (lol) who was watching Trek for the first time aside from the 2009 JJ thing called Star Trek. I had forgotten exactly what season certain episodes were in and I honestly have to say I enjoyed Season3 the most. There is no way of hidingthe fact that Spock's Brain was a crap episode and that the final episode was just not that good. However,there was something about Season 3 that stand above the others.

    What made Season 3 great? Simpleanwer and its one I found interviews about, they knew it was their last Season and they weren't affraid anymore. They took action on social issues like they had before but didn't dare shy away.A great example is "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" this is the episode where there is the aliens that have blackand white faces and two of them hate each other because they are different (one has black where the other has white ect). This was fully speaking about the studpidity of racism.

    Iconic scenes from TOS? How about that kiss between Uhura and Kirk? This gem took place in the Season 3 episode "Plato's Stepchildren" This was a huge thing, an inter racial kiss on tv! Oh and please do not over look the Season 3 episodes "Is there in Truth, No Beauty?" This episodes pretty much screams "What is beauty."

    Other risks taken in this season is showingthat Starfleet, Captain Kirk and crew aren't always 'the good guys' as they get a little moregrey in "The Enterprise Incident" And nota great epsiode but it did cover hippies,"The Way to Eden ." These episodes laid the ground work for TNG, DS9, Voyager.

    For example, in TNG there were epsiodes where Data defied Star Fleet and The Federation and did what he could to save his 'friend' in "Pen Pals" we saw Picard defend Data and Androids in general in "The Measure of A Man" and on top of that we had an episode where Worf murdered in revenge, these are darker elements and we wouldn't have them if these other series remained in the Season 1 & 2 format of TOS so Iam thankful for TOS Season 3.
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    Apples and oranges. Having ideas is not the same thing as knowing how to work with scripts and how to guide writers. And my point was that Freiberger was a writing producer with tons of credits, whereas Justman was a line producer with no such experience.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But all of those were rewritten by the third-season staff, often changing considerably from what Coon intended. For instance, he wrote "Spock's Brain" as an intentional comedy, but they ended up playing it straight.
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    Ouch. I didn't know this. It still seems ill-conceived though. Assaultive brain-ectomies generally don't strike me as funny, especially when the subject is not better for it.
     
  17. KirksStuntMan

    KirksStuntMan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    On Deck 4
    I prefer to imagine how much better TOS would have been without the late Fred Freiberger. The late Bob Justman was enthusiastic, energetic, and enthralled about working on ST. IMO, Freiberger was just making the rounds in Hollywood, working on another television show. He had no connection to the ST production family. Justman himself said one of the reasons that he left mid-season was the loss of this sense of "family".
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    That's been disproven, as has been discussed a number of times on this board. I think the demographics story is just another Roddenberry tall tale. Below is the relevant quotation from the Star Trek piece on the Television Obscurities site (click to open page), complete with linked references.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Ahh, okay. Thanks for correcting my misconception.
     
  20. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Outer Graceland
    Mine too.