TOS Episodes That Could Have Been Feature Length

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by TheAdmiralty, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 8, 2014
    I've heard some people claim that the quality of the best TOS episodes exceeded that of the TOS films. What are some TOS episodes that you think were good enough/have the scope to sustain a full feature run time.

    City on the Edge of Forever is an obvious choice. More things happen in those 50 minutes than happen in some entire feature films as it is. It could have been even more gut wrenching if the relationship with Kirk and Edith could have been expanded.

    Space Seed is another one that I think would have worked as a movie. The "set up" of the movie would have been most of the episode, with the conflict for control of the ship making up the entire second and third acts instead of just the last 15 minutes.

    I could also see both the major Romulan episodes as features (Balance of Terror and the Enterprise Incident), especially since Balance of Terror was actually based on a film. Maybe Mirror, Mirror too.
  2. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    The Menagerie can sustain a full feature run time.

    One Of Our Planets Is Missing, if you pad it with some effects sequences.
  3. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 23, 2013
    I wouldn't be too quick to "expand" any of the TOS episodes. Sometimes brevity is desirable. The show was not designed to be the final word on hot-button topics; if an episode got people talking after the credits rolled, it was successful.

    Asimov expanded some of his short stories to full-length novels—THE UGLY LITTLE BOY and NIGHTFALL come to mind. Neither was improved by the padding. I believe they suffered.

    Expanded episodes is not art, it's marketing. (The idea that "this works, do more of it." That's how disappointing sequels are made, like THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK.)
  4. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 8, 2014
    I was just hypothetically talking about which stories could have hypothetically been feature length films. There's really no way to add a substantial amount of footage to existing TO episodes.
  5. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

    Sep 27, 2006
    Conversely, some episodes would be way better as 30 minute episodes. Specter of the Gun is one that is intriguing intially, but just doesn't have enough to sustain it.

    To answer the original question, I'd say episodes with intermingled plots would be the best candidates for expansion. Tholian Web could have benefited from some additional time, and possibly Is There in Truth No Beauty. Journey to Babel, as well, with it's intersecting plots.

    Similarly, For the World is Hollow would have been better with some extra time to make the McCoy romance seem more reasonable.
  6. TOSalltheway

    TOSalltheway Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 27, 2011
    Balance of Terror easily as it was taken from an existing film, The Enemy Below.
  7. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    I was making a little joke. OOOPIM has basically the same plot as TMP.
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2012
    Melakon's grave
    "Feature length" is a tricky term. In the 1940s and 1950s, some feature length B movies were only about 60 minutes or so.
  9. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

    Sep 2, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Doomsday Machine and the Enterprise Incident strike me as two that could've been expanded into feature film length plots. Maybe if Phase II or STC takes them and gives them a 90-120 minute expansion we could get such a thing.
  10. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 3, 2001
    On the destruct button until the last minute!
    "Errand of Mercy" would be a nice basis for a film.
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Yep. It's a very plastic term depending on where and who is applying it. A feature by MPAA standards must be a minimum of 40 minutes. However, when programming, most film festivals treat anything under 65 minutes as a short or a featurette.
  12. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    BALANCE OF TERROR and ARENA are the two that come immediately to mind, though I'd guess DOOMSDAY MACHINE too. (oddly three of my top ten, though I'd never think to include my #1, THE EMPATH -- that's just the right size as-is.)

    I expanded BoT to feature-length in a post here around 2001 or so, suggesting that if you had to do a reboot, that'd be a great way to start, using the same general points (mistrust of Spock and Vulcans, unknown nature of romulans, bases getting blasted, study of two commanders), but including more off-ship dynamics (rescuing folks trapped inside one of the asteroid bases, tactical maneuvering, with Enterprise hiding INSIDE of a cloud or forming one by dumping water outside the ship, an idea I had left over from a TNG pitch, and making the mission the very first under Kirk's command, so there is some slight justification for not trusting knowing/trusting Vulcans.

    I think I also had some idea that there was a second level to the rom attack, that they were attempting to gain access to diilthium sources, without which they couldn't sustain FTL speeds -- a spin on the troubling line of Scotty's about 'simple impulse.'

    ARENA seems feature-sized already, given you have a giant battle planetside that can easily be expanded. I think you'd need a second plane of action going on while Kirk battled the Gorn, something on the ship that tied in thematically with Kirk vs Gorn, or played into the 'we might be in the wrong' line of McCoy's, which I really really liked. Just to put a spin on things, it might be good to genuflect in the direction of the Blish version, where the metrons intended to destroy the victor's ship, not the loser's, and to have the Gorn and Feds team up ... y'know, "if you're so great, what do YOU need with our starships?"
  13. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 8, 2014
    I was replying to Metryq
  14. wtriker1701

    wtriker1701 Commander Red Shirt

    May 9, 2012
    Platjenwerbe, Germany
    Thanks for acknowledging OOOPIM as TMP plotwise. Others always just compare NOMAD with TMP, but I think, it's actually an amalgam of both stories.
  15. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

    Dec 22, 2010
    If they introduced the aliens who were dealing with Gary Seven, Assignment Earth could probably have been a movie (or TV movie).
  16. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 19, 2013
    'Journey to Babel'
    Do you remember how many things went on this episode?
    1. We met Spock's parents.
    2. We found out Spock was estranged from his father
    3. We found out Spock's mum was human (I'm not sure we knew that before)
    4. The Enterprise hosted a big party
    5. we found out about Spock's childhood
    6. Kirk got stabbed.
    7.They had lot of different aliens introduced
    8. They had a spy on board.
    9. Spock's mum slapped him.
    10. Spock took over command.
    11. Spock refused to give his father blood.
    12. Kirk made Spock give his father blood.
    13. Kirk had to command while gravely injured.
    14. McCoy and Kirk tricked Spock into letting Kirk take command.
    15. Sarek nearly died.
    16. Kirk nearly died.
    17. Spock nearly died
    18. The Enterprise nearly blew up.
    19. An ambassador got killed. Boohoo.
    20. McCoy finally got the last word.

    Surely there's content enough there for a movie.
  17. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 11, 2008
    Warrior, AL
    I think 'The Ultimate Computer' would make a nice feature length film. Show more of the ship converting to the new control system, Kirk in dialog with people on the Space Station, general misgivings and then the gradual weirdness of the M-5 beginning to become a danger. I felt the Computer's problems were a bit rushed and the battle with the task force could have been much better ( I had really hopes the ST-R would have really shown that much better given what they had done with 'The Doomsday MAchine').
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    "The Naked Time"

  19. KirkusOveractus

    KirkusOveractus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 27, 2009
    Ambler, PA
    This is one that I think of as well. I always thought of a great sequence where the systems wouldn't come back online right after M-5 shuts down, and there would be this great hide-and-seek with Kirk trying to avoid the other starships ordered to destroy the Enterprise.

    Something where Kirk would have to use his skills usually put to luring an enemy into a trap instead used to keep the Enterprise out of sight.
  20. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer The Mod You've Known for All These Years Moderator

    How could he play hide and seek with them if the systems were offline?