Watching for the first time - please advise!

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Dove, May 3, 2015.

  1. EnsignHarper

    EnsignHarper Captain Captain

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    I feel watching Season 1 - including WNMHGB, is VERY important. Since they had SO many post production problems that first year, a prime character show like The Corbomite Maneuver got buried deep in the season. CM is very definitely a 'third pilot', seeing how its the first show with McCoy, Rand, Uhura, and Sulu as helmsman. Since WNMHGB was a prototypical pilot with styles and other things never seen again, CM is essential to view first, as it establishes just about everything we know and love about Trek. And then going through that 1st year in production, you see how each actor massaged their characters, and how the production got more and more assured.

    In season 2, the production process became much more settled, so they could do things like make sure Amok Time was the season opener, Catspaw could air around Halloween, and so on. The production does not matter as much as it did in the first season, as far as introducing ones self to it is concerned. Have fun!
     
  2. mb22

    mb22 Captain Captain

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    Yeah, but in production order you get to see the beginning and end of Walter Koenig's Beatle wig.
     
  3. gastrof

    gastrof Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    With there being only two real episode lists, it really depends on what you want. Do you want to see the episodes in the order they were filmed in, then watch them in production order.

    If you want to watch them the same way they were originally aired (for that "as if I was watching back then" feel), use the broadcast order.

    A good while ago I made up a list that showed both numbering sets (using "b" and "p" each followed by a two digit number). Each episode had two different numbers, and so I knew where they'd fall whichever way I wanted to watch them.
     
  4. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    If "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is available in its original pilot form (with the vigorous closing-credits music never heard on air, etc.), then I would say to start with "The Corbomite Maneuver" - the first episode with the main cast intact - and then catch the two original pilots after seeing the whole series.

    One thing I really enjoy about the very early episodes is the relaxed, casual moments - the exchange ending "You'll sleep" in "The Man Trap," for instance, or the "Green leaves?" dialogue in "Corbomite" when Kirk is served a salad for weight loss reasons. And I always thought giving a whole decently long scene to a miner and his new subspace-radio-married bride in their windswept hovel in "Mudd's Women" was really lovely - did such a thing ever happen later, several minutes with none of the main cast involved?

    There really are major changes between 1966 and 1969, more than you might expect - the music gets lusher (thanks in part to George Duning, who started contributing in season 2, but also Fred Steiner's "Elaan of Troyius" score), the visual effects get noticeably better, the sideburns on Kirk and several other officers get longer, and the number of guest roles for comely females with names ending in "a" increases exponentially (just off the top of my head, season 3 featured Losira, Rayna, Mara, Irina, Natira, Luma, Deela, Odona... surely I'm missing a few?).
     
  5. Alter Ego

    Alter Ego Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    LOL but has anyone ever compiled a list of TOS eps in stardate order? I read somewhere that according to it, Space Seed occurs after Chekov's first episode thereby nullifying the oft-cited continuity error in TWOK.
     
  6. Mr. Spook

    Mr. Spook Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Columbia House video collection presented them in stardate order, leaving 5 episodes with no stardates at all at the end. In that collection, "Patterns of Force" was placed just before "Squire of Gothos," if I recall correctly.

    Honestly, though, it doesn't really matter what order you watch Star Trek in. It was episodic. Yeah, for reasons of getting the cast, characters, sets and costumes from "formative" to "smooth," production order makes sense, but aired order works fine as well since it's not a serial. Once we get past "The Corbomite Maneuver" (which is placed 10th in NBC order), it makes no difference whatsoever. By the second season, they knew in some cases which episodes would be placed when: "Catspaw," which was filmed first that year, was meant to run around Halloween. "Amok Time," I've read, was always a very strong contender to open the season. It's a much better episode than "Catspaw" anyway, not one I would ever choose to start the second year.

    I never watch Trek from beginning to end. I just pick the episodes I'm most in the mood for.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  7. Franklin

    Franklin Vice Admiral Admiral

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    According to Memory Alpha, Walter Koenig (Chekov) appeared in 36 TOS episodes. The earliest stardate is in "Patterns of Force", 2534.0. By convention, that puts that incident squarely in season one. It is the only episode outside of season one with a stardate in the 2000s. From season two, Chekov was in "Catspaw" (stardate 3018.2). That's also a lower stardate than season one's "Space Seed" (3141.9).

    The problem is stardates aren't necessarily chronological in TOS lore, anyway. The guide for writers said stardates should constantly progress within an episode, but it didn't matter if the stardate progressed from other stories. It went on to say that stardates not only denoted time, but also position in space, velocity of travel, and other factors.

    What that means (as most of us know) is watching the episodes by stardate doesn't mean one is watching them in chronological order as they were "really" experienced by our heroes.

    Still, it's pretty close to running order. There were 75 episodes with stardates, and the correlation between those stardates and running order is over 94 percent. The biggest discrepancies between running order and stardate are "Patterns of Force" (aired 50th, but 10th in stardate) and "Elaan of Troyius" (aired 68th, 47th in stardate). Seven other episodes have a difference of more than plus or minus ten between running order and stardate order. If you get rid of POF and EOT as outliers, the correlation between running order and stardate is 97 percent.
     
  8. Isolinear

    Isolinear Commander Red Shirt

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    Production order. Especially Season 1. Watching "Where No Man Has Gone Before" later in the season is just awkward.

    Season 3 doesn't have any continuity whatsoever, so it doesn't really matter there.
     
  9. Mr. Spook

    Mr. Spook Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Neither does season two, really. Only the first half of the first season, when everything was being shuffled simply because episodes weren't ready, did the jumbled order seem odd visually and character wise. Once the actors got into the groove and the writing/producing staff settled in, you could swap episodes around and not notice. Some might even work better in a different order depending on the mood of the person watching. For example, I think COTEOF makes a more powerful season finale and All Our Yesterdays a much more effective final series episode. Amok Time opens the second season perfectly, so that was an amazing choice I hate to see changed by having the mediocre Catspaw up front.

    Spock's Brain was a poor choice to kick off the third year and, yeah, Spectre of the Gun is a much better choice, but so is The Enterprise Incident. It's a very strong Spock episode with lots of action and intrigue.

    You could make those changes and not even notice they ware in a more random order.
     
  10. cal888

    cal888 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I recently had the same doubt, and ended up going with production order (with the exception of saving "The Cage" for later to avoid clip show whiplash). I am only about 6 episodes in, but with the production order option, you can appreciate how the show gradually was evolving.

    Plus, I've always read about TOS in production order in guides, etc. so airdate order just seems weird.
     
  11. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There was a point in the 1970s when "official fandom" (whether it was David Gerrold or Marshak/Culbreath, I can't recall) angrily blamed NBC for leading off S3 with "Spock's Brain."

    NBC had been their traditional villain, having only Roddenberry's side of the story to go on, so it made total sense. But it was the makers of Star Trek who came up with "Spock's Brain." NBC didn't write or produce it.

    So there's that. Another gripe against those once high-powered (pre-Internet) fans is that I like "Spock's Brain" as a fun episode with good guest stars and music.
     
  12. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    "Spock's Brain" was the first episode I ever saw (September 1968; I was just turning 12) and I had nothing to compare it to. On that basis it was just fine. Certainly the season premiere was well advertised or I wouldn't have known to tune in. I presume the choice to lead off with "Spock's Brain" rather than, say, "Spectre of the Gun" constituted an effort to attract viewers who were new to the series.

    By the time the show was canceled, I thought "Spock's Brain" compared pretty well to the remainder of the third-season episodes. Perhaps this was in part because it didn't depend on a liaison between a bridge crew member and a comely female (human, alien, or mechanical). Heck, I can list right now the third-season episodes that relied on "lovey-dovey" behavior (as Miri called it) involving Kirk or another officer:
    "Elaan of Troyius"
    "Requiem for Methuselah"
    "All Our Yesterdays"
    "For the World Is Hollow..."
    "The Lights of Zetar"
    "Wink of an Eye"
    "The Mark of Gideon"
    "The Enterprise Incident"
    "The Paradise Syndrome"
    and possibly "The Cloud Minders" and "The Way to Eden"
    This represents nearly half of the third season. So any episode not relying on lovey-dovey tends to distinguish itself.
     
  13. Janeway’s Girl

    Janeway’s Girl Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's my two cents: skip these episodes!

    Miri/And The Children Shall Lead - both involve creepy kids
    Elaan Of Troyis - very painful and embarrassing to watch
     
  14. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Imagine if they had gone ahead and filmed the spanking scene. That would have perked things up a bit.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  15. Janeway’s Girl

    Janeway’s Girl Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If they had done that then I would have stopped the episode right then and there.
     
  16. Elder Knight

    Elder Knight Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If one has never seen any of these, wouldn't it make sense to lead off with "The Man Trap," just to freshly experience what the 1966 viewers did?
     
  17. WisTrekFan

    WisTrekFan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I would recommend watching the first season in production order because you get a sense of how the series developed and evolved as the actors, producers and writers were figuring things out. Airdate order or production order doesn't really matter in season two and to an extent in season three, although if you don't watch season three in production order, you might get confused with the changes in Scotty's hair style.
     
  18. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Chekov's hair will confuse you too in season two if you don't watch in production order!
    JB
     
  19. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    After "The Man Trap" ended on the night of Star Trek's NBC premier, Gene Roddenberry's father went up and down the street apologizing to the neighbors. And I don't wonder. :)

    If I were trying to turn some random person into a TOS fan, I would try to show them the best episodes first. I would never start with "The Man Trap."

    If it were a seasoned Star Trek fan who just hadn't seen TOS, I'd recommend starting with "Where No Man" and going in production order from there, leaving "The Cage" to be played any time after "The Menagerie" (to preserve the two-parter's mystery element).
     
  20. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The misconception that broadcast order is some sort of cleverly thought out plan is a curious one - they simply released whatever episodes that were completed at the time! Since Man Trap had far less post production work on it than Corbomite, it was completed first: Hence it was shown first. Nothing more than that.

    In an ideal world, I have no doubt that the creators of Star Trek would have preferred Corbomite to be the Season 1 opener.