Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25* - Page 3 - TigerDroppings.com

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Kafka
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


Most Trek fans will know Roddenberrry pitched the series to NBC as "Wagon Train to the stars", but few posters will know exactly what he meant by it. He wasn't simply calling Trek a western in space.

Wagon Train was a hugely popular series that ran from 1957-65. Character actor Ward Bond starred as the wagonmaster, and Robert Horton played the scout.





The series depicted life on a wagon train just after the civil war, on its trek (get it?) from St Joseph MO to San Francisco, facing the perils of Indians, bandits, deserts, and snowy mountains.

The show's format was flexible. Episodes could focus on Bond or Horton (or very occasionally, both), but often the emphasis would be on a name guest star -- for example, Rod Steiger as a blind man determined to prove he can drive a wagon, or Lee Marvin as a bandito who claims one of the passengers is a deserter from the Alamo -- with Bond and/or Horton appearing only in wraparounds.

Apparently, ST was originally intended to follow this format, at least to a degree: some Kirk episodes, perhaps a handful focusing on Spock (Kirk's "scout"), but many emphasizing big parts for guest stars, with Kirk as peripheral. You can kind of see this in the early episode "Charlie X".

But Shatner's ego would not permit this. He insisted Kirk be central to episodes whenever possible, in every scene and if they could work it out, every shot (gotta say one thing for Shatner - he wasn't lazy). Shatner frequently demanded dialogue or action intended for other characters be given to him, leading to the supporting cast diving him the heartfelt nickname "Shat".

The unsuccessful first ST pilot "The Cage" (which you can watch here), written by Roddenberry, had been a slow moving sci fi about mind control and illusion, with some Adam and Eve thrown in. It was like a very mediocre Outer Limits, and certainly not what Roddenberry had promised NBC. Not surprising it was rejected.

"Where No Man Has Gone Before", written by Samuel Peeples (like Roddenberry, a veteran of the classic western Have Gun Will Travel) was much more to the network's taste. The Enterprise as the Ponderosa, where we see a variation of the standard western story of the hero's friend (Gary Mitchell) who becomes sheriff then has power go to his head, forcing the Cartwrights (Kirk and Spock) to destroy him.

As in "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before" also uses the Adam & Eve story, though it does not emphasize the mating (i.e. sex -- this is network TV in 1964, remember) aspects as "The Cage" had.

Roddenbery himself admitted that for all the gadgetry and sci fi philosophizing, what may have sold the pilot to NBC was the fact that at the climax Kirk and Mitchell engage in a good old fashioned western fist fight.








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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

Most Trek fans will know Roddenberrry pitched the series to NBC as "Wagon Train to the stars", but few posters will know exactly what he meant by it. He wasn't simply calling Trek a western in space.



And the show had an old west exploratory feel (as did TNG, and DS9 had a frontier town feel).

However, it was more overtly a rip off of Forbidden Planet, something Roddenberry denied until it was well past time for anybody to sue about it.

But, your point is well-taken - Where No Man Has Gone Before has a very western feel, especially the ending.






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Kafka
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

the show had an old west exploratory feel
There are many similarities between the format structures of sailing ship and western wagon train (or cattle drive), a relationship that becomes even more intriguing when you realize Red River was a rewrite of Mutiny On The Bounty.

Roddenberry himself claimed Kirk was based on Horatio Hornblower, and it's easy to see ST as Hornblower meets Forbidden Planet, via the western.






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Kafka
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

The unsuccessful first ST pilot "The Cage" (which you can watch here), written by Roddenberry, had been a slow moving sci fi about mind control and illusion, with some Adam and Eve thrown in. It was like a very mediocre Outer Limits, and certainly not what Roddenberry had promised NBC. Not surprising it was rejected.


Another thing "WNMHGB" improved on was in humanizing Kirk. Captain Pike in "The Cage" comes across as a very cold fish indeed, despite being a given a doctor-as-confessor scene (which "WNMHGB" conspicuously lacks). Partly this is due to the aloof performance of star Jeffrey Hunter.

"WNMHGB" however makes us empathize with Kirk even before the credits, in an efficient chess game scene which also adeptly sketches Spock and the respectful but competitive friendship between the two.

We also increasingly identify with Kirk as the story progresses, since the crisis involving his friend also affects him. This is is much more skillful storytelling than in "The Cage", even if (because?) it's done in the standard western format.






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Kafka
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


bump for the Knight Crew





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H-Town Tiger
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


What's the next episode?





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Master of Sinanju
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


The Corbomite Maneuver.

The OP has the list linked. We're going by production order rather than air-date.






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gjackx
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

The Corbomite Maneuver.

Nice






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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

The Corbomite Maneuver.



Yes - and as I suspected, we may be moving too slowly. Let's try to keep the schedule for the first 3 or 4 episodes then decide if we want to try 3 or more episodes per week. It's the summertime, and I'd rather go too slowly at first, than too quickly.






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Fletch F Fletch
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


Before re-watching, ill repeat my answer from the previous thread: I think The Corbomite Maneuver is the most James T. Kirk thing in Star Trek. I'm looking forward to this discussion.





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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

The Corbomite Maneuver.


Original title: Dumb Arse Alien!



This post was edited on 7/10 at 12:00 am


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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


As we wrap up WNMHGB - let's briefly credit the creative team - Samuel Peeples for the script and James Goldstone on direction.

The script gave us just enough ESP jargon to make it credible, without overloading us with new information. While the technical jargon of starship operations was nowhere near fully developed, everything was generally credible and consistent with what we saw.

And, as someone (I think, Kafka) brought up earlier, I thought the opening was perfect - we first see Kirk and Spock (had this episode aired first, it would have been even better), together, playing chess. A game that Spock is dominant at, generally, but is losing to Kirk - the chemistry is pretty well-established right there.

The direction was good, and this is reflected by a fairly good pace and consistently good acting. Had the episode aired first, I think it would have been a stronger entry than "The Man Trap" - but the powers-that-be thought it was a little too cerebral. That wanted a little more action/adventure. Recall that science fiction television was mainly "Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits" before shows like "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek" began to air. Monster stories were at the core of the classic 50s scifi B-movies, and I guess the network didn't see WNMHGB as a monster story (but it clearly was, in hindsight - the monster is us).




This post was edited on 7/10 at 10:39 am


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TigerFanatic99
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

Monster stories were at the core of the classic 50s scifi B-movies, and I guess the network didn't see WNMHGB as a monster story (but it clearly was, in hindsight - the monster is us).


Thank you, Ace, for this thread and the depth of analysis you guys delve into






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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

Thank you, Ace, for this thread and the depth of analysis you guys delve into


I owe it to TOS - I was 6 when I started watching the syndication package in the early 70s - it forms some of my very earliest memories. The younger generation kind of dismisses it as hokey, dated (and it certainly is, particularly many of the effects/costumes, etc.), and ignore how good it was at the core of it.






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Kafka
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

Had the episode aired first, I think it would have been a stronger entry than "The Man Trap" - but the powers-that-be thought it was a little too cerebral.
Star Trek initially got a number of negative reviews from TV columnists, in large part due to "The Man Trap" being the first episode they saw. If "WNMHGB" had been the debut, the history of ST might have been altered.
quote:

but the powers-that-be thought it was a little too cerebral. That wanted a little more action/adventure. Recall that science fiction television was mainly "Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits" before shows like "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek" began to air. Monster stories were at the core of the classic 50s scifi B-movies, and I guess the network didn't see WNMHGB as a monster story (but it clearly was, in hindsight - the monster is us).
"Man Trap" was aired first b/c it had a visible "Bug Eyed Monster" aka "BEM", as the writers of The Outer Limits called such creatures. Network insistence on such things might help with ratings at first, but it would ultimately prove damaging.






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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


*THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER*

Sulu moves from the science section to the helm. Uhura premieres on the bridge in beige. I can see why there was a switch, later. Nichelle looks much better in red, and, with the exception of Spock, Scotty, (I think Leslie) and McCoy when he was briefly on the bridge, the rest of the bridge crew was all in beige in this episode. After all this was supposed to be "color" television. Scotty was in beige for WNMHGB, but had switched to his traditional red for this episode.

We had 2 primary guest stars - Anthony Call as Bailey and Clint Howard (little Ronnie Howards' little brother) as Balock. However, did anyone catch Ted Cassidy (The Addam's Family's Lurch) as the voice of the scary Balock robot? Apparently he and Roddenberry were good buddies - he will make a full appearance in "What are little girls made of?", and also voiced the Gorn captain in "Arena".

Jimmy Doohan (Scotty) would later do an number of these types of voices, and, in particular - did many, many of the male guest characters in TAS. But, we got Cassidy's big, booming voice in The Corbomite maneuver. Walker Edmiston provided the voice of Clint Howard's Balock.


This has a great introduction to Kirk and McCoy's relationship. Kirk starts off the episode with his shirt off. Spock was shouting a little too much on the bridge, but I don't think everyone had decided just exactly how this character was going to be, yet. Sulu's admonition "Don't cross brains with Spock" is good advice. Bailey's fear of the unknown is supposed to represent the average, ignorant person's initial response to differences or the "other". Kirk explains (albeit in a dialogue with Spock) the mission of the Enterprise is exactly these kinds of encounters.

In retrospect, this episode gets better with age - especially with the updated effects. Clint Howard does a good job for a young actor. Call's Bailey was convincing as a young officer, perhaps overpromoted, who was conflicted between his aversion to the unknown and his sense of duty. We're also supposed to see shadows of the young James T. Kirk here (because, apparently, Kirk does).







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TigersRuleTheEarth
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


I have to admit that I found this episode extremely boring. I used to love it as a kid, but it has lost some of it's luster over the years.

They spend a good time trying to out manuever the alien cube. I guess that this built up some more of that jargon for future episodes. "Warp Factor", phasers, etc.

I notice there was no mention of torpedos in the early episodes.






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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

I have to admit that I found this episode extremely boring.


This type of stalemate was done much better in "Balance of Terror", I'll admit. This struggle was a little anti-climactic because we find out that Balock was just toying with Kirk. However, the Kirk/McCoy scene was important, as well as contrasting the brash, young Bailey with the seasoned senior bridge officers.

The pacing was a little slow, but I think it helped build dramatic tension - and this episode was about exactly that - the tension associated with encountering the unknown - and Kirk's creative solution to being overpowered and outgunned.






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Fletch F Fletch
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


Like last time, I'll copypaste my initial notes during viewing:

•Big collars
•Uhura wearing gold
•Sulu at the helm
•Love the remastered graphics
•Idea: Quincy, MD, but with McCoy. Also House.
•Lt. Bailey is a douche
•How foolish these guys look with their data chips and duotronic computer system!!!! Lulz
•I’d like it if Kirk always ate with his hands
•Jesus, this ship is about to be blown to bits and Rand is phasering up a pot of joe
•How damn fruity are those suede phaser belts
•Ron Howard might have Oscars, but he wasn’t in star trek
•I think this episode reminds us that although Kirk is a master tactician and warrior, he’s also an explorer at heart. Other commanders would have left, or blown up the scout ship.


I do agree that one of the main points to this episode was showing you that although this is the future and humanity is more advanced, humans haven't evolved that much. They still get scared and flight instinct kicks in and we're all animals, etc. etc. Bailey redeems himself at the end, which is meant to show that we can overcome our natural limits and reach new heights. But I stick to my guns: he's always kind of a douche,






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Ace Midnight
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re: Star Trek: TOS Watchers - Season 1 Wrapup *Page 25*


quote:

Bailey redeems himself at the end, which is meant to show that we can overcome our natural limits and reach new heights. But I stick to my guns: he's always kind of a douche,


I agree - he was hard to like.

Another thing - wouldn't he have returned and made a report - at least by the TNG timeline? Whatever happened to Balock and The First Federation?







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