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Scott Atwell Star Trek Discussion thread (Series and Films)


Best Answer Nelson Au , June 10 2013 - 04:07 PM

I think there is at least one more Scott Go to the full post


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#9381 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 06 2013 - 11:47 PM

The ears make all the difference! :)

Was Kaye Ballard known to stick her finger in her cheek? I was thinking about it more and maybe she was known as a comedienne and they needed an actress who would play mean?

In regards to the Capellans, I don't think its clear if McCoy is seen in the clips with anyone we see in the camp on the mission, so I can't name a specific Capellan.

Fair enough about Korby, I figured he was a long shot.

#9382 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 07 2013 - 09:32 AM

"Ambassador Sarek and his wife are my parents.".

I was listening to my newly added audio file of A Private Little War today. I just realized that a newly recorded or alternate version of Monster Illusion is used during the times that Nona applies her magic spells on Kirk.

I'm taking a short break from the Cushman book because of time limitations. But I want to resume shortly. But this episode made me think about what Cushman might have found in this episode. Maybe nothing too new. The Memory Alpha entry has quite a bit of info.

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Posted November 07 2013 - 09:44 AM

Even if he hasn't visited them in four years, he knows them!

I'm actually hoping for a lot on A Private Little War from Cushman's second volume. It is part of the murky transitional phase between Coon and John Meredyth Lucas, and I feel like there has been almost no exploration of that change in Star Trek studies. Also, although the dispute between Ingalls and Roddenberry is documented, I wonder exactly who contributed which elements and at what point the story was taken away from Ingalls. We have debated the necessity of absenting Spock from the story here before. Perhaps Cushman has access to records showing how consciously that issue was debated in preparing the script. And I wonder if there were problems or overruns with the location filming, as this episode was the last one in the series except for The Paradise Syndrome to feature extensive location work.

#9384 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 07 2013 - 10:25 AM

Lee, that's a good point about the transition from Coon to Lucas. There could very well be a lot more juicy bits there that Cushman has been teasing about. Perhaps the second book is days or weeks away!

And on a total tangent, I am remembering that there's a film I've been meaning to get that I saw as a kid. Marooned. It co-stars Mariette Hartley and Nancy Kovak as two of the wives. Probably will never see a blu ray release.

#9385 of 11931 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted November 07 2013 - 12:24 PM

"Was Kaye Ballard known to stick her finger in her cheek?"

Nelson,

No, of course not.  I had her confused with someone else!  My bad.  But I bet you can guess whom I was thinking of if you think ca. 1968 or so.

 



#9386 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 07 2013 - 12:37 PM

Wow, didn't have her in mind!

#9387 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 07 2013 - 12:39 PM

Would Riley seeing Kodos count?

#9388 of 11931 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted November 07 2013 - 01:44 PM

Nelson,

 

I would certainly think that Riley would count.  How about Gary Mitchell and Ben Finney knowing Kirk?  (I realize that if we go the other way, the answers would not count since we are excluding Kirk.)  But both Mitchell and Finney were Enterprise crew members who knew other crew members.  And did Nelson mention Spock knowing Capt. Pike already?


Edited by Ockeghem, November 07 2013 - 01:44 PM.


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Posted November 07 2013 - 01:52 PM

Riley counts, as does Spock knowing Pike. One for each of you. The others are good, but technically excluded because of the crew member thing. I only have one more episode on my list at this point.

Joanne Worley might not have been ideal for Stella Mudd, but I'll bet they could have gotten her as Col. Fellini...I think she was married to Roger Perry at the time.

I missed Marooned. Was it good?

#9390 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 07 2013 - 03:25 PM

Good catch Scott regarding Spock knowing Pike!

That's right, Roger Perry and Miss Worley were married. Kind of an odd couple. :)

Regarding Marooned, I thought it was good at the time it was made. Right at the same time we landed on the Moon.

I looked at some recent reviews of the DVD and the clearly more modern reviewer of the 2000's was less then impressed. He thought it got boring. And it may drag a bit if I were to view it today with fresh eyes.

I felt it had some good tension, decent effects and good acting. The cast was good. It could be considered melodrama.

Edited by Nelson Au, November 07 2013 - 03:26 PM.


#9391 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 09 2013 - 10:01 AM

Still working on the question Lee.

In the mean time, I read the Devil in the Dark chapter. There were a few interesting bits, such as Coon being the sole writer and only person to do the re-writes. Interesting how he dealt with the Deforest Research group's comments to change the control rod to the circulating pump and then dialogue for McCoy to accommodate the issue that silicon based life could not survive in an oxygen atmosphere.

But the thing that was most interesting is the topic we've discussed many times, that Coon turned this typical monster story around and like Arena, made it about who was really right, who wronged who. And how Kirk turns it around and helps the Horta. I liked the question posed, what would Coon have done with The Man Trap!

There were bits Cushman spent too much time complaining about in this episode, the smooth floors in the tunnels and caves! It was interesting to read Justman comment that it was a matter of practicality for Janos Prohaska. I think the episode visually still holds up well, the matte painting still works for me. Even though I mainly watch the remastered version now, I'll have a go with the original and I bet it's still as compelling.

I have to wonder, as presented, it seems it was wholly a Gene Coon idea and script, but there were bits presented that seemed like Gene Roddenberry wanted to own!

While it's been written before about how the episode is filmed at the time Shatner's father died, it was interesting to read the on-set observations and it's affect on the cast and filming.

On another topic, in the recently newly added Star Trek episode audio files, I had listened to Obsession. I always think of this whenever I see the two new JJ Abrams films. Kirk started off on the Farragut. The 2009 film pays visual homage by showing its name and Uhura being assigned to her. But it bugged me that Kirk ascended to the captaincy without the needed background guidance of Captain Garrovik or simply rising through the ranks.

But upon re-listening to the episode, there were a few lines I forgot about that made an impression on me. McCoy quotes how The first officer praises Kirk's actions during the cloud attack. And McCoy adds that Garrovik was very special to Kirk who he admired.

So it then dawned on me finally that the writers of Into Darkness actually did a nice thing by turning it around and instead of Garrovik being Kirk's mentor, it was Pike. And Pike is also killed which has the same effect on Kirk. So the writers used a much more familiarly known character of Pike in place of Garrovik and greatly shortened the time frame to establish Pike as mentor. It messes with the Prime history and I guess I can accept it begrudgingly. :) I liked that symmetry though.
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#9392 of 11931 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted November 09 2013 - 12:40 PM

"But it bugged me that Kirk ascended to the captaincy without the needed background guidance of Captain Garrovik or simply rising through the ranks."

Nelson,

 

I just chalked this up to another instance of something not occurring in the Prime universe, in which case anything goes.


Edited by Ockeghem, November 09 2013 - 12:40 PM.


#9393 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 09 2013 - 02:49 PM

Sure Scott, its anything goes in the Alternate Universe. I'm just surprised I'm finding threads and or variations on threads of the characters from TOS appearing in the JJverse in ways I didn't see the first time.

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Posted November 09 2013 - 10:20 PM

Roddenberry's response to The Devil in the Dark interested me in general. He wrote to Gene Coon with his praise and criticism on March 9th, which was the night the episode aired. Had Roddenberry not seen it before?? I realize that he was spending more time with some episodes than others by that point and Coon was certainly the visionary behind The Devil in the Dark, but I am surprised that Roddenberry apparently had not even watched the episode before it aired on television. How many other first season shows did he not screen in advance?

His response to the harshly critical letter from the SF magazine editor was curious also. He says it wasn't his favorite episode either, but then alludes to high ratings and good feedback. Some of that may be Roddenberry's diplomacy at work, preferring not to start an argument with a letter writer. But his memo comments make me believe that he didn't love it. Taken in conjunction with (spoiler alert) Justman's view of the next episode, I wonder about the extent to which Coon's vision of the series differed from his colleagues'. Could that have contributed to Coon's unusual mid-season departure the following year? History, for what it's worth, seems to have sided with Coon.

#9395 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 10 2013 - 09:13 AM

Lee, I did not read the Errand of Mercy chapter yet and it's an episode I've really come to appreciate more and more! So I'm curious to see what is written.

I did go back to the Devil in the Dark chapter to review the areas you commented on. It does appear that GR was not very involved in the episode at all. What I'm thinking based on the memos is that it does appear that GC's vision of the series may have a lot in common with GR's. Especially the ideas of dealing with aliens and our hero's way of dealing with them as equals and not necessarily monsters. But there must have been something as you are finding that was in conflict with GR.

I found Herb Solow's very positive comments and that he found the episode ground breaking a very cool thing. And that GR realized that the fans could see that and he did appreciate their response after the first broadcast, yet he still had some issues with the episode, and it seemed more about the cosmetics of the cave sets. The "monster" term criticism seemed reasonable in how he argues these are highly trained astronauts and can see aliens as beings and not monsters. Was it ego? Maybe he wasn't pleased that GC found a way to make Star Trek really fire on all cylinders and that he had hoped to have done that, or more likely GC was taking the series in a direction GR hadn't thought of or planned to. GR was after human drama as part of his idea for Star Trek with a message. GC seems to have taken the "message" themes further.

Now that I think about it, Errand of Mercy's final reveal really takes the theme further with the idea that humans think of themselves as the most powerful beings in the universe. Yet they are proven wrong!

Agreed that history proves GC's ideas were spot on and the audience embraced them. I'm hoping to find a few free minutes to read the next chapter Lee. And it will be interesting to see what the memos say in the second season!

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Posted November 10 2013 - 09:47 AM

You have just made me think of something I never considered before. Clearly you're right about all that Roddenberry and Coon had in common: artistically, politically, biographically. The most major difference in their work on the series seems to have been regarding the philosophical evolutionary stage of human beings.

Coon always shows humans (specifically, Kirk) in transition. In almost every Coon script, as I have suggested before, Kirk starts off embracing some kind of violence or prejudice, and then by the end, he realizes he was wrong and has grown as a character, representing man's growth at the same time.

Roddenberry wanted to show a world where humans had already gotten past their instinct for violence and their illogical prejudices. In a sense, Roddenberry may have wanted to tell stories that illustrated his vision and Coon wanted to tell stories that illustrated how we get to that vision.

In The Devil in the Dark, Coon knew that if they didn't call the Horta a "monster" throughout, then there was no lesson for the characters to learn. The miners see it as a monster, Kirk sees it as an obstacle to be destroyed, and Spock sees it as a scientific curiosity. None of them see it as a potential individual, and if they did, there would be no story. But Roddenberry may have been less concerned with the dramatic requirements of the script than the compromise of his vision of a more peaceful and evolved humanity.

Look at Roddenberry's first "testing" episode (The Corbomite Maneuver) vs. Coon's (Arena). (I know Jerry Sohl wrote The Corbomite Maneuver, but Roddenberry rewrote it heavily and he was at his most active producing phase at that point.) Roddenberry has Kirk demonstrate who we are, but Balok learns the lesson. Coon has Kirk actually change in the course of the story and it is he who learns something before showing the Metrons what is good about humans. Both marvelous stories and inspiring messages, but a different angle through which the themes are examined.

Maybe it was that slight conflict underneath all the commonalities that made the time they both worked on the show its most creative and successful.

#9397 of 11931 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted November 10 2013 - 11:02 AM

Lee, I'm really enjoying these thoughtful exchanges on the ideas in Star Trek, it's philosophy and ideas about man. I had known that GR had always had the idea that by the 23rd Century, man would get over himself and pursue higher goals. Yet, I think I've lost the timeline a bit with the advent of TNG where he really took that to its purist. There is my recent viewings of third and second season TOS episodes where the ideals are presented again that killing is stupid and from where Kirk comes from, size race and color makes no difference. Yet, I hadn't thought our heroes were quite that level of TNG perfect. They are very ideal humans for sure and Roddenberry was definitely thinking that then.

So I find your theory very enlightening, it's true that Roddenberry was feeling that Kirk, Spock McCoy and the rest are those ideal humans, and yet, Coon found a way to show that Man still wasn't quite there yet. And still had things to learn.

Your contrasting of The Corbomite Maneuver verse The Devil in the Dark and Errand of Mercy Kirk is very clear and something I hadn't thought of in those terms. Yes, it's a very neat story that Kirk can show and teach Balok humans aren't so barbaric, yet the Metrons show Kirk he is still half savage. Great contrasts that don't take away from either episode. I am reminded of The Gamesters of Triskelion, " Perhaps you are not as evolved as you think you are." as Kirk argues that his way of life is a better way and more a beneficial use of the Provider's time then using beings as thralls.

Edited by Nelson Au, November 10 2013 - 11:03 AM.


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Posted November 10 2013 - 05:10 PM

I was also thinking about TNG and how Coon might have been much more out of place in that world. Or, in reverse, how out of place would a more pessimistic producer, like a Matthew Weiner have been back on Star Trek?

An interesting third season take on the problem of showing both evolved and evolving humans is The Empath. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are rather idealized here, with the Vians even stating directly that the guys demonstrated everything truest and best in all species. But, by implication, Linke and Ozaba were far from idealized. So the compromise there is that "our" characters represent the way humans can be, even if Linke and Ozaba represented humans as they are (or as they were at one time). The other compromise The Empath makes is that the characters are heroic and exemplary, but they still seem real and distinct; partly because their reactions are so different from each other's and partly by making them a little snippy and argumentative to prevent them from being too saccharine or unrelatable. The Empath is just one especially clear example of those techniques, but the series used them often.

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Posted November 10 2013 - 11:08 PM

Speaking of Matthew Weiner, I'm slowly making my way through the 5th season of Mad Men, what great episodes, I saw the 11th episode the other night and great stuff, writing, acting and the themes explored.

The Empath is a great example of the theme of the idealized humans and that our heroes became Gem's teachers. And interesting your observation in how the characters are still written with human qualities including being snippy and argumentative, something that only happens on TNG when the crew members are under the influence of something.

I read the chapter on Errand of Mercy. Not a lot there! Less then I expected. The main things that surprised me is another Coon only story he whipped up because of the need to have scripts ready to fill in the back 4 or eventual 3 episodes needed to fill in the added NBC order of episodes.

Funny how no one liked the name Klingon! That worked out of course. What was a lot more clear to me was the more direct implication that the Klingons represented the Communists countries. In the past, I always heard that they represented the Russian communists and the Romulans represented the Asiatic communist countries. But in the Cushman book, the Romulans are neither.

I did see interviews with John Colicos and how he worked and Fred Philips to develop the make-up, but it's even more clear here he and Philips created the look of the Klingons.

There was great stuff there in how Coon was very mindful of the budget limitations and carefully specified reusing the phaser shots from Balance of Terror and only showing one beam down effect.

I wonder which minor characters Cushman referred to who made questionable acting choices. And I hadn't realized that this was the first time Sulu takes the command chair. With Scotty written out of the episode, it allow him to be in command, and it was written a few episodes earlier how the producers were liking Jimmy Doohan so much and gave him more to do.

The John Newland segment was new to me too. I didn't really realize he had that star power cache that came with him because of the One Step Beyond notoriety. I knew he did that show, but not that it brought that star power with it.

Well, I'm dreading reading The City on the Edge of Forever. It means there's only two more episodes and then the book is over. I'm also wondering what the memos will say. I read Harlan Ellison's book on The City on the Edge of Forever many years ago, so I have little memory of it. Though I did read his original story in that book. I'm sure the POV of Justman and Coon and Roddenberry will be very divergent from Ellison's!

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Posted November 11 2013 - 10:18 AM

The command chair was a fun piece of trivia. Of course, Sulu had been in command before, but I never thought about him actually getting the chair.

I never knew before the Cushman book that NBC actually asked for one more episode than they were able to deliver. I felt strangely cheated at the knowledge...of the three extra episodes made, two were Errand of Mercy and The City on the Edge of Forever. What might that extra one have been? (Yeah, I read the memos on prepared scripts. It probably would just have been Amok Time, but I can dream...)

That joke about asking Coon from which planet Klingons hail is funny. But the name really jumped out and now we have Klingon operas, so I hope Gene Coon is laughing somewhere. My biggest surprise in this chapter was just at reading Justman's low regard for the episode. Just shows that almost no episode is universally well-regarded.




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