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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 7:05pm | IP Logged | 1  


I don't think I ever realized that "The Man Trap" was designated as a "sneak preview" episode.

So technically, was "Charlie X" originally meant to be the official premiere episode?


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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 8:56pm | IP Logged | 2  

"The Man Trap" features McCoy fairly prominently and plays up the
comfortable friendship between him and Kirk. It's a great choice for the first
episode.

Of course, both it and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" begin in the thick of
things and aren't "origin" stories. No other TREK series would manage to avoid
this. TNG might be excused for attempting to "reintroduce" audiences to
weekly Trek and in a further future from which the movies were currently set,
but there really was no justification for DS9, VOYAGER, and ENTERPRISE
spending precious storytelling time showing us how the people in the darn
opening credits wound up on the ship.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 9:10pm | IP Logged | 3  

""The Man Trap" features McCoy fairly prominently and plays up the 
comfortable friendship between him and Kirk. It's a great choice for the first 
episode."

...

Also significant parts for Sulu, Rand and Uhura. I agree a great episode to start on (even if we only hear Scottie's voice once).
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Luke Styer
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 9:37pm | IP Logged | 4  

Despite the weird flame effect from the secondary hull, I have always loved that image is Kirk, Spock and Enterprise. I had no idea it went back that far.

Trivial note in context, but it seems so odd to me, an hourlong series airing on the half hour rather than the hour.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 10:38pm | IP Logged | 5  

Change "one-quarter" to "one-half", and we're good. Still gives me goosebumps.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 10:46pm | IP Logged | 6  

As for the choice of premiere episode, I know that Nimoy, among others, was disappointed that the "monster of the week" episode was selected for that role.

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" is a great episode, but doesn't really establish the full cast and look/feel of the subsequently-produced shows.

"The Corbomite Maneuver" is a great episode, but has no fisticuffs or planet action. Also, the effects were complex enough that it didn't air until ten episodes into the run.

"Mudd's Women"? Space hookers wouldn't leave the best first impression.

"The Enemy Within"? Too introspective and talky for a "space western" premiere.

"The Naked Time" is another bottle show, and seeing the crew running around drunk doesn't really set the tone for the show and how it normally works.


Really, despite being weaker than some of the early episodes produced around it, "The Man Trap" probably was the best choice for the premiere. A good balance of shipboard and planet action, a good introduction to the characters, and a solid mix of action and intrigue.

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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 08 September 2016 at 11:50pm | IP Logged | 7  


"Not Chess, Mr. Spock....Poker."  Probably my favorite line in TOS.  Also sums up Kirk nicely for me.


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James Woodcock
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 12:48am | IP Logged | 8  

Watched Man Trap last night.

It just starts. No introduction to characters, concepts, what is going on beyond the merest of intros via the Captain's Log. Incredible to think that such bold concepts, including the transporter, were presented as almost mundane - we fly a spaceship, on a five year mission, we have a transporter. We have a shape changing alien but we aren't going to explain that until later. Just go with the fact she looked different in the last shot.

Incredibly ballsy decision.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 7:11am | IP Logged | 9  

I do wonder, where there people that watched this episode back then and thought they had missed out on an introduction of all the characters?

As for 'introduction of the crew' vs 'well established crew', I think it differs per situation.
I preferred the 'established crew' in the classic series over the 'introduction of the crew' in Star Trek 2009. We already knew that these characters would come together and would have certain positions on board the ship's command ranks and duties, and the movie story jumped through all kinds of hoops to make sure that it was so at the end.

I wish I had a better answer on what would be the best solution.
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 10  

With all the talk about The Man Trap this week, I thought of a problem last night.

What did Spock see when he looked at the salt vampire?

Everyone else saw their own version of a beautiful woman. Wouldn't Spock see a beautiful Vulcan woman? But that would ring alarm bells because Spock would know there was no such person aboard the Enterprise.

What do you guys think?
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 8:38am | IP Logged | 11  

heh reminds me of an old Ren and Stimpy cartoon that sort of spoofed Star Trek.
Both characters playing space adventurers end up marooned on a planet. At some point an alien lifeform that like the salt vampire can use illusion to draw in prey appears in front of the two, showing both what they really want.

Ren sees a beautiful woman of his own species while Stimpy sees a big bag of cat litter.
Only when Ren starts trying to smooch up to the bag of cat litter Stimpy realizes that something is wrong.

Heh imagine if Spock saw the most advanced computer ever or something else that draws in his scientific curiosity while the rest of the officers try to seduce it. He would probably think the rest of the crew has gone mad.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 9:21am | IP Logged | 12  

I do wonder, where there people that watched this episode back then and thought they had missed out on an introduction of all the characters?

Not many, I'd imagine. "Origins" were very rare. Most shows hit the ground running, their basic premises being faniliar enough for the audience to pick up.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 13  

of a beautiful woman. Wouldn't Spock see a beautiful Vulcan woman? But that would ring alarm bells because Spock would know there was no such person aboard the Enterprise.

The salt vampire is clearly telepathic on some level. It shows people what it wants them to see. There would be no reason for Spock to see a Vulcan woman, in this context.

The only real problem with the episode, and it's minor, is that it sometimes seems unsure whether the vampire is casting illusions or actually undergoing a physical transformation. I vote for the former.

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 14  

The only real problem with the episode, and it's minor, is that it sometimes seems unsure whether the vampire is casting illusions or actually undergoing a physical transformation. I vote for the former.
*******************************************
It must be casting illusions, since Kirk, McCoy, and the security guard all see different women when they arrive at the Crater's house at the start of the episode.

When the creature impersonates McCoy, it projects the same illusion at everyone.

As I check the screen caps (thanks Trekcore!) Spock only sees the vampire when it is pretending to be McCoy, and at the end when it is killing Kirk. Maybe Spock always saw it as the monster in that final scene and punched the crap out of it to convince McCoy it couldn't be Nancy.
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Luke Styer
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 1:11pm | IP Logged | 15  

 Greg Kirkman wrote:
Change "one-quarter" to "one-half", and we're good. Still gives me goosebumps.


I remember seeing that trailer in a theater in my pre-internet days when I had no idea that it was coming and shedding a tear.  Such an affecting trailer, and it turned out to be my favorite of the movies.
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Luke Styer
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 1:27pm | IP Logged | 16  

 John Byrne wrote:
Not many, I'd imagine. "Origins" were very rare. Most shows hit the ground running, their basic premises being faniliar enough for the audience to pick up.

I realize I've said this before, but please indulge me.  Even if one is not as weary as I am of the seemingly constant flow of origin stories that seem to clog modern pop culture, Star Trek seems particularly ill-suited to the concept because the cast of characters are members of a military assigned to a vessel -- the situation basically is the "origin." 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 1:39pm | IP Logged | 17  

I realize I've said this before, but please indulge me. Even if one is not as weary as I am of the seemingly constant flow of origin stories that seem to clog modern pop culture, STAR TREK seems particularly ill-suited to the concept because the cast of characters are members of a military assigned to a vessel -- the situation basically is the "origin."

As noted many times, people with genuine military experience don't seem to hold places behind the camera much any more. Iterations of TREK since TOS have increasingly been civilians-only playgrounds, and more and more the military mentality has faded.

Some might say that's a GOOD thing -- no more gunboat diplomacy -- but what has replaced it is more of a clubhouse mentality. My hackles rose when TNG's Enterprise gave us families and children on board. Does that happen in real life? Do modern aircraft carriers have MQs and nurseries aboard?

The ultimate idiocy came with Jar Jar Abrams' version, where all the crew DID come aboard the same day -- and where all the ship's history had been stripped away by making her brand new. That doesn't happen often enough to make it representative, which is what we want STAR TREK to be.

(In his memoirs, Lord Louis Mountbatten told of an instance where he and his entire crew were transferred to another ship, but that was a seasoned crew, not composed of new men coming aboard for the first time.)

STAR TREK has been taken over by fanthink -- and that is NOT a good thing.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 18  

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 4:17pm | IP Logged | 19  


Next week's episode (9/15):

CHARLIE X




Edited by Shaun Barry on 09 September 2016 at 4:20pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 10:28pm | IP Logged | 20  

Some might say that's a GOOD thing -- no more gunboat diplomacy -- but what has replaced it is more of a clubhouse mentality. My hackles rose when TNG's Enterprise gave us families and children on board. Does that happen in real life? Do modern aircraft carriers have MQs and nurseries aboard?

The ultimate idiocy came with Jar Jar Abrams' version, where all the crew DID come aboard the same day -- and where all the ship's history had been stripped away by making her brand new. That doesn't happen often enough to make it representative, which is what we want STAR TREK to be.

++++++++++


Conicidentally, I caught the TNG pilot on BBC America, last night, and found myself picking it apart, bit by bit. The whole cold, Perfect Human vibe, the lack of action (The first part of the two-part pilot--which originally aired as a TV movie, of course--is largely filler. Very little actually happens in terms of telling a story.), etc. Particularly off-putting is the moment where Picard expresses to Riker his disdain for being aboard a ship with children, and he very prickishly orders Riker to make him look good in front of said children.  

I sort of get what Roddenberry was going for in having families aboard the Enterprise-D. The massive, Galaxy-class ships really are communities in space on longterm missions, with all of the amenities and free love and such that was part of Roddenberry's humanistic view of the future. But, c'mon--no matter how advanced the ships, the business of space exploration is still friggin' dangerous, and having families aboard just seems inrresponsible. Just think for a minute about all of the horrifying experiences that the TNG crew went through over those seven years, and then imagine those events happening to the children onboard.


At least the Abrams films seem to have reverted back to the TOS/non-family concept. Of course, as noted, the Abramsprise is brand-new (and the "flagship" of the fleet, which is another bit of fanthink that's contaminated the franchise), which undercuts the believability of the whole thing.


As Luke notes, the very premise IS the origin. The Enterprise was built, and has been Captained and crewed by various people who have retired, transferred, or died. Just like a real military ship! It's not rocket-science!



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 10 September 2016 at 1:35am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 11:06pm | IP Logged | 21  

At the conceptual stage, I wonder if the TNG writers, Roddenberry primarily, had decided to dump the "Ship MUST be in danger" bit from the original series and just evacuate the kids and families to the saucer section, split the ship, and go into battle that way every time a truly scary menace was brought onscreen. That this quickly proved impractical, they tried for a while to take a middle-ground approach, by focusing on the social ills aspects of Trek and not endangering the ship too much that way. 
Star Trek, after all, was about the best of humanity exploring worlds beyond and yet strangely reflective of our own. Space battles and sword-wielding star-barbarians were for other franchises. ST:TNG was to be a more evolved show, in every respect.
Eventually, by the time of the Borg, everyone left in charge just said, "Screw the kids. We need SOMETHING to happen on this show!" After awhile, people just stopped mentioning that there were families onboard.
One might suppose that after the first few scares, the moms and kids all kissed Daddy goodbye, wished him luck in his Starfleet career, and gotten off at the first available starbase. (Same goes for the civilian dads who kissed the Starfleet moms goodbye, but they would all look like cowards and emotionally abusive child-nappers to us today. Maybe why we didn't see those departures.)

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 09 September 2016 at 11:20pm | IP Logged | 22  

As for NuTrek, origin stories and first-ever-flagships are all about emotionally infantile creators stamping their feet and demanding that everything be "Mine! Mine! Mine!" The Nu-Prise HASSSSS to be the biggest ship EVERRRRR! EverEverEVERRRRR!!! 

You can't have everything your way if you don't control everything from the very start of the story and all the way through. Control-freaks and Infant Terribles demand absolute say-so over every moment of what is, after all, THEIR story and THEIR story alone now, and therefore cannot be saddled with 15-year old vessels and previous captains. Those weren't approved by THEM. Someone else could come along later and do something with those elements. Well, haha, not on MY watch, they're not!! I get to say who came onboard and when!! I get to say how big the ship is!! I get to, get it??? GET IT???

Seriously, the franchise not kowtowing to Abrams demand that all other Trek iterations be wiped from the cultural memory and no more mention be made of any Trek but his could be the first time someone said "No" to him in a very long while... And he stomped out, leaving the franchise to his underlings, who haven't done any better with it, frankly.

No one wants to play in other people's sandboxes anymore. That's not what Millennials and the current generation of Millennial Entertainment Providers do. They piss all over everything and make it THEIR sandbox. How else are they supposed to get anything done? You don't like it? Well, you must be old then, and not the intended audience at all. So, b'bye then!


Edited by Brian Hague on 09 September 2016 at 11:23pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 September 2016 at 1:47am | IP Logged | 23  

Seriously, the franchise not kowtowing to Abrams demand that all other Trek iterations be wiped from the cultural memory and no more mention be made of any Trek but his could be the first time someone said "No" to him in a very long while... And he stomped out, leaving the franchise to his underlings, who haven't done any better with it, frankly.
+++++++++

The fact that all of this actually happened still boggles my mind! And this is the guy who has also now been lionized for "revitalizing" STAR WARS. Madness!


Anyway, back to the celebrating. I had a strange moment, the other day. Just for kicks during the anniversary week, I wore one of my TREK t-shirts (red, with the Operations insignia on the breast) out and about. I ended up going into Jo-Ann Fabrics to grab some spray paint, and the clerk who rang me up (a nice lady who was probably in her mid-50s) said, "Are you Ensign Expendable, about to go down with the landing party and get killed?".

This amused me on two levels:

1. She made the obvious redshirt joke, because of course she did. Cliche, but still a reminder of TREK's cultural penetration.

2. She said "landing party", not "away team". 


The clerk also said that some friends of hers had written some TREK novels. I would have been interested to hear more (Official books? Fanfic? What are their names?), but I didn't want to hold up the line with ten minutes of nerd-talk. Ah, well!
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 10 September 2016 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 24  

The fact that all of this actually happened still boggles my mind! And this is the guy who has also now been lionized for "revitalizing" STAR WARS. Madness!

******

I have been telling for some time now that JJ Abrams is not the genius people make him out to be, but I am part of a minority and apparently an idiot.
Star Trek and Star Wars never needed Abrams to fix them but Hollywood has him on these and other franchises because for some reason he draws in people.

In general I feel that the new generations have not created any heroes of their own, instead appropriating those of previous generations.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 September 2016 at 6:38am | IP Logged | 25  

The majority of the audience doesn't distinguish between, as Jack Donaghy put it, "stars, both trek and wars." Jar Jar Abrams gives 'em flash and dazzled, and that's enough.
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