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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 08 September 2018 at 6:40am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

My friend Mr. Perry asked in another topic if ST:TAS episodes should be canon. Good discussion over there.

But Star Trek fans... in all the series, we could all pick two or three (or eight or nine) episodes that we'd LOVE to just pretend didn't happen, that don't count.

Why don't we share those? Which episodes in each series would make you happy were they NOT canon? If they were imaginary stories?

Please keep it to four or five episodes per series (or one or two movies.) Supply an explanation if you would, please. And let's leave Discovery out... because it's pay-to-play, not all of us have seen those.

ENERGIZE!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 September 2018 at 7:01am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

By season:

1 “The Alternative Factor” Sabotaged by a behind-the-scenes mess, but not a strong story to begin with.

2 “Obsession” Wildly out-of-character Kirk in a weak story.

3 All of ‘em! Where do I begin...?

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 08 September 2018 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'll ape JB's format, and mostly agree with him...

1- Alternative Factor is the only real clunker in season one, though its Shakespeare compared to season 3

2- Tie between Catspaw and Wolf in the Fold.  Ugh. I had mentally placed both episodes in season 3 because they stink before a recent rewatch revealed to me that they were, in fact, part of the mixed bag of season 2.

3- Like JB said, season 3, which I recently rewatched in toto, is just awful.  I watched it in toto because I found that I didn't have strong memories of most of the episodes.  Now I know that that lack of memory is because I only watched them once or twice years ago, and for good reason.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 08 September 2018 at 12:01pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

There are definitely episodes that I enjoy and yet make for an uncomfortable fit with the overall story...

1. "The Galileo Seven" for instance. While I very much enjoy the dynamics of the episode and seeing the various ways in which a person who is denying his emotions and failing to properly consider them a factor in the behavior of others might fail in a leadership role, Spock makes for a poor command grade officer throughout the episode. Theoretically, he's trained for this and should have faced similar circumstances at some earlier point in his long career. His performance in this episode alone should raise some serious questions about his fitness as second-in-command of the Enterprise. I like the episode and I wouldn't want to wish it into the cornfield, but it's odd. 

2. "The Alternative Factor" This one I probably would wish into a cornfield, if only so some other more worthy script could have had a shot at production. On one hand, the writer (a close personal friend of Roddenberry's) envisioned a strong, charismatic leading man in Lazarus, one capable of seducing a female crew member into betraying her duty in a preview of what would later occur in "Space Seed." John Drew Barrymore was supposed to have played a fellow like TNG's "Outrageous Okona*" only with a crusade. Robert Brown, the actor playing Lazarus, was literally called in on the day of shooting to play the part, and while he did a fair job of playing the character's sense of mission and desperation, he was not particularly likable or interesting. A scene in which Kirk orders round-the-clock security on Lazarus never made it to the screen and so a dangerously unstable wild card whom Kirk himself describes as a threat to every living thing in the universe is allowed to roam freely and steal the dilithium crystals from Engineering. On top of all that, the script itself doesn't make much sense in it's constant flip-flopping of the two Lazaruses (Lazurii?) and their facade of sanity at any given moment. I'm not even sure it's got the head bandage correct in one scene. He literally falls off of a mountain twice, in almost exactly the same manner... This one just does not work.

3. "Code of Honor" In all of the Enterprise's travels it's only come upon one planet where the ruling population was black and it had to be this episode's... And the final "action" sequence on a jungle gym with two women swatting at one another with morningstar mittens over who gets to be owned by a man? Unbelievably tone deaf.

I'm sure there are others I could cite as being best removed from Trek's overall story. I'll give it some more thought. 

* Mind you, I don't think Okona is all that great a character, either. It didn't help that his episode was basically a sitcom plot with phaser weapons added. It did give us transporter officer B.G. Robinson played by Teri Hatcher, however; TNG's closest thing to Helen Noel.


Edited by Brian Hague on 08 September 2018 at 12:03pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 08 September 2018 at 12:39pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Another I'd like to see go would be "Generations." While I had fun watching the film the first time I saw it, the entire climax on the planet simply does not work in any way, shape, or form. The Nexus is just a magic wish-granting realm that works the way the writer wants it to, with people being able to simply walk out of it to any place they choose at any time they choose. The idea that Soran can't get back to it by simply flying into it is ridiculous since that's exactly how he got there the first time. Kirk's interactions with Picard are amusing but slight, and the notion of Antonia, his one true love awaiting him back home is amateur and fannish. The destruction of the ship was unnecessary and far too "Me, too! Me, too!" after Star Trek III. 

Truth be told, I actually like the opening segment, even with all the humor at the expense of the Enterprise-B. As a death for Kirk, it's lacking, but believable enough that he'd sacrifice himself to save a ship that was not his own. It's unfortunate that a somewhat prosaic death is then followed up by one that's far worse later in the movie. "Man dies in tobogganing mishap," is not a good obituary for anyone, never mind a fit one for James Kirk.

That we then go from an okay scene to an outright comedy aboard the U.S.S. Holodeck is tragic. The only purpose of the entire command crew gathering in full period dress is to make fun of Worf. Yay. It also makes a point of having Picard walk so far around the Arch he'd be in the hallway, but whatever. "Sliding floors! Sliding floors!" Yes, I know. Calm down. We go from a bit of slightly strained light comedy on the Enterprise-B with a tragic end to full-on goofiness brimming with smug self-importance, a TNG staple. They're always so damned sure they're being funny. And they're not.

Really, though, just for the wonky science of the Nexus Ribbon and Kirk's cheapjack death at the hands of a thoroughly unworthy adversary, this one needs to go the **** away.


Edited by Brian Hague on 08 September 2018 at 12:46pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 08 September 2018 at 12:44pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I'll go ahead and add NEMESIS to the list as well, I suppose. While I'm not as attached to TNG as I am to TOS, that was a poor death for Data. It would be nice if that just went away, taking B-4 with it as well as the idea that if you'd hit Picard in the face enough times as a young man, he'd have grown up to look like Tom Hardy. 

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 11 September 2018 at 8:13am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I would reserve putting episodes into the non-cannon category only for those episodes that opened Pandora's Boxes that were problematic for the entire series, rather than just disowning episodes I did not personally enjoy.

E.g., In Omega Glory, Spock is able to telepathically influence a woman to pick up and activate a communicator. Hmm...we never saw that ability before or after that episode. Mind control could have got them out of a lot of trouble in other stories.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 September 2018 at 8:31pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

E.g., In Omega Glory, Spock is able to telepathically influence a woman to pick up and activate a communicator. Hmm...we never saw that ability before or after that episode. Mind control could have got them out of a lot of trouble in other stories.
+++++++

He’d previously influenced a guard to unlock the door to the room which the landing party was being held in during “A Taste of Armageddon”, an event which was later referenced in “By Any Other Name”, when he tried (and failed) to repeat the trick with Kalinda.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2018 at 6:27am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

And thus we range into Super Spock!
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 12 September 2018 at 10:45am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

If movies are fair game, let's drop TMP and TFF. 

From a story perspective, we don't "need" them. There's nothing from TMP that you need walking into TWOK. Okay, it's been 15 years since the series (or "Space Seed", anyway). Not much here going on the the simple passage of time wouldn't explain: The Enterprise has been updated, as have the uniforms. Kirk is an admiral, now. Spock, a captain. There is no mention of Decker, Ilia, V-ger, or any of that. As if TMP didn't even happen. Hmm...

Then we have the "trilogy" of TWOK, TSFS, and TVH, intricately tied in with each other, and whose events would certainly inform THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY. 

THE FINAL FRONTIER can be completely ignored. We pick up in TUD pretty much where we left off at the end of TVH: Kirk is still captain ("busted" down in TVH), commanding the new Enterprise-A. Spock is back to normal, but we knew that was just a matter of time. Sulu is now has his own command, so that's different and cool (flying the Excelsior, from TSFS!). There's nothing about skipping TFF that would leave you scratching your head as you begin TUD. In fact, you'll be scratching your head a lot more if you watch it. 

GENERATIONS can also be dropped. TUD was such a great send-off for the TOS crew. This cheapens it, while simultaneously doing the same to "All Good Things..."

I'd say scrap all of the TNG films, if I didn't like FIRST CONTACT so much. But, hey, none of their stuff is canon after Picard enters the nexus, right? It's all his fantasy...

Which really would even make Kirk's "last sacrifice" to save the Enterprise-B more palatable. I'd rather think of him as timeless/ageless/immortal in the nexus than dying tragically at the hands of a trailer gate. 

 


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 12 September 2018 at 10:47am
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Which really would even make Kirk's "last sacrifice" to save the Enterprise-B more palatable. I'd rather think of him as timeless/ageless/immortal in the nexus than dying tragically at the hands of a trailer gate.
*************************************************
I wish Generations had ended with the camera swooping through space, catching up the Nexus, and then going inside it to see Kirk and his fiance joining the Picards for Christmas dinner.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 8:48am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Peter, it seemed to me that Picard was destined to be Captain of the Enterprise, and then to be done with it eventually. Kirk, however, seemed as if he was never happy unless he was in the center seat.

So the final scene that I would have enjoyed would be much as you describe, save that I would have liked the scene to be one panning around the bridge with the original crew in their positions while the voiceover is Kirk repeating the opening of each episode of TOS. At "to boldly go where no man has gone before", we cut to Kirk saying, "Full speed ahead, Mr. Sulu. Engage."
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 9:06am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I'd say scrap all of the TNG films, if I didn't like FIRST CONTACT so much. But, hey, none of their stuff is canon after Picard enters the nexus, right? It's all his fantasy...

••

Glad this is catching on! ;-)

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

An interesting thought experiment:  Though Season 3 was lousy, if it hadn't existed, if the show had been cancelled after Season 2 as originally planned, would we still have Star Trek today?  

Meaning, if there had been 24 fewer episodes, would that have affected its syndication desirability?  If the show hadn't been kept alive in syndication, would Phase II ever have started?  Would there have ever been movies?  Would Trek have become a franchise?

Do we owe bad Trek a certain debt of gratitude?
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 1:43pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

We do indeed. Even 79 episodes is slim for syndication, but the package was nonetheless attractive enough that it sold. At 55, there would have been no hope, and the phenomenon of Star Trek reruns would never have occurred. Many, many fans came on board through syndication, and the high ratings those reruns brought in kept the product in the public consciousness. Star Trek today without a doubt owes its very profitable existence to the third season.

Of course, there's nothing that says the third season HAD to be lousy. Star Trek would likely have done as well if not better had the remaining 24 episodes been good. 

That brings up the notion then that a good third season might have, in some other timeline, brought about a fourth, one which Nimoy has said he would not have come back for. What would that have done to the franchise?

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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 6:41pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

The Honeymooners ran only 39 episodes.
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 21 September 2018 at 8:58am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

What would a good third season have looked like? I don't have the latest history books of the show, but I'd heard that in addition to what became "The Cloud Minders", David Gerrold had proposed "Bem" and the sequel to "The Trouble with Tribbles" for the third season. D.C. Fontana had a story about McCoy's daughter; is there any indication that "The Enterprise Incident" might have turned out better without interference? Jerome Bixby and John Meredith Lucas had stories that season, too.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 21 September 2018 at 2:24pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

That DC Fontana story that was to have featured McCoy's daughter was tragically reworked into "The Way to Eden," the prequel to Shatner's Star Trek V. I actually enjoy aspects of that episode despite it's hated status among fans. It's the closest thing to a musical this side of Mad Magazine that Star Trek has ever had, for instance. :-)

Still, I would be willing to trade it for a more faithful take on Fontana's original script. Had that gone forward, however, it might have become equally disliked since McCoy is said to have only visited his daughter three times over the course of her life and later says she's no good, like her mother; that she's a witch who will tear out Kirk's heart and carry it around in a jar. "Joanna" could have become to McCoy's character what "Obsession" is to Kirk's, only with longer lasting repercussions. 

A lot would depend upon where the divergence point for this theoretical good third season would have occurred. Would it be Roddenberry staying aboard, even after Star Trek receiving a "death slot" on the network schedule? Would it have been Gene Coon remaining with the program? Would it have been some other alternative to Fred Frieberger, the man who watched a handful of episodes and declared that he "got it." The show was "tits in space." 

There was a pro-'zine put out by James Van Hise decades ago chronicling a number of scripts that never got produced. It might be fun to come up with a theoretical Third Season based upon the premise that the show remained in good hands one way or another, and solid work continued to be done by people who were invested and cared. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 21 September 2018 at 2:27pm
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 22 September 2018 at 12:27pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Brian, there is so much published Star Trek material, not even counting unused scripts, that I'll bet we could find plenty to start a third season at the least. And remember, not all of those shows were impalatable; we shouldn't lump 'em all into one crappy burlap sack.
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Brandon Carter
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Posted: 25 September 2018 at 8:42am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I'd say scrap all of the TNG films, if I didn't like FIRST CONTACT so much. But, hey, none of their stuff is canon after Picard enters the nexus, right? It's all his fantasy...

••

Glad this is catching on! ;-)

******

JB, did you share your Nexus theory with William Shatner during any of your interactions with him recently?



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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 September 2018 at 9:05am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

No. No reason to.
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