What follows is my collection of thoughts on Star Trek’s second pilot, the one that broke them through with the executives at NBC and got the series on the air. As fans will know, this episode did air first because the powers-that-be thought it was still a bit too cerebral and wanted to rope the audience in with action. In their defense, they may not have been wrong in that approach. Say what you will about the show COPS, it does have a successful formula in how it presents its segments. The first is usually action-oriented (a car chase, a foot chase or a fist fight), the second is often the human interest story (a lost child, or a domestic assault) with a police helping people, and the third is usually really dramatic (lots of parties involved in a conflict, with a take-down and people yelling). Rock concerts usually want to rev the crowd up with the first few songs, to get them in the mood, and will save slower song for the middle, when people are into it.
So, yes, kicking off a series with action and adventure may have been a wise thing to do.
Anyway, here are my initial thoughts on the second Star Trek pilot:  “Where No Man Has Gone Before”
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I forgot Sally Kellerman was in it.
I forgot DeForest Kelly was not in it.
(Hmm, I guess there wasn’t enough room for that many ‘Kells’)
More action = Good. Obviously this was the better balance of ideas and action that Trek would become known for. I don’t think action negates ‘pure sci-fi concepts’ or cheapens them. In order to create drama, a show has to have conflict, something for the protagonist to struggle against. Ideas are great and if you just want to talk about them on TV, make a documentary. The struggle can internal as well as external, or passive or aggressive, but one is not more legit than the other.
What the fuck was up with Spock’s eyebrows! Holy shit!
Closing thoughts: it’s fun to see where a familiar story started, what was there at the beginning and what sort of contradicts later developments. It’s also fun to mentally shoehorn later ideas into what’s on screen (like thanks a Peter David ST book, I kept thinking about Q as Mitchell gained powers).
Looking forward to more space western adventures!
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Roddenberry pretty much recast the entire crew of the Enterprise with the second pilot. The events of the first pilot are considered canon mainly because they served as the meat of the later two-parter “The Menagerie.” “The Cage,” finally, aired in its entirety years later, but what I want to touch on here is that the events between these two pilots is largely unaccounted for. It’s said that Roddenberry didn’t want to tie the series down to fixed dates, at least in the early stages, so we only get the occasional references to what the Enterprise and her crew were doing during those lost years. Pike turned his command over to Kirk at some point. Number One (played by Majel Barett) and many of the crew were replaced with the familiar faces we see here. Dr. McCoy has yet to arrive. Spock is the only character retained here from the first pilot, which serves as a nice bit of continuity. What else happened during this period between pilots is a source of fascination for me is all I can say.
I should also point out that as I venture back into the original Star Trek, I obviously do so with knowledge of later series such as The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager (I only ever saw two episodes of Enterprise: the pilot and the Borg episode, so I know next to nothing about that series, for better or worse). I’ll compare and contrast details between the various series as I go. What I hope to see is that the continuity between series outnumbers the changes in style and direction. Most importantly, I’m going in with an open mind. I’ll let the episodes happen and let the series develop its own identity and I’ll ponder best I can on that.
Aside from Star Trek, I do plan to discuss other topics, so hopefully I can find enough to fill these pages. Not that a dedicated Star Trek blog is a bad thing, but I do have other interesting things in my life. The Star Trek blogs are at least going to be regular because I plan to comment on all the classic episodes.
Beyond that, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?
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