Date: 07/09/2015 3:04 AM Title: Chapter 3: "Mudd's Women"
Nice work, I love your dedication that doesn't back down even if an episode is frankly a bit, well, like that. If you found few things to work on you used them well. And your remarks on character formation and world building are really enlightening.
Thank you so much! I'm really glad that you're enjoying the epilogues. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review; it means a lot to me.
Bob Justman (one of Star Trek's producers and an absolutely indispensible member of the behind-the-scenes team) famously said of the TOS episodes, "I love them all ... but I don't love them all equally." That's pretty much how I feel about them. Even the episode that I think is the all-time worst TOS episode -- "And the Children Shall Lead" -- has moments that I wouldn't be without.
To me, part of the charm of TOS is watching them build the world and the characters before our very eyes. The behind-the-scenes books and articles I've read all agree that they were making these episodes as fast as they could, and everyone was working insanely hard. The amazing thing is how good TOS turned out to be and how well they managed to make it all hang together. Most modern TV shows have much bigger writing teams, much larger budgets, and much longer production schedules than TOS had. To turn out such quality on a six-day filming schedule, to get such performances when they were usually only allowed one or two takes ... it's just amazing what they managed to accomplish.
One time when a network guy was trying to get them to cut corners and do things faster, he exasperately said to Bob Justman, "You guys act like that ship is really up there." Justman reportedly looked the man right in the eye and said, "It IS!" That attitude -- that the ship was really up there -- is a big part of how and why TOS became so compelling.
So I adore TOS and am in awe of what they managed to accomplish while making it, and that love and those thoughts tend to overflow into the epilogues. I'm glad at least one person is enjoying all the behind-the-scenes stuff that I'm cramming into the insanely long author's notes. :-)
I used to be a professor, back before I retrained as a clinincal psychologist, and my husband teases me that I'm now a professor of Star Trek. You can take the WeirdLittleStories out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of the WeirdLittleStories. ;-)
Sorry. I tend to run off at the mouth when given the chance to talk about Star Trek. I'll shut up now. :-)
Date: 07/08/2015 2:51 AM Title: Chapter 3: "Mudd's Women"
Nimoy explained in I Am Spock that if you watch the earliest episodes Spock smiles a lot. He hadn't fully formed Spocks personality yet and he was still working on him.
I'll get back to the point. I think this piece is going to be one of my favorites. I'll definitely be back for more of this. PS if you write a continuation of Shore Leave youre my new favorite author, if you write a continuation of Amok Time you're my new best friend!
Yes, I've read both of Mr. Nimoy's autobiographies ... several times, in fact; see my response to Soral for more on that. It's why I say, in the "Character Moments" part of the episode summary, "Spock has a sassy, snarky aura during this episode; he's not yet the perfectly cool Vulcan that we'll see later in this season. Leonard Nimoy is still figuring out how to play a character that pretends to have no emotions, and he hasn't yet refined Spock down to the minimalist creature he will become. (This is one of the reasons why I strongly recommend watching the episodes in production order, since watching Nimoy figure out how to play such an unusual character is part of the charm of the first season of TOS.)"
I'm so glad you've liked the epilogues so far! That makes me very happy. I already know what I'll be doing for "Shore Leave," but since it's the 17th episode, it'll be awhile before we get there. I don't know if you'll like it, because what I have in mind will not be a light-hearted romp like the episode was; I plan on going to a somewhat darker place. I have a tendency to take my Star Trek far too seriously. :-)
"Amok Time" is my favorite episode, and I'll try hard to do it justice but will probably fail, because I can't even DREAM of being able to equal Theodore Sturgeon. A lot of people write post-"Amok Time" stories where Spock feels terribly guilty and Kirk has to calm him down, but I won't be going there.
By the time of "Amok Time," they've already seen Gary Mitchell become crazy after hitting the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, they've seen most of the male crewmembers be distracted by the effects of the Venus drug, Kirk has been split into halves and done things the whole man wouldn't do, the Psi 2000 virus has made half the crew wacko, the entire crew mutinied under the influence of the spores on Omicron Ceti III, and Spock tried to take over the ship when hit with blinding pain by the parasites on Deneva. I figure by this point, they'll have had vast experience with people doing crazy or terrible things while not themselves, and they'll have settled on a policy of not holding people responsible for things they've done while not themselves. So I figure they'll meet, Spock will apologize, Kirk will say, "Yeah, this falls under the not-oneself policy," and they'll move on to other things. I don't know what I'm doing for "Amok Time" yet, but it won't be the usual. :-)
So, if you like both "Shore Leave" and "Amok Time," does that mean you're a Theodore Sturgeon fan? He's written some absolutely gorgeous short stories; some of them may well be the Platonic ideal of the short story. "Slow Sculpture" is incredible. And the underlying message in "The Skills of Xanadu" is chilling, for all that the story itself is sweet and fun. How he managed to turn out such perfect little gems ... he was a truly amazing writer. (If all you know of him is his Star Trek episodes, I encourage you to read some of his short stories; the volume Selected Stories contains a dozen of his very best.)
Thanks for taking the time to leave a review, and I hope that I can continue to please you!
Date: 07/07/2015 9:32 PM Title: Chapter 3: "Mudd's Women"
I live your take on this it was much better than picking the more obvious oddities of this episode. Though I've always wondered what was going on on set. Was it just Nimoy getting used to who Spock was or was there a lot of joking going on and not enough time for straight faced retakes of scenes. There are so many points Nimoy looks like he is trying to stop himself from laughing.
*smile* Thanks! Yeah, mail order brides on drugs ... just say no. :-)
Have you read Marc Cushman's These Are The Voyages? He interviews almost every guest star that TOS ever had, and they all report that Leonard Nimoy stayed in character between takes. Some of the guest stars understood what he was doing and respected him for it; others didn't understand what was going on. Robert Brown (who played Lazarus in "The Alternative Factor"), for example, referred to Mr. Nimoy as "the morose man with the ears." Didn't get it. :-)
George Takei talks about the way Mr. Nimoy stayed in character between takes in his autobiography, and Nichelle Nichols has given interviews where she says that she sometimes tried to crack Nimoy up, and it didn't usually work; she said something like, "That bloody Vulcan; you could never make him laugh!"
If you haven't yet, you might enjoy reading Mr. Nimoy's autobiographies. Both 1975's I Am Not Spock and 1995's I Am Spock are worth reading, though if you only have the time for one of them, the later book includes a lot of material from the earlier one. In his autobiographies, Mr. Nimoy says that finding the character of Spock took him awhile, and there were several different things that enabled him to gradually get a handle on what a Vulcan should be like. He talks about regretting the fact that he allowed Spock to smirk as late (in production order) as "Charlie X," but a character like this had never really been done before, and even so intelligent and able an actor as Mr. Nimoy took awhile to figure out how to do it. Of course, he did figure it out eventually; his ability to show us -- for example -- that Spock's heart is breaking while still looking almost completely Vulcan was breathtaking.
One of the interesting features of Leonard Nimoy's autobiographies is that he talks about just how much it cost him to stay in character as Spock for twelve hours a day. His acting technique required that he BE the character while portraying him, and since they filmed from 8 a.m. until 6 or 7 or 8 p.m., and since Nimoy got into character while his make-up was being applied, it meant that he was in character nearly every hour that he was awake, during the work week. Most actors are highly emotional people, and putting himself into a Spock frame of mind for most of his waking life while the series was being filmed ... it was a strain.
It's a pity that Gene Roddenberry never really understood or appreciated just what an astonishing performance Leonard Nimoy was giving; Roddenberry loved Shatner's much showier work and discounted what Nimoy was doing. Oh, well. He gave us Star Trek, so we can forgive him for being human and making mistakes. :-)
Oh, dear. I have rambled on, haven't I? I used to be a professor, and sometimes it shows ... scratch a professor, get a lecture! :-)