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Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues

Barry

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Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« on: May 07, 2022, 09:31:41 AM »
 I should start this by mentioning that I have enjoyed much of Star Trek, especially TOS and Next Gen, but not everything that has followed. So perhaps I have been a “fan” but not a “fanatic.”
 
I am not a huge fan of how TV shows have been presented on streaming. Rather than individual episodes, they seem more like 10 hour movies. Often, I could watch some of the beginning episodes and kinda like them but I don’t feel the urge to come back and finish. That is true not just of Star Trek but of the Star Wars shows on Disney. I have, however, watched Picard even though it was very inconsistent with continuity. I stopped watching Discovery halfway through the first season.
 
I understand one of the limitations of episodic television is that you cannot have great character development. Whatever conflict or development you have at the beginning of an episode must be ended by the end of the episode because the shows are very rarely shown in order.
 
Enter Hill Street Blues:
Hill Street was one of the first shows on network television made completely for adults. It began by having its major plot points stretched over several episodes and was a total ratings failure. Stephen Bochco, seeing that, changed the format for the next season. He tied up all the major plot points of every episode but he allowed the character developments to go week to week. It worked and was very successful. It begot St. Elsewhere, L.A. Law and several other shows.
 
Star Trek: Strange New World is adapting that formula.  This show is based more on the original Star Trek Pilot, less action, more thoughtfulness than the original series. And it takes place just before the original series. I saw the first episode and rather liked it and saw the potential. By not making me have to see the next episode to resolve the plot, it made me more wanting to see the next episode. 
 
A major interesting point is that we all know the future of Capt. Pike and now he does too, he knows his own future. The cast is very good but it takes a little while for the shows to cook. It’s been nearly 60 years since the blueprint created by Gene Roddenberry was created but it still holds up.


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Re: Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2022, 09:55:33 AM »
Thanks Barry. I felt the same about Picard, which is why I haven't resubscribed to Paramount+ to watch it. I've never seen Hills Street Blues....I was too young when it was on TV. 

Did you like the reboot of Battlestar Galactica
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Sound & Vision Magazine

Barry

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Re: Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2022, 10:09:11 AM »
David, I liked that very much. It was not done for kids as the original was. I wish the end was a bit better, but, as with all these things, the end is never as good as it should be.
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Re: Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2022, 10:22:53 AM »
David, I liked that very much. It was not done for kids as the original was. I wish the end was a bit better, but, as with all these things, the end is never as good as it should be.
Kind of like life, eh? :D I do agree that the last episode was somewhat of a letdown. 
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Barry

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Re: Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2022, 11:21:22 AM »
 Strange New Worlds follows the first pilot of Star Trek “The Cage” and not the second Pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”
 
There are so many rumors about Star Trek and how it got on the air. Many of these rumors were started by Gene Roddenberry who was a good creator but also a great self-promoter. When you read the books by Shatner and Nimoy and the producers Solow and Justice you learn a lot.
 
 
Desilu had been famous for creating 30 minute TV shows, mostly comedies, although they had done the “Untouchables.”  NBC really didn’t think they could produce a sci-fi series, 60 minutes long and with special effects.  So they gave Herb Solow and Robert Justice the most difficult script to produce, thinking it would be impossible.  It was budgeted at $450,00 and came in at $650,000.
When screened, the network actually liked it but thought it was not appropriate for their programming. We tend not to think about it these days but one thing going for it is that it was in full color which NBC was trying to achieve at that time.
Roddenberry would claim that NBC turned down the first pilot because it was too “cerebral.” Nah. First they thought it was too “erotic” for TV at that time. There were blue girls dancing all around in some of the scenes, barely dressed, and they didn’t like that.
Roddenberry would claim that they didn’t want a man as Number One. Not true. They didn’t want his girlfriend as #1 they thought that down the line that could be a contentious problem. And they didn’t think she was good enough to carry that part. This is often the case in a pilot.
And they had trouble with the Mr. Spock character. They thought middle America would see him as the devil and not watch.
 
Realizing their mistake, the executives of NBC called in the Star Trek people and immediately told him they just wanted a second pilot. They asked for scripts to approve and believe it or not the second Star Trek pilot was not written by Gene Roddenberry.
 
A major theme throughout the books is how Roddenberry took credit for things he didn’t create.  For example, he actually wrote lyrics to the Trek theme, written by Alexander Courage so that he gets 50% o the residuals.
 
Nimoy tells of the time, during the second season, when he learned that Nimoy was going to appear at a store opening and cut the ribbon. Roddenberry demanded half the money that Nimoy was going to get. Nimoy refused and never spoke to Roddenberry again.
 


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Re: Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2022, 12:11:53 PM »
I've been a fan of some ST, though never considered myself a Trekkie. I was a kid when it showed up as reruns in the 70s, then read some of the books that were actually from the scripts and some spinoff books. I remember Alan Dean Foster, who wrote the novelizations of the Star Wars movies, writing one that I thought was really good. 

I liked Deep Space Nine a lot, which ran concurrently with Babylon 5 which I was a BIG fan of. There was some acrimony there because J. Michael Straczynski, the B5 creator, had pitched it to Paramount and they turned him down then came out with DS9 which had a LOT of similarities. But I enjoyed both shows. 

I did not enjoy ST Voyager after the first few episodes where it was insultingly bad on science. Later, I actually liked Enterprise and thought it was getting very strong when they canceled it. But then the pendulum swung again for me with ST Discovery which I couldn't make through the first season. That was it for me on Paramount+ and I haven't watched anything else there.


Barry I really enjoyed Hill Street Blues and Bochco's follow up NYPD Blue. Referring back to Babylon 5, they may have helped set the stage in some way for B5 which was planned as a 5 year "TV novel". At the time (developed in the late 80s) that level of serialization was unheard of.

tripplej

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Re: Star Trek: Strange New World & Hill Street Blues
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2022, 07:45:06 PM »
I don't remember much about "Hill Street Blues".. I will have to see if any old episodes are still available online someplace and see them.
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