STAR TREK LOG ONE by Alan Dean Foster:
The first episode of Star Trek I ever saw was “The Tholian Web.” I cannot swear it was first run, but I think it was. If so, I would have been four years old at the time. If it was a summer repeat, I would have been five. The “ghostly” image of Captain Kirk kind of creeped me out (I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I didn’t not believe in them, either), plus I didn’t really understand it. My brother was a fan of the show, and he introduced me to one he thought I’d like better: Lost in Space.
That worked, but by the time I was nine, I was a fan of Star Trek, too. I am sure of this fact because the first episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series debuted in September of 1973 and I can remember eagerly anticipating it. (I also remember eagerly anticipating The $10,000 Pyramid which reunited William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy for the first time since Star Trek, so that must have been before TAS.) I watched every episode and was disappointed when it was not renewed.
When I was still in elementary school, I worked my way through all the James Blish television adaptations. (It seems odd, even to me, that in the days before VHS etc. fans had to resort to paperback books to experience their favorite episodes “on demand.”) After that, I moved on to Alan Dean Foster’s Star Trek Log series, which adapted the animated episodes, but also fleshed them out and truly “novelized” them, stringing together usually three episodes per book.
When I was in college, ST:TAS was on TV Saturday evenings at 6:30. Unfortunately, I worked every Saturday night, but I was able to set up my VHS to record them. When I got a good number of them, they started showing repeats and I found myself continually rewinding to tape over an episode I had earlier on the tape. (I never did get them all.) Fortunately, the entire series was eventually released on DVD and I did buy that.
My ongoing project for 2019 will be to read a Star Trek Log, then watch the episodes from each book. I was pretty sure I had read the Log series only once before, way back when, but when I recently re-read the first one, I found myself anticipating what was going to be in the next paragraph. I think I had this same idea back in college, and re-read the first three stories (“Beyond the Farthest Star,” “Yesteryear,” “One of Our Planets is Missing”) in this manner, but as the episodes I had on VHS were way out of order, I found the project to be too difficult and abandoned it.
But now I’ve got them on DVD and can call up any episode I want with a minimum of fuss. I just finished re-reading the first Log book and re-watching the first three episodes. I don’t plan to read all ten in a row (I’ve already ,moved on to something else), but every once in a while throughout 2019 I do plan to read another and watch another three.
I became interested in TAS at three points in my life: 1) first run, 2) in college, 3) on DVD (I guess this would be the fourth), and I have watched the odd episode here and there beyond that. Of them all, the two I have seen the most often are "Beyond the Farthest Star" and "Yesteryear." Based on the comments I have received so far, I'm going to assume that most reading this are familiar with either TAS or the Logs or both. If not, "Yesteryear" employs a violation of the predestination principle when, via the Guardian of Forever, Kirk and Spock inadvertently change the past and wipe Spock from existence. Spock then must use the Guardian to return to his own past in order to restore his personal timeline. The episode is written by D.C. Fontana.
I have read that the actors were rarely in the studio at the same time. They would each record their lines individually, and they would be edited together later. the parents of the boy who played young Spock got ahold of the shooting script and had their son read the lines into a cassette recorder by way of audition. Those in charge liked it, paid him scale and that was that.
Regarding ADF's Log adaptation, he takes 14 pages before his version synchs up with the animation, roughly one minute into the show. After that, he takes an additional 16 pages to convey the next six minutes of action. Foster's additions largely dealt with the protocol of historians using the Guardian of Forever and the safeguards that were in place to prevent its misuse.
While we're talking about Vulcans and D.C. Fontana, I'd like to take this opportunity to address a misconception held by "Trekkies" and "Trekkers" alike regarding the pon far mating drive. Many (falsely) believe that Vulcans mate only once every seven years. D.C. Fontana herself has asserted that this was never their intent. Like humans, Vulcans mate whenever they want to, for what ever reasons they want to. It is only that, every seven years, they are biologically compelled to seek a mate.
ONE OF OUR PLANETS IS MISSING:
A giant, planet-devouring entity enters our galaxy and begins eating planets. It is on course for a Federation planet governed by, in a nice bit of continuity with TOS, Bob Wesley, the commodore from "The Ultimate Computer." The episode this one is based on was written by Marc Daniels, who directed 13 episodes of TOS (but, oddly, not "The Ultimate Computer"). Spock uses a Vulcan "mind touch" to communicate with the creature and send it on its way.
As we shall see going forward, TAS takes advantage of an essentially unlimited "SFX budget" to present stories which couldn't have been achieved convincingly on TOS. "One of Our Planets is Missing" does a good job of recapturing the spirit of TOS. It is similar to several live action episodes, particularly "The Immunity Syndrome" (the one with the giant space amoeba, which wasn't very convincing-looking until TOS' SFX were remastered). Watching TAS episode after reading the adaptation, I estimate that for every line of dialogue from the cartoon, and additional two have been added to embellish the prose. Just as animation can better portray certain SFX in comparison to live action, so too can prose improve upon animation.
This is where I left off in 2019. Time will tell how well I will continue in 2022.
Up until now I have been watching the episode first, then reading the adaptation (for the purpose of avoiding "spoilers," even though I have seen and read all these before). But this time, because I remembered this episode as little more than a mash-up pf "The Man-Trap" and "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" I decided to watch the episode first. (It includes quite a few other cliches specific to Star Trek as well.) That way, I thought, it would be easier to spot ADF's embellishments with the episode fresh in my mind. Unfortunately, I watched the episode on January 17 and didn't get around to the Log until today. No matter.
One thing ADF added was a scene depicting how Christmas was celebrated on the Enterprise in the 23rd century. He also smoothed out some plot holes. In the third season of TOS, Romulans were shown to be using Klingon ship designs. This was explained by speculating that the Romulans had formed some sort of trade alliance with the Klingons, but the real-world explanation was that the Romulan ship models had been thrown away between seasons. For some reason, this animated episode shows Romulans using Klingon ships as well. I don't know if that was for the sake of "continuity" or what, but ADF smooths that over, too.
Going forward, I think I'll continue watching the episode first, then reading the Log (but I'll wait to watch the episode until I'm read the Log).
THE LORELEI SIGNAL: This one was written by Margaret Armen, who wrote three episodes of TOS. (As a reminder, summaries of TAS episodes are available elsewhere on this board, easily searchable via "The List of Star Trek threads" pinned to the top of this forum; the purpose of this thread is to discuss the differences between TAS and the Logs.) ADF takes four chapters to adapt this teleplay, the first of which is entirely new and bridges the gap between The Survivor and The Lorelei Signal. Whereas the new flock of Star Trek movies all seem to require a "villain" (and TOS episodes deal with exploration and are more episodic), the interstitial bits provided by ADF in these Log adaptations go a good way toward depicting what day-to-day life might be like on the historic five year mission of the starship Enterprise.
this is one I really would have enjoyed seeing on TOS. In it, the male crew is incapacitated and Lt. Uhura takes command. She assigns Christine Chapel to be the ship's chief medical officer for the duration of the mission, and dispatches an all-female security landing party. When I was posting about TNG, it occurred to me that mansy of the episodes, especially in the first two seasons, were call-backs to episodes of TOS. That's true of TAS, too. The Lorelei Signal is mainly a mash-up of Mudd's Woman (the effect the Taureans have on males) and The Deadly Years (the aging of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Carver). Also, the resolution would be carried forward to a second season episode of TNG in which Dr. Pulaski was afflicted with pre-mature aging.
The Lorelei Signal is one of the more memorable episodes of the animated series. Kirk, Spock and McCoy out of it for an entire episode with the ladies assuming command - a story that I doubt would have ever been produced for the original series.
THE INFINITE VULCAN:
This one was ostensibly written by Walter Koenig, but I have my doubts; I think he had quite a bit of "help." The reason I say that is because I have listened to his audio commentary of the Land of the Lost episode he supposedly "wrote." The only piece of the commentary on which he really spoke authoritatively was the fact that the character her introduced, Eneg, was "Gene" spelled backwards. I suspect that Koenig came up with the idea of a race of ambulatory plants and a 24 foot-tall clone of Spock, but there's some real hard science fiction in "The Infinite Vulcan" which I suspect was beyond Koenig's ability as a writer.
This is another episode which couldn't have been pulled off convincingly on live television at the time. We've seen TOS do a giant before (Apollo in "Who Mourns for Adonis?"), unconvincingly, but I'm thinking more of the sets. As to what ADF brought to his adaptation, I present the following two examples of the kind of extrapolation he brings to every single script. (Also, he introduced a new character a couple of stories back, Vice-Admiral Leeuwenhook, who gives Captain Kirk his orders. In addition, he gives names and personalities to the "redshirt" characters.)
EXAMPLE #1: This is the story of a "first contact" mission, but the only protocol Kirk observes is asking, "Who are you?" ADF fleshes that out a bit: "Still, as with any first contact, it didn't hurt to be as tactful as possible. There were other things on Kirk's mind at that moment, however, which made attention to protocol difficult. All he could blurt out was, 'Who are you?'" That's not a criticism of TAS by any means. With only 24 minutes or so (not including commercials), the scripts had to be brief and to-the-point.
Here's another example: "What, exactly, is a flash of genius? Mental stimulation. A concatenation of cerebral crosscurrents. The fusion of one particle of cause with another of effect which--once in a while, just once in a while--produces a molecule of solution. But all McCoy said was, 'I think there might be something we can use that's be more effective, Sulu.' He also helped smooth over that fact that, in "The Survivor," when it is Kirk, not McCoy, who first notices an extra bed in sick bay.
ONCE UPON A PLANET:
"The Infinite Vulcan" ended with the Enterprise headed for some shore leave. The beginning of ADF's "Once Upon a Planet" adaptation begins with a bridging chapter. I just finished reading the Log and watching TAS episode. My intention of pointing out what ADF added to TAS scripts is becoming increasing difficult because it's like, everything. TAS episodes are pure plot , as befits a half hour Saturday morning cartoon aimed, presumably, at children. Its almost as if the Logs came first and TAS episodes were pared down versions.
In "Once Upon a Planet," the Enterprise returns to Omicron Delta, the "shore leave" planet of TOS episode "Shore Leave." (I wouldn't have previously attached any significance to the planet's actual name, but that what it is.) On the way, ADF omnisciently shares the fantasies of some of the crew. They arrive to discover that the Caretaker of the planet has died and the computer has gained self-awareness and it determined to set the "skymachine" free of the "slaves" which inhabit it. Once the situation has been resolved, ADF delves into some of the crew's actual activities on the shore leave planet before foreshadowing of the next story which will reunite Kirk with an "old friend."
MUDD"S PASSION: This is the third "Harry Mudd" story, following TOS episodes "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd." The original teleplay was written by Stephen Kandell, who wrote the two live action episodes, and Mudd is voiced by Roger C. Carmel, who played him on TV. In this episode, Harry brings a "love potion" aboard the Enterprise. As usual, ADF adds a ton of details to the script, explaining (for example) why Dr. McCoy was sitting at Mr. Spock's science station on the bridge in one scene and adding details as to how Mudd escaped from the robot planet when Kirk left him in "I, Mudd." Regarding wholly new scenes, the story opens with Mr. Spock having lost two games of chess in a row to Mr. Sulu. In the transition to the next story, ADF introduces the Megasphere, a "gigantic artificial construct which was an exact model of the Milky Way. Distances between stars, nebulae, black holes, neutron stars, and other objects were to scale--though the stars and other intergalactic objects were not. If so represented, the would have to have been built so small as to be visible only under a microscope."
THE MAGICKS OF MEGAS-TU: Stardates were never consistent on Star Trek, at least not on TOS, but I have found this episode to be particularly frustrating in that respect. For whatever reason, this episodes Stardate is given as 1254.4, which places it before even Where No Man Has Gone Before. I've never heard a reason put forward for this glaring error (I always assumed it was attributable to someone's bad handwriting), but every episode guide I own which deals with TAS slots it in before TOS (second) pilot. One thing ADF's adaptation does, at least, is make it Stardate 5524.5.
Aside: I should do a comparison of TAS stardate with the Logs.
Aside 2: The CBS Star Trek VHS Club released the episodes (two per tape), not in production order, not in airdate order, but by stardate.
The Magicks of Megas-Tu has never been a particular favorite of mine. First of all, it deals with magic, but it also deals with a science fiction cliche used by everyone from Clarke (Childhood's End) to Kirby (The Eternals). It shares the setting of the center of the galaxy with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, but TAS series does a much better job with it. There were other parts of ST:V that even Gene Roddenberry declared apocryphal (Sybok in particular), but this TAS episode even provides an "out" for how two very different "centers of the galaxy" might exist. the animators do what they can with the concept (and do a fine job, considering the limits of medium), but ADF truly paints a word picture, and expands on the science as well.
THE TERRATIN INCIDENT: This is the one in which the Enterprise crew are slowly shrunk to 1/16 centimeter in size. It was written by Paul Schneider ("Balance of Terror," "The Squire of Gothos"). So far, each of the Logs has comprised three stories of roughly equal length, but "The Terratin Incident" takes up a full half of the book. Consequently, ADF adds a great deal of embellishment (he even accounts for the quibbles Henry Kujawa had over in his review thread), but I'll just mention that the entire first chapter provides an origin and some backstory for Arex. I can see this one being done on live action TV (if Irwin Allen could do Land of the Giants Gene Roddenberry could have done it on Star Trek), but not convincingly.
"([Alan Dean Foster] even accounts for the quibbles Henry Kujawa had over in his review thread)"
Not that anyone asked, but I thought I'd embellish on this a bit while I'm here and the story is still fresh in my mind. Here's Henry from nine years ago...
"This was a somewhat interesting story, but plagued by some uncalled-for irritations. Like, for example, when Christine, while climbing on a shelf, trips and falls into a fishtank. Whereupon she proceeds to yell, "HELP! HELP! HELP! HELP!" over and over and over like a broken record. On top of that seeming totally out of character for her, do they mean to tell me the crew of the Enterprise don't know how to SWIM?"
And here's ADF...
"Only after regaining control of herself and her breathing did the first touches of panic set in. The towering glass sides of the aquarium proved unclimbable. And she was far from being the best swimmer on board the ship. She had to struggle to keep from thrashing about in the water and screaming in panic. Instead, she treaded water steadily and screamed at regular, controlled intervals. Many of the patients in the main room were under sedation, so it was relatively quiet. Otherwise, Kirk and the others might never have heard her."
Here's another of Henry's objections...
"Kirk being who he is, as soon as everyone is back to normal size, he orders them to leave the system, but FIRST, directs the phasers to fire on the city below. A moment later, the tiny city, with all its tiny inhabitants intact and safe, materialize in the transporter room. Which makes me think SOMETHING got left out, or lost in the translation, when they filmed that scene. Transporter beam, yes. Phasers-- HUH??? And there's no explanation that would make it not seem like a script error. That's annoying."
I'm not certain something wasn't left out. I'd be willing to bet that many scripts for TAS had to be edited down to fit the 24 minute (plus commercials) timeframe. In any case, whether these embellishments come from the original versions of the scripts themselves or directly from ADF, here is his fix...
"'Mr. Sulu, direct forward phasers to the region of the Terratin City.'
"Kirk moved to stand next to him, sniled reassuringly. 'It's all right, Mr. Sulu. We'll require pinpoint fire control. There are some precision adjustments necessary--but believe me, this is the best way.'
"Using the computer linkup to phaser control, he proceeded to trace with the electronic stylus a certain pattern of fire on the targeting screen. Behind them, Uhura, Scott and Spock had all turned from their responsibilities of the moment to watch. All but Arex, who continued with his part of the preparations for leaving the area. Of all of them, only he had some idea of what Kirk was going to try.
"'Can you handle that, Mr. Sulu?' he asked when he'd finished with the computations. The helmsman studied the carefully wrought fire pattern and nodded slowly.
"'I'm sure I can, sir. I would like to incorporate a failsafe into it, if I might.'
"'No time, Mr. Sulu,' Kirk objected firmly. 'We'll have to do it right on the first try. those people down there must not be made to suffer any longer.'
"'Very well, Captain,' Sulu acquiesced. He turned and commenced programming the phaser control computer. Once he stopped, to request some information from Spock. when that was granted, Scott and Uhura grew more curious than ever--since Spock now appeared to know what was going on, too.
"Neither dared interrupt what was clearly a harried operation. But when Spock was finished relaying Sulu's needed statistics, Scott moved to stand next to the first officer.
"'For the love of Loch Lomond, what's happenin' Mr. Spock? What's the captain up to?'
"Spock turned unblinking eyes on him. 'Nothing more than what the captain has already stated, Mr. Scott, though I confess to having been somewhat mystified as to his intentions at first, myself.' He turned back to his console. "But I suppose one might describe it by saying we are about to embark on a program of long-range geologic dentistry.'
"Scott mulled this over a moment and then his face twisted into a quizzical expression. 'There are some people down there I think I could grow fond of, Mr. Spock, from what I've seen of them. Don't play word games with me.'
"'We are attempting an extraction, Mr. Scott,' Spock elucidated.
"'Only instead of removing the infected region from the healthy, the captain is simply reversing the process.'
"Scott's expression of uncertainty lasted only long enough for a few seconds concentrated thought... and then his face settled into a pleased highland grin as the truth was revealed."
Of course, none of that dialogue was part of TAS episode. On TV, the cartoon played out just as Henry described. those are just two examples of why I like ADF's Star Trek Log series so much.
Considering the added story elements, I wonder how much information was in the original filming script and how much was Foster filling in the blanks from his own imagination. Did he discuss this in forwards or introductions?