D.C. Fontana On TAS Canon (and Sybok) | TrekMovie.com
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D.C. Fontana On TAS Canon (and Sybok) July 22, 2007

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Feature Films (TMP-NEM),TAS,TOS,Trek Franchise , trackback

Dorothy Fontana (aka D.C. Fontana) was with Star Trek since the beginning as both a writer and Story Editor for Star Trek: The Original Series. She had the same job for The Animated Series and went on to write episodes for both TNG and DS9 (and even for the recent Trek game and New Voyages fan series). Fontana is interviewed in the new ‘Focus on Trek’ from IDW Comics. The interview covers a number of subjects, but her comments on the often debated issues of canon were noteworthy. Regarding TAS and canon Fontana says that Gene Roddenberry never took TAS seriously. She also does not seem happy with the makers of Star Trek V who gave Spock a half brother (details below)

Excepts from IDW ‘Focus on Trek’

IDW: In today’s world, especially in a property like Star Trek, that has seen stories told in movies, TV episodes, novels, comic books, video games, e-books and even Internet-based fan media, too, the question of what constitutes “canon” is very much an ongoing debate. The episode you wrote for Star Trek: the Animated Series, “Yesteryear,” is the only one that contains material that is considered canon. What makes it canonical while the others aren’t?

DOROTHY FONTANA: I suppose "canon" means what Gene Roddenberry decided it was. Remember, we were making it up as we went along on the original series (and on the animated one, too). We had a research company to keep us on the straight and narrow as to science, projected science based on known science, science fiction references (we didn’t want to step on anyone’s exclusive ideas in movies, other TV shows, or printed work). They also helped prevent contradictions and common reference errors. So the so-called canon evolved in its own way and its own time. For whatever reason, Gene Roddenberry apparently didn’t take the animated series seriously (no pun intended), although we worked very hard to do original STAR TREK stories and concepts at all times in the animated series. What freed us there was the fact that we could do environments and aliens without the constraints of sets, makeup and costumes that would have been difficult to do in live action. The research company also worked on this series, again to keep us within rules we had set up in the original series and to keep references in terms of science/science fiction etc. accurate.

IDW: And a follow-up to that question, what does “canon” mean to you? Do fans put too great an emphasis on what is canon instead of just what makes a good story?

DOROTHY FONTANA: I like a good story— but there are certain basic ground rules established which I don’t think can be easily tossed aside. I really hated it when one of the features (STAR TREK V) came up with a half brother for Spock when I had always insisted he had no other siblings. But I guess it isn’t "canon" if I wrote it. Go figure.

The ‘Focus on Trek’ also has an interview with CBS Senior Director of Product Development Paula Block (who is in charge of all Trek licensed products). She too was asked about this issue of ‘canon’ and here is her response

PAULA BLOCK: “Canon” in the sense that I use it is a very important tool. It only gets muddled when people try to incorporate licensed products into “canon”—and I know a lot of the fans really like to do that. Sorry, guys—not trying to rain on your parade. There’s a lot of bickering about it among fans, but in its purest sense, it’s really pretty simple: Canon is Star Trek continuity as presented on TV and Movie screens. Licensed products like books and comics aren’t part of that continuity, so they aren’t canon. And that’s that. Part of my job in licensing is to keep track of TV and Movie continuity, so I can help direct licensees in their creation of licensed products. It gets a little tricky because it’s constantly evolving, and over the years, Star Trek’s various producers and scriptwriters haven’t always kept track of/remembered/cared about what’s come before.

TAS getting more respect…but is it canon?
Gene Roddenberry may not have had a lot of respect for Star Trek The Animated Series, but lately it seems to be getting a kind of resurgence. Last year the show was finally released on DVD. In addition Pocket books re-released the Alan Dean Foster novelizations of the episodes in new omnibuses. This year the Star Trek Remastered team have already dropped in a couple of TAS references, giving the show a sense of retroactive continuity (Spock’s home town from TAS: "Yesteryear" is now seen in TOS: :"Amok Time" and the new Antares in TOS: "Charlie X" is inspired by the robot grain ships of TAS "More Tribbles, More Troubles") Now IDW’s ‘Star Trek Year 4′ series has included the TAS characters M’Ress and Arex. Those characters also showed up in a Star Trek New Fronteirs novel in 2001. 

Just recently STARTREK.COM created a whole new section for TAS. There is a new documentary and feature about the making of the seires. In addition they have added TAS components (such as aliens, technology, and characters) to the Library, but they are not going as far as to saying it is ‘fully canon’ (nor are they saying it has no place in canon). The introduction describes it thusly:

Often viewed as the poor relation in the Star Trek canon, The Animated Series — for the sake of argument — certainly has its own place within the Trek-sphere.

Memory Alpha (the popular Star Trek wiki) long ago decided that TAS should be canon and have included all the events and characters from the series into the database (while still ignoring the novels, comics, games, etc.). Their reasoning is that it was made by the same people and it was "too important to simply ignore."

Last month the official Star Trek Magazine also devoted a 30 page special section to TAS. This included behind the scenes articles, artwork and sketches, as well as interviews with some of those involved (including one done by yours truly with Fred Bronson – writer of "The Counter Clock Incident"). I asked Bronson (who wrote the episode under the pen name Jonn Culver) what he thought of TAS not being part of canon and his answer was actually surprising:

It didn’t bother me. I sort of felt that it exists in its own universe. It is like DC Comics. They have changed origins over the years, pretended things take place in ‘pocket universes’ and so on. Honestly it didn’t bother me. I find it difficult to accept M’Ress and Arex as part of canon. Gene later did say later that Robert April [captain of the Enterprise before Pike, introduced in "Counter Clock"] was part of canon and I never even went to him to discuss it.

More:

STARTREK.COM new section on TAS

TAS at Memory Beta (non canon  Wiki)


Arex and M’Ress

 

Much more on the future of Trek comics and from D.C. Fontana in IDW’s ‘Focus on Trek’ 

VOTE: Is TAS canon?

TAS is in a canon grey area…so to you is it canon? Vote in the current poll (right column) 

Comments

1. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 22, 2007

I think several elements of TS should be canon. the “Word of Roddenberry” doesn’t cut it for me…especially since he is dead.

But what to keep and what to discard.

2. Tim Handrahan - July 22, 2007

Roddenberry and the Original cast were involved. It should be canon!

3. Sleeper Agent X - July 22, 2007

Well, I agree with Ms. Block’s definition (incidentally, that means whatever happens with Trek XI WILL be canon!).

But if I had my choice…a revised canon would include:

TOS
TNG
DS9

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek II
Star Trek III (but only because it kinda has to be there)
Star Trek IV
Star Trek VI (yep, I’m dissing V)
Star Trek: First Contact (dissing Generations too…that make ya happy, BBKers?)

Not sure what to make of TAS, since I’ve never watched it. I did read the novelizations (found ‘em all in my public library, way back in the day–what a treat!) and I do remember enjoying them.

4. Ralph F - July 22, 2007

Agreed with Tim. Roddenberry and the TOS cast were involved; it’s canon.

5. Stanky McFibberich - July 22, 2007

The animated series is closer to the real series than any other incarnation due to its use of the original voices, the adherence to design of the ship and uniforms, the use of the “Space: The Final Frontier…” narration at the opening, use of writers from the series, “mission” type stories, etc.
I think more of it deserves to be canon than what is currently considered canon.
I agree with Fontana that the invention of Sybok was a mistake.

6. Sleeper Agent X - July 22, 2007

I agree with you there, Stanky. I remember first learning Sybok was Spock’s brother and being incredulous.

Also, I didn’t buy Sarek not liking newborn Spock because he was so human. Umm…wouldn’t Sarek know that was the “logical” outcome if he wed a human female?

7. Kev - July 22, 2007

This is a tricky subject given that anything remastered in presented on TV; but does that make it canon? Or is canon only the “original ” work? Is the DIrector’s cut V’Ger canon because it’s based on pre-production art? My feeling is to defer to the people that made the show, since eventually now anything could be redone. I think it is unclear how much influence the remastered eps. will have, but for the most part they’ve stuck with what was already done. Also making everything TAS canon brings Larry Niven’s Known Space into Trek continuity, since he created the Kzinti (cat guys) in Slaver Weapon– originally the “Soft Weapon”.

8. Sleeper Agent X - July 22, 2007

I heard at one point Roddenberry said the Kzinti should be considered part of the canon. Any truth to that?

9. Sean4000 - July 22, 2007

I heard that Shatner’s original idea for Trek V is a MUST read. Is it?

10. Ro-Dan - July 22, 2007

Consider S:TAS canon? Sure, why not?

11. OM - July 22, 2007

…Horse-hockey. The sole reason that the “licensed products” are brought into canon is that Paranoidmount doesn’t want to pay those creators any more money for each use of their creations than they have to by the terms of the book deal.

12. jonboc - July 22, 2007

If epsodes like “Mark of Gideon” are canon, then Ihave aboslutely NO problem accepting TAS.

13. Buckaroohawk - July 22, 2007

Well, since the can of worms has been opened I suppose I might as well dive in.

I don’t consider TAS to be canon. I believe the overall quality of the show is too low to incorporate it effectively. Furthermore, there were too many inconsistencies in both characters, history, and 23rd century technology represented in TAS to make it work. My own opinion is that only the live-action Trek TV series and movies should be considered canon.

That being said, I have no problem with CBS-Digital taking design concepts from TAS (such as the Vulcan landscape and the Antares design) and incorporating them into the new FX for TOS. In general, as long as the designs fit with the Trek aesthetic, then it’s a good idea since the designs have an established familiarity. But, just because some of the TAS concepts are showing up in the new TOS FX, that shouldn’t be an assumption that all of TAS is to be considered canon now. There were several references to TAS in TNG as well (planetary systems, alien species, etc.), but none of the actual events in TAS have ever been documented as canon in any live-action Trek episode or film.

Many people have cited the TAS episode “Yesteryear” as a case for canon, but even then, the only concepts from that episode that have been absorbed into canon are those dealing with Spock’s childhood. The overall story about the Guardian has never been fully incorporated.

So, to sum up: TAS events or stories are NOT canon, but designs and concepts from TAS can be, as long as they’re not contradictory of established live-action canon.

The debate about Trek canon has always been a volatile one and everyone has their own ideas about what should or should not be considered canon. My view is this: If it happened in a live-action episode or movie of any Trek incarnation, then it is canon.

TOS is canon. So are TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT. All the movies are canon, including ST V, Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis. “Spock’s Brain” is canon. Sybok is canon. Kirk’s death is canon. Shinzon is canon. It doesn’t matter if fans don’t like it, or if we’re unhappy with how certain events unfolded. If we’re going to be true Trek fans, then we have to take the good with the bad. Once you start picking the live-action Treks apart to decide what is or is not canon, it quickly degenerates into individual choices, which does nothing but fragment the fan base. Nitpicking like that is a slippery slope that is ultimately unproductive for both the franchise and the fans. It keeps us from being united; and that, as much as anything else, has been been why the franchise has suffered of late.

So this is a call for all Trek fans. Give up your dissection of Trek events and the needless debates of what is or isn’t canon. Embrace what we’ve seen, for better or worse. Let all of live-action Trek be canon. Trust me, you’ll feel better and the franchise will be stronger for it.

14. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 22, 2007

Unlike the Roman Catholic Church…where Canon Law is defined by a college of Cardinals and approved by the Pontiff, there is no such body at CBS-Paramount that declares things “Canon.” While Roddenberry was alive, he could have been the “Trek Pope,” but his views were (in my opinion) in flux based on the Television World and his views on Utopia.

The part of the article where it is said that during TOS and TAS they were just “making it up as they went” is about right. That was the chance to establish “milestones” and “benchmarks.” Lot’s of it was not in place until season 2. Then the show was cancelled…

TAS was a continuation of the series and Roddenberry should have taken it seriously. Aimed it at Adults (it seems to have more adult themes than “The Herculoids” and other shows of its time), like the Flintstones were. But, alas, Adult Anime and cartoons like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” were decades away.

No one really thought to continue it…I mean, after all, he have not really seen what a 20th Century Ponderosa Ranch looked like run by the great-grand children of Little Joe and Hoss. Unlike, Bonanza, we did see that with TNG.

TNG made several errors that manifest themselves in today’s TREKDOM.

It should have taken the universal approach I now have in hindsight. It should have appealed to TOS fans and a new audience right from the start. That is echoed in my “John Gill” rants. The new film needs to be attractive to long time fans and have elements that will appeal to new elements. (DON’T SELL OUT TO FANS YOU DON’T YET HAVE!)

Imagine if they had set it only 50 years from the Kirk and Spock times…made mroe reference to the Movie Era. I will say this, if you look at the formating of 1st Season TNG it does have elements of TOS style (especailly some footage of the USS Enterprise-D orbiting planets…very much in the same style as TOS)

What happened was they…threw the baby out with the bathwater. It offended TOS people, who were the target audience. Yes, they wanted new…but Star Trek always had “history.” I mean, even “The Cage” was intergrated into TOS.

Those descisions, especially by Roddenberry, to nix TOS as if it never happened (resulting in the backlash persons like Josh T and other persecuted Trekkies endured) created a rift that is still felt today.

Let’s also remember that ENT was also designed to attract new audiences and, while I like it and can fit it in, it denied its Trek roots (even calling itself ENTERPIRSE) and we suffer for it.

15. Magic_Al - July 22, 2007

I’ve loosened up on the subject of canon over the years. At this point I’m willing to include almost anything that with a reasonable level of suspension of disbelief can be reconciled with continuity.

I think TOS and TOS-R are equally canon. There’s no practical difference between the two versions. By that I mean, a practical view of canonicity would acknowledge that its purpose is to help future writers avoid contradictions. The kind of changes TOS-R makes are so superficial that any in-universe reference to an episode would be unlikely to include any information that doesn’t apply equally to both versions. For example, the changes to “The Naked Time” affect its relationship to “The Naked Now” not a whit.

16. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 22, 2007

13. Buckaroohawk – July 22, 2007

I agree with most of what you said. We must take the good with the bad.

As to TAS, I think certain elements that, as you said, do not contradict the 23rd and 24th Century canon are acceptable. As an animated show, TAS woudl have to yeild to the Live action.

I would include several elements of the Episodes as plausable. I would even accept, if there was a Trek Series that took place in the TOS period with another crew, adpatations of TOS episodes that we most in line with the established canon.

17. Kirk: The Jack Bauer Of Space - July 22, 2007

If anyone knows where you would read Shatner’s “original idea” (see #9)for ST V, I’d love to know.

From reading the Shat’s book on ST V many years ago, I remember He mentioned some details had to be left out, especially at the end (rock monsters, etc), but the basic storyline was the same. Which, of course, sucked.

If you write a story about searching for God, you have painted yourself into a corner from the beginning. I always thought a down & dirty fight against terrorists taking over the Enterprise was not bad (ie the first half of the movie), but the whole God thing was dumb (ie 2nd half of movie).

As for Sybok…. maybe kind of a dumb idea I guess. But… the idea of Spock having a long lost half brother who embraces emotions, could have been intriguing if it had been done right….I would have wanted Sarek to make an appearance and there to be some sort of reunion/discussion among the three of them….

18. Sleeper Agent X - July 22, 2007

Re 14:

Well, I’m just going to point out that TNG, by “selling out” as you say, managed to bring in a HUGE new audience to Trek. So going their own path worked! Trek was never more healthy than it was during TNG’s run.

Which is why I have some hope J.J. and his group can do the same thing again with Star Trek XI.

19. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 22, 2007

18. Sleeper Agent X – July 22, 2007

TNG finally became Star Trek in its later seasons. When it had embraced being part of a greater Trek. It even all came together in Generations. That is what got fans. TNG was in major trouble…then the uniform changes and cast/crew/production changes. Characters began to develop out of the wooden Picard & CO of the First season.

I call for a Trek Movie that can appeal to canon, long time fans as well as offer something new. It all depends on a good story.

The “Lost in Space” analogy is that that film took an old property and redid it to much ado. But now it is forgotten. Star Trek is unique…it has to continue a movement…not try to start a new one.

20. Sleeper Agent X - July 22, 2007

I think TNG got fans because the stories got a lot better in the later seasons…but I agree the new Trek XI movie should try to continue Trek’s movement, as opposed to being a completely radical rebooting.

J.J. and the writers have said they’ve tried to respect the canon, so it’ll be interesting to see if they’re good to their word.

21. KS Trekker - July 22, 2007

Well…I thoroughly enjoyed TAS; as far as canon…it seems to me (and maybe I’m just too darn practical) that it is difficult to truly canonize a fictional universe. The events of Star Trek will never exist in this dimension, and until we can traverse parallel universes and find the actual ST universe, we’ll never know what’s “real” and what isn’t. Why should we exclude comics and novels and the such…who’s to say they never happened. There’s a novel about the Enterprise’s first mission under Captain Kirk, but here comes the new movie with a presumably different story. Just because one has a bigger budget, why is that considered “real” and not the other?

Unless everyone involved with Star Trek were to sit down and draw out a single timeline of events that all could agree on, I don’t think there will ever be a true canon. Why bother to read the novels and comics and watch TAS if it isn’t “true”? Personally, I always liked the DC Comics storyline that the Mirror Universe’s Empire had its roots in Earth losing the Romulan War and being conquered and enslaved; when humanity fought back and overthrew the Romulans, voila, instant Empire. But then, that contradicts “In A Mirror, Darkly,” which I also enjoyed. So there’s the dilemma.

Perhaps we should just accept that there are different dimensions to the Star Trek universe, and ditch canon. (Okay, I know that will never happen, but you get my point.)

My two cents, anyway. Personally, I accepted the Sybok story a little more after the novelization gave it some substance that the movie left out.

22. KDoug - July 22, 2007

I think that many fans are too concerned with what “should” be Star Trek canon. After all, what’s canon isn’t a decision that fans can make. It’s a decision that the producers of the franchise make. Instead of being concerned with what “should” be canon, just consider whether or not you like the story. If you like a story, good for you. If you don’t like a story, ignore it.

It’s true that one necessity for a good story is that it’s true to itself. If it’s not true to itself, the writer or writers haven’t done their jobs properly. But, it doesn’t mean that the story isn’t canon. It just means that the story is weaker for its inconsistencies.

I’m more forgiving when it comes to the novels, comics, and other “licensed works”. They’re kept out of the loop about what’s to come in the canon TV shows and movies. The licensed works are also ignored by those who write and run the TV shows and movies. So, how can you expect the licensed works to properly mesh with the rest of the Star Trek universe? You can’t. So, I allow each of them to stand on their own merits.

But when the TV shows and movies don’t mesh together properly, it’s disappointing. They can and should be able to do better. And again, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t canon. As far as the producers of Star Trek are currently concerned, TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and all of the movies are canon. Anything else isn’t. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t like it… that’s absolutely fine! Ignore the stories you don’t like. No one is saying that you have to like all of the stories.

23. TrekNerd - July 22, 2007

Whether or not Gene Roddenberry likes it, TAS is canon simply because it fits into his and Paula Block’s definition of canon: anything on TV and movie screens.

And TAS was on TV (although I think GR may have included live-action as an excluding factor).

Also, as others have pointed out, it was an official production produced by the original series cast and crew.

24. Rob Caswell - July 22, 2007

I think the only practical function of “Trek canon” is to serve as a guide for series writers. As a fan I’ve always felt that in something as broad and varied as Trek, I’m free to develop my own canon. For instance I accept Arex and M’ress without reservation, but totally dismiss Sybok… and for that matter much of the Vulcan mysticism that came out of the movies.

So, is TAS canon? Well, to me much of it is, though like elements of TOS third season there’s much I’d like to forget. TAS was a thoughtful production and for us Trekkies at the time, it was the ONLY official extension of the original show.

Star Trek’s story has been developed through so many different media and venues that its sprawling background has few peers, save something like Star Wars. Not all of it has been developed with the same intellect and understanding of the concept and characters – thus I feel fully free to apply my own canon filter, if only to view Trek with some personal consistent standard.

25. urseus - July 22, 2007

Man give STV a break. Its a great movie. If only for the Spock birth scene, which sets up the characters whole life story.

On the half brother issue:

Its canon that Vulcans have wives betrothed to them. Doesnt it make MORE sense that Sarek would have a vulcan wife before Amanda?

26. Dennis Bailey - July 22, 2007

The real deal is that now that Roddenberry’s gone the fact that Paramount owns the animated series and can find new ways to make money off of it will make it “canon.”

27. Cugel the Clever - July 22, 2007

Canon is an irrelevant concept as it’s being nitpicked here. The TNG episode “Parallels”, which by definition is Canon, established that there is a quantum multiverse in which every possible variation of history exists. Thus, one can view the internal inconsistencies and discrepencies in continuity between and within series’ as simply being stories from slightly different timelines. After all, at the end of “Parallels”, Worf supposedly returned to his “home” universe, but since there was no surprise birthday party, it actually wasn’t his original timeline, only one that was very similar. Therefore, there was essentially a “reset” of Canon from Parallels onward.

One can use this same logic for any Cannon contradiction between episodes.

28. Greg2600 - July 22, 2007

The Animated Series is canon in my book, no doubt about it. The original cast (minus Chekov), Roddenberry, DC Fontana, David Gerrold, and guest stars like Harry Mudd. Even though it was animated, it never got ridiculous or unbelievable. Roddenberry was known for making selfish edicts all the time. If it were up to him, most of the movies would not have been canon, because he didn’t write them or produce them.

I love the man’s work, but when you say something is not canon, that should be something like, Mr. Spock decides in an TAS episode to kill an innocent person, and the Enterprise blows up a planet. That would be so out of left field, you couldn’t leave that in. I also think some plot points and inconsistencies should be explained away or perhaps downplayed, but not removed.

Is there a canon police or something? Mike Okuda hasn’t published an encyclopedia in 8 years, and has none planned. So the only official source is Startrek.com or Memory-Alpha (unofficial but better)? Both seem to view TAS as canon in many respects.

29. Prem - July 22, 2007

re #27

That is exactly the way I will view the new Star Trek movie if it gets a “Lost in Space” style reboot and the Enterprise ends up looking like a Sovereign II class. Welcome to Parallels II.

30. MichaelJohn - July 22, 2007

I hate threads about Star Trek “canon”..it’s always the same- one person’s opinion vs another. Only the die hard “trek purists” fret and argue over this subject.

As for the next film, as long as Capt Kirk isn’t wearing Vulcan ears, and the Enterprise doesn’t look like the Jupiter 2, few moviegoers will even notice, much less care if there are mistakes or deviations from established canon. This is not going to make or break the next film at the box office.

I just hope the next Star Trek movie (and hopefully the next tv series) is great entertainment and worth the price of admission.

Mike :o

31. TrekNerd - July 22, 2007

Why don’t we all just take every bad experience we’ve had in our lives or every circumstance we were disagreeable with and pretend it never happened?

It’s not part of our life’s canon.

32. seangh - July 22, 2007

#26 – Dennis – you nailed it. And it doesn’t matter what we believe or want to be canon – CBS Paramount owns the Trek world, so they decide. And Paula Block from CBSP makes it quite clear – “Canon is Star Trek continuity as presented on TV and Movie screens” (that would include TAS.)

33. Cygnus-X1 - July 22, 2007

I haven’t seen a single episode of TAS, but, after reading this thread, I’ve added the the entire series to my Netflix queue. Opining prematurely, nevertheless, it seems a bit odd to consider events which occurred in an animated world, where the rules are different, as continuous with those that occurred in a supposedly physical world. But, I look forward to viewing the series with an open mind…

I’m also curious as to why people seem to regard “Spock’s Brain” as the quintessential bad TOS episode. One of the interviewers in the Nick Meyer interview stated it as though it were as commonly accepted as the poorness of STV:TFF or, even, ST: G. And, it’s been referred to thus in this thread.

Granted, I haven’t seen “Spock’s Brain” lately, but, I recall much worse TOS episodes than that one. Consider “The Way to Eden” – the one with the space hippies that run amock aboard the Enterprise, singing insufferably bad flower-power ditties.

That episode smacked of the fall of Rome to me. It’s the only one that I actually had to force myself to sit through. My God, the singing was abysmal.

The horror…

34. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - July 22, 2007

Cannon- a bad detective show with a really fat mustachioed dude in the late 70’s

Cannonball Run – One of the funniest movies of the early 80’s. Roger Moore as Seymour Goldfarb wannabe gentleman spy

Diane Cannon – Wrinckled once hot prune sitting courtside at Lakers games

Coincidence??? I think not!!!

– Enough with the damn cannon. Cannon Shmanon!! If you really like something it’s ok to include it in your own personal make believe genre universe. You don’t need a corporate beancounter to put a stamp on it like some sort of decree from the Vatican. It’s all make believe, cannonize what you want

35. mikeg - July 22, 2007

I have never really thought much about what is canon and what is not……… I mean if I like the story, the characters, and so forth, is it really an issue as to whether or not it is/might be considered canon? Or does my enjoyment take precedent? I think it’s the latter, since I enjoy TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and some ENT… My pleasure is what really matters to me. There were some things about TOS I didn’t like…………….. Spock’s Brain, And The Children Shall Lead, etc…. there were some things I loved about TNG… Best Of Both Worlds comes to mind….. and so forth… The bottom line, IMO, is that if there are certain things one likes about whichever presentation of ST we are given, then we will decide it is significant in the grand scheme of things ST. If we don’t like it, we will shrug it off as a………. whatever….
By the way, I’m disappointed that, apparently, Shatner won’t be in the new film. I can imagine a bunch of reasons why it might make sense that Shat won’t be in the film… Can’t imagine what would PULL Nimoy out of retirement, on the other hand……… Surely, the producers/creators must know how much the general TOS fan-base would love to see these two guys together again, but, hey, that’s Hollywood, eh?
I’m gonna see this movie, no matter what — Bill, JJ, Leonard, whoever, whatever… I LOVE ST that much, that I’m willing to dish out my $$$ to see it. I hope I won’t be disappoiinted. I’m sure YOU hope I won’t be disapponted, either, gents. I have always loved ST because it gave me something to look forward to, to hope for, to believe that human beings could transcend their 21st century stupidity and adolescence… That’s a tough order to fill, eh? What do you think, guys… being in charge of such a large order to fill? I’m sure it must seem rather overwhelming at times…. but I think (based on your records, so far) you are all up to the challenge, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Engage…….. (alright, sorry, I had to do it………..)

36. toddk - July 22, 2007

okay fine, want to know what a canon killer is? huh? do ya?? “ENTERPRISE”.. That show tried to shoehorn its history in star trek and the shoe still dosent fit. A new enterprise that predates pikes ship? yeah right.. Don’t get me started! but all that aside, it is perfectly okay to have tons of canon changes as long its in the mirror universe, I will say again that” In a mirror darkly” was the best thing that ever happened to that miserable show. I would like to see bakula and his crew sign on for SEVEN seasons of enterprise darkly…..and now we all move up in rank..hahahhahahhaa!

37. MichaelJohn - July 22, 2007

Hey guys stop picking on Spock’s Brain!

Believe it or not, it’s one of my favorite TOS episodes because it was so unintentionally funny! Can anyone here think of another TOS episode that turned out that way?

Dumb, silly and with some surprisingly bad acting, Spock’s brain is nevertheless good entertainment. It’s one of the few TOS episodes that I really enjoy making fun of!

Mike :o

38. Cygnus-X1 - July 22, 2007

I mean, the hot, dim-witted chicks, running around in mini skirts, one of them exclaiming, “brain, brain! What is brain?!?” with that cute pout on her face, earn that episode its keep.

And, then, there’s the acid-tripping McCoy, when he learns from “The Teacher” how to re-plant Spock’s brain, followed by the out-of-his-element, vexedly sweating McCoy, when the Teacher’s effect begins to wear off.

I honestly don’t see why that episode should be the paradigm of stink, especially when there are so many worse from which to choose.

39. StarTrekRocker - July 23, 2007

Glad to see some folks sticking up for Spock’s Brain. Sure, the Spock Remote Control didn’t look very sophisticated for all that it could do, but hey, it was still a fun episode.

The Way to Eden, on the other hand, from the guy with the bad cauliflower ears, to the cheesy Spock Jam, and endless repititions of “Herbert” has always been a struggle for me to sit through.

Who was this Herbert fellow, anyways?

40. snake - July 23, 2007

regarding Trek V as canon – what about if the majority of the film was just in Kirks head i.e. – a dream.

Think about it:

– All the nonsense happens between the camping scenes.

– the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (sung around the campfire) ends with the line “life is but a dream.”

– The events of the movie are a reflection of Kirk’s fears: being put back into action while he’s unprepared, geting screwed by Starfleet, losing his crew and losing, above all, his friends.

– Events from the camping trip are mirrored in the dream: the fall from El Capitan/the fall from the turboshaft, musing around the campfire/musing around the steering wheel, climbing El Captitan/climbing to escape ‘God’

– The broken and unreliable Enterprise is another fear of Kirk; that no ship can live up to the original.

– The movie follows dream logic: characters appear when needed (Spock in the turboshaft, Scotty in the brig, Spock in the BoP) and reality warps to accomodate the “story” (70+ decks, the mysterious wheel room, unicorns). plus God

– Spock having a brother which was never mentioned before.

-The romantic relationship between Scotty and Uhura.

-A 30 year plus impossible journey that happens in a few hours

– McCoy says: “are we dreaming?” and Kirk says then: “Maybe life is a dream.” as they approach Ska Ka Ree

– Kirk ate gods for breakfast, so it’s no surprise they show up in his dreams. The fight against “god” is Kirk’s subconscious idea of a generic adventure. Likewise, a Klingon is his idea of a generic villain.

– In the end, Spocks saves his ass, just like he saved Spock’s.

– End of the film is them around the campfire again – the story starting and ending in the same spot, with the Kirk, Spock and McCoy wearing the same clothes….maybe this was just the morning after his fall….and all the stuff inbetween was the dream

When you look at the movie as a nightmare, a reflection of Kirk’s subconscious fears and desires, it actually, somehow, makes *more* sense. In fact, it starts making a *lot* of sense – if that was Shatner’s intention then he’s a genius.

41. snake - July 23, 2007

btw anyone else think that M’Ress is quite hot?

42. snake - July 23, 2007

btw anyone else think that M’Ress is quite hot?

43. Dom - July 23, 2007

Yeah, M”Ress is hot! They should put her (and Arex) in the new movie!

Whatever has been said about TAS at various times down the years, it was written by people who worked on TOS, voiced by by people who worked on TOS, had people who worked on TOS on its production staff and, design-wise, is the closest to TOS of any incarnation of Star Trek. Even if certain of its makers didn’t/don’t recognise it, TAS is too important a part of Trek history just to ignore.

The Catholic Church also has a deuterocanon, The Apocrypha, which includes a number of books not regarded as essential for The Bible, but of note and often used (I read passages from the Book of Tobit at my godparents’ daughter’s wedding!) If TAS is too hard to accept as ‘canon,’ then think of it in a similar way to The Apocrypha.

Personally, I can’t see the problem with TAS being canon, especially if they were to make a Star Trek: Reanimated as a companion to Star Trek: Remastered!! ;)

44. snake - July 23, 2007

to TAS as canon…i myself would say no.

I watched it recently and after the intial wave of ‘oh wow its sorta like TOS!!’ that feeling quickly wore off and i grew annoyed with the sub standard animation and repetitivness of certain shots….i mean it was just the same stuff used over and over and over…

yeah i know the cast voiced it all but u gotta remember – those were dark days for them all…

I know certain stuff that was used in the toons is regarded as canon (Capt April etc) but my response to that is – ‘so what’ – i’m pretty sure a few elements out of the novels ended up in future films and series as canon (Sulus and Uhuras first names I think)..does that make the novels canon too? I think not….

Live action is canon – toons, comics, novels etc are not

45. Dom - July 23, 2007

‘Live action is canon – toons, comics, novels etc are not’

In 2007, says who? ;)

46. Stanky McFibberich - July 23, 2007

44.
That first name crap really torques me off. Sulu and Uhura don’t have first names in the series, so they don’t have them.

Who cares about the animation? It was well drawn, well written, and well voiced.

47. TomBot2007 - July 23, 2007

I saw a few more episodes of TAS recently, that were not as bad as earlier ones… Eye of the Beholder, I think was one, and possibly The Pirates of Orion. The animation was the result of the times & budget constraints and the stories were also hamstrung too by running time & saturday morning ethos. The only big boobie in TAS as far as I’m concerned is the Life Belts… but even those seem almost reasonable sometimes, as by TNG, communicators were reduced to comm badges, so why not? I say it should be canon, as far as necessary, and not really t sweat it so much. :-)

48. doubleofive - July 23, 2007

40. snake

From now on, that’s how I will view STV. Thank you for redeeming that movie for me.

49. Mike - July 23, 2007

Could TAS be canon exactly as is? No, but there was a LOT of good in the show. So I say take the best and use it. Just go back and polish up the best stories, rewrite them for a 1 hour format, and computer animate them. Then you have “lost episodes” of TOS.

50. Diabolik - July 23, 2007

If ST:V was a dream, it was certainly a bad one, a nightmare brought on by bad beans.

51. Jeyl - July 23, 2007

40. snake

Good god. That’s a pretty impressive way to look at the film. You might even add that the dream also tells him that Klingons aren’t all that bad in general which is a nice set up for Star Trek VI.

As for this comment:

“Sorry, guys—not trying to rain on your parade. There’s a lot of bickering about it among fans, but in its purest sense, it’s really pretty simple: Canon is Star Trek continuity as presented on TV and Movie screens. Licensed products like books and comics aren’t part of that continuity, so they aren’t canon. And that’s that. ”

That is bull. Why don’t they throw a sticker on every licensed product that reads “What you are reading doesn’t happen at all in Star Trek. Any answers you may get or any revelations that come from this book are to be discarded when it comes to the original material. So in essence, you are wasting your time reading this book if you hope to learn more about Star Trek.”

Well, good way to limit how vaste the universe is. After all, Bragga and Moore did an excellent job at remembering a lot of the franchise’s material and so fourth when they wrote Generations.

So here’s my message to all you fans out there. Don’t listen to them. These are OFFICIAL Star Trek products and they should be treated as such. What happens and doesn’t happen is all up to you. To say it’s not canon simply because the writers don’t want to work at researching the material is pretty lazy and selfish.

This sort of thing happens in Star Wars as well, but only just a tad because everthing in the series unless it’s a different take on the story is considered Canon whether it be comics, books or games. One example I always say to people is that to me, Revan is a female lesbian who takes Juhani in as her number one love interest. Most will say “No, Revan is a male. They called that canon.” and I say “if that’s the fact, than why did they give me a choice? I didn’t see any subtitle that says I was playing a non-canon character.”

52. Jeyl - July 23, 2007

Oh, I also like M’Ress. Her species is canon so she had to have existed!

53. Patrick Duffy - July 23, 2007

Where’s the part where Kirk wakes up and my character is in his shower? :O

54. Cervantes - July 23, 2007

Animated Star Trek was great when I was a boy. Thankfully it had the core team’s actual voices. It’s still real TOS trek to me. :)

55. snake - July 23, 2007

50 – indeed Bones was adding a little special something to the beans before they went to bed…(whiskey)…

It was all a bad dream i tell you!

Expect Shatner to confess all on the new Directors Edition dvd in 2009 (20th anniversary of Trek V) and is hailed as a genuius filmmaker by critics – prompting Trek V to be re-evaluated and hailed as the greatest Science Fiction movie of all time.

56. BringBackSaavik - July 23, 2007

Established canon is subject to evolution and peer review. One must also separate canon from hypercanon. Hypercanon is “if it was mentioned, said, shown, etc, it’s canon”. Mainline canon is “if is was referenced and passes the test of episidoc consistency, then it’s canon”. Hence, “James R Kirk” is not canon, while “James T Kirk” is. Hypercanonists will claim that Kirk’s full name must be “James R. T. Kirk” or some such nonsense, while canonists understand that the “R” (failing consistency) is rejected.

57. Dennis Bailey - July 23, 2007

#36:”okay fine, want to know what a canon killer is? huh? do ya?? “ENTERPRISE”.. That show tried to shoehorn its history in star trek and the shoe still dosent fit.”

Wrong…it fits as well as many TOS episodes did with one another.

By the definition of those who own “Star Trek,” “Enterprise” is canonical. That settles it.

58. mrregular - July 23, 2007

#55 Snake:
Man you are a genius. And yes, ST V is canon. The conclusion of the film at Sha Ka Ree before the crew discovers they are not actually speaking to the Father of Mankind is the height of all of Star Trek for me, in any form. Very inspirational. And for that the Shat is a genius in my book.
Much praise also for the scene with McCoy’s father. If you have ever lost a parent to a fatal disease, you’ll know the agony Bones was going through. That scene was powerful and real.

59. FredCFO - July 23, 2007

The holodeck, Tiberius, using tribbles, the Guardian of Forever, the Shore Leave planet, Robert April, Cyrano Jones, Harry Mudd… how much more canon can it get ?

Now it they could remaster the Filmation animation, sound effects and sound track and keep the original voices (personal favorite using Ed Bishop from UFO)….

But as Dennis Bailey quotes Josh Whedon: “Always remember that the integrity of your universe’s reality must be maintained unless you think of something cool.” (Except for Star Trek V, it was anything but…)

60. Ozy - July 23, 2007

TAS is not part of canon.
Only ENT, TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and 10 movies are canon.

61. CmdrR. - July 23, 2007

jeez. it’s my birthday. i just found out i have the same birthday as Daniel Radcliffe. He’s 18, rich, and gets to kiss a cute chick.
I’m 45, squarely middle-class, and get to spend my birthday with you guys arguing over flippin’ canon.
beam me up, scotty… pleeeeeease.

62. Jack Plotner - July 23, 2007

It needs to be re-animated pure and simple to give it more life. It would cost a bit. You could make the chararters really move. I’s like to see that. What is Canon, it’s all fake now come on.

63. Donald Gillikin - July 23, 2007

I am not going out on a limb and proclaiming TAS definitively canonical, but if there were any justice in this universe, it would be. It has many of the same scriptwriters, same actors, same characters, and is quite consistent with the designs and ethos of the original series. It also does not contradict the original series any more than the original series contradicts itself. Furthermore, it was filmed and aired on network television.

Unlike other cartoon spin-offs or sequels that filled the airways at the time like “Emergency +4″ or “My Favorite Martians” or “Jeannie” (and I am old enough to remember these shows), TAS did not warp the format of the parent series to pander to an adult’s conception of its presumed child audience.

64. Jovan - July 23, 2007

“That first name crap really torques me off. Sulu and Uhura don’t have first names in the series, so they don’t have them.”

*roll eyes*

I believe HIKARU Sulu said his first name in ST6. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. To say Uhura doesn’t have a first name… that purely doesn’t make sense. Even Spock has a full name, but he notes in TOS that it takes years of practice to pronounce his family name.

65. Lodni Kranazon - July 23, 2007

TAS is canon – simple as that. I don’t consider much of what the B & B knuckleheads did canon.

66. TrekNerd - July 23, 2007

How ’bout we divide canon as follows:

Live-action canon

Animated canon

Print canon

Online canon

Video game canon

Each canon can be its own “universe.”

Y’likes?

67. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 23, 2007

I think elements of TAS are canon and others are not. Maybe they need to come out and say… For Example…

“Beyond the Farthest Star…” Huge ship/entity canon…life support belts not canon.

“Infinate Vulcan…” the Retlaw Plant is Canon…huge Spock is not.

68. MichaelJohn - July 23, 2007

I personally think “StoneTrek” should be considered canon..it’s so much better than TAS.

Fred Flinstone as Capt. Kirk…now that’s genius!

Mike :o

69. dmon5 - July 24, 2007

#56 “…Hence, “James R Kirk” is not canon, while “James T Kirk” is. Hypercanonists will claim that Kirk’s full name must be “James R. T. Kirk” or some such nonsense, while canonists understand that the “R” (failing consistency) is rejected.”

For people who get annoyed with the “James R. Kirk” inconsistancy in WNMHGB, think of it this way:
Though Gary Mitchell had god-like powers, he was still an imperfect human because he thought Kirk’s middle name began with an “R”.
Didn’t Kirk say even though Mitchell thought he was a “god”, he was still driven by human frailties?
Having the “R” on the tombstone is a clever way to show Mitchell was still an imperfect human.

70. Dom - July 24, 2007

Maybe the ‘James R Kirk’ thing was a joke. Maybe Mitchell used to call him James ‘Retard’ Kirk or something. The ‘R’ might be a personal insult that only Kirk would understand!!

71. TJR - July 24, 2007

It’s cannon if you think it is.

I like the TAS so it’s cannon to me.

…And yes, I love the idea of a remastered TAS!

Keep the soundtrack, keep the all the character, set ,and background designs.

Just re-do all the animation.

I’d buy that DVD set!

72. Sean4000 - July 24, 2007

Although the TAS DVD was cleaned up nicely, seeing new animation is a tantalizing idea.

73. TJR - July 24, 2007

If I was a writer working on any kind of Star Trek Property be it film, comics, prose, or screen……I would only be concerned with what has appeared on screen insofar as making sure that I don’t write something contradictory.

I would not concern myself with every comic, or novel, etc that has ever been written.

I am not saying that these other mediums are not canon. I just wouldn’t be concerned with them.

74. Picard - July 24, 2007

I think anything that has been officially licensed should qualify as canon. That includes all the TV series (yes, that includes TAS), all the movies, and all the novels and comic books. In my opinion, it’s been licensed for a reason, and should be canon.

75. chud - July 24, 2007

Don’t you all realize that the only Star Trek canon was “The Doomsday Machine”? None of the other episodes of any of the shows actually happened.

76. JamesRKirk - July 25, 2007

While it’s entertaining to argue about this it’s not that important. The best three Star Trek movies were written or co-written by Nicholas Meyer, who when he made the very best Trek movie had seen maybe three episodes of the original series.

Meyer’s comments in the youtube video posted here are excellent, especially the one about what makes a movie work. If you have strong characters and a solid plot almost nothing else matters, it will work. Even if Khan never met Chekov and the torpedo bay is full of metal grates that look like they belong in a world war two submarine and Kirk’s son has a goofy sweater.

77. unstable awdo - August 5, 2007

#13
i don’t understand. A true fan must accept the good and the bad, but TAS is not good enough… (or maybe not bad enough for that matter?)

I once pay a lot of attention to “canon”, “official” things. I don’t care anymore. I understand that things would get out of hand if novels and comics were accpted as canon. But if Ms. Block calls it a “very important tool”, i feel compelled to ask “ok, but a tool for WHAT?”. I simply can’t guess.

So everything on screen is canon, be it stupid (brainless Spock controlled by a five-key pad), impossible (a enterprise replica built on an overpopulated planet) or just ridiculous (hippiiiiiiiiiiiiiies in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace…). And if at some point there’s inconsistencies (Perrin being the second wife of Sarek and a vulcan princess his first, so i guess Amanda was his first and a half…), well, that’s OK : both assertions are on screen, both are canon.

I suppose, too, that since the Defiant insignia in ENT seems to be considered “more canon” than the one seen in TOS by many, the remastered version of The Tholian Web will take care of that… (hell, a “fan” even wrote that she hoped the dedication plaque would be remastered, too!!!)

So it comes to this : all that “canon” thing hurts my head. If Paramount needs it for whatever reason, well, let’em go with it. But i don’t care anymore. Is the story good? that’s what i ask myself.

40
You’re right : STV is a poor story but an excellent dream! And the hints you gave do make sense… Thank you.

may everyone live long and prosper.

78. bob - August 26, 2007

I love Star Trek, but we have to remember-

It’s fiction, it is not real.

We all share some reality- we all share some fiction.

If Gene Roddenberry were still here what he says would be it.

Since he is not, and Star Trek goes on, to say what is absolutely
canon and what is not is meaningless.

Just enjoy.

79. Crazy Guy - January 22, 2009

Personally, I don’t see what the big deal regarding ‘canon’ is. I mean, I can understand pointing at a Trek spoof or parody (or even a comedy set in the actual Trek universe), and saying, “Okay, THAT’S not canon,” while pointing at something that takes the source material seriously and saying “That over there IS canon.”

I believe that anyone who writes a good story for a franchise, be it Star Trek, Star Wars, Terminator, Babylon 5, whatever…I believe that if they write a story for that franchise and it’s an officially licensed work, then that story and what takes place in it should be considered canon. Spoofs, parodies and the like, however, while fun to read, shouldn’t be considered canon.

Again, it’s just what I think. Tell me what you think.

80. X - March 21, 2009

I truely think that Star trek TAS should be considered canon. In retrospect they only did three seasons of TOS then canceled the show. TAS had two seasons thus to me, combining the two gives us the full five year mission of TOS. And on top of that the cat girl M’Ress; Her species was brought into Star Trek 5 so that helps to solidify TAS as canon somewhat.

81. Xenia - January 29, 2010

I’d sooner say TAS is canon than VOY, ENT, Insurrection and Nemesis.

But anyways. Paramount can say what it wants, but *I* am the (an) end user. Much like someone who buys a car can make a hotrod out of it if they want, or buy a computer, remove windows and install linux… I’ve bought the Trek material that interests me (DVDs, books, whatever), and I – like every other fan – is free to interpreted as we each see fit. So my Trek world is TOS, TNG, DS9, the movies up to and including First Contact, and the Rihannsu series of novels. It works for me, I draw enjoyment from it. THAT is all that matters. Many may disagree with me on DS9 say, or Rihannsu… BUT we still have TOS, TNG whatever in common… which brings people together amicably.

And, Paramount’s moneymaking desires aside, it is *that* – bringing people together in amity – that is the point of the whole Trek theme.

82. BEN - February 19, 2010

First I have to say Gene was great in keeping on track to get it all going, but he kept wanting to steer it in a way that wasn’t as entertaining to watch. Star Trek suffered from some of the ways they would slip some political controversy in secretly and angered network people who held grudges and set out to kill it. Gene should definately get props for having confidence in Star Trek when it would have failed otherwise. He did keep wanting to make it a certain way that annoyed some fans. The recurring environment he kept making with the “Number One” and the tension on the bridge of people who were constantly not really liking eachother, and one piece boring bland uniforms. It always worked better when the crew could relax some and you could tell when they were getting along. Oh, and Canon, well that’s whatever is least contradictory to TOS. I count any books, unused scripts, movies, animated, fan products as long as they’re faithful to the storyline.

83. BEN - February 19, 2010

M’Ress, didn’t she retire and become a dancer, showing up in Star Trek V? And the Navigator had his species show up in Voyager. And when it comes to good and bad episodes of Star Trek, I love alternate dimensions, but one episode that made that more boring than that PBS painter guy with a fro was The Alternative Factor. The Trouble with Tribbles gets so overplayed I usually skip it as well. One episode I didn’t see until just a year or 2 ago was the Gamesters of Triskelion. They kept not airing it when it’s slot came around for years. I wanted to see it bad. I really like City at the Edge of Forever and I Mudd. That really used to bewilder me when I was about 1 and 2, how they killed Scotty with a whistle.

84. Trojan - March 17, 2010

I think that Star Trek The Animated Series should be canon.

Anyways Star Trek The Next Generation The Rascals is based on
Star Trek The Animated Series The Counter-Clock Incident.

To my knowlege this is the only time that a star trek live action has based on Star Trek The Animated Series episode.

Star Trek The Next Generation Rascals episode summary internet address is listed below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rascals_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation)

Star Trek The Animated Series The Counter-Clock Incident
episode summary internet address is listed below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Counter-Clock_Incident

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