Introducing Shuttle Pod – The TrekMovie Podcast: V’Ger v. Nomad

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A few months ago, TrekMovie writer Jared Whitley made a casual comment that the TOS episode “The Changeling” was better than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fellow TM writer Brian Drew picked up the gauntlet Jared threw down, and the two decided to debate the respective merits of the two tales, which are similar in plot if not in tone, theme, or scope.

To carry out the debate, we have inaugurated Shuttle Pod: The TrekMovie Podcast. Let us know in the comment section what you think about the debate and the idea of TM podcast in general.

 

Shuttle Pod: Episode 1 – V’Ger v. Nomad

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And even if this Shuttle Pod is a horrible disaster that goes down in flames, there will be another shiny new one in a couple weeks – just like on the show.

Follow Jared and Brian on Twitter.

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May the shuttle pod fly long and prosper!

Idea is great… need to be able to download it to our phones….

Jared and Brian,

On behalf of our community here (but not including Cygnus X-1), I’d like to thank you for this interesting and outstanding podcast. Well done!

I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but it’s a great idea! It’s like a Trekmovie audio book :)

Interesting that I never picked up on the similarities of both stories in terms of the origin of both NOMAD and V’Ger. Well done everyone. Looking forward to the next podcast. Thanks!!!!

Where Nomad has gone before.

4 you beat me to it.

Love to see this show up in itunes or another podcast app. My main listening time is commuting.

Is there a feed where we can subscribe in a podcast app by chance?

Hey all –

Thanks for the feedback thus far. Keep it coming!

As for accessing the podcast via app, iTunes, or other means: since this is our shakedown cruise, we haven’t built out any kind of infrastructure yet. We wanted to gauge reaction first. Guess we’ll have to get the ball rolling!

Until we do that, the only way to access it will be this page. Sorry about that.

Jared and Brian, I enjoyed the podcast. I found Brian’s points about TMP, especially with regard to Spock’s characterization, interesting and will now have to go back and watch TMP in order to look for and react to those. You guys framed this dialogue at the outset as something of a “debate” over whether The Changeling or TMP was the better treatment of their common made-made satellite melds with artificial intelligence and thereby becomes a threat to humanity story-line. However, my impression at the end of the podcast is that, while you had an interesting back-and-forth, you strayed from your originally chosen path early on and never really returned to it. While I have a clear sense of why Brian is so fond of TMP, I don’t quite know why Jared finds The Changeling a better treatment of their common trope. Maybe Jared was persuaded by Brian’s argument early on, or didn’t really feel that strongly about his own position to begin with. The aforementioned is not a huge flaw, but my suggestion for next time would be for you both to structure your speaking time a bit more—something like what John and Ken do in their Mission Log podcasts. For example, first give a summary of the subject matter—or, in the case of this podcast, the subject matter of each person’s argument. Then, maybe each of you presents his thesis. Then you each take turns expressing your own points of view, etc… Then, you do a summation at the… Read more »

Regarding what you guys said about Gene not liking much humor in TOS and TMP not having much humor in it, I’m inclined to agree, however I would put forth another scene as even funnier than the McCoy/Spock exchange that you mentioned. I still laugh-out-loud when VGER first starts scanning the Enterprise with lightning bolts or whatever and Commander Obvious (Decker) orders the clearly disturbed Chekov, who is almost paralyzed with fear at the bizarre event happening in close proximity to him, “Don’t interfere with it!”

Walter Koenig’s delivery of Chekov’s reaction is spot-on for a bit of comic relief: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2mYL8_hgsM

CHEKOV: “Absolutely I will not interfere!” = Are you f*cking kidding me?!?

Both “The Changeling” and TMP are good in differing ways.

V’ger as a massive machine vessel is more threatening and maybe even more plausible, considering it visited a vast machine planet.

TMP was going for an epic, massive 2001:A Space Odyssey look and feel, and this gives TMP the scope needed to put this story across.

“The Changeling” was a good story delivered within the budgets of the time of TOS.

Both served the theme, I think.

Some people do not like the TMP approach to storytelling, saying it is not Trek. But I disagree.

Trek told stories in a variety of ways, and not just action-adventure. The episode “The Corbomite Manoeuvre” comes to mind. Not action-adventure, but a great story of first contact, nonetheless. And one of my favourites.

TMP, its tone, its feel, its scope, is merely one method of Trek storytelling and I enjoyed it. (The Director’s Cut is better as it has better pacing.)

It’s too bad cinema goers today are gung-ho for action and spectacle all the time—and it’s too bad Hollywood keeps pushing that formula.

There are many great ways to tell a story, and I wish Trek had the opportunity as a series of films to utilise differing methods.

The thing is we don’t have to decide between the two, we have them both and it’s all enjoyable :) Nonetheless I like the podcast concept!

Any chance we could get it transcribed and posted as text? I know that’s a lot of work, but I’m not a huge fan of podcasts in general. I prefer to read. Like Sam Cogley.

-Harry

Cygnus –

I agree that our focus drifted a bit, and that it became more of a discussion about TMP than anything else. Our next couple of topics will definitely have more structure. We’ll get better at this as we go.

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. Appreciate it!

Harry –

It’s unlikely that we’ll be doing any kind of transcribing. Sorry about that!

Very well produced and highly entertaining. Now I’m drawn to watch TMP again with a fresh perspective. Thanks! Looking forward to the next installment.

I like both, but I’d say TMP is superior because Uhura doesn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having to learn to read again like she does in The Changeling. Yeah, not one of Trek’s finest moments.

Maybe instead Nomad could’ve just zapped her vocal cords, and then McCoy could’ve done reconstructive surgery. Would’ve saved us from that dumb dialogue.

“The ball is bl-u-ee. Bl-u-ey. Bluey?”

Bleh.

One thing I would like to see on these is an indication of the length. Before I listen to most podcasts, I like to know if I’m committing myself for 15 minutes or risking 15 hours… [grin]

Have always thought anyone paying attention should have realized TMP was too much a rehash of Changeling. Some of the discussions in the TMP book released earlier this year indicates some concern was, in fact, raised, but I think they had so many other problems they didn’t care…

5 L Stone, Whut! And from comments I’ve seen in the past you are not the only one who was unaware of the similarities of the plotlines. Startling. I realized it during my first viewing of TMP!

6 dakin, exactement!

14 Tiberius, “director’s cut … has better pacing” — above a crawl at times, I hope. Maybe I’ll take a second look. To me it was a cinematic and dressed-up overexamination of something already covered in “The Changeling” — as if someone decided, let’s take a good episode and give it the dee-luxe movie treatment. And add a beautiful short-skiŕted female from a race of sexually free beings (seemed to be a favorite trope of Roddenberry”s, if you look at Deanna Troi’s background)!

That said, I enjoyed certain moments of the film, and the Enterprise as always was a beautiful lady. Spock’s show-offy piloting of his shuttle was fun. Hmmmm … thinking ….

I still wonder how Spock intended to stop himself after he jettisoned his thruster suit. Lucky for him, some visual effects caught him part-way towards smashing like a grapefruit into V’ger’s far wall.

If he didn’t intend to stop (i.e. a “suicide burn”) then what was the point then?

Both are great. TMP is the winner, however, and is also the greatest of all the Star Trek movies.

re :16. Harry Seldom
“Any chance we could get it transcribed and posted as text? I know that’s a lot of work, but I’m not a huge fan of podcasts in general. I prefer to read. Like Sam Cogley.

-Harry”

I agree, Harry!

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I’ll take a flyer anyway and state that I’m with Mr. Drew all the way on this one. TMP certainly has its innumerable flaws as a Star Trek movie, but has the saving grace of taking its subject matter seriously (the implications of which are profound, even if the story isn’t), and that counts for a lot, even if it doesn’t entirely compensate for the languid pacing, the offputting characterizations of the Enterprise crew, and some inconsistent FX work. “The Changeling,” by comparison, is just a lark–a variation of the “how do we kill it?” second season show exemplified by “The Doomsday Machine,” “The Immunity Syndrome,” and “Obsession,” but decidedly inferior to any of those. There’s little of the sense of wonder that TOS managed so often to achieve on its modest budget, and the conclusion, where Kirk out-argues a super-computer for the umpteenth time, driving it to suicide, either showcases John Meredith Lucas’ limitations as a writer or demonstrates that he didn’t take the whole concept very seriously himself. In my view, it’s a serviceable episode at best.

12. Cygnus-X1 – September 11, 2015

That may not be the best character moment in TMP, but it is the one the feels the freshest, the most spontaneous, the most alive.

@ Michael Hall

Which says a lot about how anemic the screenplay was for the TMP.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the look, science fiction story and sound of TMP, but the screenplay just plain stunk.

HL kept stressing how he wanted to make the TOS characters more mature and real, but that only comes across successfully a few times (the Kirk/Decker exchange after the first whiplash attack is probably the one that comes closest to working.) Makes me wonder and again question HL’s re-employment(s) on TMP after p2, as I thought the balance between flawed and idealized is a key strength to TOS (and to the followup films), as when I think of Kirk I think of the impetuous aspect at the end of ERRAND OF MERCY and through act 2 of ARENA as much as I do, say, RETURN TO TOMORROW, where he is more idealized. A bit of a tangent, but remember about how Shatner wanted Kirk to make something happen at the end of SFS, aiding how Spock gets his marbles back? I think some of that (besides ego issues) may go back to TMP, where Kirk often doesn’t drive much of anything in a useful way. About the biggest decision he makes is, ‘steady as she goes’ during the vger intercept … even assigning Decker to handle the probe isn’t so much his call as vger’s, given the onscreen evidence that the probe is more susceptible to Decker than to the Kirk legend. And, totally off topic, but I have been looking at TNG movie blu-rays lately, and I flashed back on something about INSURRECTION that bugged me right from opening day. I figured the whole Anij-teaching-Picard-to-stop-time was going to play… Read more »

Nicely done Brian and Jared. Looking forward to more -Congrats.

#19 – “because Uhura doesn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having to learn to read again like she does in The Changeling…Would’ve saved us from that dumb dialogue.
“The ball is bl-u-ee. Bl-u-ey. Bluey?””

Who was embarrassed and why? Lt Uhura suffered a similar kind of injury that many people can suffer today through car accidents etc. Parts of their brain gets seriously injured and they have to start all over. Lt Uhura was fortunate because she regained full function. Others, in real life, are not so fortunate.

It is neither funny nor bleh. It is and what can be. None of these human characters are exempt from what could happen to any other human being, now or in the future.

That is what makes Star Trek good!

For me, TMP was one huge, beautiful, frustrating mis-fire…it’s re-hashing of The Changeling being the least of its problems. But it brought enough interest back to Star Trek to green-light Wrath of Khan, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

@ Jonboc

Yep, I still love that awesome looking, hard sf-Trek misfire as well.

32. Jonboc

TMP almost torpedoed the possibility of more Trek movies! You should know better. If TMP had been better, the following movies would have been properly funded instead of so cheap-looking and shoddy. TMP was a huge missed opportunity in Trek history.

BTW, the podcast doesn’t work. “Error: Audio playback was aborted”.

@ Anthony Thompson

WRONG!

TMP did very well box-office wise, making about 3 times its production plus marketing budget when you factor in international ticket sales.

Paramount went on the cheap for WOK because they could, not because of financial pressures from a supposed financial failure of the first movie.

I remember being aware, and a tad disappointed, of the fact that TMP was basically a retread of the Nomad episode as I watched the movie the first time. I’m not a hater of the movie, as it holds importance for me, but I like the Changelling episode better. As a story, the show I thought, better executed.

Because I dont know where else to put this but TM, when are you going to make an article/review of Star Trek Renegades already??? C’mon the thing has been out for several weeks now.

I mean its obvious there is not much else to talk about with the lack of Beyond news (not to say this article isnt interesting in itself but clearly the light discussion says it all).

I wouldn’t bring it up but the only reason why I heard of Renegades because this site is where I even heard about it so its odd there is no article on it once it came out.

I guess I just want to hear what fellow TM members thought and even with its problems and a fan film its still a film.

#36. Prodigal Son – September 13, 2015

You tell him. and don’t forget Paramount used blind bidding on the theaters big time for TMP. Before even one frame of film was shot they had already covered all their future production costs to come in that one auction. Unlike most other films’ ticket sales, Paramount’s cut was bringing in profits from ticket one sold for TMP.

And while TMP had Persis Khambatta the Changelling had Vic Perrin. “You are the Kirk. You are the creator. I am NOMAD. I am perfect!” I mean, that makes an episode right there. Love me some Vic Perrin

#36 & 38 – Plus, “TMP” was pre-sold to ABC television while the movie was still in production. ABC paid $15 million for two runs of the film, to commence no earlier than December of 1982. This also was pure profit for Paramount, since the blind bidding covered production costs. The film made its network TV premiere in February of 1983. Its second run was in March of 1987, and a third run (for which I assume ABC had to pay more) was done in the summer of 1989. (“TMP” also premiered on HBO in May of 1981. However, that may have been part of a package deal with the studio.)

36. Prodigal Son – The Grand Return

TMP did as well as it did because of the goodwill generated by TOS. Nothing more. Trek was dead in the water (or in space) after that film and there was no assurance that another film would even be made. In fact, the original plan for TWOK was for it to be a television movie. The goodwill and excitement that had been built up for a movie in the decade since TOS had been almost totally extinguished by disappointment with TMP. Quit trying to sell your revisionist history.

@ Anthony Thompson

You are confusing financial success with critical success. I was there in 1979…I know the movie made a lot of money and I also know the movie was disappointing.

Paramount has always seemed to have bad management. The went cheap on WOK because they could, not because they had to. This whole idea that they might not have made a second movie was bull — just the studio execs exerting their leverage to cheap out on the sequels.

Yep, I recall this as well. TMP made a ton of money.

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41. Adam Bomb 1701 – September 14, 2015
#36 & 38 – Plus, “TMP” was pre-sold to ABC television while the movie was still in production. ABC paid $15 million for two runs of the film, to commence no earlier than December of 1982. This also was pure profit for Paramount, since the blind bidding covered production costs. The film made its network TV premiere in February of 1983. Its second run was in March of 1987, and a third run (for which I assume ABC had to pay more) was done in the summer of 1989. (“TMP” also premiered on HBO in May of 1981. However, that may have been part of a package deal with the studio.)

Well said!

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39. Disinvited – September 14, 2015
#36. Prodigal Son – September 13, 2015

You tell him. and don’t forget Paramount used blind bidding on the theaters big time for TMP. Before even one frame of film was shot they had already covered all their future production costs to come in that one auction. Unlike most other films’ ticket sales, Paramount’s cut was bringing in profits from ticket one sold for TMP.

No question. One is an original work. The other a shameless rehash.

The idea that TMP being better received would have ensured more money for sequels is not too credible. Every APES movie had less money spent on it AFAIK, because of the law of diminishing returns determined the studio thinking.

SW had already stolen TREK’s thunder and cashed in on that near-decade of goodwill and fanaticism built up, so even a critically praised TMP was not going to be the beyond-mega that it could have been if Paramount struck when the iron was blue-hot.

I remember how disappointed I was in TMP when it first came out, and angry about how it was handled (except music and vfx), but to be fair, it took me two viewings to really enjoy WRATH OF KHAN. I haven’t ever really been happy with TSFS, and the dif between that and TMP is that at least my enjoyment of TMP has gone up massively, especially once the films hit laserdisc in widescreen.

@ kmart

“The idea that TMP being better received would have ensured more money for sequels is not too credible. Every APES movie had less money spent on it AFAIK, because of the law of diminishing returns determined the studio thinking.”

Yes, that was the predominant way studios thought in those days…they viewed it as making a large investment in the first, movie, and then wanted to bleed the sequels dry to maximize ROI. George Lucas was one of the few who actually financed his own movies, so SW was the exception in those days.

…meant of course that Lucas financed ESP and ROTJ…not the original SW.

After hearing so much talk about this movie I had to watch it again. TMP always has a reputation for being slow, but the director’s cut had a better reputation. It’s almost been 16 years since I’ve last seen it. One thing that bothered me about it was that it felt like a remake of The Changeling. I’m watching the movie now and I’m enjoying it. I love the first half of the movie with the crew getting back together while trying to get the Enterprise operating properly. The premise is pretty interesting. A huge cloud that is destroying everything in it’s path while heading to earth. One thing I love about Star Trek is the sense of adventure of space exploration and characters.

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