Wednesday, July 20, 2011
One of the things I love about the early Original Series episodes, particularly the second pilot, is how much stuff they were still figuring out. Details that would become ingrained in our minds as iconic Trek just weren't in place yet. Plus, no one thought we would one day be watching this in HD Blu-Ray glory nit-picking over said details. The first obvious difference is the uniforms. In "Where No Man Has Gone Before" we see Starfleet rockin' the cowl-neck tunics with muted colors and no engineering red. Even Spock is wearing a tannish gold tunic. The rank stripe was solid in this episode and in later Trek became braided. Interestingly, their insignias at the time were different from what we know now. Elizabeth Dehner sports what would become an engineering insignia when clearly, as a doctor she should be wearing one for science. She does, however, wear the blue uniform for science/medical and damnnit women wore pants!
Another interesting inconsistency is that Dehner is listed on Memory Alpha as being 5'2 when
actress Sally Kellerman's IMDB says she is 5'10. In many shots, she appears taller than male crew members. I've met Sally Kellerman and she's definitely not a short lady. Memory Alpha most likely got this information from a closeup of the personnel file, which is clearly visible now in HD. It also lists her age at 21, which is kind of laughable considering she's a high-ranking-ship's psychiatrist. They also state her as having a PhD, which is atypical for a medical doctor unless she earned her PhD in something else. Perhaps biomedical engineering? But, when in her 21 years did she have time to do all this? Clearly, she is a super woman. No slight to Sally, but I doubt she was 21 when she filmed this episode. Let's just say she carried an air of maturity about her. In the script, Dehner was described as "past her mid-twenties, rather tall and slim, with a face that could be beautiful if she cared to make it so. She doesn't." So, if we give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe the personnel record is simply an outdated one.
This episode has some more famous inconsistencies like Kirk's middle initial on the tombstone during the big showdown between him and god-like Gary Mitchell. He's listed as James R. Kirk, not Tiberius as we have come to know him. George Takei is even credited as "Physicist." Spock still whips out a phaser pistol from "The Cage" and the incomplete transporter console without levers to energize is laughable. The list goes on and on...
Little things like that make us chuckle now, but seriously, no one thought we'd be harping on these details. Now, I have a convention costume emulating some of these inconsistencies. How much do you want to make a bet someone tries to point out that I'm inaccurate? That's what's so great about this era of TV making. They were making it up as they went along and in many ways that's what makes it more endearing.