WI: The Enterprise completes its five year mission (Star Trek survives for 5 seasons)

Article 1: NBC Reevaluating Primetime Lineup
One of the worst decisions ever made by a television network was NBC's cancellation of Star Trek (the Original Series) after its third season in 1969. After two years of middling ratings placed Star Trek in the Friday Night death time slot, at 10:00 PM, so fewer fans would be able to watch the series. In our timeline, NBC killed off Star Trek, but it went to syndication where it became more popular than ever in the 1970s. NBC knew of the depth of Star Trek fandom but had no idea how deep it ran until they no longer made the show. So here we go...the divergence point.

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NBC REEVALUATING ITS PRIMETIME LINEUP

VARIETY MAGAZINE, March 1, 1968

NBC, having finished a distant second in the ratings battle with CBS, was forced to reevaluate its primetime lineup to see where they could find potential strength for the fall 1968 television season. Two shows which faced the chopping block this season were The Man From U.N.C.L.E., on Mondays from 8:00 to 9:00 PM, and Star Trek, on Fridays from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM. The Man From U.N.C.L.E faced a lot of turbulence when showrunners decided to turn the spy show into a comedy. Its ratings, formerly very competitive with CBS, dropped dramatically in the 1967-68 season; NBC is pondering what direction the show can turn to next. Star Trek was rumored to be cancelled because it rated poorly with an audience of older Americans, but its largely young fanbase swarmed NBC with tens of thousands of letters demanding its renewal. NBC is undecided at this point about U.N.C.L.E.'s fate but is bringing Star Trek back for a third season. However, the suits at the Peacock Network are uncertain about which timeslot to place Star Trek in. Could it replace U.N.C.L.E. on Monday or will NBC try to move it later to Friday night, where its chances of survival are slim?


 
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Article 2: NBC Finds Star Trek is Actually popular
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NBC CONDUCTS STUDY ON TREK: NIELSEN RATINGS NOT FULLY ACCURATE?

VARIETY MAGAZINE, March 15, 1968

NBC is unsure of how to handle Star Trek, the big hit with younger American television viewers but a ratings laggard with the general public. The network conducted a study to determine exactly what it has with the science fiction series and its findings were surprising. They determined that younger Americans often watched Star Trek in groups, and it was one of the most popular shows among the age 20-30 and age 30-40 brackets. They also determined that Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the characters were extremely popular with young kids, who often wanted to stay up past their bedtimes on Friday night to see where they and the Enterprise would go next. However, NBC found a significant decline in popularity among viewers older than 50. Due to this wide age disparity, NBC is mulling over whether they will place Star Trek on Mondays in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s old time slot at 8 PM; U.N.C.L.E. was pulled in January and is unlikely to return to television. The Monday 8 PM time slot is often popular with younger audiences, but comes with great competition as is well known in the industry.

NBC contacted Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, Herb Solow, the showrunner at Paramount, who recently acquired Desilu Studios, and Robert Justman, one of the show's producers, for a planning session to widen the show's popularity for a general audience. Roddenberry objected to NBC's proposal to make Star Trek a show with a more pragmatic, less optimistic future. He also objected to the idea that the show had to appeal to older audiences, arguing that the strength of the show was rooted in the creative storytelling that attracted younger adults and children. Solow and Justman also disagreed to an extent but determined that parts of the show had to be remodeled in order to make it a wider hit. Ideas for the third season were pitched to the network; one was rumored to involve Mr. Spock's brain being removed from his body, while another was rumored to have the Enterprise enter Romulan space unprovoked in order to spy on them, a major diversion from the normal behavior of the Enterprise crew.
 
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Star Trek Avoids the Friday Night Death Time Slot
STAR TREK MOVED TO MONDAY TIMESLOT; SPY SHOW RUMORED TO BE THIRD SEASON PREMIERE

VARIETY MAGAZINE, March 20, 1968

After conducting its study on the audience demographics of Star Trek, NBC is likely to place the science fiction drama on Mondays at 8:00 PM, facing stiff competition from both CBS and ABC. The Peacock Network's decision indicates its confidence in the series, despite average ratings, and places intense pressure on William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and the rest of the cast to perform at a very high level to improve the show's appeal to a wider audience. Star Trek is rumored to become a more Cold War oriented show with greater emphasis placed on the Klingons and Romulans, the enemies of the human-led Federation. To build on this story, it is rumored that a spy thriller involving the Enterprise and the Romulans, who appeared in the first season hit episode "Balance of Terror," will become the third season premiere. Gene Roddenberry attempted to sell NBC on the idea of an episode where Mr. Spock's brain is removed from his body, but NBC rejected the idea, considering it unappealing and potentially grotesque to general audiences.
 
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Interesting start, I am always in favor of more Star Trek content on Ah.com. What is the exact PoD? NBC realizes the show’s popularity a few years earlier?
 
Interesting start, I am always in favor of more Star Trek content on Ah.com. What is the exact PoD? NBC realizes the show’s popularity a few years earlier?
Two major points of departure:

1. NBC realizes that young people watched the show in groups, so the Nielsen ratings for the show were often skewed low. Therefore, the third season was placed on Monday night at 8 PM instead of the late Friday death time slot.

2. The third season turns the show into a less campy (although still campy) show with more brawls for it all between the Enterprise and their Klingon and Romulan foes. This allows Gene Coon, one of the show's top writers, to expand on some of his ideas about applying the Cold War world to Star Trek (Coon created the Klingons). Therefore, Spock's Brain is either placed in the middle of the third season or not made, instead of it being the third season premiere, which affected the show negatively IRL. In this TL, The Enterprise Incident is the 3rd season premiere and it leads to a recurring story arc where the Federation is on the verge of war with the Romulans, with the Klingons threatening to make it two on one against the Federation. This also pushes Gene Roddenberry away from the show for a little bit, which allows the talented writers to expand on their best efforts to make the show a bigger hit.
 
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Two major points of departure:

1. NBC realizes that young people watched the show in groups, so the Nielsen ratings for the show were often skewed low. Therefore, the third season was placed on Monday night at 8 PM instead of the late Friday death time slot.

2. The third season turns the show into a less campy (although still campy) show with more brawls for it all between the Enterprise and their Klingon and Romulan foes. This allows Gene Coon, one of the show's top writers, to expand on some of his ideas about applying the Cold War world to Star Trek (Coon created the Klingons). Therefore, Spock's Brain is either placed in the middle of the third season or not made, instead of it being the third season premiere, which affected the show negatively IRL. In this TL, The Enterprise Incident is the 3rd season premiere and it leads to a recurring story arc where the Federation is on the verge of war with the Romulans, with the Klingons threatening to make it two on one against the Federation. This also pushes Gene Roddenberry away from the show for a little bit, which allows the talented writers to expand on their best efforts to make the show a bigger hit.
Sounds interesting, you got yourself a watch then.
 
I'm going purely from memory but there was a persistent but constantly deferred idea of a recurring Klingon villain in the show. Deferred because the actors were not available when needed. I believe initially it was Kor, then it was going to be William Campbell's Koloth. And the actor who played Kang was originally going to be Kor again, but he was unavailable. And the actor who played Kang was willing to return but the show was cancelled.

Quoting Campbell:
"Had they been continuing, I would have been signed for 13 episodes as Koloth and I would have liked to do that [....] I think Roddenberry zigged when he should have zagged. He never should have allowed the Kirk and Koloth thing to die there." (Starlog #128)
 
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I'm going purely from memory but there was a persistent but constantly deferred idea of a recurring Klingon villain in the show. Deferred because the actors were not available when needed. I believe initially it was Kor, then it was going to be William Campbell's Koloth. And the actor who played Kang was originally going to be Kor again, but he was unavailable. And the actor who played Kang was willing to return but the show was cancelled.

Quoting Campbell:
"Had they been continuing, I would have been signed for 13 episodes as Koloth and I would have liked to do that [....] I think Roddenberry zigged when he should have zagged. He never should have allowed the Kirk and Koloth thing to die there." (Starlog #128)
I might tie Kor and Koloth into this at some point. My third season head canon is telling me that The Enterprise Incident was one of the few really good third season shows IRL and the result of the show would certainly lead to a Federation-Romulan general war (Kirk steers the Enterprise into Romulan space to steal state of the art Romulan tech, a cloaking device). So there might be a story arc instead of the planet of the week where Kirk, Spock and company are duking it out with the Romulans
 
The problem with keeping "TOS" on the air is its consistently poor ratings. In third season, it never got out of the bottom 50 (&, IIRC, was #52 when cancelled).

NBC recognizing the better demos early enough might save it in spite of that, much the same way golf gets broadcast despite poor numbers: it attracts a desirable audience.

They had two great opportunities to set up a continuing villain, undermined (I suspect) by inability to cast the same actor each time: "Tribbles" & "Day of the Dove". It would have taken more forethought about what Klingons would be like to achieve it, but I'd have loved "DotD" to end with Kirk saying, "Die well, Kang.", & a surprised Kang to say, "Die well, Kirk."--in essence, to be forced to acknowledge UFP as peers. (I know, I know, they didn't even have the concept for the bat'leth, yet...)

Depressingly, the writing would have to get a lot better. Even if you take out "Spock's Brain", you've already been saddled with "Errand of Mercy" (the Organian Treaty) in S.1 & "Omega Glory" in S.2. About half of S.3 is pretty awful. Even Dorothy's "Enterprise Incident" has a major flaw, one that would recur for the rest of the franchise: doesn't Starfleet Intelligence have it's own f*ng operatives?🙄☠️

You've also got two big issues: personality conflict between Shat's ego & just about everybody, & Leonard being really sick of playing Spock.

That said, I'll be watching to see how you save the show, & what butterflies that has down the road.
 
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Vahktang

Kicked
Donor
My scenario to save the show:
They were getting a lot of attention, a huge fan base.
A million pieces of mail was sent to NBC that included petitions as a single piece of mail although it had many more names on it.
Public Broadcasting System existed about that time.
They were looking to Congress for a grant of $20 million in 1969.
Each episode of TOS cost about $190,000 each to produce.
Average ticket price was about $1.42 in 1969, while the minimum wage wage about $1.60.
Every Star Trek fan pledges $1/week, less than a movie, for a season of Star Trek, which gets PBS $33 million, more than the grant, the Trekkers get their show, Sesame Street and Mister Rogers stay on the air and maybe Doctor Who comes in, too.
Science, the future, has a new home on PBS.
 
Chapter 4: Production Changes
OK, here we go into the reimagined third season! But first, a few role changes:

ROBERT JUSTMAN

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STAR TREK UNDERGOING CHANGES IN PRODUCTION TEAM FOR THIRD SEASON

Los Angeles Times (Entertainment section), June 2, 1968

The third season of Star Trek, which almost failed to launch were it not for a massive letter writing campaign by its devoted fanbase, will see some role changes among its production and writing staff. Herbert Solow, who was the showrunner for Trek when the series was produced by Desilu, has left Paramount, which acquired Desilu, for MGM. In his place, NBC approved Paramount promoting Robert Justman to showrunner. Justman, in a surprise move, placed Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana in charge of a large amount of the creative control which was formerly his role as executive producer. It is reported that Fontana will also contribute to scriptwriting. She is well into the planning stages of a story arc involving an Enterprise spy mission which is rumored to encompass at least the first five episodes of the new season. Previously, Star Trek was discouraged by Gene Roddenberry, the show's founder, to engage in long episodic arcs, instead preferring "planet of the week" episodes where the series stories were told as allegories.

Justman and Fontana are in talks to retain Gene Coon, one of the lead writers, for the third season. Coon is rumored to be undecided about remaining on Trek's staff, and is mulling over an offer to write and produce for ABC's new series "It Takes a Thief." Coon reportedly wants more creative control and ability to expand upon some of the characters and alien species he developed for the series.

Fontana at a 1975 convention recalls:

The Enterprise-Romulan stories were a little bit out of left field, considering we only did one Romulan story to that point in our first two seasons in "Balance of Terror." They were unusually well received by the fanbase, especially the subplot regarding Vulcan and its ancient relationship with the Romulans. I felt the Romulan story arc was the first time we truly expanded the show to a general audience. Star Trek was an excellent show, but at times a little too optimistic for a general public that was going through the trauma of the late 1960s. We had to make the show more realistic and gritty, and The Enterprise Incident, which led to a brief Federation-Romulan conflict, was extremely appealing to the public. I recall it winning the ratings battle for one of the few times with CBS and ABC at that point in the series' life. Although Gene [Roddenberry] didn't like it, we promised that the story arc would not encompass more than five or six episodes, and Gene acquiesced, although in his own grumpy way.

Justman at the same convention also recalls:

Gene hated giving up creative control. Star Trek was his baby, and the show was relatively successful as a very high-minded, intelligent science fiction program. We [D.C. Gene Coon, Herb Solow and I] proved that we could do it well Gene's way. We just wanted to try it our way. At first Gene flatly refused the idea of a Federation-Romulan war, but we convinced him that the third season needed to start with a bang and he ditched the idea of taking Spock's brain out of his head, at least for the first half of the season. I admit it was a little bit difficult being the showrunner after Herb left, but I relished the challenge. And we were wildly successful.

The hardest part was getting Gene Coon back on the show. He had a really good offer to produce It Takes a Thief from ABC, and Coon was starting to get tired of churning out scripts at an industrial rate (Coon was known to be able to write complete scripts in two or three days IRL). So I asked him to just write Klingon stories. Coon could take a short break from the show to recharge his batteries, and we promised that there would be several opportunities to expand on the Klingons in season three. So Coon split the baby, so to speak. He wrote a little bit for It Takes a Thief and he wrote stories later in the season for us. And they were great Klingon stories that were just as incredibly well received as the Romulan stories at the start of the season.


DC FONTANA

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Chapter 5: The Enterprise Incident is a Hit
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Two more updates today:

STAR TREK OFF TO A FLYING START IN SEASON THREE; EVEN ITS RATINGS ARE IN OUTER SPACE

Los Angeles Times (Entertainment), September 19, 1968

Now this is a rarity: Star Trek won the ratings battle for one of the few times in its history as a television show. The program earned a 32.2 Nielsen rating, which also contributed to a win for NBC an hour later, with Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. The Enterprise Incident, the season premiere, was premised around a space-weary Captain Kirk intentionally entering Romulan space to steal a cloaking device, a piece of machinery that allowed Romulan ships to remain invisible. Spock was seduced by a female Romulan commander, but before she was able to turn him to the Romulan cause, the Vulcan transmitted the location of the device to Kirk. Disguised as a Romulan after plastic surgery conducted by Dr. McCoy, Kirk, successfully carried out the mission. The show was considered a thriller and a rare, surprising entry into the spy genre by the high-minded science fiction series. One wonders what will happen next now that the Enterprise has successfully conducted a successful spy mission against one of its greatest enemies and captured one of its ship's commanders. Will the show continue down this path, or will this become another alien of the week episode that disappears into the ether without consequences?

Fontana at the first Star Trek convention in New York in 1972:

We had to continue down this path. The ratings were too good, as good as they ever were, and we were excited for the rest of the tale to play out. We weren't going to let this story die because in the fictional world, the Romulans certainly weren't. There was no way Kirk's incursion could go unpunished, and we had several surprises in store for both the Enterprise crew and the fanbase that stemmed off this episode. It really was the best season premiere we ever produced.

Roddenberry, in a 1976 interview:

I hated the idea because it flew against everything Star Trek should stand for. But I'll be damned if it didn't work because our popularity shot into the stratosphere, in what I thought was a very unexpected way.

Shatner, in a 1974 interview while working on the Animated Series:

That was the first time I put on the pointy ears. Now I understand what Leonard had to go through in the makeup tent everyday. It was hard keeping those damned ears on. That turned into the beginning of the most successful and well-written set of episodes. The weird part about the Fontana Romulan arc was that the shows were not centered around me and Leonard. Everyone in the series had a major part to play, and in the end, Nichelle as Uhura saved all of us, which was a completely unexpected development when we first read the stories. Nichelle always wanted more to do than say "hailing frequencies open," and DC gave her the time to shine.
 

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Weren't there plans to introduce a Cabin Boy/Cadet character in a fourth season, perhaps Kirks nephew?

I know one of the fan series picked the idea up.
 
Chapter 6: The Vulcan Quandary
Last update for today:

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September 23, 1968

THE VULCAN QUANDARY airs as the second episode of Season Three. War looms between the Federation and the Romulan Empire after the Romulans demand the return of their cloaking device and Livia, the captured Romulan commander. The Vulcans also object to Kirk's actions in Romulan space and threaten to leave the Federation. In response, Starfleet Command orders the Enterprise to Vulcan, hoping that Spock can compel the Vulcans to remain in the Federation.

Before the Vulcan High Council, Spock unexpectedly encounters T'Pring, now betrothed to Stonn after the events of Amok Time. Spock discovers that T'Pring is in favor of the Vulcans leaving the Federation after Kirk's Romulan incursion. T'Pring apparently has the support of most of the Vulcan populace, and argues that the Vulcans should no longer associate themselves with "illogical, irrational humans" who threaten to plunge the galaxy into war. According to T'Pring, the Vulcans should also declare their neutrality in the event of a Federation-Romulan conflict. "It is only logical to disassociate ourselves from the barbaric humans as we did when we expelled members of our own race who failed to follow the teachings of Surak thousands of years ago," T'Pring says as she lays down her case.

Spock counters by bringing up the excellent track record of the humans as explorers who grew out of barbarism into a galaxy-faring species. Spock notes that the Vulcans also had a barbaric past and purged their elements, noting T'Pring's mention of Surak. However, Spock also argues that humans, although an emotional species, "are undergoing the same process we Vulcans did in becoming a more evolved species. Although they may never achieve the level of logic as Vulcans have, they have largely followed our advice for two hundred years since we Vulcans guided them out of their nuclear dark age. Humans may still make mistakes, but we know they are nowhere near as barbaric as our Romulan cousins."

T'Pau, the leader of the Vulcan High Council, decides on a plebiscite of the Vulcan people to determine their future status in the Federation. In a surprise, the Vulcans stay in the Federation by a 51-49% vote. However, the Vulcans choose to remain neutral in a future Federation-Romulan conflict unless Starfleet returns the Romulan cloaking device and the imprisoned Romulan commander. Starfleet acquiesces to keep the Vulcans on their good side, but not before they secretly decide to develop a prototype cloaking device on several of their ships in case war breaks out.

Nimoy, recalling that show in 1973:

That was an extremely intense script to study and act out. I literally felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders to pull that acting off. I almost had to act out of character in a way, defending the humans that I constantly derided as illogical in the first two seasons. Arlene Martel matched me word for word, and she relished playing T'Pring, almost as a foil to my Spock character. Larry Montaigne was also there as Stonn to add to the tension. At one point, T'Pring's character tries to mind meld with me, because our characters were telepathically bonded as children, another part of Vulcan culture. In the end, Spock barely wins out, but we see T'Pring again, because she is not going to take her defeat lying down.

Arlene Martel (T'Pring), at a convention in 1975:

That was my favorite script of all time, in all my years of acting. I got to play a main part and go toe-to-toe with Leonard, in a logic battle. As it proved, I wasn't done with Leonard and the rest of the Enterprise crew yet. I still had a few surprises up my sleeve in this story arc.

Gene Roddenberry in 1975:

That was my favorite script in the Fontana Romulan story arc because it was a battle of minds and hearts. Would Spock win out with his people and keep the Federation at full strength or would T'Pring handicap the Federation, perhaps fatally? It seemed like the future of the Federation was fought out in a Vulcan courtroom. Very suspenseful indeed.
 
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Chapter 7: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
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Two updates for today:

September 30, 1968

After winning the ratings battle with The Enterprise Incident and finishing a very close second with The Vulcan Quandary, the third season continues with episode 3, A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, written by DC Fontana and Theodore Sturgeon. After the testimony at the Vulcan High Council and the extremely close vote to keep Vulcan in the Federation, the Enterprise beams over Sarek, T'Pring, Stonn and a Vulcan delegation to smooth over relations in preparation for potential war with the Romulans. At the diplomatic dinner, T'Pring sees Kirk and is astonished.

T'Pring: How is Kirk at this dinner? He was declared dead at the kal-if-fee last year.
Stonn: The humans deceived us. I think their doctor kept Kirk alive with something.
Kirk: Hello, T'Pring. How are you doing this wonderful day? Welcome aboard the Enterprise. You are fully welcome here as our steadfast Vulcan allies.

Uhura senses something amiss with T'Pring and the way she was eyeballing the crew, especially Spock. After dinner and a song, Uhura chats with Spock over their Vulcan guests.

Uhura: "T'Pring's behavior was odd at dinner. She seemed to be sizing us up over something."
Spock: "It is T'Pring's way to view unknown individuals with suspicion, Lieutenant. She considers humans to be illogical."
Uhura: "No wonder you chose not to keep her last year when we went to Vulcan and you were going a little crazy."
Spock: "T'Pring did not want to be my consort, so I obliged her wishes."
Uhura: "I think she is still holding a grudge over you winning the argument about keeping Vulcan in the Federation. I also think she is upset that you are no longer her husband."
Spock: "That is illogical, Lieutenant. Vulcans do not hold grudges or 'get upset.' However, you may be correct about one thing, Lieutenant. T'Pring and I were telepathically bonded as children in preparation for marriage. That is the Vulcan way."

Spock consults with Sarek about the possibility that T'Pring and Stonn are behaving in a manner unusual to Vulcans. Sarek notes nothing out of the ordinary, mentioning that Vulcans always view humans with a certain attitude because of the way humans are their opposite. Sarek makes the point that the delegation is on a ship full of humans and they feel uncomfortable, not knowing whether a member of Kirk's crew will behave irrationally or potentially threaten them. Spock, still wondering about T'Pring's behavior, suggests to Sarek that she converse with Spock in his quarters. Sarek agrees on the course of action.

Spock and T'Pring agree to meet in Spock's quarters.

T'Pring: "Why do you continue to serve with these humans. It is illogical and I believe highly dangerous to you."
Spock: "As you must remember, I am also half-human, born to a Vulcan father and a human mother. Some of these humans are friendly, especially my captain."
T'Pring: "We believed that you killed your captain at the kal-if-fee."
Spock: "A deception, T'Pring. I would never kill Kirk because he is my friend."
T'Pring: "A deception, Spock. I wonder what other deceptions Kirk and your human friends have ready for the Romulans. They irrationally entered Romulan space and stole a cloaking device, bringing the galaxy to the brink of war and threatening the Vulcan people with destruction."
Spock: "I assure you there are no other deceptions. Starfleet returned the cloaking device technology and the captured Romulan commander. The Federation acts in peace."
T'Pring: "Let us join our minds, because I am uncertain of your motives in this manner."

(T'Pring seduces Spock because they are still telepathically bonded. They mind meld and share each other's secrets.)

After the mind meld, Spock reports to Kirk and the crew a startling finding.

Spock: "You must remove T'Pring and Stonn from the Enterprise immediately, Captain."
Kirk: "Why, Mr. Spock. They seem a little cold to me but that's just how Vulcans are, you told me."
Spock: "I have reason to believe that T'Pring and Stonn are acting in consort with the Romulan Empire."
Kirk: "So you're saying they are Romulan spies?"
Spock: "Yes, Captain."
Kirk: "Spock, I need more than just your word for it to accuse members of high Vulcan society, individuals we need to ensure Vulcan's status in the Federation, of working with the Romulans."
Bones: "Jim, if they are Romulan spies, they can capture all the information on this ship and transmit it to them. We would be up a creek without a paddle if the Romulans knew how the ship worked."
Scotty: "Aye, Captain. They would know the Enterprise almost as well as I know it. That would be big trouble for us, Captain. I would be able to rework some systems, but we can't mothball the entire starship and fleet, and we'd be at an enormous tactical disadvantage in a war."
Kirk: "OK, I will take your word for it, Mr. Spock. Red alert. Find T'Pring and Stonn and escort them off the Enterprise."

In the meantime, Stonn goes to engineering and downloads the Enterprise schematics. As Stonn is walking away from engineering, the Enterprise security attempts to subdue him and his delegation but a series of Vulcan nerve pinches puts an end to that. Sulu, Chekov and another security team draw phasers on Stonn, demanding any material they were able to capture from engineering. Stonn says he does not have anything on him. Unknown to the security team, Stonn slipped some of the data to T'Pring, who already beamed off the Enterprise with a partial knowledge of the Enterprise's Constitution-class schematics, having acquired them in the mind-meld with Spock. Stonn and his delegation are reluctantly released to Vulcan, quelling another diplomatic row.

At the end of the episode, Kirk wonders:

"If we go to war, the Romulans will know exactly where to hit us."

Nichelle Nichols, at the New York convention in 1974:

This episode was one of the first where we really saw Uhura's complete utility as a senior officer on the Enterprise. She smells out the plot before anyone else and warns Spock that T'Pring is up to no good. This also foreshadowed a greater role for Uhura, where she saves the ship."

Arlene Martel:

I definitely had tricks for the Enterprise crew, after all. In the episode, I used my telepathic bond to Spock as his betrothed to gain valuable information to the Romulans. This role was such a fun one to play.

D.C. Fontana, at the same convention:

Since we didn't have a lot of money for special effects, we were given only two episodes, one of which was a two-parter, to play out the actual war. So we wanted to explore the subterfuge that the Romulans are famous for and explore the possibility that the Romulans would conduct counterespionage against the Enterprise as a result of what happened in The Enterprise Incident. We were thrilled when this episode also narrowly won the ratings battle. The general audience loved the spying aspect of both shows [The Enterprise Incident and A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing].

Robert Justman, at the same convention:

The fans loved Vulcan episodes, and this was a great sequel to Amok Time. We got to explore how the Vulcans and Romulans are cousins and the idea that some of the Vulcans would rather work with their extended family members than the humans, when both species were at the brink of war. If I recall correctly, the actual war episodes, of which there are three, immediately follow this episode, and they cap the story arc in a very surprising way.
 
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Chapter 8: Romulan conflict, Part 1: All The Devils Are Here
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Second update for the day. Maybe I'll write a third one but the last post was very long.

October 7, 1968

Realizing that there was a series of Romulan stories developing, Star Trek's expanding fandom could not wait for the next episode. They saw the buildup to potential hostilities and two spy episodes in the first three offerings of Season Three. The fourth episode, ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE, was the first of a two parter that began the brief Earth-Romulan war.

Having acquired a partial set of Constitution class Enterprise schematics, T'Pring contacts Romulan High Command from a secret location on Vulcan. The Romulans ask T'Pring for information that could help them win a war with the Federation. T'Pring transmits the Connie-class schematics to the Romulans, who thank her for her service. T'Pring and Stonn tell the Romulans, "Live long and prosper, our long separated cousins. May we be unified again, soon."

At Romulan High Command, the Praetor briefs Livia (Joanne Linville) about Federation weaknesses. Livia mentions that she attempted to turn Spock to the Romulans, but Spock gave Kirk the coordinates inside the Romulan ship for the cloaking device. The Praetor tells Livia not to worry. A counterespionage operation based from Vulcan was able to acquire the Enterprise and all the other Constitution class ship functions by surreptitiously turning Spock for a brief moment. Livia says, "This is the gold mine we were all waiting for. We can press for war and defeat the Federation easily. They will never know what hit them." The Praetor responds, "We will conduct operations starting tomorrow. Attack the remaining four Federation outposts along the Neutral Zone. Then we will set a course to Altair VI, the gateway to Vulcan. If we are able to bypass Altair VI, we will reach Vulcan and win a quick conflict. The Federation will be forced to sue for peace."

On the Enterprise, Scott begins jury rigging the deflector shields, the phasers, and the newly acquired photon torpedoes for a potential Romulan conflict. Kirk asks Scotty how his work is progressing.

Scotty: "I have the shields ready to absorb up to five Romulan nuclear torpedoes if necessary, Captain."
Kirk: "I hope it doesn't come to that."
Scotty: "When we last fought the Romulans two years ago, we were barely able to absorb one of their nuclear torpedoes. We had to back the ship up astern dramatically, if you recall."
Kirk: "I remember those Romulan torpedoes. They were very large, but had limited range. That means we can fight them at a distance provided our phasers are up to the task. By the way, how are the phaser banks."
Scotty: "They shorted out the last time we fought them. I devised a way to bypass them if they cut out in engineering. They can be fired from the bridge, at Chekov's station, Captain."
Kirk: "Excellent work, Scotty. What about the photon torpedoes we just received?"
Scotty: "They are a little clunky, and I'm not sure of their utility in combat yet. If we have to resort to them, we could be in trouble, Captain. We are not sure of their accuracy just yet."
Kirk: "Work your miracles on them, Scotty."
Scotty: "Aye, Captain."
Kirk: "What about that cloaking device we acquired from the Romulans, Scotty?"
Scotty: "Captain, the device is a huge power drain on the rest of the ship and is not usable for combat on a Federation vessel. Our ships were not designed for Romulan technology."
Kirk: "Try to make it work, Scotty. We might need it."
Scotty: "That's one miracle I don't know if I can pull off, Captain."

Kirk consults with the rest of the crew, minus Uhura, in the meeting room regarding their combat readiness. Kirk asks Spock what could be done about the Romulans having knowledge of our schematics. Spock states that the Romulans, were they to decloak without us detecting them, would know exactly where to fire on the ship, specifically the warp nacelles and the deflector dish. Kirk then asks McCoy if sickbay is ready for potential casualties.

Bones: "If you're going to lead us into a war, Jim, sickbay can only handle 20 casualties at a time at the maximum. You realize we have a crew of 400, Jim. I would have to conduct battlefield triage."
Kirk: "Unfortunately, such is the devilish nature of war."
Bones: "You know Jim, this all started when you went into Romulan space and stole their cloaking device."
Kirk: "And we will be ready for the consequences, Bones. Sulu, how maneuverable is the ship in a combat situation, and how well are the crew drilled with the phaser banks and the new photon torpedoes."
Sulu: "Sir, the ship is able to maneuver away from Romulan attacks, as we demonstrated two years ago. We avoided the worst of their firepower and I believe we can do so again. As for the torpedoes, sir, they are new, and I'm just getting adjusted to them."
Kirk: "What about the crew's ability with the phaser banks."
Sulu: "I believe that Chekov is well able to handle the phasers. Moving them from engineering was very smart on Scotty's part."
Scotty: "Aye, Captain."
Chekov: "Phasers are fully operational, Captain, and ve vill be able to fire them over a vide field."

(The meeting is interrupted by Uhura)

Uhura: "Captain, I am receiving a Priority One message from Starfleet Command. Romulan vessels have attacked outposts 5, 6 and 7 along the Neutral Zone. Outpost 5 is destroyed, and Outposts 6 and 7 are severely damaged. The Romulans hit them by surprise. The Federation Council is declaring an emergency meeting to place Starfleet on a war footing."
Kirk: "So it's war then. What are our orders, Lieutenant."
Uhura: "Starfleet is ordering us to Altair VI, about 10 light years inside Federation space from the Romulan Neutral Zone. We are to form a line of defense to prevent further Romulan incursions."
Kirk: "Set a course for Altair VI, warp factor eight. Battlestations."
Spock: "They cannot pass Altair VI, because the core Federation planets, including Vulcan, will be at risk."
Kirk: "All the devils are here, Spock. If you wrong us, shall we not revenge, is what the Romulans are thinking."
Spock: "Your knowledge of Shakespeare is impressive, Captain. But as I recall, you wronged them."
Kirk: "I hope I don't have to go further into the tragedy parts, Spock. Man your stations."

Back in his quarters, Kirk records in his log the following: "Captain's log, stardate 5346.2. We are speedily heading towards Altair VI in order to halt the Romulan advance. If we do not stop the Romulans here, they will be able to attack the core Federation planets. I am reminded of an old quote from one of our old 20th century wars on Earth, 'Ils ne passeront pas.' The Romulans shall not pass. It is funny how history repeats itself. I wonder if Altair VI will play out like Verdun in that old Earth conflict."

The Enterprise is met by the Constitution and the Defiant, two other Connie class battleships, at Altair VI. Kirk orders Sulu to scan for potential enemy vessels. Sulu finds nothing, and Kirk wonders where the Romulans are and whether they can evade scanning when cloaked. Kirk recalls that the Romulan vessels have to decloak before they can fire. As they are scanning, two Romulan Birds of Prey and two Klingon D7 battlecruisers decloak, surrounding the three Federation vessels. A firefight ensues. The Enterprise is able to disable one of the D7 battlecruisers, but the Romulan fleet hits the Constitution and Defiant on their warp nacelles, causing them to explode. The Enterprise is surrounded by two fully functional Romulan Birds of Prey and a Klingon vessel. Kirk is hailed by the Romulan commander.

Kirk: "Ship to ship."
Uhura: "Hailing frequencies open, sir."
Kirk: "This is the U.S.S. Enterprise. Enemy vessel, state your intentions."
Livia (Romulan Commander): "This is Livia, Romulan commander. Remember me, Kirk? You will surrender your vessel and we will continue moving into Federation territory."
Kirk: "There is no way you will pass Altair VI. I will fight to the death, if necessary, to save the Federation."
Livia: "A noble way to die, Captain, but you will die. You are surrounded and there is no escape this time." (Cut to black, as the episode ends).

Matt Jefferies, technical designer:

I had to dig out the old Constellation model from The Doomsday Machine and build the Defiant ahead of schedule because we had planned to use it in a future episode, The Tholian Web. That was time consuming and we went over budget for this episode with all the special effects. This episode, and the subsequent one, were the reason why Star Trek did not have a lot of episodes with fleet battles. It wasn't because Gene didn't want a lot of battles in Star Trek. It was because we were on a tight budget, and the chances to set up our props and special effects for set-piece battles were rare. Glen Glenn (the sound effects studio) and Westheimer (the photographic effects studio) drained almost a full episode of money simply to do the effects. That being said, we created an incredible spectacle for TV. Paramount demanded that we not do it again, but we still had one more episode to produce with a set-piece battle, so we drained the budget a second time.

Robert Justman:

Fred Freiberger (the producer for this episode) almost had a heart attack when he saw how much it cost. He said to me, "we're going to fall three or four episodes short at the end of this season with the planned two parter and the battle scenes and the special effects." However, this show was one of the most dramatic of the series, because it ended with the Enterprise surrounded with little hope for escape.
 

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2. The third season turns the show into a less campy (although still campy) show

Camp: "deliberately exaggerated and theatrical in style, typically for humorous effect."

I, Mudd, A Piece of the Action, maybe Spock's Brain were deliberately camp. Star Trek as a show was not camp. (Batman '66 was camp. Trek was nothing like Batman '66. It wasn't even like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which if not camp, was kind of dumb. Trek was closest to 12 O'Clock High).

I will die on this hill.

Anyway, carry on. I like Trek 4th Season explorations. But please don't call it camp. Thanks.
 
Camp: "deliberately exaggerated and theatrical in style, typically for humorous effect."

I, Mudd, A Piece of the Action, maybe Spock's Brain were deliberately camp. Star Trek as a show was not camp. (Batman '66 was camp. Trek was nothing like Batman '66. It wasn't even like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which if not camp, was kind of dumb. Trek was closest to 12 O'Clock High).

I will die on this hill.

Anyway, carry on. I like Trek 4th Season explorations. But please don't call it camp. Thanks.
The Trouble with Tribbles was also camp, but I agree, a good portion of the series was serious allegory (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, A Private Little War, Day of the Dove amongst others). Some aspects of the show came off a little campy, like the dialogue (Kirk constantly pausing, Spock going to the illogical phrase as often as he did) and some of the character actions (all the Bones/Spock confrontations).
 
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