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Posted by motoman 02/28/2009 @ 15:04

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Batman (TV series)

1966 Batman titlecard.JPG

Batman is a 1960s American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network for two and a half seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. Despite its short run, the series had two weekly installments for most of its tenure, giving the show a total of 120 episodes (the equivalent of roughly five regular seasons). It currently airs on the AmericanLife TV Network and on BBC Four in the UK.

In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the TV rights to the comic strip Batman, and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, for CBS on Saturday mornings. Mike Henry, who would later go on to star in the Tarzan franchise, and is best known for his portrayal of Jackie Gleason's not-too-bright son Buford T. Justice, Jr. in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, was set to star as Batman.

Reportedly, DC Comics commissioned publicity photos of Henry in a Batman costume. Around this same time, the Playboy Club in Chicago was screening the Batman serials (1943's Batman and 1949's Batman and Robin) on Saturday nights. It became very popular, as the hip partygoers would cheer and applaud the Dynamic Duo, and boo and hiss at the villains. East coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in childhood, attended one of these parties at the Playboy Club and was impressed with the reaction the serials were getting. He contacted West Coast ABC executives Harve Bennett and Edgar Scherick, who were already considering developing a TV series based on a comic strip action hero, to suggest a prime time Batman series in the hip and fun style of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

When negotiations between CBS and Graham stalled, DC quickly reobtained rights and made the deal with ABC. ABC farmed the rights out to 20th Century Fox to produce the series. Fox, in turn, handed the project to William Dozier and his Greenway Productions. Whereas ABC and Fox were expecting a hip and fun, yet still serious, adventure show, Dozier, who loathed comic books, concluded the only way to make the show work was to do it as a pop art camp comedy. Originally, espionage novelist Eric Ambler was to write the motion picture that would launch the TV series, but he dropped out after learning of Dozier's camp comedy approach.

By the time ABC pushed up the debut date to January 1966, thus foregoing the movie until the summer hiatus, Lorenzo Semple, Jr. had signed on as head script writer. He wrote the pilot script, and generally kept his scripts more on the side of pop art adventure. Stanley Ralph Ross, Stanford Sherman, and Charles Hoffman were script writers who generally leaned more toward camp comedy, and in Ross' case, sometimes outright slapstick and satire. Instead of producing a one-hour show, Dozier and Semple decided to have the show air twice a week in half-hour installments with a cliffhanger connecting the two episodes, echoing the old movie serials. Initially, Dozier wanted Ty Hardin to play Batman, but he was unavailable, filming Westerns in Europe. Eventually, two sets of screen tests were filmed, one with Adam West and Burt Ward, the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, with West and Ward winning the roles.

The typical story began with a villain (often one of a short list of recurring super-criminals) committing a crime, such as stealing a fabulous gem or taking over Gotham City. This was followed by a scene inside Police Commissioner Gordon's office where he and Chief O'Hara would deduce exactly which villain they were dealing with. Gordon would press a button on the Batphone, a bright red telephone located on a pedestal in his office. The scene then cut to stately Wayne Manor where Alfred the butler would answer an identical Batphone beeping loudly on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study. Frequently, Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson would be found talking with Dick's Aunt Harriet (who wasn't aware of their dual identities). Alfred would interrupt with some pretext so they could excuse themselves and answer the Batphone. Upon learning which criminal he would face this time, Bruce would push a button concealed within a bust of Shakespeare that stood on his desk causing a bookcase to slide back and revealing two poles. "To the Batpoles!" Wayne would exclaim, at which he and Grayson would slide down to the Batcave, activating a mechanism on the way that dressed them in their costumes. Often, at this point, the animated title sequence would begin.

Similar in style and content to the 1940s serials, they would arrive in the Batcave in full costume and jump into the Batmobile, Batman in the driver's seat. Robin would say "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed" and Batman would respond "Roger, ready to move out" and the two would race off out of the cave at high speed. As the Batmobile approached the mouth of the cave (actually a tunnel entrance in Los Angeles' Bronson Canyon), a hinged barrier dropped down to allow the car to exit onto the road. Scenes from the Dynamic Duo sliding down the batpoles in the Batcave, to the arrival at Commissioner Gordon's building via the Batmobile (while the episode credits are shown), are reused footage that is used in nearly all part 1 and single episodes.

After arriving at Commissioner Gordon's office, the initial discussion of the crime usually led to the Dynamic Duo conducting their investigation alone. During the investigation, a meeting with the villain would usually ensue, with the heroes getting involved in a fight and the villain getting away, leaving a series of unlikely clues for the Duo to investigate. Later, the Duo would face the villain again, and he or she would capture one or both of the heroes and place them in a deathtrap with a cliffhanger ending which was usually resolved in the first few minutes of the next episode.

The same pattern was repeated in the following episode until the villain was defeated in a major brawl where the action was punctuated by superimposed onomatopoeic words, as in comic book fight scenes ("POW!", "BAM!", "ZOKK!", etc.). Not counting six of the Penguin's henchmen who disintegrate or get blown up in the associated Batman theatrical movie, only four criminal characters die during the series: The Riddler's moll Molly (played by Jill St. John in Episode 2) who accidentally falls into the Batcave's atomic pile, a fake "Commissioner Gordon" who gets shot by the "Bookworm," and two out-of-town gunmen who shoot at the Dynamic Duo toward the end of the "Zelda the Great" episode, but end up killing each other instead. In "Instant Freeze," Mr. Freeze freezes a butler solid and knocks him over causing him to smash to pieces. In "Green Ice," Mr. Freeze freezes a policeman solid, and in "The Penguin's Nest," a policeman is electrocuted by Penguin's accomplices. It is unclear if these last two characters survive or not.

Robin, in particular, was especially well known for saying "Holy (insert), Batman!" whenever he encountered something startling.

The series utilized a narrator (producer William Dozier, uncredited) who parodied the breathless narration style of the 1940s serials. He would end many of the cliffhanger episodes by intoning, "Tune in tomorrow — same bat-time, same bat-channel!", or, just "... same time, same channel!".

Only two of the series' guest villains ever discovered Batman's true identity: Egghead by deductive reasoning, and King Tut on two occasions (once with a bug on the Batmobile and once by accidentally mining into the Batcave). Egghead was tricked into disbelieving his discovery, and Tut's recurring amnesia made him forget both times. Also, of the big four criminals (Riddler, Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman), only Riddler never entered the Batcave. However in the movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, Riddler finally entered the Batcave.

In Season 1, the dynamic duo, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward), are super crime-fighting heroes, contending with the villains of Gotham City. It begins with the two-parter, "Hi Diddle Riddle" and "Smack in the Middle".

Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season, due to Madge Blake being in poor health. (Aunt Harriet was also mentioned in another episode, but was not seen; her absence was explained by her being in shock upstairs.) The nature of the scripts and acting started to enter into the realm of the surreal, specifically with the backgrounds, which became two-dimensional cut-outs against a stark black stage.

At the end of the third season, ABC planned to cut the budget by eliminating Chief O'Hara and Robin. Batgirl would become Batman's full time partner. Both Dozier and West opposed this idea, and ABC canceled the show a short time later. Weeks later, NBC offered to pick the show up for a fourth season and even restore it to its twice a week format, if the sets were still available for use. However, NBC's offer came too late: Fox had already demolished the sets a week before. NBC didn't want to pay the $800,000 to rebuild, so the offer was withdrawn. Batman was replaced on ABC by the sitcom The Second Hundred Years.

Several cast members recorded records tied in to the series. Adam West released a single titled "Miranda", a country-tinged pop song that he actually performed in costume during live appearances in the 1960s. Frank Gorshin released a song titled "The Riddler" which was composed and arranged by Mel Tormé. The track captures Gorshin's insane portrayal perfectly. Burgess Meredith recorded a spoken word single called "The Escape" backed with "The Capture", which was The Penguin narrating his recent crime spree to a jazz beat.

Other popular villains included George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach as Mr. Freeze, Victor Buono as King Tut, and Vincent Price as Egghead.

Tallulah Bankhead's role as the Black Widow turned out to be her final screen appearance. Three other actors also played their final parts on Batman: Francis X. Bushman as Mr. Van Jones in episodes 31-32, Reginald Denny as Commodore Schmidlapp (in the Batman movie), and Douglass Dumbrille who portrayed the Doctor in episode 10.

Many sports, music, and media personalities, and a number of Hollywood actors, looked forward to and enjoyed their appearances as villains on the Batman show. They were generally allowed to overact and enjoy themselves on a high-rated TV series, guaranteeing them considerable exposure (and thus boosting their careers). The most popular villains on the show included Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, and Julie Newmar as Catwoman. Other famous names from the "rogues gallery" in the comic book series made appearances on the show (notably The Mad Hatter), and some were taken from other superheroes, such as The Archer and The Puzzler (Superman villains) and The Clock King (a Green Arrow villain). Many other villains were created especially for the TV show, and never did appear in the comic books (e.g., The Siren, Chandel, Bookworm, King Tut, Lord Ffogg, Dr. Cassandra, and Louie the Lilac), while some were hybrids. The comics' Mr. Zero was renamed Mr. Freeze (a name change that was copied in the comics with lasting effect), and the comics' Brainy Barrows was reworked as Egghead.

Other celebrities often appeared in scenes where the Dynamic Duo were scaling a building wall and the celebrity would suddenly open a window and have a short conversation with the superheroes. Lesley Gore, a popular singer of the '60's, played "Pussycat" one of Catwoman's henchwomen. On the January 19, 1967 episode, she sang her top 20 hit "California Nights". Gore was also the niece of Howie Horwitz, one of the show's producers.

Adam West enjoys the story that he was part of two of the three Big B's of the 1960s: Batman, The Beatles and Bond. West says he was actually invited to play Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service based on his popularity as Batman, but declined the role as he felt it should be played by a British actor (ironically, the role went to an Australian, George Lazenby).

The popularity of the TV show did not translate well to the silver screen, however. A movie version of the TV show was released to theaters (see Batman (1966 film)), but it did not become a large box office hit, even though creatively the movie was generally regarded to be just as good as the first season episodes, and superior to most of the second and third season episodes. The movie continued to be profitably re-released to theaters, TV, and video for decades. Originally, the movie had been created to help sell the TV series abroad, but the success of the series in America sold itself, and the movie was brought out after season one had already been aired. In fact, the movie's budget allowed for producers to build the Batboat and Batcopter, which were used in the second and third seasons of the TV show.

The live-action TV show was extraordinarily popular. At the height of its popularity, it was the only prime time TV show other than Peyton Place to be broadcast twice in one week as part of its regular schedule, airing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Episodes of the show were often filmed as two-part cliffhangers, with each storyline beginning on Wednesday and ending on the Thursday night episode. At the very end of the Thursday night segment, a little tag featuring the next week's villain would be shown, e.g.: "Next week -- Batman jousts with The Joker again!" (this started the third week of the series' run and continued until the end of season two). The first episode of a storyline would typically end with Batman and Robin being trapped in a ridiculous deathtrap, while the narrator (Dozier) would tell viewers to watch the next night with the repeated phrase: "Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!" Even now, many years after the show ceased production, this catch-phrase is still a long-running punchline in popular culture.

Batman would even have influence in the sports world. During the height of the show's popularity, the Pittsburgh Steelers--a team that rarely experiments with uniform changes--unveiled new uniforms influenced by Adam West's Batman outfits. The uniforms were introduced for the 1966 NFL season, and had gold triangle-like diamonds on the shoulders of both the black home jerseys and white away jerseys. However, the jerseys turned out to be very unpopular and, coupled with consistent losing, were discarded in 1968 in favor of the team's current-style uniforms.

In 1972, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reunited as Robin and Batgirl, with Dick Gautier stepping in as Batman (Adam West was, at the time, trying to distance himself from the Batman role) for a Women's Liberation Equal Pay public service announcement. In 1977, Adam West and Burt Ward returned to the Batman universe in animated form. West and Ward lent their voices to Batman and Robin respectively, on the Filmation-produced animated series, The New Adventures of Batman. West would once again reprise his role as Batman in animated form when he succeeded Olan Soule in the final two seasons of Super Friends. In 1979, West, Ward, and Frank Gorshin reunited on NBC for Hanna-Barbera's two Legends of the Superheroes TV specials. In the 1980s, several cast members would team up for a series of celebrity editions of Family Feud.

The series' stars, Adam West and Burt Ward, were typecast for decades afterwards, with West especially finding himself unable to escape the reputation the series gave him as a hammy, campy actor. However, years after the series' impact faded, West found fame and respect among comic book and animation fans, who appreciated his work on the TV series. One of the more popular episodes of Batman: The Animated Series paid tribute to West with an episode titled "The Grey Ghost". In this episode, West played the role of an aging star of a superhero TV series Bruce Wayne had watched as a child, and would be inspired by as a crimefighter, who found new popularity with the next generation of fans. He would also play Gotham City's Mayor Grange as a somewhat recurring role in The Batman. In addition, the most frequent visual influence is that later Batmobiles usually have a rear rocket thruster that usually fires as the car makes a fast start.

In 2003, West and Ward reunited for a tongue-in-cheek telefilm titled Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt which combined dramatized recreations of the filming of the original series (with younger actors standing in for the stars), with modern day footage of West and Ward searching for a stolen Batmobile. The film included cameo appearances by Newmar and Gorshin, as well as Lee Meriwether, who had played Catwoman in the 1966 film and Lyle Waggoner, who had been an early candidate for the role of Batman. Yvonne Craig did not appear in the movie because she reportedly disliked the script. The movie received high ratings and was released on DVD May 2005.

A line spoken by Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in Batman Forever is a straight homage to the TV Robin's catch-phrase. During the movie he says, "Holey rusted metal, Batman," (referring to the island's land-scape which is made from rusted metal and has holes in it) which sounds intentionally similar to lines spoken by Robin beginning with the word "Holy" and ending with "...Batman".

Despite considerable popular demand, no official home entertainment release (VHS, laserdisc or DVD) of the series has occurred to date in North America, with the situation seemingly unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

The series, under the Fox/ABC deal, is however still in syndication, and regularly shown on a number of channels around the world. Thus far, though, only the 1966 feature film is available on DVD for non-broadcast viewing in North America. This also affected the 2003 television movie reunion Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, which was only able to make use of footage from the 1966 movie.

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Star Trek: The Original Series

TOSopeninglogo.png

While Roddenberry remained nominally in charge of the series as executive producer, he essentially removed himself from the daily production of the show in its third season. Star Trek was cancelled at the end of this season, producing 79 episodes in total. However, it became extremely popular and gathered a large cult following in TV syndication during the 1970s. The success of the program was followed by five additional television series (one animated) and ten theatrical films with an 11th on the way for May 2009. Guinness World Records lists the original Star Trek as having the largest number of spin-offs among all television shows in history.

In 1964, Roddenberry secured a three-year development deal with leading independent TV production company Desilu (founded by comedy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz). In Roddenberry's original concept, the protagonist was named Captain Robert April of the "S.S. Yorktown". Eventually, this character became Captain Christopher Pike. The first pilot episode, "The Cage", was made in 1964, with actor Jeffrey Hunter in the role of Pike after Roddenberry's first choice, Lloyd Bridges had reportedly turned it down.

At a time when racial segregation was still firmly entrenched in many areas of the United States, Roddenberry envisaged a multi-racial and mixed-gender crew, based on his assumption that racial prejudice and sexism would not exist in the 23rd century. He also included recurring characters from alien races, including Spock, who was half human and half Vulcan, united under the banner of the United Federation of Planets.

Other innovative Star Trek features involved solutions to basic production problems. The idea of the faster-than-light warp drive was not new to science fiction, but it allowed a narrative device that permitted the Enterprise to quickly traverse space. The matter transporter, by which crew members "beamed" from place to place, solved the problem of moving characters quickly from the ship to a planet, a spacecraft landing sequence for each episode being prohibitively expensive. The famous flip-open communicator was introduced as a plot device to strand the characters in challenging situations by malfunctioning, being lost or stolen, or out of range; absent such a device, the characters could simply beam up at the first sign of trouble. The flip-open communicator has been copied in many popular cell phone designs from the mid-1990s on.

The Star Trek concept was first offered to the CBS network, but the channel turned it down for the more mainstream Irwin Allen production, Lost In Space. Star Trek was then offered to NBC, who commissioned and then turned down the first pilot (NBC executives would later be quoted as saying that the initial pilot episode was 'too cerebral'). However, the NBC executives were favorably impressed with the concept and made the unusual decision to commission a second pilot: "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Only the character of Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) remained from the original pilot, and only two cast members (Majel Barrett and Leonard Nimoy) carried on to the series. Much of the first pilot's footage was used in a later two-part episode, "The Menagerie".

An interesting note concerning NBC's interest in Star Trek: as told by Herb Solow, Executive in Charge of Production at Desilu, NBC was looking for series that would take full advantage of the new color TV technology. NBC was owned by RCA, the leader in manufacturing color televisions, and sought to sell more TVs by creating interest through its NBC network.

The second pilot introduced the main characters: Captain Kirk (William Shatner), chief engineer Lieutenant Commander Scott (James Doohan) and Lieutenant Sulu (George Takei). Sulu's title in this episode was Ship's Physicist (changed to Helmsman in subsequent episodes). Paul Fix played Dr. Mark Piper in the second pilot. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, (DeForest Kelley) joined the cast when principal photography began on the first season, along with Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) and communications officer Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols.) Majel Barrett's role of Nurse Christine Chapel would make her debut later in "The Naked Time". Barrett, later Roddenberry's wife, also did the voice for the ship's computer. Roddenberry's inclusion of the Asian Sulu and black Uhura, both of them intelligent, well-spoken professionals, was a bold move when most television characters of the time were white and those who weren't were often presented in a highly stereotypical manner.

Roddenberry's production staff included art director Matt Jefferies. Jefferies designed the Enterprise; his contribution was commemorated in the so-called Jefferies tube, which became a standard part of the (fictional) design of Federation starships. Jefferies' starship concepts arrived at a final saucer-and-cylinders design that became a template for all subsequent Federation space vehicles. Jefferies also developed the main set for the Enterprise bridge (based on an original design by Pato Guzman) and used his practical experience as a WWII airman and his knowledge of aircraft design to come up with a sleek, functional, ergonomic bridge layout. Costume designer William Ware Theiss created the striking look of the Enterprise uniforms and the risqué costumes for female guest stars. Artist and sculptor Wah Chang, who had worked for Walt Disney, was hired to design and manufacture props: he created the flip-open communicator, the portable sensing-recording-computing tricorder and the phaser weapons. Later, he would create various memorable aliens, such as the Gorn.

The series introduced television viewers to many ideas which later became common in science fiction films: warp drive, teleportation, force fields, wireless hand-held communicators and scanners, directed energy weapons, desktop computer terminals, laser surgery, starship cloaking devices, and computer speech synthesis. Although these concepts had numerous antecedents in sci-fi literature and film, they had never before been integrated in one presentation and most of them were certainly new to TV. Even the ship's automatic doors were a novel feature in 1966. In the 2002 book Star Trek: I'm Working On That, William Shatner and co-author Chip Walter explore some of these technologies and how they relate to today's world.

After a few episodes were filmed, but before they had been officially aired, Roddenberry screened one or two of them at Worldcon in Cleveland in August, 1966 and, as he related in a telegram to Desilu production executive Herbert F. Solow, received a standing ovation.

The series was canceled in its third season, despite the protests of a renewed letter writing campaign. However, the marketing personnel of the network complained to management that the series' cancellation was premature. It turned out that after using new techniques for profiling demographics of the viewing audience, they found the Star Trek audience was highly desirable for advertisers to the point where they considered the series a highly profitable property. Unfortunately, that revelation came too late to resume production of the series.

Sulu and Uhura were not given first names in this series. Sulu's first name, Hikaru, was revealed non-canonically in Vonda McIntyre's Pocket Book novel The Entropy Effect. The name was "officially" put into the canon by George Takei in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Uhura's first name was never mentioned on screen, but the name Nyota was used in fandom, and in Pocket Book novels. Kirk's middle name was never used in the series until the Animated Series episode "Bem". Due to internal disagreements on the status of The Animated Series as official Star Trek canon, Kirk's middle name ('Tiberius') would not become canon until the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. A tombstone in the second pilot intended for Kirk reads "James R. Kirk".

Majel Barrett also provided the voice of the computer in TOS and many other Star Trek series and movies. She also played (as a brunette) the part of Captain Pike's First Officer in the pilot episode "The Cage". Barrett married Roddenberry in 1969.

The relatively young, mop-topped Russian navigator Ensign Chekov was added in the second season. There may be some truth to the unofficial story that the Soviet newspaper Pravda complained that there were no Russians among the culturally diverse characters. However, studio documentation suggests that the intention was to introduce a character with more appeal to teenagers, especially girls. Walter Koenig noted in the 40th (2006) anniversary special of Star Trek: The Original Series that he doubted the Pravda rumor since Star Trek was never shown on Soviet television. It's also been claimed that former Monkees member Davy Jones may have served as a model for the character.

In addition, the series frequently included characters (usually security personnel wearing red uniforms) who are killed or injured soon after their introduction. So prevalent was this plot device that it inspired the term "redshirt" to denote a stock character whose sole purpose is to die violently in order to demonstrate the dangerous circumstances facing the main characters.

Star Trek made celebrities of its cast of largely unknown actors. Kelley had appeared in many films and TV shows, but mostly in smaller roles. Nimoy also had previous TV and film experience but was also not well-known. Shatner had played Cyrano on Broadway, was well-known in the trade, and had even turned down the part of Dr. Kildare. However, when roles became sparse he took the regular job after Jeffrey Hunter's contract wasn't renewed. After the episodes aired, many performers found themselves typecast due to their roles.

The three main characters were Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, with writers often playing the different personalities off each other: Kirk was passionate and often aggressive, but with a sly sense of humor; Spock was coolly logical; and McCoy was sardonic but always compassionate. In many stories the three clashed, with Kirk forced to make a tough decision while Spock advocated the logical but sometimes callous path and McCoy (or "Bones," as Kirk nicknamed him, short for "sawbones," a traditional, slightly pejorative nickname for a surgeon) insisted on doing whatever would cause the least harm. McCoy and Spock had a sparring relationship that masked their true affection and respect for each other, and their constant arguments became very popular with viewers.

The series was created during a time of Cold War politics, and the plots of its episodes occasionally reflected this. The Original Series shows encounters with other advanced spacefaring civilizations, including the Klingons and the Romulans, used as symbolic references to the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, respectively.

Besides the above examples, there have been numerous non-canon novels and comic books published over the years in which TOS-era crew are depicted in the TNG era, either through time-travel or other means. In addition, many actors who appeared on TOS later made guest appearances as different characters in later series, most notably Majel Barrett, who not only provided the voice for most Starfleet computers in episodes of every spin-off series (including a single appearance on Enterprise, where the computers normally did not speak at all), but also had the recurring role of Lwaxana Troi in TNG and DS9.

In terms of its writing, Star Trek is notable as one of the earliest science-fiction TV series to utilize the services of leading contemporary science fiction writers, such as Robert Bloch, Norman Spinrad, Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon, as well as established TV writers. Series script editor Dorothy C. Fontana (originally Roddenberry's secretary) was also a vital part of the success of Star Trek — she edited most of the series' scripts and wrote several episodes. Her credits read D.C. Fontana at the suggestion of Gene Roddenberry since he felt that a woman might not be taken seriously because almost all science fiction writers were men.

Several notable themes were tackled throughout the entire series which involved the exploration of major issues of 1960s USA, including sexism, racism, nationalism, and global war. Roddenberry utilized the allegory of a space vessel set many years in the future to explore these issues. Although Sammy Davis, Jr. and Nancy Sinatra had openly kissed on the December 1967 musical-variety special Movin' With Nancy, Star Trek was the first American television show to feature an interracial kiss between fictional characters (in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren") although the kiss was only mimed and depicted as involuntary.

Episodes such as "The Apple", "Who Mourns for Adonis?", and "The Return of the Archons" display subtle anti-religious (owing mainly to Roddenberry's own secular humanism) and anti-establishment themes. "Bread and Circuses" and "The Omega Glory" have themes that are more overtly pro-religion and patriotic. Network interference, up to and including wholesale censorship of scripts and film footage, was a regular occurrence in the 1960s and Star Trek suffered from its fair share of tampering. Many scripts had to be revised after vetting by the NBC censors.

The Original Series was also noted for its sense of humor, such as Spock and McCoy's pointed, yet friendly, bickering. Episodes like "The Trouble with Tribbles," "I, Mudd," and "A Piece of the Action," however, were all written and staged as comedies. Star Trek's humor is generally much more subdued in the spin-offs and movies, with notable exceptions such as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

All 79 episodes of the series have been digitally remastered by CBS Home Entertainment and have since been released on DVD. (Note: this is not to be confused with the Star Trek Remastered project, discussed below.) As of 2008 there has been no announcement as to whether the original versions of the episodes will be made available in the high definition video formats, as CBS/Paramount is presently only releasing Star Trek Remastered in that format.

In 1983, Leonard Nimoy hosted a one-hour special as a promotional tie-in with the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, in which he recounted his memories of working on The Original Series and explained the origins of things such as the Vulcan nerve pinch and the Vulcan salute. This special continues to be widely seen in some areas; it was included in the syndication package for The Original Series, in order to bump up the episode count to 80.

The show's theme tune, immediately recognizable by many, was written by Alexander Courage, and has been featured in a number of Star Trek spin-off episodes and motion pictures. The lyrics for the introduction were written by Gene Roddenberry without Courage's knowledge and with no intention that they would ever be sung. Roddenberry nevertheless obtained a 50% share of the music's performance royalties - motivating Courage to leave the series. Later episodes used stock recordings from Courage's earlier work. Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson recorded a jazz fusion version of the tune with his big band during the late 1970s, and Nichelle Nichols performed the song live complete with lyrics.

For budgetary reasons, this series made significant use of "tracked" music, or music written for other episodes that was re-used in later episodes. Of the 79 episodes that were broadcast, only 31 had complete or partial original dramatic underscores created specifically for them. The remainder of the music in any episode was tracked from a different episode. Which episodes would have new music was mostly the decision of Robert H. Justman, the Associate Producer during the first two seasons.

Screen credits for the composers were given based on the amount of music composed for, or composed and re-used in, the episode. Some of these final music credits were occasionally incorrect.

Beyond the short works of "source" music (music whose source is seen or acknowledged onscreen) created for specific episodes, eight composers were contracted to create original dramatic underscore during the series run: Alexander Courage, George Duning, Jerry Fielding, Gerald Fried, Sol Kaplan, Samuel Matlovsky, Joseph Mullendore, and Fred Steiner. The composers conducted their own music. Of these composers, Steiner composed the original music for thirteen episodes and it is his instrumental arrangement of Alexander Courage's main theme that is heard over many of the end title credits of the series.

The tracked musical underscores were chosen and edited to the episode by the music editors, principal of whom were Robert Raff (most of Season One), Jim Henrikson (Season One and Two), and Richard Lapham (Season Three).

The original recordings of the music of some episodes were released in the United States commercially on the GNP Crescendo Record Co. label. Music for a number of the episodes was re-recorded by the Varese Sarabande label, with Fred Steiner conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; and on the Label X label, with Tony Bremner conducting the Royal Philharmonic.

Eight of its episodes were nominated for one of science-fiction’s top awards, the Hugo Award, in the category "Best Dramatic Presentation". In 1967 the nominated episodes were "The Naked Time", "The Corbomite Maneuver", and "The Menagerie". In 1968 all nominees were Star Trek episodes: "Amok Time", "Mirror, Mirror", "The Doomsday Machine", "The Trouble with Tribbles", and "The City on the Edge of Forever". Star Trek won both years for the episodes "The Menagerie" and "The City on the Edge of Forever", respectively.

In 1968, Star Trek's most critically acclaimed episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever," written by Harlan Ellison, won the prestigious Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Teleplay, although this was for Ellison's original draft script, and not for the screenplay of the episode as it aired.

Episodes of the Original Series were among the first television series to be released on the VHS and laserdisc formats in North America in the 1980s, with all episodes eventually being released to VHS. With the advent of DVD in the late 1990s, single DVDs featuring two episodes each in production order were released. In the early 2000s, Paramount Home Video reissued the series to DVD in a series of three deluxe season boxes with added featurettes and documentaries. In February 2009 Paramount announced that they will release Original Series on Blu-Ray on April 27th, 2009. Blu-Ray release will contain both Original and Remastered episodes via seamless-branching.

In September 2006, CBS Paramount Domestic Television (now known as CBS Television Distribution, now the rights holders for the Star Trek television franchises) began syndication of an enhanced version of Star Trek: The Original Series in high definition with new CGI visual effects. These are being done under the supervision of Mike Okuda, technical consultant to several of the later series. The restoring and updating of the visual effects was performed by CBS Digital. All live-action footage was scanned in high definition from its first generation 35 mm film elements, while visual effects shots have been digitally reproduced. As noted in the "making of" DVD feature, first generation "original camera negatives" were used for all live-action footage but not for external shots of the ship and planets, etc. Notable changes include new space shots with a CGI Enterprise, and other new models (for example, a Gorn ship is shown in Arena), redone matte background shots, and other minor touches such as tidying up viewscreens. A small number of scenes have also been recomposed, and in some cases new actors have been placed into the background of some shots. In addition, the opening theme music has been re-recorded in digital stereo.

The first episode to be released to syndication was "Balance of Terror" on the weekend of September 16, 2006. Episodes are being released at the rate of about one a week and broadcast in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Star Trek Remastered is also being broadcast in Japan, but the Japanese version is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than in a 4:3 ratio.

While the CGI shots have already been mastered in a 16:9 aspect ratio for future applications, they are currently broadcast in the US - along with the live-action footage in the original 4:3 aspect ratio TV format to respect the show's original composition. If the producers choose to reformat the entire show for the 16:9 ratio, live-action footage would have to be recropped, widening the frame to the full width of the 35 mm negatives while trimming its height by nearly 30%. Although this would add a marginal amount of imagery on the sides, much more would need to be eliminated from the tops and bottoms of the frames to fit. This is what has been done for the Japanese version of the show.

On July 26, 2007, CBS Home Entertainment announced that the remastered episodes of TOS would be released on a HD DVD/DVD hybrid format. Season 1 was released on November 20, 2007. Season 2 had been scheduled for release in the summer of 2008, but it was cancelled when Toshiba (which had been helping finance the remastering of the show) pulled out of the HD-DVD business. On August 5, 2008, the remastered Season 2 was released on DVD only. For this release, CBS and Paramount used discs without any disc art, making them look like the "Season 1 Remastered" HD DVD/DVD combo discs, despite having content only on one side. Season 3 was released on DVD only on November 18, 2008. On February 17th, 2009- Paramount announced the Season 1 of TOS on Blu Ray for a May release to coincide with the new feature film coming from Paramount. It was rumoured that with the Remastered versions on this release, the original versions will also be included. It's suspected Seasons 2 and 3 will follow.

In region 2, all three of the remastered original series will be avilable for DVD in the slimline edition on 27th April 2007 as well as the first series in blue ray. With the release of the "Alternate Realities" box set, remastered Original Series episodes were included in a multi-series compilation for the first time. It is unknown if future compilation releases will exclusively use the remastered episodes or not.

On April 10, 2006, an interactive version of TOS, known as "Star Trek 2.0," began broadcast on the television channel G4 where members can use the online chat and "Spock Market." Messages from the online chat may be shown during the broadcast along with "Trek Stats" and "Trek Facts." The feature debuted on the cable network G4 when began playing episodes of Star Trek along with showing interactive menus. Sometime in 2007, they stopped airing the show in its 2.0 format. The show aired though on the network every Monday in a marathon until it was cancelled.

On January 15, 2007, G4 launched Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.0 at 9:00pm Monday through Friday. A press release for the show indicated it features TNG Facts and Stats along with 32 (up from 24) new stocks for the Spock Market game. Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.0 was later removed from Monday nights.

An "urgent subspace message" on the Star Trek 2.0 Hailing Frequencies e-newsletter stated that Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.0 was scheduled for a "refit". It no longer featured live chat, stats, or facts on screen. The Spock Market game continued running as usual until it was shut down.

Star Trek has inspired fan-made and -produced series for free internet distribution, including Star Trek: Phase II. Walter Koenig, D. C. Fontana and other Star Trek actors and production personnel have participated in producing various episodes.

The cancellation of the series was remembered in a famous Saturday Night Live comedy sketch called "The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise", written by Michael O'Donoghue, which aired on NBC-TV on May 29, 1976, which became an instant classic among Star Trek fans.

In January 2007, the first season of Star Trek became available for download from Apple's iTunes Store. Although consumer reviews indicate that some of the episodes on iTunes are the newly "remastered" editions, iTunes editors had not indicated such, and if so, which are which. All first season episodes that had been remastered and aired were available from iTunes, except "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which remains in its original form. On March 20, 2007, the first season was again added to the iTunes Store, with separate downloads for the original and remastered versions of the show, though according to the customer reviews, the original version contains minor revisions such as special effect enhancements. CBS also uploaded all 3 Seasons of the show on their Veoh account.

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Ongoing series

It is used in contrast to limited series (a series intended to end after a certain number of issues), a one shot (a comic book which isn't a part of an ongoing series), a graphic novel, or a trade paperback. However, a series of graphic novels may be considered ongoing as well.

The term may informally refer to a finite series if the number of issues is predetermined.

An ongoing series is traditionally published on a fixed schedule, typically monthly. However, many factors can cause an issue to be published late. In the past, the schedule was often maintained with the use of fill-in issues (usually by a different creative team, sometimes hurting quality), but increasingly the practice has been to simply delay publication.

When an ongoing series ceases to be published because the story has ended, it may be called "finished." If it ceases to be published because of low sales, editorial decisions, publisher bankruptcy, or other reasons, it is "cancelled." (An ending might be written for the last issues of a cancelled series, or the series may simply disappear without warning and never return). If an ongoing series changes titles.

If a series ceases to be published, but may be published again, it is called "on hiatus." Many series are placed "on hiatus" but do not return even after several years.

For series that are creator owned, the copyright holder has the option of approaching other publishers to see if they would be open to resuming the title under their imprint. For instance, Usagi Yojimbo has had four consecutive publishers.

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Source : Wikipedia