Monday, December 20, 2004

Production Dysfunction

On Friday night, I decided to watch an episode of Star Trek. (Contrary to popular belief, this is not something I do all the time – in fact, I’ve seen many episodes only once, and there are two Star Trek: Voyager episodes I have yet to view!) That simple wish resulted in a brief exchange that demonstrated yet again the gulf between geek and grrl.

I like to watch Star Trek episodes in production order; that way, I can watch the series evolve, both as a fictional universe and as a work of art; character relationships take on new nuances with each story, makeup and special effects improve, cast members come and go, costumes change, and budgets force the writers, directors and everyone else involved in the production to test the limits of their creativity.

Unfortunately, the episodes in the DVD sets are arranged by airdate order. The first episode on the set should really be episode one, the first pilot, “The Cage;” but instead, the first episode on disc one of the eight-DVD set is “The Man Trap,” the first episode aired on NBC way back in 1966.

In practical terms, this means that the first disc in the season one set features “The Man Trap” (episode six), “Charlie X” (episode eight), “Where No Man Has Gone Before (episode two), and “The Naked Time” (episode seven). Episode one, since it didn’t actually air until the late 80s, appears on the last disc of the third season’s box set, despite the fact that is was produced well in advance of even the first season. There are usually four episodes per disc, and seven or eight discs per box set. Therefore, watching the series in production order involves a lot of disc-switching.

I know what you’re thinking: surely I’m not such a geek that I have the production numbers memorized. Well, no; I know a few of them by heart, mostly the first ten or so, the last few of the first season, and the last few of the final season. (Don't ask me why; the numbers just stick, somehow, maybe because they were emblazoned on the spines of the old VHS releases.) And because I don’t have the production numbers memorized, I have to turn to my trusty Star Trek Compendium to look up the numbers before choosing a disc from the DVD set.

That particular book currently resides in Sylvia’s office, since I don’t have enough space in my room to hold all of my books. So I went into Sylvia’s office, flipped through the Compendium to find out which episode comes after the last episode I’d watched, number sixteen, “The Menagerie, Part II.” I discovered that number seventeen was “Shore Leave,” put the book away...and left Sylvia's office light on.

A few minutes later, Sylvia noticed the light and asked, “What were you doing in my room?” She’s not territorial, but she’s hidden my Christmas presents in there and wanted to make sure I wasn’t peeking.

Naturally, I started to explain. But after only a half-dozen words or so (I think it was “Star Trek Compendium” and “production order” that did it), she cut me off by raising her hands and shouting “STOP! Enough!”

If you’ve read this far, you probably know exactly how she feels.

So, “Shore Leave” – good episode!

Sylvia fell asleep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so devious Earl, I know that whole production order Star Trek line is just a diversion so you could look at your presents!

Will be back on the 28th, with other half in tow. Would be good to see you and meet your other half. Make contact!

Andrea

P.S. Your picture in your profile isn't working. Very irritating...