Friday, October 23, 2009

Progress report: 10'16 thru 23

I've kind of lost track of the day-by-day. But I've lined up 95 episodes in a shooting order that I find plausible. Forget how many I had to invent on the spot -- plenty, since I decided that some of my favorite previously invented episodes were too character-driven to keep the network happy. The network wants alien spectacle and "planet shows," the same demand Star Trek got from NBC.

Bronson-Gann.  Here's a side of things that I like but that any eventual readers may not care about. Star Trek is about a space ship, Sky Frontier about a space station, so I have to think of ways to bring situations to the station. One is the space storm, otherwise known as a "time-warp disruption." It's gobbledygook but useful, and it pops up more often as the series goes on. Eventually a script gives one space storm the made-up name of "a Bronson-Gann disruption," and the name surfaces a few more times, though scripts also revert to "time-warp disruption" and simple "space storm," depending on the attention being paid by the people in charge. Years later "Bronson-Gann" becomes a continuity staple of the franchise and penetrates fan talk ("He's having a Gann" means someone is acting like a flake or pitching a fit).

Mission Tube.  Last night, among other things, I worked out which episodes would feature space storms, disruptions, or Bronson-Ganns. I also worked out which ones would feature the Mission Tube, another contrivance for making plots possible. Sky Frontier should have started out with a teleport device, like Star Trek did. But it didn't, both because I want the two series to be different and because Sky Frontier's creator is a stubborn sort who wants people to come to him. But before the first season is up, he and his team hit on teleporting as a storytelling crutch. Instead of the streamlined teleporting used by Star Trek, theirs is quite a production. A machine with a man-sized portal sets up a high hum and the characters jump thru the portal and into whatever situation they're supposed to get into. The effect is much like The Time Tunnel, I think (because I haven't seen that show). The Mission Tube is not the surefire device the Star Trek crew enjoys; it can send you to the wrong place and is subject to interference from difficult local conditions. "We can scramble them there," the engineering man says tensely. "I just don't know if we can scramble them back."

Titles.  Here are some I came up with. You'll see I got pretty ripe:

"That My Hands Shall Know Their Maker"
"Half a Blindfold"
"The Stars that See, the Sky that Forgets"

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