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written by Don Harden
originally published in Stardate 13, December 1981

Just as with the first season, the second season of star Trek can also be divided into two major parts. The first part consists of those episodes produced by Gene L. Coon (episodes #30 to #45, or from "Catspaw" to "A Private Little War"). The second part is made up of those shows John Meredyth Lucas produced (#46 to #54, or from "Gamesters" to "Omega Glory"). Gene Roddenberry was listed as the executive producer during the second season (just as he had since the first season show, "Miri"). However, Roddenberry was listed as line producer for "Assignment: Earth," which was a pilot for an NBC series which did not sell.

Robert Justman continued his stint as associate producer, a job he had held since "Where No Man Has Gone Before." David Gerrold, on page 134 of The Trouble with Tribbles, describes Justman’s job as roughly "figuring out how much a script would cost to film. That he was very good at it is legend—but there is no truth at all to the rumor that he could judge a script to within ten cents of its final cost, including sandwiches for the extras, merely by weighing it in his hand. Usually, he flipped the pages first before making such a pronouncement."

Fangoria #10 has a little known anecdote from Ted sturgeon which gives one an idea of Bob Justman’s authority on Star Trek. Sturgeon was on the lot while the "paste up" (the splicing together of the film with no music or sound effects) was being done on his "Amok Time" episode. Sturgeon recalled that "they ran the episode through in the screening room, and I was waiting for a certain line of Spock’s: ‘You can have her. After a time, however, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting it.’ I’m immensely proud of that line, and it was also crucial to the entire plot of that Star Trek episode... It was gone. Now, usually, I’m a very quiet and unaggressive person. I don’t like to make trouble. But this time, I just flipped out. I went roaring down to Bob Justman’s office, Star Trek’s executive producer {Author’s note: Justman was actually associate producer} at the time, and I just raised hell. After a little while, he gradually began to understand what I was saying, and he jumped up and said, ‘Come, with me.’ He went right down to the cutting room where they were cutting my episode. After some judicious trimming on the editor’s part that line was reinserted. Without going into the details, I soon realized that they had not made that cut on purpose. They didn’t cut it because they hated me or disliked my writing. They did it because they had their noses so close to the work that they couldn’t see they were destroying the crucial point of the narrative."

The script consultant for the entire second year was Dorothy Catherine (D.C.) Fontana, a post she began with "This Side of Paradise" in the first year. One of the most noticeable changes for the second year was the billing of DeForest Kelley as co-star. He was considered simply a regular in the first season. McCoy did not appear at all in "Where No Man," "What Are Little Girls Made of?" nor in "Errand of Mercy."

The second season tended to move in the same direction established toward the end of the first season. In some cases, they rehashed previous shows, but in various different ways. There were some more "let’s kill the monster/computer" shows, alien contacts, time travels and alternate universes. An important new aspect of the second year was a bent toward comedy. "I, Mudd," "Tribbles" and "A Piece of the Action" are based almost totally on humor. This was obviously not detrimental to the series as a whole, since these particular shows are usually ranked among top fan favorites.

But the move to humor was probably unavoidable. First, the blooper reel of the first year showed the production crew that their cast had great, possibly somewhat untapped, comic ability. Next, and more importantly, television was moving to what is known as "camp." Witness the popularity, at least at that time, of "Batman" and especially "Lost in Space," that other space show that somehow got higher ratings than did Star Trek; as bad as those shows were—they did get the numbers to stay on the air. The Star Trek crew and NBC probably saw this trend and thought that it would be best to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, this culminated in episodes like "Spock’s Brain" in the third season.

While he was producer during year two, Gene Coon wrote one script ("Metamorphosis") and co-authored four others ("Who Mourns for Adonais?" "The Apple," "A Piece of the Action," and "Bread And Circuses.") Coon also had influence over other scripts which went uncredited. David Gerrold acknowledges Coon’s help in some detail in The Trouble With Tribbles. Gene Roddenberry on page 264 of The World of Star Trek, said that Coon had gotten physically ill and left Star Trek because of a commitment at Universal Studios. One production Coon worked with there was It Takes A Thief, starring Robert Wagner and Malachi Throne.

John Meredyth Lucas wrote one script while he was producer ("Patterns of Force") similar in many ways to Paul Schneider’s "Tomorrow The Universe" unshot script discussed at length in The Clipper Trade Ship #16.) Lucas also directed "The Ultimate Computer" while serving as producer. It seems that Lucas was the most versatile of the Star Trek production staff because he could write, produce as well as direct episodes.

Gene Roddenberry co-authored the story treatment (along with Art Wallace) for the script he produced ("Assignment: Earth"). The actual teleplay was written by Art Wallace. This episode was the only one to list the guest star ("Robert Lansing as Mister Seven") right after the episode title and just before the writing credits.

D. C. Fontana, as story editor for year two, wrote two scripts ("Babel" and "Friday’s Child") and co-authored two others ("By Any Other Name" and "The Ultimate Computer"). Fontana had this to say about her job in Enterprise Incidents #7: "Well, the writer’s obligation ends after the second draft is turned in. After that, it probably belongs to the production company and they can do anything they want with it, including tear it up into little pieces and throw it to the winds. We preferred not to shelve the script if it wasn’t quite right, if the writer hadn’t gotten the characters down. We had to do rewrites a number of times, but that was balanced by writers who got the knack of the show, and we hired them back because you’ll see names recurring. There is always some type of rewrite in terms of production—a show scheduled for outside and it’s raining cats and dogs—you have to do something, find a way to shift it indoors onto other sets, which involves changing the’ll always have some kind of production consideration that will require a rewrite, but not a major one. Major ones are when they really miss the mark and got off on the story, not plotted out the story well, not knowing the characters. Then you have to sit down and start from the beginning to the end and rewrite."

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