Trekland, Extra #14: Tribble True-Love Is Tremendous

Trekland, Extra #14: Tribble True-Love Is Tremendous

My daughter-in-law-to-be opened one of her presents Christmas morning and discovered …. a pair of tribble slippers.





The Trouble With Tribbles

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Beyond the actual episode, though, what about the larger impact of “Tribbles”?  When first aired, of course, all of television was steeped in the broadcast model of a first-run, a rerun, and done. Daily syndication TV repeats, much less any kind of controllable/ownable media like VHS and DVD, were as much a sci-fi dream in 1967 as a microtape sitting in a viewer slot.  Who would be sitting around talking about this episode 45 days after airing, much less 45 years? It was lucky just to get a Fotonovel, back in the day (Book #3, as it turned out).
 


But a legacy it has indeed, all the more incredible since “The Trouble With Tribbles” began its pop-culture life not expecting one. Today, though, you can read about it everywhere.  And see the animated sequel. And even in the J.J. Abrams altverse, courtesy of IDW and of course Delta Vega Lab.



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One that, thankfully, paid off—and maybe for more than we give it credit.  “The Trouble With Tribbles” also holds the distinction of being the only episode to have ever been “brought back.” For the 30th Trek anniversary in 1996, both then-series chose to revisit a moment in Trek’s past: on Voyager, the springboard became the Excelsior scenes with Captain Sulu, a subplot of Star Trek VI, for “Flashback.” Over on DS9, flush with the new capacity for Gump-style CGI retro mashups on a TV budget, the decision was made to do just that by hijacking the entire plot of “Tribbles” and overlaying a new story with Sisko & Co.

As DS9 producers Ira Steven Behr, Ron Moore and others have noted, there was only one choice for a TOS show with a vibe light enough to serve their retelling, while at the same time fitting as an iconic-enough Trek for the widest audience. “Trials and Tribble-ations” is of course its own story, and even managed to ret-con background into the original episode and universe (Thank you, Ron, for finally making “D-7” battlecruisers canon, for one). In turn, the DS9 show’s look unwittingly set the bar high for any future revamping of visual effects and sight/sound quality—which arrived with the first remastered HD versions in 2006.



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Larry Nemecek, author of The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, Star Trek Magazine columnist and longtime editor of Star Trek Communicator, is currently producing The Con of Wrath, a documentary about the most “glorious failure” convention ever, and the TREKLAND: ON CD audio series from his interview archives. He will also host the 2013 return of the “Hollywood to Vegas: Trek Film Sites” tour for Geek Nation Tours; click HERE for details. Larry shares his years as Star Trek author, historian, consultant and insider at conventions and on larrynemecek.com.  His posts and original video chats with all your favorites are at Treklandblog.com, plus @larrynemecek on Twitter and Larry Nemecek’s Trekland on Facebook.

 

 

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