The 37's

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"The 37's"
Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 1
Directed byJames L. Conway[1]
Written by
Produced by[2]
Featured musicDennis McCarthy[2]
Cinematography byMarvin V. Rush, A.S.C.[2]
Editing byRobert Lederman[2]
Production code120[1]
Original air dateAugust 28, 1995 (1995-08-28)
Running time45:49[2]
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Learning Curve"
Next →
"Initiations"
List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes
 
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"The 37's"
Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 1
Directed byJames L. Conway[1]
Written by
Produced by[2]
Featured musicDennis McCarthy[2]
Cinematography byMarvin V. Rush, A.S.C.[2]
Editing byRobert Lederman[2]
Production code120[1]
Original air dateAugust 28, 1995 (1995-08-28)
Running time45:49[2]
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Learning Curve"
Next →
"Initiations"
List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes

"The 37's" is the first episode of the second season, and seventeenth episode overall of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. Due to differing release schedules, it was also released as the final episode of the first season in other countries.[5][6] The episode originally aired August 28, 1995 on the UPN network. Directed by James L. Conway, it was written by producers Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga. It was originally intended to be a two part episode to bridge between the first and seconds seasons, but was subsequently re-written to be a single part. Due to late changes to the final act of the episode, special effects shots of the settler's cities could not be completed, which Braga and series creator Michael Piller were unhappy with.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet and Maquis crew of the starship USS Voyager after they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant far from the rest of the Federation. In this episode, Voyager's crew discovering a group of Humans—including Amelia Earhart (Sharon Lawrence)—who were abducted from Earth in 1937.[5]

Sharon Lawrence was cast as Amelia Earhart, after she had previously worked with Voyager's casting director on NYPD Blue. The episode shows the first time that a Federation starship lands on a planet's surface. CGI was used to show the landing struts unfold, and feet were added to the Voyager model for filming; however the production crew weren't pleased with these and obscured them during filming. The episode received Nielsen Ratings of 7.5 percent, and was given a mixed response by critics. Amongst the criticisms were the density of the ideas in the episode and the gimmicky appearance of Earhart. But it was also said to be redeemed by the vignettes showing the crew discussing whether to leave the ship, and that the episode contained a "powerful feminist narrative".[7]

Plot[edit]

On stardate 48975.1,[5] the crew of Voyager follow an ancient SOS to a Class L planet whose atmospheric interference requires landing the ship to investigate. On the surface, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) leads an away team to discover the source of the transmission: a Lockheed Model 10 Electra[8] with an alien generator added to sustain the SOS. Joining Commander Chakotay's (Robert Beltran) team, the crew finds a "cryostasis chamber" containing eight Humans preserved since the 1930s, including Amelia Earhart (Sharon Lawrence) and her navigator, Fred Noonan (David Graf).[3]

After resuscitation, Noonan leads a rebellion and holds the Voyager officers hostage, disbelieving their story and insisting to speak to J. Edgar Hoover. After Janeway speaks to Earhart and explains her significance to not only Human history, but her own life as well, the displaced Earhart disarms Noonan and leads some of them out of the caves. Outside however, a firefight breaks out between the Starfleet officers and three hooded figures. After flanking the aliens, both they and Janeway are surprised to learn each is Human.

In 1937, over 300 Humans were abducted from Earth by the Briori, an alien species. The Humans were brought as slaves to this planet in the Delta Quadrant, but rose up against their slavers and took what was theirs. Fifteen generations later, there are over 100,000 Humans living in three cities on the planet. The last eight un-revived Humans in cryostasis were thought dead by their contemporaries and descendants who came to revere "the 37s" as "monuments to [their] ancestors".

After the settlers offer to accept any Voyager crew into their society, Janeway faces a crisis of conscience. Can she decide, for all 152 people on Voyager, to condemn them to the 70-year journey home to Earth; yet, if the choice is presented to the crew, the ship cannot be staffed by less than 100. In the end, Janeway allows the crew to decide for themselves and none of them choose to leave.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

Brannon Braga in 2011

"The 37's" was written by Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga.[1] One of four season two episodes produced during season one (the others being "Projections", "Elogium", and "Twisted"),[8] Braga and Taylor originally intended "The 37's" to round out the first season of Voyager; UPN delayed these episodes to begin Voyager's second season before other networks' shows.[4] This delay influenced a lot of decision-making about an episode that wound up pushed to the second season. Both writers wanted to end the first season by showing the Starfleet and Maquis factions aboard the ship banding together as a crew, accepting their long journey home, and "whining less about home."[1][4] The landing of Voyager was also intended to take advantage of the last episode of the season as an opportunity to really wow the audience.[9]

Braga wanted the episode to be broken into a two-part episode due to what he called "a wealth of material",[9] what Kate Mulgrew would later describe as "every scene" containing a monologue.[10] However, because the episode was to end the first season, nobody else on the staff wanted to end the first season on a cliffhanger. Condensing it into one episode, Braga admitted to struggling with the story, pointing out dramatically different tones in the first three acts as compared to the final two. Ultimately though, he was satisfied with the end result and how the story came back around to focus on the Voyager crew in the end.[9]

The colonists' cities, which are described in the episode as "[something] to be proud of", "amazing", and impressive, were never actually seen in the episode.[2] Jeri Taylor explained that the last act of the episode was developed very late, and between budgetary considerations and time constraints, they simply couldn't be realized.[11] Unlike co-writer Brannon Braga and series creator Michael Piller, who felt the missing cities were detrimental to the overall episode,[4] Taylor didn't think the compromise was "a big deal."[11]

Sharon Lawrence[edit]

Sharon Lawrence in 2012

Casting for "The 37's" was done by Junie Lowry-Johnson, C.S.A and Ron Surma.[2] Lowry-Johnson was familiar with guest star Sharon Lawrence from their work together on NYPD Blue. Lawrence would opine that the qualities of her NYPD Blue character ("somebody who had […] a professional strength about them") was what cinched her role as Amelia Earhart.[12]

The actress was excited to be portraying a version of Earhart, saying that she relishes the professional relationships roles like these have—as opposed to ones featuring "domestic or familial relationship[s]."[8] In "The 37's", Lawrence was drawn to the relationship Earhart has with Janeway: two women, two processional pilots who've risen to great heights in their chosen fields. Not only did the historical character appeal to her, but Lawrence also reveled in the "what-if" twist, the alternate historical story about what happened.[12]

Lawrence grew up watching Mulgrew as Mary Ryan on the soap opera Ryan's Hope; from a family where women more often than not became homemakers, Mary Ryan was an "exotic" character—with her career and life in New York City—who served as inspiration for the young Lawrence. On the set of Star Trek: Voyager the two actresses spoke frequently about their careers, their backgrounds in theater, and the struggles of balancing home and professional requirements.[12] Lawrence felt that her relationship with Mulgrew influenced the relationship between their characters on screen. Mulgrew would go on to praise Lawrence's performance in "The 37's", saying that "[she] really played the hell out of that role".[8]

Though she specifically remarked on her pleasure at seeing Robert Beltran (Chakotay) again, Lawrence praised all the cast's professionalism and their ability to cope with the "vast amount of virtually unreferenced text that they have on Star Trek.[12]

Landing Voyager[edit]

Background[edit]

For the original Star Trek, to avoid the tremendous costs of landing the Enterprise every week, Gene Roddenberry invented the transporter to get the crew to and from planets cheaply and quickly.[8] For Star Trek: Voyager however, the concept of landing the Voyager was considered from the beginning as a way to differentiate the new series from those that preceded it.[13] Episode co-writer Brannon Braga explained that it was understood from the beginning that the ship could land.[9]

Effects[edit]

"The 37's" is the first time in Star Trek canon that a starship is landed on a planet's surface.[3][8] This was accomplished with a combination of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and physical modeling. Overhead views of the ship as it descended were CGI because it allowed the ship to "descen[d] to a virtual pinpoint".[14][15]

Because the initial description of the ship described its landing capability, four small hatches on the ventral hull were included on both the ship miniature and model. However the legs that were to emerge from those hatches had not yet been designed by "The 37's".[16] In the 13 feet (4.0 m) allowed by the design of the ship, Rick Sternbach had difficulty designing "an articulated set of legs and footpads" that would fold out and support some of the ship's 750,000 metric tons (740,000 long tons; 830,000 short tons).[17] Shots of the unfolding "landing struts"[2] were CGI because motorized versions weren't installed in the physical model; visual effects producer Dan Curry would later state that installing such motorized elements in the five-foot model was impossible due to the size.[14] For filming the landed Voyager, miniature feet were made;[17] however, because the producers felt the feet looked inappropriately sized for the rest of the ship, they were partially obscured by landscape in post-production.[18]

Scenes with the landed ship were shot in Bronson Canyon. Prior to filming, shots were plotted out with a styrofoam, "foam-core Voyager mockup for scale and perspective." Because the canyon couldn't provide enough space to show the entire landed ship, the Voyager set down with the fore of the ship visible outside the mouth of the canyon against a matte painting backdrop. Visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore would later admit that the composited Voyager in the canyon was far too small with respect to the shooting location, though without any visible references for the audience, and by keeping the cast between the ship and camera, it wasn't obvious to anybody except the visual effects crew.[14][15]

Reception[edit]

"The 37's" was first aired in the United States on UPN on August 28, 1995. It received a Nielsen rating of 7.5 percent, meaning that it was watched by 7.5 percent of all of those watching television at the time of the broadcast. It was the most watched episode of the season,[19] having received the highest ratings since the first season episode "Ex Post Facto".[20]

Kate Mulgrew would recalled that she "loved shooting every second of 'The 37's'"; she specifically praised the writing, Sharon Lawrence as Amelia Earhart, and director James L. Conway.[10] Tim Russ (Tuvok) praised the episode as a fine example of science fiction and said he wished to see more of this type of episode. Braga felt "The 37's" had a lot of fun and very cool elements such as meeting Earhart and landing the ship, but that the episode fell flat after meeting the colonists and never seeing their cities on the planet. Star Trek: Voyager co-creator Michael Piller described the premise of the episode as hokey, comparing it to "old Star Trek"; instead Piller praised the landing of the ship as "pretty amazing."[4] Series co-creator Rick Berman would describe "The 37's" as "a great episode."[21]

Cinefantastique's Dale Kutzera felt that "The 37's" had too many disparate ideas crammed into one episode. He specifically opined that Amelia Earhart served little purpose as the subject of Janeway's idolization (as compared to Captain Kirk and Abraham Lincoln in The Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain"), and complained that she all but disappears from the second half of the episode. Kutzera would also note the lauded but unseen cities. He awarded "The 37's" two out of four stars.[1] In Frank Garcia and Mark Phillips' book Science Fiction Television Series, 1990–2004, "The 37's" was specifically called out for bring gimmicky, noting the appearance of not only "a phony-looking, 1936 Ford truck […] but long-lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart."[22] In his book Delta Quadrant: The unofficial guide to Voyager, David McIntee described the acting in "The 37's" as watchable, and felt the episode was redeemed by the little vignettes such as Earhart and Janeway's discussion, or Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) and B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) debating whether to leave the ship. He gave the episode an 6/10 rating.[23] Though David Greven would, in his book Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek, also describe the plot as hokey, he felt the episode contained "a powerful feminist narrative of shared female aspiration and daring."[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Kutzera, Dale (January 1996). "Voyager Guide". Cinefantastique (Forest Park, Illinois: Frederick S. Clarke) 27 (4/5): 79–81. ISSN 0145-6032. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "The 37's". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 2. Episode 1. August 28, 1995 (1995-08-28). UPN.
  3. ^ a b c d Ruditis, Paul (May 2003). "Season One". Star Trek: Voyager Companion. New York, New York: Pocket Books. pp. 54–58. ISBN 0-7434-1751-8. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (1996). "''Voyager: Season Two Episode Guide". Captains' Logs Supplemental: The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages. London: Little, Brown and Company. p. 154. ISBN 0 316 88354 9. 
  5. ^ a b c "Star Trek 37's, The". StarTrek.com. CBS Productions. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Star Trek Star Trek: Voyager". StarTrek.com. CBS Productions. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Greven, David (2009). "An Epic for Women". Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 169–170. ISBN 9780786454587. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "The 37's" (DVD text commentary). 2004. 
  9. ^ a b c d Nazzaro, Joe (February 1996). "Brannon Braga: Supervising Producer". The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine (New York, New York: Starlog Group, Inc.) (5): 45–52. ISSN 1079-3658. 
  10. ^ a b Spelling, Ian (February 1996). "Kate Mulgrew". The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine (New York, New York: Starlog Group, Inc.) (5): 19–25. ISSN 1079-3658. 
  11. ^ a b Kutzera, Dale (November 1996). "The End of An Era". Cinefantastique (Forest Park, Illinois) 28 (4/5): 81–84. ISSN 0145-6032. "Co-creator and co-executive producer Michael Pillar steps down to be a third season 'creative consultant.'" 
  12. ^ a b c d Spelling, Ian (February 1996). "Sharon Lawrence". The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine (New York, New York: Starlog Group, Inc.) (5): 7–8. ISSN 1079-3658. 
  13. ^ Poe, Stephen Edward (April 1998). "The Bible". A Vision of the Future. New York, New York: Pocket Books. pp. 194–208. ISBN 0-671-53481-5. 
  14. ^ a b c Nemecek, Larry (December–January 1996). "Believe What You See: Visual FX: Creating the Star Trek Universe". In Madsen, Dan. Star Trek Communicator (Aurora, Colorado: The Official Fan Club, Inc.) (105): 56. ISSN 1080-3793. 
  15. ^ a b Curry, Dan; Moore, Ronald B. (2004). Red Alert: Visual Effects Season 2 (DVD Special Features). Event occurs at 9:55–12:24. 
  16. ^ Sternbach, Rick (2004). Designing the U.S.S. Voyager (DVD Special Features). 
  17. ^ a b Sternbach, Rick (December 2000). "Designing the U.S.S. Voyager". In Robinson, Ben. Star Trek: The Magazine (Norwalk, Connecticut: Fabbri Publishing) 1 (20): 48–53. ISSN 1523-9195. 
  18. ^ Poe, Stephen Edward (April 1998). "The System". A Vision of the Future. New York, New York: Pocket Books. pp. 250–264. ISBN 0-671-53481-5. 
  19. ^ "Season 2 Ratings". TrekNation. Archived from the original on October 26, 2000. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Season 1 Ratings". TrekNation. Archived from the original on October 6, 2000. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  21. ^ Freeman, John, ed. (December 1995). "Production is Paramount: An Interview with Executive Producer Rick Berman". Star Trek Magazine (in British English) (London: Titan Magazines) 1 (10): 9–11. ISSN 1357-3888. 
  22. ^ Garcia, Frank; Phillips, Mark (2012). "Star Trek: Voyager". Science Fiction Television Series, 1990–2004. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-7864-2483-2. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  23. ^ McIntee, David (2000). "First Season". Delta Quadrant: The unofficial guide to Voyager (in British English). London, UK: Virgin Publishing Ltd. pp. 63–65. ISBN 0-7535-0436-7. 

External links[edit]