(Not that anyone cares about my two cents... but I'll toss 'em in here anyhow...)
The fact is that any
work of fiction is a continual process of editing. What I mean to say is that if you, let's say, read a novel, you are reading the final-est version of the story which the the author sent to press. Along the way, the setting, the characters, the events and the order they happen in are massaged continually until they finally arrive where the author feels they best serve the story. But, in a sense, what you are reading is really just a snap-shot of the story in a given editorial phase.
Sometimes even the author isn't happy with it and wants to go back and fiddle with it a bit more. George Lucas is a prime example of this. For better or worse, this guy just can't seem to let his vision of Star Wars
alone. There have been, what, three or four different editions of the trilogy with stuff added or deleted or otherwise edited in some fashion?
A weekly television show, like Star Trek
is a different animal. The author (or in this case, Executive Producer supported by a number of individual authors) doesn't really get the chance to go back and monkey with it in hopes of refining it to a "better" post-release edit. But
, they do get to edit themselves and refine ideas as the show progresses. As has been pointed out, Star Trek
began with the Enterprise
flying under EUSPA authority, then after a while became under Star Fleet command (while assuming that it was under SFC the whole time) and much later going from being an Earth ship to working for the UFP, again, with the assumption that it had always been working for the UFP. Also, the ship's power: In seasons one and two, most references seem to indicate strongly that the generation happens in the nacelles, yet many third season plots seem to indicate a backstage assumption that the generator was indeed in the hull at least near-ish the Main Engineering room.
It seems to me that this thread is mainly a few guys passionately arguing their opinions (dare I say evangelizing
!). Depending on your assumptions, either position could be valid. I enjoy following Robert Comsol
's mental gymnastics, but, if I have one criticism, it's that one need not be so violent about where one draws the G.U.T. line. You, sir, rail against Unified Theory attempting to tie together the entire franchise, yet embrace a Unified Theory tying together the original 80 hours, even though the evidence for an evolving backstage concept is readily demonstrable no matter where one draws the G.U.T. line.
Now, without going to re-read TMoST before I type this, my recollection of all the "Enterprise
Class Starship" business is that this was mainly mentioned in memos written as the show was getting its "space-legs" so-to-speak in the formative times before "Star Fleet" or "the Federation" were nailed down.
I think it's fair to say that Gene Roddenberry and co. were probably on-board with the Constitution
-class nomenclature from early on and that Kahn's viewer graphic, later recycled as Scotty's Tech Journal were
intended to indicate a class for our intrepid hero's starship--other logical assumptions be damned. My reason for thinking such is that the original Star Trek Concordance
which was made while the show was still on air states as much, and it was written my Bjo Trimble, who seems to have had extraordinary access to cast and crew while assembling her references. Also, GR's use of the term in his TMP novelization and in "The Naked Now" (the first production episode of TNG, when GR was still very much involved with the show) suggest to me that he was perfectly fine the Enterprise
being a Constitution
My take? I figure the Enterprise
was built as a Constitution
-class Cruiser. At this point it would be considered a "CRUISER-CLASS." After Kirk's first mission to the galactic rim, she was refit for a larger crew and a longer (read: 5 year) exploration mission and thus received the much coveted "STARSHIP-CLASS" status and got a shiny new dedication plaque to tell you about it. After that, it was decided to use Enterprise
as a test-bed for basically everything and she was refit like mad (TMP) thus making her a unique vessel and identified as Enterprise
-class (TWOK). Lessons were learned, other ships were built using the resulting technology. By the time of TUC, Enterprise
had been destroyed over Genesis and all other Constitution
-class ships had either been mothballed or refit to a common new standard (like the 1701-A in TFF and TUC), so they retained the Constitution
-class designation, since all were the same now. Imagine some bureaucratic bookkeeping logic to make this all work and it makes sense to me, while still fitting all the on-screen evidence.
Your mileage may freely vary.
I'm going to bed. Later.