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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old January 7 2010, 04:22 PM   #1
jefferiestubes8
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Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

Hey I was just wondering has anyone listened to episodes of any of the 5 Trek TV series as audio only over headphones or speakers without picture?

Which Trek TV series holds up the best as audio-only?
[Where you can follow the story the best without visuals]

TV series only guys, not the feature films...
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Old January 7 2010, 04:57 PM   #2
barnaclelapse
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

I've never tried this before, to be honest.

It sounds interesting though.
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Old January 7 2010, 08:21 PM   #3
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

Yes, back in the 80's before I got my first VCR in 1986, I had audio recordings of all the TOS movies and the four (then) movies. I can't say which one holds up best, since by the time TNG started, I switched to making VCR recordins, but before that, I used to listen to my TOS tapes and pretend they were radio shows from the old days.
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Old January 7 2010, 10:18 PM   #4
TheKeeper
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

Yeah, this takes me back! In the mid-seventies before home video got established, we used to make and trade audio cassettes of TOS episodes. I only had about a dozen or so, but I would listen to them once in a while.

Some of the episodes didn't work at all as audio dramas - "Arena" came out as mostly dramatic music and Gorn growling, while "The Doomsday Machine" wasn't nearly as effective without actually seeing The Flying Cornucopia of Death. Others made great audio experiences, like "The Conscience of the King" and "Day of the Dove". There were only a few scenes in episodes like those where I had to rely on memories of the visuals to know what was going on.
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Old January 8 2010, 08:01 AM   #5
SgtPinback
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

jefferiestubes8 wrote: View Post
Hey I was just wondering has anyone listened to episodes of any of the 5 Trek TV series as audio only over headphones or speakers without picture?

Which Trek TV series holds up the best as audio-only?
[Where you can follow the story the best without visuals]

TV series only guys, not the feature films...
I've never done this deliberately, but--upon re-watching "Squire Of Gothos" a few years ago for the first time in a while--I realized that it would almost work as a radio play, since very nearly every event that occurs onscreen in that episode is commented on by the performers, right down to reading the "Tally Ho" message sent by Trelane.

Interesting thread!
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Old January 8 2010, 04:04 PM   #6
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

I've always just listened to the audiobooks of the Trek novels instead - there's a ton of them and most are quite good. James Doohan does a great job when he narrates.
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Old January 8 2010, 04:47 PM   #7
TheKeeper
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

A follow-up post so I can address the actual question...

I've never attempted audio-only with any Trek except TOS, and that was a matter of technological necessity. Any conclusions I might come to will be semi-educated guesses.

I could be a smartass and say TAS could be a purely audio thing, since the visuals weren't worth keeping one's eyes open in any case.

It's likely that the other Treks would mirror my experiences with TOS - some episodes would work pretty well and others would be useless as pure audio. Just to pin myself down, I'll say ENT seems like it would hold up in audio better than the others.
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Old January 8 2010, 06:14 PM   #8
DevilEyes
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

TheKeeper wrote: View Post
A follow-up post so I can address the actual question...

I've never attempted audio-only with any Trek except TOS, and that was a matter of technological necessity. Any conclusions I might come to will be semi-educated guesses.

I could be a smartass and say TAS could be a purely audio thing, since the visuals weren't worth keeping one's eyes open in any case.

It's likely that the other Treks would mirror my experiences with TOS - some episodes would work pretty well and others would be useless as pure audio. Just to pin myself down, I'll say ENT seems like it would hold up in audio better than the others.
It would be Ok as long as you fast-forward the opening credits.

I'm curious to know why you think ENT would hold better than the others? If I were to pick a series that I can imagine holding well on audio, ENT would hardly be the first to come to mind.

Generally, Trek series could hold on audio much better than the movies, which are far more action-oriented and visual. I'm guessing that TNG might hold well on audio since it was quite "talky". DS9 would hold very well except for the episodes that had a lot of action or space battle scenes; but there are quite a few episodes like "Duet" that are based on dialogue and character interaction, that I can imagine working very well on audio. You would lose the advantage of seeing the emotions on character's faces, but most of them acted very well with their voices, too.
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Old January 8 2010, 06:31 PM   #9
TheKeeper
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
It would be Ok as long as you fast-forward the opening credits.

I'm curious to know why you think ENT would hold better than the others? If I were to pick a series that I can imagine holding well on audio, ENT would hardly be the first to come to mind.

Generally, Trek series could hold on audio much better than the movies, which are far more action-oriented and visual. I'm guessing that TNG might hold well on audio since it was quite "talky". DS9 would hold very well except for the episodes that had a lot of action or space battle scenes; but there are quite a few episodes like "Duet" that are based on dialogue and character interaction, that I can imagine working very well on audio. You would lose the advantage of seeing the emotions on character's faces, but most of them acted very well with their voices, too.
The ideal ENT opening credits would be a silent movie -- visual with a mute button!

Just based on my own impressions of the shows, I've always thought ENT was both dialogue-heavy and visually uninteresting. I'm generalizing, of course, and no doubt there were exceptions somewhere in the four years.

Funny you mention DS9's "Duet", I was thinking the same thing, that it would be a fine audio drama. I contrast it with "Emissary", where all the Wormhole Prophets scenes were heavily dependent on visuals and couldn't be made to work as audio.
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Old January 8 2010, 07:38 PM   #10
jefferiestubes8
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Audio-only & radio serial of 'Star Wars'

hey guys I'm enjoying the replies.
Perhaps it would be good to do a test and put on a DVD of an episode and face away from the TV and or plug headphones into the DVD player (if it has a jack) or into your stereo receiver headphone output.
The imagination will wander and fill in the gaps.
Since TV is such a passive medium it has been said that studies have shown that people generally switch off a certain mental process after 20 minutes or so of TV viewing.
By just using the audio via headphones in a darkened room you are creating the visuals, from memory, or if you have never seen a particular episode completely from your imagination.

On a similar note I remember being a kid and my mom allowing me to use her clock radio to listen to a program at night that was a radio drama of Star Wars .
An expanded radio dramatization of the original Star Wars trilogy was produced in 1981,
based on A New Hope
produced and broadcast by National Public Radio as part of NPR Playhouse.
The radio serials were made with the full co-operation of George Lucas,
Lucas also allowed the use of original sound effects and music from the films.

Many of the actors involved in the movie were unavailable to reprise their roles...
Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels returned to reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker and C-3PO respectively.

Star Wars: A New Hope is a 13-part (5hr51m) radio serial first broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981. It was adapted by Brian Daley from the original film, and directed by John Madden, with music by John Williams and sound design for Lucasfilm by Ben Burtt.
They went on to do Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1983 & Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as radio serials in 1996.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_(radio)
These days it's available under the audio books section
perhaps the most ambitious radio project ever attempted
http://www.highbridgeaudio.com/starwars.html
I was only been age 7 at the time and was too young to know the difference of the actors from the film or whatnot but I was totally into it and my imagination ran with it and I loved it.
Remember this was before consumer home video on VHS was widespread as it really took off in the mid-1980s most American's had not really seen Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back except during initial run at cinema, on TV or at a special cinema screening in 1981. It had only been a year since The Empire Strikes Back was at the cinema.

Now that was obviously created for audio-only but something like that allows you to use your imagination and picture a scifi/fantasy story sometimes even better than what is put on the screen (even with a feature film budget).


Don't underestimate the power of sound effects, music, and dialogue to carry a story. A Trek story can sometimes work with just these 3 things as it's been pointed out above.
Man I'd love to be able to have a audio-only Trek TOS or TNG episode created of an older series just out of dialogue recordings, sound FX, and older music. It's possible. We were discussing this sort of thing for the computer voice since Majel Barrett-Roddenberry passed away but the idea of using all of her original dialogue recordings to create a huge sample library of phrases, words, and syllables, consonants that could be used for any needed computer voice written.

In this day and age of visual everything I think Trek would never happen as a serialized radio program commercially. Yes some fan films have done audio-only but not nearly at the level that it could be done.

Last edited by jefferiestubes8; January 9 2010 at 03:45 PM.
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Old January 9 2010, 07:21 PM   #11
DevilEyes
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

TheKeeper wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
It would be Ok as long as you fast-forward the opening credits.

I'm curious to know why you think ENT would hold better than the others? If I were to pick a series that I can imagine holding well on audio, ENT would hardly be the first to come to mind.

Generally, Trek series could hold on audio much better than the movies, which are far more action-oriented and visual. I'm guessing that TNG might hold well on audio since it was quite "talky". DS9 would hold very well except for the episodes that had a lot of action or space battle scenes; but there are quite a few episodes like "Duet" that are based on dialogue and character interaction, that I can imagine working very well on audio. You would lose the advantage of seeing the emotions on character's faces, but most of them acted very well with their voices, too.
The ideal ENT opening credits would be a silent movie -- visual with a mute button!

Just based on my own impressions of the shows, I've always thought ENT was both dialogue-heavy and visually uninteresting. I'm generalizing, of course, and no doubt there were exceptions somewhere in the four years.

Funny you mention DS9's "Duet", I was thinking the same thing, that it would be a fine audio drama. I contrast it with "Emissary", where all the Wormhole Prophets scenes were heavily dependent on visuals and couldn't be made to work as audio.
True - the episodes where Prophets feature heavily would lose the most without the visuals. On the other hand, DS9 episodes without a lot of action or SciFi/mystical moments could work well as audio-dramas - "Duet" being a great example... and if you played them to a non-SciFi fan who has is prejudiced towards Science Fiction, they may not even realize it was Science Fiction, without seeing the actors' alien makeup.

It's true that ENT was visually lacking for the first 2 seasons. Season 3 Xindi arc in ENT has the ship in the Expanse where we get to see it caught in a lot of anomalies - and it's not like in VOY, "oh look there's an anomaly" and the ship goes into a time warp or something, but you really get to see some weird things happening inside and outside the ship. There's also more space action, and space scenes in general - such as a look at the Spheres themselves. It helped that the show seems to have gotten better production values between season 2 and season 3 - and it gets a lot more interesting and impressive than in the first 2 seasons.

Besides, Andorians would just not be the same without their moving antennae.

I guess one thing that might help ENT is that people would probably take T'Pol more seriously if they didn't see her catsuit... But I think that there would be a problem with her and every Vulcan in a substantial role in Trek, since without the picture you would be less likely to discern their emotions. Sure, Vulcan usually don't show emotions as obviously on their faces as most other races, but most of them show them more subtly in their facial expressions, more so than in their voices, or at least I think so. I wonder how Spock-heavy TOS episodes come across without his characteristic eyebrow raise?

Which leads me to the question, which characters would work well on audio only, and which would not? I think Trek in general would do quite good as audio-only, since many actors were stage-trained and had resonant and expressive voices. Also, how would the perceptions of each character change if the audience didn't know what they looked like? I'm going to take a guess that Seven of Nine would be perceived very differently, and that most people wouldn't even realize that she was supposed to be attractive, until another character mentioned it (Kim, EMH...), they'd just hear a robotic, socially awkward and almost asexual ex-Borg.
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Old January 9 2010, 11:18 PM   #12
TheKeeper
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
True - the episodes where Prophets feature heavily would lose the most without the visuals. On the other hand, DS9 episodes without a lot of action or SciFi/mystical moments could work well as audio-dramas - "Duet" being a great example... and if you played them to a non-SciFi fan who has is prejudiced towards Science Fiction, they may not even realize it was Science Fiction, without seeing the actors' alien makeup.

It's true that ENT was visually lacking for the first 2 seasons. Season 3 Xindi arc in ENT has the ship in the Expanse where we get to see it caught in a lot of anomalies - and it's not like in VOY, "oh look there's an anomaly" and the ship goes into a time warp or something, but you really get to see some weird things happening inside and outside the ship. There's also more space action, and space scenes in general - such as a look at the Spheres themselves. It helped that the show seems to have gotten better production values between season 2 and season 3 - and it gets a lot more interesting and impressive than in the first 2 seasons.

Besides, Andorians would just not be the same without their moving antennae.

I guess one thing that might help ENT is that people would probably take T'Pol more seriously if they didn't see her catsuit... But I think that there would be a problem with her and every Vulcan in a substantial role in Trek, since without the picture you would be less likely to discern their emotions. Sure, Vulcan usually don't show emotions as obviously on their faces as most other races, but most of them show them more subtly in their facial expressions, more so than in their voices, or at least I think so. I wonder how Spock-heavy TOS episodes come across without his characteristic eyebrow raise?

Which leads me to the question, which characters would work well on audio only, and which would not? I think Trek in general would do quite good as audio-only, since many actors were stage-trained and had resonant and expressive voices. Also, how would the perceptions of each character change if the audience didn't know what they looked like? I'm going to take a guess that Seven of Nine would be perceived very differently, and that most people wouldn't even realize that she was supposed to be attractive, until another character mentioned it (Kim, EMH...), they'd just hear a robotic, socially awkward and almost asexual ex-Borg.
I admit that when I call ENT visually uninteresting, I'm likely thinking of the first half of the series.

A good point - a visual medium, especially one that's camera-based, will tend to include plenty of visual elements in the narrative and even the characterizations. I can see where Vulcans would present a problem. If Treks had been designed for audio only, how much would vocal queues have become part of their character?

This whole discussion has reminded me of some unintentional hilarity in audio Trek. I mentioned previously that I used to listen to audio tapes of TOS' "The Conscience of the King." Recall the scene where Uhura is singing to Riley over the intercom. Lenore Karidian poisons his drink during the song, but there's no verbal indication of this occurring on-screen. In pure audio, it came across like this:

UHURA: [singing "Beyond Antares", finishes] How you'd like that, Riley?
RILEY: [gag] Help me.....please! [collapses]
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Old January 11 2010, 02:44 AM   #13
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

I probably had 15 TOS eps on audio tape at one time or other, and kept the heavy music portions of DOOMSDAY MACHINE for well over a decade till the music got issued.
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Old January 11 2010, 04:10 PM   #14
Bumbles861
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

I made audio cassettes of all the episodes way back in the early 70's. I clearly remember taping the tiny mike up on a stack of encyclopedias in front of the TV speaker. I used 120 minute cassettes so I wouldn't have to turn the tape around. I'd listen to them again in the evenings, trying to remember everything that was happening. Boy, that takes me back.
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Old January 12 2010, 04:49 AM   #15
Garm Bel Iblis
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Re: Audio-only Trek TV series experiences

I've got every ep of every series in mp3 format on my ipod. listen to trek daily and have for 10 years
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