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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 31 2011, 03:51 PM   #1
Redfern
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If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

If this topic has been discussed earlier, maybe somebody can provide a link and the moderator can lock this thread as a "duplicate". Otherwise, maybe this one can garner a few observations.

If...during the original broadcast of Star Trek the Borg had been introduced, how might they have been visualized? What might have Bill Theiss designed for their "augments" and armor? What kind of craft might Matt Jefferies or Mike Minor have conceived? I suspect some members will claim "bionics" and "cybernetics" were not a well known concept (at least in pop culture) during the 60s and viewers would have to wait until the 70s before visual mass media was ready to explore the idea. With respect I will remind people Doctor Who dealt with this theme during 1966 (ironically, the year Trek debuted) when the infamous Cybermen were introduced in the 4 part serial "The Tenth Planet".

Prose descriptions will no doubt be fun, but if someone has any conceptual illustrations they'd like to share, all the better!

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old August 31 2011, 04:08 PM   #2
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

I don't know, but what comes to mind for me immediately is Theiss's design for the spacesuits used in "The Tholian Web." He used various colors of metallic fabric to cover cut-out shapes (perhaps of styrofoam or light wood, I don't know) along with findings to represent controls, connectors and other techie elements along with piping/cording wrapped in the same materials to simulate hoses and cabling. It was a dramatic and inspired use of fairly conventional costuming materials to suggest technological designs.
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Old August 31 2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Ooh! Good thought! Actually, had the Borg been introduced after production of "...Web", I can imagine the EVA suits "redressed", probably without the helmets, to become Borg armor. (After all, an early issue of the now defunct Star Trek Magazine, presented early conceptual drawings Rick Sternbach created that depicted "silver" suits.)

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Old August 31 2011, 05:43 PM   #4
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

...OTOH, budgetary concerns might have prompted them to go subtle. So, instead of macroscopic tubes and transistors on the surface, the cyborgs could all have looked like Ruk the Android. The same grey skin, a bit of extra "machine" angularity, the replacing of a skinny actor with a burly one... Eerie, effective, and quite possibly more enduringly futuristic than what TNG did.

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Old August 31 2011, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Yeah, budgetray constraints may have forced them in that direction. But I suspect part of what the Borg so popular was the viseral (sp?), brute force integration between flesh and machine. Tubes and other hardware literally punched through flesh. There's something about that which makes a lot of people squirm. I'm sure most people here have heard or read the debates that "Q Who" was meant as a partial homage to Doctor Who and the Borg were supposedly meant as an homage to the Cybermen. But visually, I feel confident Trek took inspiration from "HellRaiser" with its black leather clad CenoBytes and their tortured and flayed flesh.

Yes, Timo, your idea of Ruk-ish looking, more integrated cyborgs seems like something TOS could have more readily achieved and would have been more "timelessly" futuristic, but I wonder if they would have maintained fan favorites like the Frankensteined robo-zombies we actually got.

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Old August 31 2011, 10:14 PM   #6
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

...instead of Data tapping into the Borg Collective via Locutus to implant a command, Spock would have used a mindmeld on Kirk-Locutus to achieve the same result.
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Old August 31 2011, 10:26 PM   #7
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Certainly a bit more believable than Spock mind melding with the totally mechanized Nomad.

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Bill
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Old August 31 2011, 10:59 PM   #8
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

I'm liking the idea of William Shatner jump-kicking drones and making dramatic speeches about "MACHINE-men".
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Old September 1 2011, 07:01 AM   #9
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Then the borg would have been Daleks rather than half-ass Techno-Cenobites.
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Old September 1 2011, 03:11 PM   #10
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

I agree the makeup would've probably been simple, like the Mudd's Planet androids -- which arguably were a prototype Borg Collective of sorts, a group of individual bodies controlled by a single central mind. The menace would've been portrayed more conceptually and less visually. At the time, the idea of an assimilating collective would've been seen more overtly as a metaphor for a Stalinist police state and creeping authoritarianism -- which was still something of a fear in 1988 when the Borg were created, but the fear of being absorbed and replaced by technology, while present in the '60s (see "The Return of the Archons" or "The Ultimate Computer"), was probably less immediate than it was in the late '80s. So the technological side of the Borg threat probably wouldn't have been played up to the same degree.

Although I'm forgetting that the Borg weren't originally portrayed as an assimilating collective; in "Q Who" they were only interested in our technology and not in organic life forms at all (sort of like a cruder version of V'Ger, which "assimilated" ships and space stations and planets it was curious about but dismissed the "carbon units" within them as irrelevant). The idea of humans and humanoids being assimilated and turned into Borg wasn't featured until BOBW and didn't become their defining trait until First Contact and Voyager (since in most of TNG, Borg drones were portrayed as blank slates with no prior identity, the products of Borg incubation chambers). So the psychological horror aspect of the Borg, the authoritarian symbolism, was a later addition to the original concept, which was more firmly grounded in the fear of technology taking over.

But I guess that's kind of what I'm saying -- that if the Borg had been created by the '60s writers (which isn't implausible, since the concept is sort of a hybrid of Landru, Mudd's Planet, and maybe Nomad), it would've been more likely intended from the start as a metaphor for Communism (or rather, the brand of authoritarianism that misleadingly labeled itself as Communism) more strongly than as a metaphor for technology taking over. Or at least it would've been more a mix of both from the start.

In any case, yeah, I think the costume/makeup design would've been something simple and easily mass-produced. No elaborate prosthetics. Just pale skin, metallic jumpsuits, maybe fairly basic helmets, maybe some kind of small, standardized bit of tech that symbolized the interlink like the blinky amulets on Mudd's androids.
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Old September 1 2011, 07:51 PM   #11
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

...And while I fully agree with Redfern on the effectiveness of creepy technological violation of the human body, I also think this might have been specifically frowned upon by the people in a position to decide. Not the creative artists, who happily write about narcotic-trading Enterprise crew members, rapes and abortions, but the higher-ups who need to get this stuff past the censors and into the commercial mainstream.

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Old September 5 2011, 03:36 PM   #12
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

In the Shatnerverse novels, Vger was an offshoot of the Borg; they were the "machine civilization" that tampered with Voyager.
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Old September 6 2011, 06:07 PM   #13
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Smellincoffee wrote: View Post
I'm liking the idea of William Shatner jump-kicking drones and making dramatic speeches about "MACHINE-men".
Don't forget the double hammer-fist. I can picture it now.

+1

Ruk would have been the obvious model, though maybe more normal sized with the appropriate makeup and simple costume applied.

The connection of Borg to V'ger makes a lot of sense, though it doesn't necessarily have to be so. A shame that the writers in TNG didn't think of it. Course, the change of the Borg after Q'Who from only being interested in technology to one that assimilate everything is the worst offense and entirely within TNG so has other issues.
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Old September 6 2011, 06:28 PM   #14
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
...instead of Data tapping into the Borg Collective via Locutus to implant a command, Spock would have used a mindmeld on Kirk-Locutus to achieve the same result.
And then Kirk would have un-assimilated the Borg Queen by bang I mean kissing her.
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Old September 6 2011, 07:09 PM   #15
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Re: If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Just imagine the "chunka-chunka" sound the Borg would have made while processing data!
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