RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,614
Posts: 5,426,092
Members: 24,810
Currently online: 422
Newest member: 8 of 9

TrekToday headlines

IDW Publishing December Trek Comics
By: T'Bonz on Sep 17

September Loot Crate Features Trek Surprise
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

USS Enterprise Miniature Out For Refit
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes Comic Crossover
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

Trek 3 Shooting Next Spring?
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

Star Trek: Alien Domain Game Announced
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Red Shirt Diaries Episode Three
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Made Out Of Mudd Photonovel
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Takei Has Growth Removed
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Retro Review: Tears of the Prophets
By: Michelle on Sep 12


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 14 2012, 02:44 AM   #1
Gotham Central
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Chicago, IL
View Gotham Central's Twitter Profile
Should the future look "Futuristic?"

In the Lost in Space thread the reviewer covered an episode called "Return from Outer Space" where Will Robinson gets beamed back Earth in the "present" (which for the series was 1997). What always struck me about the episode was how not futuristic the town Will Robinson visits appeared. In fact the entire community looked rather retrograde and would not have seemed out of place on The Andy Griffith Show. Even as a kid watching Lost in Space in reruns during the 1980s, I never bought the idea that Will Robinson was actually supposed on Earth in the 1990s. For me, what hurt the story was that this place that was supposed to exist 10 years in my future seemed not only out of date but lacked anything that screams look I'm in the future.

When you really think about though, the future rarely looks "futuristic." If the youthful me of the 1980s had been pulled into small town America in 2012 would it really seem all that futuristic? Yeah some of the TVs would be flat, and the cars might be curvier, and people would be carrying their telephones in their pockets...but how much of that would be noticeable?

It goes to the question of how should the future be depicted on TV. Irwin Allen productions, despite their outlandish stories, usually had a VERY restrained visions of the future. Some of that is budgetary. But more often than not, his shows never look or feel like they take place in the future. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea takes place between 1973-1984 yet with the exception of the odd video phone (which appears in season 2 and then disappears) never looks more advanced than the 1960s. The same was largely try for his other series. Compare this to say Gerry Anderson who always tried to make things look futuristic. UFO features a very "mod" 1960s vision of futurism with jet cars, Nehru Jackets and purple wigs. UFO manages to scream futuristic while also looking very dated. Space: 1999 had the same issue of screaming...look the future while giving us uniforms with bell bottoms and platform shoes, and lots of molded plastic furniture.

So the question is, who futuristic should the future look? Does trying to make the future seem like the future actually work against such productions in the long run?
__________________
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia

Green Day
Gotham Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 04:00 AM   #2
sojourner
Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

The problem with hollywood depictions of the future is that they have to view them through the lense of current styles when that production is made in order to please the audience.

For example, 20 years from now for all we know bell bottom pants, "wife beater" shirts, and oiled hair might be all the rage. If you tried to portray that in a movie filmed today it would be laughed out of the theatre, so to speak. So, the film companies look at current trends and "tweak" them so that they look cool to current audiences, but when 20 years rolls around and the kids in their bell bottoms and wife beaters watch the movie on USA network it looks dated to the time it was made.

It's a rare movie set in the future that ages well. One of those is Bladerunner. It's a 30 year old movie but still holds up very well.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 04:08 AM   #3
Trekker4747
Fleet Admiral
 
Trekker4747's Avatar
 
Location: Kansas City
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

Movies and TV shows get a nice budget, artists and effects to work with in depicting the future which often why the future can look so grand and epic in fictional depictions. Even now in a time when we should "know better" we can't help but depict even the fairly near future as just being spectacular, clean, with radical designs.

Unfortuantely, practicality, financial motivations, bureaucracy and sorts of other nonsense can put a damper on that real quick.

Forgetting more fantastic aspects of the future like flying cars there's really not much reason at all to think that the future is going to look too much different than it does today.

Sure, building materials are going to change, design styles and aesthetics are going to change Local politics and economics are going to impact how clean things look (mostly a function of the local crime-rate and where business is centered.) But overall things are going to look, well, the same.

I think Back to the Future depicts the distant future the best (again excluding the technological aspects.) The town square is not vastly futuristic looking, there aren't 200-story tall buildings standing grandly in the background and all of that it's still largely the same space.

Sure the parking-lot in front of the "courthouse" is now a pond, the building itself now a mall (presumably with underground parking or a nearby parking lot connected to the building via underground tunnels or something.) In 1985 we see that the town-square is a cesspool full of crime, Pay-Day Loan businesses, porn shops and theaters and pawn shops. In 2015 the town square now has a mall and thriving businesses, it's much cleaner and has a welcoming look.

We can infer the "politics" that happened between 1955 and 2015 on what happened, when the Twin (Lone) Pines Mall was built it took business out of the center of town and spread it out to the suburbs causing the town center to deteriorate as businesses moved to the mall. Likely this all stemmed from Mayor "Red" Thomas' tenure as mayor. Goldie Wilson's tenure as mayor must have reinvigorated the downtown area by making the old courthouse (or community center/half-way house as it was in 1985) into a mall which attracted businesses back to the center of town as well as clientèle and shoppers.

So the economic conditions of downtown Hill Valley improved over the intervening 30 years (possibly at the cost of the decline of the Hilldale suburb) but we can see that for the most part the area looks the same. Sure design styles and color have changed but, mostly, the place is the same.

Which is most realistic. Right now as I think about areas around me and how much they've changed since I left high school 15 years ago other than some expansion into undeveloped areas, the tearing down of a building or two and the erection of another the area is pretty much the same. Dowtown? Other than the development of an entertainment district and a new arena it's largely the same as it has been my entire life.

The most realistic look for the future is pretty much for it to look the same. Different colors, cleaner or dirtier depending on which way you think the local crime-rate/economy went but mostly, the same.

Hell, out there there's a series of pictures of an area and how it looked over the course of decades and other than some architectural changes improvements to buildings, the expansion of roads to allow for more cars and parking, it looks the same.

The future is boring and it's always going to be boring.
__________________
Out of hope.
Trekker4747 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 04:29 AM   #4
Admiral Buzzkill
Fleet Admiral
 
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

sojourner wrote: View Post
For example, 20 years from now for all we know bell bottom pants, "wife beater" shirts, and oiled hair might be all the rage. If you tried to portray that in a movie filmed today it would be laughed out of the theatre, so to speak.
William Ware Theiss said exactly - well, almost exactly - this on the one occasion that I spoke with him. His example was that if he'd been asked to design clothing for the 1960s back in the 1950s, the last thing he'd have come up with would have been blue jeans, buckskin jackets, boots and long hair/beards for young men - all of those clearly signified the American West in the 19th century, yet you'd see all of them pretty regularly on city streets in 1967. Designing for the future, he said, was deciding what believable lies you were going to tell the audience.
Admiral Buzzkill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 04:30 AM   #5
Owain Taggart
Rear Admiral
 
Owain Taggart's Avatar
 
Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

I think it depends on how you look at it and how far into the future things are. It also really depends on the concept and vision of what this future should look like.
Owain Taggart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 05:15 AM   #6
sojourner
Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post

William Ware Theiss said exactly - well, almost exactly - this on the one occasion that I spoke with him. His example was that if he'd been asked to design clothing for the 1960s back in the 1950s, the last thing he'd have come up with would have been blue jeans, buckskin jackets, boots and long hair/beards for young men - all of those clearly signified the American West in the 19th century, yet you'd see all of them pretty regularly on city streets in 1967. Designing for the future, he said, was deciding what believable lies you were going to tell the audience.
That's interesting because I've always had the pet theory that the rise of visual media has stifled the evolution of men's formal wear. If you look at a "business suit" from around 150 years ago (coinciding with the development of the photograph and the rise of periodicals) it's not radically different from today. Coat, some kind of tie, slacks, maybe suspenders or a vest. The styles, cuts, and colors may have changed, but the overall outfit is nearly the same. Now, look how much formal wear changed in the 150 years prior to that. We go from tights and cod pieces to knickers and ruffles to wigs and so on. Why has the suit not continued to evolve? Mass media cementing the idea of what formal attire looks like for the male. Just a theory, don't ask me to explain why the opposite effect seems to be for women.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 05:48 AM   #7
Talosian
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

The 1950's and 60's most decidely looked futuristic to someone raised in the 1910's and 20's. By contrast, today does not look nearly as futuristic as a comparable period in the past. And the reason is simple: technological development has narrowed and been concentrated overwhelmingly in computer related technology which has left our physical built-up environments largely untouched. The corollary has been that fashions have changed extremely little over the last 20 years at a minimum, and probably more like 40 years.
Talosian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 08:18 AM   #8
marksound
Fleet Captain
 
Location: Planet Carcazed
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

You can take any clothing styles from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, mix and match, and boom: instant future fashion. The future is in the past.
marksound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 08:27 AM   #9
Cutter John
Rear Admiral
 
Cutter John's Avatar
 
Location: Beyond the wall of sleep, just south of Seattle.
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

I always thought B5 did the best job of depicting fashions. Futuristic, without being really over the top or silly.

Otoh, I could go on endlessly about how much I hated the costumes from NuBSG. They didn't even try.
__________________
"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things. But vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant."
Cutter John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 08:48 AM   #10
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

I think the Theiss example is a good one. On the other hand, you can make SOME logical extrapolation. In the Lost in Space thread I mentioned that touch-tone dialing had been introduced two years before the aforementioned episode was made, and just having all the phones touch-tone would have made things look more futuristic than they did. Likewise, rent one or two custom cars from Gene Winfield or someone and park them on the street. Anything to blur the edges of "now" off the show.
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010

Last edited by Maurice; March 14 2012 at 09:01 AM.
Maurice is online now   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 09:36 AM   #11
RJDiogenes
Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion
 
RJDiogenes's Avatar
 
Location: RJDiogenes of Boston
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

The episode of LIS in question never bothered me. It was set in a small rural town-- such places still exist today, let alone in 1997.

But I do like it when movies and TV shows depict the future as somewhat futuristic. Unfortunately, that's pretty much gone out of fashion and the future usually looks more like the past-- I'm tired of spaceship interiors that look like factory basements. I saw a movie on Sciffy a couple of weeks ago that was set aboard an interstellar colonization vessel that was made up of dark corridors, metal gratings, big clanging doors and even manhole covers. It was completely ridiculous. One of the reasons SF interested me as a kid was the exotic, futuristic aspect-- nowadays they seem to go out of their way to look mundane. The reason Bladerunner has "aged well" is that pop culture has, at best, been stagnant for thirty years. I'd rather see something like The Jetsons or TOS than the gray, dismal stuff we've been getting lately.
__________________
Please stop by my Gallery and YouTube Page for a visit. And read Trunkards!
RJDiogenes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 11:26 AM   #12
Asbo Zaprudder
Rear Admiral
 
Asbo Zaprudder's Avatar
 
Location: Sand in the Vaseline
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

I agree with RJDiogenes - I'm sick to death of the grunge look. In addition, the engineering section of the Enterprise should not look like the inside of a brewery. What a travesty.
__________________
"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." -- Spock -- Flip flap!
Asbo Zaprudder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 11:41 AM   #13
C.E. Evans
Vice Admiral
 
C.E. Evans's Avatar
 
Location: Saint Louis (aka Defiance)
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

"Always in motion, the future is."


Everything that tries to be futuristic will eventually look dated in time. Even stuff being made today will. But I believe in his pitch of the original Star Trek series, Roddenberry proposed the idea that the Enterprise will inevitably encounter worlds that will resemble (if not be identical to) Earth at different periods of history. Sure, you can look at as being more of a budgetary thing to use existing sets and locations around the Paramount lot, but it does bring up the idea that some civilizations may evolve along identical paths and have more similarities than differences.

Another possibility is that one can look at some works as existing in their own universe or continuity, which allows them to have their dated concepts because their history isn't 100% the same as ours.
__________________
"Everybody wants to rule the world..."
C.E. Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 11:47 AM   #14
Cutter John
Rear Admiral
 
Cutter John's Avatar
 
Location: Beyond the wall of sleep, just south of Seattle.
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
I agree with RJDiogenes - I'm sick to death of the grunge look. In addition, the engineering section of the Enterprise should not look like the inside of a brewery. What a travesty.
Doctor Who is another show thats been bad about this in recent years.
__________________
"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things. But vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant."
Cutter John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14 2012, 12:32 PM   #15
stj
Rear Admiral
 
stj's Avatar
 
Location: the real world
Re: Should the future look "Futuristic?"

One huge failing in almost all screen attempts at futurism is the bizarre belief that in the future there will be lots and lots of empty spaces. And everybody's homes will be as bare as motel rooms. What's scattered about will sometimes be deliberately retro but there will always be lots of miscellaneous junk. I suppose being too cheap to really decorate the sets plays a role.
__________________
The people of this country need regime change here, not abroad.
stj is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.