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

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Old December 31 2012, 02:38 PM   #16
Hyfen_Underskor
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Mister Atoz wrote: View Post
In Star Trek, the drama usually hinges on some difficult decision that Kirk has to make. In Lost in Space, the drama usually hinges on some stupid, immoral scheme Dr. Smith gets himself into. Or in the case of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the drama hinges on crawling through a tunnel to turn a wrench.

I don't see how you can put these two shows in the same league. Irwin Allen's props were great, no question, but his story department sucked zienite gas!

Let's face it, both shows were created for two reasons: 1) NASA's space program and 2) color television. At the time, the Cold War had manifested as a space race between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. of A., but LIS and ST were just a sideshow. But with time, the situation has reversed. In the past 30 years, how many fan conventions have been held to celebrate the Apollo program vs Star Trek conventions? One vs 500? But I digress.

Trek did so many things LIS did not. It explored the nature of consciousness. It probed dystopic societies, language euphemisms, the role of women in a military setting, and it even explored religious, political, and social issues with its use of earth-like planets. Trek explored suicide, sacrifice, immortality, mental illness, and those old Cold War favorites, brainwashing and mind control.

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The comparison I made consisted more of the irony of some similarities in spite of the intended, and inevitable differences.

The problem in my opinion is that ST focused far too much on religious and dystopic themes. That far too common scenario of saving a race bound by religious superstition, where the inhabitants mistook a non-deity for a god. I'm not a huge sci-fi buff, but it seems to me that some of the most interesting sci-fi stories don't end up on TV or the movies.

I think a good reason for this is that stories written on paper/put into print do not have the restrictions that a motion picture/TV studio has (money budget, special effects), so these earthly themes may very well be made more out of convenience than actual imagination. While saving an alien race from Nazism is certainly a worthwhile cause, I wouldn't call it unique.
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Old December 31 2012, 04:41 PM   #17
Dale Sams
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
Mister Atoz wrote: View Post
In Star Trek, the drama usually hinges on some difficult decision that Kirk has to make. In Lost in Space, the drama usually hinges on some stupid, immoral scheme Dr. Smith gets himself into. Or in the case of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the drama hinges on crawling through a tunnel to turn a wrench.

I don't see how you can put these two shows in the same league. Irwin Allen's props were great, no question, but his story department sucked zienite gas!

Let's face it, both shows were created for two reasons: 1) NASA's space program and 2) color television. At the time, the Cold War had manifested as a space race between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. of A., but LIS and ST were just a sideshow. But with time, the situation has reversed. In the past 30 years, how many fan conventions have been held to celebrate the Apollo program vs Star Trek conventions? One vs 500? But I digress.

Trek did so many things LIS did not. It explored the nature of consciousness. It probed dystopic societies, language euphemisms, the role of women in a military setting, and it even explored religious, political, and social issues with its use of earth-like planets. Trek explored suicide, sacrifice, immortality, mental illness, and those old Cold War favorites, brainwashing and mind control.

Reference services available at the desk,

~ Mr Atoz
The comparison I made consisted more of the irony of some similarities in spite of the intended, and inevitable differences.

The problem in my opinion is that ST focused far too much on religious and dystopic themes. That far too common scenario of saving a race bound by religious superstition, where the inhabitants mistook a non-deity for a god. I'm not a huge sci-fi buff, but it seems to me that some of the most interesting sci-fi stories don't end up on TV or the movies.

I think a good reason for this is that stories written on paper/put into print do not have the restrictions that a motion picture/TV studio has (money budget, special effects), so these earthly themes may very well be made more out of convenience than actual imagination. While saving an alien race from Nazism is certainly a worthwhile cause, I wouldn't call it unique.
I don't remember TOS 'saving a race bound by superstition'. On the contrary, in "Bread and Circuses"...they get all glowey and warm when they find out that the aliens have been talking about Christ the whole time.

In The Paradise Syndrome, they don't seem to make any effort to correct the aliens.

Ahhh..I just remembered Return of the Archons. That one is more sci-fi and seems to be a Communism analogy.

There is The Apple. Which I admit is a flat-out blasting away of the Prime Directive.
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Old December 31 2012, 06:12 PM   #18
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
There is The Apple. Which I admit is a flat-out blasting away of the Prime Directive.
Not really. After all, the Triangulan natives didn't build Vaal. Presumably some outside civilization built it and imposed its rule over them. In Kirk's view, he was serving the Prime Directive by eliminating alien interference and restoring the Triangulans' right of self-determination.
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Old December 31 2012, 06:20 PM   #19
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
Yes, Lost In Space definitely evolved into "The Zachary Smith Comedy Hour", as he originally in the earlier episodes had a darker character as I remember.

However, even in his later more comedic relief form, he gave the darker side of human kind to observing aliens, allowing them to get a taste of both the good and the bad.
Lost in Space had the only character the other crew had a legitimate reason for spacing
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Old December 31 2012, 06:49 PM   #20
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Dale Sams wrote: View Post
There is The Apple. Which I admit is a flat-out blasting away of the Prime Directive.
Not really. After all, the Triangulan natives didn't build Vaal. Presumably some outside civilization built it and imposed its rule over them. In Kirk's view, he was serving the Prime Directive by eliminating alien interference and restoring the Triangulans' right of self-determination.
"Kirk's view", a humancentric application of values and morals to an alien race is EXACTLY why the PD exists.

Further more, I would have loved to have seen a Star Trek ep where our heroes encounter a completly peaceful, loving nice race....more than willing to help our heroes....who keep slaves. And rather than get mad when our guys start stammering away, they just smile and nod and say, "Well, despite our differences, we're more than willing to extend our hand to you" (We kind of see this in that ENT PD ep, but they focused on that DNA dead-end nonsense)

Then we get to watch the crew argue and say how they should refuse aid ala VOY's "Counterpoint".
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Old December 31 2012, 07:24 PM   #21
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
"Kirk's view", a humancentric application of values and morals to an alien race is EXACTLY why the PD exists.
But what gave Vaal's builders any more right to impose their values and morals on the Triangulans? Kirk interfered to eliminate someone else's interference, and afterward left the Triangulans free to determine their own future. Sure, maybe there's a certain "White Man's Burden" mentality in believing it was his place to save them, but I think what Vaal's builders did was far worse. They enslaved the Triangulans, Kirk set them free.

Despite how TNG dumbed it down, the Prime Directive was not meant to be an absolutist, rigid rule. Every situation is different and a useful rule needs to be adaptable. Captains in the field are expected to use their judgment in determining how to interpret and apply the regulations, because they're actually on the scene and better able to assess each situation than the lawmakers back home.

Seriously, tell me: what do you think a captain should do when he comes upon a planet where someone else is egregiously violating the Prime Directive and enslaving or controlling the natives? How do you uphold the Prime Directive by turning a blind eye to another's violation of it?
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Old December 31 2012, 08:21 PM   #22
Dale Sams
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Dale Sams wrote: View Post
"Kirk's view", a humancentric application of values and morals to an alien race is EXACTLY why the PD exists.
But what gave Vaal's builders any more right to impose their values and morals on the Triangulans? Kirk interfered to eliminate someone else's interference, and afterward left the Triangulans free to determine their own future. Sure, maybe there's a certain "White Man's Burden" mentality in believing it was his place to save them, but I think what Vaal's builders did was far worse. They enslaved the Triangulans, Kirk set them free.

Despite how TNG dumbed it down, the Prime Directive was not meant to be an absolutist, rigid rule. Every situation is different and a useful rule needs to be adaptable. Captains in the field are expected to use their judgment in determining how to interpret and apply the regulations, because they're actually on the scene and better able to assess each situation than the lawmakers back home.

Seriously, tell me: what do you think a captain should do when he comes upon a planet where someone else is egregiously violating the Prime Directive and enslaving or controlling the natives? How do you uphold the Prime Directive by turning a blind eye to another's violation of it?
Putting aside the fact that Vaal seems to maintain the ecosystem, and not soon after Kirk left, the natives are all wiped out. And assuming your narrative is correct and that Vaal isn't a relic from the Triangulan's own past, but rather alien influence...and...puting aside the fact that Kirk's excuse is 'stagnation' (his interp) and not 'alien influence'.

1) How long has that culture been like that? For them that IS the natural course of things. Kirk has wiped away their way of life.

2) Dead serious here: That culture is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. If Kirk just walks away 'leaving them to figure it out for themselves' They are arn't going to survive a year. And even if Kirk sends in teams like in 'Miri'...it would be like driving a tractor through a tribe of South American Indians who had never seen the outside world and making a mall. We're talking Future Shock to the nth degree.

Once they get over the novelty of boning whenever they want, then what? Any introduction of ideas like 'self-determination' and 'creating your own world' is just further contamination. There only appear to be like 30 of them. They may as well just lift them all off the planet.

All Kirk did was BS rationalize saving 400 crew over some 30 natives stuck under some aliens glass slide.

Edit: I will say this, all credit to the writers for mentioning the PD more than once and for Spock even saying "Starfleet may not agree with you".
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Old December 31 2012, 08:54 PM   #23
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Putting aside the fact that Vaal seems to maintain the ecosystem, and not soon after Kirk left, the natives are all wiped out.
You seem to be remembering a non-canonical and rather mediocre DC comic-book story from the '80s -- and misremembering it, since the natives were mostly alive and well in that story. Going just by the facts in the episode itself, we have no basis for making any such assumption.


1) How long has that culture been like that? For them that IS the natural course of things. Kirk has wiped away their way of life.
Slavery was the "natural way of life" on Earth for most of recorded history. It was mostly eradicated in less than a century. Earth survived. One of the biggest mistakes underlying many people's assumptions about the Prime Directive (particularly where TNG's writers were concerned) is that the "natural way of life" for any culture is meant to be fixed and unchanging. That's utter bull. Even an isolated culture undergoes some growth and change, and it's entirely natural for different cultures on the same planet to interact and transform each other; that's how progress happens.

It's a contradiction in terms to say that a state of affairs imposed by a computer god with a papier-mache snake face is "natural." Whether it was built by aliens or the Triangulans' own ancestors, it was still an artificial creation imposing an artificial social order. Talking about societies' "natural state" as if they were mindless animals following their instincts rather than societies of intelligent beings making choices about how to live is frankly rather condescending and dehumanizing. Every culture is shaped by its choices -- or sometimes by the choices of outsiders -- and will thus be subject to change over time. Except that the choice made by Vaal's builders deprived later generations of Triangulans of any choice. There was no chance that they could overthrow Vaal on their own and restore their ability to choose.


2) Dead serious here: That culture is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. If Kirk just walks away 'leaving them to figure it out for themselves' They are arn't going to survive a year. And even if Kirk sends in teams like in 'Miri'...it would be like driving a tractor through a tribe of South American Indians who had never seen the outside world and making a mall. We're talking Future Shock to the nth degree.
Again you're being quite condescending and anthropologically misinformed. There are plenty of cultures in real life where one generation consisted of hunter-gatherers living as they had for thousands of years and the next was using laptops and satellite phones to coordinate their hunting and gathering. Cultures are more robust and adaptable than many Prime Directive apologists imagine. The problem is that the Prime Directive was supposed to be a check against domination and condescension, a reminder that other cultures have the ability and the right to make choices for themselves, but it came to be interpreted in the TNG era in blatantly condescending terms -- "Oh, the poor primitives are too stupid and fragile to comprehend new ideas so we have to protect them from new knowledge even if it means letting their civilizations die completely." They completely lost sight of what the Directive was supposed to be about.

Respecting others' right to self-determination doesn't mean leaving them in the lurch when they're in trouble. It means being a good neighbor -- not forcing your ideas and decisions on them, trusting that they can handle themselves, yet still being there to help them if they're in over their heads, because they deserve the chance to get back on their feet. There is a difference between helping and interfering. It can be a blurry line and an easy one to cross, which is why the Directive is there as a check on our judgment. But once it becomes an absolutist, rigid dogma as it had in the TNG era, it does more harm than good, just like any dogma.


Once they get over the novelty of boning whenever they want, then what? Any introduction of ideas like 'self-determination' and 'creating your own world' is just further contamination.
More of that ugly condescension, that anthropologically incompetent notion that new ideas from outside are "contamination" rather than a normative part of how cultures evolve and grow. If you truly respect others' right to self-determination, then you trust them to be able to make their own decisions about how to cope with new knowledge.


There only appear to be like 30 of them.
Oh, come on, that's because the episode didn't have the budget to show more. It doesn't make any sense to assume that was literally representative of the entire population of the planet.
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Old December 31 2012, 09:11 PM   #24
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

There only appear to be like 30 of them.
Oh, come on, that's because the episode didn't have the budget to show more. It doesn't make any sense to assume that was literally representative of the entire population of the planet.
Makes the most sense to me. Some long abandoned alien experiment, fuel depot...whatever...or are there a 100 Vaals all over the planet? The other 99 don't seem to work. Vaal only needs feeding like once a day, and it doesn't require more than some 30 people therefore there wouldn't be more than 30 people as laid out in the episode (re: breeding)

More interesting to me are attacks on my supposedly 'cultural misanthropism'. The ad hominem 'You PD apologists' isn't worth addressing. And in the intrerst of not nitpicking i won't discuss in detail how the PD applies only to Starfleet and that they arn't "The Policemen of the Galaxy".

re: Anthropological contamination et al. I hang my hat with Joe Haldeman and 'Seasons'. That doesn't make Joe an expert, but he does have some credentials in the arena of Sci-Fi, and did a lot of research on that story.
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Old December 31 2012, 09:19 PM   #25
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Also re: TNG PD

The point of letting the entire culture die as seen in "Brothers" Their point was "Who are we to decide who lives and dies, since we can't save them all"...I think that's pretty dumb in the end. I see what they're getting at, but you pick some and do what Worf's brother did.

As far as "Penpals", Does Starfleet REALLY let entire civilizations die from natural causes when they can save them without even interfering??? THAT'S beyond the pale. I agree entirely with the spirit of the convo they have (though it's dumb that they have it. This is the PD, every person in that room took course upon course on the subject, and Picard has to take them to Prime Directive 101) but the conclusion "We arn't even going to look into the matter" is wronnnnng.

As for The Apple, when Spock has misgivings, it isn't a slamdunk.

edit: I'm coming around on whether or not this is a PD violation. I don't think they have a culture. I THINK it's 30 guys in a lab experiment. And if there is no culture, but just 30 really intelligent ants mindlessly feeding a snake-head, and putting make-up on each other in their off time...and if there's no culture, how can there be interference?

But I do strongly disagree with the ultimate fate of these guys, and some other nitpicks.

Last edited by Dale Sams; December 31 2012 at 09:34 PM.
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Old December 31 2012, 10:42 PM   #26
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

did star trek and lost in space lift some ideas from forbiddon planet?
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Old January 1 2013, 10:45 AM   #27
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

30 people would be a pretty small genetic pool. maybe too small to sustain a species. They might be dead as a race pretty fast if what we saw are all there are.
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Old January 1 2013, 05:48 PM   #28
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Smith was added because the producers, on reviewing the pilot, felt the premise lacked conflict and the series would need an antagonist. As for the Robot, apparently Allen just had the idea after the pilot was made and thought it would be a good addition.
He was the antagonist, but Harris soon elected to change Smith into the simpering, two-faced character he would be for the remainder of the series, since he (Harris) reasoned a villain would eventually be killed off, and he would be unemployed, which--as he said--would be "boring."

Allen, after observing the character changes, demanded Harris continue to take Dr. Smith in that annoying direction--much to Harris' delight...and the annoyance of a few of his co-stars.


Not exactly. See, by the time Harris was brought in, all the other actors' contract terms, including their credits order, had already been negotiated and settled, so the only place left for him was last billing. But giving him lower billing than a couple of children was considered unacceptable, so the producers added the "Special Guest Star" credit to compensate. It was the beginning of what's now a common practice, treating last billing with a special notation as second only to lead billing in importance.
Allen did the same for Kurt Kasnar, when the latter was case as Smith placeholder Alexander Fitzhugh on Land of the Giants.


But eventually, in 1975, Allen produced a TV series version of The Swiss Family Robinson for ABC. It starred Martin Milner, Willie Aames, Cameron Mitchell, and a 12-year-old Helen Hunt, and it lasted less than a full season. I think I remember watching it at the time, but only very vaguely.
I recall watching it too--only because Allen's name was attached (probably expecting something more energetic--along the lines of his 60s series), and that year, Milner just finished a seven year run on Adam-12, so I was interested in his next project. Interest faded quickly.
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Old January 1 2013, 05:53 PM   #29
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Lost In Space started out with a serious tone. The black and white media enhanced that even more. But later on, Irwin Allen decided he wanted to have a more family friendly show that would appeal to kids rather than scare them. Lost In Space could have been a more serious show like Star Trek, but definitely went to the silly comedic corner instead. And there's nothing wrong with that, because it's all about defining the kind of show you're looking to produce for your target audience.

There's really NO POINT in comparing these two TV shows. They are very different in nature. Star Trek is far superior in a number of general respects, most of all in the abilities of the actors and the production values. But to say one is better than the other is like saying an apple is better than an orange because it's easier to eat.
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Old January 1 2013, 05:54 PM   #30
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Re: Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Christopher wrote: View Post
The problem is that the Prime Directive was supposed to be a check against domination and condescension, a reminder that other cultures have the ability and the right to make choices for themselves, but it came to be interpreted in the TNG era in blatantly condescending terms -- "Oh, the poor primitives are too stupid and fragile to comprehend new ideas so we have to protect them from new knowledge even if it means letting their civilizations die completely." They completely lost sight of what the Directive was supposed to be about.
THANK YOU for pointing that out, as that was one of the more irritating elements of TNG; it was such a New Agey/paternal/social worker kind of philosophy, that one--on occasion--hoped for the Enterprise D crew to have their Peace Corps BS hurled back at their collective faces at warp speed by the so-called "primitives."
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