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

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Old December 29 2012, 06:07 AM   #31
Esteban
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Re: TOS questions

Main difference for me was the acting, with TNG losing out.

Stewart was great, perhaps the best actor of all the series. Spiner was OK. The rest of them couldn't act their way out of a turbo-lift.

OTOH, Shatner was, well, Shattastic. Nimoy was excellent and more--definitive. Kelley was really good when awake, and more importantly, fun to watch. Doohan was outstanding when given material. As for "the rest", well, Koenig was actually a pretty good actor, and Takei likewise. Nichols was surprisingly strong in her few moments. Majel, well, she was actually better in TNG.
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Old December 29 2012, 07:01 AM   #32
Dale Sams
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Re: TOS questions

Esteban wrote: View Post
Main difference for me was the acting, with TNG losing out.

Stewart was great, perhaps the best actor of all the series. Spiner was OK. The rest of them couldn't act their way out of a turbo-lift.

OTOH, Shatner was, well, Shattastic. Nimoy was excellent and more--definitive. Kelley was really good when awake, and more importantly, fun to watch. Doohan was outstanding when given material. As for "the rest", well, Koenig was actually a pretty good actor, and Takei likewise. Nichols was surprisingly strong in her few moments. Majel, well, she was actually better in TNG.
I think you're giving Spiner short shrift, but what I really wanted to comment on was how dead on you are about Doohan. I LOVE early Scotty before they pretty much cut his balls off around the time of his first love interest.

Early on, Doohan plays Scotty with a very authentic (of course) military edge to him. I love it. There a lot of nice little things he does.

re: TNG. The Wesley hate was stupid. Beyond stupid. And once they got him in a real uniform, there was great potential for a relationship between him and Picard as seen in Wesley's final regular ep.

But the real diff is that McCoy-Spock-Kirk are FAMILY. The TNG are professionals. Hell, even Data's funeral has this air of "Shouldn't we be more upset about this than we are? ah well...I never was really close to you all."
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Old December 29 2012, 07:08 AM   #33
Dale Sams
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Re: TOS questions

Forbin wrote: View Post
Well, the counselor was on the bridge to assist the captain in first-contact situations, and dealing with alien diplomats. That, of course, is no reason for her to be there constantly. And, ya know, it was the 80s.

Children were on the ship because families were on the ship. The original concept was for a 10-year mission exploring deep space, far from home. Starfleet couldn't ask someone to be away from their family for 10 years, so the Galaxy class was designed to house whole families in comfort. Hence it's "hotel in space" look - it needed to be a pleasant place to live for 10 years. Of course, the writers threw the whole "10 year mission out of contact" concept away almost immediately.
Also, at the time (supposedly)* things were very rosy for the Federation. No Romulans, expansion everywhere, Klingons on their side. Life is great!!

*I always viewed the Cardassian War as border conflict, not particularly worthy of the Feds applying the full power of Starfleet.
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Old December 29 2012, 08:06 AM   #34
scotpens
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Re: TOS questions

Delta Vega wrote: View Post
Main difference for me was that Star Trek was great

And The Next Generation was shit
Tell us how you really feel.
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Old December 29 2012, 11:35 PM   #35
jayrath
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Re: TOS questions

As pointed out above, one thing I liked in TOS was that we were way, way out on the edge of explored space, at least most of the time. In TNG, they go zipping back to earth for any old reason, and I don't recall much exploration or new contacts (at least in comparing TOS' three seasons to TNG's seven).
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Old December 31 2012, 01:10 AM   #36
Delta Vega
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Re: TOS questions

The Eggnogstic wrote: View Post
Delta Vega wrote: View Post
Main difference for me was that Star Trek was great

And The Next Generation was shit
Tell us how you really feel.
Over the years I have tried to like Next Gen in the way I grew up loving Star Trek, but I just cant, its all so wussy, so bloody politically correct, Picard for me is an old starch collared geriatric residing over a failed Shatner lookalike and a complete weirdo counsellor who some say is a sex symbol.

James T Kirk would never have suffered a child piloting the ship, or god forbid, an android who wanted to be a human, although Brent Spiner does impress in the role.

In fact, half the malevolent jokers that Picard encountered would have been sorted by James T just delivering a upward headbutt or a double legged drop kick to the chest.

Ships Captains should be prepared to spill blood, punch and be punched for the good of the ship, and the good of Mankind, thats how in later Trek I could empathise with Archer.

Thank you
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Old December 31 2012, 11:51 PM   #37
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Re: TOS questions

jayrath wrote: View Post
one thing I liked in TOS was that we were way, way out on the edge of explored space, at least most of the time
This is one of the things that really separates TOS from the rest. The feeling that they're out there in the unknown darkness.

VOY only captured this a few times. Much of the time in TNG/DS9 it felt like they were driving through Europe, wall to wall governments, they knew where they were and who they were going to encounter.
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Old January 1 2013, 07:04 AM   #38
scotpens
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Re: TOS questions

Delta Vega wrote: View Post
Over the years I have tried to like Next Gen in the way I grew up loving Star Trek, but I just can't, its all so wussy, so bloody politically correct, Picard for me is an old starch collared geriatric residing over a failed Shatner lookalike and a complete weirdo counsellor who some say is a sex symbol.
QFT.

Patrick Stewart is a good actor, but I couldn't stand Captain Picard. In fact, I could barely tolerate any of the characters in TNG. Bunch of stiffs, all of them.

And I never thought Marina Sirtis was that hot.
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Old January 1 2013, 10:06 AM   #39
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Re: TOS questions

For the record, I enjoy both TOS and TNG...but one thing that always bugged me about TNG was the way it swapped the Klingon and Romulan traits established in TOS. Romulan culture, as portrayed in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror", was as a complex, honor-driven society and it was the Klingons who were hostile, scheming, and warlike. I read an interview years ago with a TNG writer whose name I don't remember who said something along the lines of "we thought it would fun to get creative and swap the traits of the Klingons and Romulans".

I thought it was neither fun, nor creative.
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Old January 2 2013, 05:19 AM   #40
gottacook
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Re: TOS questions

jayrath wrote: View Post
As pointed out above, one thing I liked in TOS was that we were way, way out on the edge of explored space, at least most of the time. In TNG, they go zipping back to earth for any old reason, and I don't recall much exploration or new contacts (at least in comparing TOS' three seasons to TNG's seven).
The original series never returned to present-day Earth for reasons explained in The Making of Star Trek and elsewhere. But all of the original-cast feature films (four of which preceded TNG) included at least one scene on Earth. TNG had to follow suit and become more Earth-centric; the reasons for avoiding it weren't relevant anymore.

But yes, I did enjoy that aspect of the original show. For some reason I've never been able to put my finger on, the most "remote"-seeming episode for me has always been "Return to Tomorrow" - and it's not just the captain's log saying how far out they are, or his "risk is our business" speech. It's something more subtle, involving the new George Duning music and (for all I know) the color of the planet.
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Old January 2 2013, 05:41 AM   #41
gottacook
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Re: TOS questions

dayxday1000 wrote: View Post
For the record, I enjoy both TOS and TNG...but one thing that always bugged me about TNG was the way it swapped the Klingon and Romulan traits established in TOS. Romulan culture, as portrayed in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror", was as a complex, honor-driven society and it was the Klingons who were hostile, scheming, and warlike. I read an interview years ago with a TNG writer whose name I don't remember who said something along the lines of "we thought it would fun to get creative and swap the traits of the Klingons and Romulans".
The decision to make Worf a bridge officer may have made this swap desirable. If it hadn't been done, would you have preferred a Romulan senior officer with Worf's traits? Maybe so, but viewers of the old series had certainly seen more episodes with Klingons than with Romulans (indeed, Romulans are featured in only two episodes, "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident," plus a few lines in "The Deadly Years"). The idea of a Klingon who had to be something more than "scheming and warlike" fit well with the Federation-Empire rapprochement that made Worf's service in Starfleet possible.
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Old January 2 2013, 05:54 AM   #42
Nerys Myk
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Re: TOS questions

dayxday1000 wrote: View Post
For the record, I enjoy both TOS and TNG...but one thing that always bugged me about TNG was the way it swapped the Klingon and Romulan traits established in TOS. Romulan culture, as portrayed in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror", was as a complex, honor-driven society and it was the Klingons who were hostile, scheming, and warlike. I read an interview years ago with a TNG writer whose name I don't remember who said something along the lines of "we thought it would fun to get creative and swap the traits of the Klingons and Romulans".

I thought it was neither fun, nor creative.
BOT established a couple of Romulans were honorable, but also implied they were out of step with the rest of Romulan society.
This is after all a society that uses the sneak attack as a primary tactic. To quote Spock:

Balance of Terror wrote:
Earth believes the Romulans to be warlike, cruel, treacherous
I doubt much complexity was ever present in the two times we actually saw Romulans on TOS.
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Old January 2 2013, 06:18 PM   #43
dayxday1000
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Re: TOS questions

@gottacook and santakang. Both good points that I hadn't considered. I just didn't care for the growling and howling aspect of the Klingons that TNG introduced.
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Old January 3 2013, 06:37 AM   #44
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Re: TOS questions

los2188 wrote: View Post
what did TNG era TV and movies get right and get wrong, in general of course. Is there something specific about the TNG brand that fans of TOS hated, or really liked? ... So I say again, what did TNG era TV and movies get right and get wrong in your opinion?
Back on the Onion AV Club, when they did their series of TOS reviews (by Zack Handlen), someone posted in the comments (those comment threads were outstanding) something along the lines of: "Imagine it's 1968, and you've just participated in an awesome letter-writing campaign – and you have saved your favorite TV show! Star Trek returns for its 3rd season: and you are one of the reasons why! Flushed with triumph, you sit down to watch the season premier. And you get: Spock's Brain."

That sense of confused disappointment is exactly what TNG delivered. Star Trek returns to TV in a weekly series! Flushed with anticipation, I sit down with a bunch of my friends to watch the series premier. And we get: Encounter at Farpoint. WTF? Instead of the crackling energy of a diverse bridge crew featuring sharp dialogue like from Corbomite Maneuver, we get a bunch of New Age stiffs sitting around a Ramada Inn lobby. At every point where they had to make a decision about which way to take a telling detail that could have been awesome, they went in exactly the opposite direction. They denatured it of story.
  • The Kirk-Spock-McCoy triad occasionally featured sharp criticism. How to treat that element, in creating the new series? I guess GR felt that in "the future", we will have outgrown interpersonal conflict. So all the regular crew were bland and agreed with each other all the time. It felt very California. This was both obviously wrong, and telling of the kind of mistakes the TNG creators would make. When you are designing a storytelling vehicle, like say a TV series premise, you have to design-in places where drama can be found. TOS did not get a ton of mileage out of interpersonal dynamics within/between the crew, but it got some, mostly in early s1. Corbomite is the most obvious example: Bailey, and Kirk vs McCoy because of Bailey, and then lots of sidebars, including Kirk vs Spock when Spock fails to find a viable recommendation, and Scotty bantering with Spock to cheer up the junior officers. But other episodes contain examples, like Balance of Terror (Stiles vs Spock), Dagger of the Mind (Kirk vs Helen Noel), and Conscience of the King (Kirk vs Riley). And stretch a point a little, Enterprise crew can find themselves at odds with honest blue collar Federation people, like the miners in Mudd's Women and the miners in Devil in the Dark. The TNG creators essentially closed the door on this type of conflict, and therefore on this element of story.
  • They had a decision to make about what to do with the place that in TOS was occupied by Spock. Spock is so utterly sui generis, the absence of someone "like" him would leave a big hole that fans would notice. So they took what they felt were the features that made him identifiable, and they split those into three parts and farmed them out among the rest of the bridge cast. Stoic alien = Worf. Technocrat with a reporessed human impulse = Data. Scattershot telepath = Troi. Seriously they schematically split up the "Spock" character, and farmed him out, and in the process snuffed out everything that was awesome about him.
  • Klingons! For anyone who was a fan of The Final Reflection by John M Ford, TNG's handling of Klingons was an especially bitter disappointment. They had an opportunity to incorporate Ford's stuff, and they threw it aside. I can understand them ruining Spock, because they had to fiddle with the Spock-shaped hole in Trek. But why did they have to go out of their way to ruin Klingons too??
  • Data. I winced when I saw him: he was a cliche from the first second he appeared. I felt I already knew all the storylines that would involve him: he wanted to be human, he would get to experience humanity but it would be taken away, he would be altered but then restored; and worse, they would use him to solve all of their technical problems. The most ghastly storykilling use of Data was in an episode where we learned that, decades earlier, Capt Picard had invented an utterly unstoppable, devastating maneuver in ship-to-ship battles. No counter has ever been found! Then at the climax, as that maneuver is about to be used against the Enterprise, Riker shouts "Data! Devise a counter to the Picard Maneuver!" And he does! In an instant all human achievement and formidability is washed away. So stupid of the writers/producers.
  • Q. I don't understand why it is not obvious to TNG fans what a storykilling device Q is. TNG fans have countered to me that Q was not so different from Trelane, Charlie Evans, Sargon, Appolo, etc etc. But Q was utterly different, in one hugely important way. In TOS, the god-like character from the (2nd) pilot died in the pilot, killed by Kirk. Trelane was taken away by his parents, Charlie was taken away by the Thasians, Sargon & Appolo vanished, etc. The godlike presences did not linger. In TNG, Q announces that humans have piqued his interest, and he will be keeping an eye on them. Instantly every other storyline in TNG is reduced in importance. The only important story is what Q will decide to do. His existence diminishes everything else. Quite stupid.
Right from the start they crippled themselves. Seriously the only thing that was at all an improvement in TNG over TOS, was the special effects. Everything else was terrible.

The rest of season one, or rather that portion of it I could stand to watch, just drew out the crushing heartbreak of it all. And I've been angry at TNG for 25 years.

I mentioned the comment threads on the Onion AV Club. Several posters there tried to convince me that there were some good TNG episodes; that in fact the show DID suck in its first season, but finally found its stride in season 3, and became good. I eventually let myself be swayed, and did finally see a good TNG episode: First Contact, from s4. That one was pretty impressive. Since then I've seen & enjoyed Best of Both Worlds, Cause and Effect, maybe a couple other good ones. So my black Sicilian vendetta against TNG has eased a bit. I've seen some good episodes and have a short list of other good ones to look for.

The very best episodes of TNG, from what I've read and seen, have to write around the mistakes they made in setting up the show. Either they get Picard away from the rest of the crew, since basically the rest of the crew is a bunch of duds (Inner Light, Darmok, Chain of Command); or they eschew the "cerebral" stuff by going wall-to-wall action (Best of Both Worlds); or they acknowledge and partially correct their terrible handling of Tasha Yar (Yesterday's Enterprise); or they go all-in to perfectly execute a gimmick (Cause and Effect). No great episode of TNG uses the normal TNG premise; they have to sidestep it to make any kind of greatness possible. That's not the case with TOS. Because TOS was set up correctly, they can tell strong stories within the normal storytelling premise. Maybe the very greatest TOS episodes are departures: City and Amok Time. But many very strong episodes evolve quite naturally from the premise: most of s1, for example.

If the first two seasons of TOS had been as bad as the first two seasons of TNG, there would never have been a third season – and there would never have been a TNG. TNG coasted on the good will created by two decades of TOS. The people working on the show finally got their act together and became good, and that is to their credit; but it sure took them long enough, and they owe a huge debt.

Bad TOS was silly, but energetic and promising. Bad TNG was heartbreaking and pompous and inert.
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Old January 3 2013, 07:13 AM   #45
Dale Sams
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Re: TOS questions

You left out: (and I'm not counting the random DC Fontana or such)...TOS used real Sci-Fi writers. TNG used TV writers.

And you are so right about being flushed with anticipation, and we get "Imzadi!...I feeeeeel great pain!", "Get this child off my bridge!"...those ugly one piece costumes...

And just the utter arrogance so many characters had....ugh...
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