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Old January 15 2013, 05:30 PM   #31
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

USS Einstein wrote: View Post
I think a big part of the reason why on-screen evidence is taken as literal gospel in Star Trek, is that several publications, such as the 'Star Trek Encyclopedia' and 'Star Trek Chronology' advocated this strict interpretation of canon.



People, like me, grew up reading those reference sources, and therefore, the idea of a strict visual canon became embedded in the community. Websites like Ex Astris Scientia further reinforce this, by using the same standards outlined.

So blame the Okudas
I was raised with those books too! But around the time of "Broken Bow", and seeing the modern look of Enterprise NX-01, the other ships, alien makeups and the subtle rewriting of Treks past etc. I realized such a strict interpretation was a waste, and would actually hinder my enjoyment of the shows.

I'll never understand how some fans can happily accept William Shatner and Chris Pine both being James T. Kirk or any ofthe other recasting, BUT a slight difference in one of a ship or set designs constitutes a mistake. If different looking actors can play the same character, then everything else should be as mutable.

I recently came across the trailer for the Phase II fan film episode "Origins", and saw that they've kind of got the right idea - here's a comparison of the Into Darkness dress uniform and Phase II's 1960's-style "de-imagined" version:
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Old January 15 2013, 05:43 PM   #32
C.E. Evans
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

USS Einstein wrote: View Post
I think a big part of the reason why on-screen evidence is taken as literal gospel in Star Trek, is that several publications, such as the 'Star Trek Encyclopedia' and 'Star Trek Chronology' advocated this strict interpretation of canon.



People, like me, grew up reading those reference sources, and therefore, the idea of a strict visual canon became embedded in the community. Websites like Ex Astris Scientia further reinforce this, by using the same standards outlined.

So blame the Okudas
But those books often include things that don't visually match up, so that's hardly a case of a strict visual canon. If anything, the Okudas do point out when certain things are conjectural.
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Old January 15 2013, 05:49 PM   #33
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

I have been watching Archengela's channel on YouTube. He described Star Trek as fantasy. And, according to him, there has to be consistency within that fantasy. I agree with him. There have been times when Star Trek wasn't consistent with itself. I find it frustrating that this is so. I wish the people in charge took the time to do research and work within what was established and expand upon what was established. Instead, they conveniently choose to ignore what came before in favor of telling a story. For me, one of the biggest inconsistencies was first contact between Humans and Klingons, as this was the A-plot of "Broken Bow". We have the version as given by Captain Picard in "First Contact". So, which version is to be believed?
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Old January 15 2013, 06:18 PM   #34
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

throwback wrote: View Post
I have been watching Archengela's channel on YouTube. He described Star Trek as fantasy. And, according to him, there has to be consistency within that fantasy. I agree with him. There have been times when Star Trek wasn't consistent with itself. I find it frustrating that this is so. I wish the people in charge took the time to do research and work within what was established and expand upon what was established. Instead, they conveniently choose to ignore what came before in favor of telling a story. For me, one of the biggest inconsistencies was first contact between Humans and Klingons, as this was the A-plot of "Broken Bow". We have the version as given by Captain Picard in "First Contact". So, which version is to be believed?
They can both be true. Picard only said "Centuries ago, a disastrous contact with the Klingon Empire led to decades of war." He never actually specified that it was humanity's first contact with them.

Consistency is a storytelling tool like any other, and with any tool there are times when it serves the story to use it and times when it serves the story to set it aside. The highest priority is telling a good story. Usually consistency supports that, but there are times when an excessive insistence upon it undermines the quality of a story. For instance, staying slavishly consistent with a mistake or an outdated notion from an earlier installment is not a great idea. And it's often possible to find a way to reinterpret something in a way that seems to conflict with how fans interpreted it but is still technically consistent with the letter of the statement, as with the Klingon first-contact bit here. Creativity is about flexibility, not rigidity.
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Old January 15 2013, 06:21 PM   #35
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

throwback wrote: View Post
I wish the people in charge took the time to do research and work within what was established and expand upon what was established. Instead, they conveniently choose to ignore what came before in favor of telling a story.
That's what they do, telling stories. That's their job description. The "Star Trek universe" is an accidental byproduct of these stories and mostly exists in the minds of the fans.
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Old January 16 2013, 12:18 AM   #36
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

I feel the words, but I am not able to express my indignation at what I have read. If there is an expectation that the writers shouldn't have the same amount of care and devotion for their product as their fans, why should the fans be expected to give something of themselves to the product?

This is the full quote from "First Contact":

Chancellor, there is no starship mission more dangerous than that of first contact. We never know what we will face when we open the door on a new world, how we will be greeted, what exactly the dangers will be. Centuries ago, a disastrous contact with the Klingon Empire led to decades of war. It was decided then we would do surveillance before making contact. It was a controversial decision. I believe it prevented more problems than it created.
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Old January 16 2013, 12:47 AM   #37
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

throwback wrote: View Post
I feel the words, but I am not able to express my indignation at what I have read. If there is an expectation that the writers shouldn't have the same amount of care and devotion for their product as their fans, why should the fans be expected to give something of themselves to the product?

This is the full quote from "First Contact":

Chancellor, there is no starship mission more dangerous than that of first contact. We never know what we will face when we open the door on a new world, how we will be greeted, what exactly the dangers will be. Centuries ago, a disastrous contact with the Klingon Empire led to decades of war. It was decided then we would do surveillance before making contact. It was a controversial decision. I believe it prevented more problems than it created.
I can't find the quote, but Dennis/My Name is Legion has said on this forum that he wrote that as a fun little tidbit, never expecting them to ever actually show us Klingon/Human first contact - and that he didn't mind at all that they did something different in "Broken Bow"

When the guy who wrote "First Contact" doesn't mind... should we?
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Old January 16 2013, 03:34 AM   #38
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

throwback wrote: View Post
I feel the words, but I am not able to express my indignation at what I have read. If there is an expectation that the writers shouldn't have the same amount of care and devotion for their product as their fans, why should the fans be expected to give something of themselves to the product?
Oh, come on. It's got nothing to do with lack of care or devotion. It's got to do with recognizing that the kind of slavish rigidity you're advocating is not actually good writing. It takes more care and devotion to understand when to stay true to past continuity and when to be more flexible than it does to just mindlessly, mechanistically adhere to every last trivial detail, even the ones that get in the way of your story. You're not a writer. You don't know how it works, what it requires. So it's pretty damned arrogant of you to presume to judge the competency of people who are professional writers. It's easy to be an armchair quarterback. It's easy to condemn when you don't know what you're talking about. The people who actually are qualified to know about the needs of a given profession are far more aware of its nuances and ambiguities. They understand how to interpret the rules rather than just blindly following their letter.

The thing is, no work springs complete from the creator's head like Athena out of Zeus. It's the end product of a lengthy process of development and evolution, with ideas being tested, discarded, modified, revised, reconsidered, rearranged, etc. So what the fan sees as a fixed, monolithic work is really just a cross-section of the entire process of creation that the writer perceives. The writer doesn't care any less about the work; the writer just sees it more as a fluid, evolving entity rather than a frozen image carved in stone. So a writer's willingness to revise a work is a continuation of the same process of revision and editing that led to its creation in the first place. One of the most important parts of the creative process is editing, cutting out the bits that don't serve the story. First drafts are usually rough; it's the editing that makes them good, or not. So removing or changing the parts that don't fit is part of what makes the story work in the first place -- like bonsai. From a creator's standpoint, disregarding or retconning some old bit of continuity isn't neglect or contempt for the work -- it's just editing after the fact. It's trimming the bonsai.
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Old January 16 2013, 05:42 AM   #39
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Christopher, please define continuity and answer this question, does this show have continuity? Make it short and stupid for this layperson. When I see wall of text, my eyes roll and I am like, "TL; DR".
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Old January 16 2013, 06:25 AM   #40
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Christopher wrote: View Post
Oh, come on. It's got nothing to do with lack of care or devotion. It's got to do with recognizing that the kind of slavish rigidity you're advocating is not actually good writing. It takes more care and devotion to understand when to stay true to past continuity and when to be more flexible than it does to just mindlessly, mechanistically adhere to every last trivial detail, even the ones that get in the way of your story.

...

The thing is, no work springs complete from the creator's head like Athena out of Zeus. It's the end product of a lengthy process of development and evolution, with ideas being tested, discarded, modified, revised, reconsidered, rearranged, etc. So what the fan sees as a fixed, monolithic work is really just a cross-section of the entire process of creation that the writer perceives. The writer doesn't care any less about the work; the writer just sees it more as a fluid, evolving entity rather than a frozen image carved in stone. So a writer's willingness to revise a work is a continuation of the same process of revision and editing that led to its creation in the first place. One of the most important parts of the creative process is editing, cutting out the bits that don't serve the story. First drafts are usually rough; it's the editing that makes them good, or not. So removing or changing the parts that don't fit is part of what makes the story work in the first place -- like bonsai. From a creator's standpoint, disregarding or retconning some old bit of continuity isn't neglect or contempt for the work -- it's just editing after the fact. It's trimming the bonsai.

Hear hear!!! I've written a bunch of little things over the years... just a hobby mind you, nothing professional. I've decided to actually buckle down and write a novel and now that I'm doing it, I can totally see the truth of this!

@Throwback... Does it have continuity? I'd say yes in the larger sense it does. The sweeping arc of all five shows do add up to a collected whole, but to muck it all down for the sake of not bumping into an extremely minor throw away statement.. usually involving a not-so-well-thought-out figure to begin with is sort of sacrificing the story for the silly side bits.

That said, even with all the internal contradictions, Star Trek still holds as much or more water as a fictional setting than do many "based a true story" films and biopics which really do have homework to do. Even those writers usually chose to cherry pick the facts in service of the story they want to tell. This is just how it's done...

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Old January 16 2013, 11:11 AM   #41
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

throwback wrote: View Post
Christopher, please define continuity and answer this question, does this show have continuity? Make it short and stupid for this layperson. When I see wall of text, my eyes roll and I am like, "TL; DR".
Trek's continuity works in broad strokes, where specifics are sometimes ignored but the jist of a story usually remains.

TVtropes wrote:
Broad strokes is a concept regarding canon where the writers pick and choose what elements of an older story they want to accept into a more recent story. It could be that the overall story is intact but the specific details are changed, or that the story is ignored but the details introduced within are still being worked with. This is most often used when parts of the official canon or even basic continuity cannot be reconciled as they stand.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BroadStrokes
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Old January 16 2013, 02:31 PM   #42
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Jumping off those links from TVTropes, there is Continuity and Continuity Tropes. Particularly of interest in Continuity Snarl:

TVTropes wrote:
This is particularly a problem for comic books, especially in the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe, which have the long-running and tangled continuities of many a character to keep straight. Long-running TV franchises can also suffer from Continuity Snarls — the Doctor Who and Star Trek universes have gotten especially snarled over time (although the former can easily Hand Wave this away because it's about time travel).
and since this is the Tech section of the board there is a strong focus on Continuity Porn (for better or worse).

Kudos for TVTropes to recognize the Star Trek universes for it
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Old January 16 2013, 03:32 PM   #43
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

throwback wrote: View Post
Christopher, please define continuity and answer this question, does this show have continuity? Make it short and stupid for this layperson. When I see wall of text, my eyes roll and I am like, "TL; DR".
I don't think anyone needs to define continuity. The point is about realizing there are priorities beyond simpleminded dogma. Important continuity in a work of fiction is in things like characterization and plot -- making sure that characters' behavior and motivations are consistent or that the important events of the narrative are remembered. Things like the design of a piece of equipment or the details of a throwaway historical reference or the appearance of a character who's been recast... those aren't essential to the story. They're matters of interpretation.

That's the word you need to have defined: interpretation. Every storyteller is interpreting a set of ideas for the audience, making choices about how to present them and what details to employ or emphasize. And every storyteller's interpretation of the same idea is going to be different. Even the same storyteller's interpretation will change over time as the storyteller matures. Because fiction is a personal expression, and that makes it mutable. Two different actors playing the same character will play it differently. Two different comic-book artists drawing the same superhero will draw her differently. Two different historians describing the same event in history will describe it differently. But neither of them is "wrong." They just have different interpretations, because they're individuals.
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Old January 16 2013, 04:36 PM   #44
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

This thread is about visual continuity. How can we have a discussion about continuity of any kind if we don't define what it is first? I asked for you to define this, and you evade the question.

Again, what is continuity? And does Star Trek have it? I have heard some who say that it does, and I have heard some who say that it doesn't.

I am a simple layman, ill-educated and poor, who seeks wisdom and knowledge from the fountain of those who live in the ivory tower.

Last edited by throwback; January 16 2013 at 04:46 PM.
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Old January 16 2013, 10:20 PM   #45
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

1.
the details of a throwaway historical reference
I am watching "Encounter at Farpoint". Lieutenant Commander Data said that he graduated in '78 from Starfleet Academy. This is a throwaway historical reference. We know that Data had to graduate from the Academy. It's not important when.

The quote in "First Contact" is different. It extends past this one episode, and answers questions that had been raised in the past.

What event led to the creation of the Prime Directive?
When did Humans and Klingons first met?
What happen when they met?

These questions were answered broadly. A prequel show to TOS could have answered these questions with specifics. Instead, Enterprise was a reboot of Star Trek, and rewrote the history. As a fan, I would have liked to see what TNG presented as history on this matter, and not what Enterprise did.

2.
I can't find the quote, but Dennis/My Name is Legion has said on this forum that he wrote that as a fun little tidbit, never expecting them to ever actually show us Klingon/Human first contact - and that he didn't mind at all that they did something different in "Broken Bow"

When the guy who wrote "First Contact" doesn't mind... should we?
I remember hearing the commentary for "Tora! Tora! Tora!". The director talked briefly about the reuse of footage from this movie for "Midway". He didn't like they had done that, but what could he do? It had been done. People who work in the industry recognize things do change, and they have little say when the change happens. From what I have heard and read, it is considered bad form to criticize people in that industry. So, for me, the above quote, is what I expected and I believe reflects more on his professionalism than his real feelings on the same subject.
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