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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old May 2 2013, 01:22 PM   #1
Jefferies
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Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

I have been re-watching Star Trek in HD with my last complete viewing about a decade ago. As a kid, back in the 90s, I loved the Original Series. TNG, DS9 and VOY couldn't hold a candle to it as far as I was concerned. However, with time I came to like those series just as much.

Now going back to Star Trek I'm shocked at how boring and silly most of the episodes are. Season 1 is still okay if not amazing. Season 2 is a lot worse and season 3 is a chore to watch with almost every episode.

By no means does this series hold up to the modern incarnations of Star Trek. It is excessively slow paced, the characters are often obtuse and whiny not because of their personalities but because the script uses this as an excuse for actual drama. The plots also often lack slickness suffering from inconsistency, meandering around until they resolve often with serious gaps in logic and without much dramatic purpose. The series also appears to have very little internal consistency. I get no sense of what rules govern this universe and there are certain plot themes that get repeated again and again. Finally even the acting is a lot worse than I remember. Often it feels like more of a pantomime than a science fiction series.

I fear this might be the last time I watch Star Trek with the exception of maybe a dozen or so episodes.

My question therefore is, is our respect and love for this series based on too much reverie for the past than actual quality that stands the test of time?
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Old May 2 2013, 01:46 PM   #2
CaptainDave1701
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Get rid of the HD thing. Watch it as originally made at 2 o'clock in the morning in the dark. Let yourself get scared when the Gorn turns around that first time. Try and remember if you can what it must have been like to get lost in the fandom and conventions that took place back then.
Does it hold up to today? Perhaps ask the question does today hold up to it.
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Old May 2 2013, 01:51 PM   #3
MacLeod
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Bear in mind that's it's almost 50 years old, how many other TV shows from that era are still shown in re-runs? The fact that it varies in quality means very little, even modern TV shows can vary in quality from episode to episode. As for pacing, sometimes fast is good, but equally sometimes a slower pace can be good.
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Old May 2 2013, 02:12 PM   #4
FalTorPan
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Much has changed in 50 years -- editing styles, acting styles, directing styles, writing styles, technology, hair styles, etc.

TOS has a lot of "warts," even by the standards of the 1960s and 1970s, but it remains my favorite Trek television series.
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Old May 2 2013, 03:21 PM   #5
Pavonis
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

I think Star Trek holds up well even now. Certainly, compared to science fiction shows like Babylon 5 or Crusade (which I just rewatched recently), Trek's plots strike me as well-paced and most of the episodes are devoted to plot rather than beauty shots of the ship or CG imagery of ships, planets, or cities.

In sum, I don't agree with any of the OP's observations and I think TOS holds up very well, no matter its age.
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Old May 2 2013, 03:41 PM   #6
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

I think it's dated campiness is part of the charm. Don't watch it expecting the kind of depth or drama you'd find in the best of today's TV, watch it for the cartoonish space adventure it is.

IMO it's The Next Generation that's aged the worst - I couldn't make it through my last attempt at a rewatch. Awful direction (they stand around, arms at sides like mannequins, taking turns to recite lines), zero excitement and endless prentious, self-congratulatory nonsense. Bleh.
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Old May 2 2013, 03:54 PM   #7
Melakon
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Jefferies wrote:
. . .As a kid, back in the 90s. . .
You're criticizing a television show made perhaps 20 or 30 years before you born because it doesn't meet modern standards? Are you able to watch a television show or motion picture if it was filmed in black and white?

When Star Trek first aired, they were essentially making up the universe as they went along with each episode. The only tv shows with story arcs were usually the daytime soap operas, if you can remember what those were. As others have mentioned, performance styles have changed in many areas of presentation. That doesn't mean something made in 1966 or 1936 or 1906 isn't worth your consideration.

And frankly, expecting TOS to hold up to a standard decades later established by its sequels, which built and expanded on its own universe, sounds rather ridiculous.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:15 PM   #8
marksound
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

As a kid, back in the 90s
Thanks for making me feel old.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:17 PM   #9
Mysterion
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

King Daniel wrote: View Post
IMO it's The Next Generation that's aged the worst - I couldn't make it through my last attempt at a rewatch. Awful direction (they stand around, arms at sides like mannequins, taking turns to recite lines), zero excitement and endless prentious, self-congratulatory nonsense. Bleh.
QFT.

TOS, on the other hand, is warm and charming and interesting to watch even now. Sure the effects aren't as wonderous as today's CGI, but who cares? they were telling good stores with interesting characters, and they did it in an interesting way.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:33 PM   #10
Jefferies
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

But it's not about the effects. It's the writing directing and acting I'm talking about. Do we really only think Star Trek is worthwhile because we have a memory of it being good in the past? I have tried very hard to like these episodes and remember loving them and I was truly excited about watching them remastered. However, most of the episodes are just plain boring especially in season 2 and 3. Season 1 fares better and I actually enjoyed the majority of it. So it's not like people in the 60s didn't know how to write a script or direct for television. I think it's more a matter of a lot of the Original Series just being rather subpar.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:43 PM   #11
J.T.B.
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Star Trek is a product of its time and IMO holds its own compared to other late '60s shows. The older it gets the less it will appeal to a broad audience, just like any other show. Some people will still appreciate it, either for historical value or because they like its "vintage" aesthetic or production values. But they will be a small, specialized niche audience.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:44 PM   #12
Mysterion
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Well, I'm not operating purely off of memory. Sat down and watched a couple episodes of TOS just the other day (Metamorphosis and Journey to Babel). Enjoyed them quite a bit. did not find them to be boring in the least. I'll agree there are some episodes in the third season that don't quite rate, but overall, IMO, TOS still holds up as good television.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:55 PM   #13
Melakon
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

The second season did give us some good and popular episodes-- "Amok Time", "The Doomsday Machine", "Mirror, Mirror", and "The Trouble with Tribbles" among others, though Tribbles isn't one of my personal favorites (apologies to David if he's out there).

One thing that hurt the quality of the show was Roddenberry gradually turning his interest to newer projects, and losing Gene L. Coon. The third season is generally considered the weakest, though there's an occasional standout, and by then Roddenberry had distanced himself from daily production of the series.
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Old May 2 2013, 06:39 PM   #14
MrArcas
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Jefferies wrote: View Post
By no means does this series hold up to the modern incarnations of Star Trek. It is excessively slow paced...
It's funny but I find the opposite to be true in terms of rewatchability. TNG bores me because it's too refined whereas I enjoy TOS' rough edges. I guess it's kinda like seeking out punk/garage band music fare because the over-produced studio stuff just starts to lack character.
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Old May 2 2013, 07:02 PM   #15
BillJ
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Re: Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

I just finished the first disc of fandom's favorite season of TNG, season three on Blu-ray and out of five episodes only found one remotely watchable (The Survivors).

Do I view TOS through nostalgia-tinted glasses? I'm sure I do. But even when it's bad I'm never bored. I can't say the same thing about Modern Trek.
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