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

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Old August 1 2013, 04:51 AM   #61
Warped9
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

BillJ wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Why do 50-foot clones make it "kiddie" fare? I always liked The Infinite Vulcan. Not my favorite TAS outing, but entertaining.

The clones being six or eight or twelve feet wouldn't have made the episode any better or more believable.
If you don't think fifty foot clones are stupidly absurd then good for you.
No need to be snippy. I simply disagree with your premise that a 50-foot clone makes something "kiddie" fare.
Sorry, I don't mean it as a personal attack. I simply think fifty foot clones in a story of this kind is a stupid idea. It's a visual stunt that I feel undermines everything good that precedes it.
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Old August 1 2013, 02:02 PM   #62
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
I just wonder if some of the creative decisions might have been different if the show had been taken more seriously.
And that's because you're making the ad hoc, unexamined assumption that they didn't take the show seriously. You don't know that's the case, you're just assuming. And it's an insulting accusation to level against the creators. It's a valid thing to criticize a work, but when you start making assumptions about the motivations and feelings of the people who made the work, that crosses the line into ad hominem argument and becomes a petty personal attack rather than a fair criticism of a work.


But then everything is undermined by the creative decision to make the Spock and Keniclius clones WAY oversized. Except for the limited animation style you had a first-rate story worthy of TOS and then you turn it into kiddie fare with fifty foot clones.
Is it any more "kiddie fare" than Apollo growing to giant size in "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Or manifesting a giant hand in space to grab the Enterprise? What about the giant cat stalking the crew in "Catspaw"?

Your reasoning is circular. Because of your preconception that TAS was aimed at children, you're looking at things that have direct equivalents in TOS itself and reading them as "childish" when you would not read them the same way in the context of TOS. Presumably the TAS creators did these things for the same reason the TOS creators did similar things: because they thought it would be visually interesting and science-fictional. You can also find giant and miniaturization effects in episodes of The Twilight Zone, the least "childish" SF show of the entire '60s.
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Old August 1 2013, 02:26 PM   #63
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Sorry, I don't mean it as a personal attack.

No worries.

I simply think fifty foot clones in a story of this kind is a stupid idea. It's a visual stunt that I feel undermines everything good that precedes it.
One of the things I loved about TOS was space was this weird and wild unknown where anything could happen. I appreciated that TAS kept this component and wished it could've been a more integral part of Modern Trek/Abramsverse.
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Old August 1 2013, 02:51 PM   #64
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
I just wonder if some of the creative decisions might have been different if the show had been taken more seriously.
And that's because you're making the ad hoc, unexamined assumption that they didn't take the show seriously. You don't know that's the case, you're just assuming. And it's an insulting accusation to level against the creators. It's a valid thing to criticize a work, but when you start making assumptions about the motivations and feelings of the people who made the work, that crosses the line into ad hominem argument and becomes a petty personal attack rather than a fair criticism of a work.


But then everything is undermined by the creative decision to make the Spock and Keniclius clones WAY oversized. Except for the limited animation style you had a first-rate story worthy of TOS and then you turn it into kiddie fare with fifty foot clones.
Is it any more "kiddie fare" than Apollo growing to giant size in "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Or manifesting a giant hand in space to grab the Enterprise? What about the giant cat stalking the crew in "Catspaw"?

Your reasoning is circular. Because of your preconception that TAS was aimed at children, you're looking at things that have direct equivalents in TOS itself and reading them as "childish" when you would not read them the same way in the context of TOS. Presumably the TAS creators did these things for the same reason the TOS creators did similar things: because they thought it would be visually interesting and science-fictional. You can also find giant and miniaturization effects in episodes of The Twilight Zone, the least "childish" SF show of the entire '60s.
You're making it sound like I'm saying everyone involved saw it that way. I look at the work and see lots of great ideas as well as moments of what appears to be brain cramp. Hell, I can see that in a live-action series like TOS.

I'm saying there is evident intent to approach the subject with a certain seriousness, but there's also evidence of a different attitude raising its head occasionally. The simple fact of knowing the show was going to watched primarily by kids (because of the time slot) might have influenced some of the creative decisions whereas some of those decisions might have been different knowing the show would be aired in a prime-time time slot and aimed primarily at adults.
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Old August 1 2013, 03:05 PM   #65
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

Speaking for myself I'm grateful for you giving us a chance to revisit TAS by presenting these reviews.
I have a different take on TAS than you do though. I look at the 50ft clones, the episode that went back in time, Bem, the shrinking episode and the force field belts and give them a pass because in spite of it being almost adult fare TAS is a cartoon series that also needs to appeal to children.
For example if the Spock clone was normal size it would all be a bit too much like normal TOS but my 7 year old thought the 50ft clones were great as well as the bats and the plant people in that episode.
I just think that TAS has to differentiate itself in some ways from live-action episodes.

I love the Ambergris Element. I love the aqua shuttle. They should have used it in STID IMO. I don't care that people look the same in the water as out of it (I wouldn't forgive it in live action). And I love the force field belts and wonder why everyone else hates them. OK perhaps they need an oxygen source. But if other people don't like this episode I don't care. Its one of my TAS favourites.
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Old August 1 2013, 03:22 PM   #66
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

I remember what it was like to be a kid, but even so that doesn't paper over my view of the work as a whole. I can understand the why and how of something being done and still not agree with it.

I love TOS, but there are instances when I would rather they had made a different creative decision that could have been done even within the show's constraints. I generally quite like TAS, but that doesn't soothe my feelings of frustration when I see something that could have been done differently and for the better.

And that's basically why I prefer the ADF adaptations over the aired episodes, because they impress more like how the story could have played out as live-action.

I could be interested in Star Trek returning to animation, but certainly not if it were aimed at the kiddie market. That's not the place to tell the stories that Star Trek was created for. TAS had its heart in the right place, but occasionally things were done (as I see it) that made it easy for some to dismiss it as a kiddie show.
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Old August 1 2013, 03:37 PM   #67
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

Don't want a Clone Wars ehh but that a pretty successful series and is getting kids interested in Star Wars.
I thought TAS was adult-oriented enough for me.
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Old August 1 2013, 06:03 PM   #68
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

All arguments aside, here's how Filmation approached TAS, as related on pages 96 & 98 of the fascinating book, Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation:

Lou Scheimer (2012): "The network had absolutely zero creative control for Star Trek; they had to accept the show or not accept the show, and I believe that was the first and last time that happened in the history of Saturday morning animation."

Norm Prescott (1973): "This is the first attempt to do an adult show in animation. Never before has an adult audience been challenged to watch a Saturday morning show. We feel it is a bold experiment."

Lou Scheimer (2012): "Wherever she (Dorothy Fontana) went, she begged the fans not to hate the show because it was animated, or it might kill the chances of Star Trek ever becoming another TV show or a movie. And once the fans heard how faithful we were being and how much care we were taking to respect the intent of the original series, they soon came over to our side. Word began buzzing to the 3,000 or so Star Trek fan clubs that Star Trek was coming back!"
As noted yesterday, TAS was attempting to pick up where TOS left off, only it had to fit the natural 52 minutes into 22 (better known as the 30 minute format). Limitations existed to a degree, but it was a worthy "next chapter" of TOS, and at the time, the only other truly adult U.S. cartoons to air before it were Jonny Quest (1964) and Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (1972). Pretty much a ghost town where adult concepts were concerned.

TAS stood out like a flower in the desert, and felt nothing like any animated production before or since; it cannot be compared to another series, has no "clone" or "sister" series, and that is not simply due to the content. It was just special, and at the time of its NBC run, I was quite disappointed to learn the series would not have more than its 2 short seasons.
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Old August 2 2013, 01:39 PM   #69
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

It's funny: when the original series debuted, it was critically drubbed, saying it was more appropriate for the "Saturday Morning kidvid bloc." When TAS aired on Saturday mornings, reviewers were saying it ought to be in prime time.

As a kid at the time, it was just as good as seeing new episodes. I was crushed when it was cancelled.
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Old August 25 2013, 07:49 PM   #70
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

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"The Ambergris Element" ***

A water world being studied holds a secret that could radically change the lives of Kirk and Spock.

There are a number of things going on in this story, some of it familiar and some novel. The familiar is the idea of the Enterprise crew being caught between factions on an alien world. The novel part is having Kirk and Spock changed into something more closely resembling the inhabitants of that world---specifically: Kirk and Spock are medically altered into water breathers. The story basically plays with an idea already popularized with the likes of DC Comics' Aquaman and Marvel Comics' The Submariner as well as later in The Man From Atlantis. Indeed there's a good dose of the idea behind the ancient myth of Atlantis mixed into this, only here the sunken civilization is set on a far off alien world.

It's not a bad story idea, but it's hurt by two main things: the story feels rushed and truncated and there is too much visual shorthand at work. By "visual shorthand" I mean things like Kirk and Spock continuing the whole episode in their duty uniforms particularly after they've been so radical altered. Also seeing seeing Scotty descend underwater in uniform and protected solely by a life support belt was just a bit too WTF for my tastes. Add to that seeing McCoy and Chapel as well as Scotty in uniform while in the temporary sickbay tank needed for Kirk and Spock while they're in altered form.

In a broad sense this redresses familiar ideas and stories used in TOS episodes such as "For The World Is Hollow And I have Touched The Sky" and "Return Of The Archons" and others. TAS' story is sufficiently redressed to appear novel enough even with the reuse of familiar ideas, but again I feel it's lack of nuance in story and visuals that keep the episode just okay rather than allowing it to be rated as good.

Two things I really do like in this episode: the concept of the aquashuttle and the design of the Argoan sea serpent.
ADF adaptation:

The ADF version of this story once again, of course, feels more complete. There are added moments that just don't appear onscreen that flesh out the events more. ADF also adds little touches like snatches of Argoan language in relation to what they call their underwater city and what they call the Argoan sea serpent. Another little touch gets around the visual shorthand I mentioned in my review of the aired episode---that of Kirk and Spock's underwater attire. In the print version ADF has them wearing some form of wetsuit rather than their Starfleet uniforms---a small but welcome touch. Other than those little touches, though, the print version really doesn't add anything of real substance to the original.

One small difference, though, is ADF's description of the aqua shuttle. In print it's described as something of an ovoid shape wasn't doesn't strike me as anything like the version seen onscreen.
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Old August 25 2013, 08:47 PM   #71
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

"Slaver Weapon" ****

An shuttlecraft bearing Spock, Uhura and Sulu is intercepted by aliens while transporting a valuable ancient artifact.

Part of he appeal of this story is its novelty in the sense that Spock, Sulu and Uhura are the only familiar cast in it. Kirk, the Enterprise and the rest are nowhere to be seen or heard of.

There's a bit of world building here with references to the aggressive Kzinti having fought past wars with humanity and having lost them all. It's also referenced that by treaty the Kzinti are not allowed weapons of any kind...unless of course they steal them. Here the Kzinti are presented as operating like pirates much like Orions. Their actions are apparently unofficially sanctioned by their government unless, of course, they're caught whereupon they would be officially disowned.

Another neat little idea was having the story take place on an airless, icy asteroid rather than a more familiar Class M planet. There's also a reference to Kzinti of the past having fed upon human flesh---definitely a subject beyond the usual subject matter of '70s era Saturday morning programming.

Overall I can't help but feel this could have been a dynamite episode done live-action given, of course, figuring out a way to depict the catlike Kzinti. Frankly, though, the Kzinti shown here don't come across as particularly bright. Just about any alien race could stand in for the Kzinti and the story could be told, but it's more fun with distinctive looking aliens. It's also hard to find aliens very threatening when their spacesuits and spaceships are...pink.

On the downside I found some of the voice acting rather stilted, most particularly by Leonard Nimoy of all people. His exposition doesn't flow naturally, often seems redundant and sounds very much like he's just reading off a page. On the flip side we get to see Spock perform a Kirk style flying kick on the Kzinti Chuft Captain. Neat.
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Old August 25 2013, 09:11 PM   #72
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

It's too bad the Kzinti weren't fully acknowledged as canon. Apparently Manny Coto wanted to bring them back if Enterprise had gone into a fifth season.
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Old August 25 2013, 09:29 PM   #73
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

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It's too bad the Kzinti weren't fully acknowledged as canon. Apparently Manny Coto wanted to bring them back if Enterprise had gone into a fifth season.
They'd be a challenge to do live-action given that you would have to have three or four representatives of the race for this story: Chuft Captain, the two guards and the telepath.
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Old August 25 2013, 09:39 PM   #74
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

But would they have done it with makeup, or CGI I wonder. We usually didn't see multiple CGI characters at once except in dimly lit scenes, like Suliban crawling on ceilings.
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Old August 25 2013, 09:46 PM   #75
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Re: Revisiting TAS...

In the TOS era it would have been pretty much impossible. During TNG, well, they did have the Selay in the first season.
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