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Old September 19 2013, 11:39 AM   #16
C.E. Evans
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

I never had a problem with the majority of aliens encountered thus far are humanoid. It does suggest a certain commonality, be it of natural or deliberate design.

I think with TNG there was a conscious effort to move away from having "alien monsters"--be it a guy in a bug-eyed rubber costume or puppets--in order for it to be taken more seriously. There have been a few here and there since then via CGI, but that's one of the more expensive and time-consuming special effects to produce, even more so if you want it to not look CGI. It's definitely not something a weekly TV show, even one with a decent-sized budget like Trek, can do very often and look good alongside human actors, IMO.

Maybe it's time to go back to guys in rubber suits and puppets if we want more non-humanoid aliens, with CGI aliens every once in a blue moon...
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Old September 19 2013, 12:53 PM   #17
Forbin
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Forbin wrote: View Post
Yes.
Farscape.
Babylon 5.
In Farscape they used puppets. They were better concepts for aliens but terrible implementations.
Gonna have to disagree.

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Forbin wrote: View Post
Yes.
Farscape.
Babylon 5.
I loved the puppets on FarScape. The likes of Pilot and Rygel had far more development and depth than Mayweather or Kim. I'm on a mammoth rewatch of the series at the moment and I find that I forget/ignore the fact that they are puppets because they were done so well.
Gonna have to agree!
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Old September 19 2013, 01:23 PM   #18
TheGoodStuff
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

It doesn't really bother me. I kinda like variations of the humanoid theme, I think it is also easier from a story telling perspective to just have different looking humanoid aliens.

We have the Tholians, Gorn, Sheliak, Xindi....there have been numerous attempts at making some species that look alien. Though the most effective have all been humanoid: Romulan, Klingon, Cardassian, Ferengi...
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Old September 19 2013, 10:35 PM   #19
_C_
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

I'd love to see somebody pull off realistic Andalites someday. Imagine these telepathic creatures walking around DS9.

I'm sure their morphing technology would mess with Odo's head!





But yeah, what people said above. The budget made it hard to come up with a million aliens and have them look like more than a cheap B-movie monster of the week.
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Old September 19 2013, 10:43 PM   #20
Greg Cox
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

In large part it depends on the story you're trying to tell. If you're trying to tell, say, a morality play about racism or euthanasia or overpopulation, what's the point of making the aliens eight-armed crystalline monotremes or whatever? That's not the point of the story. If anything, making the aliens too exotic would just be distracting.

If, on the other hand, you're doing a story about the challenges of communicating with truly exotic lifeforms . . . well, then you probably can't settle for a few bumps on the forehead.

It's all about throwing your time and resources at what ultimately serves that particular story.
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Old September 20 2013, 02:18 AM   #21
Wally
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Would be rather ironic if when we finally do encounter intelligent life, they just look like humans with funny forehead bumps.
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Old September 20 2013, 01:58 PM   #22
Trek Survivor
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Wally wrote: View Post
Would be rather ironic if when we finally do encounter intelligent life, they just look like humans with funny forehead bumps.
Roddenberry's status as a visionary would go through the roof!!
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Old September 20 2013, 04:07 PM   #23
Greg Cox
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Trek Survivor wrote: View Post
Wally wrote: View Post
Would be rather ironic if when we finally do encounter intelligent life, they just look like humans with funny forehead bumps.
Roddenberry's status as a visionary would go through the roof!!
Or Michael Westmore's.
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Old September 21 2013, 06:52 AM   #24
Push The Button
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Real alien life will have almost nothing in common with us, though perhaps some elements of our design may be optimal or practical enough to have evolved in parallel someplace else. Genetically, humans would have more in common with yeast or the common cold virus.
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Old September 21 2013, 07:22 AM   #25
CommishSleer
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Forbin wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Forbin wrote: View Post
Yes.
Farscape.
Babylon 5.
In Farscape they used puppets. They were better concepts for aliens but terrible implementations.
Gonna have to disagree.

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Forbin wrote: View Post
Yes.
Farscape.
Babylon 5.
I loved the puppets on FarScape. The likes of Pilot and Rygel had far more development and depth than Mayweather or Kim. I'm on a mammoth rewatch of the series at the moment and I find that I forget/ignore the fact that they are puppets because they were done so well.
Gonna have to agree!
Sorry but all I could think was Sesame Street. I liked most other things about Farscape.
Yet I was OK with the Gorn and Mugatu
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Old September 21 2013, 12:36 PM   #26
C.E. Evans
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Push The Button wrote: View Post
Real alien life will have almost nothing in common with us, though perhaps some elements of our design may be optimal or practical enough to have evolved in parallel someplace else. Genetically, humans would have more in common with yeast or the common cold virus.
Given that nature isn't opposed to similarities and duplications--as well as how vast our Universe is and the likelihood that Earth isn't the only planet of its kind within it, IMO--the odds that there are some alien life-forms that may be virtually indistinguishable from us are actually good, even if they are millions of light-years away in another Galaxy somewhere.
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Old September 21 2013, 02:34 PM   #27
The Wormhole
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Although, I've often thought that sometimes, instead of using guys with forehead bumps or worse, "aliens" who look exactly human, why didn't they just make the inhabitants of the planet of the week human colonists who had separated from the Federation? You could have done that with some TNG episodes, like The High Ground, or The Vengeance Factor and still have had the exact same episodes. Hell, very little would have changed had they done that with The Hunted, for that matter.
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Old September 22 2013, 01:39 AM   #28
JirinPanthosa
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

Even in Farscape the aliens were basically upright-walkers with eyes, nose, mouth and similar ways of thinking to humans.

Ender's Game, if it's anywhere near true to the novels, has realistic aliens.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
In large part it depends on the story you're trying to tell. If you're trying to tell, say, a morality play about racism or euthanasia or overpopulation, what's the point of making the aliens eight-armed crystalline monotremes or whatever? That's not the point of the story. If anything, making the aliens too exotic would just be distracting.
I disagree. If the message of a show is that we can learn to tolerate and accept people's differences it undermines that point for all aliens to act exactly like us. You're not really accepting people's differences, you're saying that we can only really accept people who think and behave exactly like us.

But Star Trek needs human-like aliens for two production reasons. Aliens must be: 1) Cheap, 2) F***able.
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Old September 22 2013, 01:55 AM   #29
Shawnster
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

_C_ wrote: View Post
I'd love to see somebody pull off realistic Andalites someday. Imagine these telepathic creatures walking around DS9.

I'm sure their morphing technology would mess with Odo's head!But yeah, what people said above. The budget made it hard to come up with a million aliens and have them look like more than a cheap B-movie monster of the week.
Well, they were able to do Centaurs on Hercules and Xena. Granted, they did a lot of close ups and the whole body affect looked a little cheesy, but that was almost 20 years ago...

I'm sure they could do these aliens you mentioned today.
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Old September 22 2013, 02:25 AM   #30
Greg Cox
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Re: could they do a show with "realistic" aliens?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
Even in Farscape the aliens were basically upright-walkers with eyes, nose, mouth and similar ways of thinking to humans.

Ender's Game, if it's anywhere near true to the novels, has realistic aliens.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
In large part it depends on the story you're trying to tell. If you're trying to tell, say, a morality play about racism or euthanasia or overpopulation, what's the point of making the aliens eight-armed crystalline monotremes or whatever? That's not the point of the story. If anything, making the aliens too exotic would just be distracting.
I disagree. If the message of a show is that we can learn to tolerate and accept people's differences it undermines that point for all aliens to act exactly like us. You're not really accepting people's differences, you're saying that we can only really accept people who think and behave exactly like us.
.
I was talking about the message of a particular episode, not the series as a whole. "Acceptance of alien lifeforms" is certainly the theme of some Trek episodes, but by no means all of them. If this week's episode is instead about political prisoners or global warming or genetic engineering or some other issue that doesn't require a completely alien lifeform, then making the aliens-of-the-week giant slime molds isn't necessary.

Look at "Mark of Gideon" or "Conscience of the King" or "Chain of Command," for example. Those episodes were about overpopulation and war crimes and torture, respectively, so there was no need to make the aliens particularly alien to deal with those issues.

Would "Half a Life" be as affecting if David Ogden Stiers's character was a telepathic cactus? Probably not, because that story wasn't about that.

Not every morality play has the same moral!
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