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Old September 3 2010, 07:34 PM   #1
Gary7
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Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

One of my favorite TNG episodes was "Yesterday's Enterprise". I really liked the concept and it was great to see Tasha Yar in action again.

However... one sore point for me was the small battle at the ending. Now of course this wasn't going to be some epic space battle, but here you have three Klingon vessels against the Enterprise D. The Enterprise is capable of our maneuvering and outrunning the Klingon ships. They also have more fire power. But the Enterprise really doesn't go on the offensive right off the bat. They wait until the Klingons start firing, giving them the advantage.

The main objective of the Enterprise D is to protect the Enterprise C. Certainly the Klingons could see that the Enterprise C was heavily damaged and not a threat. Their main objective would be to attack the Enterprise D first and then finish off the Enterprise C once they're done.

So the engagement starts and you have Picard give Riker the order to fire torpedoes in attack pattern "Sierra". Three torpedoes are launched which slightly disperse and hit the first Klingon ship. Moderate damage to their forward shields. The Klingon ships continue to advance and there's this long pause on the bridge of the Enterprise with Data rattling off status reports as the Klingons continue the attack. Excuse me, but why aren't they just firing at will? I don't ever remember that the Enterprise couldn't "rapid fire" due to phaser banks overheating. Plus, you have two independent weapons systems. Let loose with both phasers and photon torpedoes. But no, this does not happen.

The Klingon ships start to separate, one heading after the Enterprise C while the other two continue engaging the Enterprise D. Wesley reports that they're flanking the Enterprise, attempting to draw them away from the Enterprise C. Why?? So to the Klingons it does look like the Enterprise D is protecting that ship... but why should they care? It poses no threat. I guess they try to start using this as a weakness, testing the attention of the Enterprise D. All the while, the Klingons continue to hit the Enterprise D and weaken its shields while Picard reacts to it all rather slowly.

FINALLY, Picard gives the order to "fire all phasers", not directed at any particular ship. You see phaser banks on the top and bottom of the ship firing off in directions at all three ships. Riker focuses full phasers on the ship they hit in the beginning and it is destroyed. "One enemy target destroyed, sir" says Data. Then there's this long pause of the Enterprise being hit by the Klingons and console explosions around the bridge, and Picard asks for another damage report. Does it really matter at this point? Fire your weapons!

At various points we have a long stretch of time spent with Geordi in engineering giving damage reports as the Klingons continue to pummel the Enterprise D, with no retaliation.

Data reports that power couplings were severed on forward phaser banks. Controls not responding. Another few hits and the weapons control panel explodes, killing Riker. The Klingons demand a surrender from the Enterprise. Picard leaps around to the weapons control panel that had blown up and remarkably it not only works, but he is able to fire forward phasers. There was no report that the coupling was repaired. But I guess it didn't last long, as we don't see the Enterprise retaliating from ANY phaser banks or photon torpedoes.

Anyway, the Enterprise C makes it into the rift and all is well. History is rewritten and we're back to the proper timeline.

I really think this engagement between the Klingons and the Enterprise D could have been so much better. And they could have managed that conflict between phasers being dead and then suddenly still active (e.g. Picard uses photon torpedoes or a different phaser bank). It definitely left me feeling like the show ended on a weak note.


Are there any other battles scenes you've seen in the Star Trek TV series that you felt were weakly done, like this one?

Last edited by Gary Sever; September 3 2010 at 08:13 PM.
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Old September 3 2010, 08:56 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

You might be over estimating what the Enterprise D is capable of doing in battle. At the beginning of the battle, even thought the Klingons are already firing beam weapons, the Klingon ships might still be out of the Enterprise's effective phaser range. Picard's first shot is with torpedoes, which have longer range. Picard wait until the Klingon closed on him so as that they'll be inside of his effective range.

A maximum phaser shot likely involve something like a electrical capacitor, if you simply fire the phasers straight off of the warp core (which is also powering the shields) you might fire the phasers at a lower percentage of power, but if you wait and charge up the capacitor you can fire several shots at one hundred percent ... and then have to wait while you build up power in the capacitor again for more full power firings.

If you are firing ten phaser emitters at once straight off your reactor, then each of those emitters would be firing at one tenth of the total available energy.

I believe only time we've seen the Enterprise fire all of her weapons emplacements in quick succession (hysterical mode) was once when they were trying to distracted the Borg. These shots wouldn't have to be powerful, only distracting.

As far as the Enterprise C posing no threat, she had been repaired to the point where she could go into battle against the Romulans, The Klingon scans would have shown this, which is probably why the Klingon commander sent one third of his force against her.

The Enterprise C's commander had likely decided to conserve his ship's resources for the Romulans, which was why he didn't return the Klingon fire.
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Old September 4 2010, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Almost every TOS and TNG battle scene. A number of early DS9 ones, too. Though I think mostly that's because later season DS9 stuff was so above and beyond what we had ever been given previously.

It's sad that ENT, the "worst" series (for majority opinion here, lets not get angry please!) had the best SFX and battles per average episode.

DS9's "Sacrifice of Angels" is still, IMHO, the best TV Trek space battle stuff. Though it had a few other great ones too.
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Old September 4 2010, 10:19 AM   #4
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

I remember watching TOS in the 80s, when I was a teen and really wishing there'd be some great space battles.
Sometimes they have an episode and there could possibly be war with the Klingons/Romulans and they'd come to some sort of reconcilliation by the end and war would be averted...I'd scream "Nooooooooooo!" at the TV.

DS9 was the first to really deliver, now that I'm older though I don't really give a crap about space battles.
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Old September 5 2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

T'Girl wrote: View Post
You might be over estimating what the Enterprise D is capable of doing in battle.
I see Gary7's point.

Compare the frequency and intensity of the E-D's attack on the Husnock in "The Survivor"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_XbWq49vUM

and that in "Yesterday's Enterprise"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HFdE...eature=related

and it would seem that the E-D in the no-war timeline was capable of rapid continuous full power shots with phasers and torpedoes. Perhaps the war timeline E-D didn't have the same weapons design? Or the Starfleet tactics in the war timeline didn't have the phrases "fire at will" and "keep shooting until they blow up" in their rulebook ?
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Old September 5 2010, 02:50 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Honestly, there are none that left me wanting. These things are unimportant to me. As long as the SFX are even barely competent, I'm good. On with the story.

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Old September 5 2010, 03:12 PM   #7
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

A lot of battles scenes left me wanting...for a little more credibility.

"Yesterday's Enterprise" is just the more memorable example, particularly when there are references that the ships are thousands of kilometers apart and then cut to seeing the ships practically on top of each other. It all comes across as believable as a Saturday morning cartoon. How sad because I rather like the episode itself, but that battle footage is poorly done.

The funny thing about TOS is that their f/x limitations actually helped them get it right. If combating starships are indeed thousands of kilometers apart then you shouldn't see them in the same frame on top of each other.

Mind you Trek isn't the only one to get this wrong. Since Star Wars in '77 the general practice, with rare exception, is to show spacecraft and starships combating in close proximity like fighter aircraft in an aerial dog fight.
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Old September 5 2010, 05:50 PM   #8
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Frontier wrote: View Post
Almost every TOS and TNG battle scene. A number of early DS9 ones, too. Though I think mostly that's because later season DS9 stuff was so above and beyond what we had ever been given previously.

It's sad that ENT, the "worst" series (for majority opinion here, lets not get angry please!) had the best SFX and battles per average episode.

DS9's "Sacrifice of Angels" is still, IMHO, the best TV Trek space battle stuff. Though it had a few other great ones too.
Agreed, on all accounts.

TNG especially hasn't aged well in terms of battle scenes and exterior shots in general. I realize the focus of TNG was never on action sequences, but a little more dynamically orchestrated battles would have been nice - something to adress in future HD re-releases.
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Old September 5 2010, 07:21 PM   #9
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Frontier wrote: View Post
Almost every TOS and TNG battle scene. A number of early DS9 ones, too. Though I think mostly that's because later season DS9 stuff was so above and beyond what we had ever been given previously.

It's sad that ENT, the "worst" series (for majority opinion here, lets not get angry please!) had the best SFX and battles per average episode.

DS9's "Sacrifice of Angels" is still, IMHO, the best TV Trek space battle stuff. Though it had a few other great ones too.
I agree, ENT had some great space battles depicted with enticing SFX. This is the kind of stuff that would have made TOS more eye catching, from an SFX standpoint. Even with primitive SFX, they could have orchestrated something more palatable rather than showing the Enterprise teeter-tottering on it's center of gravity. But Warped9 is right; less is more, in that TOS had verbal descriptions of spatial positions rather than graphically depicted. DS9 was probably even better than ENT, in terms of scope. The Dominion war battles were truly amazing.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
You might be over estimating what the Enterprise D is capable of doing in battle.
I see Gary7's point.

Compare the frequency and intensity of the E-D's attack on the Husnock in "The Survivor"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_XbWq49vUM
Thanks for pointing that out. A perfect example of how the Enterprise can let loose with the weaponry and not worry about overheating. In "Yesterday's Enterprise", I think the writers were going for more tension in those final moments, but they missed the plausibility angle staring them in the face--the Enterprise D has massive offensive capability.

And I agree with you SPCTRE, that TNG is not aging well. It has a more "modern" SFX flair, but then falls short in content. The switch from physical D models to CGI was disappointing to me for a long stretch--just didn't look right. Still... plenty of great story content to make up for it. TNG was very creative once Season 3 got under way.
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Old September 5 2010, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Gary7 wrote: View Post
One of my favorite TNG episodes was "Yesterday's Enterprise". I really liked the concept and it was great to see Tasha Yar in action again.

However... one sore point for me was the small battle at the ending. Now of course this wasn't going to be some epic space battle, but here you have three Klingon vessels against the Enterprise D. The Enterprise is capable of our maneuvering and outrunning the Klingon ships. They also have more fire power. But the Enterprise really doesn't go on the offensive right off the bat. They wait until the Klingons start firing, giving them the advantage.
I don't think the Enterprise can outmaneuver a smaller Bird of Prey. I also don't think they have more firepower than three of them combined. These were K'Vort class battle cruisers. Not those small B'Rel class scout ships.

As for the Enterprise holding back, maybe Picard was just waiting till they got closer until he unleashed a spread of torpedoes. I think the battle was one of Star Trek's greatest. If you want to see the Enterprise holding back, then that's Commander Riker. Insurrection, Generations, the episode Rascals, Riker only fires one or two shots in each battle. He's got to be the worst combat officer in Starfleet. I feel sorry for crew of the USS Titan. How would you like to serve under a CO that lost the Federation Flagship to a 30 year old Bird of Prey? Yes I know he didn't have shields, but still, it's not the most awe inspiring thing to think about when you're going on the front lines against a Jem'hadar invasion fleet or a Borg Cube.
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Old September 5 2010, 09:18 PM   #11
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Talkin of yesterday,s enterprise I'd loved to see the enterprise C fight of the romulans would have made a great scene. Seeing the C going down in a blaze of glory would have been great !!!!
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Old September 13 2010, 10:27 PM   #12
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Robert DeSoto wrote: View Post
I don't think the Enterprise can outmaneuver a smaller Bird of Prey. I also don't think they have more firepower than three of them combined. These were K'Vort class battle cruisers. Not those small B'Rel class scout ships.
You're right, those were K'Vort cruisers, not B'Rel scout ships. But given what we've seen depicted in previous engagements, the K'Vort doesn't demonstrate the ability to significantly outmaneuver a Class "D" Starship.

Robert DeSoto wrote: View Post
As for the Enterprise holding back, maybe Picard was just waiting till they got closer until he unleashed a spread of torpedoes. I think the battle was one of Star Trek's greatest. If you want to see the Enterprise holding back, then that's Commander Riker. Insurrection, Generations, the episode Rascals, Riker only fires one or two shots in each battle. He's got to be the worst combat officer in Starfleet. I feel sorry for crew of the USS Titan. How would you like to serve under a CO that lost the Federation Flagship to a 30 year old Bird of Prey? Yes I know he didn't have shields, but still, it's not the most awe inspiring thing to think about when you're going on the front lines against a Jem'hadar invasion fleet or a Borg Cube.
Well, when you're outnumbered in a conflict, time is of the essence. You've got to put your weaponry to use as often as possible without compromising it (i.e. overheating or depleting munition/energy too soon). The weaponry in this conflict is used just far too leisurely, IMHO. And I'm not the only one who thinks this way (blssdwlf and Warped9 concur). I agree with you, Riker is subpar with his tactical record... frankly, I think he should have outright fired him for not taking several command opportunities of other ships.
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Old September 13 2010, 11:12 PM   #13
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Well, every single ship he was ever offered ended up getting slagged so maybe he realized it was in his best interest to not take any of them or he'd probably end up dead. Except for the small scout ship.

For space battles, JMS said it best in Babylon 5: Yes, realistically the battles shouldn't be visual since you can blast each other from so far away. But dramatically it is underwhelming.
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Old September 14 2010, 05:52 AM   #14
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

Gary7 wrote: View Post
Robert DeSoto wrote: View Post
I don't think the Enterprise can outmaneuver a smaller Bird of Prey. I also don't think they have more firepower than three of them combined. These were K'Vort class battle cruisers. Not those small B'Rel class scout ships.
You're right, those were K'Vort cruisers, not B'Rel scout ships. But given what we've seen depicted in previous engagements, the K'Vort doesn't demonstrate the ability to significantly outmaneuver a Class "D" Starship.

Robert DeSoto wrote: View Post
As for the Enterprise holding back, maybe Picard was just waiting till they got closer until he unleashed a spread of torpedoes. I think the battle was one of Star Trek's greatest. If you want to see the Enterprise holding back, then that's Commander Riker. Insurrection, Generations, the episode Rascals, Riker only fires one or two shots in each battle. He's got to be the worst combat officer in Starfleet. I feel sorry for crew of the USS Titan. How would you like to serve under a CO that lost the Federation Flagship to a 30 year old Bird of Prey? Yes I know he didn't have shields, but still, it's not the most awe inspiring thing to think about when you're going on the front lines against a Jem'hadar invasion fleet or a Borg Cube.
Well, when you're outnumbered in a conflict, time is of the essence. You've got to put your weaponry to use as often as possible without compromising it (i.e. overheating or depleting munition/energy too soon). The weaponry in this conflict is used just far too leisurely, IMHO. And I'm not the only one who thinks this way (blssdwlf and Warped9 concur).
Maybe Picard was waiting until he got a good target lock? *shrug*

You ever played Bridge Commander? I know it's not canon, but it's one possible explanation.

In the game, disruptors reload much faster than photon torpedoes, but torpedoes do a lot more damage. Torpedoes are also much slower and easier to evade than disruptors.

When a bird of prey is coming at me with disruptors, I would hold my fire until he got closer so I can guarantee my torpedoes hit. Even though I take more hits, my torpedoes will do more damage. But if I miss, it takes forever to reload.

Also you have to consider the size of the ship. When a smaller ship like a Bird of Prey or Jem'hadar attack ship is coming at me, I will hold fire simply cuz they're smaller and harder to hit than I am. So its not unusual that I'll take damage first. But once I close that gap, I blast that fool with phasers and a full spread of torpedoes.

The viewscreen will tell you when your torpedoes are locked on and you have the best chance of hitting your target. With phasers I usually fire a short burst to see if I can hit him first. If he's far away or moving erratically, then I'll probalby miss. But once I hit him, I know my phasers are good and I just hold down the phaser button until I drain every phaser bank that I got facing him. Then back off while the phaser banks recharge.

So its not just a matter of hitting your enemy with everything you got. You gotta line up your phaser banks and torpedo tubes to get the best possible lock, while your enemy keeps moving. Then you gotta recharge your weapons and try not to give your enemy a good weapons lock. Phaser beams, Defiant class phaser cannons, disruptors, photon torpedoes, quantum torpedoes, plasma torpedoes, they all have different rates of recharge, do different amounts of damage and have different chances of hitting targets. (Generally, the more damage the weapon causes, the slower and easier to evade it is)

Now we've seen the Enterprise-D unleash its weapons in a fury against a Husnock warship in Survivors. But the Husnock ship is five times the size of a Galaxy class starship. And it wasn't engaged in evasive maneuvers (not that it needs to, its shields were holding).

When I'm playing against a Borg Cube, as soon as its in weapons range, I unleash all phasers and photon torpedoes too. I don't have to worry about hitting it. It's huge.

Anyway, like I said, the game is not canon, so believe what you will. It's just one possible explanation. But it any case, it's pretty damn fun to play if you haven't tried it already
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Old September 14 2010, 12:21 PM   #15
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Re: Star Trek TV battle scenes that left you wanting...

The most disappointing Star Trek battle for me is in TNG's 'Rascals'. Riker just has the ENT-D sit there whilst two little Birds of Prey pummel it with disruptor fire. The Enterprise puts in a pitiful performance in that episode.
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