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Old January 11 2012, 09:11 PM   #1
The Overlord
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Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

In some of the later seasons of Voyager, it seemed to me that the alien designs on some of the aliens of the week just got lazy. The aliens "Memorial" and "Work Force" seemed really lazy, looking exactly like humans except for a few minor differences. Do you think the alien designs on Voyager became lazy?
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Old January 11 2012, 09:46 PM   #2
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

I actually welcomed the human aliens (TOS already established duplicate Earths throghout the galaxy - it's a pity Voyager never came across a "close enough" duplicate!). I'd had my fill of endless dumb foreheads.
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Old January 11 2012, 09:53 PM   #3
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

I don't think some storylines require or are worth the time and effort of creating radically different and unique aliens.

A lot of the time a generic 'forehead of the week' design will suffice.

Inevitably when faced with seven years' worth of creating new designs for alien races some will be more radical than others - for every Species 8472, Hirogen or Vidiian you'll get half a dozen Taresians or Krenim-type aliens.

I wouldn't call it laziness as much as the reality of weekly television production.
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Old January 11 2012, 09:58 PM   #4
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

I hated it when they used the same forehead piece over and over again. When it came to doing that, I would have been much more happy with just plain humans.
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Old January 11 2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

Yeah, the aliens with vaginas on their foreheads got old after a while, but that's the budget for you. Making someone look truly alien as opposed to the above takes more moolah, especially if its just for some forgettable alien-of-the-week than nobody really cares about (which Voyager was full of). I'd much prefer that they spend little on makeup and more on VFX myself, although I did like the Hierarchy aliens though.
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Old January 11 2012, 10:17 PM   #6
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

I liked the Hierarchy aliens too, because they were distinct. But the aliens that where supposed to be completely unrelated species, but had the same T shaped forehead thing drove me nuts. I still can't separate between most of those races because they all had the same markings.
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Old January 11 2012, 10:20 PM   #7
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

Well, the "T" shaped foreheads just go along with the "Alien names starting with the letter 'T' that I just pulled out of my ass" generator they used to make up alien race names.
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Old January 11 2012, 10:53 PM   #8
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

I would rather the "forehead aliens" just look completely human. If they're not going to make them look totally different from us, it just seems like a waste. The half-assed alien makeup ends up being distracting.
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Old January 12 2012, 12:38 AM   #9
Misco
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

I agree that they should have made the 'forehead alien of the week' just look human. Wasn't it established in some episode of Trek (I forget which one or even which series, but TNG seems to be ringing a bell) that there was a basic bodyshape/lifeform type that reoccured throughout the galaxy? If so then it would make sense for lots of aliens to just look human. Or they could have made a few basic designs, like Vulcan/Klingon/Cardassian etc and then made very slight variations on them. Didn't Farscape do something similar to that with the Scarrens?

I don't think this was a problem confined to Voyager though. Better (or less) alien design should probably have been established in an earlier series, like TOS, or at the very least TNG.
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Old January 12 2012, 01:30 AM   #10
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I would rather the "forehead aliens" just look completely human. If they're not going to make them look totally different from us, it just seems like a waste. The half-assed alien makeup ends up being distracting.
Pretty much this. Frankly, I feel that VOY could have done with fewer aliens of the week anyway. But failing that, the "bumpy forehead variant #347" just did not work.

And hell, there are other ways to distinguish an alien that can't be much more expensive than bumpy forehead make-up. What about stripes or spots, or other markings? What about skin colors that humans can't have? Crazy hair? Scales or fins or gills? Horns?

See, I just came up with that little list in like two minutes. This is why I do think it's fair to attribute it to lazy writing/planning, at least in part. They overlooked some really obvious alternatives and just kept sticking almost the same lumps on the foreheads of the actors to represent all these supposedly different species.
Misco wrote: View Post
I agree that they should have made the 'forehead alien of the week' just look human. Wasn't it established in some episode of Trek (I forget which one or even which series, but TNG seems to be ringing a bell) that there was a basic bodyshape/lifeform type that reoccured throughout the galaxy? If so then it would make sense for lots of aliens to just look human.
Yep. It was TNG, and the ep name was "The Chase." So yeah, there's no reason that different aliens HAD to look radically non-human.
I don't think this was a problem confined to Voyager though. Better (or less) alien design should probably have been established in an earlier series, like TOS, or at the very least TNG.
TOS had to scrape to get enough money to do anything interesting, so I think it can get a pass to some degree. As for TNG, no, the problem isn't confined to Voyager, as TNG could have done a better job as well. But the problem seemed worse with Voyager, because the series WAS newer and effects technology had improved (and did it have a bigger budget than TNG?). I think TNG handles alien cultures better than VOY on the whole, as well. Plus, DS9 relied on this FAR less than either of them, so to go from TNG, to DS9, to VOY, kinda makes it seem that much worse for the latter. Come to think of it, I wonder which show simply has a higher number of humanoid species encountered, bumpy forehead or no, between TNG and VOY...
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Old January 12 2012, 01:48 AM   #11
Guy Gardener
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

The Preservers, and that seeding thing fromt he Chase explains a bit.

But once I heard about the Voth...

Although I am quite aware that the Flintstones was bullshit, and that man and Dinosaur never really hung out, what if the "fish" that was mans ancestor 40 million years ago when the Voth began their pilgrimage to the Delta Quadrant was taken along as a scrummy food stock that was fed into oceans where ever they went, who 30 million years later left, on thousands of worlds, left thosee oceans, turned into monkeys, then primates, then homonoids and then finally something quite like man today.
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Old January 12 2012, 02:08 AM   #12
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

The Dominion wrote: View Post
I liked the Hierarchy aliens too, because they were distinct. But the aliens that where supposed to be completely unrelated species, but had the same T shaped forehead thing drove me nuts. I still can't separate between most of those races because they all had the same markings.
Yup, potato-headed aliens in silver suits who in one episode kidnap the Doctor...

real original :P
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Old January 12 2012, 02:56 AM   #13
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

Sandoval wrote: View Post
I don't think some storylines require or are worth the time and effort of creating radically different and unique aliens.

A lot of the time a generic 'forehead of the week' design will suffice.

Inevitably when faced with seven years' worth of creating new designs for alien races some will be more radical than others - for every Species 8472, Hirogen or Vidiian you'll get half a dozen Taresians or Krenim-type aliens.

I wouldn't call it laziness as much as the reality of weekly television production.
Agreed.
However, most of the aliens we did see in Voyager were full face laytex.
Vidiians
Talaxians
Swarm
There wasn't one forehead alien in "Fair Trade"
Malon
Hirogen
Vadwaar
Phantome
Bo'mar
Katottie
Like him or not, the work and design that goes into creating Neelix alone is one of the most complex made for a regular cast member IMO. Painting on the spots alone is time consuming, not to mention the laytex and hair. He done so well, you can't tell where the laytex ends and real skin starts. You could always see that flaw in Worf's make up
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Old January 12 2012, 03:05 AM   #14
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

Saito S wrote: View Post
Crazy hair?
The Kazon.

Scales or fins or gills? Horns?
We had all of those. Even Naomi had horns.

What helped Westmore achieve so many aliens on the budget he had was being able to pre-paint many of the foam latex appliances. Older technologies did not permit this.

What about skin colors that humans can't have?
If you've read interviews with ST actors who had their skin coloration changed, the clean-up afterwards is worse than the application process. Leonard John Crofoot (Robotic gold Lal) and Yvonne Craig (Marta in TOS) spent hours in the shower being scrubbed by stage hands, then had to turn up for it to happen all over again the next day.

Skin patterns are time-consuming and very hard to match day-by-day. Dax in DS9 was a nightmare; Westmore said her spots never matched under scrutiny. That's why they tend to be for one-off cameos, such as the waterproof stripes applied to the triple-breasted cat dancer played by Linda Fetters in ST V:


Linda Fetters in ST V by Therin of Andor, on Flickr
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Old January 12 2012, 03:10 AM   #15
exodus
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Re: Did the alien design on Voyager just get lazy?

[QUOTE=Therin of Andor;5579752]
Saito S wrote: View Post
And hell, there are other ways to distinguish an alien that can't be much more expensive than bumpy forehead make-up. What about stripes or spots, or other markings? What about skin colors that humans can't have?

Crazy hair?
The Kazon.

Scales or fins or gills? Horns?
We had all of those. Even Naomi had horns.
Exactly.
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