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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old July 18 2014, 04:18 AM   #61
Christopher
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Re: What if it Went Longer

Bixby wrote: View Post
Back then in the late 60s early 70s, the best television FX were probably on Trek and, oddly enough, over in the UK for Gerry Anderson's super puppet shows. In fact, the man in charge for the latter was Derek Meddings who did amazing work later on the James Bond films and for Richard Donner's Superman films.
Indeed. Anderson's FX were remarkably good. Space: 1999 had amazing miniature work supervised by Brian Johnson, and really good production values. Like Filmation's Space Academy a few years later, it relied on wire work and in-camera latent image compositing (i.e. multiple exposures/split screens) rather than traveling mattes, so the path that a ship was following was generally devoid of stars in the background; but it meant that every image was first-generation, with none of the degradation you got from matte work. And they had so many miniatures! Sure, they recycled a few alien ships as other alien ships, and reused stock footage of Eagles a lot, but they had more different ship miniatures in half a season than TOS had in its entire run. (Although some of those miniatures were part-Enterprise. There was a notable one, looking a lot like the Discovery from 2001, whose radar dish was the underside of the top of an AMT Enterprise saucer.)


By the mid to late 70s all the best FX workers were either scooped up by George Lucas and the fledgling ILM shop or were learning at Roger Corman's so to eventually get scooped up at ILM. Sad to say but the few sci-fi/almost sci-fi shows on television had pretty horrible FX apart from Battlestar Galactica but it was apparent even then they had a shortage of time and craftsmen and coped by reusing shots as often as possible.
Actually Space Academy benefitted from being put into production just after Star Wars wrapped and the first incarnation of ILM broke up, so Filmation was able to snap up a few of its FX artists and designers and produce some really impressive visuals for Saturday morning TV. And in the spinoff Jason of Star Command, they had some really good stop-motion creature animation, as well as "upgrading" the effects to motion-control bluescreen work (which was more flexible than the in-camera effects from SA but had obvious matte lines that made it look worse in some ways).
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Old July 18 2014, 04:22 AM   #62
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Re: What if it Went Longer

Space: 1999 had some of the best visual effects for television in its day. They still impress me today, actually.
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Old July 18 2014, 04:39 AM   #63
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Re: What if it Went Longer

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(Although some of those miniatures were part-Enterprise. There was a notable one, looking a lot like the Discovery from 2001, whose radar dish was the underside of the top of an AMT Enterprise saucer.)
Oh, my god, it is!
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Old July 18 2014, 02:46 PM   #64
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Re: What if it Went Longer

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Space: 1999 had some of the best visual effects for television in its day. They still impress me today, actually.
I just recently finished a rewatch of the series, the first time I've seen it in decades, and its production design just blew TOS out of the water. The technology was so much more plausible-looking and well thought out. They had spacesuits they used routinely, and they didn't look like they were cut out of shower curtains or tinfoil. They had modular support craft that didn't look like shoeboxes. They had communication devices that actually had video and keyboards and that functioned as security passes -- doing a better job of anticipating modern mobile phones than TOS communicators did.

(Although the Eagles were just as deficient in the airlock department as shuttlecraft were. And the docking tubes that extended between Eagles were magic, because they would've had to extend into the interior set in order to function as shown, but there was nothing there on the inside.)
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Old July 18 2014, 03:55 PM   #65
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Re: What if it Went Longer

The sweet spot for a Phase II series would have been after TMP, because Paramount spent big-budget movie funds to make those standing sets and models and they could have carried that over into TV better than had they budgeted it from the start just for TV. They wound up recycling a lot of movie-era stuff for TNG, but by doing that a lot of the stuff wound up looking anachronistic.
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Old July 18 2014, 06:00 PM   #66
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Re: What if it Went Longer

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The sweet spot for a Phase II series would have been after TMP, because Paramount spent big-budget movie funds to make those standing sets and models and they could have carried that over into TV better than had they budgeted it from the start just for TV.
Actually it's the other way around -- the standing sets were built for Phase II and then used in TMP. That's the reason the sets were able to remain standing for decades and be reused in the later movies, TNG, and VGR. Movie sets are designed to be torn down after a few weeks' use, so they're flimsy. TV-series sets are designed to withstand regular use for years on end, so they're made of sterner stuff.

However, the sets did get an upgrade for the movie, and the miniatures that were being built for PII were replaced by more detailed ones for the big screen. So in that respect, yes, a TV show taking advantage of movie miniatures and stock footage would've looked better than it would have if there had only been the show. In fact, we know that for sure because of TNG, which made heavy use of leftover movie items like the Reliant, Regula I, Grissom, and Excelsior miniatures, the Klingon costumes, occasional Klingon-battlecruiser stock footage, stock footage of the Mutara Nebula and the ST III Spacedock, etc.
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Old July 18 2014, 06:15 PM   #67
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Re: What if it Went Longer

I'm not sure that the movie models reused in TNG so much looked anachronistic as they did look out of proportion to hardcore fans who examine Trek minutia under a microscope. Being such a hardcore fan, I can't tell how the space lab, space dock, BoP, etc. models looked on TNG to the general public, but I imagine they looked great.
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Old July 18 2014, 08:22 PM   #68
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Re: What if it Went Longer

Maurice wrote: View Post
Different era, but Hill Street Blues was left in the air not because it was a hit but in part for its prestige value. It too got a 10 p.m. slot (albeit not on Fridays).
It got so many Emmy nominations NBC would've appeared moronic in cancelling it then. Those were the days.
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Old July 18 2014, 10:29 PM   #69
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Re: What if it Went Longer

That was when Brandon Tartikoff was the head of programming at NBC, and he was known for his loyalty to shows that he believed in even when they struggled in the ratings. In particular, he kept Quantum Leap on the air for several years despite weak ratings because he believed so strongly in the show.
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Old July 18 2014, 10:41 PM   #70
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Re: What if it Went Longer

Christopher wrote: View Post
That was when Brandon Tartikoff was the head of programming at NBC, and he was known for his loyalty to shows that he believed in even when they struggled in the ratings. In particular, he kept Quantum Leap on the air for several years despite weak ratings because he believed so strongly in the show.
Cheers and Seinfeld were also shows Tartikoff kept on the air through early weak ratings.
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Old July 21 2014, 10:04 AM   #71
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Re: What if it Went Longer

Christopher wrote: View Post
I just recently finished a rewatch of the series, the first time I've seen it in decades, and its production design just blew TOS out of the water.
I loved your "Mission: Impossible" reviews! I wonder if you can do something similar with "Space 1999"...
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Old July 21 2014, 01:09 PM   #72
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Re: What if it Went Longer

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I loved your "Mission: Impossible" reviews! I wonder if you can do something similar with "Space 1999"...
Too late now. I thought about doing some posts just discussing it in overview, but I think the time has passed.

Besides, you couldn't pay me to watch "All that Glisters" again. By the end of that episode, I was unable to stop making a sound that was either laughing or sobbing -- I couldn't tell which. I don't think my sanity could survive another viewing.
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