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

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Old August 21 2014, 03:46 AM   #31
plynch
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Re: The Animated Series

Christopher wrote: View Post

TAS was about as well-made as any reasonable, informed person could expect any animated television series from 1973 to have been.
Methinks you doth defend too much.

See, old time radio is still good drama, often with great production values in its own unique way. I listen on XM still. But if we had 100 years of old time radio, there'd probably be an era or style that I would agree sucked relative to most of it.

Just like '70s Saturday morning "animation." 1970s TV animation sucks as animation. It is barely "animated." More like coloring book pages whose lips move.

You love Filmation, I get that. Love it. I love the Tigers. But there are some years (decades) they suck and I just have to admit it. There are reasons for the suckishness; they might be trying hard, limited by an owner's budget, whatever, but they still suck.

I like really bad, manufactured pop from the late '60s and '70s. The Cowsills for God's sakes. Davy Jones. Bobby Sherman. I love it, but freely admit as a musician it is awful dreck.

TAS is a GREAT 70s Saturday toon show. (I said I watch it, remember.) The backgrounds are all trippy; as we noted before there is little to no fighting or space kissing; the stories are often more sci-fi than TOS; there's The Magicks, which is amazing, for Saturday morning. Et c.

BUT the animation, seriously, woof. So I and others of my ilk would at least like to see some of the stories animated better. You asked "What would be the point?" I think. Well, what's the point to anything? Because I like animation and think it would be kind of cool to see it done better.

Ain't gonna happen.

Love, peace and well-being to all. Thanks for the discussion. I'm off to watch Magicks, I think. . .
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Old August 21 2014, 03:58 AM   #32
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Re: The Animated Series

Hmm, I definitely see what you mean.

I love Supergirl, Superman III, Jaws: The Revenge, and Masters of the Universe (the Dolph Lundgren movie).

Yeah, they're not "good movies" but I love them anyway.
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Old August 21 2014, 04:02 AM   #33
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Re: The Animated Series

Destructor wrote: View Post
LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
Now if we're talking about a all-new animated series, well that's a different story!
Here's a question, just sort of jumping off your idea here. I've often wondered if it would be a good idea to take the audio (recorded by the original cast) of the point-and-click adventure games '20th Anniversary' and 'Judgment Rites' and adapt them into new animated series episodes, templating those episodes on the style and art of the original animated series. While the dialogue readings are pretty stilted, there is some great banter between Spock and McCoy and the plots are generally pretty good (assuming you edit out all the game specific banter).

The entirety of Judgment Rites can be viewed on Youtube here (and thinking about it, would also be a no-brainer to put these on iPad already):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcgE3qZ9uws
One thing that's really neat about voice recordings of the actors as they got older, is to play the videos/audio back at a slightly increased speed, and they sound remarkably TOS-like in their pitch and energy. Sometimes so much so, it's creepy!
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Old August 21 2014, 04:13 AM   #34
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Re: The Animated Series

TAS's limited animation could have been much, much worse.

plynch wrote: View Post
BUT the animation, seriously, woof. So I and others of my ilk would at least like to see some of the stories animated better. You asked "What would be the point?" I think. Well, what's the point to anything? Because I like animation and think it would be kind of cool to see it done better.
But if they're gonna go to the trouble, why wouldn't they just give us new stories? TAS is what it is.
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Old August 21 2014, 04:18 AM   #35
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Re: The Animated Series

I think the only reason would be: you already have the TOS cast's voices.

If you do new adventures, you have to get new actors.
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Old August 21 2014, 05:54 AM   #36
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Re: The Animated Series

I can confirm the skin change of Desslok. About episode 10 the producer told the art department he wanted the Gamilons to have blue skin so that the audiance wouldn't identify with them as much as if they were a more human skin tone.

The art department, being Japanese, could not actually protest, but they decided to attempt to make it logical that the more pale skin color and brown hair Desslok sports before episode 11 were due to bad lighting, as they have him change color before our eyes as the lighting improves, until he is blue with blonde hair. The on screen change was the art department attempting to make an on screen reason for the skin color change ordered from the higher ups.

In Star Blazers 2199, the production staff decides to use that by making the pale skinned Pluto Base Gamilons as part of a conquered race (second-class citizens of the Greater Gamilas Empire from the planet Zaltz.), while Desslok and the majority of his officers are blue skinned first-class citizens of his Empire. Though on his first appearance, Desslok goes though some poor lighting and briefly shift color slightly as nod to the old art staff.
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Old August 21 2014, 06:52 AM   #37
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Re: The Animated Series

EnriqueH wrote: View Post
I think the only reason would be: you already have the TOS cast's voices.

If you do new adventures, you have to get new actors.
Yeah, I think the only argument for it is that many people are driven away from TAS because of the poor animation (whether it was cutting edge at the time or not, it's generally *considered* [rightly or wrongly] bad today) but they might actually enjoy the same stories, with the original cast, if it were animated to contemporary standards.

This is not *that* dissimilar to the re-done effects in TOS. They didn't try to recreate the effects precisely at they were in the original airing, they tried to recreate them to match the spirit of what was perhaps intended. If the budget of TAS did indeed lead to animation problems that make it feel budget, there's no reason not to think they might not have done a better job- with a better budget. Not thinking this would happen in a million years, but I'd watch it if they made it.
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Old August 21 2014, 07:27 AM   #38
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Re: The Animated Series

EnriqueH wrote: View Post
...
Having grown up on Masters of the Universe, I have no problem with the animation, though it is dated and has not aged as well as, say, the Fleischer Superman cartoons.

...
This isn't really a fair comparison either. I am a fan of TAS, Max Fleischer Superman cartoons and Msters of the Universe. In fact I have them all on my DVD shelf.

We have to remember that those old WWII era cartoons were not kid stuff. They were produced as shorts to be run with movies in theaters and were written with adults in mind more than children. I watch these cartoons now with my five-year-old. He loves the action and cheers Superman on when ever he shows up, but the political stuff about sinking Japanese warships or fighting the Germans goes right over his head.

Thirty years later, when cartoons are being made for television with an overall cultural shift towards "cartoons=kiddies" cheap fast "crank-it-out-for-the-next-week" animation reigned supreme. Filmation v. Max Fleischer is apples and oranges.

Another part is the writing. There was a writer's strike on when TAS was in production, so the regular crew was out, freeing up space for authentic sci-fi authors to come in and get a check for writing the show. This is why the stories are pretty high-bar stuff for the most part.

I'm not sure how much it effected TAS, but I know that years later for He-Man the writing suffered from the rules imposed by the suits who were intent on making a children's show. This is why Skeletor was always such a bumbling idiot, as if he had any good ideas in might make the good-guys look dumb. But some of my favorite genre writers worked on that show and I know they had more talent than they were allowed to use. As much as I like He-Man I must admit, when I watch it, I'm watching it for what it so close to being more than for what it actually is.

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Old August 21 2014, 07:32 AM   #39
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Re: The Animated Series

Chuck Jones decreed TV animation "illustrated radio". Largely, he was right.
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Old August 21 2014, 02:01 PM   #40
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Re: The Animated Series

Destructor wrote: View Post
Here's a question, just sort of jumping off your idea here. I've often wondered if it would be a good idea to take the audio (recorded by the original cast) of the point-and-click adventure games '20th Anniversary' and 'Judgment Rites' and adapt them into new animated series episodes, templating those episodes on the style and art of the original animated series. While the dialogue readings are pretty stilted, there is some great banter between Spock and McCoy and the plots are generally pretty good (assuming you edit out all the game specific banter).

The entirety of Judgment Rites can be viewed on Youtube here (and thinking about it, would also be a no-brainer to put these on iPad already):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcgE3qZ9uws
I would love that! I love the 25th anniversary game,
(although I've never yet beat that lousy fake Enterprise )!

I bought the wrong version of Judgement rites so I haven't played that one, yet.


EnriqueH wrote: View Post
Hmm, I definitely see what you mean.

I love Supergirl, Superman III, Jaws: The Revenge, and Masters of the Universe (the Dolph Lundgren movie).

Yeah, they're not "good movies" but I love them anyway.
Don't forget Flash Gordon and Dolph Lundgren's Punisher! Oh, and the 13th Warrior, I love that one. And Soldier with Kurt Russel. Maybe I better quit this to another thread.
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Old August 21 2014, 02:54 PM   #41
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Re: The Animated Series

EnriqueH wrote: View Post
(Christopher, respect him as much as I do, seems to be assuming these discussions I've had are relegated to Internet fan boy bitching, but that's not an accurate assumption. I've experienced TAS animation criticism even as far back as grade school.)
I'm only talking about the discussions I've personally experienced. I'm assuming nothing about anything beyond that. You asked whether reanimating TAS has been discussed, and I referred to the discussions I've personally been aware of, because I have no knowledge of any others.




plynch wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post

TAS was about as well-made as any reasonable, informed person could expect any animated television series from 1973 to have been.
Methinks you doth defend too much.

See, old time radio is still good drama, often with great production values in its own unique way. I listen on XM still. But if we had 100 years of old time radio, there'd probably be an era or style that I would agree sucked relative to most of it.
Please take another look at what I wrote. I'm not saying TAS holds up well compared to animation from the '80s or '90s or today. Heck, even Filmation's work from five or six years later was a quantum leap above what they achieved in TAS. What I said, quite specifically, was that it was about as good as you could expect TV animation from 1973 to have been. It's not like all the other shows from that era were beautifully done and TAS's makers somehow dropped the ball. If anything, TAS had more money and care (though less time) put into it than most of its contemporary shows.

I'm certainly not saying TAS's animation was flawless. I'm just saying that it was a product of its time, that there's no realistic way in which a Saturday morning television show made for NBC in 1973 could have been much better made than TAS was. So it's a matter of setting your expectations to what was possible in the context.

I guess what I'm saying is that I try to judge things by how well they do in comparison to their limitations, rather than in comparison to something that has fewer limitations. For instance, if I see a low-budget SF movie from the '60s or '70s and they do a cool piece of miniature work even though you can clearly see the wires, I may respect that more than a CGI shot in a modern big-budget movie. Because even though the CGI shot looks more realistic, it was, if not necessarily easier for its makers to achieve in terms of labor, at least more expected because we know the means were easily available. When I look at a TV show or movie, I'm not just seeing the result, I'm thinking about the effort that went into it. Maybe it's because I'm a creator myself, or maybe it's just because The Making of Star Trek was one of the first non-children's books I ever read and it started my lifelong fascination with film and TV production. But if I know that the creators of a film or show were working under a specific set of limitations, I respect it if they manage to transcend those limits in any way, rather than damning the limits themselves.


Destructor wrote: View Post
Yeah, I think the only argument for it is that many people are driven away from TAS because of the poor animation (whether it was cutting edge at the time or not, it's generally *considered* [rightly or wrongly] bad today) but they might actually enjoy the same stories, with the original cast, if it were animated to contemporary standards.
I might actually be okay with a Star Blazers 2199-style recreation if it were done by animators who strove to be faithful to the design sensibilities of TAS while making the animation richer and more fluid. I'd particularly like it if they tried to update it in a Filmationy way -- e.g. incorporating the kind of rotoscoped action sequences that Filmation was using by the time of Tarzan and The Lone Ranger and Flash Gordon and He-Man, so that it looked like Filmation itself had made it a few years further along. Maybe it could be done; as I think I mentioned, the current Ninja Turtles series did an amazingly authentic TAS pastiche last season, beautifully capturing the art style.

And it might well be possible to capture or duplicate the actual, original background paintings and reuse them, with new animation composited over them and maybe a bit of digital enhancement to give them more movement. It's that artwork that I most want to see preserved.

What I absolutely would despise would be if it were changed to fit the generic 3D-animated style of today's shows. That would take away all its charms. I freely admit that TAS's animation was severely limited, but its design was fantastic. I would like something that had more movement and dynamism than TAS, but I would not want to lose the look.

The problem, though, is that even if you updated the visuals, you'd still be stuck with a 1970s-vintage voice, music, and sound effects track. I suppose that, since the voices are on a separate audio channel from the music and FX (so that foreign dubbing can be easily done), it would be possible to keep the voices and redo the music and sounds. But I'd hate to lose all that marvelous Ray Ellis music. It could, I suppose, be recreated by a modern orchestra, but it wouldn't sound quite the same. And I assume audiences today would want a wider range of musical cues; if so, I'd prefer to have them drawn from other Ellis Filmation scores such as Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, Flash Gordon, and Blackstar. Again, though, they'd have to be recreated, since the original masters are missing.

Even with all that, though, you'd still be stuck with the voice performances, which were also pretty limited in their own way. It might be a little incongruous to hear them alongside more modern, sophisticated animation.


This is not *that* dissimilar to the re-done effects in TOS.
I'd say it's very dissimilar in principle, because it's not just about substituting a few brief shots but about replacing the entire visual content of the series.


If the budget of TAS did indeed lead to animation problems that make it feel budget, there's no reason not to think they might not have done a better job- with a better budget.
As I said, I think TAS's budget was actually relatively high for a Saturday morning network cartoon in '73-4. But that was probably pretty low in absolute terms.
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Old August 21 2014, 03:07 PM   #42
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Re: The Animated Series

Maurice wrote: View Post
Chuck Jones decreed TV animation "illustrated radio". Largely, he was right.
At least one person in the TrekBBS world has recommended just listening to TAS. I did watch "Magicks" last night (remember I'm pro-TAS overall) and laughed out loud twice b/c of the "animation." Why do I remember Batman/Tarzan and Superfriends (different studio, I know) being somewhat more animated than TAS? I'll have to go look on the Youtubes. That'll be a trip.

And of course, "they" aren't going to reanimate the TAS soundtracks. They exist to increase shareholder value, and that would be a money-losing proposition. I think. Would a new animated Trek in the JJverse make money? That's why a company/cable network would do one.
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Old August 21 2014, 03:21 PM   #43
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Re: The Animated Series

I was extremely impressed with Star Wars Clone Wars. The first year was admittedly shakey as far as the animation went, but the later stuff was all awesome all the time. I would say that if CBS pursued a new animated series set in the JJ-verse as a partnership with Cartoon Network (or at least in a vein that uses the Clone Wars crew, or similarly experienced folks), they would probably enjoy some real success.

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Old August 21 2014, 03:27 PM   #44
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Re: The Animated Series

Albertese wrote: View Post
I was extremely impressed with Star Wars Clone Wars. The first year was admittedly shakey as far as the animation went, but the later stuff was all awesome all the time. I would say that if CBS pursued a new animated series set in the JJ-verse as a partnership with Cartoon Network (or at least in a vein that uses the Clone Wars crew, or similarly experienced folks), they would probably enjoy some real success.

--Alex
And, "The Clone Wars" could get kinda dark at times. Hence, it wasn't only the animation, but the stories that allowed us to resonate with the characters, especially the clones.

I would definitely be up for a JJ-verse animated show. Of course, with good writing.
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Old August 21 2014, 03:52 PM   #45
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Re: The Animated Series

plynch wrote: View Post
At least one person in the TrekBBS world has recommended just listening to TAS. I did watch "Magicks" last night (remember I'm pro-TAS overall) and laughed out loud twice b/c of the "animation."
But, again, the actual artwork is lovely, even if it doesn't move much. The background paintings and designs are terrific.


Why do I remember Batman/Tarzan and Superfriends (different studio, I know) being somewhat more animated than TAS?
As I said, Filmation's work improved over the years. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle and The New Adventures of Batman were made later in the '70s when Filmation had incorporated further refinements into its techniques, such as the use of rotoscoped action shots -- which allowed them to continue recycling stock animation but having more movement and fluidity in the stock sequences. (As a kid, I actually memorized the repeated movements made by characters like Tarzan and He-Man, and even imitated them when I played. I still remember some of them.)

As for Super Friends, my recollection is that its animation was typical Hanna-Barbera stuff, with less stock footage and more movement than Filmation's work but much cruder, sloppier art overall (and generally stupider writing). It got somewhat better in the later seasons of the franchise in the early '80s, but by that time H-B was subcontracting its animation out to Japan. Filmation was the last American TV animation studio to keep all its animation in-house (the sole exception being its Zorro series, which was subcontracted to the superb Japanese studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha, the makers of Akira, because Filmation just had too many shows on the air that season to produce them all itself). And I mean literally in-house -- it was all made within the same building, moving from floor to floor for each successive step of the production. They had a very efficient, if cheap, operation.

By the way, I overlooked this before:
Albertese wrote: View Post
I'm not sure how much it effected TAS, but I know that years later for He-Man the writing suffered from the rules imposed by the suits who were intent on making a children's show. This is why Skeletor was always such a bumbling idiot, as if he had any good ideas in might make the good-guys look dumb. But some of my favorite genre writers worked on that show and I know they had more talent than they were allowed to use. As much as I like He-Man I must admit, when I watch it, I'm watching it for what it so close to being more than for what it actually is.
Right -- people like J. Michael Straczynski, Larry DiTillio, Diane Duane, Michael Reaves, Marc Scott Zicree, even Paul Dini and Bruce Timm cut their teeth on this show. I think of Filmation's Lou Scheimer as animation's answer to Roger Corman: What he made was cheap and quick, sure, but his studio was a training ground for many people who went on to become major talents, people who changed the face of TV animation in the late '80s and '90s.



Albertese wrote: View Post
I would say that if CBS pursued a new animated series set in the JJ-verse as a partnership with Cartoon Network (or at least in a vein that uses the Clone Wars crew, or similarly experienced folks), they would probably enjoy some real success.
Oh, please, not Cartoon Network. They have no interest anymore in any animated series that isn't targeted at preteen boys. They've cancelled excellent, intelligent shows like Young Justice because they didn't skew young enough to suit CN's very narrow target demographic. They even killed Paul Dini's excellent live-action series Tower Prep for the unforgivable crime, in their eyes, of being popular with female viewers. That's right, they actually cancelled a show for being too popular. That's how insane their decisions are these days. Any show that appeals to teenagers or adults or, heaven forbid, girls gets cancelled forthwith. There's no way the current CN regime would ever air a Star Trek series, at least not one that deserved the name.
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