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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old December 28 2012, 01:41 PM   #1
at Quark's
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Unique strengths of each series ?

I was wondering ... what do you think are the unique strengths and contributions of each series to the total trek saga? As for me, I will list them in order of my having seen them so this is most probably a biased view from someone growing up in the 80's (perhaps i will attribute stuff to , say , TNG while TOS has done it before (but I have seen TOS as last series).

-- TNG: moral dilemmas, intriguing sci-fi plots with original concepts (a lot of the good stuff has later been done to death, of course, but that is a different matter. For example, take the holodeck. It can be used as an excuse for lazy writing, still there have been excellent stories revolving around the holodeck, such as message in a bottle. Same for the Borg, I think their original depiction was brilliant).

-- DS9: the moral 'grey zone', the idea that the galaxy has a lot more room than for only starfleet ideals, sweeping grand arc stories, involving politics, strategies and religion .

-- VOY. This one is a bit hard for me. That's not to say that I think it was a bad series, I've just not seen that many concepts I thought to be really interesting that I haven't seen in some form in one of the other series. Perhaps the feeling of being in a truly alien part of the galaxy with no 'home' to fall back upon.

-- ENT. The idea of starfleet actually being the underdog with almost all other species having superior technology an a quadrant that you know will be the home of starfleet but in this century still feels quite alien and unsafe. And even your 'friends' the vulcans are assholes you'd rather not ask for help if not absolutely necessary.

-- TOS. Depiction of relations among the big three. Somehow, this seems to be done better and more subtly than in later series. I.e. when watching this series, I really get the feeling McCoy, Spock and Kirk are friends, despite all the bickering (and also despite all the obligatory 'I'm glad I'm not an irrational human' puns). In comparison, a lot of the characters in later series seem much more stereotyped to me, even though a lot of charactes were interesting. Also the feeling of not being ashamed to impose an ideal on other civilizations, or to fight for it (I don't mean that the first one is necessarily a good thing in real life, but still, after seeing some TNG 'prime directive' eps, i find it very refreshing to watch a 'What ? In this alien culture, the master computer enslaves the human population? WE HAVE TO DESTROY THAT COMPUTER AND TEACH THEM THE TRUE MEANING OF FREEDOM!' - Kirk episode).

So... what do you think ?
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Old December 28 2012, 03:50 PM   #2
T'Girl
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

at Quark's wrote: View Post
Same for the Borg, I think their original depiction was brilliant
I disagree. A foe that is unstoppable, and can be dealt with only with the aid of a super powered being?

An outright stupid idea from a story telling point of view.
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Old December 28 2012, 03:56 PM   #3
JoeZhang
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

When were they dealt with by a super-being? Q makes the federation aware of the borg but I don't remember him dealing with them? He saves the Enterprise by returning them to their original position but he does not 'deal' with the borg.
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Old December 28 2012, 03:57 PM   #4
MacLeod
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

But even as origanlly depicted in "Q Who?" the Borg could in theory be defeated, all you had to do was be able to analyse and adapt faster than they could.
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Old December 28 2012, 04:00 PM   #5
Xhiandra
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

TOS: Starting it all, sowing the seed, novel concept at the time.
TNG: Story, characters, allegories, actual sci-fi; greatly expanding the lore/"verse" of Trek and removing much of the TOS campiness.
DS9: Visuals, pew-pew.
VOY: ... drawing a blank.
ENT: In a way, ENT revived the Trek utopia of TOS&TNG; whereas DS9 spent much time deconstructing it and VOY was too far removed to really convey it.
Not through ideals but by linking this far-away future to today: whereas the world Kirk, Picard, ZappBrannigan & Janeway live in seems alien and distant, we can directly relate to the "first real steps in space" theme of ENT; because we've already started the process.
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Old December 28 2012, 04:42 PM   #6
R. Star
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

TOS- Started it all, had a real sense of the good guys being pioneers in the wilderness, and produced the best Trek movies.
TNG- Great single shot stories, Patrick Stewart, really seemed futuristic at the time
DS9- Best characterization and story arcs easily. TOS and TNG may have explored strange new worlds, but DS9 really helped define them
VOY- Uh.. lost in space/TOS remix with good graphics..? I'm trying to be polite.
ENT- Season 4 showed a glimmer of what it could be, exploring a different era and telling their stories.
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Old December 28 2012, 04:44 PM   #7
at Quark's
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

[QUOTE=Merry Christmas;7455289]
at Quark's wrote: View Post
I disagree. A foe that is unstoppable, and can be dealt with only with the aid of a super powered being?

An outright stupid idea from a story telling point of view.
Ok, I meant 'originally' a bit broader than only the very first ep. Let's say the way they were depicted in TNG as a whole. They can be dealt with, but only by the very barest of margins. Therefore it follows automatically you can't have them around too much, but the times they do come into play, make for spectacular eps. (This is, of course, speaking idealistically, I'm not saying all TNG borg eps are spectacular without exception).

Anyway, with the 'brilliance' I was not referring to their power, but to their 'alien' insectlike nature. There was no reasoning with them whatsoever, no bargaining, no compromise possible. Even death was irrelevant. Sent a shiver up my spine the first time I saw that ep.
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Old December 28 2012, 04:55 PM   #8
lurok
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

TOS: cast, fun when at its best.
TNG: got nothing
DS9: Sisko & Jake, war.
VOY: Janeway & Seven
ENT: T'Pol and Shran.
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Old December 28 2012, 05:34 PM   #9
CaptPapa
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

TOS - Originality, and chemistry among the 'big three'. And though, to some, it may look campy today, remember it in it's original context of the 1960's. It was absolutely ground-breaking at the time. More than 45 years later, look how much we still watch it - and how relevent it still is today.
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Old December 28 2012, 07:15 PM   #10
T'Girl
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
When were they dealt with by a super-being?
If there is a train barreling down on you, you deal with the "unstoppable" train by getting out of it's path. The Enterprise tried running away, it didn't work. The solution to the Enterprise's problem with the Borg came with Q's aid, he pulled them out of harms way.

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Old December 28 2012, 10:34 PM   #11
The Wormhole
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

TOS: The Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic is quite possibly the best such friendship in Trek, Starfleet is as honest about its military background as it will ever get, and the Enterprise actually feels like a real ship. Also best episodic music.

TNG: Accessable to non-fans while at the same time offering something for regular viewers, excellent insight to alien cultures, some of the more memorable characters in Trek.

DS9: Best utlization of all the main cast, plus prominent parts for recurring guest stars and a long-term story arc that actually got resolved.

VGR: Best action scenes, good story ideas, excellent ship designs. Best theme music.

ENT: Best visuals.
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Old December 28 2012, 10:43 PM   #12
Greg Cox
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

Okay, I'll bite:

TOS: colorful, exciting, and adult by the standards of the time. Has a certain pulpy space-opera zest and energy that (IMHO) some of the latter series tended to shy away from.

TNG: A good cast, well-utilized. TNG gets points for making better use of an ensemble cast than TOS, which (let's be honest) neglected Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura in favor of the Big Three. And Patrick Stewart succeeded in creating a different, equally impressive kind of captain.

DS9: By the end, possibly the richest, most fully fleshed out Trek series, with the best recurring characters: Garark, Dukat, etc. Despite my best efforts, however, I never found Bajoran politics or religion very compelling.

VOY: Suffers by comparison to its predecessors, but Seven of Nine and the EMH added a lot to the show. Nice production values, too. Probably the best credit sequence of any Trek series.

ENTERPRISE: Honestly, I probably need to watch it more carefully before I can make any intelligent comments on this show. (I've never written ENTERPRISE, so I haven't had cause to study it as much as the other series.)
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Old December 29 2012, 01:27 AM   #13
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

TOS: The logic versus emotion debate which drove a majority of the episodes, and Kirk's utter humanity.
TNG: Selling a philosophy
DS9: Selling a philosophy applied to reality
Voy: Making Star Trek fans angry. And IMO, the likeable cast
Ent: Having terrible scripts. Or, erm...maybe, having most believable uniforms?
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Old December 30 2012, 02:53 PM   #14
Lance
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

One thing I'll say in Voyager's favor (I could say a lot in it's favor if I really wanted to, but in this case I'll limit it to just one thing ) is that the actual premise of the series is arguably the best in Trek. A lone Federation starship staffed by two thirds Starfleet officers and one third hostile terrorists, forced to work together to get home from an uncharted area of space, surrounded by an unknown and unfriendly universe. In theory, that's a perfect setup for clearing the decks: no Romulans, no Klingons, no Ferengi, no leaning on familiar Trek storylines and tropes...

... in theory. Of course, Voyager features a Vulcan and a (half) Klingon among it's regular cast, and one of the very first scripts sees our crew encounter a Romulan. And then they find some Ferengi later on. It was just TNG-lite most of the time.

I love Voyager a lot. But Berman and co really did drop the ball on that one.
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Old December 30 2012, 06:34 PM   #15
RAMA
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Re: Unique strengths of each series ?

at Quark's wrote: View Post
Also the feeling of not being ashamed to impose an ideal on other civilizations, or to fight for it (I don't mean that the first one is necessarily a good thing in real life, but still, after seeing some TNG 'prime directive' eps, i find it very refreshing to watch a 'What ? In this alien culture, the master computer enslaves the human population? WE HAVE TO DESTROY THAT COMPUTER AND TEACH THEM THE TRUE MEANING OF FREEDOM!' - Kirk episode).

So... what do you think ?


Ugh, I recoil at the idea that the USA, UFP or anyone need to go teach alien species of our ideals. Its not really the job of any of these organizations to do that, also presumptuous and highly distasteful. The Prime Directive, imperfectly shown on each Trek series and in some movies, is meant to keep us from heading in this dangerous direction, based on the benefit of learning from Earth history.

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