Could stardates make some sense?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Robert Comsol, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Whatever. New stuff has come along that I was fine with, but heavan help it if someone doesn't kiss JJ's ass because they must be just a knee-jerk hater. :rolleyes:
     
  2. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    There is a significant difference between "change" and "revisionism" 1984 style (i.e. change at the expense of original integrity and/or the original artist/s). But we had this discussion before.

    Back to the topic, I had my reasons to put this thread in the TOS section because I only wanted to address the issue of stardates in Kirk's era. Unfortunately the Oberth Class has kept me busy, so I'll have to come back later.

    Bob
     
  3. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Did you even read 1984? I don't think it's responsible to make those kinds of comparisons. I don't see CBS sending out secret police to collect everyone's video discs, books or any other evidence that TOS ever existed, right down to constructing a language in which it is impossible to discuss TOS. The Abramsverse is just another offshoot of TOS, a parallel world with comparatively little merchandise. In a few years it may be replaced with another reboot or continuation, depending on whatever idea comes next.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think we're drifting off-topic. I wasn't saying anything about the Abrams movies; I was just making a point about how what we see onscreen in any television series is not necessarily the creators' intent carved in stone, but is often just a compromise they had to settle for and would gladly change given the opportunity. Stardates in particular, to bring back the thread topic, were approached in a somewhat haphazard manner and has been handled differently by different Trek producers, so worrying too much about "creator intent" can be misleading if we're trying to make sense of them. If anything, the original intent behind stardates was that they be meaningless.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    You're being rather extreme. But Robert Consul's essential point is valid: the Abramsverse is revisionist by basically saying everything from the original continuity has been wiped away in favour of the new one. Indeed Abrams actually tried to negotiate with CBS for them to stop promoting TOS material and favour his new continuity. The deal fell through because why should CBS forego profiting from pre-existing work that still sells?

    Of course, that only works if you recognize and accept the Abramsverse, which I (and others) don't. And as far as I'm concerned Abrams has nothing of worth to say about pre TOS continuity either.
     
  6. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Nope, the original reality is still there.

    It's supposed to be a universe like the ones Worf ended up in on his birthday. The original reality goes on (barring Romulus, of course), in parallel with JJ-verse. You can choose not to accept it, but then you're no longer discussing Star Trek (the franchise legally owned and legally controlled by Paramount/CBS), merely fan-fiction where the JJ-verse doesn't exist. So if you form any conclusions which are made unlikely by the parts of Star Trek you don't accept, I can dismiss your argument as being irrelevant to a discussion of Star Trek.
     
  7. Darth Duck

    Darth Duck Commodore Commodore

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    You are a knee-jerk hater. You can't let a comment about JJ Abrams Trek pass without some knee-jerk comment about how you hate it. That is the definition of knee-jerk hating. I don't like Voyager. I don't go out of my way to take pot-shots at every time it's mentioned, because I am not a knee-jerk hater.
     
  8. sariel2005

    sariel2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    We can argue not though, IIRC Spock's leaving date from the original universe uses a Abramverse stardate not TNG one, which is differrent from what we know.
    Personally I tend to think that there WAS divergence from the Enterprise era to the JJVerse caused by the events in Enterprise. After all a major change in the timeline is the Xindi attack on Earth, and Archer certainly gained tech and information from the future. As to whether that constitutes a change to the original timeline or a divergent one seems a bit, well ... wibbly Wobbly Timey wimey :)
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I see that just as a difference in interpretation by different filmmakers, rather than a meaningful difference in-universe -- no more "real" than the difference between Fred Phillips's Tellarites and Michael Westmore's Tellarites, or between Kirstie Alley's Saavik and Robin Curtis's Saavik. Stardates are so inconsistent within any one series that one can't really read too much into the variations between different series' approaches to them.


    Whereas my belief is that ENT was always meant to show the beginnings of the Trek universe we know, and that's the approach I'm taking in my Rise of the Federation novels. Sure, things like the Suliban's destruction of the Paraagan colony and the Xindi attack on Earth may not have been part of the future Daniels came from, but we never actually got confirmation that he came from the same timeline as TOS/TAS/TNG/DS9/VGR -- just that he was from some future where a version of the Federation existed.
     
  10. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Stardate 2387 would be an extremely weak argument. What is to stop the Jellyfish from connecting to the local timebase and switching the stardate system from TNG to JJ? A simple location-based service, just as my smartphone might change the time zone and begin showing the adjusted dates/times. It's not like AR technology would be totally alien to that of PR — most of the protocols are probably compatible.

    Also, the IDW timeline is using JJ stardates for PR dates (2364, 2369, 2409...), thus confirming rather officially (though probably not canonically) that the system can be applied to an era where it wasn't used at all. So if Spock-prime were to speak with Spock-alternate about his time, he might say he "defected" to Romulus on stardate 2368.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Good point. Roddenberry himself explained the inconsistent stardates of TOS by saying they weren't an absolute time reference but changed depending on a starship's location and velocity -- because there's really no way to define an absolute objective time standard over interstellar distances. So presumably any stardate reference in a log entry would be relative to local time, and it stands to reason that a computer giving a stardate would automatically adjust the reference to whatever scheme was locally/currently in use.


    Again, something I consider it best not to think about. One thing I don't like about the Abrams movies is their use of Earth years as "stardates." Why even call them stardates if they're just Gregorian years? Wasn't the whole idea behind stardates to be a more universal, non-Earth-centric calendar? So, again, I see that as just artistic license. It's how Abrams chooses to have the characters give the dates for the benefit of his audience, but that doesn't necessarily represent what they're "actually" saying in-universe.
     
  12. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    IMO the stardate (non)issue in the new films can be explained thusly - the universal translators in our TVs that allow us to understand 23rd century English have been updated to decode meaningless Trek stardates into something me can easily understand.
     
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  13. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    The new format gives us more evidence to think about. If 2259.14 can be a stardate, why couldn't 2259-01-14? Or for that matter, 1234 Vulcan Years? Given the variety of formats we've observed over the years, it's probably not the unit or the traditional counting method that earns it the prefix star-, but perhaps something about the way it is calculated, just as the various technobabble quotes seem to imply.

    The unseen Xindi stardate from ENT is probably expressed in totally different units, based not on the 24-hour day (at least ideally, within an episode) of the stardates from TOS and TNG. And since Archer was able to use calendar dates for log entries, was that possible because they were actually stardates?
     
  14. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I've found a very easy way to reconcile it -- simply ignore it. :)
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, in high school and watched the excellent 1984 film adaptation with John Hurt and the Richard Burton. Sorry, if I wasn't precise, my reference to 1984 was meant in a broader sense against "rewriting history" or canon "at the expense of great people" that gave us Star Trek in the first place.

    It had nothing to do whatsoever with Abramsverse, which I do not consider a revision but some kind of alternate universe that has no effect on my "old" Star Trek viewing experience.
    As a matter of fact my technological knowledge about the Abramsverse is Zero and therefore my ignorance makes me definitely incompetent to participate in any corresponding debate (and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing ;)).

    But please bear in mind that this is meant to be a TOS thread and I would really appreciate it if we could keep it this way.

    Bob

    @ Warped9

    Robert "Consul"? Is that a promotion or do you regard me as a Romulan wreaking havoc on conjecturally established Star Trek "facts"?
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Now, really back to the original topic and to the beginnings. I’m afraid I have to exercise some pre-production speculation first, but would appreciate corrections from Trek production history specialists where applicable.

    What came first? The 5-year-mission or the stardate concept?

    Roddenberry said he didn’t want to use real dates to fix a certain point in time in the future but I think that’s not the whole truth. Before TMP and Decker’s “300 years ago” remark regarding Voyager 6 (hasn’t been launched yet, has it?:rolleyes:), TOS was repeatedly (and consistently I should add) set in the future “200 years” from the 1960’s, so the future century had been fixed.

    Of course, there is another 5-year-mission (“continuing the work of my late husband”, according to Majel-Barrett Roddenberry), namely that of Babylon 5.
    Joe Michael Straczynski (JMS) had wrote himself into a hole from the start. It’s a 5-year-story he wanted to tell in 5 seasons and that almost didn’t happen (I think it actually became a 6-year-story after the original planned Season Five became part of Season Four).

    Had Roddenberry provided the year 2166 for the first episode, his 5-year-mission would have ended in 2171.
    Of course, he didn’t know how many seasons of Star Trek he’d be able to produce, so rather than limiting his possibilities he came up with the stardates, a time measurement whose scheme was only “known” to the Star Trek creator. ;)

    The original episodes were broadcasted out of production order (and out of the modest chronological stardate order these had). Asked about the discrepancies Roddenberry referred to the manipulation of space and time (by the warp engines) and concluded “I’d just as soon forget the whole thing before I’m asked any further questions about it.” (The Making of Star Trek)

    Perfectly understandable!

    The creator didn’t know yet and the correct answer would have probably been “I’ll tell you when I’m finished telling my 5-year-story (because only then can I calculate the elapsed time between the first and last stardate mentioned and give you an approximation)”.
    But at the time of the Whitfield interview Gene Roddenberry couldn’t foresee, yet, when he was actually and terminally done telling his story.

    But although understandable from a practical production point of view, the inevitable negative side effect was an apparent inconsistency of stardates. According to the writer’s guide suggestion 1 stardate digit equaled one day but this would have put the 5-year-mission at an end by the conclusion of Season One (were they that pessimistic?).

    Did they change the scheming during TOS? For the fun of it I did a little math. In the first season, the average space allocated to each single episode would have been 72.6 digits, 86 digits for Season Two and 65.5 digits for Season Three.

    Apparently and encouraged by the success of Season One they allocated wider timeframes for the second season but when they knew they had only one third season left to go, they rather drastically reduced this timeframe as if to meet a deadline, perhaps Stardate 6000.0 (because the stardate of the last episode produced and broadcasted was “5928.5”).

    But when would have been a good time for Gene Roddenberry to state we had seen everything of the 5-year-mission (and to do “his” stardate math)?

    I think it’s fair to say that by the time of the motion picture (TMP) it was clear and final that the 5-year-mission had become a thing of the past.
    TMP is the next item I’m going to address, stay tuned.

    Bob
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, misremembered the spelling.

    I'll refrain from saying what I really thinking other than you know absolutely nothing of what you're talking about particularly in regard to someone of which you no zilch.
     
  18. sariel2005

    sariel2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    You make an excellent point, what we see on screen may well effectively be a recreation of events. certainly no one would assume that Saavik had an offscreen regeneration, and after all that allows for the abramverse Enterprise to be completely the same ship that the TOS one was just shown differently.
    That said since this is a thread about stardates its worth considering the reasons for any differences.


    Don't get me wrong, I think that although it changed the timeliine that it still occured in Broadly the same manner, something time seems to attempt to do in the abramverse as well. BUT I think that it would have caused some changes in technology and outlook. With The Kelvin, the greater familiarity with the Romulans and the difference in Stardates reflecting that.
    Of Course your interpretation is just as valid ( and the idea that Daniels came from a different future is pretty clever) and in writing the Birth of the Federation novels the assumtion it lead to the TOS universe is of course completely the correct one.


    The IDW timeline using JJ stardates strengthens the argument though, if the events of ENT caused the change to the JJ stardates then its far more likely they would have been used consistently into the 24th century than used until the 2260s, abandoned then restarted in the late 24th.

    Two thoughts on this point. The first is that although it makes a sort of sense we do see that Stardates are consistent despite location with Enterprise D resetting its clock with the correct stardate more than once. ( in fairness the use of this indicates that stardates DO tend to drift )

    The other is that we also see inconsistent stardates for the same locations on occasion. For example the DS9 episode Dax has a latter stardate than most dated stories later in season one, and the station maintains its position.


    A fair point, extending the logic it baffles me why the 1000 units = 1 year idea seems to have been attached to a calender year, especially when on screen evidence ( Data's Day for example) seem to dispute this. FWIW , that said it explains why we never see our heroes celebrate christmas since bad stuff always happens in that period ( maybe ST happens in the same universe as Eastenders :lol: ).

    Well just because the JJ stardates use the Gregorian year, doesn't mean that the number after the decimal point has to be a calendar date as well. It seems its not, its either the day of the year Or a decimal reflecting how far into the year it is. So it IS different from the standard calendar and is internally consistent.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again -- differences in interpretation. This is all fiction, a bunch of stories made up by different people; there is no consistent underlying reality that we can reconstruct from the evidence. The only thing that, say, TNG's treatment of stardates is evidence for is how the script coordinator for that show (since that was the person in charge of assigning stardates) chose to go about assigning the essentially meaningless numbers. The reason there's no uniformity to stardates is because they're just not important enough a detail to worry about.

    After all, 99% of viewers couldn't care less about how stardates work. So the writers treat the stardates as if they're a consistent, universal calendar scheme because that's what's convenient for the story; anything else would be a distraction. The stuff about stardates differing from place to place is just a sop for that tiny percentage of us who bother to notice the discrepancies in the scheme. It's not supposed to be an integral part of the universe, not supposed to be something included in the stories -- it's just an excuse to get us obsessively nitpicky types off their backs.
     
  20. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Another fudge/possibility is that the Stardates in the new movies are an even more simplified version of FASA's "reference stardates", basically a slightly modifed version of the old fandom/Franz Joseph YYMM.DD system (plus century, and laid out thusly: C/YYMM.DD), which was a Federation-wide standard concurrent to the starship/mission/location -variable stardates of the TOS TV series and movies. This would sort-of explain why the JJverse comics lapsed into TOS stardates on occasion.