Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by USS Einstein, Jan 14, 2013.

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Did Klingon culture get over-simplified in later eras of Star TreK?

  1. Yes

    45 vote(s)
    63.4%
  2. No

    26 vote(s)
    36.6%
  1. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ferengi yes, but I don't think Vulcans have been particularity stereotyped - aside from humans, they are probably the most multifaceted race in the Trek universe - with a huge range of motives, and breadth of 'emotion' (ironically). Romulans are pretty well treated too.

    Poor portrayal of a human:

    [​IMG]

    "Allah uh Akbar, Allah uh Akbar! I'm an Arab, look at my Gadaffi sunglasses, Arafat scarf, and Saddam hat. I SHOOT YOU! Death to the infidels!"

    Good portrayal of a human:

    [​IMG]

    "Good morning."

    I think people are confusing 'cultural idiosyncrasies' (fine) with 'poor charcterisation' (not fine) - portraying every Klingon with that same ridiculous arrogant growling personality is horrendous - mentioning logic a lot if you are a Vulcan is not, so long as you are written three dimensionally, and don't harp on too much. Basically, when it comes to Klingons, we are talking about poor drama / poor writing, to be blunt.

    It seems racially selective - some aliens are done better than others - Klingons are probably the worst portrayed after TNG - other species aren't so badly handled.

    Good Klingon portrayal:

    [​IMG]

    Bad Klingon portrayal:

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    Pretty much everything after Heart of Glory lol.

    Every scowling, rasping, one dimensional, needlessly confrontational, tiresome lot.
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not stereotyped. DS9 expanded Klingon culture by depicting Klingons as individuals who were as diverse as humans: honorable, honest Martok; the scheming, hypocritical Duras sisters; batshit Gowron.

    If you want to complain about the Klingons, they were meaner in TOS and the subsequent series turned them into jaunty, funny space pirates. They could use some development back towards the scary end of the spectrum, while still being a diverse enough culture to produce a Martok.
     
  3. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This. DS9 expanded the Klingons by exposing their honor blather as sometimes - not always - hypocrisy. And some of them were willing to admit it in public. Betcha a lot more knew it and didn't admit it. That's just not done.

    Worf is a very unusual type of Klingon since he was raised by humans and overcompensates by becoming what he thinks of as an ideal Klingon. "Real" Klingons must think he's a nutcase.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  4. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't know why, but now I have this image of Sisko et al (when they disguised themselves as Klingons) acting like Undercover Brother when he disguised himself as a nebbish office clerk.

    Sisko: "What an honorable gathering!! There is much honor here! Look at my Bat'leth! Where is the Blood Wine! Kapla! Double Kapla!!"
     
  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    It probably would have helped if they LOOKED different. Every single one in TNG and DS9 had the same hair, same costume. They were generic identikit Klingons. There was none of the variation we saw in the movies, no bald (Chang) or balding (Maltz) Klingons. No short haired (TMP) Klingons. No smooth-headed (Azetbur) Klingons.

    The exact same was true of the Romulans (bowl cuts and ridiculous shoulder pads for ALL) and Cardassians (combat armour always! One fugly slicked-back hairstyle for the entire species)

    Reports indicate the unmasked Into Darkness Klingons...
    Have foreheads basically like the TNG Klingons, but at least one has piercings along their ridges. Individuality!
     
  6. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's not spoilery that the new Klingons might have ridges (or rather probably do), some pictures have been widely circulated on just about every Star Trek news site, since the last movie, of makeup being done in a way that suggests they will be ridged, and the comics (supervised by the film writers) have shown them with ridges :)

    Makeup for Trek XI:

    [​IMG]

    Finished product (no need to complete ridges, because of mask? ...or ridge-less Klingon?):

    [​IMG]

    It may be that some Klingons have smooth foreheads under those masks in Star Trek XI.

    The masks, I originally thought, were unique to Rura Penthe (sort of like hangman's masks, or executioner's masks from the Middle Ages - indicating Rura Penthe's purpose), but the new Klingons in the trailer for Star Trek XII, seem to have them on too.

    Comparison shot of Nero in Trek XI with Klingons, and Trek XII trailer:

    [​IMG]

    More from the Trek XII trailer, with Benedict Cumberbatch fighting Klingons:

    [​IMG]

    The original JJTrek comics which were made under supervision from Orci and Kurtzman, featured Klingons without helmets, and they including an appearance by Kor - but the new 'Countdown to Darkness' comics, show the masks:

    Kor on the viewscreen of the Narada, as the Klingons capture Nero:

    [​IMG]

    Klingons board the Narada, complete with updated TOS uniforms:

    [​IMG]

    New Countdown to Darkness comic, prequel to Star Trek Into Darkness:

    [​IMG]

    What do people here think of JJ Abrams giving them masks as standard, even on their (rumor) own homeworld?

    I'm okay with it, and some people have suggested nuTrek is showing a species that is coming to terms with the Augment virus - wearing the masks to disguise who is suffering and who isn't. I'm not sure about that part of the concept, but I don't mind their new stormtrooper/medieval executioner look.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  7. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the masks, even if they are on the Klingon homeworld, are fine as long as they are meant to be some form of riot shield helmet used in combat. As long as there arent women and children shown wearing them it will make sense.

    The TOS and TOS movie Klingons, while sharing the same look as those shown in TNG, acted very differently as they were more calm and collected where as the TNG/DS9 Klingons seemed more of a "shoot first, think later and if you die at least its in battle" type. The Enterprise Klingons did act a little better but like the rest of the show suffered from continuing with a TNG/DS9/Voy mindset with the writers.

    Its a shame the JJ Klingons were cut from the last movie, hopefully there will be some good material from them in the upcoming release other than a large fight scene!
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I'm pretty sure the writers are on record from years ago that the idea of the masks originated with them being unsure of how to deal with Klingon forehead continuity.

    According to the behind the scenes report, in Into Darkness we see only four unmasked Klingons. So nothing will be explicitly contradicted from Enterprise or TOS, or even old novels that postulated alternative reasons for different-looking Klingons.
    I remember the bumpy Klingons from the Nero comic - I really liked their updated TOS uniforms.

    But, the comics have some pretty noticable continuity issues with not only the greater Trek universe (IDK for sure, but some have said here that Kor's age is incompatible with him commanding the fleet that captures Nero) but with the first of Abrams' Trek films (in the comics, the Narada has a cloak, transwarp, automatic defences that would have ended Kirk and Spock's infiltration in minutes, the tattoo backstory is contradicted by Nero's wife having tattoos in the movie, the timing of events surrounding the supernova is different etc), so how the Klingons look in them, especially in the earlier issues and miniseries' that predate Into Darkness, isn't quite proof of how they would have appeared unmasked in future films. If that makes sense.

    Ditto deleted scenes - they could have gone in a totally different direction from what was cut from the last movie. But clearly they didn't.
    I really like the new look Klingons. I'm hoping (as somebody suggested years ago) that the helmet/trenchcoat look may have been chosen partly because they'd be easy to CG them in huge fight sequences involving whole armies of Klingons!

    So long as the masks are part of a military uniform, and it's not like Romulus in "Unification" - where even the woman serving Picard and Data soup had a bowl cut and ridiculous shoulder pads!
     
  9. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    99% of the Klingons we see are either warriors or nobles (which are supposed to be the warriorest of warriors), so the sample is a little off. When I see farmers going "I farm with HONOR! Look at me HARVEST this bulb with my BATLETH. HONORABLY! For KAHLESS!" then we might have a point.
     
  10. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You'll love the last novel of Keith R.A. DeCandidio's IKS Gorkon/Klingon Empire series, where there's a subplot with Klingon farmers and they give no fucks about honor.
     
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    At least in the case of Cardassian males it COULD be explained by the extreme conformity forced upon them by the Obsidian Order. And we only saw armor on military officials.

    But I think the Cardassians, overall, were treated much better than the Klingons.

    Oddly enough, from what I've found, the Klingon Academy game seems to do a heck of a lot better with the Klingons than the later show did! Even the first words out of Chang's mouth here set the contrast:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf0SI5IyK_w

    And this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bqMZRN_C0

    The contrast between Chang's demeanor and those of the "stereotypical" Klingons, and of his mindset and theirs, is shocking to say the least. You could actually believe Chang as a Thought Admiral--someone intelligent enough to actually strategize in the long term and help keep the Empire together. As it is now, you can't really believe that.
     
  12. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, Klingon Academy was a fantastic game, with realistic Undiscovered Country Klingons.
     
  13. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree, in my opinion its one of the best star trek games.
    To bad I can't play it on XP
     
  14. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    Vulcans are pretty stereotyped: snooty and "logic, logic, logic." There are some who are nuanced, of course, just as there are some nuanced Klingons in Berman-era Trek.

    But man, that Klingon HONOR schtick just gets old! I HATE them. The vast majority are just ignorant goons. Like the Vikings on those credit card commercials. Yes, other races are stereotyped. But I like them. I like the Cardassians (the most nuanced alien race, as many others have noted before me), I like the Vulcans, I like . . . name it. But those damned, moronic Klingons we see so often: can't stand 'em.
     
  15. hux

    hux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Excellent opening post!

    I totally agree.....they were never massively three dimensional in TOS but at least there was some room for possibilites beyond what we saw........In DS9, we're spoon fed Klingon culture (though this process had started before DS9) and given explanations for each area of their existence which became tiresome and left very little open to interpretation - They ended up being slightly ridiculous and lacking any complexities but i kinda understand why that happened as it just makes storry telling easier - how many times have star ships arrived on a planet where there is only one language, one culture, one type of that particular species....like i said, i get why they do it but if they're gonna focus on a particular race (Klingons in the case of DS9) then they need to put a little more effort into it and provide a new angle on that race and show us a deeper complexity of character

    although i think they only resorted to stereotype with the main star trek races (Vulcan, Romulan, Klingon, Ferenghi, Bajoran, Cardassian) i think it's just easier to write an episode if the character you're writing is....logical.....politically deceitful....a warrior....a capitalist.....spiritual......oppresive) there's actually often more complexity given to species that are not that regular on the shows (presumably because, as you say....they haven't had their culture completely defined yet)

    and why no camp homosexual Klingons?
     
  16. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    We had Koloth in "The Trouble With Tribbles". The campest Klingon commander this side of Qo'noS. ;)
     
  17. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I basically like where Klingons are being taken by the new movie, having seen it - the next movie has been suggested to be a Klingony film - here is hoping for young Kang, Kor, Koloth and Chang ;-)
     
  18. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nor are they able to fix their own planet when it becomes damaged to the explosion of its natural satellite, as happened in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. At least the Klingons in that movie weren't so one-note (Chang being one example)
     
  19. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, as much as I love TNG/DS9 over all they really didn't do the Klingons any service in character development. Their society did become a parody of itself.

    [​IMG]

    The TOS Klingons were more interesting. Especially the Klingons in Star Trek 6. Gorkon especially always struck me as an appealing character. Sure this guy probably was a soldier at one time, but isn't now. Sure he could even maim a guy with that cane at need be, but that doesn't mean it's the "rawr me kill you, now me the leader" caveman society presented once Gowron took over. This guy held his power due to prestige and respect, not because of his status as a great warrior.
     
  20. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Even this is one dimensional - a society needs to diversify in order to function. Vikings were civilians when not engaged in war and trade. They fished, hunted, and farmed - trading furs, visiting brothels, crafting tools. When their chieftans saw that modern statehood and trade would earn money from taxation faster than from plunder - they adopted Christian institutions (out of a practical desire for trade and access to learning institutions, not any romantic idealism) and the institutions of medieval kingship. By the end of the 'Viking era' the Vikings weren't 'pagan barbarians' at all - most were Christians preying on other Christians - and half of them probably no longer even ethnic Scandanavians, but also including Scots, Irish, English and Slavs.

    [​IMG]

    The Klingon state isn't populated by an eternal caste of soldiers, all raised in the Shaolin Temples of Kronos (that would be monumentally ridiculous, as the instinct of all animals is to lead the easiest life possible - and it takes a great deal of cultural propaganda to make people take on duties that are against their best interests). They probably have 'realists' who recognise class divisions, have a cynical view of their politicians, and don't give a shit about military service, as well as 'reluctant patriots' who see collaboration with the ruling state as their best chance of a good life - already two vastly different viewpoints!

    So presumably many of the 'warriors' we meet are engaged in a term of military service, and have lives beyond the Klingon Defence Force - some will be simple blue collar or white collar workers, or civil servants, or work in a Klingon hospital. Some might come from military families, but in real life, this does not necessarily entail fanaticism. They would probably be more like servicemen with a family history in the British armed forces - perhaps having built a good classical understanding of war, and that 'fearlessness' is stupid; service is about doing a professional duty in spite of fear. Dumb fanatics don't make good empire-holders - pragmatists do.

    [​IMG]

    Take the example of Klingon armour to illustrate why later depictions of Klingon society are so stupid. Rationality wins wars. Armies are some of the most 'hard rationalist' of organisations. They will make their soldiers do things that might not be glamorous, if it improves the chances of winning and survival. A soldier might have to eat local insect wildlife, in order to survive in conditions where supply lines are poor. Religious dietary requirements and other romantic notions fly right out of the window. They wear practical fabrics, carry practical weapons, and don't do things for glamour. If a Klingon commander tells troops to 'cook' their gagh in order to release more useful protein for digestion, they will have to do it. If they are issued standard bars of field rations, that contain some unpalatable formula, they must eat them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Romans dug miles of defences around their camps. When besieging a settlement in Gaul, they encircled in in a wooden palisade. So warfare, in the most organised military machine the world had seen, was as much about digging latrines and infrastructure as actual combat. That is why they won. Discipline/coordination triumphs over zealotry/fanaticism. The Battle of Teutoberg forest only succeeded because it was a surprise attack - the romantic hollywood view of barbarians as unstoppable warriors who cut down ten people for every one casualty is poisonous nonsense. If that were true, the casualty rates in wars would be vastly different - the US Army suffered far less deaths than Imperial Japan in WW2.

    [​IMG]

    Thus the Klingons from TOS, with their practical uniforms, rationalist behavior, make more sense than the barbarians presented in late-TNG, DS9 and VOY. I rationalise this ridiculous change as having been a social regression - a repealing of the 'Klingon enlightenment' - a Klingon anti-renaissance in which social institutions regressed after Praxis's explosion ruined society, and the Gorkonites had to rebuild. Where perhaps during TOS, the Klingons had adopted the fascist idea of 'class collaboration' to resolve their class war differences, the old bourgeoisie re-siezed power in a corrupt post-Gorkon empire.
     

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