If "classic" Trek had introduced the Borg...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Redfern, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    If this topic has been discussed earlier, maybe somebody can provide a link and the moderator can lock this thread as a "duplicate". Otherwise, maybe this one can garner a few observations.

    If...during the original broadcast of Star Trek the Borg had been introduced, how might they have been visualized? What might have Bill Theiss designed for their "augments" and armor? What kind of craft might Matt Jefferies or Mike Minor have conceived? I suspect some members will claim "bionics" and "cybernetics" were not a well known concept (at least in pop culture) during the 60s and viewers would have to wait until the 70s before visual mass media was ready to explore the idea. With respect I will remind people Doctor Who dealt with this theme during 1966 (ironically, the year Trek debuted) when the infamous Cybermen were introduced in the 4 part serial "The Tenth Planet".

    Prose descriptions will no doubt be fun, but if someone has any conceptual illustrations they'd like to share, all the better!

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know, but what comes to mind for me immediately is Theiss's design for the spacesuits used in "The Tholian Web." He used various colors of metallic fabric to cover cut-out shapes (perhaps of styrofoam or light wood, I don't know) along with findings to represent controls, connectors and other techie elements along with piping/cording wrapped in the same materials to simulate hoses and cabling. It was a dramatic and inspired use of fairly conventional costuming materials to suggest technological designs.
     
  3. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Ooh! Good thought! Actually, had the Borg been introduced after production of "...Web", I can imagine the EVA suits "redressed", probably without the helmets, to become Borg armor. (After all, an early issue of the now defunct Star Trek Magazine, presented early conceptual drawings Rick Sternbach created that depicted "silver" suits.)

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...OTOH, budgetary concerns might have prompted them to go subtle. So, instead of macroscopic tubes and transistors on the surface, the cyborgs could all have looked like Ruk the Android. The same grey skin, a bit of extra "machine" angularity, the replacing of a skinny actor with a burly one... Eerie, effective, and quite possibly more enduringly futuristic than what TNG did.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, budgetray constraints may have forced them in that direction. But I suspect part of what the Borg so popular was the viseral (sp?), brute force integration between flesh and machine. Tubes and other hardware literally punched through flesh. There's something about that which makes a lot of people squirm. I'm sure most people here have heard or read the debates that "Q Who" was meant as a partial homage to Doctor Who and the Borg were supposedly meant as an homage to the Cybermen. But visually, I feel confident Trek took inspiration from "HellRaiser" with its black leather clad CenoBytes and their tortured and flayed flesh.

    Yes, Timo, your idea of Ruk-ish looking, more integrated cyborgs seems like something TOS could have more readily achieved and would have been more "timelessly" futuristic, but I wonder if they would have maintained fan favorites like the Frankensteined robo-zombies we actually got.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  6. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ...instead of Data tapping into the Borg Collective via Locutus to implant a command, Spock would have used a mindmeld on Kirk-Locutus to achieve the same result.
     
  7. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Certainly a bit more believable than Spock mind melding with the totally mechanized Nomad.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  8. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Commodore Commodore

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    I'm liking the idea of William Shatner jump-kicking drones and making dramatic speeches about "MACHINE-men".
     
  9. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    Then the borg would have been Daleks rather than half-ass Techno-Cenobites.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I agree the makeup would've probably been simple, like the Mudd's Planet androids -- which arguably were a prototype Borg Collective of sorts, a group of individual bodies controlled by a single central mind. The menace would've been portrayed more conceptually and less visually. At the time, the idea of an assimilating collective would've been seen more overtly as a metaphor for a Stalinist police state and creeping authoritarianism -- which was still something of a fear in 1988 when the Borg were created, but the fear of being absorbed and replaced by technology, while present in the '60s (see "The Return of the Archons" or "The Ultimate Computer"), was probably less immediate than it was in the late '80s. So the technological side of the Borg threat probably wouldn't have been played up to the same degree.

    Although I'm forgetting that the Borg weren't originally portrayed as an assimilating collective; in "Q Who" they were only interested in our technology and not in organic life forms at all (sort of like a cruder version of V'Ger, which "assimilated" ships and space stations and planets it was curious about but dismissed the "carbon units" within them as irrelevant). The idea of humans and humanoids being assimilated and turned into Borg wasn't featured until BOBW and didn't become their defining trait until First Contact and Voyager (since in most of TNG, Borg drones were portrayed as blank slates with no prior identity, the products of Borg incubation chambers). So the psychological horror aspect of the Borg, the authoritarian symbolism, was a later addition to the original concept, which was more firmly grounded in the fear of technology taking over.

    But I guess that's kind of what I'm saying -- that if the Borg had been created by the '60s writers (which isn't implausible, since the concept is sort of a hybrid of Landru, Mudd's Planet, and maybe Nomad), it would've been more likely intended from the start as a metaphor for Communism (or rather, the brand of authoritarianism that misleadingly labeled itself as Communism) more strongly than as a metaphor for technology taking over. Or at least it would've been more a mix of both from the start.

    In any case, yeah, I think the costume/makeup design would've been something simple and easily mass-produced. No elaborate prosthetics. Just pale skin, metallic jumpsuits, maybe fairly basic helmets, maybe some kind of small, standardized bit of tech that symbolized the interlink like the blinky amulets on Mudd's androids.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And while I fully agree with Redfern on the effectiveness of creepy technological violation of the human body, I also think this might have been specifically frowned upon by the people in a position to decide. Not the creative artists, who happily write about narcotic-trading Enterprise crew members, rapes and abortions, but the higher-ups who need to get this stuff past the censors and into the commercial mainstream.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In the Shatnerverse novels, Vger was an offshoot of the Borg; they were the "machine civilization" that tampered with Voyager.
     
  13. Uxi

    Uxi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Don't forget the double hammer-fist. I can picture it now. :rommie:

    +1

    Ruk would have been the obvious model, though maybe more normal sized with the appropriate makeup and simple costume applied.

    The connection of Borg to V'ger makes a lot of sense, though it doesn't necessarily have to be so. A shame that the writers in TNG didn't think of it. Course, the change of the Borg after Q'Who from only being interested in technology to one that assimilate everything is the worst offense and entirely within TNG so has other issues.
     
  14. Fang66

    Fang66 Lieutenant Commander

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    And then Kirk would have un-assimilated the Borg Queen by bang I mean kissing her.
     
  15. Wil has a posse

    Wil has a posse Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just imagine the "chunka-chunka" sound the Borg would have made while processing data!
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think it makes any sense at all. It requires ignoring the vast differences between the two. The Borg are hybrids of technology and organic life; V'Ger was pure technology, having no interest in biological organisms and not even being aware that they constituted a form of life. There's no way V'Ger could've been ignorant of that if the Borg had created it. V'Ger was also vastly more advanced and powerful than the Borg, so advanced that it only needed a nudge to ascend to a higher level of existence. The Borg are primitive compared to V'Ger. Really, they have nothing whatsoever in common aside from involving cybernetics. You might as plausibly say that Noonien Soong created V'Ger.
     
  17. Uxi

    Uxi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, if you take that sentence you quoted in isolation away from the context from the rest of the post and then also assume the Borg have always been as they are as of TNG. I think V'ger's connection to the Borg in Q Who could make sense. Obviously far less of any possibility of connection with the Borg of from BoBW and beyond.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't know... given the sheer vastness of the universe, it's vanishingly unlikely that any two entities with no explicit connection are going to have anything to do with each other. It's an idea that should be approached with the greatest of skepticism, not actively sought out.

    And I still say even the "Q Who" Borg were primitive compared to the sheer mindboggling advancement of V'Ger's technology. Maybe if the production design for the Borg had been less clunky and hokey-looking, it would've been vaguely plausible, but as it was, no.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with Christopher that the whole idea of the V'ger's Machine Planet being related to the Borg is nonsense, and just a silly attempt to connect every unrelated dot.
     
  20. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I'll throw in my two cents here FWIW / LOL / etc...

    I suspect that the Borg would've been conceptually different in TOS, to suit the sensibilities and general worldviews of both the show's makers and the audience of that time. They woud've been nasty technology scavengers like what we saw in "Q Who", not the totalitarian race-devourers of "The Best of Both Worlds" and later.

    If budgetary concerns would've had an effect on the appearance of the Borg, I would think they might've looked a little like a cross between the early Borg of "Q Who" and DOCTOR WHO's Cybermen.

    I have always had my doubts, though, about the compatibility of the Borg concept with the STAR TREK Universe, TNG or no TNG. Whether they assimilated the bodies of their victims or not, the notion of a massive race of machine-beings marauding the Galaxy at warp speed for thousands of centuries would suggest to me that there shouldn't be much of the Galaxy left for Kirk and company to explore.