Is Star Trek (the original series) aging really badly?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Jefferies, May 2, 2013.

  1. Jefferies

    Jefferies Captain Captain

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    I have been re-watching Star Trek in HD with my last complete viewing about a decade ago. As a kid, back in the 90s, I loved the Original Series. TNG, DS9 and VOY couldn't hold a candle to it as far as I was concerned. However, with time I came to like those series just as much.

    Now going back to Star Trek I'm shocked at how boring and silly most of the episodes are. Season 1 is still okay if not amazing. Season 2 is a lot worse and season 3 is a chore to watch with almost every episode.

    By no means does this series hold up to the modern incarnations of Star Trek. It is excessively slow paced, the characters are often obtuse and whiny not because of their personalities but because the script uses this as an excuse for actual drama. The plots also often lack slickness suffering from inconsistency, meandering around until they resolve often with serious gaps in logic and without much dramatic purpose. The series also appears to have very little internal consistency. I get no sense of what rules govern this universe and there are certain plot themes that get repeated again and again. Finally even the acting is a lot worse than I remember. Often it feels like more of a pantomime than a science fiction series.

    I fear this might be the last time I watch Star Trek with the exception of maybe a dozen or so episodes. :(

    My question therefore is, is our respect and love for this series based on too much reverie for the past than actual quality that stands the test of time?
     
  2. CaptainDave1701

    CaptainDave1701 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Get rid of the HD thing. Watch it as originally made at 2 o'clock in the morning in the dark. Let yourself get scared when the Gorn turns around that first time. Try and remember if you can what it must have been like to get lost in the fandom and conventions that took place back then.
    Does it hold up to today? Perhaps ask the question does today hold up to it.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Bear in mind that's it's almost 50 years old, how many other TV shows from that era are still shown in re-runs? The fact that it varies in quality means very little, even modern TV shows can vary in quality from episode to episode. As for pacing, sometimes fast is good, but equally sometimes a slower pace can be good.
     
  4. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Much has changed in 50 years -- editing styles, acting styles, directing styles, writing styles, technology, hair styles, etc.

    TOS has a lot of "warts," even by the standards of the 1960s and 1970s, but it remains my favorite Trek television series.
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    I think Star Trek holds up well even now. Certainly, compared to science fiction shows like Babylon 5 or Crusade (which I just rewatched recently), Trek's plots strike me as well-paced and most of the episodes are devoted to plot rather than beauty shots of the ship or CG imagery of ships, planets, or cities.

    In sum, I don't agree with any of the OP's observations and I think TOS holds up very well, no matter its age.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's dated campiness is part of the charm. Don't watch it expecting the kind of depth or drama you'd find in the best of today's TV, watch it for the cartoonish space adventure it is.

    IMO it's The Next Generation that's aged the worst - I couldn't make it through my last attempt at a rewatch. Awful direction (they stand around, arms at sides like mannequins, taking turns to recite lines), zero excitement and endless prentious, self-congratulatory nonsense. Bleh.
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    You're criticizing a television show made perhaps 20 or 30 years before you born because it doesn't meet modern standards? Are you able to watch a television show or motion picture if it was filmed in black and white?

    When Star Trek first aired, they were essentially making up the universe as they went along with each episode. The only tv shows with story arcs were usually the daytime soap operas, if you can remember what those were. As others have mentioned, performance styles have changed in many areas of presentation. That doesn't mean something made in 1966 or 1936 or 1906 isn't worth your consideration.

    And frankly, expecting TOS to hold up to a standard decades later established by its sequels, which built and expanded on its own universe, sounds rather ridiculous.
     
  8. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for making me feel old. :lol:
     
  9. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    QFT.

    TOS, on the other hand, is warm and charming and interesting to watch even now. Sure the effects aren't as wonderous as today's CGI, but who cares? they were telling good stores with interesting characters, and they did it in an interesting way.
     
  10. Jefferies

    Jefferies Captain Captain

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    But it's not about the effects. It's the writing directing and acting I'm talking about. Do we really only think Star Trek is worthwhile because we have a memory of it being good in the past? I have tried very hard to like these episodes and remember loving them and I was truly excited about watching them remastered. However, most of the episodes are just plain boring especially in season 2 and 3. Season 1 fares better and I actually enjoyed the majority of it. So it's not like people in the 60s didn't know how to write a script or direct for television. I think it's more a matter of a lot of the Original Series just being rather subpar.
     
  11. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Star Trek is a product of its time and IMO holds its own compared to other late '60s shows. The older it gets the less it will appeal to a broad audience, just like any other show. Some people will still appreciate it, either for historical value or because they like its "vintage" aesthetic or production values. But they will be a small, specialized niche audience.
     
  12. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I'm not operating purely off of memory. Sat down and watched a couple episodes of TOS just the other day (Metamorphosis and Journey to Babel). Enjoyed them quite a bit. did not find them to be boring in the least. I'll agree there are some episodes in the third season that don't quite rate, but overall, IMO, TOS still holds up as good television.
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The second season did give us some good and popular episodes-- "Amok Time", "The Doomsday Machine", "Mirror, Mirror", and "The Trouble with Tribbles" among others, though Tribbles isn't one of my personal favorites (apologies to David if he's out there).

    One thing that hurt the quality of the show was Roddenberry gradually turning his interest to newer projects, and losing Gene L. Coon. The third season is generally considered the weakest, though there's an occasional standout, and by then Roddenberry had distanced himself from daily production of the series.
     
  14. MrArcas

    MrArcas Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    It's funny but I find the opposite to be true in terms of rewatchability. TNG bores me because it's too refined whereas I enjoy TOS' rough edges. I guess it's kinda like seeking out punk/garage band music fare because the over-produced studio stuff just starts to lack character.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished the first disc of fandom's favorite season of TNG, season three on Blu-ray and out of five episodes only found one remotely watchable (The Survivors).

    Do I view TOS through nostalgia-tinted glasses? I'm sure I do. But even when it's bad I'm never bored. I can't say the same thing about Modern Trek.
     
  16. MrArcas

    MrArcas Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Well put. I reach ;)
     
  17. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I'm almost ashamed of how often I've watched "Turnabout Intruder" (one of the few I have on DVD) compared to some of the 24th century productions.
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I love Turnabout Intruder, Shatner gives one hell of a fun performance. But then I also love The Omega Glory, so I might just be insane. :rofl:
     
  19. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.
     
  20. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, Shatner's willingness to so often go out on a limb and be completely crazy saves a lot of the lesser episodes.
     

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