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

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

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I think aspects of TOS haven't aged well. Beyond the obvious question of visual effects, and the slightly less obvious question of what kinds of pacing and episode lengths are now standard, I think it's safe to say that TOS's depiction of gender roles is very outdated. The role of women in Starfleet and in society, and the constant "male gaze" and male-dominated POV is very much a function of the 1960s and their attitudes towards gender roles.

    TOS's depiction of race relations isn't as bad, but still isn't quite up to modern standards. The society TOS depicts is clearly one in which racism and oppression are supposed to have been vanquished and equality established -- and we do see authority figures and very accomplished people who are persons of color -- but the narrative itself is still crafted around white people, and the society it depicts is still one where whites seem to outnumber non-whites (even if you're alien). So the narrative is unintentionally ethnocentric -- not an unforgivable sin, mind you; its heart is in the right place. But it's also still a creature of its time.
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    One thing people fail to remember is when Star Trek appeared in the mid-60s, most ethnic actors were stuck playing maids, porters, bellhops, janitors, cooks, or hoodlums and lowlifes. It was rare to see a black man as a doctor, lawyer, or other professional. And there were fewer ethnic actors available for casting.
     
  3. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

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    I've been watching it with my girlfriend, who had never seen it before. The two most glaring ways it has aged poorly are in the depiction of women (not just in dialogue, but also music; see A Piece of the Action for one example) and the style of acting (leaning very much toward ham, particularly from the guests)
     
  4. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

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    Interestingly, Fox actually tried going back to 51 minute blocks + 9 minute commercials for a couple shows a few years ago. Joss Whedon ended up complaining about it saying that he felt like he was unnecessarily extending episodes of Dollhouse for no good reason.
     
  5. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    It has indeed aged... you can't fairly compare it to the other Star Trek series that followed because it was filmed under an entirely different set of circumstances (timing, age of TV series--this began when color was still fairly new, and resources). I just consider it an antique, and a much beloved one at that. It has aged and will continue to do so, but that's part of the charm at this point.
     
  6. AxelFoley

    AxelFoley Commander Red Shirt

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    Sigh. Assumptions really are the mother of all f*ck-ups. God I hate these stupid questions. Not all of us first watched TOS when it came out, or later at a very young age. I was 21 when I first started watching TOS and I fucking loved it then just as I do now, seven years later.

    No offence.
     
  7. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    That's been my experience as well, I watched TNG regularly when it was originally broadcast and enjoyed it for the most part, but when I've attempted to rewatch it in recent years I've had trouble getting through 20 minutes of an episode...
     
  8. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Captain Captain

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    And I just watched "This side of Paradise" this past weekend and found it - just a fun as it always was. Kirk nearly getting his head beat in by Spock was worth the whole hour...
     
  9. Goji

    Goji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The original Star Trek is a show I've always liked, and if anything it's grown in my estimation over the years. I was born in 1987 and didn't see any Star Trek at all until the second decade of my life, so nostalgia doesn't enter into it. TOS wasn't even the first Trek I saw - that was Voyager, a show I now easily rate as my least favorite in the franchise.

    Though the original is clearly a product of its time (and how could it not be?) I don't think age has done anything to diminish what makes it entertaining - the most downright entertaining of all the shows, in my opinion.
     
  10. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I only want to chime in with (since my initial instinct was to say, "What??? I will Keel you where you stand!!") :I agree with the third season seeming to be a chore.

    The production values are so dismal, Scott's bad haircut, the cheap looking unis. Ugh. There are genuinely good episodes, but I could watch almost any ep of season 1 and 2 at the drop of a hat, but really struggle to find one on a list of Season 3 episodes that make me go "hey!"
     
  11. Tracer Bullet

    Tracer Bullet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree with this. Having just recorded 36 episodes of a podcast whose purpose is to discuss TOS with a non-Trekkie, I can tell you that even for people that like science fiction, TOS is a hard sell.
     
  12. ACE

    ACE Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The original series hasn't aged at all. We have.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    "The Enterprise Incident"?
    "The Tholian Web"?
     
  14. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It doesn't help that season three had a budget cut resulting in every second episode being a bottle show. Even Bob Justman infamously said they were basically just making radio shows in that third season. Nobody ever seemed to leave the ship (or ended up walking around identical replicas of it).
     
  15. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    Nope. It's exactly as I remember it ... except for the remaster, which I don't like at all.

    I prefer the original FX that I grew up with. Flawed as they are, they still look real to me. It was state of the art for the time, and what I still see in my head.
     
  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I hated the new effects when I first seen them too. And the second time. And the third. And the fourth. They started to grow on me after that. :) Although I do agree the original effects are definitely more authentic. I'm one of those people who thinks good model-work will always trump CG. And for all the criticisms it receives these days, for it's time TOS had some truly exceptional model shots, especially for what was a relatively modest television budget.
     
  17. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CGI is great. It's a modern marvel. But there are some things it can't do. Yet.

    Those original Enterprise flybys made me believe. The remastered stuff looks cartoonish incomparison, in my humble opinion.

    There's a reason that the original shooting model is in the NASM. Realism.

    Remember the scene in Insurrection where Picard touches the Phoenix. It's tactile, it makes it real. Data didn't understand, but Picard knew. I feel the same way about shooting real models.

    Check out some of the studio scale model threads on therpf.com .
     
  18. Darvin

    Darvin Cadet Newbie

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    Well you do have to recall there was a good 25 years between the shows. Budget on TOS was non existent. All the following series had multi million dollar budgets which covered writing and sets.

    The great thing about TOS was the relationship between the three friends. And yeah, some of it was silly. It was geared towards kids mostly. But it did bring up a number of issues and was able to push TV in to some complex issues of the time. Issues today we might think silly. And it's still had the most beautiful ship designs. STNG's first Enterprise was just fat and ugly. Though the E did the name justice.

    -Darv
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Given its ambition, money was tight on the original series, but it wasn't a "cheapie" by any means. The first season's average budget of $190,635 was comparable to other one-hour dramas of the time. However, it didn't help that the series' budget was slashed each season while simultaneously incurring annual contractual pay raises.

    Having said that, the average first season budget would have yielded about $670,000 in 1987. Since TNG had a budget of $1.3 million per episode when it premiered (which later went up, unlike the original), there was certainly more money to go around on the sequel series.
     
  20. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    This is probably the biggest reason that the series declined going forward. If the budget had at least stayed at the season 1 level, it would have made things better.

    That isn't to say, though, that season 3 was terrible. While there were certainly clunkers in there, it also gave us many gems that I really enjoy because the stories hold up exceedingly well.