Is TAS worth watching in my complete Star Trek marathon?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Austin 3:16, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Burt Ward vs. Casey Kasem...a true battle of titans....
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^What amuses me: Olan Soule and Casey Kasem first played Batman and Robin on Filmation's 1960s Batman cartoon which ran at the same time that Adam West and Burt Ward were playing the roles in live action. And then West and Ward reprised the roles for Filmation at the same time that Soule and Kasem were playing them for Hanna-Barbera!

    Although in the final couple of seasons of Superfriends, when it got somewhat more sophisticated and was renamed after the Super Powers Team toy line, Adam West played Batman opposite Casey Kasem as Robin. They crossed the streams!

    Also, before he played Batman for Filmation, Soule played a newscaster in an episode of the Adam West Batman.
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While the sex and violence was evidently toned down, it always struck me that for being a show made for a supposedly Saturday morning timeslot, TAS still had an astonishingly mature outlook about a lot of things.

    "The Lorelei Signal" for example plays its sexual elements (the male Enterprise crew being lured to the planet and then effectively caged and raped by the population there) with maybe about the same amount of subtlety as TOS would have done. In other words, not a lot. ;) It can't quite come out and say some of what its implying, but the subtexts of the story are pretty open and obvious. And then there's "Mudd's Passion"...

    On the whole I'd say the amount to which TAS tones down on what TOS did is often overplayed within the fandom. The better segments of TAS are more than capable of being just as dramatically gripping as anything in the original three seasons. In some cases even more so! :cool:
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, indeed. "Yesteryear" dealt with death, identity, and the hard choices that are part of growing up. "One of Our Planets is Missing" gave us a glimpse of the painful decisions faced by a colony that was threatened with imminent destruction and was only able to save a few of its people. "The Survivor" involved a woman dealing with the death and possible return of her fiance. "The Infinite Vulcan," for all its silliness with giant Spock clones, involved a whole race on the verge of extinction. "The Magicks of Megas-tu" dealt with themes of xenophobic hatred and paranoia. "The Jihad" involved the threat of a holy war that would devastate the galaxy. "The Pirates of Orion" made no bones about the Orions' willingness to commit suicide before capture. "Albatross" involved the aftermath of a plague that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

    TAS was toned down in that it was rarely able to show anyone actually dying in the course of a story, but a lot of its episodes referenced deaths that had happened before the story or that might happen in the very near future. So in that sense it was a lot less toned down than other cartoons (which could sometimes imply the threat of death but could rarely state it explicitly).

    But aside from the episodes you mentioned, the sexuality was definitely toned down, mainly in that Kirk's womanizing was almost completely absent. The closest he came to a romance was a little unresolved flirtation with Lara in "The Jihad." Well, that and "The Lorelei Signal," but there wasn't really any specific connection between him and any of the women, just the men as a group reacting to the women as a group.
     
  5. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I remember that. I think the voice actor for Darkseid was the same guy who played the villain (Mad Cat?) in Inspector Gadget IIRC.

    I think Adam did a great job on the Batman origin story on super powers.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That was Frank Welker, who's also played probably thousands of other characters, including Fred on Scooby-Doo and Megatron on Transformers. But yes, his Darkseid voice and his Dr. Claw voice were the same. I believe he played both Darkseid and Kalibak, and no doubt others.
     
  7. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I missed TAS in its original run (born Nov 71). I knew it existed, I hadread about it in Bjo Trembles Concordance and I had read a few of Alan Dean Foster's Captains Logs. I was so excited when Nickelodeon showed TAS in the mid to late 80s. I was amazed at how similar the animation style was to Filmations Flash Gordon, which I faithfully watched. I always will have a soft spot for TAS. My wife even gave me the DVD set one anniversary.

    What I don't understand is why nobody seems to notice that TMP stole just as much from TAS One of Our Planets is Missing as it did TOS Changeling. A large space cloud threatens to destroy a Federation planet. The Enterprise flies to the center of the cloud where Spock mind melds with the intelligence behind the cloud.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, they do share a common house style to an extent, but the animation on Flash was a lot more sophisticated and elaborate -- since they'd originally made it as a TV movie (which, tragically, has never been rebroadcast or released on video since its single 1982 airing) and recycled a lot of its more elaborate animation into the episodes of the show.


    Finally! I've been making that point for many, many years. You're the only other person who ever seems to have noticed.

    Indeed, I used to assume that since Alan Dean Foster wrote the story for TMP, he was directly influenced by having novelized that episode. But when I read the film's story outline and script drafts in the book Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, it turned out that most of the similarities to "One of Our Planets" were absent from Foster's outline and only showed up in later drafts of the script, which Foster wasn't involved with. So I guess they're coincidental parallels.
     
  9. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    If it weren't for 'Jar Jar' Star Trek would be dead and gone, buddy. :rolleyes:
     
  10. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem with TAS is that the animation quality itself is poor. Only the rotoscoped shots (like the enterprise) have any sense of movement to them. The animated lips on static bodies was standard fare at the time, but ever since Gummi Bears (Disney) and Batman:TAS (WB) the bar was raised much higher for television animation.

    Also, the music is so repetitive and the tracking so arbitrary that it sometimes comes across like the jukeboxing in Our Gang.

    What I'd like to see is to exhume the original voiceovers and do a total redo in CG with a brand new score. Then the decent writing underneath it all would shine better, although you'd still be stuck with the ultra-short runtime.


    If it weren't for Jar Jar, Paramount would have just found someone else to revive the franchise. You don't just let Trek sit fallow forever. The idea that he and he alone, of all the creatives in Hollywood, was qualified to revive things is silly.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, and the effects on TOS weren't as good as modern effects. And The Twilight Zone was in black and white. So? Every show is a product of the time it's made in.


    Again, this is nothing that wasn't standard for its era.


    And while we're at it, let's take down all the old paintings in museums and replace them with photographs and CG animations. Let's forget there's such a thing as history and pretend the world was created ten years ago.
     
  12. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Right on. So TAS has limitations of its time and technology and whatnot. Everything does.

    For me, I enjoy good ST stories in any format.
    Television, cinema, b&w comic strips, YA novels, animation, graphic novels, paperback novels, audiobooks, pretty much anything. The medium isn't that great a factor to me.

    It's the stories, and TAS has some good stories I enjoy.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I like the TAS music. :shrug:

    I might be curious to see test scenes of what TAS looks like rendered in modern CGI, but.... I really don't see it working out well. There so many ways it could look worse, and only a narrow path to it coming out better, at best.

    But hey, if it tickles someone's fancy, give it a try. Just don't be surprised if it becomes a thankless task of too much work and too little pay-off, that moreover no one really likes.

    I'd expect it would take a professional team of Clone Wars caliber to even have a shot at getting it right. But with no market for it, a professional house having a go at it seems super unlikely.

    Having mulled it over, honestly I don't even think a version in the current style with all the errors fixed is worth doing. If I ever thought so, I've now reversed myself. The errors document the effort and labor involved. Fixing them would actually produce a poorer version, because the errors add more in terms of authenticity than they detract. Seeing the errors reminds me that real people with real issues made this.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I love it, and most of the rest of Ray Ellis and Norm Prescott's scores for Filmation shows. I dearly wish the audio masters had survived and we could get soundtrack albums.

    That said, I will agree that TAS's music could get a little repetitive.


    CGI only looks good if there's enough time and money behind it, so it rarely looks that good on television. CG-animated TV shows tend to have a certain sameness about them a lot of the time.

    The only way I'd find anything worthwhile about a TAS reanimation is if it captured the visual style and design sensibilities of TAS itself -- in 2D, of course -- but with more fluid movement and less repetition of shots/poses. Not so much repudiating Filmation's style as trying to capture what their artists could've achieved if they'd had a feature budget and schedule, like the gorgeous work they did in their '79 Flash Gordon movie. Filmation's shows may not have had much motion, but their artwork was always good.


    That's a good attitude. Imperfections are part of the process of creation, and they remind us of the creator's hand and the context in which it was created. I can see how that could be a distraction to some, but it's part of the whole work.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Same here. And in Australia, we didn't get colour TV till late 1975, so my random eps of TAS on a Saturday morning were in glorious b/w!

    Then, in 1976, TAS episodes were stripped five days-a-week on breakfast television. We couldn't wait to see "Albatross" again, just to see the characters turn different colours (instead of shades of grey), and then, in 1980, I recall spending several days searching toyshops for the View-Master reels of "Mr Spock's Time Trek" (adapting "Yesteryear"), and months trying to find matching editions of all ten "Star Trek Logs". In Australia, we had Ballantine (with no #10), Corgi UK, and the republished Ballantine/Del Rey editions.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, readers' letters in "Starlog" (and "The Best of Trek"?) in 1980 certainly did discuss how TMP seemingly lifted story material from TAS's "One of Our Planets is Missing".

    Marc Daniels already had a TOS script sitting in the slush pile when the series ended, and it may have made it into a Season Four (along with Alan Dean Foster's double-length Klingon episode, which was mined for "Star Trek Log Seven"). Daniels' one-hour script was called "The Beast", and I'll bet it was retooled as the TAS episode.

    Not to mention the giant planetoid in orbit of Vulcan (not a moon because Uhura was told in TOS that "Vulcan has no moon"). And the second turbolift on the bridge! And the location of Klingon ships' torpedo tubes!
     
  17. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hyperbole...much? TAS in its original form is already out there on home video. And TOS Remastered allows you to watch the original FX if you want. Just because I'm suggesting redoing the visuals for TAS doesn't mean I want to erase the history of Filmation. I just don't have a lot of sentimentality for that artwork. It looks okay in stills but in the context of watching episodes, it comes across as flat. I think anyone with any appreciation for animation as an artform wold concede that there wasn't a lot there to appreciate.

    TAS is remembered for the writing and the fact they got most of the original cast back to do the voices, not because the art was so great.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You think wrong. I'm a lifelong animation fan, and it's because of my early love for Filmation's work. Yes, it was limited animation, which was a matter of budgetary necessity, but they did the best they could with the limited resources and techniques at their disposal. Their artwork was better than any of their contemporaries'. Their background paintings were gorgeous and rich, their cel art was clean and slick unlike the sloppier work of a lot of Hanna-Barbera's contemporary output, and their designs for the aliens, ships, and exotic landscapes of TAS were wildly imaginative. There were superb artists working for Filmation; they just had to work within a set of budgetary and logistical limits which were actually quite routine for the industry and the era.

    Indeed, many of the creators who elevated TV animation to new heights in the '90s, such as Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, got their starts at Filmation, though that was later than TAS. Lou Scheimer was the Roger Corman of animation, giving many future greats their start in the business.


    Absolutely wrong. The art was fantastic, as good as anything you'd find on TV in the '70s. It just didn't move much.
     
  19. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think they got a little better at character movement in their own Ghostbusters cartoon--the one with the Gorilla and Larry Storch ;)
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Definitely Filmation had improved its work by that point in a lot of its shows, not just that one. They'd gone from using the same stock poses over and over to using the same stock rotoscoped movements over and over, redrawn for different characters, but the movement sequences were often very well-animated. And particularly toward the end of their tenure, they were moving away from limited animation to fuller animation. You mention Filmation's Ghostbusters, but the more impressive one from around the same time is BraveStarr, which occasionally incorporated some fully animated sequences alongside the more conventional limited animation. (Also, as with Filmation's Flash Gordon, BraveStarr began with a fully-animated movie, so the series benefitted from using stock sequences and cels made for the movie.)

    And Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker were in the original, live-action The Ghost Busters from the '70s. Filmation's Ghostbusters was about the sons of their characters, and the original characters did appear on a recurring basis, but they were played by Pat Fraley and Peter Cullen (who also played their sons) rather than Storch and Tucker.