Revisiting TAS...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Warped9, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, I don't mean it as a personal attack. I simply think fifty foot clones in a story of this kind is a stupid idea. It's a visual stunt that I feel undermines everything good that precedes it.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And that's because you're making the ad hoc, unexamined assumption that they didn't take the show seriously. You don't know that's the case, you're just assuming. And it's an insulting accusation to level against the creators. It's a valid thing to criticize a work, but when you start making assumptions about the motivations and feelings of the people who made the work, that crosses the line into ad hominem argument and becomes a petty personal attack rather than a fair criticism of a work.


    Is it any more "kiddie fare" than Apollo growing to giant size in "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Or manifesting a giant hand in space to grab the Enterprise? What about the giant cat stalking the crew in "Catspaw"?

    Your reasoning is circular. Because of your preconception that TAS was aimed at children, you're looking at things that have direct equivalents in TOS itself and reading them as "childish" when you would not read them the same way in the context of TOS. Presumably the TAS creators did these things for the same reason the TOS creators did similar things: because they thought it would be visually interesting and science-fictional. You can also find giant and miniaturization effects in episodes of The Twilight Zone, the least "childish" SF show of the entire '60s.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral


    No worries. :techman:

    One of the things I loved about TOS was space was this weird and wild unknown where anything could happen. I appreciated that TAS kept this component and wished it could've been a more integral part of Modern Trek/Abramsverse. :techman:
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    You're making it sound like I'm saying everyone involved saw it that way. I look at the work and see lots of great ideas as well as moments of what appears to be brain cramp. Hell, I can see that in a live-action series like TOS.

    I'm saying there is evident intent to approach the subject with a certain seriousness, but there's also evidence of a different attitude raising its head occasionally. The simple fact of knowing the show was going to watched primarily by kids (because of the time slot) might have influenced some of the creative decisions whereas some of those decisions might have been different knowing the show would be aired in a prime-time time slot and aimed primarily at adults.
     
  5. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Speaking for myself I'm grateful for you giving us a chance to revisit TAS by presenting these reviews.
    I have a different take on TAS than you do though. I look at the 50ft clones, the episode that went back in time, Bem, the shrinking episode and the force field belts and give them a pass because in spite of it being almost adult fare TAS is a cartoon series that also needs to appeal to children.
    For example if the Spock clone was normal size it would all be a bit too much like normal TOS but my 7 year old thought the 50ft clones were great as well as the bats and the plant people in that episode.
    I just think that TAS has to differentiate itself in some ways from live-action episodes.

    I love the Ambergris Element. I love the aqua shuttle. They should have used it in STID IMO. I don't care that people look the same in the water as out of it (I wouldn't forgive it in live action). And I love the force field belts and wonder why everyone else hates them. OK perhaps they need an oxygen source. But if other people don't like this episode I don't care. Its one of my TAS favourites.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I remember what it was like to be a kid, but even so that doesn't paper over my view of the work as a whole. I can understand the why and how of something being done and still not agree with it.

    I love TOS, but there are instances when I would rather they had made a different creative decision that could have been done even within the show's constraints. I generally quite like TAS, but that doesn't soothe my feelings of frustration when I see something that could have been done differently and for the better.

    And that's basically why I prefer the ADF adaptations over the aired episodes, because they impress more like how the story could have played out as live-action.

    I could be interested in Star Trek returning to animation, but certainly not if it were aimed at the kiddie market. That's not the place to tell the stories that Star Trek was created for. TAS had its heart in the right place, but occasionally things were done (as I see it) that made it easy for some to dismiss it as a kiddie show.
     
  7. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Don't want a Clone Wars ehh but that a pretty successful series and is getting kids interested in Star Wars.
    I thought TAS was adult-oriented enough for me.
     
  8. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    All arguments aside, here's how Filmation approached TAS, as related on pages 96 & 98 of the fascinating book, Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation:

    As noted yesterday, TAS was attempting to pick up where TOS left off, only it had to fit the natural 52 minutes into 22 (better known as the 30 minute format). Limitations existed to a degree, but it was a worthy "next chapter" of TOS, and at the time, the only other truly adult U.S. cartoons to air before it were Jonny Quest (1964) and Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (1972). Pretty much a ghost town where adult concepts were concerned.

    TAS stood out like a flower in the desert, and felt nothing like any animated production before or since; it cannot be compared to another series, has no "clone" or "sister" series, and that is not simply due to the content. It was just special, and at the time of its NBC run, I was quite disappointed to learn the series would not have more than its 2 short seasons.
     
  9. Cap'n Claus

    Cap'n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's funny: when the original series debuted, it was critically drubbed, saying it was more appropriate for the "Saturday Morning kidvid bloc." When TAS aired on Saturday mornings, reviewers were saying it ought to be in prime time.

    As a kid at the time, it was just as good as seeing new episodes. I was crushed when it was cancelled.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ADF adaptation:

    The ADF version of this story once again, of course, feels more complete. There are added moments that just don't appear onscreen that flesh out the events more. ADF also adds little touches like snatches of Argoan language in relation to what they call their underwater city and what they call the Argoan sea serpent. Another little touch gets around the visual shorthand I mentioned in my review of the aired episode---that of Kirk and Spock's underwater attire. In the print version ADF has them wearing some form of wetsuit rather than their Starfleet uniforms---a small but welcome touch. Other than those little touches, though, the print version really doesn't add anything of real substance to the original.

    One small difference, though, is ADF's description of the aqua shuttle. In print it's described as something of an ovoid shape wasn't doesn't strike me as anything like the version seen onscreen.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    "Slaver Weapon" ****

    An shuttlecraft bearing Spock, Uhura and Sulu is intercepted by aliens while transporting a valuable ancient artifact.

    Part of he appeal of this story is its novelty in the sense that Spock, Sulu and Uhura are the only familiar cast in it. Kirk, the Enterprise and the rest are nowhere to be seen or heard of.

    There's a bit of world building here with references to the aggressive Kzinti having fought past wars with humanity and having lost them all. It's also referenced that by treaty the Kzinti are not allowed weapons of any kind...unless of course they steal them. Here the Kzinti are presented as operating like pirates much like Orions. Their actions are apparently unofficially sanctioned by their government unless, of course, they're caught whereupon they would be officially disowned.

    Another neat little idea was having the story take place on an airless, icy asteroid rather than a more familiar Class M planet. There's also a reference to Kzinti of the past having fed upon human flesh---definitely a subject beyond the usual subject matter of '70s era Saturday morning programming.

    Overall I can't help but feel this could have been a dynamite episode done live-action given, of course, figuring out a way to depict the catlike Kzinti. Frankly, though, the Kzinti shown here don't come across as particularly bright. Just about any alien race could stand in for the Kzinti and the story could be told, but it's more fun with distinctive looking aliens. It's also hard to find aliens very threatening when their spacesuits and spaceships are...pink. :lol:

    On the downside I found some of the voice acting rather stilted, most particularly by Leonard Nimoy of all people. His exposition doesn't flow naturally, often seems redundant and sounds very much like he's just reading off a page. On the flip side we get to see Spock perform a Kirk style flying kick on the Kzinti Chuft Captain. Neat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  12. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It's too bad the Kzinti weren't fully acknowledged as canon. Apparently Manny Coto wanted to bring them back if Enterprise had gone into a fifth season.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    They'd be a challenge to do live-action given that you would have to have three or four representatives of the race for this story: Chuft Captain, the two guards and the telepath.
     
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    But would they have done it with makeup, or CGI I wonder. We usually didn't see multiple CGI characters at once except in dimly lit scenes, like Suliban crawling on ceilings.
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    In the TOS era it would have been pretty much impossible. During TNG, well, they did have the Selay in the first season.
     
  16. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    This though is assuming trying to make them look like the TAS versions. We already know ENT didn't feel tightly confined by that.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ENT had a lot of CGI creatures. And Michael Westmore rarely did aliens with fur, for some reason. If they had done Kzinti, it seems likely they would've gone CGI. Although that would mean their appearances would've been fairly brief.
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I've started reading the ADF adaptation. Presently I've reached the point where the episode starts off: the shuttlecraft is enroute and Uhura notices the stasis box is glowing---but there is a lot of padding to get to that point.

    "Slaver Weapon" is one of the stories ADF expanded to fill one modest sized book. He starts it off with a flashback to Uhura's youth where she undergoes a maturity ritual in Africa. Here at the age of sixteen she's required to kill a lion armed with only a spear. The concession, of course, is that it isn't a real lion but a mechanical replica that acts like a real lion attacking...but stops short of actually killing you and ripping you to shreds if you fail to "kill" it first.

    The story next jumps to setting up why the stasis box is being transported by shuttlecraft rather than by the Enterprise. Essentially the Enterprise is faced with two vitally important tasks and can't be in both places at the same time so hence the shuttlecraft. I understand why ADF expanded the beginning of the story this way, but (to me) it really feels padded where nothing of real interest happens and the gist of it could have been conveyed in a paragraph before launching into the meat of the real story.

    One small thing I really notice here. Previously I've mentioned that ADF sometimes added extra dialog to flesh out scenes. This is an admirable practice, but often enough the dialogue he adds really doesn't sound like the characters we're familiar with. This is particularly true of his dialogue for Spock. Sometimes the speech is too formal and other times it's too informal or too colloquial. Too often he doesn't write Spock the way he would actually speak. Of course we can attribute that partly to ADF not having his work proofread by D.C. Fontana or any of the other TOS writers. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  19. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Great topic. I love TAS. Reading these makes me want to rewatch my DVDs.
     
  20. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You should also read Niven's original version of the story for a complete comparison.