Star Trek/Lost In Space: Any Difference?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Hyfen_Underskor, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But what gave Vaal's builders any more right to impose their values and morals on the Triangulans? Kirk interfered to eliminate someone else's interference, and afterward left the Triangulans free to determine their own future. Sure, maybe there's a certain "White Man's Burden" mentality in believing it was his place to save them, but I think what Vaal's builders did was far worse. They enslaved the Triangulans, Kirk set them free.

    Despite how TNG dumbed it down, the Prime Directive was not meant to be an absolutist, rigid rule. Every situation is different and a useful rule needs to be adaptable. Captains in the field are expected to use their judgment in determining how to interpret and apply the regulations, because they're actually on the scene and better able to assess each situation than the lawmakers back home.

    Seriously, tell me: what do you think a captain should do when he comes upon a planet where someone else is egregiously violating the Prime Directive and enslaving or controlling the natives? How do you uphold the Prime Directive by turning a blind eye to another's violation of it?
     
  2. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Putting aside the fact that Vaal seems to maintain the ecosystem, and not soon after Kirk left, the natives are all wiped out. And assuming your narrative is correct and that Vaal isn't a relic from the Triangulan's own past, but rather alien influence...and...puting aside the fact that Kirk's excuse is 'stagnation' (his interp) and not 'alien influence'.

    1) How long has that culture been like that? For them that IS the natural course of things. Kirk has wiped away their way of life.

    2) Dead serious here: That culture is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. If Kirk just walks away 'leaving them to figure it out for themselves' They are arn't going to survive a year. And even if Kirk sends in teams like in 'Miri'...it would be like driving a tractor through a tribe of South American Indians who had never seen the outside world and making a mall. We're talking Future Shock to the nth degree.

    Once they get over the novelty of boning whenever they want, then what? Any introduction of ideas like 'self-determination' and 'creating your own world' is just further contamination. There only appear to be like 30 of them. They may as well just lift them all off the planet.

    All Kirk did was BS rationalize saving 400 crew over some 30 natives stuck under some aliens glass slide.

    Edit: I will say this, all credit to the writers for mentioning the PD more than once and for Spock even saying "Starfleet may not agree with you".
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You seem to be remembering a non-canonical and rather mediocre DC comic-book story from the '80s -- and misremembering it, since the natives were mostly alive and well in that story. Going just by the facts in the episode itself, we have no basis for making any such assumption.


    Slavery was the "natural way of life" on Earth for most of recorded history. It was mostly eradicated in less than a century. Earth survived. One of the biggest mistakes underlying many people's assumptions about the Prime Directive (particularly where TNG's writers were concerned) is that the "natural way of life" for any culture is meant to be fixed and unchanging. That's utter bull. Even an isolated culture undergoes some growth and change, and it's entirely natural for different cultures on the same planet to interact and transform each other; that's how progress happens.

    It's a contradiction in terms to say that a state of affairs imposed by a computer god with a papier-mache snake face is "natural." Whether it was built by aliens or the Triangulans' own ancestors, it was still an artificial creation imposing an artificial social order. Talking about societies' "natural state" as if they were mindless animals following their instincts rather than societies of intelligent beings making choices about how to live is frankly rather condescending and dehumanizing. Every culture is shaped by its choices -- or sometimes by the choices of outsiders -- and will thus be subject to change over time. Except that the choice made by Vaal's builders deprived later generations of Triangulans of any choice. There was no chance that they could overthrow Vaal on their own and restore their ability to choose.


    Again you're being quite condescending and anthropologically misinformed. There are plenty of cultures in real life where one generation consisted of hunter-gatherers living as they had for thousands of years and the next was using laptops and satellite phones to coordinate their hunting and gathering. Cultures are more robust and adaptable than many Prime Directive apologists imagine. The problem is that the Prime Directive was supposed to be a check against domination and condescension, a reminder that other cultures have the ability and the right to make choices for themselves, but it came to be interpreted in the TNG era in blatantly condescending terms -- "Oh, the poor primitives are too stupid and fragile to comprehend new ideas so we have to protect them from new knowledge even if it means letting their civilizations die completely." They completely lost sight of what the Directive was supposed to be about.

    Respecting others' right to self-determination doesn't mean leaving them in the lurch when they're in trouble. It means being a good neighbor -- not forcing your ideas and decisions on them, trusting that they can handle themselves, yet still being there to help them if they're in over their heads, because they deserve the chance to get back on their feet. There is a difference between helping and interfering. It can be a blurry line and an easy one to cross, which is why the Directive is there as a check on our judgment. But once it becomes an absolutist, rigid dogma as it had in the TNG era, it does more harm than good, just like any dogma.


    More of that ugly condescension, that anthropologically incompetent notion that new ideas from outside are "contamination" rather than a normative part of how cultures evolve and grow. If you truly respect others' right to self-determination, then you trust them to be able to make their own decisions about how to cope with new knowledge.


    Oh, come on, that's because the episode didn't have the budget to show more. It doesn't make any sense to assume that was literally representative of the entire population of the planet.
     
  4. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Makes the most sense to me. Some long abandoned alien experiment, fuel depot...whatever...or are there a 100 Vaals all over the planet? The other 99 don't seem to work. Vaal only needs feeding like once a day, and it doesn't require more than some 30 people therefore there wouldn't be more than 30 people as laid out in the episode (re: breeding)

    More interesting to me are attacks on my supposedly 'cultural misanthropism'. The ad hominem 'You PD apologists' isn't worth addressing. And in the intrerst of not nitpicking i won't discuss in detail how the PD applies only to Starfleet and that they arn't "The Policemen of the Galaxy".

    re: Anthropological contamination et al. I hang my hat with Joe Haldeman and 'Seasons'. That doesn't make Joe an expert, but he does have some credentials in the arena of Sci-Fi, and did a lot of research on that story.
     
  5. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Also re: TNG PD

    The point of letting the entire culture die as seen in "Brothers" Their point was "Who are we to decide who lives and dies, since we can't save them all"...I think that's pretty dumb in the end. I see what they're getting at, but you pick some and do what Worf's brother did.

    As far as "Penpals", Does Starfleet REALLY let entire civilizations die from natural causes when they can save them without even interfering??? THAT'S beyond the pale. I agree entirely with the spirit of the convo they have (though it's dumb that they have it. This is the PD, every person in that room took course upon course on the subject, and Picard has to take them to Prime Directive 101) but the conclusion "We arn't even going to look into the matter" is wronnnnng.

    As for The Apple, when Spock has misgivings, it isn't a slamdunk.

    edit: I'm coming around on whether or not this is a PD violation. I don't think they have a culture. I THINK it's 30 guys in a lab experiment. And if there is no culture, but just 30 really intelligent ants mindlessly feeding a snake-head, and putting make-up on each other in their off time...and if there's no culture, how can there be interference?

    But I do strongly disagree with the ultimate fate of these guys, and some other nitpicks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  6. stationzebra

    stationzebra Ensign Red Shirt

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    did star trek and lost in space lift some ideas from forbiddon planet?
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    30 people would be a pretty small genetic pool. maybe too small to sustain a species. They might be dead as a race pretty fast if what we saw are all there are.
     
  8. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    He was the antagonist, but Harris soon elected to change Smith into the simpering, two-faced character he would be for the remainder of the series, since he (Harris) reasoned a villain would eventually be killed off, and he would be unemployed, which--as he said--would be "boring."

    Allen, after observing the character changes, demanded Harris continue to take Dr. Smith in that annoying direction--much to Harris' delight...and the annoyance of a few of his co-stars.


    Allen did the same for Kurt Kasnar, when the latter was case as Smith placeholder Alexander Fitzhugh on Land of the Giants.


    I recall watching it too--only because Allen's name was attached (probably expecting something more energetic--along the lines of his 60s series), and that year, Milner just finished a seven year run on Adam-12, so I was interested in his next project. Interest faded quickly.
     
  9. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Lost In Space started out with a serious tone. The black and white media enhanced that even more. But later on, Irwin Allen decided he wanted to have a more family friendly show that would appeal to kids rather than scare them. Lost In Space could have been a more serious show like Star Trek, but definitely went to the silly comedic corner instead. And there's nothing wrong with that, because it's all about defining the kind of show you're looking to produce for your target audience.

    There's really NO POINT in comparing these two TV shows. They are very different in nature. Star Trek is far superior in a number of general respects, most of all in the abilities of the actors and the production values. But to say one is better than the other is like saying an apple is better than an orange because it's easier to eat. ;)
     
  10. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    THANK YOU for pointing that out, as that was one of the more irritating elements of TNG; it was such a New Agey/paternal/social worker kind of philosophy, that one--on occasion--hoped for the Enterprise D crew to have their Peace Corps BS hurled back at their collective faces at warp speed by the so-called "primitives."
     
  11. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    ST wins out, as it had a fixed, serious purpose and held to it from start to finish, while LiS began as a fantasy/survival series, but turned into a semi-farce before the end of season one. Only on rare occasions would a serious script find its way on Allen's desk (ex. season three's "The Anti-Matter Man"), but the Smith v. Robot routine wore thin---at the expense of the other actors.

    The Jupiter 2 miniature was a cool spin on the traditional flying saucer, but if I was looking for a serious mix of sci-fi drama and adventure, LiS lost to ST every time.
     
  12. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Remember in the last season one ep, when in the SAME ep they were crowing about their superior values and morality....while seriously considering returning the humans they found to suspended amination.
     
  13. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Star Trek and LIS are only similar in that they are two shows that take place in space. And for the first two seasons, LIS spent most of the time on a single planet set.

    Now if you're gonna compare Star Trek to an Irwin Allen show, then go with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Voyage detailed the adventures of a paramilitary ship out on missions of peace, battling aliens, crazy people, ruthless leaders, and so on. The show developed into a Big Three cast (Nelson, Crane, Sharkey), an almost regular lead character (Chip Morton - downgraded when Sharkey came along) with prominent supporting characters with no first names (Kowalski, Patterson - Sulu, Uhura).

    In fact, even NBC felt the two series were similar and asked the production staff to "be more like Voyage" to save money since the budget was apparently lower than Star Trek, according to memos reproduced in, I believe, David Alexander's "Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry."
     
  14. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Alas, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea had rather crappy dialog and story elements most of the time. The acting was OK for a few of the regulars, but most of them were sub par (IMHO). But yeah... visiting strange new worlds/sea-crevices and encountering strange aliens/sea-creatures while traveling in a self-contained vessel is about all they really had in common.
     
  15. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You could honestly say that about all of the Irwin Allen TV shows. Which is why I'm even surprised this Trek vs LIS is even a discussion here...

    Richard Basehart made up for all of them. I could watch him read the backs of cereal boxes.
     
  16. Starscream2112

    Starscream2112 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It was Lost in Space that got me into sci-fi. I remember being about 7 years and thinking Star Trek was boring. I much preferred Lost in Space to Star Trek at the time. I hope that they will release Lost in Space on Blu-ray at some Point. I believe that the effects were all shot and composited on film so they would not have the same problem as Star trek had.
     
  17. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Well, with the exception of the "tumbling thorugh time" sequence from The Time Tunnel, all of the space and sea efx from Allen's series were practical miniature vehicles, sets or space backdrops--very much the Lydecker school of EFX.

    That said, the Blu-ray advantage for such EFX is that they did not use bluescreen, so there's no need for clean-up of things such as matte boxes, the transparency problem seen in many 1970s - 80s composite shots, etc.

    I would love to see the Blu-ray treatment of that.
     
  18. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, to be totally accurate, Lost in Space did use mattes in the first couple of episodes. The J2 in space were mostly done by superimposing the model. You can see the telltale "see through the shadows" during the meteor shower sequence, or the bottom of the ship disappearing in some shots. All of the in space footage in the unaired pilot was done this way. It actually wasn't until the second season that the model was hung against a space background full time. They used that method only for a few shots at first in the initial episodes of the series.

    I'm not that anxious to get LiS on pristine Blu-Ray mainly because all of the strings will mostly likely suddenly become very obvious. I would, however, like better prints than what we already have.

    I got into Trek when I was 4 in the early 70's, which then turned me onto all sc-fi TV. I loved LiS as much as Trek in those days. Then, as I got older, I drank in Space:1999, Logan's Run, Planet of the Apes, Galactica, Buck Rogers...and never once did I understamd the fan compartmentalization, choosing between one or the other. So many fans seems to hate the other shows in favor of one and I just didn't get it. Still don't.

    To this day, I can go from a top class Trek to any episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and have the same amount of joy in the watching. But there ya go.
     
  19. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Don't forget Land of the Lost and The Six Million Dollar Man!
     
  20. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :lol: :guffaw: :lol: FOW! Speaking of which, I spewed out my cereal this morning when I read this. ;)

    I tend to have the same affinity for sci-fi TV shows, being able to watch a range of quality and enjoy various aspects of each. With LiS, I definitely identified with Will Robinson and so the show had a special feeling for me that Star Trek couldn't give. But of course as I got older that faded away, especially as the hokey qualities started becoming more apparent. Still, there were some episodes that were very gripping. I loved the one with Robby the Robot making an appearance. And seeing Michael Rennie appear as the zoo keeper, extending his Klaatu persona from "The Day The Earth Stood Still" was fun. There was also the anti-matter episode with the "evil" duplicates of John Robinson and Major West, which had great edgy darkness to it not found in most of the series. The dry ice pathway across the cosmos backdrop was such a terrific visual. Things like this still make me appreciate LiS.

    UFO was a big hit with me. When I first watched it, it was during my budding fascination with all things British. Ah, the Brits can have their own space program too and even superior to the USA! ;) I was so pissed off that it was canceled after just 26 episodes. CBS did the show a disservice, putting it on a time slot that condemned it to death. While Space:1999 was certainly superior to UFO in the arena of special effects, I simply couldn't swallow the impossibility of the moon being blasted out of orbit. Another major Anderson traipse into physical law violations. Yet, many aspects of the show made up for this to a degree. It didn't surprise me that it couldn't survive past 2 seasons.