Star Trek [TOS] is Cheesy!

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Trekker4747, May 16, 2009.

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  1. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    This is an argument many use, from the casual viewer, to the non-viewer and even by some Trek fans who've never tried Trek.

    They ding it over the cheap sets, the poor SFX, the papier-mache alien costumes but most of that seems to come from casual, glancing, viewing.

    Sure, you stick in an episode like, say, "Shore Leave" (an episode I love) or Arena (another great one) it came maybe come across like that.

    But then you've got episodes of really great, awesome, story telling without the cheese topping (Balance of Terror, CotEoF). Watching these episodes it's almost incredible to think this sort of strory-telling came from a 60s sci-fi show and it's what stands Trek apart from shows of much greater cheese from the same era -like Lost in Space.

    TOS is an awesome, great and fantastic series. Yeah, maybe to "stand" it one has to get past the production values (which for the time were first-rate but, yeah, come across "cheap" today) but that shouldn't be a problem at all.

    TOS is a fantastic series and anyone not wanting to give it a chance because they saw a clip of Kirk fighting a foam-masked alien in a Bill and Ted movie is a moron.
     
  2. M

    M Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Trekker4747, I agree with almost everything you just said. People who don't give TOS a chance because of the production values really don't know what they're missing. This series is far more than the special effects, sets, props and costumes. Personally, I love the production values of Star Trek. The aesthetic of the series is an aspect that makes me love TOS even more. However, deep down inside I know it's really about the stories and the characters. So, claiming to not being able to watch series because it 'looks cheap' is rather superficial.

    Having said that, there's also nothing wrong with enjoying episodes because of the cheese factor. I know this opinion is somewhat frowned upon around here, but I love episodes like The Way to Eden because inside of me they evoke a certain emotionalism with their cheesiness. :)
     
  3. Basil

    Basil Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just about everything seems cheesy when the styles change dramatically in 5-10 years, especially to anyone under 20 when the time hits. Wait a decade for people to shake their heads at all the interest in a show like "Lost."

    To me, TOS was creating small versions of Hollywood films, right down to the cinematography, but obviously on a TV scale. The show deliberately looks like space opera -- despite all the discussion over the years to the contrary, it never intended to be hard sci-fi or anything close to it, but something the masses could digest with a few less fins and sparklers than Captain Video or Flash Gordon. But part of the issue was timing. TOS premiered in the latter half of the 60s, when the Golden Age of TV, where it likely would have prospered, was all but winding itself down, being overtaken by camp and what would become the blown-dry siliness of so much of the 70s. Like Lost in Space -- which is wonderfully effective during the first season -- it was far less interested in its original vision by the following year.
     
  4. M

    M Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, very true. It's only a matter of being able to look past the anachronistic appearance of a television series and enjoy the story at its core. If it is a good story, it will be a timeless one.
     
  5. Basil

    Basil Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's the thing.

    What's funny is it wasn't too long ago that I recall people on this very site complaining that nobody would ever take the costumes on TOS seriously today because they were ridiculous in color and design . . . and here we are with virtual copies of those costumes in the latest film, and I don't hear anyone complaining about them being "cheesy." All it takes is for something to be popular and no matter how ridiculous it might have seemed before or will after, people will get on the bandwagon and celebrate or adopt it.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2009
  6. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Oh no, I agree. I like a lot of the "cheese" too. It give the show some of its charm.

    But in between a lot of that cheese is a lot of good substance that people too easly dismiss because all they see is the "cheese."
     
  7. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    This cheese argument is the exact perspective that kept me from watching and appreciating this show until last year! I had many chances to get into it over the years and always rejected it and not just over the aesthetic things like costumes. I was also turned off by how grating the music can be...like they flare up a LOUD dramatic sting every time something happens that supposedly makes the situation more DIRE. But I don't care about stuff like that anymore. I had to get older, more patient, and more open-minded before I could perceive the hidden treasure behind Star Trek's cheesy, cornball surface, to see the rich, creamy dramatic and/or comedic goodness underneath. Why do I feel hungry now? :)
     
  8. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I grew up on the films and TNG, so when I discovered TOS (via videocassette at age 10) I thought it was horribly cheesy. The acting was over-the-top, the special effects looked fake, the Klingons were all wrong, there were a lot of really goofy episodes, etc.

    Yet, it immediately became my favorite TV show of all time (and remains so to this day).
     
  9. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed. TOS elevated sci-fi for many of us to where real stories about real issues could be told.

    ST09 comes at a time when our perceptions of good and evil are a little blurred. It has been exploited by Firefly and BSG and Star Trek will be making a grave error if they try doing things the old way.

    X
     
  10. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    For me, TOS is a great piece of theater. I don't need to have top of the line SFX to enjoy the chemistry between the characters, the philosophy of the story being told, or the great sequences where suspense, drama and comedy are born. TOS has all of these things. The set pieces are not even a part of that equation for me. Give me cardboard cutouts and paper mache, just tell a good story when you use them. TOS is just a wonderful, wonderful series that was ahead of it's time.

    J., Long Time Trekkie.
     
  11. Zeppster

    Zeppster Commodore Commodore

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    TV in that period was pretty cheesy. That's not just a Star Trek thing.
     
  12. Kirk1980

    Kirk1980 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think you have to have two things before watching TOS...

    1) An open mind

    and

    2) Closed eyes

    That is, if you think the dated visuals will spoil things for you. The great script writers of TOS ;were primarily novelists and some (I would have to imagine) wrote for radio. Think of TOS therefore as one of the best audio books you will ever hear. If you're in it for 21st century visuals...just stop, don't bother and head to the theater.

    But if you can do those two things and really LISTEN to the dialogue then...you're in for a wonderful treat.
     
  13. Geckothan

    Geckothan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    People who dismiss TV shows purely because of their production values and effects are idiotic. The first time I saw TOS (after seeing all of TNG), the visuals didn't even bother me, they fit in just fine. There's a few things that make me cringe, like Enterprise phaser fire, the planet killer, Gorn costume and a handful of others, but they don't really detract from the experience unless you're shallow and can't watch anything that isn't full of LOL CGI AND EXPLOSIONS.
     
  14. Basil

    Basil Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    TV is always cheesy. CSI labs all look like neon-lit wine bars and solve complicated crimes in hours, LA, DC, Chicago, Seattle, and New York are devoid of minorities unless they're criminals or the occasional token, ER, House, and Grey's Anatomy all but forgot there are tons of Asians in medicine, people either look anorexic or like they work out three hours a day, and any serious problem can be solved in a 22-minute sitcom. Observers -- through whose eyes we now witness most events -- apparently all have ADHD and epilepsy, and thanks to HD, we can see the ton of makeup everyone wears and just how cartoony CGI actually is. Just wait a few years for another generation to point out how silly TV is now.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2009
  15. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    One could say the same thing (it's cheesy) about Twilight Zone. TZ was dated when I began watching it (the 1970s) but some of the stories were SO good, you forgot about the background.
     
  16. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. I feel that many of those who label TOS as "cheesy" often cannot see past the polished production standards we're accustomed to today. They seem not able to appreciate the era in which TOS was produced and what f/x resource were available then.

    When folks make this criticism I usually dismiss thim with little consideration as their words are empty.
     
  17. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Some shows are very "of their time" and Trek is one of those. The mini-skirts, the bee-hives, the men's hair, the fashions, the blocky buttons and big computers and so on. I myself like that, it's sort of like an extra layer of stylization, like it's the future but through the eyes of the 60's so it's like exploring two worlds.

    Not everyone cares for that though, many people are just very in the moment. A lot of people aren't even interested in anything imaginative, calling any such efforts cheesy, let alone with an extra dated element. Like how BSG is vaunted for its "realism" because everything looks like the 2000's instead of some imagined future.
     
  18. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I thought BSG was hailed for it's realisim because everything was depressing and bleak to the point of wanting to kill yourself?

    ;)
     
  19. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    :) Yeah, I worded that badly, it's a contributing factor not the only reason, and one I've seen singled out for praise as not being cheesy.
     
  20. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    You know who's really cheesy? Shakespeare. I've taught Caesar, R & J, MacBeth and studied countless more and man, was his stuff full of broad drama. And bad production values? There was no set design to speak of and the women were played by boys, for Christ's sake!

    What's that? You say Shakespeare was product of his time and as such represents the pinnacle of his particular artform. Oh. Hmmmm. Okay.
     
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