Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Warped9, May 17, 2013.
Well you went there
No, it wasn't my discovery. It just seemed a really good example, among those already out there, to illustrate the absurdity of fannish literalism, although the stage argument should be good enough.
Yet that example when you watch the scene is part of Charlie X's display of powers so it isn't clear cut, IMO.
The stage argument also isn't taken far enough. Are we really observing what was shown on screen or are we biased in knowing what the stage looks like behind the scenes and are assuming the unseen parts of that shot must look like the rest of the stage?
And that doesn't even address the scientific "absurdities" where TOS science is different from real life science. Start to draw the line here and there, make a judgement call to ignore certain onscreen stuff we find "absurd" and we'll be back probably where FJ arrived at, IMHO.
Oh, for heaven's sake, they broke the set while filming. Not that I'd even need to look it up, but, from http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Charlie_X_(episode)#Sets:
Sometimes it's best to observe what's on screen, but other times that has to be tweaked, in order for everything to make sense. Sometimes what's shown as a curved corridor is best thought of as a straight corridor, or more generally, as one with a different radius of curvature. Why? Because the corridors available on the set had more limited dimensions than some of the corridors most likely on the "actual" ship.
Those decisions are all a matter of judgment. No doubt FJ's decisions can be improved on, largely with the benefit of hindsight and reflection, even just at the level of laying the whole ship out generally, not to mention the fine details.
Yeah. One of my favorite examples in this case is the idea that there's a booster for the Enterprise computer's ability to hear sounds that "can increase that capability on the order of one to the fourth power". Ridiculous, since 1^4 equals 1.
Of course they did and you proved my point that knowledge of behind the scenes information biases our interpretation of the scene.
If you actually watched the scene on screen, it would have simply have been CharlieX's power throwing Kirk and Spock into the wall and damaging it and then Kirk asking CharlieX to release his hold on Spock and undo his broken legs. The cracked wall could have easily been part of CharlieX's display of power.
But since you're filtering it with that background knowledge you see an accidentally damaged set.
Then again are you actually watching the show? How many times are we actually shown a full hallway or even the full curvature? Or are you assuming everytime you see the edge of the wall of the curved corridor stage set that the ship wall must also be curved into the distance even though it is unseen?
If it can be done with accuracy and precision of what is shown on screen and without the filtering lens of knowledge of behind the scenes information, then yes it is possible to do it even without judgment. But if all you see are the stage sets of Desilu studios then that's already a problem.
At least he doesn't lower the boosting power
And don't forget, an ounce of antimatter can blow away part of an atmosphere and put the Enterprise in serious risk even 30,000km away. Or that the ship can go 700,000c and fuel is never an issue.
No, see that's just it. Not for one second did I think that, ever. Only if my name were Mathesar could I have possibly thought that!
Any Tech Manual that went to those extremes would be one that I'd altogether shun.
I want something that I can actually believe (in the sense of being willing to suspend disbelief) that the characters in-universe would be reading.
The universe in which the crack in the wall is explained that way utterly lacks that property. The reason is because I must filter that crack out as a production snafu. If you disagree, and you have to have it explained in-universe, then the manual for you is not the manual for me, and that's that. Really, that would make me feel a whole lot better!
Then to that same extent, did you shun FJ's Tech Manual? He went to such extremes yet those extremes aren't even on screen. Did he need to calculate out the time slow down at warp speeds?
By grabthar's hammer, it really should be called the Technical Speculation Manual. At least the one good thing TOS got right was kept the details vague for us to disagree over
If an in-universe character was reading it, and the manual mentioned the cracked wall resulting from CharlieX's powers then sure. But would an in-universe character read something about Nimoy accidentally cracking a stage set of TV show set in the 1960's? Maybe but not as a Tech Manual...
The FJTM isn't even close to being golden. Does that answer your question?
Now, that said, and I always say this when discussing the FJTM, some of the cutest things about it are the forewords. They basically provide a backstory that explains all the errors, including, if not especially, the phony science.
Could the "science" be better? Well maybe, but let's be real: only if the shit were real could the notes in there actually stand up to scrutiny, and that's too high a standard. But, probably the navigational stuff should be deleted, at least in its current form.
No, in universe, there is no spoon—err, crack.
Okay, I see where you're coming from. A Tech Manual and a separate Thermian Manual
Now we're getting somewhere! I think we can all agree that the writer/producers left things vague, at least partly to cover a multitude of sins and give themselves a "fudge factor" in regards what does what and what goes where, as far as their fictional starship goes. In fact they’ve said as much in interviews over the years. So this is as much of “the benefit of the doubt” as I, for one, am willing to extend to them.
But in accepting the above, it does not logically follow that they inturn wanted us to take the “Capt.’s. Cabin is on deck 12” (or any other such example) as “gospel”. And I don’t believe for a second that there is a shred of real evidence that there was any “grand plan” or that the writer/producers used such references because they knowingly meant to, and that they wanted the audience to take it all literally! This is a whole different colored horse; and I don’t think it demonstrates a lack of respect to acknowledge as much.
And I don’t think they had all the details worked out but kept it a big secret, never breathing a word to anyone in all the intervening years, but just dropping hints here and there in the show, for us to try and figure out, as if it were some sort of big “inside joke” on the fans in the viewing audience! To do so stretches “the benefit of the doubt” beyond all reasonable credibility IMHO. And if such were true, I should think that for doing so, they would be more deserving of our disrespect instead?
To sum up; everyone’s entitled to rationalize this stuff any way that pleases them, but it takes a special kind of arrogance propped up by pretzel logic to assume one’s personal preferences are the unique divining of ultimate “truth” in such matters and/or to devalue others chosen preferences as wrong and/or flawed because of a “lack of passion” or “jumping to premature and biased conclusions” etc. etc.
Now, getting back to FJ’s tech manual;
As far as making it more “accurate” goes, I think the first thing that needs to be done is “separate the wheat from the chaff” and try to determine, based on interviews, preponderance of evidence and such, what things he deliberately changed per his personal preference (like the rank stripes), and which things are honest mistakes (like the phaser pistol). This way we can respect his choices (as we should anyone else’s) but at the same time fix some of the things he got wrong?
If I were starting from scratch in regard to general plans for the Enterprise the outline and descriptive given in TMoST would be a decent place to start since (I believe) this was included in the Writer's Guide. From there I'd look to the onscreen references and evidence to either affirm or correct (override) what is in TMoST.
Note in TMoST it will say a facility is in this general area on this given deck or one of these decks in this general area. It doesn't specify precisely where on that deck or down which corridor. That kind of vagueness gives you creative leeway.
Throughout the entire ship there are actually few facilities that are truly specific. We know for a certainty the bridge is at the top of the saucer and the shuttlecraft flight deck is at the aft end of the support hull (and from that we can presume the shuttlecraft support facilities are also nearby). We know the warp engines are the twin nacelles and the impulse drive is at the aft end of the saucer. We know the main phasers and the photon torpedo launchers are in the area of the saucer underside. We know the main navigational deflector is at the front of the support hull.
From there we suspect main engineering is likely in the support hull, but there might be two engine rooms with one in the saucer. We know there is at least one main transporter room and the (reasonable) inference is that there are actually several scattered throughout the ship. Sickbay is likely situated on deck six or seven in the central part of the saucer. Deck five and six are likely mostly crew quarters. Most of the maintenance, repair, processing and replication and support facilities are likely in the support hull. There could well be a limited number of crew quarters in the support hull as well.
We know ranking officers have private cabins while some lower rank officers do as well (space allowing). Given the crew size it's not unreasonable to presume that most of the remaining crew share cabin accommodations.
Now thats basically how FJ seems to have approached his version of it and it's not wholly wrong-headed. But given what has come to light in the intervening years we can see that some choices he made don't really gel with what we see onscreen. One biggee (for me) is him missing Auxiliary Control---it's nowhere in his plans and it was referred to (and seen) a number of times onscreen.
See, here's a perfect example where doing a little research effects ones attitude by clarifying our understanding immensely.
The writers/producers kept things vague because the production (at the time) was an ongoing project, and they anticipated continuity mistakes due to various production limitations.
FJ had said in interviews that he reservations about doing the tech manual because he didn’t want to take things in a direction that GR didn’t approve, but in correspondence GR assured him that “Star Trek was dead” and that not to worry about anything.
So this is no doubt why FJ took some of the liberties to tidy things up and felt comfortable fleshing out the STU as he did? Who knew back then that there would be some forty five+ years of trek yet to come? FJ even later lamented the deal to bring ST back to live TV as “Phase II”, and said if had known ahead of time, he never would have undertaken the project!
Agreed; the AC is a stumbling block for me as well. Although this is really just a problem for his plans and not the tech manual so much, even so, using "the Constellation is not the Enterprise" argument, I think FJ should have made some provision for it in his plans. It's unclear though, whether this was an intentional omission or just an oversight, but most likely the former?
While one gets the sense that FJ felt he had more leeway, and understandably so, with the “redress of the week” sets that appeared just once, like the phaser room for example; the AC was however, repeatedly seen and clearly intended to look the way we saw it, so FJ should have honored MJ’s intentions here. The same goes for the emergency manual monitor in engineering and the decompression chamber in the medical lab, although the latter was most likely omitted by mistake.
Still, I think the best way to “correct” this is to make one of FJ’s “emergency bridges” into an AC instead?
^^ I'm vague on this, but were there ever any references onscreen regarding where Auxiliary Control might be? Could you have two Auxiliary Control rooms, one in the saucer and one in the support hull? And Auxiliary Control is certainly something that could be depicted in more detail in the tech manual.
I don't believe that either. Star Trek's prime purpose was to deliver good stories about the human condition and those technical details we observe and discuss definitely had a much lesser priority.
The most obvious example, IMHO, is the recycling of the aft view VFX footage of the pilot version Enterprise during the regular series. To rationalize this with retracting warp nacelle spheres, inflating sensor-deflector dishes and extendable Bridge modules is rationalization overkill, IMHO. It makes you wonder why they didn't shoot any aft view footage after they had changed the pilot 11-footer (otherwise they could have just continued to use the pilot version of the model for continuity's sake).
With the Deck 12 issue it's a different matter. There are other first season references to lower decks ("The Enemy Within", "Dagger of the Mind") with circular corridor footage and most definitely later near the Hangar Deck ("Doomsday Machine", "Immunity Syndrome").
If you don't like circular corridors in the engineering hull (neither do I) it's a matter of personal preference, but the series established it pretty much that these are there, regardless whether we like them or not and for reasons we don't know.
If you start writing it of as a production mistake you go down the same road as Franz Joseph who also ignored stuff he didn't like (like Chapel's Red Cross insignia, obviously not being aware that Dr. McCoy is not only an M.D. but also a scientist and therefore does not wear the Red Cross but the insignia of the science division).
So who is the more arrogant one?
Me for saying we shouldn't jump to premature and biased conclusions (at the expense of the fine people who gave us Star Trek) or the one claiming it's a production mistake (an accusation at the expense of the aforementioned and a suggestion that this person knows better, though it was never involved with the actual production, just like Franz Joseph).
I don't see there's any way we could or should respect his choices (i.e. ignore or alter things he didn't like about Star Trek's production).
He wasn't involved in any aspect of the actual production of Star Trek.
He based the success of this works on the back of others and, worse, wasn't faithful to their designs but altered these.
If he felt he knew better how to do this or that he should have created his own franchise.
From "I, Mudd" for the Enterprise:KIRK: Intruder alert, deck eight, auxiliary control.
Dialogue from other episodes seems to point to only one aux control but like the "one" transporter room, it could be just a matter of which one is active at the time of the episode if you want to interpret as two control rooms.
Well if you separate the saucer than having a second Auxiliary Control in the support hull could be useful.
I'm not sure I understand "the Constellation is not the Enterprise" argument in this case. Auxiliary control is repeatedly seen (as you said?) on the Enterprise, in episodes such as The Way to Eden.
I may be putting words in TIN_MAN's mouth, but I think he meant to say the "Constitution is not the Enterprise." Meaning that the Constitution blueprints that Franz Joseph drew which don't show Auxiliary Control might not be truly reflective of the Enterprise's layout.
There might be more to that than the mistake Nimoy made. It might result in an opportunity to hint at something going on that while not making immediate sense to our 20th century ears could have meaning to a technology or physics we don't yet understand. For example, if he is saying "one to the fourth" and you read it as "one to the 1/4" you end up with factors of 1,-1,i, -i. That is more interesting than just one - particularly the imaginary numbers.
A possible application- Base one algebra (versor algebra):
Separate names with a comma.