"Enterprise" too advanced for 22nd Century

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by CaptainSpirk, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    I never gotten that impression. Star Trek is modern people with a few isolated technological advances, set in the future.

    I for one would probably enjoy the show more with less tech as a up front part of the story, keep it in the background, rarely mention as much as possible. The show should primarily be focused on people and their problems and solutions.

    Where did you get the idea that it's supposedly "modeled after real life progression of science?"
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    From everything that is known about the original series. It was one of the first SFTV series that ever attempted to consult with real scientists and engineers and extrapolate plausibly into the future rather than just making up random nonsense. This is very well-documented in The Making of Star Trek and elsewhere.


    That's not incompatible with having plausible science. Again, you need to read The Making of Star Trek, where Roddenberry explains his philosophy that if a cop doesn't stop to explain the workings of his gun and his cruiser, there's no reason for SF characters to give detailed exposition about their technology. But the writers can still figure out a plausible understanding of how it works even if it isn't spelled out explicitly onscreen. For instance, Roddenberry's science advisors explained to him the need for a starship to have a deflector field or beam of some sort to repel interstellar dust and debris that could damage or destroy a ship at high velocities, and that's why the Enterprise was given a dish on the front. It was there because of the producers' scientific knowledge. But it was never explained as a deflector dish at any point in TOS or TAS -- never until TNG. Because there's a big difference between what you figure out as a writer when building your world and what you actually need to put on the page. The latter is only a subset of the former.
     
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  3. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    But isn't that what the writers did with "technobabble?"

    Large chunks of the science in Star Trek is complete made up, and that's okay because Star Trek is set in a fantasy future, not a scientific realistic one.

    Where the ships travels as fast as the writers wants them to this week in order to tell a story. Sure they could have chart on the wall reminding the writers what the speeds are, but they don't because it isn't important to the show.

    Oh, and evolution is whatever Dr. Phlox say it is.
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That term wasn't coined until the TNG era. I'm talking about TOS, back when all this started over half a century ago. Star Trek is not one monolithic thing, but multiple separate works created by different people in different eras. TOS started out with the goal of being scientifically credible, allowing for dramatic license and budgetary compromises. As I said, other than a couple of 1950s kids' shows, it was the first SFTV series that did make even the slightest effort at researching credible science, and pretty much the last one for quite a while. Later Trek productions have been inconsistent in their commitment to that goal, with some trying to live up to the same standard and others just not bothering.

    Early TNG actually had pretty solid science by SFTV standards, thanks to Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda working as technical consultants as well as art staffers. There's some pretty good stuff here and there. The portrayal of a periodic nova star in "Evolution" was so good you could use it in a science class to illustrate the principle. And "Yesterday's Enterprise"'s explanation of the time warp as due to "a Kerr loop of superstring material" is actually quite a plausible one grounded in real general-relativistic concepts and advanced astrophysics, aside from the misuse of "superstring" to mean "cosmic string." But as TNG and its successors went on, the standards of science declined, and the good science gave way more and more to actual technobabble, made-up stuff like tetryons and veterons and "anti-time."


    Again, that was absolutely not Gene Roddenberry's original intention. That's the result of later producers not bothering to maintain the same effort at credibility that Roddenberry aspired to. His explicit goal in the creation of Star Trek was to make a show unlike everything else in SFTV at the time -- more adult, more sophisticated, more realistic both from a character standpoint and a scientific standpoint. And for pretty much the first 20-25 years of Trek's existence, it succeeded in that goal, remaining head and shoulders above the ludicrous, cheesy SFTV that followed, things like Space: 1999 and Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers.

    It wasn't until the late '80s and the '90s that other smart SFTV shows followed in TNG's footsteps, though they were usually relatively fanciful themselves. And Trek's own commitment to credibility grew increasingly inconsistent over time. So audiences today don't see Trek as any different from the rest of SFTV. It's just another show for you. That's sad, because for a generation it was the best thing SFTV had to offer by a considerable margin. Well, it's not really sad -- it's good that there's so much more quality SFTV now, that it's not just one good, smart show and a bunch of cheese. But as someone who grew up in the era when Trek was the undisputed standout in SFTV, it's kind of sad that audiences today don't realize how extraordinary it was in its day, and for some time thereafter.
     
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  5. Prax

    Prax Commodore Commodore

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    Andre Bormanis was the scientific consultant for TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Whatever the original ideas or intent may have been, I can't see past intelligent design ("The Chase"), evolved transwarp salamanders ("Threshold"), angels ("Transfigurations"), ghosts ("Sub Rosa"), gods ("Who Mourns...", Q and others), brain-stealing and whatnot when I watch the show.

    That said, I do enjoy it for what it is and don't expect more from it than the above.
     
  7. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    I'm talking about Star Trek as a whole.
    You can expect more, and that's fine. but you aren't necessarily going to get it.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, Bormanis didn't begin until DS9 premiered, and was only the science advisor on season 7 of TNG; Naren Shankar preceded him in the role in season 6 of TNG. And both Sternbach and Okuda were credited from the start of TNG as technical consultants.


    And my point is that it's not a monolithic whole. As I said, different creators over the decades have approached Trek very differently from each other. It is a titanic mistake of logic and fact to assume they've all done things the exact same way. The fact that Gene Roddenberry intended TOS to be more plausible and grounded than any other SFTV show before it has been extremely well-documented over the decades. Just read The Making of Star Trek, the definitive behind-the-scenes book about the original show. But his successors have rarely attempted to live up to the same standards.
     
  9. Prax

    Prax Commodore Commodore

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    Edit: Andre Bormanis was the scientific consultant for part of TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise.
    :rolleyes:

    They were all there for the various series. It's not like Rick Sternbach and Mike Okuda contributed to the plausibility in early TNG, then left; or that they cared, then stopped caring.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course not, but consultants and advisors are low on the totem pole. The reason they're called that is that nobody is required to do what they say. So whether their advice gets used depends on how willing the producers are to listen to it. And early TNG's producers were more inclined to listen than a lot of the later showrunners, let alone the filmmakers. That's why the science degenerated from the smart, literate stuff in early TNG to the made-up nonsense words in the later shows. I've always suspected that part of it was Rick Berman not wanting the shows to repeat themselves and demanding fresh new technobabble terms and particles-of-the-week, so once they exhausted the believable terminology, they were forced to resort to gibberish.
     
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  11. picard_2305

    picard_2305 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think it did a better job at doing a pre TOS prequel vibe than DSC has done so far. The visual nods to TOS, like T'Pol having a Spock scanner and the nacelles being cylindrical. If DSC took the TOS look and gave it a modern facelift, not a completete redesign then there be a win win.
     
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  12. Rick Sternbach

    Rick Sternbach Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Mike Okuda and I actually had a pretty decent batting average (writer/producer approvals) when it came to fleshing out most all of the 24th century tech hardware and operations, and offering up some basic science pointers and astronomical data. TPTB could use it or not, sure, but pretty early on they began to trust what we put into the memos. Yeah, some of the terminology came off as super-science handwaving, but I think those were occasions when the script called for something weird and new, and we tried to make it at least sound plausible. Verteron, for example, came from me; I used the Latin root for "to turn" to indicate a strange subatomic something that could twist/bend space. We really did try. However, when it came to terms like isogenic or metaphasic, that really, really wasn't us. :lol: - Rick
     
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  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hi, Rick, thanks for the input. Yeah, I figured that later stuff wasn't coming from you guys. It seemed to start once Andre Bormanis came on board as science advisor, though of course correlation doesn't prove causation. We got an astonishing number of technobabble terms containing either "iso-" or "-lytic," often in contexts where the meaning of those roots had no apparent connection to what was being described. And yes, there was even "isolytic" used at least once.

    What I found really weird was how TNG: "Emergence" introduced the term "vertions." We already had verterons, so where was the sense in coining something so similar-sounding?