Flanderization of Klingons

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by JLBTucker, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think contemporary pop culture fandom uses quite that academic of an approach to media analysis.

    Kor
     
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  2. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Flanderization is new to me, too. I also thought Simpsons or Europe. But, yeah, the Klingons are the prime example of the phenomenon, and they only got worse through DS9.
     
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  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    To me, it seemed like the Klingons were indeed depicted initially as sneaky, untrustworthy, backstabbing, and even slightly cowardly at times, but that changed after Kang in "Day of the Dove." I think Kang was the first "Klingon warrior type." Kruge in Star Trek III was something of a return to the sneaky TOS Klingon type, but I tend to think Kang became the template for Worf and most Klingons from TNG to today.

    As far as flanderization, I dunno. The more we learned about the Klingons, the more we learned how much they valued individual warrior prowess and accomplishments for the Empire. But within their society, we've seen some honorable Klingons like General Marok, some less-honorable Klingons like Duras and his family, as well as a number of nameless Klingons just doing thankless jobs. Some Klingons are scientists, some Klingons are ambassadors or lawyers, and some Klingons are co-conspirators in various plots to undermine things.

    A case could possibly be made that warrior types are either the most dominant within the Empire or simply the ones our heroes most often encounter. Conversely, some Klingons may think most Humans are Starfleet officers if that's all they ever deal with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  4. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

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    As Peter David points out several times in his novels, the Klingons and Romulans seemed to swap characterisation between TOS and TNG.

    Give me John Ford’s Klingons over Ron Moore’s any day. I’m glad Discovery took inspiration from the former.
     
  5. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    So, in a sense, DS9's Cardassians are closer to the original Klingon portrayal than the Klingons in that series ....
     
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  6. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    The Duras family was the complete embodiment of "Klingons, they're bastards with a capitol B. Kahless - The Unforgettable would be pleased.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    In one way yes and another way no. DS9 also showed that not all Cardassians were bad. Some even found the policies of the Cardassian government unacceptable.
     
  8. C57D

    C57D Guest

    Having only struggled through three and a half episodes of the first season of STD, I didn't spot any "The Final Reflection" references in the Klingon portrayal. Maybe if there had have been I might have stayed watching it longer?
    But I can only agree that TFL is the finest, most believable and comprehensive portrayal of Klingons ever. No Flanderisation here, just a fully realised and sympathetic alien race and society. So much better than the one note "honour", headbut, viking bikergang thugs we got! They were so stupid and solely violence obsessed that they could not organise a drunken brawl in a brewery, let alone run an empire.
    Greatest mistake TPTB ever made in rejecting Ford's vision for the morons we got.
    However I would love to hear about any real TFR references in STD.
     
  9. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

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    The Black Fleet is specifically referenced in the first episode; the first canonical reference to it.

    T'Kuvma's motivation to oppose the Federation also accords with Klingon philosophy in the book - his concern is that the Federation are komerex. Two komerex states cannot coexist at each other’s borders, so the Klingons must unite and repel the Federation to avoid becoming khesterex.

    Discovery also uses authentic Klingon language - words and pronunciation - unlike much of the use in the TNG era.
     
  10. JLBTucker

    JLBTucker Commander Red Shirt

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    I like TUC klingons myself
     
  11. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, TV Tropes, AKA "Say goodbye to your productivity." :)
    Yes, exactly. The Romulans were the ones obsessed with honor in TOS, while the Klingons were the evil, shifty, duplicitous ones. The switch began when Star Trek III was rewritten to feature Klingons villains instead of the Romulans, which led to an unfortunate blending of their traits like the Klingons having a Bird of Prey and suddenly talking about honor all the time. And I guess TNG just ran with the "honorable foe" thing, because it was a convenient explanation for why the Klingons were now allied with the Federation.
    Me too! They're intelligent, literate, crafty, and duplicitous, and their makeup looks great. I love the TUC revision of the Klingon uniforms, too. I don't know why they never used those versions again, AFAIK.
     
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  12. JLBTucker

    JLBTucker Commander Red Shirt

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    Star Trek III is odd in that Kruge doesnt really match a TOS Klingon or a TNG one, hes rather xenophbic witch really is more of a romulan trait
     
  13. 1001001

    1001001 Battling Sex Ghosts Moderator

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  14. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah the Flanderization of the Klingons just got silly and by now they're my least favourite Alien culture in Star Trek. I mean their whole freaking culture is about "hounour" and all their rituals involve either killing or causing/enduring pain and their food is disgusting to a degree that's simply laughable (of course they eat living worms and drink alcohol mixed with blood :rolleyes:)
    And what's eve worse, a lot of non-Klingon characters either profess their love for Klingon culture (for whatever reason) or at least roll over and participate in the rituals/eat the food whenever a Klingon demands it of them.

    I agree that Star Trek VI had the best Klingons, they seemed like a functioning culture and a combination of the better elements of the TNG and TOS Klingons. I particularly liked Azetbur.
    My personal fanon is that the Klingons seen in TUC became the Klingons of TNG because they felt they needed to compensate for living in peace with the Federation to avoid becoming soft. Like, they tried extra hard to look, sound and seem like warriors because they weren't at constant war anymore and revived several customs and rituals from hundreds of years ago to compensate.
    In that fanon if you had asked most TUC-era Klingons whether they'd like a plate of life gagh, they'd look at you in the same way most modern human would react if you asked them whether they'd like some Cazu Marzu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casu_marzu) It only became popular again in the period of peace.

    The bad shape the Klingon Empire was in during the latter part of DS9 was in part a result of that development.

    Of course that fanon doesn't work if you take Enterprise into consideration :-P
    It's not just you, I don't like TOS either.
     
  15. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well in Enterprise, they showed klingon lawyers and doctors, and showed they were like 2nd class citizens almost.. If your not a warrior.. Ur scum..
    So the warriors were in charge.. So like.. If I didn't go to Harvard etc. Ur beneath me..
     
  16. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    If you mean me, well, yes I know. That's why I wrote:

    "Of course that fanon doesn't work if you take Enterprise into consideration :-P"

    I don't like Enterprise and haven't seen much of it, so I'm happy to ignore it. Star Trek when viewed as a single canon has all sorts of contradictions.
     
  17. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never understood the "Flanderization" comments regarding Klingons exactly.

    In TOS, Klingons can be basically summed up as "the bad guys." Sometimes we get interesting antagonists, like Kor or Kang, but quite often that is in large part because of the performances put in rather than the actual writing on the page. We know next to nothing about them as a race, other than I suppose the introduction of Kahless. But fundamentally, they are interchangeable with human antagonists. I mean, I love TUC, but it absolutely suffers from this issue as well, right down to the amazing Chang quoting Shakespeare. Klingons look a little different, but they are presented in a less culturally alien fashion than some people you can find going on a stroll through NYC.

    While at times Berman-era Klingons were a bit one note, in contrast, they made real attempt to give them a distinct set of values from not only the Federation, but what we as modern western humans are used to. Much of it is ripped off of various historic sources, like medieval Europe and Japan, but at least it presents a semi-coherent code of ethics which strikingly different from our own. Lots of effort was put into lorebuilding and worldbuilding, with Klingon music, cuisine, mythology, and many other aspects. Thus the Klingons felt like a distinct culture for the first time, rather than a random group of antagonists.

    I mean, when it comes to depicting any alien race in Star Trek, you basically have one of two choices: Either don't bother with cultural worldbuilding, and basically present the aliens as being indistinguishable from us in every way (Guardians of the Galaxy route) or embrace Planet of Hats. I personally don't have an issue with the latter, because there's typically not enough time outside of serialized stories to depict true cultural diversity in an alien race, and the different Trek races are supposed to be allegorical aspects of human culture regardless.
     
  18. Annatar

    Annatar Commander Red Shirt

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    We see like three flavours of Klingons in TOS+Movies.

    The early ones are desperate resource-starved Totalitarian types in an ongoing contest with the UFP. FASA Klingons are mostly based on these. They have an Empire, they fight for their empire and not for their own reasons (or for anyone else), but also tie into the following Klingons:

    The early Movie Klingons, I and III, are mostly fleshed out by Kruge and Co. (The TMP klingons barely amount to much but weird comic relief - Klingons see big thing, Klingons shoot big thing, see no reaction, GTFO but are killed). Kruge is ruthless, a raider really, who wants Genesis as a weapon. Kruge says 'honor' to Valkris but is doing a very dishonorable thing (killing her off, killing off a freighter crew to not pay them) so it rings real hollow. He has a dog, that's about it.

    The late Movie Klingons - IV, V, VI - are more 'stately'. We see Ambassadors, the Chancellor, Chang. At the least it seems the higher echelon of Klingon Society is a bit more cerebral than the lower ranks, females are in some prominence. These Klingons are far more organized, far more coherent as a political body, far more fleshed out, but not too much.

    Early TNG Klingons are a bit of a mess. Worf is Klingon, yes, but the Klingons we see are working with the Federation, and it's not until the Duras storyline that Klingons take off in their 'modern' form, with K'mpec mixing the stately and honourly klingon against the sneaky and raider-ish klingon Duras. And that was what, Season 4? After that it became the same mold for the most part.
     
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  19. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is to be expected, because "Berman-Era Klingons" were basically developed by Ron D Moore. Duras was introduced in late season 3 though - only the fourth episode that Moore wrote.
     
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  20. C57D

    C57D Guest

    I have to totally agree with your assesment. Although I love TFR, I do also quite like the obsesively pragmatic, direct, resource poor, totalitarian TOS variety that live solely for their Empire. They are almost like sentient army ants - search far and wide to collect all they can and return it all to the nest (Empire) and destroy anything that stands in their way, or die trying. The individual means nothing, the Empire is all. Even leaders are just servants to the whole.
    Although I do think that FASA is much more in line with TFR, which is not unusual since FASA and John M Ford collaborated in the FASA Klingon supplements!
     
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