Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Rock, May 31, 2019.
Personally, I'd rather they put more effort into writing the stories.
Yes, they really can. Star Trek was built upon a foundation of telling good action/adventure stories about human beings and not mired in the technobabble of explaining their tech. It was about characters and their interactions in an optimistic future that human beings could get along well enough to accomplish large tasks.
Things like the Star Trek Technical Manual or the Star Trek concordance were built by fans as passion projects. So, the fans are fully capable of filling in these details without all the official numbers and factoids and technobabble.
Stories are about people. Star Trek is no exception.
The key word there is ‘explaining’: nobody wanted technobabble, but the characters had to look like they knew what they were doing. The low-level worldbuilding had to be in the background, and it was amped up on TNG where Mike Okuda and Rick Sternbach developed technical memos and a writers’ technical manual that they would then expand upon and publish as Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual (so it was not a passion project by fans). Just because it’s not a medical or a political show doesn’t mean that rules shouldn’t be discernable if you’re looking closely.
Well you are interested in certain details? Fine, but don't treat them as if they are the Holy Grail that must be adhered to based on your personal focus.
Who says they must be adhered to? The problem is that most people in this topic are treating it as a non-issue, something they’ve decided is the wrong way of looking at things, rather than accept that details do matter for tech fans as opposed to story fans. It’s like tech fans are on the tech board while this is in fact a highly specialized novel- or scriptwriting board, and there is no understanding of fandom issues in general, which need not have much to do with a storytelling focus.
I don’t want to see an opinion cluster like that, especially not on a general discussion board, so then I must step in and represent the other side. I’m not at all into cosplay, but sure, I understand if someone goes for a perfect costume recreation even if it has nothing to do with story, just because some people are into costume design. It’s all a part of fandom with decades of precedent.
Which is all BTS minutia that I, as a viewer, do not need to have in order to enjoy. If they are presented on screen as knowing what they are doing then I do not care about the size of the ship, or how a tricorder works. It does what it is supposed to do.
That level of world building outside of the show is a bonus, not a requirement, and can be changed. This includes the size of the ship, as that has very little (if any) impact upon enjoyment of the story.
I get that fans want the technical details. As I said upthread I am well aware of Robert Heinlein and his writing of orbital calculations for his stories. But, it is not a need for fans to have to enjoy the story as long as it is presented well on the show.
If the story is failing to present itself without the aid of ancillary materials that is a failure on the writers in worldbuilding and that's on them. No book is going to fix that issue in a story. And that's why I don't see it as being as important to the fans to have things like the Eaglemoss details, or the tech manuals. It is important for the production team.
This doesn't change the fact that DSC and TOS are still telling the same story with the same tools, just from a different basis of knowledge, 20th century tech knowledge vs. 21 century tech. Since Star Trek is built upon our humanity this update is expected.
Story is the only thing that matters, everything else is secondary. Hell, the way this thread is going is starting to remind me of a quote from Terence Dicks, a producer on Doctor Who in the 1970s, and considered one of the franchise's greater writers. "Continuity is only whatever I can remember." Star Trek could benefit from this attitude, since it would at least nip all these arguments about canon in the bud.
Another poor analogy because time travel and alteration are central to the premise of Doctor Who, which is why it never need surprise us if an element in a certain era has changed completely since the last visit. The closest Star Trek has come to that was in the various far-future episodes.
Even so, it’s not like the BBC has decided that the fan-favorite Doctor is, say, the Fourth, and rebooted his personal timeline with a recast Sarah Jane Smith and a new and improved K9. Period stays period and you update the show by going forward with regeneration and Tardis reconfiguration.
...So what's the problem? DSC has just made more work for all those types of guys. They have a couple of entirely new ships to figure out. So you've got more blueprints and technical manuals on the way that will deconstruct this stuff to your heart's content. If I was a big tech fan, I'd be excited about that, not constantly bitching about how everything isn't exactly like all the old stuff.
The problem is that most people on this topic are still rolling their eyes at the notion of one (Prime) Timeline, two physical realities tagged “original” and “DSC”. They want it to be the same reality even though known elements have been redesigned (the Enterprise exterior, interior, uniforms) and measure out differently, to the point we’d have to imagine a magical there-and-back-again “refit” between the first and the second TOS pilots. I keep saying that measurements matter to tech fans, the answer is that tech isn’t as important as the story, which is true but beside the point of things still not fitting. The discussion could be over if it were clear that Star Trek also has an exact visual component (or two in this case), not just vague personal visions like a novel.
Except, Terence Dicks was the producer of Doctor Who during the Jon Pertwee's term as the Third Doctor. During which the Doctor is stranded on contemporary Earth for most of the term, with only a handful of time travel stories scattered over the course of five years. So the "time travel changed things" doesn't quite work here. Besides, with the exception of Steven Moffat's time as showrunner, Doctor Who has largely avoided stories that are actually about time travel as opposed to time travel just being the mode of transportation.
Doctor Who is such a long-running show that most people haven’t seen each episode, and back then there were no wikis or home media. Besides, I’ve said before that the premise of Star Trek just isn’t served by weaving between the good-old to give fans what they’ve always wanted to see, as opposed to creating the next Borg or the next Dominion. It places future writers on lesser footing than writers that came before, whose work is being followed up on with lower risk to their successors, because now you can put a huge Vulcan salute on a poster and audiences will come. But someone created that first, so what’s the next iconic creation for Star Trek?
Most or just a very vocal subset of fans?
“No one goes to a movie with a slide rule in his hand.” - Harold Michelson, production designer of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The professionals who work on these movies recognize that things don't always fit 100% and that sometimes you fudge things for the sake of a cool shot. It's beyond me why some fans are utterly unwilling to do the same.
Because it's not. The Enterprise is not a real vehicle. It's a vehicle for telling stories.
From TOS' engineering to TMP's rec room, hardly any of the Enterprise sets have ever fit properly into the depicted interiors. This is nothing new.
Star Trek has never, ever been exact in its physical components. The scale of the Enterprise was completely changed between "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before," doubling the size of the ship and boosting its crew from 200 to 430. The nacelles went back and forth from having grilles at the end to having spheres at the end, depending on what shot you were looking at. The TOS shuttlecraft are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. There's debate about how big the ship was in TMP. Our own @Donny has been working on wonderful, largely screen-accurate digital recreations of the Enterprise interiors for a while now, and he frequently acknowledges where he has to change or fudge something in his game engine because it doesn't fit properly. You're asking for an impossible standard here. It makes no sense to demand that working, creative professionals handcuff their imaginations and recreate something from a 50-year old television show just so you have less of a problem when you watch an episode.
Bottom line: The sets, the ship design, the costumes, the props, all of that stuff, are just there to help you buy into the story being told, and help you buy that you're seeing a spaceship in the future. It's the frosting, not the cake itself. The TOS design aesthetic, as much as I love it, just does not look futuristic to most audiences today, and it would interfere with the storytelling if they used it. We'd have the same old tired jokes about "cardboard sets" and things looking "cheesy," and people would write off the show because of it. Why risk alienating your potential audience just to please a much smaller subset of fans who want everything to fit perfectly? Why not do something that's still in the same ballpark, but looks genuinely futuristic to a 21st century audience instead of a mid-60s one?
You’re conflating production inconsistencies (which are expected and often have obvious fixes within a fictional reality) with a totally new design aesthetic for an established period. And I’m not saying it’s wrong for it to exist (aside from the creative issue that riffing on the good-old won’t give us the good-new), just that it means Pike might have to walk 8 meters from X to Y in one reality and 11 in another for tech-oriented tie-ins to work, not that it’s all one reality without any established visual component.
What’s the problem now? I just said it’s not a technical issue if there are two such realities. In one of them the Enterprise is 442m long and all the other Enterprises must be scaled up and redesigned to maintain the historical size and design lineup (perhaps the ”TMP” version will differ less because DSC is already closer to TMP); in another it’s 289m long and the other Enterprises remain the same.
Not for lack of wanting too. If they could, Trekkies would freeze frame the movies periodically during their opening nights and take measurements right off the screen.
How did the Enterprise computer know that Scotty wanted the original Enterprise bridge when there were one or two refits of the original constitution class of that era?!
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