How can these episodes (from TNG, DS9, and ENT) be canon any longer?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Rock, May 31, 2019.

  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Honestly, I don't see the radical changes folks are talking about. Is the captain's chair still in the middle of the bridge, facing the viewscreen? Are the helm and navigation stations still in roughly the same place? Is the basic layout the same? Does the Enterprise still have a saucer and two nacelles in more or less the same places?

    Sounds like the Enterprise to me. I'm not going to lose sleep over whether the guardrails are exactly the same color or if all the blinky lights in the background are in the same place. It's not as though they swapped out a Star Trek ship for the Millennium Falcon or the Battlestar Galactica. It's still recognizably a Star Trekky spaceship.

    And as for the precise physical dimensions . . . how often does it really matter, plot-wise, if a ship is 430 or 378 meters long? Most of the time we just get an establishing of shot of a big shiny ship in space, which is good enough to get the idea across. When was the last time you heard dialogue such as:

    "Bad news, Captain! The alien tractor beam is just big enough to capture the entire ship, all 386 meters of her!"

    "Blast it. If only the radius of our saucer section was 16.2 meters wider! That would make all the difference!" :)
     
  2. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It matters to licensed, official, even production-related tie-ins such as technical manuals, models or blueprints. There’ve been people such as Franz Joseph, Todd Guenther, Rick Sternbach and many others who have broken ships into individual decks given a certain length, then figured out exactly what fits where and how, resolving real-world production glitches in the process. And if DSC decides to drop engineering continuity and bump its Enterprise from 289m to 442m to make it look better next to Discovery, no problem, that version of the ship can be labeled DSC, but there would still be one exact design (TOS) and another exact design (DSC), not some kind of VagueVision that can work in less precise contexts.
     
  3. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I would argue that ENT didn't "need" to explain the TMP Klingon makeups. Star Trek managed fine for twenty-five years without an "explanation" beyond "Oh, they changed the makeup. Looks cool."

    "Oh, they changed the makeup" was good enough in 1979. It's good enough now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  4. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    New set didn't strike you as significantly larger?
    A new corridor circling the bridge (which went where?).

    I noticed both of those differences within seconds.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    The definition of irony is "tie-in-splaining" to the author of 16 Star Trek novels.
     
  6. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If the Enterprise D obviously changed size between the end of season 4, and the beginning of season 5, that wouldn't matter (to you)?
     
  7. JÓLAKÖTTURINN

    JÓLAKÖTTURINN Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why would it?
     
  8. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, “Trials” on DS9 could’ve gone as far as rebooting only the bar scenes with new designs, which would’ve forced us to accept that Klingons did always look that way. But that’s not what the show did: instead the crossover established the existence of explanation, which ENT then decided to follow up on. Precedent established, DSC does something new, people wonder “Now what?”

    Oh, I’m sure Greg is well aware of other aspects of fandom, but he still holds a story-centric view of Star Trek, so it seems I have to restate the obvious for more than one person here, which is that Star Trek has always had tie-ins which deal in meters and feet, years and stardates, and they’ve been just as licensed and often higher-profile than novels (especially when developed by people involved in production such as Rick Sternbach or Mike Okuda). We just have to accept that if some people are OK with a vague but sorta unified view of things, others want the detail and separate the visions when they can’t physically fit. Why pretend that only one view is enough?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  9. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Honestly, I was paying attention to the story, not the scenery.

    Again, it's like Dracula's castle. As long as it looks like a spooky Transylvanian castle, I'm not going to worry about whether the main stairwell or the dining room looks just like it did in the last movie. Just give me cobwebs and gargoyles and I'm happy. It's all about creating the proper atmosphere, not treating this stuff as though it's non-fiction.

    Reminds me of a conversation I had with another fan when the 2009 movie came out. He complained that he had trouble getting into the movie because the insignias on the Kelvin uniforms were wrong.

    My honest response: "Seriously? A massive Romulan dreadnought has just come through a black hole, George Kirk is valiantly sacrificing his life even as his newborn son draws his first breath . . . and you're fretting about the frigging insignias?"

    I don't get that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  10. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    Actually goes back to "The Trouble With Tribbles":

    http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/42.htm

    It isn't said that Darvin was surgically altered to look like a human. But McCoy does say that Darvin has a different body temperature and heartbeat than a human, establishing that TOS Klingons are not a variety of humans. Darvin would have to cut his eyebrows and beard, and probably color his skin, to look like a human. He might use make up or some sort of surgical or genetic alternations.

    And altering a TOS era Klingon to pass as human seems a lot more realistic and plausible than altering a TNG or DISC era Klingon to pass as human would be.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, I think a change between seasons is different than a change between two productions filmed decades apart, but I certainly wouldn't consider it a deal-breaker. I mean, they revamped the engineering room set between seasons on TOS and I'm not sure I ever noticed as a kid, even with the episodes being shown out of order in syndication.

    (Heck, if I could accept Julie Newmar turning into Eartha Kitt on BATMAN--by way of Lee Meriwether--revamping a spaceship set is not going to faze me.)

    And, honestly, just watching the show, how are we supposed to tell that a ship is bigger anyway? It's a big shiny object floating in a vacuum with no reference points to give it a sense of scale. As long it's not suddenly bigger than the planets in the background, it's just going to look like a ship in space.
     
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  12. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dracula’s castle has a precedent of being reimagined with every adaptation if need be, whereas the precedent for 2233 had been a compromise between ENT and TOS in style as well as substance, the TOS part of the precedent going back to TNG at least. It need not hamper enjoyment of the story, but such changes do make people think about scenery. As much as I liked the movie for what it was, I mean, hey, Robau says “Stardate? It’s 2233.04” and sure, the chronological me is out of the moment and I think “oh, so stardates were used then, they were years and 04 is probably a fraction of the year”. If we wanted to avoid that skip, he might’ve simply said “Stardate?”, and many fans would’ve been amused by the injoke.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, I was thinking specifically of Dracula's castle as seen in sequential movies like the Hammer Films series, where the movies are supposed to take place in the same continuity, just like STAR TREK. Again, I can't say it ever bothered me if the castle's layout varied from sequel to sequel. Heck, watch enough Hammer films and you start to see the same sets recycled from one series to another. "Hey, that's the same library set from that Mummy movie I watched last night!" Doesn't spoil the movie any. Even if you notice, you just shrug and go with it because it's not like you're not aware that you're watching a movie or TV show.

    Another example: I recently rewatched SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) for the umpteenth time. The lab set in that movie bears little resemblance to the lab set in the previous two movies, filmed a few years earlier, even though they're supposedly the same location. Doesn't hurt the movie one bit as far I was concerned. It's still a classic.
     
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  14. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Because it is a Klingon Empire.
    Hopefully more alien looking aliens!
    I don't. I just don't see the other view as necessary, only highly analytical to the point of nitpicky.
    Exactly. This is what confuses me.
    Nope.

    I'm not watching the show to figure out the size of the ship. I watch the show for characters and their interactions and imaginative tech and stories, not the precise details of made up tech.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, it magically gained a new deck on the saucer when they switched from the 6-foot model to the 4-foot model, but shockingly the show and its tie-ins survived.

    Yes. Because that's what Star Trek is: a story.

    Everything else is just icing on the cake.

    Because the story-centric view is enough. Everything else is great, but it's not essential.

    ETA:

    To put it another way: The Sopranos was one of the most successful and revolutionary series ever produced. It changed the face of American television. And nobody ever demanded that HBO publish the blueprints for Tony's house or the Bada-Bing Club or for a comparison of the exact dimensions of the two.

    Star Wars is probably the most successful film series ever. Everyone knows the vast influence it has had on American cinema. And there is no way in Hell all the interior sets of the Millennium Falcon can fit inside a ship as small as its exterior establishes. But no one cares.

    Why?

    Because a good story is more important than technical minutiae.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    And that's the foundation of Star Trek.
     
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  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Digressing: back when I was reviewing submissions for Tor Books, my heart would sink a little if a manuscript began with a couple pages of maps and glossaries and genealogies and such. It wasn't a deal-breaker, but it was sometimes a red flag that possibly the author had put more effort into world-building than telling a compelling story. As I used to tell authors, "it's good that you know this stuff, but it doesn't necessarily have to go in the book."

    And this applied to SF as well as high fantasy sagas.
     
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  18. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. I love Heinlein and wish there was a visual guide, but I can still read those books forever. And Heinlein was a guy who would run orbit calculations as part of his writing process. But, we didn't see those.
     
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  19. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The story is just the core, not the only part that really matters. The discussion here is on the level of telling people to ignore the minute contributions of production designers, VFX or makeup artists as nebulous epherima surrounding the script. No. Everything matters because Star Trek is an audio-visual, multimedia franchise, not even one (soon to be two) series like The Sopranos. (Besides, that series is very much about the real world, not about sci-fi world building with associated tie-ins.)

    The Star Wars example is way off because not only has the MF been recreated in every detail (right down to the exterior/interior size discrepancy, which has been resolved in-universe in favor of the larger interior), but designers had to make sure that Lando’s version could be physically transformed into Han’s. On top of that, Lucasfilm can’t release a film or a series without naming almost every minor character, drawing up starship cross-sections or compiling visual dictionaries showcasing the most obscure prop. Those then provide inspiration for all kinds of tie-in stories, games or cosplay. Franchises can’t afford to focus on only one thing: it’s about the marketing strategy with the story deep in the core, and everything else emanating from there as essential components of the whole. You’re not interested in certain aspects? Fine, but don’t downplay them based on your personal focus.
     
  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek is based upon our current knowledge of the future and technology. Things are going to change.
     
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