Should Okudagrams be considered canon?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by tafkats, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. tafkats

    tafkats Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When a crewmember's name, say, or pieces of biographical detail appear on a computer monitor, do you consider that to be canonical information, or write it off as a piece of scenery that was put in place before DVDs became commonplace and was never intended to be freeze-framed and examined up close?

    For instance, in "Imperfection" (VOY), Seven of Nine reads a list of crewmembers who have been killed in action. This includes Cmdr. J. Bartlett, Lt. Cmdr. L. McGarry, Lt. Cmdr. T. Ziegler, Lt. J. Lyman, Lt. S. Seaborn, Ens. Claudia J. Cregg, and Ens. Charles Young.

    Memory Alpha seems to take this at face value, and spends some time discussing whether there being another crewmember with a rank this high is plausible (since we already know the first officer was Lt. Cmdr Cavit). But it's also likely that the names really weren't intended to be part of the story, since if they were, the creators would likely have done something other than just throwing in a bunch of names from The West Wing.

    The explanations for characters listed as dying in the trip the Delta Quadrant are semi-plausible, but the list of crewmembers involved in the simulations in "The Killing Game" includes Cmdr. Brannon Braga, Cmdr. Jeri Taylor, Lt. Cmdr. Brad Yacobian and Lt. Cmdr. David Livingston. Given the implausibility of characters of these ranks being on Voyager and never being seen or mentioned, I think it's safe to guess that the random Okudagram in-jokes, like throwing in names of the production staff or characters from other TV shows, were never intended as part of the story, and to dismiss them.

    Thoughts? To what extent do you take on-screen graphics seriously?
     
  2. tafkats

    tafkats Vice Admiral Admiral

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    (Sorry -- could someone please move this to GTD? I thought I was there.)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Canon" does not mean "true." It just means something that's part of the onscreen productions. The onscreen productions often contain things that are mutually contradictory (like Data using contractions routinely before it was suddenly established that he didn't), or that can't be taken literally as shown (like Saavik's face and voice transforming between movies, or like the same props and consoles showing up on alien worlds that couldn't possibly have shared technology). Canon is only "real" in the broad strokes, the overall conceit that these separate fictional productions represent a reasonably consistent conjectural reality. There are countless sources of error and inconsistency in the precise details, so one can't get too hung up on them. Canon is a concept that's relevant on the gross level of analysis, not the fine-detail level.

    So just because something is onscreen, that doesn't mean it has to be treated as literal fact. Especially if it's blatantly an in-joke that was never meant to be legible onscreen, like the rubber ducky in the TNG master systems display, or the ludicrous element names in the "periodic table" we saw once in a TNG episode.

    I think that if information from an Okudagram can be reasonably accepted as true within the universe, and if there's a reason to draw on it as story material, then sure, you can go ahead and use it. But if it's obviously a joke, you're under no obligation to treat it as true, any more than you have to assume that Denise Crosby's barely visible farewell wave in her last scene of "Symbiosis" represents something that Tasha Yar actually did at that moment in 24th-century history.
     
  4. The Dominion

    The Dominion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd say they're true until proven otherwise. And they're always subject to change.
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    I think a lot of it depends on how crucial said information is to the story at hand. If it's a plot point, yeah, but if it's just filling the space to make it look a little busier, I'd say fielder's choice.
     
  6. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, if it requires pausing, or zooming in, or pausing and zooming and HD, then they're just fun little "easter eggs" for die-hard fans.

    I mean - Jonathan Archer as president of the Federation??:wtf::rommie:
     
  7. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    I dunno....he probably made a better politician than a starship captain...
     
  8. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it depends on the "retrievable data"? Some things were put in just for "in jokes" like the giant pet mouse and so forth, these obviously weren’t intended to be taken seriously. On the other hand, other things like FJ’s blueprints and starship classes seen on the monitors in the early TOS movies should be given serious consideration IMHO.
     
  9. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Moved by Mutai per the OP's request.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Those are things I'm not inclined to take literally. They didn't include the FJ blueprints because they actually intended them to represent the accurate internal structure of the ship -- I mean, heck, they were blueprints of the pre-refit Constitution class. They used them because they were artwork that had already been done so it saved them time, and because they didn't expect anyone would pay close enough attention to notice the details. They just wanted something that would give the passing impression of "deck plans" on the screen, and there wasn't meant to be any more to it than that. It's no different from when modelmakers would kitbash pieces from battleship and airplane model kits onto starship models. They don't intend us to believe the starships actually have such anachronistic detail, it's just meant to give a general impression of texture. (Heck, there's a kitbashed spacedock shuttle in, I think, TNG's "11001001" whose nacelles are made from disposable razors. Some designs aren't meant to be examined in detail.)
     
  11. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well to be fair, I agree as far as ST:III goes, with what's supposed to be Spock's quarters an all. But in ST:TMP V'ger was scanning the library computer and so it's reasonable to assume that "Historical data" like the TOS era Constitution would be among the files scanned. Besides, at that time most ships would presumably still be in their more or less "original" configurations, so the data would not be that dated?

    As for the starship classes from the tech manual go, I'll meet ya half way. while showing them in their TOS era configurations is an anachronism, which we can ignore, the fact that ships like these exist in the trekverse should be considered established, albeit they should have been shown in their "uprated" configurations.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're saying that Spock's quarters aren't located in the brig?

    All Okudagrams that appear on screen are canon. In terms of taking items seriously, that would depend on how reasonable they are, Archer as president, Vulcan embassy on DS9, even a company named Yoyodyne ... okay I can buy it.
     
  13. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Not necessarily "should". Could also be historical data as well.
     
  14. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    A lot of the Okudagrams contain in-jokes relating to the production staff. Like most easter eggs they are just things the graphic artists put there so that they aren't visible to the viewer - unless of course, the viewer is extremely attentive to detail.

    If you know that a production joke is there in the scene, you just have to suspend disbelief and imagine that it's something the characters aren't seeing when they look at their computer panels, etc. I don't seem to recall Picard or Janeway wondering who the hell Admiral "Berman" was when they looked at their ship's dedication plaques! :lol:
     
  15. The_Baron

    The_Baron Captain Captain

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    I don't want to live in a world where Red Dwarf and Star Trek are entirely separate universese. As it stands, the presence of Jupiter Mining Corporation and Divadroid Inc. Offices on Deep Space Nine's promenade directory make it so.

    ...ok...maybe not.
     
  16. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not to mention that at the time of Past Tense Arnold Rimmer and David Lister were the Governor of California and Mayor of San Fransisco. Seriously, that's actually printed on the patches worn by the Sanctuary District guards.

    But really, that just proves that most of the Okudagrams are usually just jokes and not meant to be taken seriously. In fact, in TATV when Riker is looking up the record of one of his former crewmates from the Pegasus, the text actually says "I wonder if you can read this in HD? Who the hell is this guy anyway? Obviously someone Riker cares about. Have I filled up enougn room yet? No? Blah blah blah blah blah (and so on)."

    Plus then you got Archer's bio from IAMD, which was both contradicted in TATV (it referances Shran becoming an Andorian general and making Archer an honourary member of the Andorian Imperial Guard, even though in TATV Shran fakes his death and tries to live a quiet civilian's life) and then is confirmed by Trek XI (it referances Archer being promoted to Admiral, and Scotty refers to him as "Admiral Archer.")

    Finally, if we accepted everything on the dedication plaques as canon, then Admiral Roddenberry has been Starfleet's chief of staff as early as late 23rd century (when the Enterprise B was launched) and as late as the 29th century (when Relativity was in service). Talk about job dedication.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Some people get too hung up on the question of what's "real" in a TV show. These are fictions made for entertainment, and while the performers pretending to be other people and the writers and artists inventing things for those performers to say and places for them to perform in may generally try to convey the illusion of something the audience can pretend is "reality" for the duration of the story, they're not above acknowledging the unreality from time to time, because they expect that the audience is fully cognizant of their own willing suspension of disbelief. Trying to treat a work of make-believe as though it were a primary historical source that had to be studied in exhaustive detail as if one were going to be tested on it is just applying the wrong category of analysis to it. Every work of fiction contains evidence of its artificiality on some level.
     
  18. A Little Otter

    A Little Otter Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    If a prop or set piece affects the story, then it should be treated as canon, such as phasers, nacelles, or a Jeffries tube. If not, then it's just there to try to flesh out a make believe world and should be treated as such.
     
  19. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I take nothing from Voyager seriously.

    I guess we should only take Okudagrams as canon if you actually want it to be canon that the Enterprise' computer interface has a duck as an icon.
     
  20. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh, also, Franz Joseph's tech manual ships are hideous.