TOS is NOT Star Trek

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Thomas Elliot, Mar 14, 2020.

  1. AresB

    AresB Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The visual style, that in TOS was done in the theater-like minimalist way intentionally, not (only) because of budget restrictions, or lack of understanding about realities of physics and space in general. Why do you ask?
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The visual style of more recent productions are based solely on current perceptions of what is futuristic and “realistic,” but I hardly see them as actually more realistic. Indeed I often see them as dark and depressing and countering the original optimistic message of Star Trek as a whole. After TNG things got aesthetically depressing in Trek.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  3. Thomas Elliot

    Thomas Elliot Commander Red Shirt

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    That's an interesting observation.
    TOS Star Trek was very distinctive but I couldn't tell you if that was just a product of its era or it was unique at the time. I didn't watch other sci-fi shows or movies from that time. The orange paneling and counter tops reminded me of all the orange counter tops and seats from 70s restaurants and laundry mats.
    Anyways, now that you mention it, there did seem to be a minimalism aspect going on in the original show, and in TNG.
    Star Wars popularized the worn-in technology/space ship look, but TNG didn't emulate that. They had sleek, comfortable looking Apple Macinotsh colored interior, with sleek colorful shapes appearing on the touch screens.

    When I watch DS9, Enterprise, Discovery and even Picard, the visual look doesn't seem nearly as distinctive. You take out the characters and I couldn't tell you what sci-fi show it was right away.
    The TNG movies and their Enterprise started to look darker, more gray and silver, maybe to emulate a more typical sci-fi-tech look. And I think it was for the worse.
     
  4. Thomas Elliot

    Thomas Elliot Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree.
    I think Abrams reboot of Star Trek was a step in the right direction. It kind of felt like an Apple store, but that's okay because TNG enterprise felt like a late 80s Apple Mac. But I liked JJ Abrams Enterprise because it was BRIGHT! and colorful.
     
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  5. BillJ

    BillJ History's Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I'm down on Discovery, liking Picard. I watched "Spock's Brain" and "The Paradise Syndrome" last night, and I was honestly more entertained by those two than any of CBS' All-Access outings so far.

    There is just a "fun factor" there that simply doesn't exist in the current shows. Could Star Trek be silly as all fucking get out? Yep. It wasn't afraid to experiment, and it occasionally blew up in its face.
     
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  6. AresB

    AresB Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I don't. To me it feels clunky, wobbly and out of proportion. A cruel parody of the classic, ageless beauty of the TOS Enterprise. Like the movies themselves. I can appreciate the attempt to do with lights what TOS did with colors, but the end products fails to please.
    I have no problem with Voyager, NX-01 or Discovery aesthetics. Especially after reading Doug Drexler's, Mike Okuda's and John Eaves' thoughts about their development. They're labors of love and dedication.
     
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  7. BillJ

    BillJ History's Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I find the Discovery aesthetics about as generic as one can get. :shrug:
     
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  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Touchscreen interfaces are not necessarily more realistic in terms of effective operation particularly in times of action. They can be notoriously over or under sensitive—not a good thing when things get hectic and/or if the lights go out. For the operator you question if anything is actually working unless perhaps you have some sort of haptic response.

    Dramatically touchscreens are flat, no pun intended, as there is nothing engaging about someone tapping a flat surface. Hearing and seeing physical switches being manipulated better conveys something actually being done and also offers a dramatic accent or emphasis to the action unfolding onscreen.

    When I look at the TOS bridge I see a logic to it. The red on the edges of the consoles are a visual safety cue to edge of the control panels. The red bridge rails are also a safety cue to the edge of the upper platform. The red turbolift door clearly indicates the bridge main access point. The main controls and display screen curve around the operator within easy reach and sight.

    It isn’t perfect (nothing is), but it’s well thought out and also works very well dramatically. It’s a wonderful example of when ergonomics began to become a serious element of design, something widely practiced in design of all manner of things today.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
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  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Forgive the double post.

    When I look at the exterior design of the Enterprise I see a logic and inspirational genius at work. Yes, it looks damned cool, but there is also a lot of reasoning behind it. It isn't plastered with surface detail because Jefferies had a reason for that. The 1970s saw the introduction of lots of surface detailing to convey the idea of credible mechanical complexity--Star Wars in particular really laying it on thick--but Trek also started down this road with TMP although there and in TNG it was still somewhat restrained. But as contemporary Trek progressed I find the designs went ever further down this industrial look road.

    The smooth appearance of the TOS Enterprise also lent it a sheen of truly advanced science and technology far, far beyond anything we currently comprehend while later versions of Trek tech sought to make the hardware look more "real world" as if we could build the thing tomorrow. Effectively the magic was gone.
     
  10. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Houston, we have a problem...
    ^ Like comparing a WW2 Heavy Cruiser's busy appearance to a similar sized modern Destroyer?

    U.S.S. San Francisco - CA 38:

    [​IMG]

    U.S.S. Arleigh Burke - DDG 51:

    [​IMG]

    Which is the more sophisticated and advanced ship? The one absolutely bristling with guns and radar gear? How about the one that almost looks unarmed by comparison?

    A sleeker, cleaner design can mean that technology has reached a point where it is simply not necessary to have the ship covered with equipment and exposed hardware.

    Now, the Arleigh Burke wouldn't last very long in a gun duel with the Old San Francisco - she's hopelessly outgunned but, the San Francisco should not get close enough to the Arleigh Burke to hurt her since the newer ship is equipped with better sensors and longer ranged missiles. A few Harpoons into the old cruiser would ruin her day...
     
  11. Tribble Threat

    Tribble Threat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Good observation.

    Good definition. It looks like Warped 9 thinks when you said the early Star Trek was unrealistic, you implied later Star Trek was realistic. That's not the impression I got though.
     
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  12. AresB

    AresB Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yes, one of Matt Jefferies' main ideas were that an advanced spacefaring society would build their ships so that they're easily maintained. Most equipment would be inside the hull, so they don't need to resort to spacewalk to repair circuits, but the work can be done when underway. Same thing with the Bridge equipment, all maintenance could be done from the corrider behind the consoles. Which we didn't always see in the actual episodes, but Spock had to crawl under the desk to fix those wooden circuit boards. ;) The neck and nacelle struts could look fantastically flimsy, because there was more at work in there than just the strength of metal.

    The latter Treks moved to more realistic (note the "more" there!) direction, but still the designers tried to stick to Jefferies' idea. The Ent-D was supposed to look like it was built by a society that wasn't strictly bound by the laws of physics, but could make their ships like sculptures. Also, Doug Drexler designed the NX class with the "Swiss army knife" idea in mind, that much of the equipment was inside the hull behind hatches, such as the grappler arms. Another reason was that the writers could easily add new things later, that weren't thought of when crafting the model.
     
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  13. Bornin1980something

    Bornin1980something Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    A couple of years ago, I saw a list of official guidelines for the design of british trains. The only one I remember was 'never use a touchscreen for operationally critical functions.'
     
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  14. Thomas Elliot

    Thomas Elliot Commander Red Shirt

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    I just watched Assignment: Earth. I just saw that it took place on Earth's past and thought it would be up there in quality with Harlan Ellison's episode.
    Holy crap, was this episode a chore. The premise is silly. The Federation can just go back in time when they want just to observe history? This seems like an accident just waiting to happen. It explains how casual Kirk was to suggest time travel in TVH but still. The mystery they started out with was interesting enough but it went nowhere. He really is a good guy so to speak. The actor playing the agent had a great voice but that's it. And him and his little pet cat Isis was cute at first but then it started to feel like I was watching an episode of the campy Batman TV show. TOS always felt a bit cheesy in its look, but I thought it was mostly played straight for the most part. This just felt goofy, all the way through. The only other highlight was when Isis was revealed to be a humanoid shape shifter of some kind.
    I hope there aren't more episodes with the same tone because that's not Star Trek.
     
  15. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Assignment:Earth was the pilot for a never to be series! I think the future of Trek was in serious doubt and Gene Roddenberry wanted to save something from the ashes if he could and this was it! It's actually a good title! :)
    JB
     
  16. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In terms of why the Enterprise should risk time travelling for such a mundane task, I like the think the alien organisation behind Gary Seven (known as the Aegis in several novels) were responsible for maintaining this predestination paradox. They KNEW that Kirk had been involved in their agent's mission three centuries earlier and so contacted Starfleet in 2268, using their influence to initiate the "research" mission.
    Being an ancient and mysterious organisation I'm sure they Aegis has quite a bit of sway, much like the Vedala species in the episode The Jihad, where people just turn up at their beck and call.
     
  17. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Commodore Commodore

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    I really wanted to like this episode, but it’s very average. I liked Gary Seven.
     
  18. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    I like it for the contemporary setting, Spock’s hats, Gary’s “sonic screwdriver”, a first generation touch-tone telephone, and that beautiful Saturn V footage.
     
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  19. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But Gary Seven states that the race that sent him on his mission will remain secret even in Kirk's time!
    JB
     
  20. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Secret to the rank and file of Starfleet, certainly. To certain shadowy upper echelons, though...?