What makes a TOS Klingon?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by C57D, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. C57D

    C57D Commander Red Shirt

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    Although I am a massive fan of John M Ford's "The Final Reflection", I have recently been pondering how to define a TOS Klingon purely from what we see on screen -with especial reference to Errand of Mercy, Trouble with Tribbles & Day of the Dove.
    They seem to have a very pragmatic, strict and controllling society. Everyone from Planetary Govenors to ordinary starship crew are watched and monitored. Although, the three main characters that we saw are quite dissimilar in character from slimy-charming-dictatorial to sneaky-confrontational-legalistic to sorta paternal-aggresive-pragmatic. So there does not seem to be one all controlling monoculture thing going on. Maybe it is more a case of success in a greater position allows for a little independence of thought - as long as the line is mostly toed?
    They all seem single minded, and not very sympathetic (!!!), and there is definitely a strong sense of being driven to suceed, and that the end justifies the means.
    However they seem to have a lot of resource poor worlds (or is that just propaganda to motivate the troops and justify their conquests?) which drives them to expand.
    What else would you say makes a good TOS Klingon? What have I missed?
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
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  2. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Black rollneck sweater
    Gold tunic
    Fake tan
    Snazzy facial hair
    Attitude
    No ridges
    And that's the way they should have left them
     
  3. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    His parents, I assume.
     
  4. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Sounds kind of like my boss. :eek:
     
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  5. 1001001

    1001001 Pull Up a Groove and Get Fabulous! Moderator

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    A ton of grease paint, poorly applied.
     
  6. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've had a few bosses in my time who would make the Klingons look like choirboys
     
  7. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Basically, I would assume that Klingon society is living under a totalitarian system. It might be that there is an "Emperor" but, much like feudal Japan, that Emperor is a figurehead and the military Junta runs the actual show.

    The average Klingon lives their lives in relative peace, so long as they follow the rules. Everyone is being watched to some extent though, I would assume those with more potential to be a danger to the state would be watched more closely than a common civilian. It's very clear from Errand of Mercy that even a fairly high-ranking official like Commander/Governor Kor is subject to those rules and, appears to be used to them (doesn't seem at all bothered).

    In many ways, I like this version of the Klingons far more than any other depiction. There is an underlying honor system in there somewhere - evidenced by Kang's attitude in Day of the Dove but, it's firmly subservient to the state's interests.

    It's also clear from DotD that there is a resource issue holding the Klingons back, possibly dilithium or maybe other critical strategic resources. This would explain why the average Klingon warship is not a full-on match for a Federation (or is it Earth?) Starship. They can't afford to waste resources on more complex and expensive ships.

    As to the costuming and "grease paint", Star Trek - like most TV in the 50's to 60's was a stage play and stage techniques (which tend to be quick and cheap) were appropriate at the time...
     
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  8. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the original Klingons were more menacing, more believable, totalitarian is a good description
    Romulans were the ones consumed by honour and code, and in later Trek the Romulans became unscrupulous while the Klingons became enveloped by tradition, honour, loyalty to the House etc.
    In short, the Klingons bored me to death for 20 plus years, especially Worf.
    Only when Discovery happened that I became interested in Klingons again, possibly because they had a reboot.
     
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  9. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Forced labor camps tend to be not too efficient, so, the problem might not be resource rich planets, rather, an ineffective system in getting at the resources. (Remember, this was a 1969 political statement on communism.)

    I think the Klingon warship match to the Federation starship is mixed. When the Romulan were using the D7, they were overtaking the Enterprise which was at Warp 9. Speed advantage for D7. In Elaan of Troyius, the Klingon D7 speed kept the Enterprise from targeting and hitting them when the Enterprise was on impulse drive only. After a few disruptor hits, the Enterprise's shields were down. Once on Warp power, Kirk lured the D7 to close range to hit them with photon torpedoes. Without the trick maneuver, I don't think the Enterprise could have won that engagement even after it had warp drive back due to its previous damage and jury rigged dilithium crystals. Weapon advantage seems even but this could be debated. Though not a Klingon match up, the stout shields shown in The Changeling and The Deadly Years suggests the Enterprise's shields are special. Shields advantage for Enterprise, especially on warp power.

    I think the encounter in Friday's Child showed that a Klingon scout ship is no match for a starship like Enterprise.
     
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  10. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Traditional sources, therefore non-cannon, had always made the Federation Heavy Cruiser much tougher in shield strength and ability to absorb damage with stronger but fewer weapons. The Klingon Battlecruiser was more nimble, more maneuverable if not flat out faster, and many weapons but of a weaker strength. So it's a close matchup but the Klingon would really need to use his maneuverability to get the shots in to wear the Fed down without the Fed smashing him with a full salvo.
     
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  11. C57D

    C57D Commander Red Shirt

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    Menacing & totalitarian are certainly great and appropriate concepts for TOS Klingons for sure!
    The whole "always being watched" thing reminds me of the Communist era Russia's Zampolit and how they oversaw the commanding officers of a warship or regiment etc. Thought police there to make sure that the commander always toed the line and used his forces for the benefit of TPTB and not for himself.
    As regards slave camps, I am not too sure. Mara certainly feared them, falsely assigning them to the Federation, although that could easily be a reflection of her own society!
    But TOS Klingons strike me as ruthlessly efficient, and as has been pointed out slave labour is not efficient (ruthless on the other hand...). I wonder if many "allied" planet and races are willing to work for the Klingons in return for high tech goodies and protection? Even led by their own people, as long as they maintain the Klingon's peace and hit the quotas!
    But if they fail then a couple of D7's with Marines on board pay a them a little visit!!
     
  12. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It wasn't a scout ship in Friday's Child but a Klingon Warship according to Chekov, so Kras lied to Kirk! :klingon:
    The original Klingons were the best and scariest to be honest although the TMP ones looked good they soon changed them from big ridges to crabs sitting on their big red heads!!! :crazy:
    JB
     
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  13. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Why can't a military scout ship be a warship? Even if not a scout ship, "warship" doesn't necessarily mean D7. If you said "American Warship", it could be a Destroyer, Cruiser, Battleship (if a few decades ago), or Aircraft Carrier. Since the Klingon vessel had no stomach for fighting, I can assume it was not a match for the Enterprise, so, probably not a D7 (see view screen below for image of the scout ship). ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Captain Captain

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    What makes a TOS Klingon is at least one appearance in TOS or a TOS tie-in set before TMP.
     
  15. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ Technically correct...The best kind of correct!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  17. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I get the feeling that the Klingon ship seen in Elaan of Troyius (D-7) was a new type of ship in their fleet! :klingon:
    JB
     
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  18. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    It's good to see the phaser on maximum dispersal is used again in the beginning of Errand of Mercy against the Klingon attacker, as first seen in Balance of Terror against the cloaked Romulan ship. Photon torpedoes were first used in Arena, so, there's no confusing the two special effects by now. Since the attack on the Enterprise occurred with little sensor warning, is it possible the Klingons were using a cloaked ship where it decloaked, fired, and recloaked again, hence the reason for phasers at maximum dispersal weapon tactic as used against the Romulan BoP?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  19. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    ^^That, and a lot of boot polish since that was cheaper than applying molded latex with post-it glue to make the hapless actor sit there for hours as its applied, then removed after the five minutes of dialogue are recited.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, Campbell does a perfect Brutopian diplomat when he does Koloth! These folks have all the comical bluster of Barks' red(-in-the-face) villains, with little of the actual menace remaining once the heroes get to it. :p

    ...If by "late" you mean their second TOS appearance. Not that their first would have featured much code or honor, either - it was all about betrayal and backstabbing and sneak attacks and maneuvering, with the main character actively undermining his Star Empire's designs and, by seemingly performing his duty to the last, preventing the war his Praetor so much wanted.

    Timo Saloniemi