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Topic: Just how dated is TOS, anyway? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 8:22am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Greg: Still one of the best production-designed movies I've ever seen, too!

*****

Indubitably, sir! (And my apologies for instigating thread drift!)

*****

JB: Ted, not sure under what conditions you saw 2010, but your description in no way matches the almost baroque surface details of the Leonov!

*****

It was at a garden-variety multiplex, Chief, and many years ago. And my memory failed me! I just consulted the Great Gazoogle, as I didn't bother to do yesterday, and this is not quite what I remember (that's Leonov at left, for anybody reading the thread who hasn't seen the movie)...



Edited by Ted Downum on 06 March 2018 at 8:23am
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 8:25am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Still a lot of greeblies, but "baroque" is a good description.

I guess it's time for me to watch 2010 again!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 10:39am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

And my apologies for instigating thread drift!
+++++++

No problem. I don’t consider it thread drift, since the impact of other properties on TREK’s style was part of my initial post. Also, I enjoy tangents and spitballing in these sorts of discussions, so feel free!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 10:43am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

By the way, 2001 isn’t too far off from what I would consider a good look for a proper STAR TREK prequel. Heck, a few years before 2001 was released, Matt Jefferes was experimenting with an early Enterprise design which looked a lot like the Discovery (and would later become the Daedalus class starship), before he abandoned the more scientifically-friendly pressure sphere in favor of the iconic saucer.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 06 March 2018 at 10:50am
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 2:10pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

As a fan of the Daedalus-class design, I agree. It (or something like it) would've been a far more fitting predecessor to NCC-1701 than what we actually got.

Actually--in those days of heady optimism, right after Enterprise was announced, and, boy, does that seem like a long time ago--I fantasized about a prequel Enterprise based on the XCV-330 design. It is, after all, canon, sort of. I think I eventually decided, though, that what I assumed to be the habitable area of the ship, the pod at the front of the boom, would probably only hold a handful of people, unless you scaled up the whole design to something way bigger than the original Enterprise...

But perhaps a prequel with a tiny crew would have worked. Maybe it happened in some happier parallel universe!



Edited by Ted Downum on 06 March 2018 at 2:30pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 5:36pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Eaglemoss just released their model of Jefferies' XCV-330 ringship design, and it looks really cool.

Artwork of it appeared onscreen in TMP, so it's canon, as far as I'm concerned. A spaceliner Enterprise which existed prior to the Federation starship. And no bloody NX-01!

I stand by my assertions that there should have been no Starfleet starship Enterprise prior to Kirk's, and that a good chunk of ENTERPRISE's problems would evaporate if the ship had a different name, and the design had skewed closer to the Daedalus[/I[] look.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 6:39pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

As I see it, the main thing plaguing ship design in Star Trek (and sci-fi movies as a whole) are adding design elements that are more for a sense of flavor than a sense of function.  Aggressive aliens get ships with stabby bits on them, because they are aggressive, etc.  Aiding storytelling through design is certainly a thing, but there is a point where it makes no sense for something to have swoopy bits or stabby bits or whatever.  In other words, there's detail, then there's frosting. Every element on a ship should represent a component that does something, or more importantly feel like it does.  

"Realism," for lack of a better term is an artistic choice too. SPACE: 1999 often sold "realistic" even when the ships didn't really make much sense on close examination.

The vast bulk of the details on the TOS Enterprise look like they represent a device of some kind, and not an attempt to look cool.  The level of detail is probably a little low for the resolution of HDTV or the big screen (particularly for scale cues), but it does give the aura of a machine who's makers were not new at making spaceships.  It seems very "together."

I'm of the mind that if I were to dress a big-screen friendly TOS Enterprise, that I'd make sure it looked the same at a distance, but gained detail when you got close enough to see stuff you couldn't see on an old NTSC TV.  For instance, the primary hull grid lines (originally drawn on the miniature in pencil) would be a good candidate to represent with a change in shininess that you could only see when the light hit it the right way.

The refit is a large improvement in the scale cue department, but has a number of the aforementioned swoopy bits that seem to not make any sense.  E.g., the swoopy "rudders" on the aft of the warp nacelles.  That's always bugged me. The side fins above them are dressed as thrusters, why not continue the motif underneath?  That said, I'm generally quite pleased with the refit design.

On the other hand, the JJTrek Enterprise is an abomination. For my money, the worst thing Ryan Church ever designed.  (And I generally like Ryan Church).  It's hard to articulate just how Un-Star Trek those movies feel.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 6:56pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

"... a good chunk of ENTERPRISE's problems would evaporate if the ship had a different name..."

Sorry, Greg.   I just had a big belly laugh at the irony of that.

However, I do understand the spirit of what you're saying.   It's like some exec insisted the show was going to be called ENTERPRISE and everything else, including established TREK canon was bent to make it fit.  They seemed to be trying too hard to distance itself from STAR TREK at first only to relent and say "Hey kids, come back... we have Kahn now (sorta).  Please come back".  





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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 7:23pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Exactly my point. The show would still have had serious problems, of course, but naming the ship "Enterprise"--apparently as a marketing tool (and in defiance of established lore)--made things much worse than they would have been.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 06 March 2018 at 7:24pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 12:51am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"Enterprise" really only works in the post-First Contact timeline. It clearly has no place in Kirk's TOS history. If the franchise and fandom could simply embrace the idea that First Contact sent things off on a separate path, something they seem to love about the Abrams film, also a spin-off from the FC path, a great many continuity issues could be resolved.*

Unfortunately, the truth of it is that Berman and Co. did not care for the brightly colored, action-adventure aesthetic of TOS and crafted their programs to conform only to the movie era. A couple of very nice grace note episodes were allowed that hearken back to TOS, but on the whole, the ships, tech, and shows themselves were designed to reflect the movies. Enterprise's place in the timeline works a whole lot better if you do what Berman and co. did and conceive of Trek as beginning with TMP, with no silly TV series preceding it. 

* FC has continuity issues of its own that this would not solve, but I'm sure we can get Cochrane to Alpha Centauri somehow... Maybe as it's first planetary governor following his historic space flight or something...

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 1:09am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

In terms of the actual design of ENTERPRISE, the evolution of the technology into later eras makes no sense. The NX-01 takes a good number of design cues from NCC-1701, yes, but the overall visual language of the ship (lighting effects, hull texture/detailing, etc.) is much more like a fusion of the TOS movie and the TNG eras. If not for Doug Drexler being a huge TOS fan, the NX-01 probably would have looked far more TNG-ish than it ended up being.

Anyway, the result is that we go from a sort of proto TNG in ENTERPRISE, to the wildly-different TOS look, to the TOS movie redesigns, to the TNG era. And it makes no linear sense. There’s a clear line of evolution from the TOS movies to the TNG era, but TOS simply doesn’t fit with anything else.

And, of course, as Brian notes, there’s that inherent disdain for TOS which infected much of ENTERPRISE. Even the uniforms look like proto-TNG uniforms, with the only design concession to TOS being the use of gold for Command, and red for Operations, rather than the TNG era’s flip-flopping of the division colors.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 7:19am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think also TMP is the odd man out.  It doesn't fit with TOS nor anything else.  It's the STAR TREK equivalent of the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL.

TNG era draws on TWoK onward for both it's design and it's lore.  I think it's hilarious the functional 'onesie' uniforms from TMP became more clunky in the following movies -- and that design stayed around for 60+ years (fictional time) before becoming the streamlined TNG uniforms.   Fashion may be cyclical but function usually marches forward. 




Edited by Rob Ocelot on 07 March 2018 at 7:21am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 8:27am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

…the functional 'onesie' uniforms…

••

Unless they are using transporter technology to beam themselves into them, those "onesies" are not really very practical. One piece outfits are more difficult to get into and out of than more traditional configurations.

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Ted Downum
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 8:43am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Brian Hague: "Enterprise" really only works in the post-First Contact timeline. It clearly has no place in Kirk's TOS history. If the franchise and fandom could simply embrace the idea that First Contact sent things off on a separate path, something they seem to love about the Abrams film, also a spin-off from the FC path, a great many continuity issues could be resolved.

*****

Indeed they could.

So, if that idea were embraced, that would give us...

  • The original "Prime" timeline (TOS-the movies-TNG-DS9-VOY)
  • The post-FC timeline (ENT-the movies-TNG, etc.)
  • The JJ "Kelvin" timeline, branched off the post-FC timeline
  • The Discovery timeline (which is obviously not Prime)

A possible minimum of four distinct Trek universes...five if you want to include a continuity that incorporates TAS. Or perhaps three (or four), if you wanted to wedge Discovery into the post-FC universe. And that's going mainly off of the aesthetic evidence, and the implied evolution of technology.



Edited by Ted Downum on 07 March 2018 at 8:46am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Rob, TMP is where the aztec'ed, redesigned Enterprise was born. The costumes worn in TNG are effectively a cross between TMP's jumpsuits and TWOK's deep-red naval uniforms. The wide-open, well lit bridge has much in common with TNG's, whereas it is TNG's battle bridge and the bridges of other ships that reflect the lighting and mood of some of Trek's later films. 

Also, the story beats of TMP inform the later films, telling us where our heroes have been for all these years, and setting them in place for the films going forward. The continuity is not as tight as the films afterwards, but those followed hard on the heels of one another storywise, and TMP is separated by a gap of several years. Perhaps the most important development was the evolution of Spock's character and his ability to embrace a blend of logic and emotion unique to himself rather than one in keeping with any established philosophies. 

I agree it's not the best fit, but even if you dismiss the look of what's going on inside the ship, that exterior is what birthed the appearance of everything that came after. And hey, let's not forget that the Star Wars Holiday Special gave us Boba Fett... None of these things were conceived as simply disposable.

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 9:59am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Ted, I'd prefer a Trek universe with no divergent timelines, but we have to work with what they've given us, and the various stories and series make more sense if we include that additional one. As you say, the others are already extant.

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Ted Downum
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 11:15am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I'm with you 100% on this one, Brian. Given my druthers, I would also prefer a single, more-or-less cohesive Trek universe. In principle, though, I don't have a problem with alternate universes and divergent timelines. They're a genre staple, and they can serve to explain some of the inconsistencies and tangents that we've seen onscreen.

Heck, I thought that setting the rebooted movie universe explicitly in an alternate timeline was the one good idea Kurtzman and Orci had in the '09 film. The idea of having a blank slate for the TOS characters could have worked out in really interesting ways...if the actual product had been handled with any respect at all for the characters and the source material.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 11:22am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Unless they are using transporter technology to beam themselves into them, those "onesies" are not really very practical. One piece outfits are more difficult to get into and out of than more traditional configurations.
+++++++

As the story goes, the actors were effectively sewn into them, and needed wardrobe people to accompany them each and every time they used the restroom during filming! 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I`m pretty sure the first season of Next Gen had
`Onesie` uniforms, which were so unpopular with the
cast, they changed them to two piece.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 1:24pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Roddenberry had gotten it into his head that the uniforms should be skintight and wrinkle-free, thus giving the impression of futuristic clothing technology which basically molded the uniforms around the people wearing them.


Except that actor comfort is a necessary reality in the day-to-day grind of film/TV productions! Several TNG actors were suffering from back pain as a result of those spandex jumpsuits, which were deliberately made one size too small, for that skintight look.

As with most things STAR TREK, the TOS version of the uniforms are still the best. Sleek, simple, and functional, they elegantly convey the idea of “futuristic space Navy” at first glance. 


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 07 March 2018 at 1:25pm
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 3:50pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Greg K. - and let's face facts. If three actors have to pee sometime during shooting, that's what - two hours wasted? Three? Looks are great, but practical is practical... and practical means money.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 4:16pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Always wondered if those futuristic jumpsuits had a pee and poop flap like babys' onesies do? Otherwise, practicality flies right out the window for design, and not even a particularly good one. I've joked before about the future containing a lot of ugly one-piece jumpsuits according to popular culture. As Greg already stated and I agree, this is another place where TOS got the costuming right over later incarnations.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 9:43pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Roddenberry had gotten it into his head that the uniforms should be skintight and wrinkle-free, thus giving the impression of futuristic clothing technology which basically molded the uniforms around the people wearing them.

Unfortunately that may have been more a fetish on Gene's part.  :-(

..and let's face facts. If three actors have to pee sometime during shooting, that's what - two hours wasted? Three? Looks are great, but practical is practical... and practical means money.

I think we know why TMP went waaaaay over budget. :-)
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 9:55pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

So, I was just listening to an old episode of the STANDARD ORBIT Podcast (a show devoted to various TOS-related topics, which I recently began listening to from the beginning). The hosts interviewed a young lady who goes by “FirstTimeTrek” on Twitter, and live-Tweets as she watches STAR TREK for the first time. 

She began with TNG, since she’d gotten the impression that it was the most popular series, then realized she’d made a dreadful mistake, and went back to the beginning of it all for proper context.

It’s always interesting to get the newbie perspective on the original series. Speaking for myself, I came along many years after TOS had ended, but was fortunate enough to be exposed to reruns and whatnot at a very young age. That being said, I found this young lady’s comments more than a little grating. There was the usual “cheesy” and “goofy” stuff, but the thing that really irked me is that this first-time viewer—a self-professed Feminist—went out of her way to decry the innate sexism of a show from the 60s.

Yes, sexism is bad, but I always cringe when people hold old art to modern standards. Personally, I try to judge all art in its proper time and place. Admire the good, accept and understand the context of the bad, and judge fairly. Pulling out one’s Offense Brigade badge and crying “J’accuse!” conveniently overlooks the various strong female characters (Edith Keller, Areel Shaw, Marlena Moreau, etc.) career women/women in positions of authority (the afformentioned Lt. Shaw, Number One, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, etc.).

TOS is a product of its time, and contains any number of frustrating examples of sexism/misogyny, but it seems like far too many modern viewers and critics are too eager to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
So many people who accuse the female miniskirt duty uniforms as sexist don’t realize that it was Grace Lee Whitney who suggested their use, and that the female crew in the two pilots all wore slacks.

Also, as an aside, I enjoy the STANDARD ORBIT Podcast and its hosts, but their glowing praise for AbramsTREK ‘09 was pretty darn grating. One of the hosts said that he felt that he connected more with Pine’s Kirk than with Shatner’s, and that NuKirk exhibits more character depth and complexity than the original.

Everyone has their point of view, but...What. The. F***. This is a viewpoint that’s simply on another planet, compared to mine.


Anyway, in terms of TOS being perceived as dated, I’ve noticed that modern takes on the show often boil down to accusations of sexism (some accurate, some reaching way too far), and the characters being “less relatable” or “too perfect”/“too campy”/too whatever. I’m a product of my own time, and have my own point of view, but I’d like to think that my assessements of characters and storytelling quality are reasonably objective. For example, I think that Quinto’s No Spock is a shallow character with only two modes: “calm psychopath” and “raging psychopath”, whereas Nimoy’s Spock contained a great deal of depth and complexity.

One of my single greatest frustrations as a nerd is watching people judge past art by modern standards. There’s a difference between being dated and being legitimately bad and/or campy, after all. I cringe when people laugh at TOS’ dated visual effects and theatrical acting/filming style, but fall over themselves marveling at AbramsTREK’s impressive visual effects and paper-thin plots/characters. I suppose it goes to show how shallow our society has become. Flash and dazzle can now easily trump strong stories and characterization.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 9:57pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Unfortunately that may have been more a fetish on Gene's part.  :-(
++++++++

Yeah, that wouldn’t be a surprise. I find the inherent contradictions of the man and his shows endlessly fascinating. Forward-thinking and progressive sometimes, yet sexist and fetishistic at other times. 
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