Can you imagine how we would treat the original Trek series...

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by todd s, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    If it was on now? I could see it now:

    -"Did you see that alien, how fake."
    -"How can there be another Earth with the exact same land masses" ("Miri")
    -"Another planet where the people became exactly like the Romans!" ("Bread & Circuses")
    -"See above. But, with a culture that had the exact words to the Constitution and our flag".

    Don't get me wrong. I love the old Trek. And I know that Enterprise needs help. And getting rid of Berman & Braga would be a great start. But, I think we look at these shows with nostalgia and not with the nitpicking views we give Enterprise.
     
  2. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Undoubtedly, we view these shows nostalgically. Heck, many of us saw these first as re-runs/on video.

    And, admittedly, there is a lot of '60's camp that I am glad to forgive, and often enjoy! (Kirk's misogyny, costumes, etc.)

    And, there are some episodes that are bad - real bad - no matter how much you forgive.

    BUT, there is a reason this show is so revered and has lasted in our hearts and imagination for so long - WRITING. Just look at a who's who of TOS writers - Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon, Roddenberry, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, Dorothy Fontana, Gene Coon, etc., etc.

    The imagination, originality, and daring of the show was and is phenomenal. Whenever I compare TOS to new stuff, I always point to the writers. TOS used STORY WRITERS - guys with sci-fi backgrounds and no regard for Hollywood. The new shows (and I'm a fan of DS9 and TNG) depend on TV WRITERS. Chasing ratings and satisfying Paramount is, IMO, at the core of the downfall of the Trek legacy.
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

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    I can say when myself and friends watch the original Star Trek Series, it is extremely entertaining, as we do "Mystery Science Trek 3000", has had us in stitches many times, if you sort of get what I mean by "MST3K"...


    I mean, gay scenes of Kirk, Bones, and Spok together, Priceless... lmao
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    You have to look at it in the context of the time that spawned it. Before Trek, there was no high-quality continuing SF series to speak of; the anthologies had obviously limited budgets. And when a modern audience turns it on today, they know it.


    Of course, there'd also be the members of the audience who pipe up to remind us that Roddenberry is a friggin' genius, and he's OBVIOUSLY building to something with all those planets with Earth-like civilizations and histories, but those sons of bitches at NBC will probably cancel it before the whole story is told. [​IMG]
     
  5. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    If it was made now, the sets, makeup, and effects would certainly be better, so it's not fair to make those comparisons.

    And would there be fifteen (or whatever) years of previous Star Trek series to compare to, or are you asking if Star Trek started today? That would obviously affect the "been there, done that" reaction.

    I agree with Quentin: the stories were just better. Also, Kirk and Spock were better characters. Their dynamic and with Bones was better. Shatner was a more interesting actor [​IMG]

    //Ken
     
  6. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Shatner..was.....so....DRAMATIC....how...could you......NOT..... like....him?

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    This is an important point. Star Trek depends way to much on a bump on the forehead identifying aliens. Look at B5 which went a bit further than that, sometimes quite a bit further, with a limited budget but using modern technology.
     
  8. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Bela Oxmix indeed.... [​IMG]
     
  9. Daniel J.S.

    Daniel J.S. Stunt Coordinator

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    I must point out that using the old saw about the TOS being "sexist" as a reason to bash it simply does not wash; sure TOS has this problem, but let's face it, sexism is just as rampant on modern Trek. For example, look at the TNG uniforms and notice how the men's outfits look very comfortable while the women's are conveniently form-fitting. The same thing happened with Kira's uniform on DS9; compare what she was wearing in the earlier seasons to what she wore in the seventh. Modern Trek has never missed an opportunity to present its attractive females as sexual objects (Jadzia in a bathing suit or in a TOS mini-skirt, Kira in rather skimpy bedroom attire in a second season show, Seven and T'Pol's catsuits). Let's not forget the climax of "Q-Pid" where the Picard, Riker, Geordi and Worf actively take part in the fighting while Crusher and Troi hit guys over the head with flower pots. One could say that the modern shows are even more insidious by putting on a pretense of political correctness while embodying the same old cultural tropes about women.
     
  10. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    The other thing to remember with TOS is that, at the time, it was new and the artifices, such as exact earth-duplicate planets, etc. were used to tell interesting and intelligent stories.
     
  11. KerryK

    KerryK Stunt Coordinator

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    Daniel J.S. you are absolutely right. And on Enterprise, they're dragging the men down to the women's level and showing them running around in their underwear for entire episodes.
     
  12. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    I wasn't referring to sexism when I mention the costumes. I was simply referring to how LAME they look (particularly the colors) when compared to anything today. But, that was '60's kitch, AND doing a show on a shoestring budget (they often recycled costumes).

    I made the mistake of mentioning costumes after Kirk's misogynism. Which, is a creature in and of itself. And we have NEVER seen anything like him since...
     
  13. Daniel J.S.

    Daniel J.S. Stunt Coordinator

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    Now, how is vibrant colours and cinematography supposed to be a bad thing? Or do you enjoy the fact that modern Trek is shot so that it looks as bland as plain oatmeal?

    My point about the costuming is that modern Trek pretends that it's so enlightened about gender relations (especially compared to TOS), but if you get past the rhetoric, you'll find that the shows can be just as demeaning to women as any other show. The only difference is that modern Trek is more patronizing by acting so enlightened when it falls into the same traps, and that is very disheartening.

    Kirk is sexually attracted to women and often acts on those attractions. That is hardly misogynistic; he generally treats women with respect and rarely demeans them or exploits them to get something he needs (although he does this with Sylvia in "Catspaw"). Which isn't to say that TOS doesn't contain moments of blatant sexism, because it certainly does, such as much of "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Nonetheless, you'll find just as blatant examples in TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT. It's just an illustration of the fact that our society hasn't advanced nearly as much as we like to think in terms of gender and race issues.
     
  14. Craig: Mclaren

    Craig: Mclaren Second Unit

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    60's Star Trek was fun. The rest are dull, boring bollocks. Thank you and good night.[​IMG]

    PS- This isn't a flame. Its the truth. I'm only being honest.

    PPS- Can anyone tell me the name of Shatners album where he sang, Lucy... In... The... Sky with... diamonds. I love it! [​IMG]
     
  15. Joshua_W

    Joshua_W Second Unit

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    The original Trek had a lot of heart, and that goes a long way.

    As to how it looks "today," I remember watching "Trials and Tribbleations" on DS9 when it aired, and I was quite surprised just how well the old sets looked in the middle of a modern television show. It really did feel like something out of DS9's past.
     
  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Nice observation, Joshua. And Quentin makes my own case beautifully in his posts.

    I screen TOS on Friday nights, and last night's episode was the second-season "The Apple." Oh, even back in 1968 I flinched at the native men's feminine hair-dos. But I sure enjoyed myself.

    Yep, at its best, TOS was driven by stories.

    And go back to the second season of ABC-TV's The Outer Limits. The Harlan Ellison-scripted "Demon With a Glass Hand" is in my list of the ten greatest SF films of all time. It was shot on a frayed shoestring. Its set was an abandoned office building in the dark. The special effects were limited to extra-dimensional aliens (people wearing black, Ninja-like body suits and white makeup with dark around the eyes) emerging through a "mirror." But it was anchored around a genuine SF story, and the acting and film-noir direction were flawless.

    These days, in the era of media over-saturation, story is, at best, third- or fourth banana. "Hour-long" dramas are actually forty minutes long to accommodate more adverts. On the Star Trek set, stories are mapped out in group meetings. The template is previous incarnations of Star Trek. Hell, I cringed when Ron Moore stated that the sixth-season TNG fave "Tapestry" was his take on It's a Wonderful Life. It showed.

    Why not show some imagination? Why use as your model a loved icon of pop culture — somebody else's story? Write your own story. And if it's to be SF, make it "real" SF.

    At its best, TOS at least tried to do this.
     
  17. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    The more vibrant color of the old Star Trek could be a product of two things (I think):

    1. Color TV was still new enough to be a novelty and they wanted to show off the colors.

    2. A lot of people still had B&W sets in 1966-69. You really had to make the colors stand out from each other so it would still look good in B&W.
     
  18. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Perhaps they used colored lights to compensate for the lack of detail the sets themselves provided. That said, there have been a couple of Enterprise episodes where visiting aliens' ships were lit in the 1960s colored lights way. One was a ship that TPol visited that was run by Vulvans who were experimenting with emotions - the set was wholly 1960s, it looked really cool - and then also one of the Klingon ships had intense multi-shades of red inside, instead of the solid red which Next Generation era Klingon ship interiors have.

    I'd also include the Trip-gets-impregnated-by-a-lizard episode as having a cool, somewhat 1960s retro alien set design.

    But largely it seems the show had been afraid to depart too much from the DS9-darkness.

    UPDATE: Oh man I just had to leave that typo in there. Vulvans indeed.
     
  19. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Paul is correct.

    During the early 60's, RCA owned NBC. Radio Corporation of America (RCA), if you're too young to remember, then made lots of televisions.

    NBC was the only full color network in 1966 and RCA had a strong interest to see NBC succeed. And indeed they did as both made lots of money off each other.

    As a result, NBC wanted to broadcast very colorful programming. Jerry Finnerman, the cinematographer for Star Trek, worked very hard to achieve the dramatic lighting and color. (Also compare the pilot for Star Trek to the regular series episodes. There's lots of grays on the ship. The costumes were more subdued in color. Looks a lot like Star Trek The Motion Picture)

    Interestingly, at that time, the RCA color system was a government approved system. As color was so new then, after the first episode aired, the unusual Star Trek series was thought to be incorrectly color balanced because of the funny looking guy with the ears had yellow skin and the color technician at NBC Master Control thought he blew it. Turns out he hadn't done anything wrong, he was told by Herb Solow (Executive in charge of Star Trek production) the funny looking guy with ears is part Vulcan and has yellow skin.

    Also of some interest was that while Star Trek didn't score well with Neilson ratings at the time, it did score as the highest rated program at that time as a color program! So Bonanza was top in the ratings on a national scale, but Star Trek scored highest as a color show.
    (source: Inside Star Trek, The Real Story by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman)

    I wonder how Batman scored for color, talk about loud and bright colors.

    Additionally, the story that RCA had an approved system to broadcast color makes me wonder how the current HDTV standards are driven by the Government and if RCA was driven by the Government to set up the standards then for color broadcast too. Or did RCA lobby the government so it had a "monopoly" then for a color system everyone else had to use. Looks like an interesting subject for study.
     
  20. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom Supporting Actor

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    TOS had much better characters and stories. Count me in as a fan of Shatner's acting as Kirk. Plenty of people these days take ot shots at it but I still view like I did when I was a kid. I love it. Kirk is a gunslinger dressed up as a starship captain and it worked so very well.

    That being said Spock is still my favorite chacter on Trek ever. Spock ruled.

    Anyway these guys were inspiring to me as a kid. I can't imagine todays kids being inspired by anyone on the the bland cookie cutter show they make.
     

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