Trek debate [split]

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Trek debate [split]

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Postby Bagheera » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:50 pm

A wild tangent from fanfiction, set free to run it's course. - NemZ


Well, yes, Trek is tripe to begin with, so adding something like Eva to the mix can't help but improve it. But this does nothing for Eva! Put another way, you're already at god tier, why are you slumming?
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Postby KingXanaduu » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:55 pm

^
Okay, just a little off-topic here: Why do you consider Star Trek Tripe? It's just as memorable in Western audiences as Eva is memorable in Japanese audiences. -_-

Both are huge milestones in entertainment, and both have shaped our cultures in the years that followed.
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Postby Doublegee » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:56 pm

Star Trek is fucking awesome.
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Postby Guy Nacks » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:16 pm

Bagheera just awakened a sleeping giant.

Eva Geeks II: The Wrath of Trekkers.

TNG is a great series in its own right with many pretty fantastic episodes, though admittedly several duds (most in the first couple seasons when the show was still struggling). TOS is a benchmark in television sci-fi too, but I prefer TNG just because it's what I grew up with. I never got too into any of the other series, outside of catching random eps of DS9 or Voyager when my parents would have them on in the 90's.

Trek is a cornerstone for television science fiction and every post trek SF series owes a debt to it much the same way that all modern day cooking competitions owe a debt to the original Japanese Iron Chef. Saying Trek is tripe is opinion, but, given how influential it was, certainly not fact.
Among the people who use the Internet, many are obtuse. Because they are locked in their rooms, they hang on to that vision which is spreading across the world. But this does not go beyond mere ‘data’. Data without analysis [thinking], which makes you think that you know everything. This complacency is nothing but a trap. Moreover, the sense of values that counters this notion is paralyzed by it.

And so we arrive at demagogy. - Hideaki Anno, 1996

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Postby Bagheera » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:19 pm

View Original PostGuy Nacks wrote:Trek is a cornerstone for television science fiction and every post trek SF series owes a debt to it much the same way that all modern day cooking competitions owe a debt to the original Japanese Iron Chef. Saying Trek is tripe is opinion, but, given how influential it was, certainly not fact.


A show can be influential and tripe at the same time. If this were not so American Idol would be the finest show in history.

As to the why of it, simple: Trek generally lacks three things that make stories work: continuity, character development, and consequences. DS9 tried very hard to address all three (and Sisko remains one of the few really good things about the franchise), but only because it abandoned everything that made Trek Trek in the process. But then we got Voyager, so . . . yeah.

Mind you, I put in my time just like everyone else in the fandom, and have probably seen every episode of every series some two or three times. It was all we had to work with for awhile, so I made due with what I had. But I'm not a fan by any means; they say familiarity breeds contempt, and that's definitely true in my case.
Last edited by Bagheera on Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Doublegee » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:55 pm

Yeah, most of TOS/TAS and the first season or two of Next Gen were kind of shit, but TNG got better as Berman took over from Roddenberry, and DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise were mostly pretty good.
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Postby Guy Nacks » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:19 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Trek generally lacks three things that make stories work: continuity, character development, and consequences. DS9 tried very hard to address all three (and Sisko remains one of the few really good things about the franchise), but only because it abandoned everything that made Trek Trek in the process.



I'll grant you that most episodes of trek (apart from DS9) are pretty much stand alone episodes...for the mots part, but that shouldn't disqualify the stories that are told within those episodes.

As to character development, yeah TOS's characterization went virtually nowhere in series and an argument could be made that it is because it had the shortest time to work with all their characters. The better films of the series tried to correct this with things such as giving Kirk an aging complex, and showcasing the crew's inner prejudice towards Klingons.

TNG on the other hand, I would argue did have pretty good character development throughout the series.
I'll give three examples.

-Picard starts off as a very strict, disciplined, by-the-book Captain, who's main character feature is his unwillingness to really open up to his fellow officers, stiffness, and his dislike of children. By the end of the series, emphasized in the best way possible by his finally joining the crew's usual poker game in the final scene, we can see that he has completed an arc towards realizing how much of a family his crew had become and that he finds he genuinely cares for all of them and is way less of a hardass than he was at the beginning of the show.

-Wesley starts out as a wunderkind, who is seemingly perfect in every way, and thus quite an annoying character. But in his later episodes after Wil Wheaton stopped being a series regular, we see a new rebellious side to him which ultimately culminates with his rejection of starfleet, which was a complete 180 from his original character goals.

-Worf had some really good development too, with a lot of episodes featuring his characters recurring conflicts with the politics of the Klingon home world, mostly surrounding his father being framed for involvement in assisting the Romulans. That and learning how to become a father.

-And Data.....jesus, man if you don't think that Data had any character development, you're nuts.

TNG I know like the back of my hand, I don't give two shits about Enterprise and never really got into Voyager or DS9, apart from a few eps here and there, so I can;t really make any good arguments about either series. Trek isn't high art, but it certiantly isn't tripe.
Among the people who use the Internet, many are obtuse. Because they are locked in their rooms, they hang on to that vision which is spreading across the world. But this does not go beyond mere ‘data’. Data without analysis [thinking], which makes you think that you know everything. This complacency is nothing but a trap. Moreover, the sense of values that counters this notion is paralyzed by it.

And so we arrive at demagogy. - Hideaki Anno, 1996

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Postby Chuckman » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:21 pm

TOS had several good episodes; Harlan Ellison wrote some of them. On the opposite end of the spectrum there's a whole bunch of episodes that are great for camp value, like the Nazi planet and the episode with the people with black and white faces (i.e. the heavy-handiest allgory ever)

Trek broke a lot of barriers (black actress in a major supporting role, and believe it or not there was a time with the sexual politics behind miniskirts and green space women were considered progressive. [If you ask me they still are, but that's a discussion for somewhere else.)

TNG is actually better in quality than TOS over all. In the era of modern special effects it's weird to watch a show about about diplomats talking their way through problems in a ship that's decorated in Early 90's Minivan, but it continued the tradition of taking high concept stuff and mixing it with technobabble and high camp melodrama.

Deep Space Nine is great for the risks it took. I loved it as a kid, but haven't seen much of it since. The only really bad trek is Voyager, which is amazingly terrible (although there are a few flashes of camp charm) and I'm told Enterprise is atrocious but I haven't seen it.

DS9 is good solely on the grounds of being willing to both break the formula and challenge the ideals and concepts of the original Trek, which is very much rooted in Roddenbery' weird, barely coherent hippie free love philosophy.
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Postby Bagheera » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:39 pm

View Original PostChuckman wrote:Deep Space Nine is great for the risks it took. I loved it as a kid, but haven't seen much of it since. The only really bad trek is Voyager, which is amazingly terrible (although there are a few flashes of camp charm) and I'm told Enterprise is atrocious but I haven't seen it.


People hate Enterprise for two reasons: it isn't the Trek they know and it wreaks havoc on Trek continuity. If you can get past these two issues (no biggie for me) the show's individual arcs are actually pretty good. And, unlike the rest of Trek (save DS9), it actually gives a shit about plot.

DS9 is good solely on the grounds of being willing to both break the formula and challenge the ideals and concepts of the original Trek, which is very much rooted in Roddenbery' weird, barely coherent hippie free love philosophy.


Yes. This is what I meant when I said it was good because it abandoned everything that made Trek Trek; it didn't escape such things completely, of course, but it did make a heroic effort and had some bright spots as a result. I'd be interested to see it as a stand-alone series, one with the Trekisms completely stripped out.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Postby NemZ » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:49 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:I'd be interested to see [ds9] as a stand-alone series, one with the Trekisms completely stripped out.


You mean Babylon 5?

Also, I'm wondering if this is worth splitting. How long you guys planning on arguing this before getting back to the topic?
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Postby Chuckman » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:01 am

I just want to say that "continuity" is a bullshit nerd gripe and episodic storytelling that focuses on short self contained stories and characters isn't a bad thing and using it as an absolute metric of the quality of a series is a pretty bad idea. To me that amounts to criticizing X for not being Y which isn't really fair. Would I bitch about a delicious pie because it's not a savory steak?
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:19 am

View Original PostNemZ wrote:You mean Babylon 5?


Yeah, not so much. I was thinking the same cast and setup in a different setting. B5 isn't that.

And yeah, split away. This has nothing to do with fanfic anymore so no use cluttering up the thread.

View Original PostChuckman wrote:I just want to say that "continuity" is a bullshit nerd gripe and episodic storytelling that focuses on short self contained stories and characters isn't a bad thing and using it as an absolute metric of the quality of a series is a pretty bad idea. To me that amounts to criticizing X for not being Y which isn't really fair. Would I bitch about a delicious pie because it's not a savory steak?


That only applies if it's set up to be an episodic show to begin with. The problem with Trek is that it pretends to have continuity but isn't consistent about applying it, and that gets to be a real problem at times.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Chuckman » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:47 am

Continuity is something put on Trek by the fandom. TOS and TNG treat continuity the way every television show of their era did.

TV shows were geared around not overwhelming casual viewers who don't see every episode up until the mid 2000's. Character development only happens in the season premieres and finales and in the occasional heavily promoted, usually multi-part episode.

That's not unique to Star Trek in any way. Every single television show, with very few exceptions, stuck rigidly to these rules until shows started having larger, planned story arcs as the industry changed.

DS9 was actually one of the shows that bucked this trend and started the change- which made it a pain in the ass to watch, because when it came out I could only see it syndicated on the local UHF station (which had just gone cable and would eventually be part of UPN) and they showed episodes out of order and it was on Saturdays at 7 PM and my family was usually out at that time.
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Postby Doublegee » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:51 am

View Original PostChuckman wrote:The only really bad trek is Voyager, which is amazingly terrible


Like TNG, Voyager had a rough first couple of seasons but got its shit together circa season 3 and kept going strong until the end. "Equinox" and "Year of Hell" were the most outstanding two-parters in franchise history, in my opinion.
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Postby Chuckman » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:54 am

Whats-his-face the BSG guy was right. Year of Hell should have been a whole season, minus the copout reset and the sappy ending.

Voyager tries to be a weird blend between character driven story arcs and the episodic style of standard television writing principles I outlined above, and suffers for it.

Jeri Ryan has a great rack, though.
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Postby Guy Nacks » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:06 am

View Original PostChuckman wrote:Whats-his-face the BSG guy was right. Year of Hell should have been a whole season, minus the copout reset and the sappy ending.


Year of Hell was one of the only eps I can remember watching when it first aired in the 90's and it was the best thing that Voyager did IMO. But yeah, it should have been a season long arc like they originally intended it to be.
Among the people who use the Internet, many are obtuse. Because they are locked in their rooms, they hang on to that vision which is spreading across the world. But this does not go beyond mere ‘data’. Data without analysis [thinking], which makes you think that you know everything. This complacency is nothing but a trap. Moreover, the sense of values that counters this notion is paralyzed by it.

And so we arrive at demagogy. - Hideaki Anno, 1996

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Postby Dataprime » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:34 am

What are everyone thoughts on the animated series?

It's better than ST: the motion picture that's for sure.. at least that is my opinion

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:33 pm

Having encountered Trek when it was new in the mid '60s, I can say that at the time it was a major step forwards in the state of the art, even if I didn't realise quite how ground-breaking it was (that it included the first on-screen interracial kiss, for example, was lost on me, as just more mushy stuff). It is, however, very much of its time.

The animated series episode which adapted Niven's The Soft Weapon is the only bit of that iteration that sticks in my mind.

Later iterations happened after TV, so, saving a handful of episodes seen dubbed while on holiday in France, I only have hearsay on them.
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Postby CJD » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:09 pm

View Original PostGuy Nacks wrote:-Worf had some really good development too, with a lot of episodes featuring his characters recurring conflicts with the politics of the Klingon home world, mostly surrounding his father being framed for involvement in assisting the Romulans. That and learning how to become a father.

-And Data.....jesus, man if you don't think that Data had any character development, you're nuts.


This. Anyone who says Data and Worf didn't have some grade A character development is out of their mind. Data, I mean come on. Data starts out as fucking robotic as hell and by the end of the series is one of the most human characters on TV.

View Original PostBagheera wrote:That only applies if it's set up to be an episodic show to begin with. The problem with Trek is that it pretends to have continuity but isn't consistent about applying it, and that gets to be a real problem at times.


I don't see how. From what I understand GITS did the same thing, inserting stand alone episodes throughout.




Only other thing I'd mention is that part of what makes Star Trek great, and part of the reason the new movies are so not!Trek, is that the show consistently, at least in TOS and TNG, explored new frontiers and intelligent themes, all without resorting to grimdark or general pessimism. "Darmok and Jalad" isn't only remembered because of the repetition of the phrase and Picard being a bad ass, it also did a wonderful job of trying to portray the struggles two people from separate cultures, with entirely different languages, would go through were they to meet. In a show where this kind of problem is usually handwaved with "Universal Translators" they manged to create an episode that explored it without resulting in some plot hole or bullshit excuse as to why the translators didn't work.

Generally speaking that's why I prefer TOS and TNG over DS9 and Voyager, even though I do enjoy the latter two. Gene's optimism towards both people and the future really shows wonderfully throughout the TOS and TNG.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:29 pm

View Original PostCJD wrote:I don't see how. From what I understand GITS did the same thing, inserting stand alone episodes throughout.


Right, but it was consistent about its continuity. Trek wasn't. Year of Hell is a fantastic example; we're led to believe the ship went through hell for a year, and the very next episode it's brand spanking new. This was routine in all of the series (even DS9), and it wasn't just an episode-to-episode thing -- there were serious issues with one hand not knowing what the other was doing. The technobabble often seemed invented on the fly, never to be referenced again, and the same was true of politics, philosophy, virtually everything about the setting.

Only other thing I'd mention is that part of what makes Star Trek great, and part of the reason the new movies are so not!Trek, is that the show consistently, at least in TOS and TNG, explored new frontiers and intelligent themes, all without resorting to grimdark or general pessimism. "Darmok and Jalad" isn't only remembered because of the repetition of the phrase and Picard being a bad ass, it also did a wonderful job of trying to portray the struggles two people from separate cultures, with entirely different languages, would go through were they to meet. In a show where this kind of problem is usually handwaved with "Universal Translators" they manged to create an episode that explored it without resulting in some plot hole or bullshit excuse as to why the translators didn't work.


Right, but the mere existence of the translators makes that sort of show a non-starter. They had to come up with a gimmick that wouldn't even work within a single culture to make it work, and it had the net effect of making the aliens look like idiots since they made their language as convoluted as possible and used basic phonemes to do it. That sort of language works as a code system, but as a primary means of communication it sucks ass.

Generally speaking that's why I prefer TOS and TNG over DS9 and Voyager, even though I do enjoy the latter two. Gene's optimism towards both people and the future really shows wonderfully throughout the TOS and TNG.


That much is certainly true. I just wish he'd thought things through a bit more and applied a bit more consistency when bringing them to the screen.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.


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