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The Human Adventure Continues: Talking About Star Trek

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
These are very dope and I'm very jealous. My only grumble with these, or the assorted models and kits of Star Trek ships is that there's very rarely a consistent scale used. I want Voyager and the Defiant to be tiny little ships next to big behemoths like the D or the E or that Warbird.

Remember that these are Christmas ornaments and not scaled minifigs. The goals for the ornament are something along the lines of:
  • Don't be so big or heavy it can't hang on a small tree branch.
  • Look good on a Christmas tree from a distance.
  • Have a reasonable level of detail up close.
  • Feel worth the price that Hallmark charges for them.
Those design parameters directly conflict with the idea of "build a series of high-fidelity models in-scale to one another." I'm glad people can put their Star Trek on their tree if they want, even if it doesn't match in-world Trek elements perfectly.
 
Oh no, I get that, and it makes sense. But I still have expectations in my lizard brain that are hard to shake where I want my xmas tree to be like a miniature fleet. And it stems all the way back to being a kid and being dissatisfied with my Star Trek Micro Machines - which are still crazy good looking/dope for cheap little kids toys, but just feels off when you're playing with them and the Enterprise-B is bigger than the Enterprise-D, or you go to dock the Defiant with DS9 and you can't even fit the Defiant inside the upper docking pylons. And it was more a complaint in general about the state of Star Trek toys/miniatures/models. From what I've seen, even people like Eagelmoss can't be bothered to make a scale-line, or have obvious scale references on their kits/models to the point where I guess it just isn't a priority for anyone. Which is fair but just makes me specifically sad. It's a lot of fun to line a bunch of Gundam high grades up next to each other and see how they compare in size to one another. And logistically that's a lot harder/unrealistic with Star Trek considering the wide gulf between the sizes of different ships, and the different economies of scale for these franchises, but it's still something I will continue to pine for.

Something that I like about Star Trek from a design perspective, but that the shows generally do a poor job of conveying, is just the sense of scale and immensity of these ships. It's something that the shows and films got better about as time went along, but were still largely bad about in general. When you're showing a ship flying in the empty void of space and are limited to how many new shoots you can do of the models/80% dependent on reusing stock footage, it's hard to show perspective I guess! You'd think that this would get better with nuTrek, but nuTrek is hit with the same disease that infects Hollywood action in general post-Bourne Identity that I abhor. So there's no time to sit and just look at ships from stable vantage points when the camera has to constantly move around and zoom in to trick audiences into thinking something is more exciting than it really is.
 
I still have a borg cube and Rom warbird micro machine. I want the ds9 one!
I dug mine out a month or so ago to look at. They're still really neat and have pretty good detail for such tiny little figures. And with a dremel and some string they could be retrofitted into xmas tree ornaments pretty easily. The only problems with them is that the nacelles on some of the more sleeker, thinner ships (like the Constitution or Excelsior Class ships) tend to get bent or droop. If you want to fill out your collection, there's tons of them for sale 2nd hand on places like ebay at not unreasonable prices.
 
Do you remember the crappy ones that came with shreddies? There were ent-d, ferengi, bird of prey and war bird. Lame, but also rad
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
No, but I remember the DS9 Rubber Stamps

 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
I watched an episode of Voyager that had an interesting concept (time moves faster on this planet, and we're stuck in orbit and our presence has altered their society!), but tried to cram SO MUCH STUFF into the 45 minutes that it ended up being a muddled mess. Voyager sucks, long live Voyager
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I watched an episode of Voyager that had an interesting concept (time moves faster on this planet, and we're stuck in orbit and our presence has altered their society!), but tried to cram SO MUCH STUFF into the 45 minutes that it ended up being a muddled mess. Voyager sucks, long live Voyager

Especially since that story seems to have been lifted straight from Robert L. Forward's sci-fi novel Dragon's Egg, which tells the story of the cheela, tiny, hyper-dense bloblike beings, who inhabit the surface of a neutron star, and whose civilization develops from simple agriculture to interstellar travel over the course of a month after a human starship appears in the sky.

I found it much more engaging than the story you got on Voyager, that's for sure.
 
TNG S7E08: “Attached” - As a child, I think this episode was probably the first real sense I had as a person that we were living in a bad timeline. 27 years later, I still get upset watching such a brilliant and interesting episode end in such a disappointing and upsetting way. I would strongly consider using one of my three genie wishes on undoing this episode or giving it a different ending.

DS9 S2E08: “Necessary Evil” - There’s a scene where Kira walks into a room where Quark is laying catatonic and at death’s door. When she looks down at Quark, most people would have something to say about first seeing someone they know laying on a surgical table. But Kira just looks at Quark with this seething content for a split second, then just begins talking to Odo like Quark isn’t even there. And it’s this brief, tiny moment that you could completely miss, but it’s the perfect display of Kira’s utter contempt for Quark as a person. It’s just hateful, I love it!
 
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Aleryn

Gravity is overrated.
I remember as a kid not being surprised about Picard and the Crusher after "Attached" because it was made pretty clear to me as a kid people in military weren't suppose to fraternize like that. Now? Just feels like a copout and I think the regulations on Starfleet officers got more lax as the shows went by.

Somebody say Kira? All I hear is awesome =)
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Back on TT 2.0 I made a post dissing on TNG's visual style compared with DS9, and got some pushback. We're watching the remastered TNG on Netflix for the first time, and it's indeed a really nice-looking show all spiffed up. I was operating based on my memories of the old DVDs.

I also had a memory of there being very, very few classics in the early going, but there are a few I'm really enjoying that I didn't remember at all, in particular "A Matter of Honor" (S2E08).
 

Aleryn

Gravity is overrated.
What I noticed most from regular TNG and DS9 was the latter had a better use of variable lighting to set the mood for a scene. Whether this is because of trying to define a starship as a stark clinical place versus a station is beyond me.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I just started watching DS9 on Netflix, and my god. The quality of the picture took a HUGE dip from TNG. You can immediately tell that it was transferred from videotape.

As I recall from What We Left Behind, the creators abandoned the possibility of doing a TNG-style remaster of the series, because it would have been a massive, time consuming, and especially expensive undertaking. The files they'd created for all the CGI effects would be long gone by now, meaning they'd have to recreate all of their space battle scenes (and Odo shapeshifting) from scratch. Not to mention, the negatives for all the filmed scenes had been stored away in warehouses both in Los Angeles and New York, and the film canisters weren't labeled in a way that would make them easy to collect, so just digging out enough proper footage to reassemble an episode would be a task in itself.
 

Aleryn

Gravity is overrated.
The relationship density is quite the difference in DS9. Be on the lookout for comments from O'Brian and others on how different it is to work on a space station that isn't part of the Federation, versus one of their starships. If this is your first time through the series I hope its enjoyable; such a difference experience versus Kirk and Picard Trek.
 
I just started watching DS9 on Netflix, and my god. The quality of the picture took a HUGE dip from TNG. You can immediately tell that it was transferred from videotape.

As I recall from What We Left Behind, the creators abandoned the possibility of doing a TNG-style remaster of the series, because it would have been a massive, time consuming, and especially expensive undertaking. The files they'd created for all the CGI effects would be long gone by now, meaning they'd have to recreate all of their space battle scenes (and Odo shapeshifting) from scratch. Not to mention, the negatives for all the filmed scenes had been stored away in warehouses both in Los Angeles and New York, and the film canisters weren't labeled in a way that would make them easy to collect, so just digging out enough proper footage to reassemble an episode would be a task in itself.
They did all of that with TNG though. And while the CGI/sfx density certainly goes up during DS9, it's not to an impossible level. If they take a TNG-Remaster approach to the CGI and just try to replicate the old CGI effects perfectly just upres'd it probably isn't that labor intensive as reimagining and upgrading the sfx to say, Discovery levels. It's less that it's too much work and more that it isn't a good cost-benefit ratio for CBS. The TNG Remasters were done with the aim of selling a bunch of BDs, but my understanding is that those underperformed. And it's not like they would make that much more money on streaming/syndication licensing if they upgraded the visuals versus kept it SD. They'd have to do more work for a show that was less popular/beloved than TNG.

The thing I don't understand is, why a company like Netflix or Amazon doesn't just approach CBS with a dumpster truck of cash to offer to pay for the remasters in exchange for international streaming right. Both companies throw way more money at worse shows just for prestige value, I can guarantee doing this for DS9 and VOY would do good for all parties involved.
The relationship density is quite the difference in DS9. Be on the lookout for comments from O'Brian and others on how different it is to work on a space station that isn't part of the Federation, versus one of their starships. If this is your first time through the series I hope its enjoyable; such a difference experience versus Kirk and Picard Trek.
I wouldn't say that's unique for a Star Trek show, but it does have a density that is higher than average, and the nature of those relationships are more dramatic.

I just finished my recent rewatch of TNG and it's remarkable that each character in the show has a unique relationship with each other character. Take Data for example, Picard is like his dad, Riker is like his cool older brother who shows him how to smoke and drink liquor, Geordi is his best friend, Troi is a unique point of fascination because she is his guide to understanding emotions, Crusher he showed a very key vulnerability with early on with her being the only person on the crew who he trusted to know how to turn him off, Tasha Yar was his friends-with-benefits, Wesley is his school-mate, and Worf is his work-friend who he commiserates with because the two of them at times struggle with understanding their human coworkers.

And that relationship web/complexity exists for just about every character with each other in TNG. The only real exception is Geordi who is mostly just everyone's nice friend. It really makes the crew feel tight knit and like a family. I think those poker games and music recitals and other glimpses into their social/private lives are honestly briliant and the best part of the show. I seriously would just watch a TNG situation comedy/drama where you just see them deal with normal shit all day, just in a sci-fi setting. Compare that complexity with a show like ENT that didn't have the time of a fuller show to explore the cast relationship web, or VOY where some characters barely interacted with each other ever outside of strictly professional plot stuff.

I'm currently about two seasons into DS9. During this rewatch, I decided I'd watch the franchise in broadcast order. I remember someone doing the same not too long ago back on TT2, and I feel like I'm noticing all the weird idiosynchricies of comparing DS9 to TNG at the same time, and having a sense of deja vu realizing I probably read similar sentiments on TT2. I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with this all the way through Voyager because switching between episodes and keeping track of the broadcast order is tedious, but it's still fascinating nonetheless.

DS9 S2E25: Miles O'Brien is being interrogated and asked if he knows anyone in the Maquis. He's immediately like, "NO!" very indignant with an immediate reaction. And I'm just like, damn I guess Ro Laren is just chopped liver.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
They did all of that with TNG though. And while the CGI/sfx density certainly goes up during DS9, it's not to an impossible level. If they take a TNG-Remaster approach to the CGI and just try to replicate the old CGI effects perfectly just upres'd it probably isn't that labor intensive as reimagining and upgrading the sfx to say, Discovery levels. It's less that it's too much work and more that it isn't a good cost-benefit ratio for CBS. The TNG Remasters were done with the aim of selling a bunch of BDs, but my understanding is that those underperformed. And it's not like they would make that much more money on streaming/syndication licensing if they upgraded the visuals versus kept it SD. They'd have to do more work for a show that was less popular/beloved than TNG.

The thing I don't understand is, why a company like Netflix or Amazon doesn't just approach CBS with a dumpster truck of cash to offer to pay for the remasters in exchange for international streaming right. Both companies throw way more money at worse shows just for prestige value, I can guarantee doing this for DS9 and VOY would do good for all parties involved.

According to Robert Meyer Burnett, who created the bonus features for the TNG and Enterprise Blu-rays:

From 2012 through 2014, the seven seasons of TNG, along with 5 single discs (two-part episodes cut into feature presentations) were released on Blu-Ray, with over 50 hours of newly-produced special features. The restoration remains an absolutely astonishing achievement in the annals of television and anyone watching the new versions of the episodes, can only marvel at the vast difference from the originals. Everyone involved at CBS Digital and the various other Post Houses who participated in the project deserve a hearty round of applause from fans the world over. At least the fans who appreciate and understand just how much work was done.

Unfortunately, during this same time, the popularity of streaming services skyrocketed, and popularity of physical media began to diminish. Sales of physical discs dropped 10% a year across the board, the younger generation thought putting discs in machines was too 20th Century and even the loyal Trek fan base asked themselves, “why do I have to buy TNG YET AGAIN?” I bought the VHS tapes, the Laserdiscs and the DVDs, so do I really need the Blu-rays…? I don’t even have a Blu-ray player. Won’t it all be on Netflix anyway?” The absolutely justified high price-point of the initial Blu-ray seasons also didn’t help sales.

Ultimately, the final result of all the effort put into the restoration itself and the newly-created special features were ultimately disappointing. The disc sales didn’t match projections and continued to suffer as more and more people turned to streaming, where Star Trek was already widely available. Sure, the newly-remastered episodes of TNG have quietly replaced the original versions, but nowadays, very few people even notice, as they expect HD to look great.

Both Deep Space Nine and Voyager would require at least the same amount of time, manpower and money, but neither show was ever as popular as TNG or TOS. So, how can CBS be expected to shell out probably 20-million dollars per series to remaster them into HD?
Unlike TNG, which shot both all of their live-action and all of their model photography on 35mm film, which made scanning the original elements possible, both DS9 and Voyager made extensive use of CGI for their visual effects, especially in the later seasons. Those visual effects were rendered in standard NTSC resolution, with a maximum of 525 scan lines of resolution per second, split between two interlaced video fields of 262.5 scan lines running at 60 fields per second. So, the original resolution remains far, far below what audiences used to today’s HD, and now UHD resolutions, are accustomed to. These VFX could be upscaled 5x, but they’d have no detail. The Starship Defiant would look like a fuzzy, grey blob.

If the VFX assets originally created for the shows could be acquired, which is a HUGE if, they could be reworked and re-rerendered in 2K resolution for Blu-ray, but even then, VFX artists would have to go in and add all kinds of upgrades to the original shots to make the ships, planets, weapons fire and explosions. look like they fit in with the gorgeous live-action photography. This would entail a number of artists working many, many long hours at considerable expense.

During the latter seasons of the TNG restoration, Mojo, one of the original, Emmy-Winning VFX artists on Voyager, who, at the time, was still in possession of many of the original DS9 and Voyager VFX assets, did a re-rendering VFX test on footage from “The Sacrifice of Angels.” The test really looked spectacular, and proved it could be done. But again, it would still take very talented VFX artists working long hours to accomplish the number of shots required for the episodes at great cost.

However, since then, I’ve heard many of these assets have been lost, either through drive failure, or simply the dumping of all the original data.

The only alternative would be to re-create all of the CG VFX shots from scratch, much the same way CBS Digital re-created TOS’ visual effects. But with the number of elements needed during DS9’s Dominion War arc, with sometimes hundreds of starships in combat, this could cost in the millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, depending on who was doing the VFX.
Like Amazon and Netflix have already discovered, the success of All Access depends on whether or not there’s enough exclusive content to convince viewers to sign up. Star Trek: Discovery is a good start, but it remains to be seen if it can not only recapture the fanbase, but also be destination viewing for an entirely new audience. But until All Access has Netflix money to burn, there’s not going to be a DS9 or Voyager restoration anytime soon. Again, you’re looking at eight years and perhaps 40 million dollars of work.

(from treknews.net)

tl;dr: as I said, it's too expensive and time-consuming, for too little a result. Furthermore, a non-CBS company wouldn't throw that kind of money at a DS9 restoration project unless it got exclusive rights to it. With CBS All Access around, such a thing is unlikely.
 

Lakupo

Comes and goes with the wind
(he/him)
The other barrier to getting the investment to do such an overhaul is that plenty of people are already watching Voyager and DS9 in SD (myself included) on these platforms, so what's the incentive for them to upgrade something that most people are already okay with? I'm making matters worse because I have access to commercial-free ST reruns on Netflix and Prime, while I have the cheap sub to CBS with ads, so I don't watch reruns there, so they'll never upgrade them, heh.
 

Aleryn

Gravity is overrated.
I just finished my recent rewatch of TNG and it's remarkable that each character in the show has a unique relationship with each other character. Take Data for example, Picard is like his dad, Riker is like his cool older brother who shows him how to smoke and drink liquor, Geordi is his best friend, Troi is a unique point of fascination because she is his guide to understanding emotions, Crusher he showed a very key vulnerability with early on with her being the only person on the crew who he trusted to know how to turn him off, Tasha Yar was his friends-with-benefits, Wesley is his school-mate, and Worf is his work-friend who he commiserates with because the two of them at times struggle with understanding their human coworkers.
And at the best of times it was almost like having a sense of the inner monologue and thoughts of a character that is really common in written fiction and rather rare in my anecdotal experience in television. Pretty on the nose for the episodes where Data is narrating sections as well, admittedly.
 
All Good Things... is a dope episode and terrific finale, and I trust most of you don't need me to tell you that. But something I noticed on this recent watch was that during the flashback section, Data is just a Lt Junior Grade, and also not stationed at Ops. And that's just kind of fascinating. The implication being that in the short amount of time from when Picard first came aboard and was getting the ship ready to launch, to when we begin the events of Encounter At Farpoint, that Data was just so incredibly impressive that he earned himself a two rank promotion and was also then made 3rd in Command and given control of Ops.

It's also interesting that the show seems to go out of the way find reasons not to include the full crew in all three timelines. The only characters who are in all three timelines are Picard, Data, and Worf. And I wonder if that was intentional like a cost or time saving measure, or if Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner were just that important on set, or that maybe they felt their cosmetics helped hide their ages better versus guys Frakes who can't just shave off his beard anymore or the female cast that people would undoubtedly scrutinize their appearance more b/c ya know, misogyny.

tl;dr: as I said, it's too expensive and time-consuming, for too little a result. Furthermore, a non-CBS company wouldn't throw that kind of money at a DS9 restoration project unless it got exclusive rights to it. With CBS All Access around, such a thing is unlikely.
I believe I said this all too, but good to know we're in agreement and that was a fascinating read so ty for linking. I still dunno why a non-CBS company wouldn't fund the remasters though. CBS and All-Access is really only in the domestic business. They partner with Amazon and Netflix overseas to distribute their stuff and probably make more money off of Trek overseas than they do domestically. They could totally offer up exclusive rights to international distribution for funding the project and wouldn't lose anything from it.

And at the best of times it was almost like having a sense of the inner monologue and thoughts of a character that is really common in written fiction and rather rare in my anecdotal experience in television. Pretty on the nose for the episodes where Data is narrating sections as well, admittedly.
There's a decent amount of narration in older Trek, and tbh I kinda miss it. It's rare these days because Show-Don't-Tell is a pretty honored unspoken rule and narration is seen as cheesy and outdated. But I think you can do it right and that it adds another layer to things. I really miss captains logs and thought they always worked well. And let's be honest. The average person's media literacy isn't ideal, and given how often I read people on the internet misinterpreting stuff in modern Trek, maybe audiences could use the handholding a little more.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I still dunno why a non-CBS company wouldn't fund the remasters though. CBS and All-Access is really only in the domestic business. They partner with Amazon and Netflix overseas to distribute their stuff and probably make more money off of Trek overseas than they do domestically. They could totally offer up exclusive rights to international distribution for funding the project and wouldn't lose anything from it.
Probably because they don't want to give their direct competitors more market share than they already have?
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
Man these Borg kids are just like...gonna be here for the rest of the show, huh? I'm at the end of season 6 and they're still around!
 

Aleryn

Gravity is overrated.
They seemed a natural addition to me when I considered how Borg focused the show became with Seven. I haven't rewatched Voyager beyond season 3 in years though.
 
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