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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 4:10pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In my lifetime, it has been fashionable for some to attack TOS' special effects. I'm not talking about some idiot in a pub, but journalists in magazines or TV critics.

It's usually jokes about polystyrene rocks. Or tunnel-vision comments about every set looking the same. Truth be told, it is tedious.

As Netflix has every STAR TREK series, I dip in and out of TOS (and other shows) from time to time. And whilst I'm not going to ignore it when ANY show gets something wrong, I have to commend the special effects.

I mean, "Metamorphosis" might not be my favourite episode as far as story goes, but it's fucking beautiful. That looks like an alien planet. Suspension of disbelief is no problem. I can immerse myself totally in that story and believe I'm witnessing characters on an alien world.

The bridge in TOS is easy to suspend disbelief over, too. Suspension of disbelief is what it is about - and when I watch that, I feel I'm watching people in space. Whether it's the bridge or alien worlds, I think it's grossly unfair for some journalists to have turned bashing TOS' effects into some sort of "cottage industry". To be honest, they need some new material. Do those writing columns honestly think we haven't read jokes about polystyrene rocks before?

I'm sure any one of us could find fault with TOS' special effects. Or any show. I like the effects in THE INCREDIBLE HULK, but I know there's the occasional unavoidable 'issue' (Ferrigno did appear to be wearing slippers or pumps in some scenes). That's just the way things are. You enjoy what is presented in front of you.

That alien planet in "Metamorphosis" is mesmerising. I know nothing of how they did it, or who did the effects for that episode, but I know I like it. And rather than lame jokes about polystyrene rocks, perhaps some journalists could one day focus on the positive side of TOS' special effects.

This post may sound very protective, almost like I'm defending a family member, but like anyone, I feel protective of forms of entertainment that I enjoy such as sci-fi and comics.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 4:33pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

My standard list of points for people who mock TOS for its effects:



* State of the art for the 1960s, with expensive and complicated bluescreen matting, rather than models on wires hung in front of black curtains with rhinestones glues on them.

* Pre-CGI/motion-control/STAR WARS.

* Low budget/time pressures.

* Intended for 1960s NTSC, CRT TVs.

* "Stories and characters are the most important elements, not the production limitations of the period. People will still be taking about TOS long after the latest and greatest CGI-fests have faded into obscurity."

* "You're an idiot with no sense of history or ability to suspend disbelief."
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 5:17pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

TOS is the fastest gunslinger in town. Nobody's going to build cred by raggin' on LOST IN SPACE, or VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, or I DREAM OF JEANNIE.

STAR TREK was top of its class, so it gets bullied.

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 5:21pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Nothing could have prepared me for the first time I saw the Enterprise zipping by on the screen. I had never seen anything like it before.

Cool, cool, cool!!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Thing is, I'd rather they filled the column space with either praise or constructive criticism. A journalist mentioning aspects of "Metamorphosis" that they weren't keen on would be preferable to 'jokes' about polystyrene rocks.

And if people need to build cred, well that's just sad and shallow.
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Ron Goad
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 8:23pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Ah - but don't you all understand? In today's world, all that matter is flash!

No one cares about characters, or story or or.... wait, what the hell am I talking about!?#!>#@?
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 4:03am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

To me, it's easy. TOS had the best effects that they could afford at the time, and thus had to rely on story and acting to sell the story - which they did.

And the more the effects got more involved, the less it seemed that it was necessary to make the story truly riveting, entertaining, amusing. I saw this a LOT more in other series and movies.

Now, so much of what I see is what I call Special Effects Porn that they barely need any story or acting... and then some slips in anyhow. And if that's what the buying audience wants - and it seems that it is - then swell, go to town.

I liked TOS because, at the time, it was all they could put on the screen, and a combination of effects, music, acting, stories... well, that made a pretty complete package.

I also hold in contempt those who say, "Look at this old <show, movie, cartoon> - and see how laughable the effects were. We're doing so much better today!" Yeah, BIlly? What they did then was the best that could be done. Comparing it to today is stupidly comparing apples to oranges... but it sure is an easy shot to take for a lazy reviewer.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 4:08am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I also hold in contempt those who say, "Look at this old <show, movie, cartoon> - and see how laughable the effects were. We're doing so much better today!" Yeah, BIlly? What they did then was the best that could be done. Comparing it to today is stupidly comparing apples to oranges... but it sure is an easy shot to take for a lazy reviewer.

***

That really annoys me, too.

I don't seem to see it with other discussions. I am not sure I've ever heard anyone showing contempt for a 1920 automobile. Or a soccer fan mocking older games. Perhaps it happens, but I don't see it. Haven't witnessed it.

Yet special effects in old shows seem to be fair game.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 4:45am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

There is a general attitude among some to judge the Past by the standards of the Present. I see it quite a bit in sports reporting, especially when comparing records. Okay, sure, modern athletes are "better". But let's see them spend a year living as their "ancestors" did, and then using the same equipment.
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 9:40am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I still prefer footage of the physical model of the Enterprise to the new improved CGI version.
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Josh Goldberg
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 10:27am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

When I bought TOS on DVD not-too-long-ago, I made sure to buy an older release, before the remastering and new SFX.  When I watch something, I want it to be as it originally was.  If un-remastered TOS was good enough to spark a worldwide phenomenum, it's good enough for me.

CBS All Access, it should be noted, streams the original versions.  Unlike many other streaming services.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 11:02am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I did the same, Josh. I located the old boxsets (in gold, blue and red boxes). Those are the pure, unadulterated versions. I'm not interested in new SFX.

Lucas' tinkering was bad enough, I'm glad it didn't start a trend (or did it?).
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I still prefer footage of the physical model of the Enterprise to the new improved CGI version.

++++++++

Talk about something that looks dated! Truly the most annoying part of Watching on Netflix. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 September 2017 at 8:46pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I probably first watched Star Trek in the late 70s, but my strong, early memories of the show are from the early 80s. The special effects then seemed up to par with any TV show and most films, barring the cutting-edge stuff like Star Wars. That's pretty impressive. The model work was excellent. The sets for the ship still look decent, in my opinion. The Gorn wasn't great (though fun) and nowadays some phaser shots look quaint, but the show does not look 50 years dated. It does its job remarkably well.

Edited by Peter Martin on 28 September 2017 at 8:47pm
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 5:27pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply


  I find TNG to feel more dated than TOS. There is something timeless in the original for me.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 9:30pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

 I find TNG to feel more dated than TOS. There is something timeless in the original for me.
+++++++

Ditto. The spandex uniforms and synth music are way more dated than TOS' orchestral scores and "space military" uniforms.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 October 2017 at 6:24am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I find TNG to feel more dated than TOS. There is something timeless in the original for me.

+++++++

Ditto. The spandex uniforms and synth music are way more dated than TOS' orchestral scores and "space military" uniforms.

TNG was kinda like the third season of TOS writ large, at least in some respects. S3 was when the real world began to intrude on TOS, as the pointy sideburns got longer, and hair in general got bushier. When I watched the first episode of TNG I looked at their padded shoulders and waited for the hardcore fans to complain the same way they did about the miniskirts on TOS. But, no.

I guess fashion can be cyclical if it happens while they're watching, but not if it happened a few decades ago.

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David Miller
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Posted: 02 October 2017 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I've been watching some of the classic episodes on Netflix. I don't know when these versions were remastered, but I found the updated effects were very distracting, their quality on a level I associate with Syfy Channel originals, especially since they sit along side the original model work, which has weight and a tactile quality. The original effects were fine, and more importantly, don't suddenly call attention to themselves.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 October 2017 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Unless it's getting rid of the strings in Gerry Anderson's shows, I have zero interest in updating effects. I want to judge something for what it is. Let it stand. Let us see what the effects were like.

If Kenneth Johnson was given money/options to add CGI to the Hulk series, I'd be like, "Noooo!"
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 October 2017 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Normally I am opposed to these hamfisted "remasterings", but a small, small part of me would like to see a "special edition" of THEM!
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 02 October 2017 at 1:04pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

THE GIANT CLAW could benefit from such a "special edition."
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 October 2017 at 2:37pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I think, despite my opposition to such things, we all have an exception to the rule. Like I said earlier, if they could completely eradicate the strings in various Anderson shows, that would be great!

As for films, if someone could work some magic on the flying scenes/action scenes in SUPERMAN IV, that might be nice (and perhaps a time machine to change 90% of the script, too!).
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