Justin Snead

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About Justin Snead

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    Klingon Bird-of-Prey

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    Male
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    Jersey City, NJ
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    Married
  • Favorite Trek Movie
    The Wrath of Khan
  • Favorite Trek Captain
    Jean-Luc Picard
  • Favorite Trek Series
    Deep Space Nine

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    www.organizingprinciplesblog.wordpress.com

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  1. I appreciate the thoughtful above comments. Just wanted to speak on Founder's point about the ship being a character. This is true in that we care as much and want to spend as much time with Spock as we do the 1701. And like any good character, we have to have a history with them, we have to have shared moments that engender that sense of caring. We all have our favorite ships. The 1701-E is a beautiful ship but I don't care for it because save for a few moments from First Contact, I have no fond memories of her. I feel like a grew up on the 1701-D almost as much as one of those kids seen running around the corridors in the first season. The warm colors and soft trilling of the TOS 1701 is almost like the womb of my imagination. I would book a transport to DS9 in a heartbeat. All of this to say: we do not know that DSC is going to obliterate the 1701 design like Abrams Trek did. I hazard to guess that we will probably see Constitution class ships on DSC, if not the 1701, and she will look pretty much the same on the outside. And even the interior just might stick pretty close to at least the SHAPE of what was on TOS if not the color and the lighting. Part of the reason I think this is because of the design of the Discovery herself. She is based--I believe--on a design from the 70s for TMP(?). She looks very much like a TOS era ship. Not sleek at all. Lots of odd angles, juxtaposition of shapes, almost clunky by comparison to other modern Trek ships. [Sidebar: why have Starlfeet ships gotten flatter since the 70s? The 1701 refit is a regal tall ship, from the the Excelsior to the Delta to Epsilon to VOY to NX-01, ships have flattened out. Would love to see another tall ship.] And no matter what she looks like, I hope the Discovery is a character that I learn to love like other Trek settings. But that will require good stories and happy memories. Looking forward to it.
  2. I love how we are all working out our stages of acceptance in this thread. Because this is really a discussion about what Star Trek is in our hearts. We would all admit that Trek is more than just its visual style, meaning we would accept (and have accepted) Trek in various styles. But the visual styles ARE important because that is the substance--the medium--of our belief in the Trek universe. See quote: Michael Okuda: "Whenever you have an invented universe, the most important thing is your look, your style. Even if you have a huge budget, you can’t really build a Starship Enterprise, you cannot really build Starfleet Command. What you can do is suggest it and let the audience’s mind fill it in. You pick a style, you pick a particular color pallet, a particular way of shooting things, a particular way of shooting visual effects, a particualr way of telling stoires, and that becomes your style. And once you define that, if you defined it well, if you believe in it, if your stoires believe in it, the audience will buy into it." This is the crux of so many of our hangups about Prime Universe/prequels/reboots, etc. The visual style is critical because all of Trek's great drama, character, themes, etc. speaks to us THROUGH the aesthetics, which lets the "audience's mind fill it in." We are necessarily attached to the visual styles of the Treks that we love. We like to visit them in our minds. As the Prophets told Sisko: "You exist here." (Hint: They were referring to the past.) Now It is CBS's job to make us exist on the Discovery. Since 1979 we have been conditioned to believe the change in visual style can be understood as the progress of technology in the Trek Universe (although the idea that the 1701-refit is really the TOS ship under its hull plating is a bit of a stretch). We are further accustomed to the TNG/Berman/Okuda-era of Trek having a completely consistent visual style, across three or four series. This had nothing to do with Starfleet tech but was all because those sets were built on the same sound stages and were to cater to the same TV sensibility of the 90s. 70+ years apart, the 1701-Ds corridors were the same as the 170-refit; the battle bridge was the 1701 bridge; the 1701-A engineering was the 1701-D engineering. In canon, the 1701-refit is just a few years removed from the TOS years--what really changed was Hollywood production and Hollywood money. The NX-01 is nearly identical to a ship that was originally designed to be of the same new generation of ships as the 1701-E. This has never been perfect. It is hard to accept imperfection, to gloss over the inconsistencies, but we must. To riff on Nepr's point, the play's the thing, not the props! Who cares that much about the brightness of the glow of the background screens? Does the wattage of the lighting on the 1701 or 1701-D mean no other bridge had different lighting? My advice: resist the limiting notion that Trek can only be done post-Nemesis, or in alternate timelines, or with Star Trek: Continues slavish detail. Really? Just beasue of how Hollywood artists paint with ephemeral light?! On this thread, in the juxtaposed images of the 1701-E and the Shenzhou bridges, the only similarity I noticed was the level of the lights. And the difference--I hope--will be between a bridge where stories happen that I actually care about and stories that I did not. It is not false advertising for CBS to say their Trek is Prime. (I suppose Abrams HAD to create a separate timeline because they were reimagining (and killing off) Prime characters--but that chapter is now likely closed). DSC wants to tell its stories in the universe that we already know, one where we fans know what the future holds, which MAY be part of the drama/tension and NOT an obstacle to it. As old fans, if we de-prioritize mere visuals as the end-all-be-all, there may be many rewards for us in a canonical prequel. At the end of the day there is this: Trek dies without new fans; Trek TV will bring new fans; in 2017, TV must be cinematic, so Trek TV must pop off the screen; CBS chose to set their Trek series in the 2250s for specific reasons we are not yet aware of (my hunch is that this is not just a gimmick); therefore the 2250s are going to glow a little brighter than we are used to, but I'm okay with that, because this is a new adventure... and Trek dies without new fans.
  3. I think we fans might need to start taking a more impressionistic view of the look of the various Trek series. Future trek films or shows are always going to have to reflect a modern visual style and fit with pop culture aesthetics. The 1701-D looked like really nice 80s hotel/cruise ship. The Bad Robot 1701 looks like an I-Store. The original 1701 looked like a mid century naval vessel. We whole-franchise fans will have to suspend a bit of disbelief to see them all in the same Universe. But it is possible. What matters most is that the individual series constructs its own believable universe. The best we can hope for is echoes and hints of the past Trek series. Im not so sure. Most smart phones today are bigger than TOS communicators. Back when ENT started, phones had gotten very small. That trend has reversed. As for younger viewers not getting it, that doesn't seem to be a problem with Star Wars, which has kept its tech very 70s even in the newest films. Yes. The desert planet in the trailer did not make me think of Star Wars at all, but TOS planets. Sooo many TOS plants were deserted wastelands--so much better to convey the sense of the frontier. And the image with the three moons in they sky and the blue green color pallet put me in mind of TOS matte paintings, especially the one from The Cage.
  4. A good theory. But honestly I not that interested in retconning Klingons. What I am interested in is how the writers intend to use the Klingons to support the series themes. Undiscovered Coutnry, TNG and DS9 all crafted their own version of Klingon society in order to tell a particular story. Im less interested in all those versions being alike, as the next version being interesting and supporting an overall thematic vision. Since we know DSC is using Undiscovered Country as a touchstone, I believe this will be the case. It also may be why they chose to make the new Klingons even more alien and scary looking: it will be easier to tell a story about fear of the other with these guys than it would the cuddly TNG era Klingons.
  5. Agree with much of what has been said. Season 6 was trying too hard, and Season 7 was strong. I will forever recommend the season 7 two parter that concluded the Samantha arc--it is a masterpiece IMO. At the time I hated season 8 and 9, but rewathing them last year I found them to be just as good.... well, they were good, and in comparison to how most shows just fall apart at the end or peter out, X-Files ended its original run strong (just with a terrible, irredeemable final episode). Going forward. The thing about the Mythology is this: they don't need to jettison it, they just need to get it right. The mythology was always in a continuous state of being rebooted, even early on. First it was about abductions, then it was about alien clones, then it was about body-snatching oil, then it was about colonization--all this in the first 4 seasons. Carter was always making this up as he went along, and as a restless writer, always switching up the focus every season. In season 5 and 6 (and the first film) he tied it all together in a nice bow, and then moved on to.... aliens writing the Bible. That plot line was short lived and never mentioned again in the rest of the series--but it reveals how Carter tells stories. He writes about what is interesting to him that year with no promises that he will push it for more than a season. He will move on to something else. He always has. As he did when he wrote about super soldiers and baby-alien-Christs in season 8 and 9. I'm withholding judgment on the revival mythology switcheroo until I rewatch those episodes--but it is classic Carter in that he changed it up. I'm sure current events are giving him other ideas about new mythologies to tell. In the end, you can't really do X-Files without aliens. And aliens are the mythology. I would be down with moving on from the whole colonization plot, which was always a ticking clock hanging over the original series. Maybe that is what season 10 was trying to accomplish. Don't get me wrong, if you take away the threat of colonization you can minimize and even ignore the alien aspect of the series and just do the other paranormal stuff. My hunch is that Carter is going to be Carter. Season 11 will keep the mythology but change the focus. I have accepted that we have no choice but to accept Carter as he is, and what he does is pretty good no matter what.
  6. I forgot about Tomorrow is Yesterday! Can't wait to get to it. I do recall reading in Cushman that The Naked Time was supposed to be a two parter. That was an overly ambitious idea considering how tight the schedule was. The Man Trap was finished less tha 10 days before it aired. Charlie X was the second episode aired because it was the only one that was ready, and it was finished about a week before it aired. Anyway, it's good that Trek avoided a standard time travel method I think. That would have distracted from the space exploration. You could totally do a sci-fi show that explored both space and time--not in a Quantum Leap way, but more in a physics-based Relativity way like Interstellar--but that's just not Trek's narrative style.
  7. Re-watching and podcasting about this episode recently. Think it is one of the most important TOS episodes. More on that in the podcast. But here is my question: Spock basically invented time travel in this episode, why didn't the writers use it more? The only time they did use it was two extenuating circumstances that had to do with external Trek Canon reasons: Assignment Earth was Roddenberry trying to pitch another TV show and use Trek to introduce it; and The Voyage Home was a movie that needed to be set in the present day in order to make a light hearted romp. It would have maybe killed the franchise if every other episode was about time travel instead of space travel. It would have been like Doctor Who, not about the final frontier. But has anybody ever read about or heard about why Roddenberry or the producers of TOS actually explain why they never used? There was no reason for them to have Spock invent time travel--it had nothing to do with the rest of the story. Just curious if anyone ever talked about this.
  8. Can we talk about the Klingons? It certainly seems like the Klingons will be one of the changes we fans will need to cope with. DSC is shaping up to be a Klingon-centric Trek series. I don't care so much about the look. But I am curious about the way the species is depicted. Will they be the same TNG/DS9 Klingons? With houses and chancellors and high councils? Frankly I was bored with how one-note the Klingons became on DS9. TOS Klingons were genteel by comparison. I don't even know if there was enough depth to them to even get a concept of what a Klingon is. So I don't feel any need to pay homage to the TOS version. Still, I want more than just the Klingon stereotype of late Trek. What is everyone's hopes or expectations?
  9. I totally understand this argument: Trek should be forward looking, etc. But from a storytelling perspective, it's not necessary to move forward in canonical time in order to be forward looking. Trek writers need to tell stories that speak to today's issues and that can be done on the Discovery just as well as it can be done on Riker's Titan or the Enterprise J. Now if the new show is pure fan-service and just about paying homage to TOS, then sure that would be unfortunate but I don't think that is what DSC will be (Sarek and Mudd not withstanding). One of the things I am learning in my re-watch of TOS (which I explore on my podcast) is that show runners make important choices early on about world building that sets the tone for the entire series. TOS felt like a show about the final frontier because all the early episodes cemented the idea that this one little ship was out there in a vast expanse of unexplored space visiting desolate worlds and mysterious aliens. TNG, on the other hand, was much more about politics than exploration because so many of the early episodes (and much of the series) was about Picard having to navigate Federation politics (by the way, while eschewing Kirk's cowboy diplomacy). DS9 tried to mix both of these formulas by dealing with the politics of one solar system in depth and also the unknown frontier of the other side of the wormhole. VOY and ENT tried (successfully or not) to get back to the TOS ideal of exploring the frontier. Suffice to say no one did this better than TOS. Im biased against the last two series and heavily in favor of DS9, so I should have some credibility when I say all three series failed to capture the TOS spirit of exploration. All of this to say, DSC will chart its own course. It certainly sounds like it is going more in a political direction than a frontier direction. That is fine with me so long as they take us along on SOME kind of story direction. Human adventures need not go into the future or even out into space to work on Star Trek.
  10. Well I will take that opinion. Thank you. One of my high school students once said my voice would be great for bed time stories. I won't deny having read Shakespeare to kids and putting them to sleep. It may have happened once or twice.
  11. This week I launched my first podcast. It is called Masterpiece Science-Fiction Theater. http://www.justinscottsnead.com/category/podcast/ The premise is that I apply literary analysis to sci-fi shows and movies. First up I am analyzing every episode of season one of classic Star Trek. I've been wanting to re-watch for years so this is a great opportunity to see them again and talk about it. With Discovery coming soon, it is a good time to explore what made the first series so special. I take a literary look at how the show was put together, from writing, to directing and acting. Cushman's These Are the Voyages is a main source. If you are on iTunes, just type in my name and you can subscribe. I will probably release four or five episodes a month. I have already posted the first five episodes of the series, from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to "The Man Trap." Take a listen and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.
  12. Here is a link to my new blog post about the 2nd reason DSC will be very different: the lead will not be the captain. Here is the cliff notes version: Keep in mind this is not a ‘lower decks’ situation where the lead is toiling away down in the astro-metrics lab, taking part in stories where the command crew is not central to the plot. Burnham is the first officer, positioned right beside the captain on the bridge. She will be in the middle of the action, integral to the main mission of the ship along side the captain. And yet–somehow–we are supposed to pay more attention to her than to him. I am not suggesting it is impossible. But this is the challenge the writers have set out for themselves, and it promises to make for a refreshing new take on a 50-year-old formula. There is the ‘bad captain’ theory, wherein Lorca is designed to be the type of captain that we do not look to for the solution or the right answer–either because he is morally corrupt, or merely incompetent. In this case, the narrative tension rests on how Burnham handles situations where she has the right solution but is unable to act on it, or has to convince Lorca to act on it. There is the ‘good captain’ theory, wherein Burnham idolizes Lorca. Here the narrative tension would rest on her struggles to live up to his standards, to make him proud of her. In both of those scenarios, Burnham will still be stuck in Lorca’s orbit (and Martin-Green in Isaacs’s). Perhaps the series will slyly challenge the audience’s Trek (and other more engrained) biases by forcing us to turn our gaze from the white man in power to the black woman at his side. Yes, he is in the center seat and he gets to make the decisions, but the true drama and the real story is in her. That would be a radical change, and it would be a welcome updating of Trek’s long tradition of inclusivity and social commentary.
  13. I have had similar thoughts, though Im not too eager for Trek to wade into partisan thinking about our current political situations one way or the other. I want it to have a point of view and a message, but I dont want it to be stridently partisan. Trek needs to be open minded. But I do want it to comment--again non-partisanly--on current issues. You mentioned several. For example, is the Federation like the EU? If so, how is is democratic? Are Vulcans regulated by Federation laws, and if so, how does an entire planet get fair representation in a galactic organization? The economic angle I am less interested in. Trust me, it is best left un explained. If they started down that road it would take years of episodes--and boring ones--to construct the economy that makes possible everything we see on screen. And I would love to see that humans still have religion in the future. Or a more believable depiction of what will replace religion. Now that Roddenberry is dead over 20 years they might feel they are able to do this.
  14. I am totally pumped for DSC. It is the exact same feeling as when TNG premiered (when I was 6) and when DS9 premiered (when I was 12) and even when VOY premiered. Even in the early months of 2001, I was even stoked about ENT (although in my heart I knew it would not be for me.) The arrival of a new Trek show brings me back to those feelings: being awestruck, being transfixed on the screen in those first minutes and utterly transported. Watching the old episodes is a trip down memory lane, great to rediscover the old shows and feel the nostalgia. But the only way to truly revisit the Trek universe is to watch new Trek. And when we can do that it is magical. I cannot wait.
  15. I have been thinking that Rainn Wilson and the writers should Trumpify Mudd. It could work. A point about casting. Bad recasting of previous characters pulls me right out of the story. It kills the suspension of disbelief that our head canon demands. The actor that played Sarek in 09 did this to me. It's not that the look was wrong, but the VOICE. Mark Leonard's voice was 75% of the character. This is true for Mudd as well. Rainn Wilson has a reedy voice, not Carmel's baritone. A good actor can take us by the lapels and force us to accept the character, as Wilson will surely do. But I worry about the voice. Also, Carmel was 33, Wilson is now 51.