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But the basis of the evolving Star Trek phenomenon is the original show, which stumbled unsuccessfully from one season to another for a mere three years before being cancelled. Something in that unpromising origin propelled the enormous success that followed, even though it could hardly be more different, in important ways, from later shows.
Ironically, it is this inadequately budgeted, original series that did the big thing for Star Trek. There is an obvious difference between Star Trek, the original show, and the successor series and movies. And that is that they look so different. In terms of the look, there is a definite dividing line between the origin and what came after.
The computers in the original series appear to be plywood painted grey Figure 1. But the difference in style is much more than just special effects and, by the s, changes in fashion and production values.
The original series has a definite look, a style. This look is not the mere consequence of what are today obsolete production techniques. By treating the style of the original series as integral to the show — and not as a kind of regrettable defect — we can get a better grasp on the Star Trek phenomenon itself.
Typically, people talk about themes and characters, while the visual style is regarded with a patronizing sense of its quaintness. In fact, however, the look of Star Trek is deeply interesting in its own right.
It is the value, the cultural capital, that the object possesses. The term is curiously difficult to get hold of, but here I want to focus on the technical aspects that create the look. Hence look is primarily visual content, but also related sensory aspects, especially sound. Sound is a critical and fascinating part of the Star Trek look.
In investigating this look, this sensory configuration, my main concern is with how it is projected visually, but also with sound and with contributions made by other production values.
That is, there are subtle engagements of the style that are neither simply visual nor simply auditory.
Minimalism brings with it a complex of values that are also notable in the original Star Trek. There is no doubt that budget constraints shaped the style, but ultimately the Minimalist look has nothing to do with budgeting. Successor shows and movies, by contrast, could hardly be less Minimalist in their art direction, style, and lighting.
Advances in special effects after Science fiction on television had to look good, had to be as perfect in terms of surface appearances as possible. By contrast, the predecessor series, Star Trek, was establishing conventions, not trying to catch up with them: Improvisation is part of the original show, and with it the failings and advantages that improvisation yields.
Many of the effects and settings were in fact improvised — improvised in the literal sense of that word, made up quickly under pressure with few resources. There is something about such circumstances that can stimulate creative work, as so many inexpensive but brilliant movies in film history also testify.
In the case of Star Trek, later series are more polished but less energized. The term Minimalism was coined in the s for a type of visual art, but it had always been an evolving strand within the Modernism that dominated art in the twentieth century.
It also has deeply American reference. As a concept, Minimalism is unusual in that it has a wide field of application, applying to very different art forms and even intellectual constructs, not just visual art for example, Ludwig Wittgenstein has been termed a Minimalist philosopher 3. Although it is associated primarily with visual art, it is also a term applied to a significant branch of music that was cutting-edge around the time of Star Trek — the musical style of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and to some extent John Adams, among others.
Actually, Minimalism is relevant to more of the arts than Impressionism is — for example, as a term in clothing design. It also applies to architecture, whereas one does not associate Impressionism with an architectural style.
But there is definitely something called Minimalist architecture, and it goes beyond the bare look of naked concrete that became a standby in the s. Nevertheless, Minimalism is associated primarily with visual art. In Star Trek, the visual effect that is noticeable is the use of lighting.
Star Trek would have been impossible in black and white. Color is fundamental to its success, fundamental to the way the show works. But it is not color as a display of colored objects, where the interest is in the objects rather than in the color, which is secondary.
It is the sheer color experience itself. Hence the series features large blocks of color — large areas of color on large spaces, Minimalist-style. A lot of Minimalist painting — e.
Andy Warhol, another artist in the Minimalist tradition of the Star Trek period, is interested in color for the sake of color — his multiple faces being not just repeated pictures of a face but pictures of color, faces changed by changing the color.Effects of Television on Today's Youth Essay "Television viewing is a major activity and influence on children and adolescents.
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