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What if TOS were revived digitally?


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#1 Gothneo

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 05:32 AM

I ran across this piece by James Berardinelli and in it he suggests that not only could another season of TOS be done, but that folks, like Shatner, would relish the opportunity.

 

He suggests that the digital technology like that used in Rogue One will be perfected in a couple of years...

 

 

there won’t be any technological barriers to bringing together the crew of the Enterprise as they looked in 1969 and allowing them to embark on new adventures. Assuming that the surviving actors (and the rights-holders for the dead ones) give their okay, the adventures denied to viewers 50 years earlier by NBC’s cancelation of their favorite show could come to life by means of this newest wave of special effects.

 

 

I'm pretty sure there are more than a few folks that would love to see this... but though I do love TOS... I must confess that I find its stylings more than dated and often the writing was campy.  I think I'd almost prefer to see them just go with the TWOK uniform style and kinda retcon the rest of the bridge and tech to be more modern. 



#2 s8film40

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 06:44 AM

I think Star Trek Continues filled that void very well. I would rather see CBS just commission them to do more seasons. I do really like the idea of a TWOK era series and if they're ever going to go the route of using CGI to create the old actors I would like to see it done with that era.



#3 Damon1984

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 06:51 AM

Current Star Trek has 99 problems but a lack of Kirk and Spock are none of them.



#4 Alteran195

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 07:57 AM

Deep Fakes are another potential option.

Someone made videos from Continues that make Vic and co look like their TOS counterparts:
https://youtu.be/ipL9ecBLTfk

Its not perfect, but has a ton of potential.

#5 MisterPL

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 08:47 AM

This is why Paramount did Star Trek in 2009. No need for CG actors or soundalike voiceovers. Just accept that actors die but the roles can carry on.



#6 VulcanFanatic

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 09:43 AM

I can accept that actors die and roles can go on but I will not accept changes so sweeping that it doesn't even feel like Star Trek anymore.I accepted the changes made in each movie and series up through Voyager because the essence of Star Trek was still there. It hasn't been there since 2009, even bringing in Leonard Nimoy didn't make it Star Trek. It was like watching a Saturday night live parody of Star Trek.

#7 Gothneo

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 05:10 PM

VF, If you read the article, basically he was implying that they could digitally pick right up at "Season 4" of TOS, so I think the idea meshes with what your asking for.

 

MisterPL, while I agree... and in the case of Trek... I'm ok with them moving on with new characters... many folks still seem to want to see more TOS... as VF keeps saying...

 

s8film40, not quite... the idea is the digital rendering will allow new actors to look and sound exactly like old... even deceased actors.

 

Berardinelli does make one really really good point, which is that TOS was originally more popular with younger people.... which at the time were more willing to accept something new and different... so I think he kinda negates the concept with this statement. 

 

Regardless of the franchises though we are already seeing the digital overlay technology coming to use.. and if its not Trek... some series will end up using digitally rendered characters, in part or in full. 



#8 MisterPL

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 07:30 AM

I guess it depends on how long we want these incarnations to last.

 

An animated series is certainly the way to go if you want to keep the same cast on a smaller budget. Even then, life is finite and recasting is inevitable. 

 

Personally I prefer a long-running, live-action series to develop organically. Plenty of medical dramas have changed casts over many seasons. (ER leaps to mind.) Old characters should retire, succeeded by new ones. In a perfect world TOS would have simply morphed into Phase II, becoming TNG and VOY, all taking place aboard the USS Enterprise. DS9 would have been the only spinoff.

 

I've always thought Enterprise was the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button on Star Trek in a Battlestar Galactica kind of way. Bakula as Kirk, Blalock as Spock, Billingsley as McCoy, etc. That would have been a clever reimagining but no doubt would have fractured the fandom even further.

 

That's why Abrams' Star Trek was so brilliant in concept. It creates a new timeline from the original, one free from most canonical constraints, allowing creators to have more freedom with the characters most people still associate with the franchise. Unfortunately even that compromise rattles certain fans and they insist on returning to the "prime" universe.

 

If Discovery ends up being the show that resets that universe, I'm all for it. So long as it maintains the spirit of the original mission statement, I'll support it.



#9 s8film40

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 10:23 AM

 

s8film40, not quite... the idea is the digital rendering will allow new actors to look and sound exactly like old... even deceased actors.

 

Yeah, I'm aware of that. What I was getting at is agree with you if you're going to go to the effort of doing this I think the TWOK era is a better choice to continue on.

 

That being said I'm not aware of the technology for recreating voices, I think that's a bit harder. Perhaps they could use TAS dialogue to recreate those episodes with live action.

 

I don't doubt there will come a point where this stuff starts happening. Sure the older stuff looks dated, but that doesn't deter people from watching it so of course why wouldn't they want to watch just a bit more. Once the cost and ease of doing this balances out I'm sure we'll see a bunch of it.



#10 Damon1984

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:18 AM

s8film40, not quite... the idea is the digital rendering will allow new actors to look and sound exactly like old... even deceased actors.

 

That opens up a whole can of moral questions, but even if we ignore that for a moment... likenesses and even voices alone don't make a show and they don't bring back a feeling. For that you have to recreate a lot more. They could have done that with Discovery. Instead, they choose to update pretty much everything to a point, where it's not really recognizable as TOS anymore. I'm sure they would update the TWOK era as well. Hell, they propably would (will?) give Picard a smartphone to make it appealing to modern audiences ;) :D. And then there is the writing... ;)

 

And I feel like there simply is no abundance of TOS at the moment. TOS is everywhere. We got a Reboot. We got a show set more or less in the same timeline. There are games. Novels. Comics. Fanfilms. I'm starting to get sick of TOS. I mean, yeah, I get why they are going back to this particular well over and over again "Kirk, Spock, Enterprise"... these are household names. Somehow most people know them. In a Time where "Brand recognition" seems to be everything and creativity and risks aren't welcome anymore, TOS seems like a safe bet. But I have a feeling they are hurting Star Trek in the longterm with the constant repetition, because everything is reduced to this one thing and the world-building gets muddled in the process (Prime-Timeline, Kelvin-Timeline, whatever-Timeline), and personally, I think the worldbuilding, the "Star Trek Universe" is more important, because this Universe it's so vast and rich of possibilities. You don't need Kirk or Spock. You just need good writers. (I mean, both would be nice, but... yeah) :)

 

This particular Technology here might, however, be more interesting in terms of Alien-Characters. You could have a Gorn or even a Tholian in your main cast, or someone like Saru with truly alien Legs and features. Might spare the actors the walk to the make-up chair as well.



#11 MisterPL

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 01:10 PM

We'll see how General Leia is received when they resurrect Carrie Fisher for Star Wars: Episode IX. That performance will be a mix of using existing footage and CGI. It may amount to a cameo but if it's anything like CG Princess Leia in Rogue One, reviews will be mixed.

 

Either way, it's an expensive way to produce a show just to avoid recasting roles.

 

I do like the idea of reanimating TAS though. It wouldn't have to be photorealistic but updating the animation would be an interesting exercise.



#12 s8film40

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 03:50 PM

Yeah it's expensive now, but it'll be interesting to see what happens when the technology advances. It may not even be CBS, I could see fans doing it themselves similar to that STC video that was posted.



#13 Gothneo

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 08:00 PM

One of Berardinelli's points was that folks on the less illuminated web are already using the tech to superimpose celebrates likeness on shall we say.. "crude" videos.

 

It would be more expensive.

 

Damon1984 as long as they got permission from the estates of the deceased then I don't see the moral issue... again pinning to Rouge One... Peter Cushing died in 1994... and yet there he is... and he's given credit in a movie (special thanks) 18 years after his death. 



#14 MisterPL

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 12:00 PM

The only ethical issue I foresee is using a performer's likeness in a role they might not have chosen. Putting Peter Cushing back into the Tarkin role is one thing. Turning Adam West into James Bond, a role he actually turned down, would be a problem.



#15 Gothneo

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:10 PM

Yes. I agree. But... never underestimate the greed of a lazy Estate owners... and their willingness to sign off on a project just for the money... but there are countless movies about historical figures that take pretty good leeway... in the case of Cushing... the actor got the acting credit and Cushing only got an acknowledgement for his likeness... I guess if they keep using actors and giving them credit its a bit like makeup then. 



#16 s8film40

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 04:37 PM

I guess at some point a persons likeness goes into public domain anyway. Im not sure, but would be interested to know how long an estate can hold on to those rights. Itll also be interesting when people start using this in documentaries since its pretty much fair game through fair use.

#17 Morgan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 05:00 PM

Oh gawd, they can't revive TOS non-digitally without making it about as visually different from TOS than Babylon 5 was from DS9. I mean... ::gestures at everything::

 

Rogue One -- I think that fell somewhat short of what the state of the art was when that was done, and largely as a result of excess ambition. Grand Moff Tarkin was pretty deep in the uncanny valley. It seemed dated even when the film debuted, tbh. I can't believe they weren't embarrassed to air that. I think they could have pulled it off by keeping him a little further away from the camera, as a person in the background, instead of zooming in on his face for very long, uninterrupted monologues. kept further away, with frequent intercuts, perhaps appearing on a viewscreen -- they could have gotten away with the CGI character that they had.

 

There is still quite a gap between Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One and just minutes-long performances where you won't be able to tell digital and real actors apart -- we are far from that at the moment. Leia came close... but that was a 5-second performance with an unlimited budget and unlimited digital talent working overtime. (I would love to see how much those 5 seconds of Leia cost).

 

I think we're at least a decade away from a photorealistic actor that can fool audiences in limited circumstances. Tarkin is ample evidence of how it could go wrong.

 

But more importantly, the audience for season 4 of TOS, assuming it could be done to 95% photorealism, isn't really there anymore aside from a novelty value. You could cut together an episode of TOS out of unused footage today, with voice replacement, etc, the kitchen sink. That would be a neat trick, but is there an audience out there for that every week?

 

In other news, there's now a holographic Reagan at the Reagan library. It took them four years to make that happen. I can't wait till a holographic Reagan runs for president, tbh, because I have nostalgia for the 1980s (in case you can't tell).



#18 Gothneo

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 12:41 AM

Agree that rouge one's wasn't quite perfected, but I'll gander were closer than 10 years... and we'll probably see better attempts soon. 

 

I also agree with with your other point...

 

 

more importantly, the audience for season 4 of TOS, assuming it could be done to 95% photorealism, isn't really there anymore aside from a novelty value. You could cut together an episode of TOS out of unused footage today, with voice replacement, etc, the kitchen sink. That would be a neat trick, but is there an audience out there for that every week?

 

and I guess thats the real question... with the exception of fans that only want nostalgia... which is becoming smaller and smaller... is there a market for it any more? It seems to still. do a brisk business in syndication and remastering of even later shows seems to still be commercially viable... so is there more money to be made by making another season or two of digital knockoffs?



#19 MisterPL

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:12 AM

My teenagers didn't realize Tarkin was CG in Rogue One. However, they did comment on how Leia didn't look quite right. The difference was they knew Carrie Fisher was alive but 60 years old. They had no idea who Peter Cushing was and had no frame of reference. Personally I preferred Tarkin's performance over Leia's. 

 

The audience brings different expectations with them. No doubt an audience for a CG fourth season of TOS would be hyper-critical because A) Trekkies, and 2) they know half the cast is dead, Jim, and none of them look like that anymore.

 

I'd sooner try a stylized animated series. Nothing extreme but nothing that tries so hard to fool people into believing this was found footage or the result of time travel.



#20 Alteran195

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:33 AM

My fiancé didnt know Tarkin was CGI either until I told her.

For those who know the actors dead, of course theyll notice he isnt real.

For people that dont, it seemed to pass as real pretty well.




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