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-   -   What Makes a Starship a Character? (http://sto-forum.perfectworld.com/showthread.php?t=248416)

Archived Post 01-15-2012 04:03 PM

What Makes a Starship a Character?
 
One of the main reasons why the USS Enterprise is so beloved, is that it is in itself a character in Star Trek. It's not just a vessel, but a character that viewers care about. I've been watching a lot of Voyager recently, and in the middle of an episode I came to realize that I don't feel that way about the USS Voyager. It never became a character to me. But why? What was different in the writing that made me feel for one ship, and not the other? If I think about the other Star Trek series, DS9 and Enterprise, I didn't connect with the Defiant either, but I did with the NX-01. Again, why?

What makes a starship not just a vessel, but also a character?

I think a lot of it has to do with the writing making the viewer feel that the ship is the characters' lifeline. The ship is there to keep the crew alive, and to protect them from harm. The 1701, and 1701D did that very well. The ships felt big, took a pounding, and rarely showed a lot of damage. The Voyager and Defiant however were constantly being beaten up, with bridge sparks and chunks flying. Bridge officers were getting hurt or killed on a regular basis (even it they were just no-name BOs), which made me think, "wow, for a state of the art starship, the Voyager sure does break a lot." Or "they should really think about rerouting all those conduits that keep falling on Sisco's head." When the ship is exploding all the time, you tend not to think of the ship as a character, but just as a device. It'd be like trying to get attached to Sulu if he was injured and in sick bay every episode.

That's just my explanation. What's yours?

Archived Post 01-15-2012 04:26 PM

You know, as much as I like Star Trek I can't really agree with the "character"ness of the ships.
Yes, the Enterprises were awesome. Yes, there was a bond of sorts with the ships... but I just never felt it. The ships were still expendable and I don't think a thing can even have a character without... displaying it.
I mean compare the death of Spock to the loss of either Enterprise. The death of Spock was leagues and bounds more effective at tugging on the heartstrings of the audience. The destruction of the Enterprise DID affect people but not enough. I mean, they just simply replaced her.

The same goes for the Enterprise-D and the Defiant. It sucked to see an awesome ship go but the "character"ness was limited. It doesn't affect us on a human level. It affects us more like if they totaled our first car.



That's not to say they have NO character. I just think it's overstated. Honestly if you want a ship with the most character possible it's probably... the Tardis... Since that thing literally started walking around once and has been around forever. ;)

Archived Post 01-15-2012 05:21 PM

It probably also has something to do with how much the other characters care about the ship, and how they themselves treat it. The defiant was treated as a tool, and Voyager was never treated like it was a home.

Another example from outside of Star Trek: Serenity was treated as a character in the show, plus there's that episode with Jubal Early.

Archived Post 01-15-2012 08:20 PM

A good name helps, and a design that catches the eye and looks good from all angles. Something you want to want to keep looking at.

I disagree about Voyager, it was more home than any of the other ships, because they couldn't hop off at a Starbase, or go to Risa to take a break. All they had was Voyager.

Archived Post 01-15-2012 08:50 PM

The Enterprise was designed to be warm. It was essentially a flying hotel. Because of that, people got very comfortable on it and thought of it as home quickly. The Defiant was always meant to be a glorified shuttle. It allowed the writers to move some of the action off the station which is, well, stationary. Voyager was hindered by that industrial metallic design and poor writing. While I could see Riker reluctantly leaving the Enterprise, I could see Harry Kim jumping out of Voyager in a space suit the moment it hits Earth gravitational field.

Archived Post 01-15-2012 09:11 PM

Q: What makes a starship a character?

A: A sexy voice. Well, sexy if it's female, ominous if male. So I guess the starship needs a gender, too. :confused:

Archived Post 01-15-2012 09:51 PM

I think Bones explained it best when he was talking to Lt. Commander Data.

"You treat her like a lady. And she'll always bring you home."

Archived Post 01-15-2012 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omega_Glory
I didn't connect with the Defiant either ... Again, why?

Because the Defiant was really just a THING most of the time, like a big runabout to get them to a location. It had its moments, but most of the time, DS9 was the character. And honesty, one of the stronger "ship characters," especially in the early seasons when entire plot arcs basically boiled down to "The Cardassians sure ****ed this place up good when they left," either things breaking, vital things not being there at all, or one of Dukat's leftover booby traps.

Archived Post 01-15-2012 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omega_Glory
One of the main reasons why the USS Enterprise is so beloved, is that it is in itself a character in Star Trek. It's not just a vessel, but a character that viewers care about. I've been watching a lot of Voyager recently, and in the middle of an episode I came to realize that I don't feel that way about the USS Voyager. It never became a character to me. But why? What was different in the writing that made me feel for one ship, and not the other? If I think about the other Star Trek series, DS9 and Enterprise, I didn't connect with the Defiant either, but I did with the NX-01. Again, why?

What makes a starship not just a vessel, but also a character?

I think a lot of it has to do with the writing making the viewer feel that the ship is the characters' lifeline. The ship is there to keep the crew alive, and to protect them from harm. The 1701, and 1701D did that very well. The ships felt big, took a pounding, and rarely showed a lot of damage. The Voyager and Defiant however were constantly being beaten up, with bridge sparks and chunks flying. Bridge officers were getting hurt or killed on a regular basis (even it they were just no-name BOs), which made me think, "wow, for a state of the art starship, the Voyager sure does break a lot." Or "they should really think about rerouting all those conduits that keep falling on Sisco's head." When the ship is exploding all the time, you tend not to think of the ship as a character, but just as a device. It'd be like trying to get attached to Sulu if he was injured and in sick bay every episode.

That's just my explanation. What's yours?

While i also feel simaler i did feel like voyager and the defiant were charters in there own right i feel the need to point out that both ships were both extreamy experamentl so ya maybee they broke alot as well its not like voyager could just pjt in at a starbase and the defiant was alwies getting shot at so ya it could break but just thought that needed pointing out i do agree thow they didnt alwies have to make it break lol

Archived Post 01-15-2012 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CapnBludd (Post 3950188)

I disagree about Voyager, it was more home than any of the other ships, because they couldn't hop off at a Starbase, or go to Risa to take a break. All they had was Voyager.

While this is true, the character's didn't really treat it that way. With the constant pining for Earth, it made Voyager seem more like a prison than a home.


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