You know that sort of technological/sci-fi aesthetic that was most prevalent in the late ‘80s to the mid-’90s that used a lot of grey to beige colors and angular shapes with heavily rounded edges and corners?
Syd Mead was certainly a big influence, though a bit sleeker than most examples:
One of the greatest exemplars of the aesthetic is the interior of the Enterprise-D on Star Trek: The Next Generation:
It seems to be designed to appear both futuristic and welcoming. The plastic usually has a grainy texture so it doesn’t look so shiny and cold. Light sources are soft, with the lightbulbs concealed behind corners or plastic coverings that diffuse the light; it was also usually a bit dimmer to feel more indoorsy and cosy. Pure whites are shunned. Chairs and couches are made to appear comfortable at first glance (even if weird angles and slopes would compromise comfort in practice). Ceilings and walls slope inwards, accentuating the low, cosy feeling. It makes me think of being in an airliner, since airliner interiors have a similar aesthetic (that worked to ST:TNG’s advantage; since the interiors reminded me of an airplane, it felt like they really were in a spaceship).
In some ways it seems to be a softer, cosier update of the ‘60s space age aesthetic, and there’s a smooth transition to the colder, shinier Y2K aesthetic.
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Tracey Lee Cocco, a background actress for Star Trek: TNG. She never delivered dialogue, but someone counted, and she was in more Star Trek episodes than William Shatner was. Jonathan Frakes supposedly gave her character the name of “Lt. Jae” in an on the spot ad lib.
Whoever Lt. Jae was, she was clearly a well rounded crewman with a broad skill set. She was seen doing dozens of different jobs, from conn to technical work, and she clearly was extremely friendly with the otherwise aloof Picard and Riker.
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When I say “I miss old Star Trek” please understand that I miss the formula.
I miss genre hopping. Going from a western to a thriller to action adventure and telling different stories over the season instead of the same long one. I miss captain’s logs and star dates that give some grounding and exposition. I miss bridge battle scenes reporting “shields at 47%!” and sparks flying from consoles. I miss having a cast of 7, 8 or 9 regulars, most of whom head up a particular department in fairly clearly defined roles.
What I DO NOT miss is the dominance of heterosexual white men, in front of and behind the scenes. I do not miss a gender ratio of 2 to 1 male to female on screen. I do not miss 4 out of 5 leads being men, nor 4 out of 5 being white. I do not miss the complete absence of LGBTQA people. I do not miss skin tight cat suits on women characters. I do not miss these things at all, and I’m glad they’re gone.
I want that stuff from the first paragraph, from “old Trek” combined with the representation and diversity in front of and behind the cameras of “new Trek”. I want the best of both worlds.
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