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17 Mar 2018

The Visual Continuity of Star Trek

Star Trek has a legacy of more than 50 years. The franchise is famed for the iconic looks of its characters, species, sets, props and starships. They so far contributed greatly to the continuity of Star Trek. Every new series or movie could rely on what had been established before, also and especially on the visual side, but also had to respect it.

Star Trek's canon incarnations comprise the "classic" five series (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT) and ten movies that were produced over the course of almost 40 years, plus the movies of the "Abramsverse", plus the sixth series Star Trek Discovery. The two latter take many liberties regarding the visual continuity with the "classic" Star Trek. At latest the total redesign of the Klingons and other radical alterations in Discovery cross a line. While the producers of the series don't deny that they "re-imagined" the looks of species and other designs in their series, they fail to provide a rationale whether visuals still have any canon value in their view, or whether they are arbitrary from now, like if Star Trek were not TV but a novel series. Some self-proclaimed "loyal" fans go as far as asserting that visual canon never existed in Star Trek!

It is my intention to create awareness for the significance of visual continuity in a visual medium. Read my new article on The Visual Continuity of Star Trek with many examples and pictures.

Bernd Schneider


Recent EAS Updates
  • 09 Dec 2018
    New Poll with an old question: Which is the best Star Trek?
  • 08 Dec 2018
    Here is my review of the third Short Treks episode, "The Brightest Star". The setting for the origin story about Saru is very clichéd, but I like how the spirit of Star Trek is palpable in this short episode.
  • 05 Nov 2018
    In an all-new article, we have a look at The Evolution of the Starfleet Medical Emblem with all shape and color variations that ever appeared. Research: Jörg Hillebrand, illustrations: Brad Wilder.
  • 26 Nov 2018
    We just couldn't resist taking on the second alien logo that comes in countless variations. Here is our exhaustive article on The Evolution of the Romulan Emblem that covers all Romulan logos that could ever be seen and for which Jörg created as many as 30 highly detailed illustrations.
  • 10 Nov 2018
    Here is my review of the second Short Treks episode, "Calypso". It is quite a departure from the narrative of Discovery. But it demonstrates how good science fiction works, or could work in the context of the series too.
  • 09 Nov 2018
    Jörg and I just wanted to update our article on Forgotten Alien Emblems (which we did). But we noticed that there is no investigation of the numerous variations of the familiar Klingon emblem at EAS, and that no one else ever cared for it in detail. So here is our all-new article on The Evolution of the Klingon Emblem, with as many as 134 pictures or illustrations. See dozens of variations and discover which of them are customary and which are rather unusual.
  • 02 Nov 2018
    Several updates to the Discovery ships and their sizes, especially the Klingon ones. I have also compiled a size chart for the Klingon ships of Discovery.
  • 27 Oct 2018
    A new article by Tadeo D'Oria investigates the changes to Enterprise-E bridge from "Star Trek: First Contact" to "Star Trek: Insurrection" and "Star Trek Nemesis": The Evolution of the Enterprise-E Bridge.
  • 25 Oct 2018
    CBS has announced a new animated series called Star Trek: Lower Decks. The series will follow the adventures of "the support crew serving on one of Starfleet's least-important ships" and will run for at least two seasons. Read the complete news and my comment.
  • 16 Oct 2018
    I have added still more re-used props, especially containers. The appearances of the U.S. Navy sonobuoy containers are so numerous that I moved them to a new article: Re-Uses of Sonobuoy Containers.
Latest Comments on EAS Articles
  • 10 Dec 2018

    I completely disagree. It makes perfect sense to celebrate the fact that he is the first of his species to gain such an award, the fact that he is the only member of his species at that time (that we know...) able to do so does not cheapen the accolade. Saru's (as Data's will be) is a career of firsts.

  • 10 Dec 2018

    E) By coming here and posting here you already prove that you care for it in some fashion. You're only anxious to distinguish your passing interest from that of people who care about it much more. You draw a line between "watching a show the way it is meant to be" and "being obsessed with a show", which is presumptuous.
    F) Of course they owe us something, for 50 years of watching, of buying and of various other forms of support! On the other hand, they owe nothing to the so-called "modern audience" that has plenty of other shows to watch and that will never bother to keep Star Trek alive the way we did.

  • 09 Dec 2018

    I don't know and frankly don't care if I meet your criteria, but you may also want to add:
    E) saying, "It's just a TV show, dude, relax"
    F) noting that the creators behind Star Trek owe you and other die-hard fans nothing

    If that's the case, guilty as charged.

  • 09 Dec 2018

    I'm okay with people saying they don't care for visual continuity as long as they
    A) don't spread the lie that it never existed,
    B) don't pretend that changes were inevitable although they obviously happened for change's sake (or for the sake of some artist's vanity),
    C) don't insult proponents of consistency, and in particular, don't use the strawman that I want Star Trek to look like in the 1960's,
    D) keep out from any discussion about this topic that they give a damn about, and in particular don't tell me that the DIS Klingons and ships may look right if only I try hard enough.

  • 09 Dec 2018

    I really think this isn't a big deal. The franchise is fifty years old. It was never, every going to stay consistent all the way through. All this whining about DIS is really just too much. Get over it, things change.

  • 09 Dec 2018

    Great article. It finally dawned on me that there are two impulse crystal configurations. And to think the huge battle scenes from DS9 were mostly practical effects. Amazing.

  • 09 Dec 2018

    In the season finale, Saru was described as the first (or only?) Kelpian to win the medal they all got. That would make no sense if he was the only Kelpian in Starfleet.

  • 09 Dec 2018

    Hell yes to EGA Trek. That came out just before I entered college. I lost countless hours playing that when I should have been programming and studying.

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