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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
  • 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.
  • 15 Oct 2018
    A new story in the series The Cause by Travis Anderson: Freedom. One year after the arrests made by the Federation-Cardassian Counterterrorism Task Force, Ro and her cell decide to deal with matters while they can. And a second threat arises to face the entire DMZ.
  • 13 Oct 2018
    More news about Discovery's season 2 and the Picard series comes from New York Comic Con. Read the news round-up of the past week and my comments on Klingon hair and aspect ratios.
  • 07 Oct 2018
    A new trailer for Discovery's season 2 shows Rebecca Romijn as Pike's "Number One" and Ethan Peck as Spock for the first time. We can also see Klingons with hair and a familiar Klingon K't'inga cruiser. Read the complete news and my comment.
  • 06 Oct 2018
    CBS and Netflix should know that for the underprivileged world it is very easy to view Short Treks, although we are not supposed to. Anyway, here is my review of the first episode, "Runaway". I will use "DST" as acronym for Short Treks.
  • 29 Sep 2018
    Worldwide fans looking forward to the release of the first Short Treks mini episode on October 4th will likely wait in vain. Right now, it looks like the series will air exclusively on CBS All Access in the USA. Read the news and my comment.
  • 24 Sep 2018
    I have added still more re-used props. Have a look at the miscellaneous equipment (now including medical furniture) and the medical instruments. Occasional updates can be found on other pages too.
  • 23 Sep 2018
    Another round of updates in the re-used props section. This time dozens of new entries were added to the pages about engineering tools, stationary consoles and mobile computers.
  • 22 Sep 2018
    Two more updated Voyager season 4 reviews, of "Demon" and "One".
  • 20 Sep 2018
    The official Star Trek site lists the air dates and the synopses of the four Short Treks mini episodes. Read my comment on this new series format.
Latest Comments on EAS Articles
  • 17 Oct 2018

    I've been coming to this site for a long time. It's one of the first websites I ever bookmarked. I really do appreciate everything about it. I'm glad you're keeping up with Discovery, but I wish you'd give Discovery a Little more slack sometimes. No disrespect intended of course.

    We (Trekkies) have been masters of giving in-universe explanations for obvious technical choices. I like the spirit of a lot of the redesigns that we see in Discovery. Especially in the uniforms and some of the set design and sound design.

    CBS has always been a little at odds with fans and the first season of your favorite series is never your favorite season. I hope despite the obvious challenges to our preconceived notions that we all give it a chance to tell the same kinds of stories Trek has always told. Thanks for reading and for keeping this site my favorite place to research starships! 🖖🏻

  • 17 Oct 2018

    It can in fact be both. The Klingon empire has by all accounts been at war with itself (the 24 Great Houses) for the last century, presumably caused by Archer's little intervention upsetting things. There would have to be plenty of Klingons trying to justify their purity, lack of infection etc, looking for scape goats and as I said previously, the best way to demonstrate you Klingon purity would be to exhibit your full set of natural bumps for all to see, and marginalise those afflicted with smooth craniums (however those may now look...), and justifying this with religious writings (because you're at war with the impure) is always a "good" tactic for zealots.

    The war with the Federation was T'Kvuma's idea to stop the war between the houses, to reunite the Empire (that worked well - NOT) and should be regarded as more recreational than anything else and not a proper war...

    The Kahless reference being used by the writers to justify this (sorta...) is exactly the same one that was quoted for the continuity violation of (genetically) bald Klingons so I'd suspect it had to be the Elephant in the room the writers had to address in any case.

    At the moment, we just have a few convention soundbites covering presumably part of the on screen dialogue given by way of explanation.

  • 17 Oct 2018

    George Takei was in an episode of Heroes where I remember his limo's license plate read NCC-1701. Would a picture of that belong here?

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Alright. Spock does appear to have a more castaway look. This is preferable to him being a Seattle emo boy.

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Kang is sad to see this continuing aggression by the United States against our northern allies.

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Honestly, why are fans doing all the heavy lifting for these writers?

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Fundamentalism and a shift away from it is a better explanation than the "time of war" one.

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Er... alright; so: At the beginning of the series, no war, and no hair; as the series progressed, war, and still no hair; leading to now, no war, and hair.

    Here is the true reason why Klingons have ridges. It comes from beating our heads against walls over such illogic as this.

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