Observations in TNG: "Up the Long Ladder"

A joint project with TrekCore, by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Here are some observations about sets, props and visual effects in TNG: "Up the Long Ladder" without a specific theme, and a comparison of the original TV release (TNG) with the remastered episode (TNG-R).

"Up the Long Ladder" HD Screencaps @ TrekCore

Description TNG Other caps Comparison TNG to TNG-R Description TNG-R
The Enterprise-D in orbit of the unnamed planet where Starbase 73 is located. The planet was rebuilt for TNG-R. Note that the visible portion of the planet was changed, which is unusual for TNG-R.
Close inspection reveals that the captain's log only consists of strings of numbers. The same display already appeared in "The Royale".
"The Royale"
The HD screen cap confirms there is no useful information on the screen.
The list of Earth deep space launches from 2123 to 2190. It contains several in-jokes: SS Buckaroo Banzai, BBI, John Whorfin and Planet 10 (DIM 8) are all references to "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension", the SS Urusei Yatsura is named after the eponymous animated series. The SS Tomobiki is also named after the fictional setting of the show. Many of the captains in the display are named after people working on Star Trek. The mission of the VK Velikan, captained by one Gene Roddenberry, is "to explore strange new worlds". The HMS New Zealand, finally, is on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan.

The shot of the desktop monitor is a re-use from "Contagion".


The LCARS display has been changed slightly for the remastering of the episode. Very obvious in-jokes were removed. The VK Velikan is no longer commanded by Gene Roddenberry but by Mike Volland. It is also no longer on a mission "to explore strange new worlds" but is engaging in "stellar chart mapping". The HMS New Zealand is now on a diplomatic mission to Aldebaran instead of Alderaan. The SS Seattle is on a diplomatic mission to SR-47 now and no longer does "ADR looping".

The Starbase 73 planet was previously seen as Velara III in "Home Soil" and Dytallix B in "Conspiracy". It is seen for the last time in this episode.
Re-Used Planets in TNG

As already mentioned, the planet was rebuilt for TNG-R. It is no longer the same as Velara III. The planet features a beautifully animated storm now.
The Boby taboret, designed by Joe Colombo, appeared in many Star Trek series (even Discovery), and mostly in sickbay. In TNG, it can be seen since season 2.
Present-Day Devices as Props
A good look at the prop in HD.

The transparent spreadsheet usually found in sickbay can be nicely seen in this shot.

Also note on this and on the previous cap that the sickbay backdoor was moved to the left and received a rounded frame after season 1.

"The Battle"
The HD version shows the spreadsheet somewhat better.
Picard seems to be reading the orange PADD-like thing here. Close examination however reveals that there is no text on the flat sheet. It looks more closely like the circuitry in an isolinear optical chip, so the two orange sheets might have been supposed to be just that - larger isolinear chips. Close-ups of the prop in HD.

The design of the SS Mariposa (DY-500 class) originally appeared in the Spaceflight Chronology and was laid out by Rick Sternbach to resemble Khan's Botany Bay (DY-100).
Earth Ship Classes

In the accompanying text, "Yoyodyne pulse fusion" is a nod to Buckaroo Banzai.

TOS: "Space Seed"
The text in the SS Mariposa file can be read much better now, including the registry on the hull.
Picard mentions the Yoshimitsu computers that are listed on his display. These will be seen on Mariposa later in the episode, marked by a katakana label.
Later in the episode
The unchanged text on the display in TNG-R. We can identify another in-joke, "Banzai pipeline surfboards". Besides being a nod to Buckaroo Banzai, the Banzai Pipeline is a surf reef break located in Hawaii (Mike Okuda's home state).
The cups and pitcher used for the Klingon tea ceremony were seen again many years later in the DS9 episode "The Ship". In that episode, the Vorta Kilana brings food and drink to Sisko using this tableware.
DS9: "The Ship"
A better look at the tableware in HD.
This shot of a moon or asteroid in the Bringloid system originally appeared in "We'll Always Have Paris". In that episode, it was meant to represent Vandor IV. For this episode, the shot was rotated slightly.
"We'll Always Have Paris"
The asteroid was reconstructed and shows more details now.

Note that in this shot, like in a few previous instances in the second season of TNG-R, the Enterprise is distorted.

The increasing solar activity of the star Bringloid and the planet Bringloid V can be nicely seen in this shot. The planet is much more detailed now.
The top part of the yellow/red alert indicator is clearly covered with black cardboard in this shot. More cardboard can be seen on one of the aft bridge stations. The cardboard can be recognized in HD too.
The turbolift LCARS buttons as they were still present in early season 2 episodes must have been removed some time prior to "Time Squared".
"A Matter of Honor"
No changes
A rectangular square of carpet is attached to the transporter console. The carpet piece can be seen in HD too.
The protruding panel next to the turbolift door displayed "Access Denied" in "11001001" but does not seem to serve any other purpose.
On the contrast-enhanced TNG-R shot we can see that the letters "Access Denied" are still in place.
Why did the chicken cross the corridor? We don't know but the bales of straw that are visible through the open door of the transporter room are gone when Picard enters just a couple of moments later. Did they quickly tidy up a little bit for the captain? No changes
Bringloid V looked very pixelated in the original episode. The HD version of the planet is a huge improvement.
The same short corridor that is normally seen when somebody uses the holodeck leads to the cargo bay in this episode. The cargo bay set (a redress of the shuttlebay) wasn't seen since "The Child". No changes
Some additional pieces of set decoration appear in Riker's quarters in this episode. The transparent dome on a tripod already appeared in his quarters in "Time Squared" but it wasn't really seen well in the dark corner. The dome will often be seen in his quarters in later episodes, it also appeared in the geophysical lab in "Pen Pals".
"Pen Pals"

"The Quality of Life"
A close-up of the dome in HD.
Riker keeps several sculptures of female torsos in his quarters. One made from glass first appeared in "Time Squared", a larger, black one debuts in this episode.
"Future Imperfect"
No changes
The cargo bay replicator only appears in this episode. It looks different from the regular crew quarter replicators. Actually, it is Picard's bedroom communication terminal, seen in "Conspiracy" and "The Offspring", and turned on its side.
"The Neutral Zone"

No changes
Chech'tluth comes in a traditional Klingon cup, last seen in "A Matter of Honor" and originally from the movie "The Ten Commandments". No changes
This shot of the USS Enterprise-D approaching Mariposa is a re-use of a similar shot from "The Schizoid Man" where the ship is seen approaching Gravesworld. In this episode, the shot appears mirrored, though.
"The Schizoid Man"
The planet is essentially still the same in TNG-R, but the surface of Mariposa includes details that are not on the remastered version of Gravesworld.
Several more cardboard squares are seen in this shot. The cardboard is noticeable in TNG-R too.
Ringed Mariposa as it appears on the viewscreen. This shot is also a re-use from "The Schizoid Man".
"The Schizoid Man"
In these shots the planet is still the old one as well. The rings now cast a shadow on the planet's surface. Also note the Enterprise's shadow on the rings on the lower screen cap.
This shot of the planet Mariposa also appears in "The Schizoid Man". In that episode, however, the Enterprise is much closer to the camera or Gravesworld is much smaller than Mariposa.
"The Schizoid Man"

Unusually for TNG, the first shot on Mariposa begins in the middle of a beam-down.

The corridors on Mariposa were originally created for Dr. Manheim's lab on Vandor IV in "We'll Always Have Paris". They were modified and also appeared at Starfleet Headquarters in "Conspiracy".

"We'll Always Have Paris"

No changes
The computer monitor seen on Mariposa is clearly a 20th century model. It previously appeared in TNG: "The Royale".
TNG: "The Royale"
A better look at the ancient monitor in HD.
This is a new shot of the season 2 ringed planet that doesn't appear in "The Schizoid Man". It looks like this shot was retouched. Once again, note the shadow on the planet's surface.

The blue energy beam of Mariposan weapons.

Wilson Granger's teapot, by the way, is named "Il Conico" and was designed by Aldo Rossi for Alessi. Captain Picard Picard serves Admiral Hanson tea from such a pot in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds I".

TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds I"
The reconstructed beam is more intense (just as it should be).
Just as he is being carried away, unconscious Riker opens his eyes and looks straight at the camera. Jonathan Frakes must have thought he was off screen already. We can recognize the blooper better in HD.
The syringes the Mariposans use to extract DNA from Riker and Pulaski were used by Seska many years later to extract DNA from Chakotay in "Maneuvers".
VOY: "Maneuvers"
A better look at the prop in HD.

Also note the vignetting that occurs because the frame was chosen too wide.

As the USS Enterprise-D comes closer to the camera, the planetary rings start to move unnaturally.

The effect is no longer present in TNG-R.

But note that the Enterprise is once again too narrow.

Blinking wall consoles like that are also seen in Dr. Soong's lab in "Datalore", the terraforming station on Velara III in "Home Soil" and Dr. Manheim's lab in "We'll Always Have Paris".

"Home Soil"
No changes

"We'll Always Have Paris"
The triangular wall behind Riker was originally the roof of the turboshaft in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier".
"Star Trek V"
No changes
One of the cloning units later appeared as a biobed in "The Best of Both Worlds II". A cloning unit also served as a biobed in "Transfigurations" and "Ethics".

A better look at the chamber in HD.

"The Best of Both Worlds I"
The silver wall panels in the cloning lab on Mariposa first appeared in the Enterprise-A shuttlebay and in the infamous turboshaft in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier".
"Star Trek V"

"Star Trek V"
No changes
Three Mariposan pistols are seen. Sovak holds a similar weapon in "Captain's Holiday". It is likely the very same prop. A modification of the design will famously appear as the Varon-T disruptor in "The Most Toys".
"Captain's Holiday"
A better look at the weapon in HD.
A fake wall with storage space on the upper level was erected in front of the hangar doors to turn the shuttlebay into a cargo bay. We can see that in the cargo bay set the corner to the right of the entrance door is not rounded because of this additional wall.
"Time Squared"
No changes
The weapons locker that Picard opened in "Time Squared" was only a script-driven temporary modification and is gone now.
"Time Squared"
No changes
This is again are-use of a shot from "The Schizoid Man", which has simply been mirrored.
"The Schizoid Man" SD

"The Schizoid Man" HD
In TNG-R it is a mirror image of the corresponding shot in TNG-R: "The Schizoid Man" too, but with better differentiated lighting and shading. The registry is the right way round only in "Up the Long Ladder".
A shot of Mariposa without the USS Enterprise-D in the foreground. A last look at the planet in TNG-R.



Thanks to Chris St. John for pointing out the Banzai Pipeline reference.


Back to Observations index

View as gallery