Star Trek’s Design Influences.
Matt Jefferies, designer of the original Starship Enterprise, was less than complimentary when he saw its 24th-century incarnation in Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Gene asked me how I liked the show, and I said that he had taken the bridge of my ship and turned it into the lobby of the Hilton.” But throughout its 50-year history, Star Trek’s aesthetic has always moved with the times, assimilating current fashion trends and adapting basic designs to accommodate new ideas and new technologies.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Trek.fm Art Director Aaron Harvey, who also hosts our Star Trek: The Animated Series show Saturday Morning Trek, to talk about the design influences that have shaped the look of Star Trek over the course of half a century—from the sleek, contoured stylings of Kirk’s original Enterprise to the rough-and-ready look of the USS Discovery.
Matt Jefferies’s Aeronautical Influences (00:02:45)
Color in TOS (00:17:02)
The Motion Picture’s Sense of Scale (00:23:03)
Nick Meyer’s Gritty Rebranding (00:28:46)
Fan Designers and the USS Discovery (00:36:04)
The Enterprise-D (00:45:45)
Voyager’s Open-Plan Office (00:53:06)
Okudagrams and LCARS (00:54:54)
Deep Space Nine’s Alien Aesthetic (00:59:20)
Designing for Prequels (01:05:15)
Final Thoughts (01:15:04)
Tony Black (Editor) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Cinematic Influences on Star Trek: First Contact. We discuss the influence of Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron on Jonathan Frakes and how their films inspired his big-screen directorial debut.
Gay Representation in Star Trek. We look at the franchise's fraught engagement with LGBT issues, from The Next Generation to Discovery.
Star Trek's Impossible Choices. We consider the influence of Sophie's Choice on Star Trek's storytelling and the dilemmas Starfleet captains are forced to face that the rest of us might consider impossible.
Voyager, History, and Nostalgia. We explore the show’s obsession with the past, debates around historical truth, the pleasures of nostalgia, and whether the homeward mission was inherently retrogressive.
A Christmas Carol and Tapestry. In this special holiday episode, we look at the influence of Dickens’s classic story on of the most popular episodes of TNG and the role Christmas plays in the secular societies we see in Star Trek.
Star Trek and Human Rights. To mark International Human Rights Day, we consider how Star Trek has engaged with real-world debates about human and animal rights, the impact of war on our most dearly held principles, and the Federation’s role in policing the future.
Director’s Cuts and Star Trek. At this live roundtable recorded at Prince Charles Cinema in London, we discuss how a director’s cut impacts the fan relationship with a film before we watch the UK premiere of the director’s extended edition of The Wrath of Khan.
Time Loops in Star Trek. We consider the role of time loops, both within the Star Trek universe and beyond, and explore the darker issues at play when the loops begin to unravel.
The X-Files and Star Trek. In a Halloween special, we explore connections between these two long-running sci-fi franchises.
The Federation’s Field of Dreams. We discuss baseball in Star Trek and why it’s such a good fit for storytelling in Gene Roddenberry’s universe.