My Star Trek Gripe.

Nothing can be done about this, I just want to vent about this. Though if you agree with me, please chime in. If you disagree with me, well, some female relative of yours throws like a girl.

Military organizations have traditions, customs, and heraldry that doesn’t really change. Newer, advanced equipment may necessitate some adjustments, but not a real change. Consider Theseus’s Ship or my great great grandfather’s axe.

For example, the US Army has long associated the color blue with infantry, red with artillery, and gold/yellow with cavalry. You could identify which branch a soldier on ether side of the Civil War was in by the color of the piping on their uniforms or the4 stripes on their pant legs. And it still goes on.


There is NO freaking way between Star Trek TOS and TNG that Command Gold/Yellow would have been replaced by Red and Engineering Red would have been replaced by Yellow/Gold. This sort of change, just does, NOT, happen*. :mad:

And don’t get me started on TNG “Away Team” expendables (Nameless TOS Redshirt landing crews) wearing Command Red. A starship the size of the TNG Enterprise is going to have a detachment of Starfleet Marines (probably wearing green) to be used up on landing missions.

*Note use of the Shatner Comma

Vent away, I grew up in a military family, And I get you!!

Then there were the 2270s and 2270s-2350s uniform phases…

Makes me wonder if, in-universe, changes like these are the result of “Starfleet is not an icky military organization!” and “Starfleet is the right arm of the free galaxy!” factions shoving into or falling out of power.

But that would of course imply that different groups gaining control of Starfleet would use the opportunity to rapidly impose their stylistic imprint upon the fleet for it’s own sake, with little regard for heritage, tradition, or even practicality. But that’d just be plain silly. :wink:

One of the things that always annoyed me on TOS was that the landing party, going into unknown dangers, almost always included both the Captain and second in command, and the ship’s doctor. :smack:

I dunno, I think there are ways to fanwank stuff like this, as long as there can be a sufficient transitional period (don’t know if novelizations etc leave room for this):

For example, perhaps command responsibilities over time started to incorporate decisions on what ship modules to include and how much crew to put on particular systems. Gradually the job becomes more administrative, and then more technical.

At the same time, within engineering, the focus becomes on defence and security systems, which transitions into strategic decisions e.g. what’s the plan for being attacked by a cloaked ship?
Which then becomes command.

It’s implausible, but compared to other things we need to suspend disbelief on (like humans and aliens mating), it’s small fry.

FWIW, in the 240+ years of its history, the service uniforms of the United States Army have gone through different shades of blue to khaki and brown to green and now back to blue (in a design I think is both hideous and comical). So the example of Starfleet is hardly unprecedented.

I hang out a bit on the Trek BBS and the uniforms come up often. I don’t recall this particular discussion but Roddenberry was firm that Star Fleet was based on the military, but was not a military organization.


IIRC, Patrick Stewart didn’t have a sufficient command presence in the yellow uni’s (which they used to good effect in that ep. where he is stabbed as a cadet, but then he isn’t in an alt. timeline and just becomes a mediocre career officer).

I was annoyed by the entire phenomenon of reinventing the visual appearance of freaking everything for the Star Trek (TOS) motion picture series.

It reeked of “we have a big budget, let’s redo Star Trek the way we might have if we’d had a big budget back then”.

Once the original appearances of uniforms (and the Enterprise’s engines, and what warp drive looks like and what transporter effects look like, and what freaking Klingons look like) had been thrown under the land transit vehicle, TNG and etc had no reason to consider backwards-compatibility.

Now the Army is toying with going back to the “pinks and greens” WWII-era khakis.

Which sounds good to me – the current blues with white shirt really don’t look all that great to me. White shirts are natural spaghetti sauce magnets so I don’t know why anyone would decide that was a good idea.

Back to Star Trek, I remember reading a TNG Technical Manual that had something about the “Red Shirts” complaining about the uniform colors and getting updated to yellow, but that really doesn’t resolve the problem of them still being “red shirts.”

In reality, I think the TOS uniforms are kind of goofy. Bright, primary colors for shirts that are designed to hike up over your belly when you do a combat roll and clam diggers for pants are kind of odd, but not really any stranger than any other 60s sci fi uniform, I guess.

<pushes up glasses> Um excuse me but in episode 40276-241 “Tapestry” Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself in an Alternate Universe possibly created by Q in which he is a lowly Lieutenant and he wears Science Blue not Command or Support Gold. Glavin.

(in case it’s not clear the above was a parody).

As far as the initial complaint. I would argue that Star Fleet is not quite Military. It serves as the Federations Military and uses Military structure as its framework but it a type of service that doesn’t currently exist where Military, Exploration and Scientific Research are all equally important. I think that makes it more reasonable that the uniforms can change.

Heck assuming Discovery takes place in the Prime timeline, we now have cannon evidence different Star Ships have different uniforms since the show is concurrent with The Cage.

The khakis (“pinks”) and browns of the WWII era and up into the '60s were by far the sharpest uniforms in the last hundred years or so. The greens, a bit less so, especially after those sickeningly lime-green shirts were introduced back in the '80s.

The blue-and-yellow-and-black-beret-topped uniforms they have now are a farce. They look like Civil War playsuits for spoiled little rich children. Yeccch! It’s even worse than when they redesigned the BSA uniforms back in the '70s with those cute little red berets.

I was watching TV not long ago and was shocked that the USAF’s blue uniforms seem to have been supplanted by some kind of dark grey or SS-black outfit. Please tell me this was a color freakout on my set and not a real thing.

As for who’s responsible for this crap, it’s probably the same retards who designed the Susan B Anthony dollar and that hideous new $20 bill.

As has been mentioned many times before, the closest analogue to Starfleet is the British Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th centuries, which was called upon to do whatever tasks were required of it, from helping lost travelers return home to engaging in actual combat in time of war. If that makes it “semimilitary,” then so be it.

BTW, I don’t consider ***Discovery ***to be a part of the Prime Universe any more than I do the reboot movies. I’m taking it on its own terms for now with regard to every other iteration of the series, irrespective of Sarek (whose name they constantly mispronounce), Amanda, Spock, and any other familiar faces who might turn up.

Actually, I’ve found it intriguing up to now, insofar as we have a wartime ***Trek ***instead of the sunny-optimistic-we-can-solve-any-problem-for-any-culture-in-less-than-60-minutes-without-commercials versions traditionally shown. Just as with Batman, I always thought it would be interesting to see the darker side of the concept.

Hey! I liked the berets. Our troop wore them.

The Temporal Cold War.

So there.

I think you might be really underestimating how dramatic uniform changes can be.

Well, this is certainly a good point.

The ability of such shows to realistically portray how a large fleet vessel would deal with in-person confrontations is limited by

  1. Budget
  2. The requirement to place the main characters in the center of the action

It costs bux to outfit a team of space marines in battle gear, and it takes you away from the stars of the show.

Yes. They fixed that on TNG with Riker leading the Away Teams.

The uniforms have changed, but the heraldry doesn’t. It’s still Infantry (Light, Airborne, Mechanized) Blue, Artillery (Field, Air Defense, Missile) Red, and Cavalry (Scout, Armor, and Airmobile) Yellow/Gold.

THAT’S your problem with the uniforms???

Consider the crew’s uniforms in the Original Series
vs. Star Trek: The Motion Picture:eek::eek::eek::eek:

vs. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan

You can’t even explain that away with the 75-year gap between TOS and TNG.