Star Trek: The Original Series was the definition of 'work smarter, not harder'

Star Trek: The Original Series really knew how to get by on a tight budget.

Nov. 2, 2015 – CBS Television Studios announced today it will launch a totally new “Star Trek” television series in January 2017. The brand-new “Star Trek” will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent
Nov. 2, 2015 – CBS Television Studios announced today it will launch a totally new “Star Trek” television series in January 2017. The brand-new “Star Trek” will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent /
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Star Trek fans, especially newer Star Trek fans, may not realize how tight things used to be for the franchise. While by no means was it a cardboard shoe box type of situation, where everything the show used was found in the back of a store near the garbage, more of it was than you may realize. The show didn't have a big budget by any means and it forced the creators of the show to get creative a lot of the time.

A far cry from what the franchise has become with the abundance of money that has been injected into the show. But back in the 1960s, you couldn't just throw CGI at everything. Case in point, the time the wardrobe crew came up with a clever workaround to a budget issue.

In the 1995 book, Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, written by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, former series director Marc Daniels recounted a time when they had to get creative in outfitting the secondary characters in the episode "A Private Little War".

The episode was to depict a race of human-like aliens who were 'prehistoric' in their design. To properly design their costumes, however, would require a lot of money, causing the costume department to up their games. Daniels goes on to praise Bill Theiss (via SlashFilms) for his ingenuity, saying;

"I remember that episode also provided a problem in terms of wardrobe. The people on this planet were supposed to be dressed in prehistoric clothing, and we discovered that costuming them would cost a fortune. Bill Theiss, who was always adept at handling such crises, bought a bunch of cheap sheepskin jackets, cut off the sleeves and turned them inside out. We were always trying to work around things like that because of budgetary limitations."

And Star Trek fans may want to get ready to accept this type of thinking going forward. The era of unlimited spending on streaming properties is over and I for one look forward to how Star Trek can embrace its roots by going back to a time when everything wasn't fixed with money or CGI. Where more authentic and creative ideas have to be used instead.

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