Return to Planet Hell (place)

The trick behind successfully producing a [television] series lies in making the most out of the money available. In a [science fiction] series the [budget] is even tighter - once money is allocated to [industrial light and magic|special effects] and [ertl|model building] and other [ooh! Shiny!|shiny things] and once the primary sets are built, the money for new locations is extremely limited.

Planet Hell is the [Star Trek] world's answer to this problem. It consisted of a large, filthy-looking pit with a variety of levels and passageways, as well as a better-than-average lighting system rigged above it. By altering the way the pit was [lighting design|lit] (as well as by employing the tried and true Star Trek technique of [inertial dampener|shaking the camera a lot] and having the actors fall in dramatic ways) the production crew could make it appear to be anything from an idyllic cave to a earthquake-prone, thunder and lightning plagued hell hole. It was mostly used for the latter (who wants to watch a [Attack of the Clones|sci-fi picnic]?) and was nicknamed Planet Hell by the cast and crew. The name stuck.

The pit was constructed early in the run of [Star Trek: The Next Generation] (remember [The Enemy (TNG)|Galorndon Core]? Actually, don't answer that) but was used extensively in [Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|Deep Space Nine], [Star Trek: Voyager|Voyager] and (I'm assuming, though I'm not positive) [Enterprise]. The set is about as close to the environment of an alien world as one can get without actually filming [on location], something that was rarely done on the Next Generation; DS9 and Voyager left the [sound stage] far more frequently.

The downside to this is that viewers begin to believe that most planets exist only as a series of interconnected [spelunking|caves] that are prone to strange rockslides, energy disturbances and other tension-inducing [plot device|plot devices], but I guess Star Trek isn't exactly the pinnacle of [technobabble|television realism].

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[servo5678|Servo] sayeth: The Hell set was expanded for [star trek ix: insurrection|Star Trek: Insurrection] and the various [star trek|Trek] TV shows benefited from this expansion, too. [Star Trek: Voyager|Voyager] actually called one of the planets they visited once "Planet Hell" as an in-joke to the set. The commercial was stupid though. Something like "To find life-giving energy, Neelix must go to Hell!"