In older shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, corridors were not dimmed during red alert.

But in the newer shows, the lights are usually dimmed.

In what show did this first happen?

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    It's worth noting this happens on real world navy ships. When performing night operations, having a brightly lit bridge makes it difficult to see out the windows, as you'd just be seeing your own reflection all the time, so they will dim the lights, and often they are red because that's least likely to affect your night vision. Of course, Star Trek ships don't have windows on the bridge, it's just a viewscreen, but given most of what's shown on the screen is the blackness of space, it makes sense to dim the lights in order to see it better, just like you dim the lights in a movie theater. Mar 24, 2023 at 13:25
  • @DarrelHoffman yeah, but the lights are dimmed all the time for night running, not just during a red alert.
    – OrangeDog
    Mar 24, 2023 at 14:18
  • @DarrelHoffman I'll also note that while some ships do use viewscreens, other ships (particularly those shown in the newer shows) use actual glass windows. Mar 24, 2023 at 17:29
  • 8
    @SovereignInquiry i think you mean actual transparent aluminum windows :) Mar 24, 2023 at 19:38
  • 1
    @AdamD.Ruppe +1. My bad...thank you for the correction. Mar 24, 2023 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, the first (in production order) instance was in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Still from TMP showing dimmed red lighting on the bridge

You can see the bridge lighting is dimmed, but not the corridor/turbolift for some reason.

This design continues through the original cast films, even while Star Trek: The Next Generation avoids it.

  • 14
    They keep the exits well lit in case you need to abandon the bridge in an emergency, like the room is filled with smoke from all the exploding computer consoles or something. Mar 24, 2023 at 13:20
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    You'd think they'd keep everything well-lit (like in the earlier TV shows) so you can see what you're doing at your action station.
    – OrangeDog
    Mar 24, 2023 at 13:27
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    That's why they go with dim, red light, rather than NO light. Also the controls are backlit, so you can see most of what counts. Mar 24, 2023 at 13:29
  • 4
    @OrangeDog, low lights also makes you focus on your work instead of being distracted with what the others are doing.
    – raubvogel
    Mar 24, 2023 at 14:22
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    @Chronocidal What makes you say "as originally intended"? It isn't as though the TOS or TNG set designers were surprised by the limits of TV cameras, they were experienced TV set designers who would know how to play to the strengths and weaknesses of the format.
    – Cadence
    Mar 26, 2023 at 1:25

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