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There doesn't seem to be any pattern to when it's "Captain's Log, StarDate xxx' and 'Captain's Log, Supplemental". Is there any?

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    It always seemed to me that each "day" had a new Captain's Log; if there was something else to add later in the day, that's a supplemental Apr 9 '15 at 18:25
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    A "supplemental" log is something that gets tacked onto an existing logfile.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 9 '15 at 18:33
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"Captain's Log, Stardate XXXX" is the beginning point of an entry, and generally occurs at the start of a new episode or adventure.

"Captain's Log, Supplemental" is a later addition to an existing log entry, generally made mid-way through an episode or adventure. The idea is that the Captain came back later and tacked-on another bit of important information to an entry they had made earlier.

In my experience, the pattern holds up quite well:

  • In-universe, each new log entry is for a major event or mission, and supplementary material is added during the mission or after the mission is completed.

  • Out-of-universe, each new log entry begins a new episode, and supplementary entries are usually a way of either catching up viewers who may be starting the episode mid-way through, or quickly establishing events that have occurred off-screen during a commercial break.

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    It also happens from time to time that an episode opens with a supplemental. That's generally when the episode starts in the middle of an mission or adventure, meaning this general idea still holds up.
    – Jasper
    Apr 10 '15 at 11:33

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