Dr. Crusher wrote:
Agreed on these points!
I don't think there were too many characters, but, one of the drawbacks of having a larger cast was the fact that it became very difficult to highlight all the characters equally, although it was clear that the writers tried to do that. This resulted in a lot of character-oriented loose ends at the end of the seventh season that were completely unaddressed by the movies.
The strength of TOS was its ensemble cast, although a handful of the characters were featured more prominently than others. TNG, I think, had a similar strength on TV, but that strength was very much downplayed in the films. I think that First Contact was probably the only film that, by distributing the main characters between two plot scenarios, achieved some level of character equality.
TOS was never an ensemble, certainly not in its TV run. The focus of TOS was always on the Big Three, with Scotty being the next closest (not by much), and the rest of the cast were basically there. The TOS movies were still mostly that way, just with a few more scenes thrown to the rest of the cast.
TNG was ALWAYS an ensemble, at least while on TV. The degree to which characters were focused upon varied throughout the run, but no one dominated the show like Kirk/Spock/McCoy.