Regardless of which david you where reffering you make a vaild point, about how hard it is to connect with new people for the simple reason that the next writer will just kill them off in order to put his own creations in place, Their was also a number of new people introduced during voygers relaunch that I liked only for them to be killed off. That kinda righting makes it hard for fans to acccept new people
This is what TNG has suffered from for a long while. It may be mended a bit now, but it took way too long.
Oh I know the "no crew in the real military would ever stay together that long" argument. But that's a really stupid argument, because this isn't reality. It's fiction.
As for final judgment - I am waiting until the next novel to make mine. You never know... maybe that final line is just to drive sales up. *Shrug* we can hope.