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Old March 20 2013, 01:35 AM   #80
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Re: SPACE: Above and Beyond - Reviews and general geekiness

Doctor Clu wrote: View Post
saturn5 wrote: View Post
I'm afraid you have to chalk that up to the cliches of storytelling, like Captain Kirk leading every away party or The Unit's members being able to blend into every enviroment, the series wanted to explore every aspect of the war but keep the continuity of the characters
I'm reading through this thread since I am nearing the end of watching Space Above and Beyond, but I find myself wondering what Star Trek would be like if it were more like real life command structure:

Star Trek opens showing the bridge. A situation is discovered. A landing party is created. Rather than risk people like the Captain, Science Officer, or the Chief Medical Officers, all of which Starfleet has invested years of training and development, subordinates are chosen.

Actually I liked the episode of Star Trek Next Generation when Wesley Crusher was given the assignment to pull together a landing party. He evaluated the facts, looked at the possible people and worked from there. No command staff sent on that mission.

So in this setup you could have some repeats, but you could also have new actors and actresses get a start as the show would feature all kinds of new faces. Many short stories arced together by a common command staff that in of themselves are changed out from time to time.

On the grimier missions the Captain would be negotiating from orbit while the landing party works things out. Some landing parties might actually get completely wiped out (which we saw on Star Trek anyway.) But in some cases, people other than Kirk can show intiative and be promoted through the ranks. Disciplined, etc. A lot more lower decks in this format.

And naturally if there were meetings of high ranking people on the planet, the Captain and other high ranking persons would attend.

(Come to think of it, bring it back to Space Above and Beyond, that was the cool thing about COLONEL McQueen being grounded, to be prevented from being another Kirk).
The problem isn't one of command structure. The problem is one of opening credits, as in the the most prominent name in the opening credits tends to get the most screen time overall in the series.

In ST:TOS, Bill Shatner was the most prominent name out of two (then three) names in the intro, so he had to get the most face time, which meant if they were landing on a planet The Shat had to be there to get the most outta what Desilu was paying him. Common Sense and "command Structure" be damned.

By the time they got onto ST:TNG, common sense had started to creep in and the creators realized "maybe we do need to keep the captain's behind on the ship," so they cast a First Officer that would be more than just a sidekick (Patrick Stewart, then Jonathan Frakes in the intro) and gave him the job of running away teams. Of course Picard indulged and beamed down himself on occasion, but not every away mission because he could still be featured prominently on the show staying on the ship. Technically, the command structure governing both shows was exactly the same. The characters were just given different roles to play.

Now, taking the trek analogy over to S:AAB, the prominent names in the credits are the names of the permanent away team. The focus of the show is the away team's exploits, not the exploits of the captain (Commodore Ross) so the captain doesn't have to land anywhere. He doesn't even have to appear in every episode. (And he doesn't.) It also isn't about the adventures of the ship in general, so the Saratoga doesn't get dunked into black holes or get shifted through time or encounter giant space amoebas. It's about the 58th squadron fighting a planet-hopping war, so the 58th squadron is who we see actually do the planet-hopping.

So the moral is: if you want the away to do away team work and you want the captain to stay on the ship, then you have to give the away team portrayers better contracts than the captain.
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

-Admiral James Greer
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