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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old October 12 2009, 08:44 AM   #1
MichaelDornFan
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How long could TNG have lasted?

What if they decided to continue TNG indefinitely, like Law & Order or ER, and just rotated the cast as necessary. How long could it have lasted before being canned? And how long would the main actors have stayed on? I wouldn't be surprised if some of them stayed on for a very long time (Frakes, Dorn, Sirtis, Burton).
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Old October 12 2009, 08:50 AM   #2
judge alba
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

Though I liked tng I feel it stopped at about the right time. It was still watchable unlike the later seasons of stargate (9 and 10);.Taking all the series as a whole like tng voy and ds9 I think they were starting to run out of ideas.
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Old October 12 2009, 08:59 AM   #3
MichaelDornFan
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

I agree that it's probably a good thing it ended when it did. I'm just curious how long it might have lasted...
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Old October 12 2009, 10:05 AM   #4
Canuck69
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

Had they not have had all the other series going or in the works they could have probably gone a while longer but I think that they needed ideas for the other ones and I know they really wanted to get the series into the movies. The main actors seemed to be getting a little weary of it all in the last season too. I'm sure Frakes, Sirtis, Burton and Dorn may have stayed on but I think that Stewart and Spiner were about ready to be done with it. And let's be honest, to lose both those actors and their characters would have been a major blow to the show, not one I am so sure they would recover from.

I agree that they stopped at a good time, a good case of quitting while you are ahead. It is just too bad the movies to follow fell a little short. Looking back I would have almost preferred an extra season or two to tie up the loose ends for the characters than what we got in the movies. It could have been more in depth and a better send off IMO.
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Old October 12 2009, 07:58 PM   #5
jefferiestubes8
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

TV is a ratings game. I've read on TrekBBS that the last two seasons of TNG the ratings were declining.
With the costs of the veteran TNG actors going up with a contract renewal it would not be a good business decision. If they signed new contracts in a nonexistent season 8 the ratings would continue the decline. For a syndicated program that would lead to TNG being dropped from certain entire markets and cities or smaller stations in those markets picking them up msdseason.
I would say one season more (season 8) and then it would be cancelled.
Doing 22 episodes is a real grind. Perhaps they would have lost 1 or 2 leads on the show for a season 8 due to the actors wanting to "move on".
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Old October 12 2009, 08:05 PM   #6
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

I think it could well have lasted a lot longer, but the writing would have had to have gotten better. IMO, I was not that crazy about seasons 6 and 7... 7 in particular. In my own personal opinion, I felt that seasons 3 and 4 had the most solid and high-caliber writing. If they had begun to get back to those kinds of stories, I think the show could have lasted another few seasons, at least.
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Old October 12 2009, 09:40 PM   #7
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

I guess it could have carried on as long as Patrick Stewart stayed on the show. With all due respect and affection for the rest of the cast, Stewart was the star and he was irreplaceable in my eyes. No doubt they could have come up with new stories - after all, the various shows that came after TNG featured many episodes that worked according to similar principles. That said, I'm very glad it ended when it did - after a hit-and-miss seventh season that still provided some of the best episodes in the series and an excellent finale that gave the show a fitting send-off.
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Old October 13 2009, 05:13 AM   #8
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

Weren't they all contracted up to the end of an 8th season too? I think it could have worked, maybe with more DS9 crossover.
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Old October 13 2009, 05:34 AM   #9
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

They should have replaced "Mr. Formula" (Rick Berman) after he did lousy Insurrection and the ratings were suffering on UPN's Voyager, Berman really knew how to think small, because they could have done more with those characters in the movies than they ended up doing sadly.
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Old October 13 2009, 06:11 AM   #10
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

I don't blame Berman for Insurrection being so poor. I think Patrick Stewart's demands and Michael Piller giving in made it such a neutered, meaningless film.
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Old October 13 2009, 12:52 PM   #11
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

USS Groans wrote: View Post
Weren't they all contracted up to the end of an 8th season too?
No. Originally, they were contracted for six seasons. When the decision was made on a 7th, long and protracted (with Stewart and Spiner) negotiations began for ONE extra season.

Oh, and to the Berman-Basher (yawn): as some one else said, it was Stewart and Spiner's increasingly outlandish demands that nailed the coffin shut on the film series.

To the question: It could have gone one of two ways. If the option was to keep the same cast and same format as the last 7 years, then I think they definitely ended it at the right time.

However, if they were going to be a bit more daring (by choice or out of necessity -e.g. Stewart and Spiner were quite clear they would not do any more) and shake things up, then maybe it could've worked.

I always liked the idea of a season-long arc for TNG Season 8 in which the Enterprise is thrown out into the Delta Quadrant (what the heck - if TNG had continued, there would've been no Voyager, so why not use the stories?).

At the start of the season, have Riker promoted and Picard and Data off doing other things. Get a new XO and a new science officer - some variation of character we haven't seen yet.

I think the only way TNG could've successfully continued was to have shaken things up a bit. I was bored by Season 7, and so were the cast and writers - you can tell.
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Old October 13 2009, 03:14 PM   #12
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

One the things I like about TNG and the other series is that they came to an end, and in general at the right time. A good show can be flogged to death by keeping it going, they lose the plot and ruin it by making up bizzare stories. I would rather that they be a limited series/seasons and turn into an eternal soap opera.
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Old October 13 2009, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

Trek Survivor wrote: View Post
USS Groans wrote: View Post
Weren't they all contracted up to the end of an 8th season too?
No. Originally, they were contracted for six seasons. When the decision was made on a 7th, long and protracted (with Stewart and Spiner) negotiations began for ONE extra season.

Oh, and to the Berman-Basher (yawn): as some one else said, it was Stewart and Spiner's increasingly outlandish demands that nailed the coffin shut on the film series.

To the question: It could have gone one of two ways. If the option was to keep the same cast and same format as the last 7 years, then I think they definitely ended it at the right time.

However, if they were going to be a bit more daring (by choice or out of necessity -e.g. Stewart and Spiner were quite clear they would not do any more) and shake things up, then maybe it could've worked.

I always liked the idea of a season-long arc for TNG Season 8 in which the Enterprise is thrown out into the Delta Quadrant (what the heck - if TNG had continued, there would've been no Voyager, so why not use the stories?).

At the start of the season, have Riker promoted and Picard and Data off doing other things. Get a new XO and a new science officer - some variation of character we haven't seen yet.

I think the only way TNG could've successfully continued was to have shaken things up a bit. I was bored by Season 7, and so were the cast and writers - you can tell.
I agree for the most part. I know I myself, was pretty bored with the 7th season. I think many of the 7th season episodes were kind of lackluster, and lacked any real punch, like some of the real powerful 3rd and 4th season episodes, like "Sarek", "The Hunted", "The High Ground", and "Sins of the Father" and "Family".
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Old October 13 2009, 08:08 PM   #14
CoveTom
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

The OP, I believe, mentioned Law & Order as an example of a successful long-running series.

The secret to L&O's success, however, has been the regular refreshing of both the cast and the writers with new blood. While Dick Wolf and a couple of the senior producers have been with the show since the beginning, most of the writers change from time to time and there's not a single cast member who is still on the show that has been there since the beginning. Some -- like Jerry Orbach, S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, and Steven Hill -- have had very long tenures with the show while others, like most of the assistant district attorneys, have come and gone every few years.

If TNG were to have continued, I think it would have had to take the same approach, both from a creative and business perspective. From a creative perspective, it is clear that many of the writers were beginning to be burnt out on TNG. While there were certainly some excellent episodes in the seventh season, I don't think anyone argues that it had more than its share of clunkers. From a business perspective, it was getting more and more costly to produce each time a new contract had to be negotiated for the actors.

If they had been willing to "freshen up" the place with some new actors and new writers, then I think it could have lasted. But, honestly, would that have been the best business decision for Paramount to make? Probably not. Why? Well, if you're going to change the characters all around, and perhaps even tinker with the premise to keep it fresh, you can just as easily create a new show, like DS9. And by doing that, you keep all of the TNG cast that everyone knows and loves free to do potentially very lucrative feature films. Now, of course, in hindsight we know that they took a very serious wrong turn with the films but, still, the business logic behind the decision to bump TNG to the big screen and bring in a new Trek series seems to make sense.
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Old October 13 2009, 08:41 PM   #15
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Re: How long could TNG have lasted?

I think TNG could have been branched out another season if production of the movie never happened. I imagine the writers could have come up with another two part episode to envelope the seventh and eighth seasons. I doubt the series could have lived much longer than that however; writers, producers and actors would likely have tired from day-to-day operations. While TNG enjoyed great ratings, I imagine Patrick and Brent would have wanted to move onto other things. It reminds me of the X-Files when David Duchovny wanted to star in more features however was unable to contract it out with FOX leading partially to his departure from the series. If FOX had been smart they would have simply committed him for half a season, developed a new X-Files division in another part of the country and spent the last half of the season with that set of agents. X-Files could have potentially had it's series finale that year, at the same time starting upa film franchise with the original talent. The next year could have started with a new show X-Files: Insert Blank City featuring a new cast and some familiar cameos as the new agents check in from time to time... But instead they let it run too long and the fan base corroded beneath it. This could have easily been the same case with TNG.
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