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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 November 28 2009, 12:57 AM   #1
euphorik
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season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

i'm not much of a fan of the 5th season. i wasn't on first run, and i'm still not - though certain episodes i've seen since ("ethics" comes to mind) weren't as bad as i remembered. i know i am in the minority, but for me, the 5th year was the season TNG hit the downward slope.

things about season 5 i didn't like

- sela (OK, her introduction is technically a 4th season development, but only just barely)
- ro. once again, i know i am in the minority here, but i never liked the character or the actress and the introduction of the new "let's shake things up" character just reeked of cousin oliver to me.
- "unification." OK...how do you bring spock onto the show and make it BORING??? i never would have thought it possible until this total disappointment.
- alexander. OK, again, technically a 4th season development, but whoever had the idea of actually moving him onto the enterprise...that was probably the single worst decision made by the writing staff over the entire run of the series. what were they thinking?
- bland, monochromatic cinematography - i don't know what happened here (and the problem was largely corrected by season 6), but all of the 5th season shows have this bland look...compare the bridge scenes in, say, "a matter of time" to the bridge scenes in "evolution" - there's a lot less bright color, a lot less light and shadow.
- talking, boring, overrated episodes like "the first duty" and "the inner light."
- "the outcast." period.
- jay chattaway's music. they fired ron jones and replaced him with THIS guy? bland, forgettable music would quickly become the status quo for the series from season 5 on.

to be fair, there are some high points in the 5th year - if i had to choose the single best episode of the series, i'd probably have to say "darmok," and "cause and effect" is one of the very few braga gimmick shows (they called them "high concept" shows back in the day) that holds up over time.

overall though, it's still my least favorite season (though season 7 isn't far behind).

what does everyone else think about the 5th year? good? bad? just wondering.
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Old November 28 2009, 01:08 AM   #2
carlmarx
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

I think the good in season 5 definately outweighs the bad. For most of seasons 3 and 4, yeah, you pretty much could watch every episode without there being many noticeable stinkers, and season 5 had a few more lame episodes, but I also think that when season 5 was good, it was REALLY good.

First off, you can't deny that "Redemption II", "Darmok" and "Ensign Ro" is one of the strongest run of episodes at the beginning of any TNG season. I'm gonna disagree with you though, and say "The Inner Light" is one of the best. Top 5 for me. Plus you have "I, Borg", "Cause And Effect", etc. I think there were more bad eps in season 5 than in any season since 1 probably, but I also think season 5 has the highest amount of great, if not bona fide classic, episodes.

And I agree that "Unification" was kinda boring. It's funny, I always was under the impression that it was viewed as a classic, but when I watched it again recently, I realized that nothing really happens in the episode. I wonder if these sentiments are in higher quantity as compared to those who really like the episode.
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Old November 28 2009, 01:41 AM   #3
euphorik
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

carlmarx wrote: View Post
you can't deny that "Redemption II", "Darmok" and "Ensign Ro" is one of the strongest run of episodes at the beginning of any TNG season. I'm gonna disagree with you though, and say "The Inner Light" is one of the best. Top 5 for me. Plus you have "I, Borg", "Cause And Effect", etc. I think there were more bad eps in season 5 than in any season since 1 probably, but I also think season 5 has the highest amount of great, if not bona fide classic, episodes.
for season openers, i would definitely go "BOBW2," "family," and "brothers" way before i would go with the first 3 from S5. i do like "redemption II," a very rare trek part 2 that is better than part 1. sela just tanks it, though. if sela wasn't in it, that would probably be a 4-out-of-4 episode for me.

i don't see what the big deal is about "ensign ro," the episode OR the character. that episode always seemed to me like a pilot crafted onto the TNG format, which is ultimately what it became anyway. no thanks.

and i'll take "silicon avatar," "the perfect mate," or "time's arrow" ANY day over "i borg" -!!!

totally agree with you, though on "unification." i never really considered that before, but you're absolutely right - nothing happens. in the spock-heavy part II, anyway. the sarek scenes in part 1 though are excellent. i always felt like stewart and lenard had a much more natural chemistry than stewart and nimoy.
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Old November 28 2009, 01:45 AM   #4
Ancient Mariner
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

I think it's safe to say that Season 5 was inconsistent. Amidst some truly standout episodes there are some that are, truly, dreadful. In fact, you could see the season as the beginning of TNG's stagnation. Still, I do not believe that it's the worst season of the series.
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Old November 28 2009, 03:59 AM   #5
carlmarx
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

euphorik wrote: View Post

i don't see what the big deal is about "ensign ro," the episode OR the character. that episode always seemed to me like a pilot crafted onto the TNG format, which is ultimately what it became anyway. no thanks.
"Ensign Ro" isn't an extremely memorable episode by any means, for some reason. For me, I loved it because I thought it was simply a perfectly-executed episode. Even really great classic episodes will have one or two bits that are kinda blah or that I don't really like. But "Ensign Ro" I just found to be perfectly paced, perfectly characterized, and I think was the beginning of the franchise going in a new, awesome direction- the Maquis, the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, etc.- lots of things that challenged the current Trek status quo, and helped the franchise grow and evolve. The idea of the crooked Admiral and Ro's torn allegiances really worked for me too. I wanted to cheer at the end when Picard exposes him. Badass. All in all, I found "ensign Ro" to be a really underrated gem, not one people pay too much attention to, but actually really great.
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Old November 28 2009, 06:50 AM   #6
Geck
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

I've always considered season 5 probably the most inconsistent season in the series' run. Seasons 3-4 were of fairly consistent quality, as was season 6. Season 5 had some great episodes (Darmok, Cause and Effect, Conundrum, I Borg and The Inner Light come to mind immediately), but when it was bad...it was very, very bad. Which unfortunately was about half the time. There weren't many of the "generally good but not great" episodes that other seasons had.

It's hard to pinpoint a specific problem. Part of it might have been an over-reliance on stories around children - all the Alexander episodes, plus Hero Worship, Imaginary Friend and the kid-centred parts of Disaster, for example. Otherwise...it just lacked excitement somehow. Even episodes like Power Play that I imagine were supposed to be exciting and intense came off somehow bland. The trend continued for the first third or so of season 6, but the series somehow seemed to get reinvigorated starting with Chain of Command.
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Old November 28 2009, 11:53 PM   #7
teacherkarl
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

I just started re-watching Season 5 a couple days ago (watching "Silicon Avatar as I type this). I mostly enjoyed the season back when, but I'm interested in what I think about it after all these years. That was my freshman year of college, I didn't have a TV, so I missed half the season in first-run and had to catch them over the next year or two in re-runs.

I've always considered "The Inner Light" to be among my favorite 3 TNG eps, if not all-time Trek eps. And I've always considered "Cost of Living" to be among my LEAST favorite TNG eps (Alexander and Lwaxana together - WTF were they thinking?!?)

After the stellar quality of Seasons 3 and 4, the inconsistencies of this season seem more magnified, IMO. But it wasn't until Season 7 that the real downward spiral really happened.
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Old November 29 2009, 01:01 AM   #8
euphorik
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

Geck wrote: View Post
I've always considered season 5 probably the most inconsistent season in the series' run. Seasons 3-4 were of fairly consistent quality, as was season 6. Season 5 had some great episodes (Darmok, Cause and Effect, Conundrum, I Borg and The Inner Light come to mind immediately), but when it was bad...it was very, very bad. Which unfortunately was about half the time. There weren't many of the "generally good but not great" episodes that other seasons had.

It's hard to pinpoint a specific problem. Part of it might have been an over-reliance on stories around children - all the Alexander episodes, plus Hero Worship, Imaginary Friend and the kid-centred parts of Disaster, for example. Otherwise...it just lacked excitement somehow. Even episodes like Power Play that I imagine were supposed to be exciting and intense came off somehow bland. The trend continued for the first third or so of season 6, but the series somehow seemed to get reinvigorated starting with Chain of Command.
"bland" is the perfect word. even the non-horrible episodes of this season - stuff like "conundrum" comes to my mind - just has this weird bland feeling. even the bad episodes of season 6 and 7 felt like bad star trek episodes to me - a lot of season 5 just felt weirdly generic, like the writers had pulled stock SF-television plots out of the file cabinet and plugged in trek characters - shows like "conundrum," "the masterpiece society," "power play," stuff like that. something like "schisms" or "force of nature" felt - for me - like bad trek. those other episodes - "conundrum" et al - are bland and forgettable, and could have been any series.

also, there's just so much clumsy writing - take an episode like "ethics." wouldn't the episode have carried more weight if, say, worf's injuries were sustained on an away mission, or by protecting picard during some kind of diplomatic negotiations? great drama doesn't spring from "hey worf, look out for that barrel."
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Old November 29 2009, 02:13 AM   #9
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

I quite enojyed season 5. I don't think it is as good as season four but it was nicely consistent. Week in and week out you knew that you were most likely going to be treated to an entertaining one-off story.

It also had a nice mix of stories from the purely character-driven drama to fun high concept sci-fi stuff.

I liked all of the following--Ensign Ro, Silicon Avatar(powerfully moving ending, great performance by Ellen Greer), Disaster(liked the three students, the banter amongst the crew), The Game, Unification, Hero Worship, New Ground, Violations, The Next Phase, Conundrum, Cause and Effect, Violations, Ethics, The Inner Light, Times Arrow.

The only ones I weren't crazy about were The Perfect Mate and Cost of Living but even then they weren't awful just mediocre and they did have some nice isolated scenes such as the Lwaxana and Alexander one where she talked of growing older. Redemption II was disappointing for me because it felt like an idea that could have been told over a few more episodes as such it is too quickly wrapped up. I actually liked the idea of Sela and the mystery of her origin.
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Old November 29 2009, 03:04 AM   #10
MeanJoePhaser
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

Too family friendly a season (kids and yawn-inducing melodrama), and the season finale was like bad fan fiction. Ensign Ro being added was a plus, then they defanged her a little too much.
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Old November 29 2009, 06:00 AM   #11
SJSharksfan39
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

At one time Season 5 was my favorite season. After watching it again recently (Like maybe 2 years ago), I have to say my opinion of it has changed to where it isn't my favorite season anymore. My main problem with this year was it's reliance on Children. Episodes like Hero Worship, New Ground, part of Disaster, are all kinda children based and I find most children on the show annoying. I know Hero Worship is considered one of the better episodes, but I can't look past the bad child actor, again, the show got.

However, there are many episodes that I still enjoy greatly, such as some underrated Gems like Ensign Ro (I really love this one as a great intro to Ro Laren), I, Borg, Next Phase, Power Play, and Perfect Mate (Mainly because Femke Janssen and Patrick Stewart are great together). The season on a whole though feels inconsistent and, like I said, the children are annoying.
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Old November 29 2009, 11:15 AM   #12
DivineSugar
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

I kinda like Sela too, but I also kinda think that they should have just left well enough alone when she died with Castillo at the end of YE. That was supposed to be her second chance to die like a hero. Then they brought in the whole "Romulan slave" thing, and all that was just thrown out the window.
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Old November 29 2009, 03:50 PM   #13
Forbin
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

Ya know what I remember most about "Ensign Ro?" The moment she took her jacket off to give to that little kid. No, not for that reason - because I was watching with a friend who was a Trek costume collector, and he shouted, "Oh, no, no no! WRONG!! The tunic opens from the BACK, dammit!!"

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Old December 2 2009, 01:45 AM   #14
Hober Mallow
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

Forbin wrote: View Post
Ya know what I remember most about "Ensign Ro?" The moment she took her jacket off to give to that little kid. No, not for that reason - because I was watching with a friend who was a Trek costume collector, and he shouted, "Oh, no, no no! WRONG!! The tunic opens from the BACK, dammit!!"

Didn't she also have an extra comm-badge conveniently tacked onto her undershirt?
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Old December 2 2009, 01:53 AM   #15
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Re: season 5, for better or (mostly) worse

^ Don't we all?
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