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Old January 30 2012, 02:07 AM   #1
Aldo
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Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

A coworker lent me her box set of Threshold and told me I should watch it. After putting it off for a while I finally gave it a go.

Now I'm halfway through the series and I'm actually digging it. Shows how narrow minded I was for avoiding a show with Braga's name on it, lol. This actually brings up an interesting point, if he's able to put out a show that is this serialized why couldn't he ever apply that to any of the Trek shows he oversaw?

It's also really neat seeing Spiner play a character who isn't Data, granted I've seen him in other roles before, but this is the first time I saw him in a ongoing series, and I feel he's the best part of the show. Shame it was cancelled right away.
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Old January 30 2012, 02:08 AM   #2
JB2005
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

To his credit, Braga wanted to serialise Voyager, but this was nixed...

I've never seen Threshold, but I've heard accounts that it is quite good, will probably have to have a look for it at some point!
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Old January 30 2012, 03:43 AM   #3
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

Aldo wrote: View Post
Now I'm halfway through the series and I'm actually digging it. Shows how narrow minded I was for avoiding a show with Braga's name on it, lol. This actually brings up an interesting point, if he's able to put out a show that is this serialized why couldn't he ever apply that to any of the Trek shows he oversaw?
Because he didn't just oversee, but was overseen. He wasn't at the top of the totem pole; he worked for Rick Berman, who answered in turn to Paramount and UPN. And UPN wanted episodic shows with minimal continuity.

And don't forget, the third and fourth seasons of Enterprise were both fairly serialized. Evidently UPN's insistence on avoiding serialization had eased by that point, perhaps because serialized shows had become so common, or perhaps because the ratings were so low by that point that they'd stopped caring one way or the other.

As for Threshold, it's the kind of creepy, mindbending show that was right up Braga's alley. It had a lot of promise. Unfortunately the first 3-4 episodes gave the impression that it was going to be a formulaic procedural, and people had made up their minds about it before the arc really started to kick in. Indeed, CBS cancelled it just before the storyline really shifted into high gear and major changes started to manifest. I remember a lot of people complaining that the aliens were too powerful and it wasn't believable that the heroes would be able to keep defeating them -- but what they didn't realize is that that was exactly the point, that the intent was for the aliens to keep gaining more ground and the situation to get progressively worse. They were even considering changing the title of the show as things got worse each season, from Threshold to Foothold to Stranglehold, IIRC. It would've been interesting to see the story keep evolving as intended, and it's a shame the viewers gave up on it so prematurely.
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Old January 30 2012, 03:46 AM   #4
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

Not the first really good review I've heard of this. I even heard that the future of the serial was to show the stages of the invasion...Threshhold...Foothold...Stronghold.

Think I need to pick up the DVDs, too.
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Old January 30 2012, 04:06 AM   #5
Mr. Adventure
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

It was part of the same year that brought us Surface and Invasion. I think all of the shows had solid potential but came at a point where audiences just weren't game for them for whatever reason.
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Old January 30 2012, 04:09 AM   #6
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

Serialization doesn't work well for syndication, which is why it was a no-no for most of Trek (even DS9 had serialized elements squelched). By ENT's S3 and S4, it was obvious that syndication was on its way out, along with UPN itself. I bet the suits just stopped paying that much attention.

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
It was part of the same year that brought us Surface and Invasion. I think all of the shows had solid potential but came at a point where audiences just weren't game for them for whatever reason.
All three had the same problem: taking too long to become a really gripping, focused story. Invasion finally did after about 8 episodes of flailing around. The other two never got that far. Audiences are ruthless - shows can't afford to take that long to find their footing.

Add to that the fact that networks were losing audience generally to cable, so that everything was dropping and only the most mass market shows had acceptable audience levels (because they had the most padding to begin with). Genre shows were badly hurt by the shift of audiences to cable, since they never had huge numbers.
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Old January 30 2012, 04:13 AM   #7
Harvey
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

Huh? Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager weren't first-run syndicated shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Of course, all four of those shows (as well as, obviously, Star Trek) have been syndicated all over the place since they were cancelled, serialized or not.
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Old January 30 2012, 04:16 AM   #8
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

I'm sure they hoped for some income via syndication. Or who knows, maybe it was sheer corporate inertia. TNG was episodic, so everything has to be episodic.
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Old January 30 2012, 05:24 AM   #9
Shatinator
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

In case anyone is interested, SFDebris who does great Trek reviews gives his usual treatment to the pilot episode of Threshold.

http://blip.tv/sf-debris-opinionated...part-1-5911794

Enjoy.
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Old January 30 2012, 07:51 AM   #10
23skidoo
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Serialization doesn't work well for syndication, which is why it was a no-no for most of Trek (even DS9 had serialized elements squelched). By ENT's S3 and S4, it was obvious that syndication was on its way out, along with UPN itself. I bet the suits just stopped paying that much attention.
The reason why serialization didn't work for syndication was it used to be that episodes would be shown in random order a lot of the time. I remember seeing Star Trek TOS on a local station in the 1970s and one week they'd play City on the Edge of Forever, then the next the Tribbles then the next week it might be Spock's Brain from season 3.

I don't know if stations simply chose to air popular episodes first, or there was a lack of documentation to indicate the proper order of the episodes, or what.

But by the 1980s, certainly the 1990s, shows were generally being broadcast properly in syndication, so there really shouldn't have been any excuse for Paramount or anyone else to object to Trek or whatever being serialized.

The main problem with serialization is if the show is cancelled before the story is completed, it makes it pretty worthless for reruns. Threshold had a multi-year arc planned out, which was great, but they didn't bank on the series being canned after 13 weeks. On the other hand, Alias, nuBSG, and Lost - to name 3 - are fine for syndication because, for better or for worse, they completed their arcs.

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Old January 30 2012, 02:09 PM   #11
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

There are two issues at hand here.

1.>Networks expecting instant hit
2.>The General TV audiance not willing to give shows a chance after the pilot.

True some shows hit the ground running and don't look back, others take a little longer to get going. "Threshold" was just getting more interersting when it was cancelled, from my understanding they even pulled the last few episodes from airing in the US with the rest of the season so the last 4 actually premiered in the UK before the US.

Speaking in general of genre shows, its at the stage were people aren't actually tunning into watch new genre shows in large numbers becuase they networks have cancelled so many shows during S1, an attitude can be what's the point in investing my time in a show that'll be cancelled after one year. So it's becomming a self fulfulling event.
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Old January 30 2012, 04:12 PM   #12
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

23skidoo wrote: View Post
The reason why serialization didn't work for syndication was it used to be that episodes would be shown in random order a lot of the time....

But by the 1980s, certainly the 1990s, shows were generally being broadcast properly in syndication, so there really shouldn't have been any excuse for Paramount or anyone else to object to Trek or whatever being serialized.
Quite right. By then it was pretty routine to see shows syndicated in straight-up production order -- even in cases where the story order was supposed to be different (like in M*A*S*H, where the episode introducing Col. Potter, with BJ already present, was filmed before the 2-parter that introduced BJ, with Potter not around yet). The main exception I can think of from that period is TNT's reruns of vintage shows like The Wild Wild West, which tended to be organized into "theme weeks" (e.g. five Miguelito Loveless episodes in a row) instead of run in order.

And if we're talking about first-run syndication, which was what Temis mistakenly thought Voyager and Enterprise were made for, then that's not a factor at all, because first-run syndie shows were always aired in the order intended by the producers. Not to mention that, unlike network shows, first-run syndie shows are sold in season-long blocks and the stations have to show the entire season; they can't cancel a season in mid-run like a network can. So there'd never be a danger of getting cancelled in mid-season. So if anything, first-run syndication is more conducive to serial storytelling than network broadcast.


The main problem with serialization is if the show is cancelled before the story is completed, it makes it pretty worthless for reruns. Threshold had a multi-year arc planned out, which was great, but they didn't bank on the series being canned after 13 weeks. On the other hand, Alias, nuBSG, and Lost - to name 3 - are fine for syndication because, for better or for worse, they completed their arcs.
Well, that's not really a factor. A show with only 13 episodes isn't going to get sold into syndication anyway, serialized or not, because it's too short a run to be worth it. Strip it daily and you'd be starting over again every two and a half weeks. The "magic number" for syndication, per conventional wisdom, is 100 episodes, although a number of series with shorter runs (including Star Trek TOS, of course) have been syndicated as well.

So there's really no reason why syndication prospects, whether first-run or rerun, would have any bearing on the decision to serialize a show.
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Old January 30 2012, 07:36 PM   #13
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

Is syndication even a factor any more, given how popular and (relatively) cheap DVD boxsets are now?
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Old January 30 2012, 08:05 PM   #14
Owain Taggart
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

23skidoo wrote: View Post
The reason why serialization didn't work for syndication was it used to be that episodes would be shown in random order a lot of the time.

And still is, in certain cases. I think it's becoming more and more common for non-serialized shows to still have a semblance of a story arc running in the background and maintaining continuity between episodes. This is pretty rare in sitcoms, but Frasier is an example. I tried watching Frasier on a channel recently, but gave up in frustration after because they would be running them out of order, jumping around selectively, not only that, but they'd only be playing a number of episodes before repeating them again.
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Old January 30 2012, 10:58 PM   #15
byron lomax
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Re: Threshold is really surprising me, it's a pretty decent show.

I enjoyed this show too; the characters had good chemistry, there were some good plot twists, and the nature of the alien threat was ambiguous. It felt genuinely alien, unlike in a lot of other TV sci-fi.

I much preferred it to Invasion, which quickly became a bore. The most irritating thing about that show was the continous background music, desperately trying to invoke tension and impending doom when there was none onscreen.
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