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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 February 6 2012, 09:21 AM   #16
HaventGotALife
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

HaventGotALife wrote: View Post
The bridge crew was too eager to please and behaved like they werre always under fire.
HaventGotALife please elaborate on the above statement. Are you saying they were too eager to follow the Captain's orders? It seems to me that they were just doing their jobs.
What I mean is that their acting performances were overly agressive. For instance, the "hostile overtaking us" in Encounter at Farpoint. It's almost as if they are pleading with the Captain.

HaventGotALife wrote: View Post
It wasn't as much of an ensemble as we like to portray.
HaventGotALife I agree that the "ensemble" became "Stewart/Spiner/Dorn." Not to the extreme that it became "Shatner/Nimoy/Kelley" on TOS but close.

I don't think that it was Worf, it was Troi. She was Spock in terms of who Picard consulted on conflicts. She didn't tell him what to do, but she did provide the information for a solution. Picard was the main character and they only deviated from that script when they wanted to do something with Data. Data still gave Picard the finest lines in the show, looked the most articulate.

Technobabble from the various departments about a problem, finding a solution, or attempting a solution, and Picard says "Make it so." Everyone leaves the briefing room. Data looked at Picard with puzzlement. Picard greets him with warmth and the following conversation takes place:
"Captain, I am puzzled by something humans do."
"Data, this is why we do this. And sometimes we don't know why we do this."

How many times have we seen some sort of variation on that?

Riker, LaForge, Crusher, Worf--they are all department heads. If the actors changed every season, it wouldn't matter. These characters are there to advise Picard and little else.
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Old February 7 2012, 01:39 AM   #17
CaptainMatt
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

TNG did have a lot of characters to write for, but I do not think all the problems can be laid at Tasha Yar's door. They had a young Wesley Crusher and they shoehorned (so it felt to me at the time) him into so many Season One episodes to give him something to do. Plus, once Guinan came in the next year, Counselor Troi was nearly rendered pointless.
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Old February 7 2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

BennyRussel wrote: View Post
HaventGotALife I agree that the "ensemble" became "Stewart/Spiner/Dorn." Not to the extreme that it became "Shatner/Nimoy/Kelley" on TOS but close.
I disagree. If you take a look at the last few seasons, sure there are Picard/Data/Worf episodes; but there are also Riker and Troi episodes in roughly equal measure. They might not be as POPULAR, but they are there.

It was Crusher and Geordi that got the short shrift of attention, but I thought the ensemble feel to the cast was always present.

It was the movies - and Stewart and Spiner's egos - that changed this dynamic forever.
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Old February 7 2012, 05:10 PM   #19
Savage Dragon
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

RAMA wrote: View Post
Later on they had Chief Obrien, Ensign Ro, Reg Barclay added to the mix.

RAMA
Having recurring guest stars was probably a good way of doing things.
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Old March 1 2012, 03:45 AM   #20
ReedEnterprise
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

In the beginning they did have too many "stars", but they could have easily picked one or two per episode to highlight. Didn't have to be done all at once, make the intros and then take it from there. I never really liked Tasha but when they brought her back as Sela and then in "Yesterday's Enterprise" I thought it was good. They needed to work the kinks out in the first season but I don't know if they had the patience or really the time to do it. I'm just glad they worked it out and we got to see some amazing characters. I loved Worf and all the Klingon episodes. Those are some of my favorites still.
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Old March 1 2012, 04:14 AM   #21
Trimm
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

I think they kept a pretty fair balance of stories for all the characters over the course of the show, but the movies focused on Picard and Data to an unhealthy degree given that neither of those characters was compelling in the way that Kirk and Spock were, and even the TOS movies established more of an ensemble feel than the TNG films.
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Old March 1 2012, 08:20 PM   #22
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

Trimm wrote: View Post
I think they kept a pretty fair balance of stories for all the characters over the course of the show, but the movies focused on Picard and Data to an unhealthy degree given that neither of those characters was compelling in the way that Kirk and Spock were, and even the TOS movies established more of an ensemble feel than the TNG films.
Agreed on these points!

I don't think there were too many characters, but, one of the drawbacks of having a larger cast was the fact that it became very difficult to highlight all the characters equally, although it was clear that the writers tried to do that. This resulted in a lot of character-oriented loose ends at the end of the seventh season that were completely unaddressed by the movies.

The strength of TOS was its ensemble cast, although a handful of the characters were featured more prominently than others. TNG, I think, had a similar strength on TV, but that strength was very much downplayed in the films. I think that First Contact was probably the only film that, by distributing the main characters between two plot scenarios, achieved some level of character equality.
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Old March 1 2012, 09:07 PM   #23
Anwar
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

TOS didn't have an ensemble cast, it had only the Trio. As much as we like to think otherwise, the rest of the crew were more or less just window dressing for them.
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Old March 1 2012, 10:26 PM   #24
Mojochi
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

I actually don't think they had too many characters at first, because they hadn't really even developed the actual format they would eventually employ. They hadn't yet chose a chief engineer. It was a big mystery as to how the kid would be used

Frankly, had Tasha remained, I could see Worf falling back a slight bit, maybe more like how Ro was featured, but they might have still put in some of the Klingon arc, because he would still have been the major "outcast" alien aboard, like Spock had been on TOS

It would appear they didn't feel they had enough after Crosby left, because they added Whoopi Goldberg in a small role. I think the show was rather malleable early on, & they could have done pretty much anything they wanted, so long as they kept it balanced, with a fairly large dependance on Picard, & Data

I do think it worked out for the best though, because they ended up developing a format which was rather tight knit, & since Worf is in the top 3 best characters on the show, & with more mouths to feed (Lines to) he might have suffered some in development

But consider this, some of the development sacrificed might have been the stuff most people don't like anyhow, with Alexander & whatnot
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Old March 1 2012, 10:29 PM   #25
Mojochi
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

Trimm wrote: View Post
I think they kept a pretty fair balance of stories for all the characters over the course of the show, but the movies focused on Picard and Data to an unhealthy degree given that neither of those characters was compelling in the way that Kirk and Spock were, and even the TOS movies established more of an ensemble feel than the TNG films.
Yeah, I believe it's because of the treatment they received on the big screen. On the show, Picard & Data were extremely compelling. That got lost in transition, & the whole thing eventually became a shadow of its former self.
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Old March 1 2012, 11:58 PM   #26
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

Mojochi wrote: View Post
It would appear they didn't feel they had enough after Crosby left, because they added Whoopi Goldberg in a small role.
Whoopi was added because she asked to be on the show and at the time the producers thought the name recognition would help the series ratings. Her character actually stole a lot of Troi's development and in doing so weakened a main character. Not the best decision in the end.
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Old March 2 2012, 02:35 AM   #27
Mojochi
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Mojochi wrote: View Post
It would appear they didn't feel they had enough after Crosby left, because they added Whoopi Goldberg in a small role.
Whoopi was added because she asked to be on the show and at the time the producers thought the name recognition would help the series ratings. Her character actually stole a lot of Troi's development and in doing so weakened a main character. Not the best decision in the end.
Good point, but meh.... What were they really doing with that character though? They certainly weren't going to pull off getting the kind of relationship that Picard & Guinan had, by building up Troi. She was a subordinate, & not a very formidable presence, least of all enough to influence Picard in the way Guinan did. Bad mistakes in Troi's development right off the bat, really, & it never really improved much, but for a few exceptions

Personally, I think they could have benefitted more by optng for the Guinan type character from the get go, instead of clinging to the Phase II Decker/Ilia thing that Riker & Troi were spawned from
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Old March 2 2012, 06:04 AM   #28
Trimm
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

Dr. Crusher wrote: View Post

Agreed on these points!

I don't think there were too many characters, but, one of the drawbacks of having a larger cast was the fact that it became very difficult to highlight all the characters equally, although it was clear that the writers tried to do that. This resulted in a lot of character-oriented loose ends at the end of the seventh season that were completely unaddressed by the movies.

The strength of TOS was its ensemble cast, although a handful of the characters were featured more prominently than others. TNG, I think, had a similar strength on TV, but that strength was very much downplayed in the films. I think that First Contact was probably the only film that, by distributing the main characters between two plot scenarios, achieved some level of character equality.
TOS was never an ensemble, certainly not in its TV run. The focus of TOS was always on the Big Three, with Scotty being the next closest (not by much), and the rest of the cast were basically there. The TOS movies were still mostly that way, just with a few more scenes thrown to the rest of the cast.

TNG was ALWAYS an ensemble, at least while on TV. The degree to which characters were focused upon varied throughout the run, but no one dominated the show like Kirk/Spock/McCoy.
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Old March 2 2012, 06:48 AM   #29
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

The show actually seemed more top-heavy towards the end. Riker and Troi started out as major characters, but later on they weren't doing a whole lot, and most of the plots revolved around Picard, Data, Worf, and to a lesser extent Geordi and Crusher.
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Old March 2 2012, 02:43 PM   #30
Mojochi
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Re: Did TNG have too many characters at first?

I think the difference is mainly in how TNG defined the ensemble cast, with each character having episodes center around them. In doing so, they did keep it relatively fair in dispersal throughout its run, but by the end leaned toward what were the more interesting characters, Picard, Data, & Worf.

This was an almost complete departure from the TOS format. No one but perhaps Spock & Kirk had entire episodes center around themselves alone, with an exception or two, & by far character centered episodes were really rare, in those 3 seasons

In a way, this is one of the reasons TOS made for a better movie dynamic. The characters were still rather unexplored & had a simpler relative dynamic between them, compared to TNG who fleshed out all their characters, over 7 seasons, & when transferring them to the big screen, characters got completely stripped of their worth or refit into something they had never been, because were they to tell a story that actually featured the characters as they had been developed, there'd be no real room for it to be an action story

TNG was very much a sci-fi soap opera mixed with action & suspense. Not so much the same mix on TOS
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