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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 23 2013, 09:20 AM   #1
TalkieToaster
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How was season 1 received at the time?

Season 1 is generally regarded today as being pretty weak compared to later TNG, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the general opinion was different then than now.
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Old November 23 2013, 09:42 AM   #2
Botany Bay
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

Speaking for how Australians reacted (no internet in those days, kids, so no idea how it was received elsewhere) : there was excitement, plenty of forbearance over the show's obvious struggles to get the chemistry right, and the actors into their roles, but generally surprise (and a little alarm) at how bad it was.

People seemed to latch on to Picard and Data from Day 1, but there wasn't a lot of love for Frakes/Riker in particular. The first episode that generated any kind of acclaim was 'The Big Goodbye' from memory.

If Therin of Andor is around, he is the man for this kind of question, being our local Star Trek club president in those days, he screened these episodes with hundreds of fans each week as the new tapes arrived, pirated by fellow fans in the USA.

Years later when Season 1 finally ran here on network TV, the network decided to run Season 2 before Season 1, which probably gives you an idea of what they thought of it. I actually thought Season 2 was much, much weaker, and Australians turned off in droves - by the time the brilliant third and fourth seasons arrived, TNG was relegated to late nights, which is a real shame - it was literally like a different show from Season 3 onwards.
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Old November 23 2013, 05:41 PM   #3
Dukhat
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

In 1987, everyone wanted Star Trek back on TV. It was the perfect time; right after the most successful and most popular Trek movie at the time debuted. The new series could have been the biggest pile of crap ever produced, and everyone would still have watched it. That, and the fact that it was syndicated, allowed it to survive and prosper. Had it been shown on a network however, I'm pretty sure it would have been cancelled after the first season.
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Old November 24 2013, 12:13 AM   #4
Mojochi
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

I seem to recall there being a lot of excitement about Trek returning to tv, but a certain amount of hesitation with the new cast (Which admittedly was really undeveloped & rather unorthodox)

However, It was seen as a big leap forward for visual FX on tv, & people's interest grew even though the 1st couple seasons were feeling itself out
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Old November 24 2013, 06:30 AM   #5
SignGuyHPW
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

I recall there being excitement over Star Trek being brought back to TV, but people being unsure about it since it wasn't the original cast. It wasn't bad enough that I couldn't watch it, but it just wasn't as good as I'd hoped it may be. I think this was the view of a lot of people.
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Old November 24 2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

What's interesting is that it was obvious to everyone that the show still had things to work out, that it wasn't right yet. Hell, the cast was certain they'd be shut down, but people still gave it the chance to improve.

That would almost never happen today. The return on TNG's 1st two seasons would almost certainly have gotten them cancelled today, and their best stuff was right around the corner

Moral of the story: Give shows a damn chance
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Old November 24 2013, 03:32 PM   #7
t_smitts
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

Mojochi wrote: View Post

Moral of the story: Give shows a damn chance

That's what I tell people when they complain about "Agents of SHIELD".

"Cheers", "Law & Order", "The X-Files", "24", and the American "Office" weren't really huge hits in their first seasons.
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Old November 24 2013, 07:14 PM   #8
Christopher
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

My impression at the time was that the show was hugely popular, and I certainly loved it. The only negative reaction I recall hearing from my college classmates was dislike for Wesley Crusher. Well, that and some skepticism toward the idea of families on a starship, but that's still around today.

I think the bar for SFTV was lower at the time. Outside of Doctor Who reruns on PBS, American SFTV in the '80s was stuff like Buck Rogers, Knight Rider, Manimal, The Powers of Matthew Star, Spielberg's Amazing Stories (which had great production values but wildly inconsistent and often horrible writing), and the like. The '85 Twilight Zone revival often had good writing but was also fairly inconsistent. The original '84 V miniseries was impressive, but its sequels dumbed it down.

Then again, TNG's contemporaries included Beauty and the Beast and Max Headroom, which were both much better written, but the latter was essentially a cult show and the former had a somewhat different target audience. So maybe TNG wasn't the best SFTV around in '87-'88, but it was certainly above average for the decade. And its production values, while they haven't aged well, were extremely impressive for the time, redefining the state of the art for TV visual effects.

And for so many of us, it was just amazing to have Star Trek back on television with Gene Roddenberry producing it, so we were seeing it through rose-colored glasses. Naturally, just as we see today, there were purists who were quick to condemn anything new and different as "not real Star Trek," but many of us wanted to love it and just let ourselves get caught up in it.
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Old November 24 2013, 11:25 PM   #9
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

Given the market for sci-fi TV in the 80s and the return of the Star Trek brand on TV, it's easy to understand why it turned out to be a popular hit even if it didn't meet the quality standards of TOS in its early episodes. In the end, it was a new Star Trek and many audiences, whether regular or Trek fans, were ready to roll with it.
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Old November 25 2013, 02:58 AM   #10
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

TalkieToaster wrote: View Post
Season 1 is generally regarded today as being pretty weak compared to later TNG, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the general opinion was different then than now.
I was living in Los Angeles at the time--home to a huge ST fanbase, and frankly, in the wake of the important year of 1986, with..
  • the 20th anniversary of TOS (and big conventions recognizing the milestone)
  • the first official release of The Cage on home video, and The Voyage Home on the big screen
...all things TOS were soaring, so the idea of a new series was not making the masses as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. There was an interest in how a new ST series would be pulled off, but I recall the strong resentment at the idea of a new cast essentially "challenging" the incredibly popular TOS, aguably at the height of its media presence/power.

It did not help that a year later, TNG's debut season was a dreary affair, often trying too hard to prove how different it was than TOS.
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Old November 25 2013, 03:16 AM   #11
The Old Mixer
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

In general it was received better than TOS...but that's because by 1987 most people had cable, whereas 20 years earlier they'd been relying on antennae.
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Old November 25 2013, 04:54 AM   #12
Christopher
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

^Groooooaaaaannnnn....

I actually watched it over the air because I didn't have cable yet. And I'd watch it twice a week, once on a local Cincinnati station, and once on a more distant Dayton station, which was close enough to receive, but only fuzzily. I think that for part of the run of TNG and DS9, I was watching it from Dayton first.

Hmm... in fact, come to think of it, I seem to remember now that there was a period when DS9 was only airing on the Dayton station, so there were a fair number of episodes that I never saw clearly until they were in reruns years later.
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Old November 25 2013, 05:26 AM   #13
borgboy
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

I loved TNG from the beginning, but I had no real idea of what anyone else thought of it, I had no contact with any organized fandom at the time.
For what it's worth, talking about catching DS9 during it's airing, during the last couple of seasons of DS9 at least for awhile in Atlanta the show was dropped from airing and it was a long time before I saw the last season. I'm not sure now but I may not have seen the last season until it came out on DVD.
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Old November 25 2013, 01:00 PM   #14
Kronos
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

I was six years old, I enjoyed it
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Old November 25 2013, 05:53 PM   #15
RandyS
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Re: How was season 1 received at the time?

Dukhat wrote: View Post
In 1987, everyone wanted Star Trek back on TV. It was the perfect time; right after the most successful and most popular Trek movie at the time debuted. The new series could have been the biggest pile of crap ever produced, and everyone would still have watched it. That, and the fact that it was syndicated, allowed it to survive and prosper. Had it been shown on a network however, I'm pretty sure it would have been cancelled after the first season.
And knowing the way TV worked even then, probably half that.
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