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Old January 3 2014, 09:11 PM   #61
trevanian
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
B5 spoiled me on the A / B / C plot thing - but there it had continuity. The separate arcs kept several balls in the air, and often a B or C arc turned into the A plot in a few episodes. I prefer that, frankly, as the series is then a continuing saga, instead of a collection of syndicated episodes with no theme. Some TNG eps should have been run this way, IMO. The Child would have been so much more convincing if Deanna had turned up pregnant halfway through the season, and had the child near the end. When Q lost his powers, that should have been the B or C plot for several episodes.
I've always thought YESTERDAY'S ENTERPRISE had a premise that would sustain a good-sized arc, if not a whole season, while giving the actors a chance to play their characters in a dramatically different light (literally, the lighting was much more interesting on THAT version of the -D) and context.
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Old January 3 2014, 09:24 PM   #62
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

The whole A/B plot device breaks down when they are too unrelated. Such as when Troi gets promoted or Riker screwing around lightyears away in Unification. I like when the B plot is on the ship like in Data's Day or the numerous mini plots in TOS.
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Old January 3 2014, 10:25 PM   #63
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
B5 was fantastic as a long serialized story, but as individual episodes it fails miserably.
I can't see this at all. B5 never had a Spock's Brain ep or a "We am Strong!" Pakled show. The closest I can think of is the embarrassing scene where Ivanova has "human-style sex" with the alien ambassador, doing a bunch of cheerleader stunts. That was a weak close to an otherwise decent ep.
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Old January 3 2014, 10:38 PM   #64
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Plum wrote: View Post
I think BillJ makes a great point, but, there's something in the back of my head telling me that having many characters as the cause of this fractured storytelling, or perhaps just a way to deal with it, doesn't add up. Other stories manage with just as many characters or more, why not TNG? Firefly had, what, nine major characters and it didn't have this problem, did it?

I wish I had some interviews with the writers on hand so we could see what they said about all this, then perhaps we'd gain some insight?
Comics (and a lot of the better writers on TV and in film are doing that now) often have much larger ensembles, and they work. Of course, you don't have to pay an actor in comics, so the writer just writes in who he needs for that issue.

I didn't see Firefly as having an issue with it, even considering how little we got. I do agree that putting lines in Geordi's mouth just to satisfy screen time for Levar Burton hurt the overall episode. Since they filmed several episodes together, a good editor could have helped with this. If their contracts had been based on appearances in the season, and someone was in charge of ensuring that each character got a reasonable amount of screen time, then Levar Burton could have been left out of episodes with nothing for Geordi to do - maybe using a pre-recorded "aye captain" or something in response to a call to engineering, without making Burton come in.

I loved TOS, but the syndicated episodes precluded any arcs, the focus on the Big 3 hurt the lesser characters, and the simplistic A-plot only is quaint kiddie-tv for me now. I think DS9 got it right - adapt a lot of the B5 methods, but not completely. Some stand-alone eps, some that carry a plot through an arc. Some sequels and followups of previous eps, some new stuff. Give everybody something to do, but not necessarily every ep.
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Old January 3 2014, 10:42 PM   #65
Darkwing
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

trevanian wrote: View Post
I've always thought YESTERDAY'S ENTERPRISE had a premise that would sustain a good-sized arc, if not a whole season, while giving the actors a chance to play their characters in a dramatically different light (literally, the lighting was much more interesting on THAT version of the -D) and context.
That would have made it much better! I didn't even think of that one - I guess I knew it was supposed to be a one-off. But yeah, spinning that over 3-5 episodes, with Guinan talking to Picard in the middle of it, and having at least some of the crew remember the war-torn universe instead - that could have been real good.
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Old January 3 2014, 10:52 PM   #66
Harvey
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
B5 was fantastic as a long serialized story, but as individual episodes it fails miserably.
I can't see this at all. B5 never had a Spock's Brain ep or a "We am Strong!" Pakled show. The closest I can think of is the embarrassing scene where Ivanova has "human-style sex" with the alien ambassador, doing a bunch of cheerleader stunts. That was a weak close to an otherwise decent ep.
The first season was pretty clunky, as hours like "Infection," "TKO," "Eyes," and "The Quality of Mercy" demonstrate.

The final season has a few embarrassing standalone episodes, too, chief among them "A View From The Gallery."
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Old January 3 2014, 11:21 PM   #67
Darkwing
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

None were ever as bad as "Brain and brain! What is brain?" or "We am strong now", IMO.
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Old January 3 2014, 11:36 PM   #68
Harvey
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

"Spock's Brain" has a good score. "Infection" has a nice scene between Garibaldi and Sinclair at the end. Otherwise, they're both pretty embarrassing. I'd say it's a wash.

"And The Children Shall Lead" is a dog, though, no doubt about it.
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Old January 3 2014, 11:42 PM   #69
Darkwing
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

I thought that "And the Children Shall Lead" was a good idea poorly executed. A good score doesn't rescue an episode - at best, when listening to the cd later, one is liable to say "*that* horrible ep had music *this good*?"

In any case, I think the lesson is not to wholly ape B5, but to do like DS9 - mix it with the standalone eps.
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Old January 4 2014, 12:01 AM   #70
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Darkwing wrote: View Post

I loved TOS, but the syndicated episodes precluded any arcs, the focus on the Big 3 hurt the lesser characters, and the simplistic A-plot only is quaint kiddie-tv for me now. I think DS9 got it right - adapt a lot of the B5 methods, but not completely. Some stand-alone eps, some that carry a plot through an arc. Some sequels and followups of previous eps, some new stuff. Give everybody something to do, but not necessarily every ep.
TOS wasn't syndicated, it ran on NBC.

As far as "kiddie-fare" goes, I vastly prefer episodic versus arc. So many shows with arcs, Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5 and others, spend so much time trying to stretch out a story and it leads to lulls in pacing and massive throw-away episodes.

I like getting a complete story in an hour, I don't need it stretched out over fiver years.
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Old January 4 2014, 12:06 AM   #71
Darkwing
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Technically, TOS wasn't syndicated at the time, but it was filmed as standalone eps to facilitate syndication. Soaps stretch out the story way too long, but I disagree DS9 and B5 did that. You get a much better story from arcs, as long as the writers are competent. It also builds continuity better.
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Old January 4 2014, 12:14 AM   #72
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
Technically, TOS wasn't syndicated at the time, but it was filmed as standalone eps to facilitate syndication.
No. Pretty much all shows were episodic back then, it had nothing to do with syndication.


Soaps stretch out the story way too long, but I disagree DS9 and B5 did that. You get a much better story from arcs, as long as the writers are competent. It also builds continuity better.
Both shows bored me too tears. Deep Space Nine was the only Trek show I actively quit watching regularly.
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Old January 4 2014, 12:29 AM   #73
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Plum wrote: View Post
Other stories manage with just as many characters or more, why not TNG? Firefly had, what, nine major characters and it didn't have this problem, did it?
It kind of did. A lot of the characters relied mainly on their "Mysterious Past" schtick (like Book) to the point where there really was nothing about the character as is to keep them interesting aside from the never revealed pasts they had.

Serenity killed off some of those characters (Wash, Book) and had others gone for portions of the movie (Inara) purely because there really wasn't much room for them.

So that's at least 4 characters that were shoved aside in the film, and there were two others (Adam Baldwin's Merc character, and Simon Tam) who didn't do much.

So that's six down...
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Old January 4 2014, 01:03 AM   #74
Darkwing
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Darkwing wrote: View Post
Technically, TOS wasn't syndicated at the time, but it was filmed as standalone eps to facilitate syndication.
No. Pretty much all shows were episodic back then, it had nothing to do with syndication.
Most shows were episodic then BECAUSE producers hoped for syndication to keep bringing in royalties. Now, IIRC, TNG was the first show to be planned to go straight to syndication, or maybe just the first time Trek planned it that way.


Both shows bored me too tears. Deep Space Nine was the only Trek show I actively quit watching regularly.
That's you. You missed some very good shows. DS9 and B5 expected the audience to invest a bit more in them, and that made them better shows qualitatively.
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Old January 4 2014, 01:07 AM   #75
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Re: Berman-era v. TOS Pacing: What do you think?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I don't know about TNG, but I remember that by the time Voyager came around, its pacing seemed positively stately and old-fashioned compared to other shows of that era. I remember turning to my girlfriend during one particularly slow episode and commenting, "You know, Xena would have killed an army or two by now . . . ."
I might not go so far as to say old fashioned but I do agree with your sentiment. It seems as if VOY was stuck in the TNG mold of story telling when there was a shift to another style of story telling.
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