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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old January 13 2014, 02:18 AM   #1
2takesfrakes
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Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard



From Encounter at Farpoint, onwards, Sir Patrick Stewart's outstanding acting abilities set the standard by which the rest of the cast of The Next Generation had to live up to. And not just the regular cast, either.

Michelle Forbes always gave a superior performance for television, which was a medium that she was not interested in committing to. Even Leonard Nimoy played Spock much more appropriately than, perhaps, he'd had in the movies, when he found himself acting against Stewart (Shatner just gave his usual Shatner peformance in Generations, unfortunately).

So ... I was curious to see how many of you agree with this assessment that TNG's overall improved acting quality was - at least in part - due to Sir Patrick Stewart.
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Old January 13 2014, 02:53 AM   #2
Maurice
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

I don't think Nimoy's performance on TNG was even up to his usual Emmy-nominated TOS standards.
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Old January 13 2014, 03:06 AM   #3
bbailey861
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

I am pleased to have read the meat of this because, initially, I was afraid this thread was taking a different direction. Yes, I take umbrage at your Shatner comments. That being said, I agree with your assessment. He did set the standard of acting within the TNG world. I have no doubt that all the other 'players' benefited from his background and skill, and as readily seen in various clips and from stories told, he was also not above having fun on the set at the same time.
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Old January 13 2014, 03:28 AM   #4
Shat Happens
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

In recent times, I formed the opinion that the ham that is associated with Shatner, sometimes justified, sometimes not, was his theatrical background coupled with the limited, simplified production assets of the original show. For example, when you cant have amazing SFX of staships firing phasers and sub-atomic explosions, the energies being represented on screen had to come from somewhere else. Hence, the "ham".

JJ Trek (and all current motion pictures in general) has all that flashbang so they don't need Shatner-y actors anymore.

As for the original topic, Stewart is good, but he had to be convinced to put it all out: at the beginning of TNG he didnt even feel the need to move to the USA from England, so convinced he was it would flop after one season (and it rightly should have, after *that* first season).

With the coming of better scripts work must have become easier for him. The rest of the gang more or less fell into their characters as they became more defined.

Bonus points for Sirtis. Look what shitty character Troi was at the beginning. Then she became more interesting.
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Old January 13 2014, 05:16 AM   #5
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

Shat Happens wrote: View Post
In recent times, I formed the opinion that the ham that is associated with Shatner, sometimes justified, sometimes not, was his theatrical background coupled with the limited, simplified production assets of the original show. For example, when you cant have amazing SFX of staships firing phasers and sub-atomic explosions, the energies being represented on screen had to come from somewhere else. Hence, the "ham".

JJ Trek (and all current motion pictures in general) has all that flashbang so they don't need Shatner-y actors anymore.

As for the original topic, Stewart is good, but he had to be convinced to put it all out: at the beginning of TNG he didnt even feel the need to move to the USA from England, so convinced he was it would flop after one season (and it rightly should have, after *that* first season).

With the coming of better scripts work must have become easier for him. The rest of the gang more or less fell into their characters as they became more defined.

Bonus points for Sirtis. Look what shitty character Troi was at the beginning. Then she became more interesting.
I would argue that the difference between TOS and JJ-Trek acting-wise is that movies today tend to go more for "naturalistic" acting. This is present in ST 09 and STID. TOS, on the other hand, was made at a time when acting was more "theatrical" in general. As for Stewart, I've noticed that he has this affect on people in other projects as well, not just ST. If you watch the X-Men movies and watch him interact with Sir. Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Brian Cox, etc, it's fantastic to watch.
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Old January 13 2014, 01:15 PM   #6
2takesfrakes
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

bbailey861 wrote: View Post
Yes, I take umbrage at your Shatner comments.
I'm surprised by that, actually. I just take it as read that everyone knows, and accepts, that Stewart is an outstanding performer, the top in his field - comparisons to Shatner, in this regard are, of course, not needed. Shatner's representation of Kirk in TOS, especially, is regarded as iconic, to be sure. But is it "good acting"? I cannot tell. I suspect not. Shatner's rarely been known to underplay anything. For the franchise itself, however, Sir Patrick Stewart set the bar very high.
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Old January 13 2014, 02:29 PM   #7
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
bbailey861 wrote: View Post
Yes, I take umbrage at your Shatner comments.
I'm surprised by that, actually. I just take it as read that everyone knows, and accepts, that Stewart is an outstanding performer, the top in his field - comparisons to Shatner, in this regard are, of course, not needed. Shatner's representation of Kirk in TOS, especially, is regarded as iconic, to be sure. But is it "good acting"? I cannot tell. I suspect not. Shatner's rarely been known to underplay anything. For the franchise itself, however, Sir Patrick Stewart set the bar very high.
like bbailey861 I also take umbrage (nice word, mind if I borrow it) at your Statner comment but not only for shatner but the whole TNG cast.

Shatner fine actor, Shatner perhaps giving a more dramatic performance as Captain Kirk than Stewart's Captain Picard. which is perfectly right.

I really don't believe Stewart set the bar "all that high" as fine an actor he is. all actors work best with good cast-mates as he had on TNG. he may well have set a standard for the other cast-members of TNG for his dedication to his part and to acting as suggest by Marina Sirtis, but I feel that this is too generous and a fine tribute to a friend.

Patrick Stewart also said how the first season things where difficult for him.. and that showed in his performance whenever I watch the first season.

LeVar Burton for one is a fine actor long before Star Trek TNG. playing Kunta Kinte in Roots where he gave stellar a performance.

Brent Spiner nailed Data from the first episode.

Stewart's bar rising performance was in A Christmas Carol, as Ebenezer Scrooge. highly recommended viewing.

I like both actors and characters.
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Old January 14 2014, 01:37 AM   #8
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

The way I've always figured it, The Original Series was the John the Baptist of STAR TREK, paving the way for the greatness to come: The Next Generation! The campy fun of TOS was an extremely entertaining introduction to the STAR TREK universe, but TNG was the Meat & Potatoes of the franchise. And I'll always be in debt to Gene Roddenberry for giving us both of them!

But my hope with this thread was to bring the focus on the great Sir Patrick Stewart's immense talent and the inspiration that - even by his cast member's own admission(s) - gave his costars an added incentive to Deliver the Goods in this fantastic series. And they did! All of them. Even Gates McFadden - whom I adore as Dr. Beverly Crusher - kept improving with Patrick showing the way! It's no wonder that Captain Picard became an instant favourite with the public ...
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Old January 14 2014, 01:50 AM   #9
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

Since TOS wasn't camp, I'd have to disagree. TNG is stodgy and self important. Stewart's Picard is no small part of that.
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Old January 14 2014, 02:26 AM   #10
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

I just see it as something a lot of people do. Whatever your particular field, if you're working with someone who happens to excel at their job, you tend to up your game as well. It's a natural reaction. Now, I love Patrick Stewart's performance in TNG, but the others had to be at least as capable as he in order for it to have worked.

I've also contended, for a long time now, that Bill Shatner is a very good actor. The main cast of TOS were good actors all around, and a number of them were well immersed in the theater when they started working for the series. Hell, De Kelley had was a veteran of the big and small screen when he took on the role of Leonard McCoy.

That said, I don't think there's anything in particular that stands out as the defining reason as to why any series did as well as it did. There are so many factors that make such a thing, and pinning it down to one lead actor does a disservice to the others involved, both on and off the screen.
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Old January 14 2014, 02:38 AM   #11
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

And from a practical point of view, that's one of the things I like about all the iterations of Star Trek. Military leaders are very different in their actions and their styles, yet a great many of them attain high ranks while some do not. Much like we saw in Star Trek. Shatner, Stewart, Brooks, et al were all very different in their approach to their 'Captaincy' . Not only that, but of course their scripts, the way the producers wanted the characters played and the periods in which they were filmed all played a part in that as well. We mustn't forget that. All that of course....and the fact that James T Kirk was the best Captain ever....
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Old January 14 2014, 12:07 PM   #12
Shat Happens
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

The OP was not very happy in the aspect it suggested Shatner's acting wasn't good.

Given good scripts, no TOS actor was subpar.

OTOH, Stewart's Picard became known for his speeches. For those who like speeches, then he's fantastic.
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Old January 14 2014, 12:50 PM   #13
Taranis
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
The way I've always figured it, The Original Series was the John the Baptist of STAR TREK, paving the way for the greatness to come: The Next Generation! The campy fun of TOS was an extremely entertaining introduction to the STAR TREK universe, but TNG was the Meat & Potatoes of the franchise. And I'll always be in debt to Gene Roddenberry for giving us both of them!

But my hope with this thread was to bring the focus on the great Sir Patrick Stewart's immense talent and the inspiration that - even by his cast member's own admission(s) - gave his costars an added incentive to Deliver the Goods in this fantastic series. And they did! All of them. Even Gates McFadden - whom I adore as Dr. Beverly Crusher - kept improving with Patrick showing the way! It's no wonder that Captain Picard became an instant favourite with the public ...
Star Trek TOS is not campy and the TNG is the child of the TOS, A very good one. but for many it did not really find its feet until season 3.

Stewart's effect on his cast-mates possibly cannot be denied, a first rate stage actor with the experience of Kings to add to Picard's character.

He was not an instant hit, for many, including myself it took a while to learn to like him in the part for those of use who remember him in other productions. Dune, I'Claudius mainly.

I have no problem with your exalting his craft,, rightly so he is a super actor, but what does irk me and other is how you keep on hitting out at another beloved actor and origin of the franchise.


Kirk (Played by Shatner) for many including myself is the best. whose actions made Picards world possible.

Touching on what bbailey861 post about each Captaincy
I like to look at it like this.

TNG is more like our modern 21 century world, insist communications over great distances. where old enemy's are friendly. tried and tested diplomacy, so Picard's command style reflects that.


TOS is more like the era of sail, Captain James Cook braving the unknown in the 1750s, changing some rules to fit new unexpected circumstances. Cowboy diplomacy
Kirks command style was also forced to adapt

Paving the way for Picard and his era.

That's my view anyway
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Old January 14 2014, 12:51 PM   #14
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

bbailey861 wrote: View Post
We mustn't forget that. All that of course....and the fact that James T Kirk was the best Captain ever....
Quite right
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Old January 14 2014, 01:01 PM   #15
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Re: Sir Patrick Stewart Set the Standard

I see that the theme of "Sir Patrick Stewart Setting the Standard" is something many are going to have to work at ...
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