1st / 2nd season transitions

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by dstyer, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    In your Mind!
    A lot of the serialization vs. episodic formats back then also had to do with syndication sales. Shows in an episodic format sold better in syndicated markets.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Right, and TNG pretty much started the first-run syndicated-drama boom. Although later first-run syndicated shows did get more serialized, like Hercules/Xena. And of course Babylon 5, the show that pioneered the modern season-arc format, was in first-run syndication in its first four seasons.
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    One of the more subtle differences between seasons one and two was in the conference room: season one does not feature the viewing screens at either end of the room, which would be a standard plot exposition device from season two onwards.

    The reason for this was because in season one the conference room was actually a set built in the corner of sickbay whenever needed, then dismantled when not needed. Season two saw it being built as a separate permanent set (they took the opportunity to revamp the design a little in the process).
     
  4. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I'm glad they eventually removed the glass from the conference room windows. The glare in the early seasons were eyesores. I don't know why they didn't think to have open space there in the first place. You can't tell there's nothing there.
     
  5. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Not entirely true. There were plenty of times when Geordi got to the console where he had to verbally initiate the console's activation. Any time when the system seems to power up on its own it could be because the line just wasn't in the script (but maybe implied to be said if not verbally heard) or maybe Geordi activated it by touching a "button" on the console.

    It never seemed to me the console powered up entirely on its own.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    I think this is a fair assessment. I was countering your earlier, less nuanced statement that 1988 was "a time when continuity in episodic TV was still in its infancy (at least outside of soap operas)."

    I wanted to point out that serialized dramas had begun in earnest at the beginning of the decade. They certainly didn't predominate the television landscape like they do today (and wouldn't, by my estimation, until the late '90s), but they weren't alien to television audiences by that point, either.

    The innovation of Hill Street Blues goes above and beyond simple serialization, I think, although its narrative structure was certainly a big part of the program's influence. Have you seen it?
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^I saw Hill Street Blues in first run, but I haven't seen it since then.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    I wasn't alive during Hill Street's first run, but I marathoned the first three seasons a couple months ago, and thought it holds up very well.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I think I was just about old enough to be allowed to watch a show that adult (I was 12 when it started), but there was still a lot that went over my head.
     
  10. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec City
    Did Twin Peaks really contribute to popularize the serialization format? Heart of Glory first airing happened some hours after my birth, so I watched the Lynch's soap on Netflix in 2013, not in the early 90's. I can't really tell who really broke the "self-contained episode" rules.
     
  11. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    In Hiding
    Bashir mentioned it...sort of. He was in sickbay with a patient and asked "Does my uniform look brighter to you?"

    That was it though...and yes, in universe it was because of the uniform update in First Contact. In real life it was to differentiate with Voyager.
     
  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Also I notice in the early seasons there's these diagonal lines from the shoulders to the chest in the uniforms and they go away at some point, though I don't remember if that was after season one or season two.

    In season one you see a lot of planets where there is a dry ice fog at ground level, and other than Shades of Grey that's mostly gone from season 2.
     
  13. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Finn
    I apologize if it has been mentioned already. But during the Iconian episode where the Yamato exploded, Picard acted as if he didn't give a damn about archaeology. Later in the show, he talks about archaeology like Janeway talks about coffee, as if it was like that his whole life.
     
  14. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    And of course, then you've got the international markets, where the trend towards 'long form narrative' in mainstream drama programmes had usually already been established by the time North American television began experimenting with it.

    Having said that, Hill Street Blues and Twin Peaks were THE shows that pioneered the trend on anything resembling what it is today, as using long form story techniques in shows which aren't simply soap operas. Although it must be said that these shows almost seemed to exist in a vacuum back then, almost seeming like they were exceptions to the norm (which was still seen very much as being isolated 'episodic drama'). It's hard to say when broader long form storytelling was finally embraced by the masses in American television, but by the mid-1990s it was most certainly an accepted format, as attested by the likes of NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Buffy, Charmed, Gilmore Girls, The Practice, and so on.

    To be honest though, I think TNG held its own quite well with these shows, in the sense of it's continuity being quite tight, and there actually being references made between different episodes, while it still being broadly an 'episodic' series on the whole. My feeling has always been that the usual criticism that TNG didn't "do" continuity between episodes isn't really supported by the actual episodes themselves, which certainly weren't afraid to reference back to previous events, or to foreshadow future ones.
     
  15. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    You mean Changeling Bashir. ;)

    Though related to that, the show did have an indirect mention of the uniform change shortly after that. We later see the real Bashir in the original-style uniform, to indicate that he was abducted prior to the uniform change.
     
  16. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    I love the way they did that. :) I've realized subsequently that it's hard to work into a timetable for when the switch happened, but seeing Bashir in that former uniform was a terrific mind-screw on the audience! :techman:
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Twin Peaks wasn't the first show with serialized format but it certainly pioneered the pattern of floating supernatural mysteries over a long period of time.
     
  18. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec City
    In Quebec case, the shift happened in 1986 with Lance et Compte a series about... hockey. It considered as the first "série lourde" (heavy series), because there was action and bigger budget. Before that, that kind of ambition was only for movies or foreign series, the tv dramas were only téléromans (telenovels, pretty close to soap opera). Lance et Compte was also strongly serialized, each season was built on its own story-arc.

    Thirty years later, serialization in Quebec/French-Canadian television didn't progress that much. The market isn't safe enough for that and a tv-show (except for comedies) is rarely written by more than two persons. Cliffhangers are quite common, but it's not a good idea to end a season with too much unresolved plots.
     
  19. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec City
    A part of the problem is the fact characters usually act like they had already recovered from they hard experience of the previous episode, despite those events would be referenced later in the series.

    Another problem is there was a lot more one-shot characters than recurring ones.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I still think it was Babylon 5, though, that pioneered the format of giving each season an overall arc that came to a climax in the finale. Before then, serialized shows just sort of kept their arcs going and going, and while they had cliffhangers in the finale, they weren't really plotted with each season as a distinct "chapter" or "volume" in the narrative with its own complete story. Buffy and Angel also did a lot to promote this approach; Whedon's tendency was to treat each season finale as a potential series finale and give the story closure just in case it wasn't renewed, while still setting things up for the future in case it was.