A New Trek Series Should Take a Lesson From Law & Order

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Dayton3, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    The trend in all modern Trek series as to find a group of actors to play the characters, sign them to seven year contracts, and never prepare or expect them to leave the series (unless they need to shake things up radically).

    Why?

    Why not hire the actors year by year and replace characters virtually every season?

    Like Law & Order.

    Characters and actors come and go but the show continues on.

    It would be alot more realistic. In the modern day military who has ever heard of the same captain staying in command of a ship for 7 years?

    Or four years for that matter?

    You get an ever changing crew dynamic with lots of opportunities for different interactions.
     
  2. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    I agree with you, Dayton. It is very unrealistic when you consider all the promotions to Captain that Riker passed up over the years, the way Data's career seemed stuck in neutral, or the fact that all seven of the main TOS crew would still be working on the ship ~30 years after they started.
     
  3. Wonderlust King

    Wonderlust King Captain Captain

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    In case you haven't forgotten Star Trek takes place in the far future. You don't know how things work there. Maybe Starfleet thinks ships work better when the crew is familiar. I personally think things would. I mean I wouldn't mind some change season to season, like rotating out some characters like chief enigineer, helm officer, and what not, but I wouldn't like it if any of the really major characters were changed like the first officer, captain, or doctor.
     
  4. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    Why?
     
  5. Wonderlust King

    Wonderlust King Captain Captain

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    Because I like how you get to know a character over the usual 7 season arch, you grow to love them even if you didn't like them in the beginning, you start to feel like somehow if you existed in the same universe you would be friends. When shows are constantly killing off and rotating characters its just annoying. You get to know someone over maybe a season or 2 and then they are gone. You don't get that same feeling you did when they were there for the whole show's run. Sure you could kill off or rotate the occasional minor characters, but to mess with the show's core characters would be really stupid.
     
  6. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    But even core characters move on sometimes; Jerry Orbach was on Law & Order like what, forever? And how many of the original cast of ER are still there?

    The cast changes wouldn't have to be nearly as drastic as those on L&O, but Dayton does have a point: people in military organizations (or quasi-military, since some fans seem to want to deny that Starfleet is a military organization) who stay in one place forever like that usually end up as people with dead, go-nowhere careers.

    The TOS films tried playing with that a little, with Kirk having to gather everyone back together for TMP, Chekov being on another ship in TWOK, and Sulu being captain of his own ship in TUC. But by and large, to say that "these are the only 7-10 people you will see every week for the next seven years, and there will be no changes unless we feel the show needs a change in direction (Kes --> Seven) or can't close a new contract with an actor (Terry Farrell)" kind of boxes you in.

    Most other shows, if an actor sucks or their character isn't working out, they part company. For some reason that exceedeth human understanding, Trek likes to hang onto them. :p
     
  7. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    One thing I've hated about the Trek fan base is this:

    In every Trek series, EVERY character instantly gets there on little group of fans who bitch and moan if anything ever happens to the character.

    And keeping the same group of characters for 7 years makes the shows almost entirely "character driven".

    Something I loathe. I want shows about the missions. Aliens encountered, adventures experienced, battles fought.....

    instead in Trek it is too much Character A risks their career, Character A has problems with their family, Character A's life is in danger.............and so on.
     
  8. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    ^Character drama has its place, and it doesn't necessarily detract from the storytelling. Even in TOS, which I think we can agree was the least character-driven of the five series, had episodes where the character drama really comes to the forefront.
    • "The Menagerie" has Spock risk his career to help Captain Pike.
    • "Amok Time" was basically a Spock episode.
    • "Journey to Babel" was as much about Spock and Sarek's relationship as it was about the sabotage of a peace conference
    • "The Ultimate Computer" is yet another Kirk Talks Down a Crazy Computer episode, but what makes it stand out is his own doubts and fears of being made expendable by the M-5.
    I'm sure I could come up with plenty more examples, but character drama is not a Bad Thing. It's just yet another division in the fanbase, but I doubt that getting rid of character-driven stories would prevent any rifts in fandom.
     
  9. Jack Bauer

    Jack Bauer Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Lost kills off characters and replaces them with new ones and most viewers seem to be ok with that. I don't see why Trek should be any different. But then lots of Trek fans seem to be resistant to changes like that. They seem to want the crews to stay intact (with maybe one or two changes) through out the series run for some reason.
     
  10. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    I'd love to know how that came about. Probably because they managed to reunite the same cast from the original series for six movies 13-25 years later, and somehow that makes it "the way it has to be."
     
  11. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love it how people can accept ships going faster than light, people materializing from place to another, aliens that basically look just like humans (or have crazy looking faces), and weapons that emit a powerful beam of light that can incinerate you, but the fact that a crew might stick together for the run of the television show...that's not realistic.

    But, lets face it. It's television; not real life. People tend to want to watch the same characters grow and develop over the run of a series. Someone above pointed to a show like Lost that offs characters all the time. True, they do that, but I bet that they will never kill off any of the main leads such as Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Hurely, or Jack. I'm sure they'll continue to kill off some of the second string characters, but not the leads at least not until the final few episodes (or a contract dispute), if at all.
     
  12. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    You have proof of this?
     
  13. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps my statement was too sweeping, but hell, just look at any of the threads here on any given show. The first example that springs to mind is the reaction in the Stargate threads about Dr. Weir. Or look at the Enterprise threads that complain that none of the characters besides the big three were given any development. To me, this indicates that people like to see characters grow and develop on TV shows. At least, I don't think I've ever encountered a conversation where someone was complaining that a character has too much development and they wished the writers would stop. Although, that would be funny if someone said, "Damn, I wish this character was just a cardboard cut-out."

    Besides, do you have proof of the reverse? ;)
     
  14. Anthony Sabre

    Anthony Sabre Commodore Commodore

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    This is a good idea. In fact I'd like a new series that covers three different crews who occasionally interact with one another. All 3 with different missions. One a deep space explorer, one patrolling the border of a hostile power and one a medical vessel.

    Of course I'll never get this.
     
  15. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    I once had the idea of a Trek series where you had TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT crews for ONE starship.

    Like the U.S. Navy does with its Ballistic Missile Submarines.

    IIRC, they have "blue" and "gold" crews.

    One crew takes the ship out for a few months. They return and another crew takes the ship out.

    There is no overlap usually.

    In Trek, each crew would have its own captain, first officer, chief engineer, chief medical officer.

    The only drawback I could think for a Trek series would be budgetary.
     
  16. Eric Cheung

    Eric Cheung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well the ships tend to be away from Earth a lot. Going back to Earth was a pretty big deal, especially on DS9 and of course Voyager. Even on early Enterprise they didn't go back very often. In the fourth season they did but it could be argued that Starfleet felt like it would benefit by having its crew of heroes in tact to serve as a diplomatic force, which was what the ship's role became that season. And in TNG the show was made in a different era before the Law & Orders, ERs, and other such shows that do that more often.

    Although, if it were a show about civilians, or about a different pocket of a station like DS9, then certainly the cast could change a lot. It seems like this approach might work best for a show that would become the franchise's new flagship series (assuming we had the fortune of concurrent series). Perhaps this flagship series would be a show about the Federation Council or something and we'd see Council Member and President term limits in action. Or it could be an anthology series where there'd be a less set cast in the first place anyway (an idea that I think was floated around before everyone knew that Series V would be Enterprise).

    I do remember though that SeaQuest built into its premise (at least as of the first season finale), that a tour of duty would be one season and that some of the crew were moving on, so there is precedent in the context of ship-based sci-fi shows.
     
  17. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    You wouldn't have to have a starship return to Earth for a crew swap out.

    You could have a Starfleet vessel meet them in deep space. One crew beams off (mostly offscreen), the old captain speaks briefly with the new captain about some things he should be aware of, the old chief engineer reports to the new one about some engineering issues they have been trying to address..........

    it could work pretty well.
     
  18. Eric Cheung

    Eric Cheung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Fair enough. Perhaps the next show that's set aboard the Enterprise could do that. Then if there are show(s) running concurrently maybe there's a character that dreams of serving as a senior officer there or something.

    But also, I miss DS9 because there was actually a show that wasn't on a ship. It was still Starfleet and it was still a number of senior officers that was roughly the same, but it was at least a different setting.

    They should still have planetside shows or civilian shows or government shows or something. What's it like for artists, lawyers, and philosophers in the 24th century?
     
  19. Wonderlust King

    Wonderlust King Captain Captain

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    That's what I love about Trek, by the end of 7 season series run you feel like you know these people. If Trek switched its crew around every season It wouldn't mean as much to me, Instead of lets say Sisko risking his life, a character I've known and loved for 7 years, it will be Captain Anonymous who I've known for 7 episodes. It would take a lot out of it for me.
     
  20. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    For fans of a character-driven series one possible new series could be a miniseries with one cast, and the next miniseries uses a different cast for a different mission.
    Almost a spin-off style miniseries but still the adventure would be there on the same familiar ship the fans already are familiar with.