Animated Series

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by hux, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It could've been worse, they could've put Troi in command. But by that time they were trying to expand the roles of the females for the sake of the viewers. Crusher was at least convincing in the role unlike Troi in Disaster.
     
  2. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And it won an Emmy Award for the episode 'How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth'-a feat not equaled by any animated series until 'Heart of Ice' from Batman: TAS won.
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Not to mention Chain of Command, where the entire senior staff was sent on a commando raid! :cardie:
     
  4. NightJim

    NightJim Captain Captain

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    ahh the joys of TV. Every Away Team is made up of senior staff and you can't help but think "is this really how you should be allocating your staff?" I'd imagine on most Starfleet vessels you're lucky to get two command crew on one team. Did they ever have a Captain bring attention to that like Jellicho did Troi's costume?
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    One of the [many] appealing things about The West Wing was taking the leader out of the focus.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It also made TAS the only Trek series ever to win an Emmy in a non-technical category.


    But much less than was intended. If you look at the pilot, Martin Sheen doesn't even show up until the final minutes. The original intent was that the focus would be on the staff with the President only making occasional appearances; that's why it was called The West Wing and not The Oval Office. But Sheen stole the show so much in his brief appearance that he ended up becoming central to the show instead of the mostly offscreen presence he was originally meant to be.
     
  7. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    That's true, but even as it was, certain episodes such as the season two finale notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of screen time was still spent on the subordinates, rather than on Bartlet and his family.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, you could say the same about the relative emphasis on the ensemble vs. Picard, Sisko, or Janeway on their respective series. That's just the nature of an ensemble drama.
     
  9. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Whether Bartlet turned out to be as peripheral as he was originally intended is utterly beside my point that, from a story-telling perspective, The West Wing that we got was overall more about Josh Lyman than Jed Bartlet.

    To move TNG along the slider further away from TOS and even closer to The West Wing, what was needed was to have "Lower Decks" be the norm rather than the one-off exception.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But I don't agree that it was. Josh as the overwhelming lead character? Not in the show I watched. Maybe if you count the post-Sorkin years, the seasons after Sam (the original intended lead character) left and Bartlet was played down in favor of Santos and Vinick, then you could perhaps make the case that Josh was cumulatively the most consistently featured character over the full 7 years, because he ended up as Santos's campaign manager. But that's really rather an unfair standard, like claiming that Rembrandt Brown was the main character throughout all of Sliders just because he was the only original cast member who didn't get written out in later seasons, or that Worf and O'Brien were the central characters of the Trek franchise because they were the only ones to be featured in more than seven seasons. If you look specifically at the four Sorkin-run seasons (and maybe season 5, but that sucked and I prefer to ignore it), before all the cast and format changes, I'd say that Bartlet ended up being at least as central as Sam, Josh, Leo, CJ, and Toby.


    That's a very poor analogy, because a "Lower Decks" version of The West Wing would've been a show about Charlie and Donna and Mrs. Landingham and Margaret and Carol. The main WW characters like Leo, Josh, CJ, Toby, and Sam were the senior staff, the department heads, just as the main TNG characters were the senior staff. I mean, sure, realistically it would've been the cabinet and the national security advisor and such that was the President's senior advisors and policymakers, but the way the show was written, it was the main characters who were Bartlet's inner circle.

    Sure, TWW had a large ensemble including many characters out of the senior staff, but that made it basically like DS9. It's kind of the nature of TV writing that even if you nominally focus on "minor" supporting staff, they'll end up being the ones who make most of the important choices -- like Nog and Rom and Garak becoming major participants in the decision-making or serving as Defiant bridge personnel in later seasons of DS9. So something like "Lower Decks" can't really work on a continuing basis. Even if the characters are nominally subordinates, just by virtue of being the series leads they'd end up being the chief decision-makers.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    As a part of "The West Wing that we got", which is what I was talking about, yeah, I'd count shows that aired as a part of the original run. But go back and look at the early seasons, too. For example, Josh is absolutely essential to the second-season opener, as who really got hurt in the shooting, who got Sam on board, who accepted Donna. It's really only in the middle episodes of the original run, including the latter part of the Sorkin run, that the focus shifts heavily onto the Bartlets, and even then, Josh and Donna still matter a great deal to the plots.

    Any analogy between Star Trek and The West Wing becomes a poor one, as soon as chain of command is taken into consideration, because there is no analog for TWW staff in Federation starship crews that we are ever made aware of; maybe we'd be talking about something like a bunch of captain's yeomen.

    Josh was Deputy Chief of Staff, under Leo, until season six when he went to the Santos campaign, and Sam was Deputy Communications Director, under Toby, until he resigned in season four. As Press Secretary, CJ's immediate boss was also Toby, until she became Chief of Staff in season six.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, and Riker was very important to "The Best of Both Worlds," and Worf was very important to "Redemption," and Odo was very important to "Broken Link." In an ensemble show, naturally you can find certain episodes where a given character takes center stage. But you're really exaggerating Josh's importance relative to Sam, Leo, and the rest. He was a key member of the ensemble, equal to the other main leads, but not above them in importance.


    That's ridiculous. Leo McGarry was the White House Chief of Staff -- essentially the equivalent of Riker. Constitutionally, the Vice President is not the "second-in-command," but is only there to take over if the President dies and to cast a tiebreaking vote in the Senate if necessary. Some recent vice presidents such as Gore and Cheney have carved out more important roles in the administration, but TWW's veep was more sidelined as has often been the case in presidential administrations. In practice, in many administrations the Chief of Staff has been effectively the "co-president," the crucial right-hand person, much as Rahm Emanuel (the real-life model for Josh Lyman) was for President Obama (the real-life model for Matt Santos) at the start of his first term. Josh was the Deputy Chief of Staff, making him Leo's second-in-command and thus tantamount to the second officer (Data) in the hierarchy.

    A yeoman is essentially a secretary, clerk, or administrative assistant. The equivalent to the captain's yeoman in TWW would be Mrs. Landingham or Lily Tomlin's character who replaced her.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Who said anything about presidential succession? I was thinking of the Cabinet, who were all but absent from TTW.

    In perhaps the best analogy, Bartlet:Kirk::Executive Branch:Enterprise. Shrinking the scope of Bartlet's leadership to the White House for dramatic purposes would be like shrinking the scope of Kirk's leadership to the bridge; only given the scope of the dramatized concerns, it would be more like the briefing room. On the other hand, a broader analogy covering Bartlet's role as head of government breaks down too, because Kirk doesn't have oversight from aboard his own ship.

    Anyway, whatever. I was simply trying to cite an example of a show that was not exclusively, or even mostly, focused on the chief authority in-universe, but instead more so on the subordinates, to an even greater degree than TNG was. Clearly, TWW doesn't meet any of those criteria, in any way, shape, or form. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And I addressed that already in the very post you were responding to -- I'm surprised you missed it. I wrote a whole paragraph and a half on the subject. I suggest you go back and read it again, because I don't want to repeat myself.


    No, it doesn't, because -- as I already said (and I'm repeating myself anyway) -- no matter what the realistic situation would be, within the show itself it was the featured characters who were the primary decision-makers. Just as non-ranking personnel like Rom or cadets like Nog ended up being key decision-makers on DS9. Whoever is central to the show is going to end up being the important group, so the idea of a whole series about subordinates who aren't key to the decision-making process just isn't going to work. Heck, look at Futurama. It's nominally about a bunch of package-delivery people who by all rights should have no role in any important astropolitical events, but they're constantly turning out to be the critical players in major political affairs, interstellar wars, world-changing social and technological revolutions, and the like. Professor Farnsworth started out as just some kook with a small business, but by now he's retroactively become the man who invented most of the important technology of the Futurama universe.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, the point about Nog ending up being the lynchpin of the Federation or whatever, in a show about Nog, was a good point. I, too, was making the distinction between authority and influence, and even said so. (ETA: That is to say, my word choice was deliberately made in accordance with that distinction.)

    Measures like ratios of line count, word count, or screen time might be means of determining objectively who the focus of the shows in question was. It would be interesting to track those figures for different characters in the Treks, TWW, M*A*S*H, St. Elsewhere, etc., over their runs, but that's just beyond what I can devote to that otherwise interesting little project. As it is, we just have our respect disparate impressions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    (Looks back over page) Wow, we've changed topic a few times by now and wandered remarkably far afield from the original topic. Anyone have anything else to say about TAS?
     
  17. EnsignRedshirt

    EnsignRedshirt Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I've been watching through TAS for the first time ever thanks to Netflix. The animation is...decidedly rough in places, but a lot of great imagination was evident in plenty of the scripts.

    I'd say it's worth at least one watch through for any Trek fan.
     
  18. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    I can only marvel, applaud and salute all the fine folks here who start with a discussion regarding Star Trek: The Animated Series and cogently end up on The West Wing. That is so truly, truly awesome! :techman:
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    We're awesome like that.
     
  20. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    And to protect the space-time continuum. Read the constitution!