Did DS9 falter ratings-wise due to a strange concept?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by indolover, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    DS9's concept it seems was based on intrigue rather than exploration. Is this why it faltered in terms of ratings? The essential setting laid out in Emissary was the protection/incorporation of Bajor, keeping the Cardassians at bay, and the new frontier of the Gamma Quadrant.

    People talk about competition, but the X-Files was huge, and probably the biggest sci-fi show of the 1990s. Shows like Hercules, Xena, etc. were not direct competitors anyhow (well to me fantasy and sci-fi are distinct genres). It's like blaming low ratings on Two and a Half Men due to competition from The Big Bang Theory (yes, both sitcoms, but one lampoons sex whilst the other lampoons nerds).
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    In general their has been a decline in TV ratings over the last couple of decades. Of course their are exceptions to the rule.

    By the time DSN came around, every other station was jumping on the Sci-Fi fantasy genre so there become more compettion. When TNG first aired it had a certain nostalga factor to it even a novelty factor as it was different to what was on, the same with The X-Files.
     
  3. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is a simplistic explanation but I think some things are just more popular than others. TNG was more popular than DS9.

    You can blame concepts, acting, stories and whatever else from now until doomsday and get nowhere.

    Some things just are.
     
  4. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Ratings declined with each Series.

    TNG was so popular, that yea, maybe, it lost a chunk of audience because it was different, but, Voyager was back to pretty much just like TNG, but, it had less ratings than DS9 and Enterprise fell even further
     
  5. Navaros

    Navaros Commodore Commodore

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    IMO DS9's ratings faltered because Emissary is/was a boring episode, and because with the exception of Winn, Bajorans are, more often than not, inherently annoying and unwatchable: including Kira in Emissary, and in most of the first season or two.

    Those problems do stem from the concept, but I do not think that "strangeness" is the problem so much as the anti-entertainment agenda that wormhole aliens and Bajorans inadvertently put forth.

    For example, one could contrast wormhole aliens and Bajorans with the Breen who are also strange, but strange/cool.

    Probably DS9 would have maintained most of its huge Emissary audience if there were no Bajorans or wormhole aliens in the series, and they instead started with the Dominion in episode one.
     
  6. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Facts don't quite bear that out. "Emissary" scored the single highest rating of any episode of all the Trek spinoffs (a whopping 21 overnight rating; I believe the final rating was 18 point something) and the ratings for the first two seasons was steady at near TNG levels. Ratings only dramatically and steadily decreased from season three onwards -- in other words, as soon as TNG left the airwaves.

    Maybe. But I wouldn't have been a part of that audience.
     
  7. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    I watched Emissary again last night, for the first time in some years. I've been wanting to do a rewatch for some time now. I like Emissary and don't understand the dislike for it. No Pilot is perfect (Well, the first episode of Blake's 7 is pretty damned close), but, I think it did a really good job of setting the stage for the Series.
     
  8. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I don't know what it was like for people in other areas, but I think syndication hurt DS9. Where I was living, DS9 aired on Sunday afternoons and was regularly pre-empted by baseball.
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    B7 did manage to make a memorable ending as well. Did Avon survive or not?
     
  10. Steve O'Core

    Steve O'Core Ensign Red Shirt

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    Can someone post a link to the DS9 ratings? It would be interesting to see the actual ratings numbers, and compare them to the other series, especially since they each ran 7 seasons (well, no counting Enterprise).
     
  11. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Very memorable indeed. There's a follow up novel, that picks up after the last scene of the Series, that I very much enjoyed
     
  12. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I'd say the main difference between TNG and DS9's ratings was that even though DS9's new episodes were scoring good ratings the first two years, the show would lost a significant chunk of viewers during reruns, whereas TNG's reruns were scoring about as much as its new episodes. Telling? I dunno, but it's an interesting comparison.

    Here's DS9's nielson ratings for all seven years.

    TNG's ratings: http://stng.36el.com/st-tng/sttng-1.html

    Voyager's ratings: http://users.telenet.be/WebTrek/Voy/Ratings/ratings.html
     
  13. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    With regards to comparing DS9 and VOY's ratings on that site.
    From Voyager season 4 and DS9 season season 5, they start giving viewing figures in millions. But Voyager is given in actual number of viewers, DS9 is given in households watching
     
  14. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nah DS9 probably faltered ratings-wise because the first season was so weak. It takes some effort for me to watch every episode of season one and I love DS9. Perhaps if there were the story arcs from season 3 and the action from season 6 would the ratings have been better.

    DS9 really upped its game in season 3 but by then I think the damage was done, and all those who had stopped watching must have thought season 3 (and the other seasons) were like seasons 1 and 2. First impressions count...

    Besides TNG's first season only got away with mediocrity because it was the first Star Trek series in twenty years, and as other people have said in this thread there was less competition from other sci-fi shows. The ratings of TNG season 1 declined slightly and season 1 of TNG is ten times more worse than DS9's season 1.
     
  15. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    Where I lived in it's last few seasons (Chicago) DS9 came on at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon which is probably the worst time slot ever and, like RoJoHen said, was often pre-empted by baseball in the spring. Voyager had a prime time slot on a (albeit fledgling) network, and though TNG was also syndicated, it maintained a 7pm Saturday slot for much of it's run if I recall.

    And even with a crappy timeslot it managed to have better ratings than Voyager (4s in it's 7th season compared to 2s and 3s for Voyager).
     
  16. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If you look at ratings for broadcast at the same time, everything was dropping, and the process hasn't stopped. Audiences were fleeing to cable, leaving only the most mass-market stuff in their wake on broadcast. Space opera is not mass-market at all, so broadcast was becoming more and more hostile of an environment.

    Star Trek
    was losing viewers to an explosion of competing entertainment that was catering more precisely to their interests. People didn't stop liking Star Trek, they just started liking other, new things more. It wasn't just cable, it was also DVDs with extra features, games and the internet. People only have X number of leisure hours to divide among all that stuff.

    That's why you see the same ratings erosion even on DS9, which was very good, as well as VOY and ENT, who were not so good. It wasn't the quality or even the content, it was the larger competitive environment of TV and other types of entertainment.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    There's also the fact that the series was syndicated, and the syndication market was on the decline by the time the series was on the air. It was still one of the top rated (THE top rated?) syndicated programs on American television.
     
  18. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Only the few years, where it came in like 5th or 6th place pretty consistently. By the final season, it ranked like between 13 and 20th. If you check out the link I posted of DS9's ratings, it also lists the rank for the week out of all syndicated shows.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That's interesting. It definitely shows some erosion of viewership there (although the syndication market was also becoming more crowded at this time, no?).
     
  20. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It was one of the highest scripted original syndicated shows. Shows like "Wheel of Fortune" normally top the rankings.