Did TNG have too many characters at first?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by The Overlord, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Trimm

    Trimm Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    I think they kept a pretty fair balance of stories for all the characters over the course of the show, but the movies focused on Picard and Data to an unhealthy degree given that neither of those characters was compelling in the way that Kirk and Spock were, and even the TOS movies established more of an ensemble feel than the TNG films.
     
  2. Dr. Crusher

    Dr. Crusher Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Agreed on these points!

    I don't think there were too many characters, but, one of the drawbacks of having a larger cast was the fact that it became very difficult to highlight all the characters equally, although it was clear that the writers tried to do that. This resulted in a lot of character-oriented loose ends at the end of the seventh season that were completely unaddressed by the movies.

    The strength of TOS was its ensemble cast, although a handful of the characters were featured more prominently than others. TNG, I think, had a similar strength on TV, but that strength was very much downplayed in the films. I think that First Contact was probably the only film that, by distributing the main characters between two plot scenarios, achieved some level of character equality.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    Regina, SK, Canada
    TOS didn't have an ensemble cast, it had only the Trio. As much as we like to think otherwise, the rest of the crew were more or less just window dressing for them.
     
  4. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    I actually don't think they had too many characters at first, because they hadn't really even developed the actual format they would eventually employ. They hadn't yet chose a chief engineer. It was a big mystery as to how the kid would be used

    Frankly, had Tasha remained, I could see Worf falling back a slight bit, maybe more like how Ro was featured, but they might have still put in some of the Klingon arc, because he would still have been the major "outcast" alien aboard, like Spock had been on TOS

    It would appear they didn't feel they had enough after Crosby left, because they added Whoopi Goldberg in a small role. I think the show was rather malleable early on, & they could have done pretty much anything they wanted, so long as they kept it balanced, with a fairly large dependance on Picard, & Data

    I do think it worked out for the best though, because they ended up developing a format which was rather tight knit, & since Worf is in the top 3 best characters on the show, & with more mouths to feed (Lines to) he might have suffered some in development

    But consider this, some of the development sacrificed might have been the stuff most people don't like anyhow, with Alexander & whatnot
     
  5. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Yeah, I believe it's because of the treatment they received on the big screen. On the show, Picard & Data were extremely compelling. That got lost in transition, & the whole thing eventually became a shadow of its former self.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    Whoopi was added because she asked to be on the show and at the time the producers thought the name recognition would help the series ratings. Her character actually stole a lot of Troi's development and in doing so weakened a main character. Not the best decision in the end.
     
  7. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Good point, but meh.... What were they really doing with that character though? They certainly weren't going to pull off getting the kind of relationship that Picard & Guinan had, by building up Troi. She was a subordinate, & not a very formidable presence, least of all enough to influence Picard in the way Guinan did. Bad mistakes in Troi's development right off the bat, really, & it never really improved much, but for a few exceptions

    Personally, I think they could have benefitted more by optng for the Guinan type character from the get go, instead of clinging to the Phase II Decker/Ilia thing that Riker & Troi were spawned from
     
  8. Trimm

    Trimm Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    TOS was never an ensemble, certainly not in its TV run. The focus of TOS was always on the Big Three, with Scotty being the next closest (not by much), and the rest of the cast were basically there. The TOS movies were still mostly that way, just with a few more scenes thrown to the rest of the cast.

    TNG was ALWAYS an ensemble, at least while on TV. The degree to which characters were focused upon varied throughout the run, but no one dominated the show like Kirk/Spock/McCoy.
     
  9. BrownShatner

    BrownShatner Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    The show actually seemed more top-heavy towards the end. Riker and Troi started out as major characters, but later on they weren't doing a whole lot, and most of the plots revolved around Picard, Data, Worf, and to a lesser extent Geordi and Crusher.
     
  10. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    I think the difference is mainly in how TNG defined the ensemble cast, with each character having episodes center around them. In doing so, they did keep it relatively fair in dispersal throughout its run, but by the end leaned toward what were the more interesting characters, Picard, Data, & Worf.

    This was an almost complete departure from the TOS format. No one but perhaps Spock & Kirk had entire episodes center around themselves alone, with an exception or two, & by far character centered episodes were really rare, in those 3 seasons

    In a way, this is one of the reasons TOS made for a better movie dynamic. The characters were still rather unexplored & had a simpler relative dynamic between them, compared to TNG who fleshed out all their characters, over 7 seasons, & when transferring them to the big screen, characters got completely stripped of their worth or refit into something they had never been, because were they to tell a story that actually featured the characters as they had been developed, there'd be no real room for it to be an action story

    TNG was very much a sci-fi soap opera mixed with action & suspense. Not so much the same mix on TOS