is TOS the only 'true' Star Trek?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by xvicente, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    So, what's not accurate? There's no way to really compare TNG head-to-head with network competition because it aired at different times all over the country. And there is no reason to assume that TNG would have made it to a 5th or 6th season in network prime time. Maybe, but it would be a lot harder than in syndication, where it was the dominant property in the market.
     
  2. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In its fifth season (1991-1992), TNG averaged 11.5 million viewers. During that same year, Law & Order -- a major network show that was successful enough to run 20 seasons -- averaged 12.3 million. The Cosby Show averaged 13.6 million.

    Regardless of where or at what time it was airing, TNG was pulling viewership numbers comparable to the major network shows of the time. And although airing in syndication has some advantages in terms of competition and such, it also has some disadvantages -- such as getting viewership in markets that choose to air the show at 3 am on Thursday.

    My point is not that TNG's situation is directly comparable to a network show. But it WAS pulling network-level ratings, and I think the amount of popularity it enjoyed at the time could have translated to a network without difficulty. And I think it's the only Trek show that really could have accomplished network success at that level.
     
  3. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I still don't see how what I wrote is not accurate. "Where or at what time it was airing" is at the heart of the issue, because if it were a network show it would have the same competition across markets and that would affect its numbers.

    Maybe, but there's no way to know, because see above. It would be interesting to see the ratings of network shows that were renewed 1987-1991, that might give a better idea of whether TNG would have made the cut in its early seasons.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure ratings would tell the complete story.

    Would TNG draw as many viewers if it had to compete directly with Monday Night Football or the Cosby Show? What if it had ended up on Fox which had limited penetration during its early years? Would it have even been the same show had it aired on a network?

    Was TNG popular and successful? Of course. But you simply can't look at that popularity and success in a vacuum. Would we still be talking about it today if it had been called Space Patrol? Would it have gotten the huge budget right out of the gate if it wasn't trading on the success of the Star Trek name? Would it have gotten prime time slots if it hadn't been associated with Star Trek? Would the general public have been eager to watch it if it hadn't been associated with Star Trek? I think the answer to all those questions is 'no'.
     
  5. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I agree completely, but like I said it might give a better idea.
     
  6. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's absolutely no question that TNG rode the wave of the popularity of TOS. But the original discussion was more about whether TOS or TNG was more popular at the time they originally aired.

    TOS always struggled as a network series. It only managed to eek out three seasons, and even that was with a lot of turmoil. It was only after it left the air and went into syndication that it's popularity exploded, and then came the movies which, especially with TWOK and TVH, were blockbusters.

    TNG, OTOH, was strong at the time it originally aired. It had solid ratings, it ran for seven seasons, and it was profitable and popular enough at the end of its run to warrant an immediate bump to the big screen.

    My contention is not that overall, in the grand 50-year history of Star Trek, that TNG is more popular than TOS. No question TOS wins that contest. It's the iconic one. It's the one that has endured the longest. It's the one the public still knows to this day. And, let's face it, it's the one Paramount went back to when they needed a new start for Trek.

    My contention is only that at the time they originally aired, TNG did better than TOS. And that TNG was phenomenally popular during that seven year period of time.
     
  7. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    But my question is does that really matter in the grand scheme of things?

    Also looking at all factors we can say the reason TOS failed during its original run is because it wasn't given a fair chance.

    Keep in mind this whole discussion started when someone said TNG won because it stayed on the air for 7 years instead of 3 but you do have to look at extenuating circumstances.

    I think neither series really wins, but people of course should not discount TOS because it only had 3 seasons. That isn't to say we should discount TNG either.

    I don't think there should be a competition at all really.
     
  8. jazzstick

    jazzstick Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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