Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major characters?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by The Overlord, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. OpenMaw

    OpenMaw Captain Captain

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    I think having an organic, shifting and dynamic cast is something that any new Trek series could take from shows like BSG. Characters were getting promoted, moved around, finding themselves dealing with new crisis that affected them personally, and resonated beyond the confinements of one episode.

    It's not just that Trek was afraid of death, it was afraid of change as a whole for quite a long time as it approaches it's end. At the end of an episode things were to be reset back to normal. It wasn't until Enterprise, and by the point that too much audience damage had been done, that Trek started to take some of the chances it needed to. Like having long term character arcs. (Trip's pain over the loss of his sister, the damage done to Enterprise, T'pols addiction to... Trellium D was it?)

    If death is what the story demands for a character, then sure, go for it. Just as long as the show doesn't shoot itself in the foot by getting rid of all it's compelling characters ala what shows like E.R. did with the departure of one too many pivotal characters. The show lost most of it's dramatic edge. (For me, E.R. ended when Doctor Greene brought the show full circle.)

    I would love to see characters moving up in rank, shifting to different duties over time, or simply being transferred off ship, having them become irregular guest characters later on.

    An example from something i've been playing around with: Let's say you were to do a clean-slate-back-to-roots reboot of Star Trek, set it aboard The Enterprise when she was first launched with Robert April in command. Well, you could start with a character who would be akin to 'Number One' as a lieutenant, and have the XO be Commander Pike. After the first season or so Pike would be promoted to Captain and take a command of his own, and Number One would become the new XO. There could be some tension throughout that first set of stories as 'Number One' keeps her cool, but secretly is deeply troubled with the notion of command responsibility, all the while having a will-he-or-won't-he sub plot for Pike. The Enterprise is the latest and greatest. The things it may see on the frontier make Pike wonder if it would be a mistake to leave, even if he's been waiting for this own promotion for years now.

    That's what I would do. I'd also have a character around that would, from a writing perspective only, be designed to die at some point to jolt audience expectations. It wouldn't exist in a vacuum, either. The death would lead to meaningful introspection and reflection for the characters around them.

    It would also be rather nice to see some characters blow a mission and be set back in their careers, maybe become a little disillusioned with it all as a result. Maybe second guessing their reasons for having joined in the first place. Having other characters realize they're not cut out for one field and request a transfer to another department.

    Some of these could even be "trap doors" ala what JMS had in place for all his characters on B5. That way if a character isn't working out for whatever reason you can redefine, or remove the character and bring in someone else. Keep things fluid, organic, and real.

    It's not just a matter of the will to kill. It's the need to allow for dramatic events to expand outward from their starting point and blossom into the wonderful tapestry of emotions that make good story telling.

    I say that the writer's bible for the new show should have a note in it somewhere that says "This is where we start, not where we stay." :)
     
  2. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    I don't get people's (writers or readers) obsession with killing characters.

    The point is more about change. When you watch the first episode of TNG and then the last episode of TNG, how much had really significantly changed?
     
  3. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    Not much. Yar died. O'Brien transferred off the ship, and Wesley left Starfleet. Someone who'd seen only the first and last episodes of TNG wouldn't know that Pulaski had been on the ship for year, nor would they have any idea Picard was assimilated by the Borg. TNG went out of its way to maintain the status quo, as did its predecessor.
     
  4. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    Riker grew the beard, people. Riker grew the beard.

    And Worf's hair was longer. And Geordi's visor wasn't a poorly-disguised banana comb anymore. And Q and Picard were old... somethings, not really friends, but...

    But of course TNG was traditional episodic television. It only took baby steps out of that format. It was DS9 that had the largest and most rewarding experiments with story arcs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  5. UUS Contrarian

    UUS Contrarian Lieutenant

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    In Trek the main crew faces danger very often. It's realistic that some of them should bite the bullet.
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    I've never understood this "main characters have to die for the show to be enjoyable" mentality. Yes, when done right a main character's death is poignant enough to be one of the show's defining moments, and sometimes it can be tedious to watch the main characters in danger every week only to make it out unscathed while the guest stars are expendable. But killing off main characters isn't the solution, and doesn't automatically guarantee the show is good because of it.

    Besides, rarely do main characters get killed off on TV shows in general, and when it does happen it's usually near the end of the season and highly publicized anyway. Even nuBSG didn't start writing anyone out until its final season, and even then they were all prominent supporting characters anyway.

    Pretty bad example, actually. RTD is in fact against killing main characters, feeling its a cheap way for them to leave the show and Moffat very rarely kills anyone in general. Those that do die in his episodes are usually a result of old age, or historical fact if that character is someone real. Even when someone does get killed they tend to get revived, like Strax the Sontaran. Hell, Moffat even went and undid the extinction of the Time Lords. In fact, "Everyone Lives!" endings are one of Moffat's clich├ęs.
     
  7. UUS Contrarian

    UUS Contrarian Lieutenant

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    No, but it would be fun if people would die more often on a good show.
     
  8. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    If you kill off characters I like, your show isn't good for me.
     
  9. UUS Contrarian

    UUS Contrarian Lieutenant

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    You can have new characters that you like.
     
  10. JariM

    JariM Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    I fully understand this sentiment. Sometimes in television series or comics etc. I have 1 or maybe 2 characters I really like. It's not just that I like them, I connect to the stories through them. And it's not that I don't like all the other characters. I just don't like them as much. And if my favorite(s) are gone, I might be gone too. So I get what JarodRussell means.
     
  11. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    Well that's extreme.
     
  12. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    Actually a lot of new TV shows have been killing off main characters and not just in the last season, House of Cards and Game of Thrones are two major examples.

    Newer shows are not afraid to change the status quo and kill off major characters in order to change the direction of the plot.

    Yes, killing off a major character can be done badly, but so can any storyline, saying it can be done badly is not in of itself a very convincing argument.
     
  13. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    No!

    No!!!

    And no again!!!!

    When I watch a show, there are two things which can make me like it and stay with it. A good story and good characters!

    TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager had just that. Another show which I've been watching with great pleasure is NCIS because of the same reasons.

    What can make me lose interest is when good characters are killed off or dumped.

    So, no assasinations of main characters, thank you!

    Those who want that kind of drama can watch the TV news, a funeral or get bored to death by Stargate Universe.
     
  14. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    Yeah, I hate it when unexpected things happen in TV shows. Every single episode should be the main characters encountering problems, never being in any danger of being hurt, and always saving the day at the end of the episode. Perfect television.
     
  15. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    Since when has death become the only reason for change?
     
  16. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    I'm not talking about change. I'm talking about dramatic tension. Star Trek is a series where around 7 main characters fight aliens and encounter life or death situations on a weekly basis. If the characters are playing with god mode on it completely removes all the tension and drama from the show.

    Why should I care if the Federation goes to war with the Dominion if I know every single character will be perfectly okay at the end of the day? Sure, it can still be entertaining, but there's no tension.
     
  17. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    I don't require my television to be tense, I'm satisfied with being entertained. But ignoring that, there are other ways to make a show tense then killing main characters.

    Besides, even the shows that do kill off main characters usually do so at the beginning or end of the season, mid season stories (for those shows that split the seasons) or some significant "event" episode. 90% of the time, you know everyone will make it out anyway.
     
  18. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    You do know that NCIS has killed off main characters at least twice and had another one recently leave right?
     
  19. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    What else are they gonna do when the actors leave? Same thing happened in Trek or Stargate every time the actor said bye bye.
     
  20. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Should a New Star Trek show be willing to kill off major character

    So someone saying you don't like shows where characters leave or are written out while saying you like a show that does exactly that doesn't sound a little hypocritical?