Poll All-season arcs or 1-2 episode stories?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by NewHeavensNewEarth, Mar 24, 2019.

?

Do you prefer all-season story arcs or 1-2 episode stories

  1. All-season story arc

    41 vote(s)
    64.1%
  2. 1-2 episode stories

    23 vote(s)
    35.9%
  1. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    Or the later DS9 format.

    14 episodes really isn't enough to do much in the way of standalone episodes unless the arc is less of a universe-ending-paradox than what we have at the moment.
     
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  2. drt

    drt Commodore Commodore

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    I feel like TOS did a better job at this than a lot of the Berman-era Trek. I remember a running joke with my friends was the “Star Trek ending” where the first three quarters of the episode set up something excellent and we’d start thinking “oooo... this is going to be a two-parter”, then Mr.Data would throw out some particle-of-the-week and they’d tech the tech they’re way out of it in five minutes.

    I think this season started out pretty well with a stand-alone feel to the individual episodes, with hints progressing the overall story, it’s really only been the last couple where it feels we’ve now gone all in on the season arc - and the problem I think we are now having is the speculation around what was happening was pretty fun and the actual execution isn’t going to live up to what our imaginations originally conceived.
     
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  3. Rahul

    Rahul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think this is a general issue with hour-long entertainment - I had the same problem with DIS "The Sound of Thunder", the episode about the Ba'Ul and Kelpian relationship. Which I think could and should have easily been a two-parter, considering they changed the whole way of life of multiple civilisations and the crews "alien" crewmember from the ground up.

    But then again, stretching the same plot over two episodes might have not worked either. If you look back at some TOS episode, they are also remarkably short in how deep they delve into the episode's mystery. This is something that is IMO just more noticeable when you become a Trek "expert", after watching countless hours, that you realize which parts of the episodes are the unique ones, and which are the usual Trek tropes. Because when I watched TOS for the first time - all these damn Tropes were something completely new for me!

    I actually think it's not so much a problem of "not living up to expectations" - because lt's be honest, most theories around here (Iconians, actual angels) weren't that great either. I think the biggest problem is the lack of set-ups. Which means each and every revelation about the main story arc (Tachyons! Time travel! Control! Burnham's Mum!) really feel like they were made up along the way. Which they probably were.

    Compare that mystery-plot to ENT S3's properly planned out Xindi-arc: They did a good job at setting up all the different elements - the spheres, the physics phenomena in the expanse, the history and perspectives of the major Xindi species and characters - that when the explanations came in the end of the season (sphere builders using the Xindi as pawns in a time-war) - it all made sense and it felt like all the different elements coming together. Of course the drawback was that many of the early episodes felt like awkward set-ups, and the different elements sometimes very disjointed. DIS early season definitely had a better flow, because it put more focus on individual stories instead of set-ups, and really nailed it there. It's only now when the cards fall on the table that it's noticeable most revelations lacked proper set-ups.
     
  4. gblews

    gblews Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer season arcs. Affords the opportunity for more overall gravitas in the season.
     
  5. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is pretty much what I think too. I mean, it's worth mentioning that - on a fundamental level - if your seasonal arc is just a padded-out plot which could be done in a single episode or two-parter, you're failing at doing serialized drama.

    Game of Thrones is a good example of both succeeding at this and failing at this actually. All seasons of Game of Thrones are fully serialized, with the exception of one big "action piece" which follows only a single plot thread (usually a battle). Thus the remainder of the episodes are basically checking in periodically with what everyone is up to, with no clear theme linking them. But in the earlier seasons everyone is given meaningful things to do, with the plot incredibly intricate and detailed. But in the last season a lot of characters were clearly just waiting around for the season finale, having dramatic conversations with one another which amounted to very little in terms of moving the story forward. The showrunners were spinning wheels rather than driving forward, because they didn't have any idea what diversions to take the story on, and they felt like they had spent all the time needed fleshing out the characters already.
     
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  6. ITDUDE

    ITDUDE Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I want the MCU approach. Every story works on it's own, but there is also an overall arc as well.
     
  7. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It’s pretty limiting, without a doubt. I wonder whether Short Treks will take the place of some stand-alone episodes. Not entirely, but they have potential.
     
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  8. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    The DS9/Babylon 5/Farscape format. You have the big arcs, but you still have time to spend with the characters and find out what makes them tick. Discovery needs to develop it's characters better, and no having a clip show featuring Airiam's memories don't count.
     
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  9. Alan Roi

    Alan Roi Commodore Commodore

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    Discovery has developed its main characters just fine, just as Farscape and B5 and DS9 did. Airiam was minor character. Like, for instance, the Enterprise's Chief Engineer in S1 of TNG.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  10. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Which one?
     
  11. Alan Roi

    Alan Roi Commodore Commodore

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    Name a personal detail about any one of them.
     
  12. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Logan was an asshole.
     
  13. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Argyle was named after a sweater.
     
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  14. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    McDougal...? Okay you got me there. There was nothing about her that was memorable.
     
  15. Alan Roi

    Alan Roi Commodore Commodore

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    I thought he was named after socks.
     
  16. Cyrus

    Cyrus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    An intoxicated kid (Wesley) was smarter and more knowledgeable than her.
     
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  17. Unionized Elf

    Unionized Elf Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Leland T Lynch got the closest to a full name out of any of them.
     
  18. Jadeb

    Jadeb Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, exactly. I even wish they'd move beyond the notion of "season arcs," which is as much of a box as standalone episodes. I know people like big finales, but I don't need a tidy bow at the end of each season. That's how we got that disastrous resolution to the Klingon war.

    The new Lost in Space, for example, did a good job making its first season feel satisfying and complete while still ending on a whopping cliffhanger.
     
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  19. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have to admit I don't really watch any non-genre television. My time is too precious as a parent, and I enjoy other things, like reading and playing computer games. So I will say that I haven't seen any of the prestige dramas typically seen as the apex of the stile (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, etc).

    However, my general impression is the best serialized dramas fundamentally have a multi-year plan. Sometimes it's based upon an already written series of books, so the story arc is already done and the showrunners just need to adapt it. Other times a showrunner comes in with a conception for a story which will last say 3-5 seasons, so that each season - even if it has its own finale - is only one chapter in a larger work.

    Fundamentally, even the fans of Discovery have to admit they've just been winging it. Maybe Fuller had a larger plan, but for whatever reason he flamed out. And since then, the show has been driven forward not because of a central creative vision, but because of demand by CBS to revive the franchise. Even setting aside the issues with the arcs in each of Discovery's two seasons to date (undoubtedly due in part to not having consistent showrunners) the second season in no way builds upon the first, except for some continuity of character growth. Which is no different really than what say DS9 did back during its run.

    I digressed a bit, but my point here is if you're writing serialized drama without an overarching plan for the show, it's really no different from episodic writing. It's just that the "episode" is one (modern short) season long.
     
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  20. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The trouble with Buffy's format is that it felt groundbreaking at the time but in hindsight its hella too basic. A 'big bad' threatens the town. Buffy and co have repeated encounters with big bad, before defeating it. Mix and repeat. It worked for that show, but I think it'd absolutely come across as a bad way of doing business in today's TV.

    I still maintain a viable answer is season long arcs = no, but episode to episode character continuity = big tick. :techman:

    This is really the danger of arc stories in general. Some shows manage to pull them off, but consider the number of shows people became invested in (eg. X Files, Lost), only for the arcs to become tangled, confusing and covoluted, and the resolutions of them ultimately feeling unsatisfying. Even Buffy ended up falling hard into this problem eventually.