Better series lead. Ed Mercer from "Orville" vs Burnham from "Discovery?"

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Jayson1, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Considering how many captains make it in Starfleet I consider that about par for the course ;)
     
  2. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think you completely missed what the writers were doing with Burnham. She was a very competent person who became so convinced she was right and that she was saving lives, she ended up making a huge mistake. The mistake was the mutiny.

    I think we can all relate to a person who feels they are doing the right thing, but end up screwing it up. After that we see Burnham's redemption. That is a story to which we can all relate. I think your dislike of Burnham clouds your understanding of the character.

    To me, Burnham is easily the better lead character between Mercer and Burnham. Burnhqm had by far the most compelling storyline. About the most interesting thing about Mercer's back story and season 1 story was his relationship with his ex-wife.

    Her mutiny, subsequent redemption, and reestablishment of her position as one of the best officers in Starfleet, made her the most interesting character on DSC despite my belief that SM-G's performance in season 1 was the least great of all the main cast (except Mary Wiseman).

    But, bottom line, these two characters cannot reasonably be compared. One is the lead on a show that stresses comedy, and the other, on a show that stresses drama.
     
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  3. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While it's true that each show is trying to do something different and thus something different with each character I do think you can compare. DId "Discovery" have more success at achieving their objecivet of making Burnham the type of character you think they were trying to make than "Orville" was at doing the same with Mercer? You can often look at things such as creative intent in seeing who did better at what you feel the writers were trying to go for.

    I think "Orville" and Mercer were basically what McFarlande was hoping for when he created the show. On the other hand I think Burnham didn't achieve what they were wanting.The show wanted to feel more unique and I think Burnham was suppose to feel like a leader we have never seen before but none of that really happened IMO. It all felt almost like 24th century Trek in many ways but unlike "Orville" where they were wanting that for nostiga I think "Discovery" it simply happened because of who knows what reason. Personally I suspect it's the firing of Fuller and the writer staff issues that are where most of the blame goes.

    Jason
     
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  4. TribbleFeeder

    TribbleFeeder The Real Kim Cardassian Premium Member

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    I love DSC, but Burnham didn’t work for me. We’ve never seen someone quite so reckless in SF before who can’t work well with others. She just seems a little selfish. She isn’t a team player and that makes it difficult for me to believe she made it to be an XO, nearly a captain. Either way, she doesn’t make or break the show for me. Even though she’s the lead she’s not the center of every episode.

    Mercer is so likeable. He’s funny and down to earth. Not every day on a starship needs to be cloaked in drama and tension. I like that he’s easygoing, especially because it’s not the Enterprise, it’s a smaller ship and it’s less vital. Somehow this makes him more believable as a captain IMO.

    I’m really not a good judge of whether someone is a good actor or not, so I won’t speak on that.
     
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  5. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Man Premium Member

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    Well, MacFarlane is a performer to a greater degree than he is a dramatic actor - his responses are facile and a little pat. He's enjoyable to watch. He could star in a light detective or cop show.

    That would limit The Orville more if it were about Mercer even to the degree that GQ was about Allen's character - but, it's not.
     
  6. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's what cinched it for me. A war that we'd heard so much about in the past that should have been much more developed. As for Burnham, I'm amazed she's gotten as far as she has given that for a Vulcan, she's very emotional. She seems especially vulnerable to bouts of temper.
     
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just finished watching Discovery's first season. I think Burnham is a more interesting character. Mercer is a pleasant character, he's not perfect, he's something of an everyman, and there's some potential for him to go from an average captain perhaps to a great one, but I think Burnham is more compelling to watch. She has an edge, she makes more mistakes, the things that have confronted her are have bigger stakes than what I've seen with Orville thus far, for the most part.

    Burnham is struggling to reconcile her human biology/nature with her Vulcan upbringing and it makes her an unpredictable, uneven character. At first I thought it was just not the greatest writing-and while some of that is there and also I wasn't sure if the writers knew exactly who Burnham was or what she was becoming-I also wonder if that instability-for lack of a better word-that combustibility-is because of her divided, conflicted nature. Perhaps that's what made the pairing of her and Ash Tyler ultimately interesting, because they are dealing with some of the same issues, in different ways.

    As for Mercer, he had the marriage conflict with his ex, which has mostly been resolved by the end of the first season. He also is not the top of the line when it comes to Planetary Union captains, and so there's the learning curve challenge for him, and also becoming confident in his abilities. But he's more like nebulous character, a nice guy that is idealistic yet somewhat bland to allow for the other characters to shine. Since it's McFarland's show he isn't going to quite do that, but that's how I see Mercer.

    Burnham has a more interesting journey. She has these peaks and valleys. And no Trek lead character has had a bigger fall from grace than Burnham.
     
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  8. LJones41

    LJones41 Commodore Commodore

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    Gee . . . I can recall every Starfleet captain in the lead - Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer - making decisions that led me to wonder how they had gained the captain's chair in the first place. If that's the case, then as far as I'm concerned, Burnham is totally qualified.

    Why do I get the feeling that some viewers want Burnham to be fully developed within ONE SEASON? What the hell did they expect the writers to do for her in the following seasons - make her into some one-note character who always do or say the right thing? What the fuck is that?
     
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  9. RPOW0614

    RPOW0614 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    While I wasn't a big fan of Burnham at the beginning of the season she grew on me. So I have to vote Burnham.

    I really do like the Orville but every time Seth opens his mouth all I can hear is Brian the dog from Family Guy.
     
  10. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Man Premium Member

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    No idea, since people are just expressing their opinions of the character as presented.
     
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  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good question. Burnham starts out as captain material, but she's not the captain. She was the highest scorer at the Vulcan Science Academy-or whatever-which would be very impressive for a Vulcan, and nearly impossible for a human to pull off IMO. If I recall, even her rival Saru said she was the smartest person he had met. She had backing from Georgiou-one of Starfleet's greatest captains and Sarek-one of the Federation's greatest diplomats. Perhaps it was an issue of them pushing her too far, too fast, though learning how to deal with her emotions is part of the character's arc. And she was thrown right into a furnace with the reappearance of the Klingons at the Binary Stars. She had an emotional reaction, not much different than Picard in "First Contact", but she didn't have someone like Sloane to provide that reality check, and there wasn't enough time for that either.

    Most of the other Trek captains/series leads we meet when they are much older than Burnham, with the possible exceptions of both Prime Kirk and Pine Kirk. Pine-Kirk was as emotional and prone to making brash/rash decisions as Burnham was, arguably more so. And we all did see even seasoned Trek captains make mistakes, do questionable things, and they had more lived and command experience than Burnham.

    When I think about character growth though, I don't know how much character growth we've seen when it comes to the captains. The captains who experienced the most growth were Sisko, TOS-movie Kirk, and Pine-Kirk. Picard just loosened up over seven years. Archer went to the dark side in season 3 but came back by season 4, and to some extent he learned to accept Vulcans, T'Pol at least. With Janeway, I'm not sure where the character development was. All the Trek captains became more experienced during their times but I can't say they all experienced great character growth. With Burnham, thus far, we've seen as much or more character growth than many of the other Trek leads.
     
  12. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Man Premium Member

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    Yeah, Kirk was the archetypical Trek lead and he didn't undergo much character growth in his three years.

    I'm a lot less interested in "growth" than in whether or not the character is interesting and worth the time in the moment, scene by scene. In other words, whether they're entertaining or not.

    I'm watching an hour-long story right now, not looking for a relationship.
     
  13. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

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    Again, it's a strategic blunder to sell a subscription service by airing a pilot episode where the character starts out extremely unlikeable. We're given nothing to make us want to root for her.

    Not only that, but the pilot also made Sarek seem extremely unlikeable in the sort of advice he gives, not that he wasn't always a prickly character, but really, it was far too dark and cynical for my taste.

    Everyone feels they are doing the right thing, even the worst villains.

    I believe strongly in the Save the Cat approach to introducing characters. These are first impressions. It's best to start out showing the best side of a character and not their worst. In the pilot all I saw was incompetence and betrayal mixed with feelings of inadequacies. I saw no sign of any inner strength or empathy.
     
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  14. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    Fully developed? No. I would settle for mildly interesting. I can only speak for myself, but I find her one of the most dull and uninspired characters in the history of the franchise. At least with Kim and Mayweather, you could tell the writers just didn't care where they were concerned. The writer's completely failed to make Burnham interesting, even though she was the supposed center of the show. You can tell just how badly they screwed up, when everyone is captivated by Sylvia Tilly (no small part of that captivation is due to Mary Wiseman's acting skills), who is essentially Wesley Crusher.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    It depends on the person. I certainly didn't have to like her in order to root for her.
     
  16. TribbleFeeder

    TribbleFeeder The Real Kim Cardassian Premium Member

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    OUCH! :lol:
     
  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not captivated by Tilly. She's okay but I liked Burnham, Tyler, Saru, Stamets, Georgiou, L'Rell, and Lorca all more than her. A little Tilly went a long way for me.

    I do think the show took a risk with Burnham in the pilot that I could see that might turn people off, especially if they were looking for someone to root for. As I was watching, I was thinking it might have been better to not start off with "The Vulcan Hello", to just start off with the third episode and later on in the season, do the Battle of the Binary Stars two-parter to explain why we first see Burnham on that prison ship. I think it might have increased the mystery surrounding the character. Further, I don't think we got enough of Burnham and Georgiou. I liked their interaction on the desert planet. If we had gotten more of them together in the first episode at least that might have helped explain or sell the mother-daughter relationship between them. Now that I think of it, why did Georgiou become a surrogate mother when Amanda seemed to be doing just fine in that role?

    I didn't care for James Frain's take on Sarek, and I wish they had replaced Sarek with Soval, to pass the torch from ENT to DISCO, and there's a lot more room to play with when it comes to Soval since we know very little about his home life. Though I guess he would be very old by the start of DISCO.
     
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  18. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    :p

    Wasn't meant as a criticism. You can do young, smart, exuberant and not come off like a bad-80's sitcom character. It isn't easy, especially considering the writing, which is why I think Wiseman is probably the best actor on the show.
     
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  19. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    If someone asked me which character I like more: Mercer or Tilly? I would probably still pick Mercer, because the writing is simply better. But it would be much closer than Mercer or Burnham.

    I actually feel bad for Martin-Green, she was actually given some cringeworthy material to work with more often than not. She deserved better.
     
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  20. TribbleFeeder

    TribbleFeeder The Real Kim Cardassian Premium Member

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    She’s definitely my favorite character and she plays Tilly so well. She’s the little bit of authentic Trek that exists on the show. Her and Stamets really pull the crew together, they’re the glue of the whole cast.

    Isaacs and Yeoh also played amazing roles. I was so disappointed when both of their storylines were cut short.

    THIS should be a thread!!!

    Also, I agree about Martin-Green. She was dealt a bad hand. She did her best.
     
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