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

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

  1. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    It seems like this thread has been cordial, so I'm impressed. In terms of the answer to the question, I think Ed is enhanced by the rest of the crew, especially Kelly. No, he's not a really good commanding officer, but Kelly keeps him grounded and more mature than he probably could be.

    Burnham got better as the series went on, but I kind of feel like the Discovery crew accepted her a little too fast. I don't think she was challenged as much as she could have been for someone who committed mutiny. With that said, I think she was written better than Mercer was, but both characters are there for completely different reasons.

    Now if we went with my idea of comparing Mercer to, say, Tim Allan's character from Galaxy Quest, I Think that could be an interesting comparison. In terms of personality, I think there are some similarities there.
     
  2. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Wind Premium Member

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    I don't think there are many similarities between Jason Nesmith - the character Allen plays in Galaxy Quest - and Ed Mercer.
     
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  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We don't have much to work with (one scene, a few clips, and fan and actor opinions), but I don't see any similarity between Commander Taggart and Ed Mercer either. Taggart came off as an exaggeration of Shatner's Kirk (more Kirk than Kirk). James Kirk and Ed Mercer aren't very much alike.
     
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  4. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure I see Mercer and Taggart being similiar but I will say that Taggart is the better character. He could have so easily been a one-note Shatner caricature. They gave him heart though and made him feel like a real human so I guess on that level that are both the same. I will say "Galaxy Quest" I feel did a better job establishing what kind of show it was back when it was a televison show.

    WIth "Orville" I think the show is still at season 1 of 'TOS" were the universe isn't fully developed yet. We don't know the political landscape or what all the rules and limitations are exactly which I think sometimes make some people think it's a comedy. Comedy and spoofs usually don't have many rules other than the joke must be funny. It doesn't matter if the ray gun works different in episode 3 than it does in episode 8.

    I will say "Discovery" also has this advantage and part of that is because it is official Trek thus gets to play with all the familiar toys if they want to. Granted the tech and uniforms and the Klingons look nothing like they should be for a real prequel but if you look at the show as it's own thing I feel it's pretty consistient and it does work if you don't try to hard to connect with all the other shows.


    Jason
     
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  5. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, obviously I disagree with much of what you say here, but you know, whether you liked her storyline or not, Burnham had a clear storyline. What exactly was Mercer's personal storyline? What were the Orville writers trying to "achieve" with the character?
     
  6. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Mercer's storyline was dealing with his ex-wife and all the feelings that came up from that. Not to mention dealing with the issue of whether or not he is worthy of commanding a spaceship since she sort of talked the Admiral into promoting him. I don't think it's really a arc they are going for with him especially since the show is a stand alone type of show. WIth the possible exception that maybe they would want some closure to it at the end. Which might happen since we never got to see the last episode of the season. I think what they were trying to achieve was basically for the Captain to be the fun boss character in all the episodes. Not really ambitious I know but they did it just fine.

    Burnham basically has 3 storylines. She is trying to be more emotional after growing up on Vulcan. She is trying to make amends for starting the war. You have the mystery of why Lorca was interested in her. I see what they were aiming for. Lorca mystery ends up being he is a asshole from the mirror universe. The redemption arc is about her realtionship with Saru and the guilt over Captain Georgiou and wanting to give Mirror Georgiou a second chance.. Her becoming more human is tied into her friendship with Tilly and romance with Tyler. Ironically the one storyline she didn't have was her being on a command track which is kind of set up in the pilot. Clearly they didn't have time for yet another personal arc so I assume that is something for down the line though I still don't see the point of having two characters with the same arc with both her and Tilly. One of them needs a new direction IMO.


    Jason
     
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  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    Nice breakdown of the arcs for Mercer and Burnham. Very interesting point there about Tilly and Burnham both being on the command track. I don't know if Burnham is really any longer on the command track IMO. I wonder if the show is going to take her in a different direction. Bryan Fuller did want to focus on a non-captain lead character, and the events in the series thus far have done a lot to lessen Burnham's captain ambitions, though those ambitions seemed a lot to come from Georgiou more so than Burnham, and with Burnham perhaps acceding because she wanted to please Georgiou, her mother-figure.

    I could see them not making Burnham a captain. It would make it easier to write her out of the future, since captains do hold a special importance in Star Trek. Granted, we don't hear or see the vast majority of Starfleet captains, true, but having her not achieve that rank makes it even easier to have her not mentioned. If she remains a science officer or even leaves Starfleet at some point, and both I could see happening, that might lessen the need to bring her up in future stories.

    I do see both Tilly being on the command track as a way though to create a bond between Burnham and Tilly. At one point, Tilly even refers to Burnham as her mentor. So, it's replicating the Georgiou-Burnham relationship in a way. It also gives Burnham a person she could look at as being like her, or how she had been, and perhaps even feel some nostalgia about the path she had once been on, the person she once was. And Burnham took an active role in mentoring Tilly, perhaps in part to help her avoid the pitfalls she fell into. As well as out of boredom and a need for social connection.
     
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  8. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    Probably the most important thing in entertainment: entertain the audience. Mercer and The Orville entertain me, something Discovery is still having trouble doing.
     
  9. Amaris

    Amaris Fuzzy Logic Generator Premium Member

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    Mercer essentially reminds me of what I would be like if I were Captain of an exploration vessel. The occasional awkward joke falling flat, the missteps in first contact situations, the clearly visible curiosity when exploring the unknown, all human reactions that come from competent, but flawed, people.

    I like Burnham, but the mutiny ratcheted up to 11 before we really knew anything about her. I just think they started her off at the wrong end of the story. The situation just feels artificial, like a "we have to build the tension now, so she has to mutiny!" in a moment where that isn't required. It's overkill, and it's slipshod writing. It's why the first two episodes are my least favorite of the series.
     
  10. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Even if they didn't want to dedicate a whole season in waiting for Burnham to do the mutiny thing they should have waited until the end of episode 2. Episode 1 should have been all about a standard mission. LIke the one we sot of see on the desert planet and helping those bug aliens with their water supply. Make it almost like a real pilot that lasts a hour and 30 minutes. Incorporate flashbacks of Burnham coming aboard including our first glimpse of Lorca were Burnham meets him via the fact Captain Georgiou and Lorca knew each other.

    The pilot ends with the arrival of the Klingons. Episode two is them trying to prevent a war before it happens. Discovery shows up to work along side Gergoiou and her ship. Lorca wants to attack first. Georgiou doesn't but Burnham thinks Lorca is right. Even though the Captain she loves and even Sarek both think it's wrong she still isn't willing to do the mutiny. That is until she finds out the Klingon Armada is going to flying close to a earth colony that can't protect itself if fighting breakout. She decides to take in in her own hands to do the Vulcan Hello.

    Episode 3 is about the war breaking out. Burnham being arrested. Gergiou and the ship is destroyed. Burnham goes to prision. Then spend episode 4 in prision. Burnham hearing about the war effort going badly and then Lorca shows up to get her release because he needs her help. You could basically say the show actually tried to condense to much story in it's first coup of episodes when they needed more time to develop.


    Jason
     
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  11. Amaris

    Amaris Fuzzy Logic Generator Premium Member

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    Pacing was definitely an issue at times in season one.
     
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  12. TribbleFeeder

    TribbleFeeder The Real Kim Cardassian Premium Member

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    I totally agree.

    They essentially gave her and Lorca the same backstory, also. It was strange to me. There are so many other ways they could have given her depth.
     
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  13. Amaris

    Amaris Fuzzy Logic Generator Premium Member

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    Exactly. I want to like Michael. I do like Michael, but I don't like what they're doing with her. SMG deserves better.

    Also, it's been several days since I mentioned I love Tilly, so just to add, I love Tilly.

    I love Tilly, she is awesome. ♥
     
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  14. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I guess, but I'm wondering how you feel about Tilly.
     
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  15. TribbleFeeder

    TribbleFeeder The Real Kim Cardassian Premium Member

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    I love Tilly!!!! I can relate to her so much. I like that they have a character that isn’t the typical SF type.
     
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  16. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd have maybe started the show with them already in a war with the Klingons. Learning about it while it's already in progress would have been much better. That way it wouldn't hinge so much on her actions, which given her unstable behavior, didn't work for me.
     
  17. Amaris

    Amaris Fuzzy Logic Generator Premium Member

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    She's alright.

    Yes, and while it's not relevant to her worth as a person, I love that she has an average figure. I was starting to think everyone in Star Trek was super fit and aerodynamic. Tilly looks like a normal (yet brilliant) person joined Starfleet. She is so highly relatable.
     
  18. Jedi_Master

    Jedi_Master Admiral Admiral

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    I feel this is an "Apples vs. Oranges" type of discussion. The show types, character types, and in-universe story structure is SO radically different that you can't compare the two "Captains" objectively.
     
  19. TribbleFeeder

    TribbleFeeder The Real Kim Cardassian Premium Member

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    It definitely makes me feel good seeing her on screen. She is so relatable. I feel like she’s just like me.

    I love Jeri Ryan, but watching her on VOY look as contoured as she did made me feel very self conscious. I know that’s not a great way to look at things but I’m pretty critical of myself and very insecure.

    It’s awesome to see body positivity making its way into Trek and hopefully replacing the corsets and “monster bras” (as Penny Johnson Jerald put it).

    ** This is not an attempt to start comparing women’s looks, by any means. I’m more discussing the way they’ve been suited up in the past to look like these immaculately sculpted space babes. All of the Trek women are equally stunning, and none of them need a catsuit or extra padding to see that.

    It is a little apples vs. oranges but I think some really intriguing conversation has come from it.
     
  20. Amaris

    Amaris Fuzzy Logic Generator Premium Member

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    It is indeed, and yeah, Star Trek always made me feel self-conscious, too. I'm overweight, balding, and my skin is lily white. I look more like the reject pile in a Tarantino film than I do a member of Starfleet. The only time we saw an overweight officer on Trek was an admiral or commodore, and we knew he was going to be some kind of corrupt bastard. :lol: