Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by TheGodBen, Oct 18, 2009.
Well, you've met someone now.
At this point, I'd have to say that TNG is about tied with ENT for my least favorite Trek show.
I liked it at the time it was on....but it hasn't aged well at all. And not just in costumes/effects/set design. The thing that is most agonizing to watch on TNG now is that absurd 80's PC silliness....and the arrogance of the characters - assuming that everyone in the universe cannot WAIT to be just like them.
But anyway....no point in getting into anymore detail. The point is that I am not now a TNG fan at all. It grates on my nerves.
As far as the ranking of Trek shows goes for me, I'd have to go with:
2 & 3. VOY or TOS (depending upon the day you ask me)
4 & 5 ENT or TNG (depending upon if I would rather be bored out of my mind...or annoyed to the point of nails grinding on a chalkboard).
You have a good point there about the PC silliness. As much as I love TNG (and it is formidable), there are times when I just roll my eyes at the absurdity of some of the notions given and we're expected to just swallow it.
^ Yeah...and for me, it just became too much - that whole 'flying around the galaxy, 'fixing' everyone they came in contact with - assuming immediately that they even wanted/needed fixing - it got WAY annoying. Add in the fact Nemesis was about the worst movie ever made.....and the fact that Marina Sirtus (who was by far the weakest acting link on TNG) pissed me off permanently when she said some nasty stuff about DS9....and then add in the fact that I felt it was WRONG to turn the ENT finale into the Franks/Sirtus/TNG show...and you have me building up a pretty strong hatred for that show and it's cast, at this point.
Not that I believe that everyone should agree with me, of course. I'm just sayin'.
Yeah, there are some very cringe-worthy moments in TNG, to the point where I wouldn't recommend it to someone who didn't grow up with it, or at least watch it while it was on.
Despite all the silliness, the show really, really worked at the time. Its popularity is really quite mystifying, though, as it had none of the qualities you'd think a successful show would have: little humor, certainly none of the irreverant kind, no story arcs, bland characters, limited babe factor, only occasional action, extremely pretentious, I could go on.
I will give your contact information to Luther Sloan, my contact in a rival organization. Same basic concept, higher body count
For some reason I ended up liking Nemesis. But I tend to approach that particular movie more as a good excuse to see stuff go boom.
I do agree with the part about Picard thinking he was better than everybody else, that he was Mr. Enlightened 24th Century and everyone else who did not fit his particular secular humanist mould must be some sort of backwards savage.
The ENT finale was not good, either.
But that said, a lot of why I don't like TNG is also personal. I changed a lot and I simply don't see it with the same eyes I used to. Which is a bit of a shame because I remember the wonder I first felt when the show was on the air.
I think we all felt that wonder at some point. I was only 7 when it first premiered, and I was enthralled. All I had up to that point had been 20 year old reruns of a show that I greatly loved, and the excitement, oh MAN the excitement when they were doing the 10 day countdown. Oh, I feel goosebumps now thinking about it. I remember yelling to my mom in the kitchen (I was in the living room of our little one bedroom apartment) and I started jumping up and down saying "There's a new Star Trek! There's a new Star Trek!".
Oh it was so exciting! Seeing a new crew, new adventures, oh, and the ship. I fell in love with the Enterprise D the moment I laid eyes on her. Oh, you'll have to excuse me, I'm starting to tear up, dammit.
Well, yes...the wonder was there at one time - no doubt of that!
When TNG first came on, I was thrilled. After all, it was new Star Trek....and I was of that generation who grew up coming home from school to watch TOS reruns. I even went to see TMP in the theater! In short...although we were all a little ambivalent about anyone trying to step into Shatner's shoes...we were so DESPERATE for new Trek that we will willing to give it a try.
And it worked....while it was on.
But as I said a few posts back - TNG has not aged well. In fact, giant mechanical buttons and bridge lights aside, I don't think it has aged as well as TOS.
Certainly the stories have not aged as well.
The great thing about TOS is, despite the cheesiness of the aliens sometimes...despite the dated sets...the STORIES are still relevant and interesting. Maybe it was because at the time TOS was made, a cultural revolution was underway. It was a time of great social change...and many of the issues that involve great social change usually come back around later and because of that, are almost perpetually relevant.
In contrast, TNG, which also suffers from cheesiness of sets, costumes, etc....additionally suffers from painfully dated storylines, which are very 80's "we are evolved humanity - aren't we just great?" in flavor. That whole smug "All About Me" mentality that permeated that time period.
The thing that dates the show more than anything else is that smug superiority. I can handle dated costumes and hair styles if the stories are interesting and relevant....but not the other way 'round.
We didn't see the 80's smug superiority as a problem during that first run of TNG...because we were LIVING it. That was what that decade was about. It is only now, looking at those episodes through the filter of 20 years of discovering the hard way that we are, in fact, not all that 'evolved' after all...that we are able to see how silly (and sometimes even offensive) it all looks and sounds. So smug. So arrogant......and so painfully naive and cliche.
Sloan? No need to give him my details, he knows about me well enough. I'm his supervisor, after all.
I think that's a good point. I was already an adult when TNG first aired, and while I liked the show a lot after the first couple of seasons, this is the reason I never loved it. Even at the time, I didn't find PC very palatable. I haven't seen many episodes since the original run, but each time through the years that I have it seems more and more dated. Still, it was thrilling to have a new Trek, and I was even happier when I heard they'd be doing DS9. Hell, I was happy when I found out about Voyager, until I slogged through four seasons of it and found myself having to say to Hell with this crap.
^ Well, I wasn't as hooked in to the pre-show hype about DS9 as you might have been. In fact, I didn't even hear about it before it actually aired!
One night, when TNG ended, all of a sudden there was this new show....and I thought "How odd! A funky looking space station! And HAWK! Well! That'll be a change from Picard!"
But right from the start, I loved it. I was immediately hooked by the darker feel to it...and also by the fact that it was not as Starfleet centered - many of the main characters not even being in Starfleet. And I loved the idea of this lonely outpost in space, far away from Federation/Starfleet politics and problems (and associated storylines). And I was extremely curious as to how they were going to support a storyline without a starship....and the requisite alien of the week!
Bottom line - it was clearly going to be a HUGE departure from what had come before. And I was really curious as to how it would work out. I started watching....and never looked back.
^ I felt very similarly. How will they do Trek without the trek, so to speak, and yet it was wonderful. I'm actually doing my first rewatch since it aired, and if anything, I appreciate it even more now than I did then, not an easy feat for any TV show, particularly one over a decade old.
This would also explain why we're all Niners.
Voyager is okay but I love Ds9 .
I mean people I've actually met and discussed Star Trek with in the real world. Of course I've seen anti-TNG DS9 fans on the TrekBBS and elsewhere on the net, but the Niners I know IRL either mostly like TNG or don't care for it - there aren't any particularly strong opinions either way. DS9 is quite popular and fondly remembered, though.
It's a mixed bag, some of which seems more timely now than others. Going back to TNG and its moral clarity is honestly refreshing these days when every other space opera show is one about screwups and misfits, a trend which even DS9 embodied. I'm reminded of the very, very old Sev Trek comic strip (crap does anyone still know what that is anymore?) which had a bunch of DS9 characters whining about which one is the more outcast than the other guy.
Which, sure, I like otherwise I wouldn't watch it in such high quantity, but a serious, intelligent, professional, principled, righteous, and not even young hero like Picard for a space opera, surrounded by a crew of fellow professionals who were the best and brightest our future had to offer and were out there exploring and analysing the ineffable complexities of our cosmos... is something I miss and recall fondly and find myself returning to more often than not.
It sometimes seems like every single space opera since then has cast itself deliberately against this type, it's the show where everyone's uncertain, conflicted, angsty, antagonistic, and completely different from this one show and yet just like all these other shows we're contemporaneous to only you don't remember those because they weren't as big hits. So it goes. (Voyager's interesting because it wanted to be another one of these shows but was railroaded into being a TNG-lite.)
TNG does have dated elements, but what shines through its best episodes is the serious and intelligent inquisitiveness of scripts like "Darmok", or the strong moral grounding of stuff like "The Measure of a Man", and the general mood of unerring optimism. If sometimes condescending, well, often justifiably so - Picard had every right to consider the capricious tricksterisms of Q as ethically beneath him and he met more than a few representatives of highly dubious acts in his time. TNG's overall come off a lot better than, well, most sci-fi it's age and more than a fair share of it from the 1990s.
I didn't know that. What did she say?
I think it was in the right place at the right time. It seemed to be the right time for a new Star Trek show. People criticize ENT and say they gave up after or during its first or second season. But ENT season 1 is miles and miles ahead of TNG season 1, which was so embarrassingly awful it's not even funny. If TNG premiered in 2001, I don't think it would have lasted one season.
This is exactly my problem with TNG - and it is also the reason why I never liked Q as much as so many people do. My problem is not with Picard, it is with the writers, who only gave him opponents and antagonists who could never even challenge his moral superiority. Watching the TNG pilot, I was annoyed with the fact that the character who was supposed to challenge and question humanity - Q - was presented as a capricious, childish trickster whose objections on human behavior did not hold any weight because he himself did not have any strong ethics.
To be fair, not all episodes of TNG have dated that badly. First season is absolutely awful, but compare it to later seasons and there is often a big difference in the look and tone. You can really see the genesis of DS9 in episodes like "The Wounded", "Sins of the Father" and the rest of the episodes dealing with Klingon politics, "Chain of Command", "The Enemy", "The Defector", "Face of the Enemy"... Near the end of the show, TNG even managed to have episodes in which the moral superiority and rightness of Picard's decisions was not that unquestionable ( "Journey's End", "Preemptive Strike").
I don't know, I thought "Conspiracy" was a pretty good episode as well. I mean we have the best diplomat in Trek confronting the Parasite leader, who throws the Federations' values at him ("We seek peaceful coexistence!") and what does he do? Blow the crap out of him.
That's closer to the kind of stuff Behr wanted for DS9.
Quite true TNG wouldn't have survived today, but it's probably worth remembering most of its success came from a lot of new viewers turning in to the third season, which of course was the effective reboot of the series that make the show work...
...and in ENT's first two seasons, this being a value judgement of mine, naturally, there isn't anything as good as "Q Who?" or "The Measure of Man". TNG may have - and indeed did - have episodes far beneath ENT's par for those seasons and some which could compete with ENT's weakest hours here as the worst Trek of all time, but it still had something ENT didn't have, which was promise to be something really great, as those tenative episodes indicated.
I'm fine with that. Watching Picard give the moral smackdown in "The Drumhead"? Damn that is so satisfying.
Why can't we be the best gig in town, or at least close enough? It was part of TNG's much contested and derided optimism, after all: humanity has come this far. But every alien culture Picard found fault with were transparent mirrors to our own, Picard was lecturing us rather than lecturing on behalf of us, as it were. "We have a system, and it works", as another pious alien moraliser put it, only this time the alien's us, and the system's one we've come up with. That's nice, but I understand why that doesn't sit too well with many viewers.
Though even leaving TNG aside, audiences still love their hero speeches, so this isn't something that's aged per se.
Anyway, while it's very 1980s, it's not very Reaganesque a show. The show might be quite content about its values (and particularly arrogant to the point of absurdity about them in the early seasons, it must truthfully be said) but they're not necessarily the same as the American mainstream.
I'd still say that S3-6 of TNG is one of the best space opera shows in town, and it can hold up rather respectfully against more contemporary heavy hitters.
As an aside this is still one of my favourite O'Brien episodes. And yes, as I observed upthread, DS9 owes a tremendous debt to TNG and this more than any other show (even if I bring up the spectre of the B5 thing, and I won't).
Good point. Personally, I still very much enjoy TNG, but I recognize that this is because I was a fan in high school, and because I basically just rewatch my favorite episodes, or those of my friends who happen to be fans. Invariably these are among the better episodes (and they are excellent).
When I try to take a step back, though, and understand why it was such a success in more objective terms, I think it basically comes down to:
1) Patrick Stewart. He sells it. Big time. The best comparison, I think, is with Alec Guinness' performance in the first Star Wars movie. He takes this whole "Force" notion, which might have seemed so silly and just makes you believe it. I sometimes wonder how audiences might have reacted to that material in the hands of a lesser actor. Patrick Stewart does a similar magic trick with some of TNG's silliness. He is just that convincing.
2) Most people didn't watch seasons 1 and 2. The show had time to stretch its legs and find itself, which would mostly likely not be possible today. It got good when it started getting more attention.
3) Pretentiousness aside, there is something very compelling about the basic Trek concept of a crew of people out there exploring the universe, encountering alien lifeforms, learning about themselves, relying on each other, working as a team, fulfilling their duty.
I think the mistake TNG tended to make was understanding Trek's inherent optimism as being mostly about "we are perfect in the future," when it is really more about "we can overcome our limitations, we can deal with the challenges we face." But there is still more than enough of that second kind of optimism in TNG for the whole thing to work, especially at its best in the middle seasons.
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