How do you classify TNG's characters?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Mojochi, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A post I made in another thread got me to thinking I might not share the same classifications of characters as others do. I'd even be interested in knowing what the forum moderator thinks about the subject of character classifications. We hear a multitude of terms used to describe them. The most common are "Main" "Regular" & Guest". I'm not even sure I know how the term "Regular" applies. Is it the same as main cast? or can it mean we regularly see them? How long must we regularly see them for it to apply? You get my drift lol

    The terms I use are a bit more specific, but not as popular. The main cast, AKA "Principle" cast are the likes of Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, Troi, Beverly & Geordi... This would even include discontinued characters like Yar or Wesley, who would even go on to reprise their roles later, turning them into a recurring guest role. However, that doesn't change what they were initially, imho.

    I also consider that, regardless of how she was billed, Pulaski was a principle character, because despite her short stay & abrupt/controversial introduction, she replaced a principle character & its functional aspect as well. She also featured just as heavily in that role as a main cast member might, & there might have been an intention for her to remain in that role indefinitely, at one time. If you replace Radar as company clerk with Klinger, Klinger is now a principle player. If you replace the ship's doc with someone who factors in just as much... principle player

    The "Guest" category is a pretty specific group, as I see it, that only applies to characters like Jellico, & Fajo, or even Spock, Sarek, & Scotty as it relates to TNG. It can even include characters that get revisited, like Moriarty, Damon Bok, Vash & K'Ehleyr or even Worf's Mom, if you think about it. Come to think of it, Sarek revisited too...

    To me, once a guest character is showing up more than twice, they fit into another category, which I call "Recurring", the likes of Troi's mom, Worf's son, Q, & even Data's brother Lore. It's tough distinction to make, because some guest spots only come back twice, but factor in more heavily than a recurring one. I'd say that K'Ehleyr was as much or more a significant character, than Soong, even though Soong appeared more times.

    Finally there's "Supporting" cast. Among this group, I include the likes of Guinan, Ro Laren, Barclay, The O'Briens, & even Nurse Ogawa. These are characters who are more than just guests or recurring. They are woven into the fabric of the show in such a way as to imply consistency, regularity, belongingness. They fit into the works. They don't just recur. They have a place there. They can sometimes also be featured in more significant ways, but that is not really their distinction or function

    Then there's oddities, like Robin Lefler, who I got the impression she was intended to be a recurring character, perhaps like Barclay, but only showed up twice... OR Admiral Nechayev, who while having showed up 4 times, & fit into the works like a supporting character, really only was a guest spot... I guess. What do you think?
     
  2. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm more interested in classifying the cast's species.

    I would classify Worf as a Klingon, since he has a Klingon forehead, a Klingon temper, and identifies as a Klingon. This category would also include K'Ehlyr or however it's spelled, and Alexander.

    Beverly, Picard, Welsey, Geordie and Riker, I would classify as humans.

    Troi, and her mother, might be classified as Betazoids, since they have mental powers and come from the planet Betazed.

    And Data, I would classify as a robot, since he appears to operate on mechanics rather than organic matter, and it is even stated that he was artificially created by a scientist.
     
  3. Armus

    Armus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Beverly, Picard, Riker, Geordi, and Wesley are humans? Thanks for clearing that up.
     
  4. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe I might also classify Picard as Bald. Though this might technically be untrue in early seasons, when he has some hair.
     
  5. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah... I meant tv format character classifications... as it applies to the television show they're on. I thought I covered that fairly comprehensively lol
     
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  6. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well Bev is from Earth's moon, so obvious not Human.
     
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  7. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Apart from Data, they're all oxygen breathers...

    Ben may be from the moon, but she's still human.
     
  8. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Joking aside, is Beverly really from the moon? I didn't know that, and that's awesome! (I'm tired of all the Earthlings in "Star Trek"...)
     
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  9. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

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    Well, we have the "main" cast of Picard, Riker, Data, Troi, Geordi, Worf, Dr. Crusher, and Wesley.
    Then I guess you'd call everyone else the "supporting" cast, which would include O'Brien, Guinan, Q, and the others.
     
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  10. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Commander Red Shirt

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    Bold claims, but you forgot the most important character of them all: Mott, the barber!
     
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  11. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

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    Clearly a cut above the rest.
     
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  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's an interesting comment. Identifying somebody's species by their place of origin rather than their biology. Making somebody an outsider and totally different race and species because they weren't born in the same place as the people they live with. There are some not so good places one could chase that line of thinking.

    Also interesting placing K'elyhr strictly in the Klingon camp when she's half human and culturally has adopted more from humans than Klingons. Any alien DNA makes you alien? Certain bad analogies you could draw there too.

    The main characters are the big seven, Wesley, Tasha and Pulaski. Basically anyone who you expect to appear in just about every episode in the seasons they are around.

    Secondary/recurring cast is people who lived on the ship, could easily appear at any time, and also take important roles in the story. Guinan, Ro, O'Brien, Barcalay, Ogawa. You might also include people with prominent roles that easily allowed them to be placed into many episodes, like Gowron, Necheyev, Kurn, Tomalak.

    Ansillary cast are people with a couple one off appearances who are more widgets for a particular episode and either have background roles or 'color' appearances, like Sonya Gomez.
     
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  13. cosmic mouse

    cosmic mouse Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Generally speaking (not TNG-specific) I tend to think of a "main" or "regular" cast member as one and the same and they are the peeps who get a screen-billing during the opening credits. The "guest" characters are those mentioned (actors' names appear on screen) after the opening theme when the credits are still rolling as the ep begins. I agree on Wesley and Yar being part of the main cast though, even though they disappeared after a time.
    "Recurring guest" I suppose would be like Pulaski... or someone who had a repeat appearance for a string of episodes, but wasn't part of the main cast. Maybe she's not the best example though since I'm not sure why she's not a "regular" cast member for the season in which she appeared?Were the credits different when the series originally aired, as opposed to syndication and streaming?

    Actually, come to think of it, I haven't fully thought this through... ;)
     
  14. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pulaski wasn't added to the title sequence during her season, but something tells me that was a formality of some kind. She took the place of a principle player in every quantifiable way, (unlike Barkley or Ro) & had her character worked out, I have no doubt she would've been added to the title sequence thereafter
     
  15. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not... just tired of Earthling "white people" dominating in Star Trek. I'm blown away by the BBC's mission to have diversity on their programs, while Star Trek continues to lead from behind. I mean, this is supposed to be the future and my race still dominates on Earth, spaceships and... SPACE!
     
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  16. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    THIS.

    And it can be just as bad in fan-fiction, where so many people think their character of Ensign Generica Blandmuffin, average-jane from Earth, is just such a great addition to the "Star Trek" mythos. (No offense to anyone who's done that sort of fanfic... I just find it very pointless.)
     
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  17. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never saw the point in ordinary type fan-fic characters either. I actually go the other route. With all the crossbreeding that Trek aliens do with humans, we rarely see crossbreeding between two different alien species, like Ba'El the half Romulan/Klingon in Birthright.

    I, myself, have often mulled ideas about the "Parallels" universe kids that Troi & Worf have, Eric Christopher & Shannara. Telepathic/Empathic Klingons is a pretty badass warrior premise, untapped in the Trek universe
     
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  18. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, Star Trek--despite being a globally successful property--is at its heart, an American idea still largely rooted in the decade of its creation. Generation after generation, ST--with few exceptions--has presented the model of earthlings as white, while you will get the random alien (usually trying to be "more human" or caring enough to want to understand humanity more) for flavor. We can excuse TOS because of the decade in which it was created, but all other ST (DS9 being an exception) still reflects what a white-dominated society (through the lens of U.S. movie & TV creative staffs) believes represents this world...and is most profitable for audiences.

    Discovery is a change to a degree, but for a franchise more than a half century old, its too little, too late.
     
  19. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Rocky Racoon Premium Member

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    Picard is Frenlish.
     
  20. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Nope shes Human, just not Terran.

    As for the question the OP put

    Main/Regular is often considered to be those listed in the main credits.

    Speial Guest Star can be a tricky one as they can almost be one of the above I believe Diane Muldar was listed as Special Guest Star (but It's been a while since I watched a S2 episode)

    Recurring cast are those that appear in more than one story

    Guest spots are your one story apperances characters