How Would TNG Develop with a Bloated Cast?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Emperor Norton, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    As even production people will admit, season one TNG had no idea what it was doing in terms of the cast. There were too many actors, Worf was there but not there, there was a rotation of Chief Engineers without being a main character, Wesley Crusher had a bigger role than he had a right to, characters like Tasha Yar mostly said "Aye, Captain." and the list goes on. Some of that can be put down to it being a new show. Some of it can be put down to Gene Roddenberry making odd and ultimately improper decisions to make the show different or more "proper".

    That was cleaned up as time went on. Tasha Yar was killed off, and Worf took that role. Geordi LaForge was made Chief Engineer. And Wesley Crusher, Boy Wonder, eventually went off the show outside of occasional guest appearances. My question is, given the shift towards character given stories around season 3, and even the changes in tone of season 2, how would the show have developed if that cast remained as it was in season 1?
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It would have been fine...eventually. A big cast is no problem so long as you give them good stuff to do. DS9 had more recurring characters than TNG did regulars and they found plenty of quality stuff for them to do.
     
  3. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Geordi probably would've still become the Chief Engineer, Worf would have taken the Conn, Wesley would be relegated to the aft stations (most likely Science) or even put down to engineering to be Geordi's sidekick until he finally left for the Academy. The series would've continued with a few little tweaks here and there, but all-in-all I doubt much would've been different.
     
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  4. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think that if Tasha doesn't get killed off, it could have changed Worf quite a bit. I've always thought that Crosby leaving opened the door for Worf to shine. The question is, would Worf have developed with Tasha still around? I believe yes but to what degree I don't know.
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Most of Worf's stories were about him as a Klingon not as Security Chief, with such a lot of cultural baggage to address all that would easily have been included had he stayed in red.
     
  6. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    We really only lost one character in the first 3 years, Tasha. With a second leaving in the fourth year.

    If Wes had stayed on he might have gotten some of the dialouge that went to Data and or Geordi. The big question is around Yar and Worf and what would have happened. I guess they could have split off responsibilites and have Worf in charge of Tactical siutations whilst Yar handled security or vice versa.
     
  7. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    True, his stories were Klingon cultural in nature but had Worf been relegated to lesser cast member, those things might not have been explored and it certainly looks like to me, that Worf is in Tasha's shadow until she is gone.
     
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You can't really tell much by S1, but he was as much a character in his own right as Tasha was. With more time to mature then I'm sure they would've found a balance. I'd liked to have seen Tasha and her sister reunite, as well as what might have come of her and Data over the years, how she would react to Ro, and what more the writers could think up for the character to flesh her out more.
     
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  9. BigDaveX

    BigDaveX Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think the size of TNG's cast was a problem by itself, I think it was more a case of Roddenberry thinking that Star Trek should be more about big ideas and grandiose sci-fi concepts, with character being secondary.

    Hurley was a bit better in that regard, at least spreading out responsibilities a bit more logically among the crew members (and also introducing the first two secondary characters in the form of Guinan and O'Brien), but it was still pretty hard for any character who wasn't Picard, Riker, Data or Wesley to get a look-in under his tenure.

    It wasn't really until Piller took over the writing staff that they properly started exploring and developing the characters, and thereby making good use of the cast.
     
  10. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    Part of the discussion I think has been under-discussed is the Chief Engineer. Sure, Geordi was put there, but originally it was "Our Chief Engineers", emphasis on the multiple. And the discussion, according to Wil Wheaton, was of taking Argyle and making him a permanent member of the cast, thus adding yet another main character.
     
  11. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Fun fact: Argyle's actor Biff Yeager started a fan letter campaign to get his character upgraded to full cast member and was promptly fired for it.
     
  12. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    But anyway, I agree that Worf would have probably stayed at Conn had Tasha not been killed off. He always just seemed too...large for that post. Like a huge guy driving a tiny Porche. It's a hard call to make since the bridge only has so many posts. I could have seen Tactical and Security being split into two positions which makes more sense in-universe but from a character standpoint would be unnecessary. It always seemed weird to me that the same person who had to be in charge of firing phasers and torpedos would also have to worry about sending security officers to fight intruders at the same time. Or perhaps refocus Wesley into a purely tech-hungry character and making him a budding transporter chief (curse the thought though, I love Miles.)
     
  13. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Was there not a theory going around that due to the newness of the E-D she had multiple "Chief Engineers" to get them up to speed with hands-on experience on the new design as quickly as possible (at least as a possible in-universe explanation). Why Geordi wasn't the Chief from day one I don't understand, he showed the technical skill and as for the "novelty" of the blind guy steering the ship, nothing was done with that. Unless a helmsman has a lot more going for them in regards to their character and backstory its not exactly a role that gives them a lot to do.
     
  14. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    That was certainly the problem with early TNG. So many characters without enough substance in their roles for them. That is why when they cleaned house, it was a brilliant and necessary move to reign in the roles with the pruning of characters. Worf becomes what Tasha and Worf were. Geordi remains the same character, but is given a properly prominent role as Chief Engineer. Crusher becomes Conn officer, and even that gave way to a supporting role background character-of-the-episode when Wesley goes away. That is why my query is in regards to what could be done with such a large cast? Because you can do character driven stories all day long, but with the bloat, the substance of their roles in the story is spread that much thinner.
     
  15. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ As has been mentioned before DS9 had a main cast of 8 (up to 9 when Worf joined) plus at least the same amount of prominent recurring characters and all of them had great development, stories and arcs. If the writers know their craft then they can work with whatever number of characters they have in order to make them all unique and enjoyable to watch.
     
  16. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    I think in really general terms, DS9 handled huge cast really well by giving them somewhat longer running stories that were sprinkled in over time, so you could do individual character scenes in each episode, but as the episodes built up so did those story threads. You got a lot more with a lot less spread out across more episodes as far as characterization went with the DS9 cast. TNG felt a bit more strictly focused on one or two main cast with everyone supporting, or everyone working towards one plot driven goal. Once the episode was over that was it. I say in general terms since DS9 had plenty of single character episodes with everyone sidelined too.
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think at the start of TNG the intent was for the action to flow through a few 'main mains' like TOS's big three.
     
  18. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think whether Gene liked it or not, Wes was always going to be downgraded in screen time from what he'd had in S1, & his eventual leaving for the academy was inevitable as well. The big vacancy that opened things up some was Tasha dying. Had she remained, it's possible it could've cut into Worf or Geordi's stories or even Troi's, & to be honest, Geordi's weren't all that good, except a few, & Worf's were almost a main arc of the series that I see them still wanting to do, despite what ship duty he was assigned to or who else was in the cast

    I actually think everything would've been fine. Things might've just been spread out a little more, & we might not have gotten Ro Laren or Reg Barclay, because those characters were brought in specifically to fill some character voids that having Tasha or Wes around longer might have filled in itself
     
  19. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Seeing as how Troi was in jeopardy of being axed by the end of Season 1, had Tasha remained I could see Troi being removed or downgraded to a recurring role. If she were her chair would open up, so they may have made Data the full-time Second Officer and sit on Picard's left and then could put Worf to Ops and Wes to the Conn.
     
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  20. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But frankly, even in season one, Troi was less of a worry than Yar. Characters with a sci-fi angle always have an edge, Data, Worf, even Geordi. I doubt they'd have backed off Troi too much, because that empath thing was a solid sci-fi shtick.