Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by NewHeavensNewEarth, Mar 29, 2019.
Why is better writing never an option in such poles?
Because I never start the polls?!
It's a question related to funding, ultimately. With finite resources to produce a show, would you rather see stellar special effects or more in-depth stories? I personally think ST's greatest resource is its characters and its stories, so even if it had to go back to 1990s special effects & CGI, I'd be ok with that, because you can always expect better development from a book of 26 chapters than one which has 14 (to make a comparison).
This is simply wrong - it's always down to the skill of the writer. There is no real relationship between depth and length - (having read the thread I'm still not clear what you mean by in-depth beyond screen time).
If we take your novel example - we'd eliminate:
* A Christmas Carol
* Mrs. Dalloway
* The Great Gatbsy
* The Yellow Wallpaper
* The House of Mango Street
Without a doubt, there are some incredible examples of shorter stories and incredible stand-alone episodes within ST. (I'm an "Inner Light" fan.) But a long-term series has different dynamics, and I'm just arguing for the same breathing room that past ST series had, because of the difficult balancing act of seasonal arcs and stand-alone episodes. Regarding your question about the term "in-depth," an example is Airiam. People complained that they didn't feel like they really knew her at all until her last episode or two. While still getting to know the primary characters (Burnham, Saru, etc.), having more breathing room allows for getting to know the other characters, too, like Airiam. Special effects are the icing on the cake, but I wouldn't mind less if it means more of certain things that we all appreciate.
The two most popular series has none of this - they were designed to be watched and understandable if you had never seen any other episodes - none of the characters really develop and most episodes have absolutely no consequence for either the character or wider universe.
Discovery just represents the dynamic of a TV show made for streaming consumption in 2019.
The solution seems simple. Let Discovery continue the structure it's doing right now: an overall arc with episodes that stand on their own. And then let Short Treks do the complete stand-alones. Short Treks has the added advantage of they don't have to show the same characters every episode.
I don't need continually sprinkled random lines of dialogue per episode to get to know the characters or for them to say what school they went to. Just one story that focuses on them that gives us enough of a sense of who they are. If you sprinkle in too much information about them in earlier episodes, you can't do whatever you want in their spotlight episodes because you have to incorporate whatever was mentioned before, which might or might not fit the story you want to tell.
This is probably why I don't have the same issue with "Project Daedalus" that others do. I understand their point about not seeing more of Airiam, but it just wasn't necessary for me to see to get what was going on. The snapshots at the beginning with Tilly, Detmer, and Owosekun were enough for me. Would it have been nice to see brief snippets of that in earlier episodes? Of course. If it made sense to fit them in and didn't disrupt the flow of the episodes in question, sure, but what they showed us was enough to get the point across. At least to this viewer.
But a Short Treks episodes with Airiam as the focus would've been great.
I wonder how much the arc changes have to do with not wanting to pay fired showrunners?
I mean, if they continued with Berg/Harberts' arc, would they get story credit for some episodes? Still be listed as executive producers?
Any story idea they developed specific to a particular episode, they'd have to get writing credit for. They'd only have to be credited as Executive Producers up through the episode they were fired.
At this point it looks like Tilly's Short Trek was pointless. I would have much preferred one focusing on Airiam and Tilly's friendship. Might have made me care a heck of a lot more when Airiam died.
Tilly's Short Trek provided more insight into her character than the entire season to date.
Okay, that's not really true. But I dunno if Berg/Harberts liked Tilly and Kurtzman doesn't or what. But since the "May arc" ended in Episode 5 she has nothing to do but spout techobabble and be awkward.
Anyway, regarding the main question. I don't think longer seasons are needed per se. At the same time, I really strongly disagree with the idea that a shorter season means by definition higher quality episodes or a lack of "filler." I mean, you could assuredly cut out half of most Voyager seasons and nothing of value would have been lost. But despite DS9 often having some stinkers, I really think there are a lot of seasons which would be worse if you limited them to 15 episodes or less.
I think my ideal system would be to abandon the idea of "seasons" entirely quite honestly. I've noticed that Netflix tends to now release a lot of kids shows with very small seasons (like six episode chunks) which come out multiple times per year. Something like the following would be a good setup for Discovery I think:
Three standalone adventures
I would like this system because it would eliminate the artificiality of a "season" - which is an antiquated broadcast notion. Instead they can write each arc to be exactly as long as it needs to be in order to tell that story, then move on to the next thing.
After this season is over, I want to compare the structures of DSC S1 and DSC S2 to the first six episodes of DS9 S6 (plus "Call to Arms") and the last 10 episodes of DS9 S7 respectively. With the length of DS9's Final Chapter being what it is, it effectively works like a modern season of TV, juggling even more storylines than DSC is right now.
Looking at a series outside of Star Trek that doesn't follow the traditional season pattern is Better Call Saul, which has its own particular way of carrying out its 10-episode seasons. The main story arcs really seem to go from the middle of one season to the middle of the next with two parallel storylines that rarely intersect: one following Jimmy and Kim, the other following Mike and Gus. The stories also advance incrementally. No one will ever say there's too much going on in them. It's a slow burn. So much so that the first episode of the third season feels more like an eleventh episode of the second.
In contrast, Discovery moves very fast. DSC, even though it's only in its second season, feels more like it's at where a Berman Era Trek series would've been in its fourth. The difference stands out even more when you consider the seasons are only half as long. So I guess I can see why some out there would have to adjust to or have an issue with the pacing of Discovery.
I've read short stories that had more character development and good plot than longer novels. So that comparison simply doesn't work.
I get the exact opposite feel from the show. Especially when comparing it to other modern drama. It feels slow and tedious. Which is a damned trick to pull off when they have so many balls in the air.
?!? Seriously? Granted, outside of Discovery, I get the sense we watch different shows.
Possibly? I'm watching Hell on Wheels right now, and it feels like they accomplished more with their characters in the first ten episodes than Discovery has in 25 (26?) so far.
As long as the show is all about Burnham it doesn't make sense for longer seasons. You don't need 22 episodes to tell the story of one character. If you were going to expand the show to where all the characters get their share of episodes like in the old days then it would make sense. I wouldn't even mind of they lowered the number to 10 and then create yet another show to throw in the mix and have a Trek season be Discovery,Picard Show,Gergiou show,new show and then the Khan mini-series.
Not including DSC, what I've watched in the past five years that's serialized:
Better Call Saul
Halt & Catch Fire
Orange Is the New Black
I want to watch Matt Weiner's new series The Romanoffs and one of these days I'll watch Downton Abbey.
I've only seen some of Hell On Wheels (but I think we should still compare notes, since I don't mind spoilers) and Sons of Anarchy, though they were both longer ago than five years. The last genre show I watched before Discovery was Caprica, which was glacial but I still liked.
Anyway, Halt & Catch Fire moved the fastest of the shows I watch. Orange Is the New Black's fifth season spent 13 episodes focused on just three days and incidents that happened in the fourth and fifth season carried on through the entirety of the sixth. Normally a season of OITNB will focus on a particular heavy or set of heavies, who eventually have their downfall and that will be the main story of the season, with other character stories in the background. Better Call Saul, as I've said, is a slow burn. It's not in any hurry to tell the story it wants to tell. With Mad Men, a common complaint was how slow it moved, especially in the earlier part of a typical season.
With Discovery, limiting myself to just "Point of Light" and "The Sounds of Thunder", I think enough went on in those episodes that they could've spanned much more than one episode each.
In the first season, the Klingon War had beginning, middle, and end, and it ended that same season, before moving on to something else this season. I don't want to talk about the Klingon War, we've beaten the specifics about it to death, but it wouldn't be much of a war if it were over in three episodes. Taking a break from it for four episodes was The Mirror Universe. I thought it was fun, and I thought it was the best portrayal of the MU we've ever seen, with a new twist at the end of every episode, though I know we don't agree.
For Burnham: she betrays Captain Georgiou and mutinies on the Shenzhou, loses her rank and gets sent to prison, gets sprung out by Lorca, has to prove herself to the crew of Discovery, makes friends with Tilly, has a relationship with Tyler that has a beginning, middle, and end. She goes to the Mirror Universe, finds out the person who sprung her out of jail isn't who she thought he was. Comes face to face with Emperor Georgiou, rescues her from the Mirror Universe, stands up to Cornwell (who probably wanted to be talked out of her plan anyway), got her rank restored after her actions in ending the war some some argue she started (not the point of my post, just pointing out she got her rank restored)... and then we hit the second season. That's the point where things slow down for her. A lot.
In the second season, Burnham wants to know where Spock is, has to come to terms with the fact that she brought Emperor Georgiou in her universe, brings Spock to Talos IV, where the Talosians find out what she said to Spock as a kid, then she brings him to Discovery. The second season isn't much of a Burnham Year, like the first season was. At least not until "The Red Angel", when she encounters her mother, Gabrielle.
So I guess I half agree with you about Burnham (the second season) and half don't (the first).
EDIT: Spartacus. That's one I forgot. I only watched the first season. But Spartacus is captured, enslaved, and then breaks from from his Master when he stages a rebellion. And gains and loses a friend in the process. I don't see how that's any more than what happens in a season of Discovery.
Yep. Lots of character stuff and little or no story advancement. Its that kind of series, IMHO.
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