Ron Jones' firing was an omen.

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by blockaderunner, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. blockaderunner

    blockaderunner Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The scores composer Ron Jones made for the early seasons of TNG made some abyssmal episodes tolerable. With his firing, it seemed like it was the beginning of Rick Berman's micromanaging of Trek under the guise of Gene's vision to the point that it became as bland and safe as the music. Imagine how the most thrilling moments in Trek, the Borg at Wolf 359, the skirmishes outside Deep Space Nine, would have been enhanced moreso with Jones' scoring instead of the generic string section falling asleep the post Jones music had. It seemed like a signaling of the end of quality Trek.
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ The King of Kings Admiral

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    Jones did score "The Best of Both Worlds".

    They even do a nod to the cliffhanger in the Family Guy episode "Stewie Kills Lois".
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    999,999 times out of a million, the sonic wallpaper bored the fuck out of me.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    Tell me something I haven't known since 1991. ;)
     
  5. Amaris

    Amaris Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I loved season one's soundtrack. It felt alive, and it always added to the overall atmosphere of the episode. Later seasons, you barely noticed it, which I guess was the point.
     
  6. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So what's the thinking behind the bland music? Was a music soundtrack considered 'dated' or something?

    Comic books were ruined by the discontinued use of thought balloons. What was the "genius" behind the music thing?

    I don't normally bash creators, as I'm not in their shoes, and don't know the forces and circumstances which they face, but this point is bothersome...
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    I've read interviews by Jones and Berman before, and all I can figure is Berman didn't like what he considered "Mickey Mouse" music, though this was a style of film music practiced by Max Steiner and Erich Korngold in the early sound features. Jones had worked for Disney, so Berman might have been negatively influenced by that.
     
  8. Amaris

    Amaris Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I can only assume, from what I've read over the years, is that the big guys didn't want the music to overpower from the visual aspects of the story. Of course, then you get episodes like The Inner Light, which stands out, in part, because of the music and how it's tied to Kamin/Picard's past. For many, myself included, that episode resonates strongly with them.
     
  9. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    I sort of wonder if Berman didn't like horns that much. Perhaps he relented, or maybe it was just a personality conflict with Jones. Some of David Bell's scores in the later series remind me of Jones' style, particularly in VOY: Dark Frontier.
     
  10. Amaris

    Amaris Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I love that brassy tone of the first season!
     
  11. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So, it's okay for the visual aspects to overpower the music? :wtf:

    Why bother with music at all, then?
     
  12. Amaris

    Amaris Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Here is an article from an interview the Star Trek website did with Rick Berman some years ago. It addresses the Ron Jones issue, I believe:

    The whole interview can be found by clicking here.

    So it looks like Berman found it to be an intrusion, and wanted more of a musical wallpaper; one that blended in with the scenes.
     
  13. CaliburnCY

    CaliburnCY Ensign Newbie

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    Ron Jones wrote a lot of great Trek music and, in a perfect world, I wish he hadn't been fired.

    But as with many issues like this, there are two sides, each of which may have at least some validity. I think Rick Berman takes more flack than he deserves, both in general, and for this decision.

    For anyone interested, here are some TNG clips that have been restored to feature unused Ron Jones music. You can compare them to the final episodes where silence or sometimes different music was used instead. Some of the music is lovely, like Klingon Tea Ceremony, but in pretty much every case except maybe that one, I agree with the producers that the unused music--while nice in its own right--was wrong for the scene in one way or another.

    It's fairly common for a first draft to not work out and need to be replaced, so in and of itself this doesn't mean much. But if Ron Jones and Rick Berman's tastes often clashed over things like this, and Ron Jones was unwilling to adapt, then it is probably best for both of them that they stopped trying to work together.

    Also, while creative differences seem to be the main reason for the firing, it seems likely that they weren't the only one. In the FSM liner notes to the Ron Jones Project box set, note the stories about the deadline crunch for A Matter of Honor, the miscommunication over Jones's trip out of the country during Season 3, the Synclavier crash during Brothers, and the expensive and underutilized chorus in Night Terrors. All of these are things that would add stress to the production, and probably made it easier for Rick Berman et al to decide to let Ron Jones go, especially when they had two other composers (Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway) who were working out better for them overall.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  14. Salinga

    Salinga Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is actually how good film music is "defined". A "bad" soundtrack draws too much attention and the viewer out of a scene, because that is not its purpose. Its there to evoke or emphasize an emotion in the viewer on a subconscious level. The moment the viewer begins to thinks about the music in a scene consciously (and thus is not captured by the story anymore), it has failed. A film (or TV show) is not a "music video".

    There are examples when you notice a music (or mostly a melody): When it is used as an identification of characters. Star Wars is a nice example for that: When Darth Vader enters a scene, you can hear Williams' Vader theme, but you still are not listening consciously to the music, you connect the music with Vader and experience it as an "identification" of the character - it still doesnt take you out of the movie. Williams is a nice example of a true master in this regard.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's exactly why I hated the sonic wallpaper. I was always focusing on how awful it was.
     
  16. Salinga

    Salinga Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I never noticed it, until it was mentioned here.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But, I think the idea that "good" musical accompaniment should never be in the foreground is a bogus proposition. There are many times in Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark when the music is very much in the foreground. Blade Runner is another example of when that is so. Platoon, Gallipoli, Excalibur, Psycho, Gone with the Wind.... I could go on, but why bother. A simple-minded rule such as that just won't do to define what makes a good musical soundtrack.
     
  18. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    All long-running TV shows grow and change in ways no one can expect. I love Ron Jones's scores for TNG, but to state that all good quality TREK ended when he left is completely ignorant and unwarranted. Episodes such as "Tapestry" and "Lower Decks" are absolutely great slices of TREK, regardless of whether Jones was there to write the music. And I actually have found much to really enjoy in McCarthy's and Chattaway's music in those later seasons, plus DS9. I'm so tired of fans with tunnel-vision and who can't seem to find the quality aspects in TREK after just one aspect (Ron Jones leaving) has been changed.
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, who said anything like that in this thread?
     
  20. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The original poster, who said that this signaled the end of quality TREK, so I was really just responding to his statement.