Seasons 7 is harder to get through than Season 1

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Beard of Sisko, Sep 12, 2023.

  1. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

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    Its nothing against Worf or Season 4 - although I do think its the start of the real downward slope - but rather my use of Best of Both Worlds as a finale, Brothers as an epilogue, then skipping to First Contact, Nemesis and Picard Season 3. I streamlined what I actually DO like about the show. 3 seasons like TOS, and a set of movies (if you count Picard S3 as a trilogy of movies),
     
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  2. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

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    It's not just the exploratory aspects that Seasons 1 and 2 had on their side; both of them (more so the former than the latter, IMO) have this distinctly space opera-ish feeling that was steadily eroded as later seasons - leading into Deep Dish Nine - became increasingly technical and, oddly enough, grounded...quantifiable in a limiting way (despite the general increase in quality). For all the faults associated with those beginning scripts, you could really tell that the tech served the story. Oh, and, Ron Jones' score certainly helped to evoke the awe towards outer space.

    A TNG with that initial early-season wonderment paired with superior later-season writing would be a dream come true.
     
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  3. suarezguy

    suarezguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think only by/within Season 5, and with still a lot from them to enjoy through seasons 5 and 6 (and bits of the last).

    Do think those were pretty great throughout.

    Ron Jones gets praised so much (and yeah he usually was good) I've got to cry a tear or two for Chattaway and especially McCarthy they were good too. :wah:
     
  4. drt

    drt Commodore Commodore

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    Great posts @Qonundrum, pretty much echoes almost all of my thoughts on season 1.

    There's a more adventurous and exploratory feeling, plus a greater trippy "space is weird" vibe present in early TNG -- whereas in the latter seasons it seemed the crew just became the Federation's space police with an overlay of made up physics particles.

    Yeah, if you have a fancy engineering set, you pretty much need a chief engineer. Maybe if they had just used one in a recurring role like O'Brien it might have worked out better. I would have preferred MacDougal, as another female would have helped balance the cast more. I'd have left Geordi driving the ship and let Wesley hang out in engineering, since that fit what they'd established regarding his wunderkind abilities.

    I also think having everything evenly overlit was also a way to reduce costs, as it cut down on set up time between shots, same reason soap operas and sitcoms to it.
     
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  5. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

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    This would have been great. I really liked Geordi on the bridge, and saw little to suggest that he was going to be an amazing engineer, and then he's the Chief. During S1 there was a scene where Geordi and Wes are trying to repair the holodeck, and Geordi defers to Wes. He was definitely not ao tech wizard at that point. They did very little for his personality once he became an engineer, and his personal life was atrocious. All of the elements that made him fun in S1 left, and the result was a completely different character, that just happened to share the name and gimmick. He and Data (and their friendship) would have worked fine at the two helm/nav/ops consoles. Geordi was just a lot more fun and energetic of a character when he was part of the bridge dynamic.
     
  6. Tosk

    Tosk Admiral Admiral

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    Season three onwards has flatter lighting? Is that actually true though, or do we just remember it that way from the crummy old transfers? I feel like if anything, they reduced the number of light set-ups on the bridge. Flatter lighting would surely require more lights, filling in every nook and cranny.

    [​IMG]

    Just one comparison. No claim is made that this represents all of season two vs all of season three.
     
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  7. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral


    Fair and good point. As I continue my rewatch as I get into season 3 onward, I'll improve my articulation. But it's true that there are occasional exceptions; if I hadn't seen the glare on the vertical red alert stripe, I'd have mistaken that one on the left for being season 3 - until seeing the cardboard piece.

    The reduction of light setups, from the individual frames you'd shown, which are "iconic" to the first two seasons, is still apparent, including the glare/reflection from the vertical red alert strip by the turbolift. :D But whatever changes were made for seasons 3 onward, the result was the disuse of black cardboard over panels because of glare for the more specific and lighting - that's the biggest advantage. At the same time, for every bit of cardboard that may have been used to hide a light source, there's also more interesting shadow detail or selective brightness elsewhere... the later seasons still seem duller by comparison...

    Or I could be lazy and puke up a couple of links like what my cat did on my shoe this morning only those were fishmeal glops: :devil:

    TNG Season 3 | Memory Alpha | Fandom
    (new lighting director is brought in and I'll quote "(the more subdued lighting used by Brown" to loosely use synonymously as "flat"...)

    and

    The Changing lighting of Star Trek: The Next Generation : r/TrueCinematography (reddit.com)
    (Someone mentions the F-word in it as well. No worries, they call the revamped style "Flat" too. :rofl: And to react to one response as a minor tangent, good character drama can also be improved in a good plot-driven story and without a plot the characters are pointless, but before I read into too much from too many people responding in that post... )
     
  8. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral

    Thanks!

    This show is supposed to be adventurers on some kind of star trek... :devil:

    I recall one of the movies (INS?) having Picard or Crusher asking if they remembered what it was like to be explorers. Now remembering that, that almost seems a gaggle of callbacks to season 1's bits all rolled up into one...:



    It's one of the better set-piece scenes in the movie, before trips over itself with the primitive people who claim they can repair Data but also eschewed all technology, complete with blood feud in what may have been inspired by a Jerry Springer episode, among other issues and who would put in a self-destruct mechanism into the Collector - sheesh, your 2-quart pitcher doesn't have a self-destruct but before I digress...

    Yeah, the Treknobabble started becoming an issue in TNG's latter half (then really got overdone in VOY.)

    "Space police" - yeah, "Ethics" comes to mind. A lot from seasons 5-7 seem to more pronouncedly. For a show that had "more mature" scripting, it didn't always show. Just produced in a way that made it harder to spot.

    MacDougal would have been ideal. She comes across more stern and to-the-point than the Scotty clone guy, the guy whose name reminded me more of "Roscoe P Contrane" and was almost as dumb, and all 20 others they had... well, I think they had 5 or 6 in total, but MacDougal came in at the show's earliest time when they felt the ship could just be tended to by any old cookie cutter. Nope...

    A very 80s trend - either because it was so bright (despite bright beige as beige is more attributed to the "70s", but toward the end someone in that decade came up with the use of magenta and blue tones that would later be defined as decidedly "80s" too) or because it was faster to do scenes without the need or risk to re-film. Or re-tape as video cameras are more sensitive to lighting and far more detail would not be captured (both light value and what amounts to screen resolution). That's all even more interesting, since one reason for using film is because it is light sensitive and captured darkly-lit sets better than tape (which is great for horror movies and all), a trend that would be expanded to more dramas and sitcoms into the 1990s. "Spin City" is a great example of this, but before I digress... Now try to imagine if TNG was shot directly onto video tape... I'd rather not, since if people think the DS9 and VOY releases look crap right now - it could easily be far worse! :guffaw: (If nothing else, then the use of "Upscaling AI" with its algorithms of selective edge sharpening, pattern matching, and artificial gamut enhancement would be a no-brainer, since the exponentially-higher quality film negatives wouldn't even have existed. )

    Another example is how, in the UK during the 80s, the BBC went the other way around. Everything was done with over-lit lighting and they moved more and more shows to videotape. Crime Traveler and the third season of Chef! both had to be done on VT and, eww, it shows. Also note, Doctor Who had stories like "Ghost Light", which look like soft and semi-grainy VHS despite being on DVD and blu-ray, because so much noise removal processing had to be used because the video cameras on the time were bringing in so much noise from the camera sensor because the sets were too dark. On the plus side, odd but arguably true, using deleted timecode scenes as extra footage woven into the episodes don't stick out as badly because the grainy look is almost the same due to the cleaning done. Only the timecode clock is blurred out. Compared to other stories where the drop in sharpness is instantly apparent (along with the timecode clock blur).
     
  9. JamesRye

    JamesRye Captain Captain

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    I always like the bridge of the D's lighting. It's realistic. You wouldn't want to be working in moody shadows with bright displays like in the modern shows. I really dig the Hilton in space look of TNG. There's also much less space combat than in later shows and the crew really are totally different to the movies and later series - they're scientists in space, exploring. I wish Trek could get back to that.
     
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  10. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

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    It bugs the bugs out of me when I see incredibly advanced technology paired with weak lighting; Deep Dish Nine was guilty of this and I don't just mean on the titular space station (a design decision which is excused thanks to the race of its creators). Plain incandescent/fluorescent/light-emitting diode illumination is an infinitesimal power drain compared to life support/holodecks/replicators/sublight drives/faster-than-light travel/et cetera. Audience benefit aside (e.g., making it abundantly clear that there is a dearth of electricity), there is no reason to have bridges and decks that require you to strain your eyes in typical conditions.
     
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  11. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

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    Watched another S1 episode, and forgot how good it was. I love that they were still using the TOS planet set. The music again was incredibly impressive. TOS easter eggs in the databanks. An action scene straight out of TOS. Adventure is still the name of the game. Enjoying Mr Argyle. Noticed a cute redhead in a TOS mini two episodes in a row.

    I would have loved to see Geordi and Worf stay in the command branch and see how they would have dealt with various scenarios. I think Geordi's character changed for the negative once they got him to engineeering, and he spent the rest of the series spouting technobabble and banging holograms. The young energetic blind pilot was more interesting. And Worf learning to command a human ship rather than just being "tough guy is security/tactical" stereotype would have been fun.
     
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  12. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If the redhead you are talking about usually wore the gold skant uniform, she appeared throughout the series. (Mostly in sickbay.) Yeah, she was definitely a cutie.

    Regarding Worf... he did go to the command track on DS9 where he had some good lessons about command in season 4. ("STARSHIP DOWN" and "RULES OF ENGAGEMENT" spring immediately in mind.)

    And Geordi... I agree and disagree with you at the same time. (I know... odd.)

    Agree: it was a missed opportunity to have him in command scenarios more. Probably would have had more episodes focused on him if he went this route.

    Disagree: he proved himself so well in "The Arsenal of Freedom" that such a path would have been... easy for his character, for lack of a better way of terming my thoughts. And LeVar Burton performed his technobabble so well, I think of him as THE gold standard on how an actor/actress speaks technobabble.



    A side thought: I feel that "The Arsenal of Freedom" was Picard's final test to make him permanent Chief Engineer. Because (arguably) the most important job on a starship is that position, and it requires someone not only good on the technical side, but also good with people. One of the things I always liked about Geordi was how easygoing and friendly he was... it's also why he's my wife's second favorite character on TNG. Particularly given his being born blind, and how a disability can potentially make someone a jerk (which is a trope we have seen on tv and movies quite frequently), it speaks to how much of a good natured person he is.

    Plus, we have TOS setting the precedent on a Chief Engineer being an excellent commanding officer with Scotty.
     
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  13. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Patrick Stewart in his autobiography says he watched the entire series for the book, and said he thinks 5-6 were peak, and season 7 was not that great, and is glad it ended where it did
     
  14. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

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    But unlike Scotty, Geordi was never used like that after he switched tracks.

    Speaking of Scotty, and your assertation of Geordi being such a nice guy - Relics comes to mind, and the treatment of Scotty and Geordi's attitude in general soured me a bit. After the trainwreck that was Generations, i didn't revisit the show until (Picard S3 and a recent S1 rewatch with youtubers.)

    I haven't made it to Arsenal of Freedom in my rewatch yet, but it if it came "too easy" then isn't that a sign that he's a natural and should continue on? He may have done ok with the technobabble, but I would have preferred if the technobabble just plain didn't exist. I enjoyed both McDougal and Argyle (and any mirroring of TOS is a plus IMO - i loved Pulaski...)... I understand the realities of what happened, but I just happen to prefer the original configuration across the board. music, lighting, character positions, possible relationships, histories, looks.

    Then again I am an unabashed TOS fan and have made no secret of my preferences. If it was up to me, this would have been Phase II, launched from the epilogue of the Voyage Home, and Geordi/Data/Worf/Riker would have been joining the TOS cast instead....
     
  15. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To be fair, Scotty was getting in the way while Geordi and his crew were working. Scotty should have known better... not only that many things might be very different, but if someone was just pressing buttons while in Engineering on his ship, he'd be a little pissed, too. And once Picard asked him to work with Scotty on the Jenolen, Geordi softened immensely and was more like his usual self.

    I do agree with you, though, that he should have cut Scotty more slack at first (the man was an engineer for over half a century), but I think that was the point of the episode... not only the importance of an elderly person to feel useful and needed, but also for the younger generation to step back a second and listen to them.
     
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  16. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

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    It's called "A character behaves out of character in order to foment drama/tension.". The same result is desired when obviously experienced/intelligent characters express an arbitrary degree of skepticism towards the mere possibility of an exotic phenomenon...despite the fact that they've seen many incredible things.
     
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  17. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral


    But it's part of the draaaaaaama! Okay, some good shadow does have visual pizazz when done right, but if this were real-world, you bet the number of lumens would be twice that of TNG's...


    Lorerunner on youtube pointed out some of season 1's budget. How much of "TOS planet set" is due to budget, homage to TOS style, both, and/or other is still fun to fathom but, in the end, is the set adequate and with the plot and characterizations therein pulling what the unfancy set can not?

    Argyle - are you referring to "Datalore"? Apart from the obvious "hidden door in the rock trick", it's a mixed bag but where the pros easily win over the drawbacks.

    It's sad that some mainstream viewers back in the day went into "joke mode" regarding "blind man flies the ship" when (a) he's not blind thanks to technology, and (b) the intent was something rather other than a joke, though as audiences also saw Riker grinning over "blind man teaches android to paint"... but that's Riker and no other character and it's straightfoward how Riker also respects Geordi, so it's not one-dimensional when all is said and done... Season 1 could be hit or miss about 24th century's human haughtiness...

    What @Ragitsu said about creating drama is right, but I do agree that "Relics" needed Scotty's intrusion to be a little less forced and brought in more organically. Scotty wouldn't waltz in to press buttons on main systems without authorization, any more than we'd go into a museum and remove the glass to fondle the 3000 year-old pottery with TV14-rated graphics drawn on them by the graphic designers of the day, and how they got their ink to withstand three millennia-worth of-- oops, I digressed: Additionally, later in the episode, even the use of the shields while beaming felt less contrived and it's a far more egregious example of TNG violating its own in-universe conditions for plot expedience as they're used to ship limitations and not one-time special guest stars. Geordi did get better material later in the episode, but while it's true that Scotty would be hyper-excited, even he would know to go play with a sandboxed instance before going on the live production machine as things can go boom-boom-explodey if he's not careful. That is out of character for Scotty. Why not introduce him to the holodeck, have him learn there and flustered with the new technologies and have him contact Geordi, who then is now pissed off by being contacted every 20 seconds over processes that seem to be fully automatic in 80% of all episodes where Engineering scenes occur, then have Scotty wander off to do "stereotypey drink green until drunk mode on the rebuilt 1701 TV bridge set with Picard" as it's still in-character and bypasses what felt clunky? The rest of the episode is pretty great.

    Plus, as with all things "new system", some "old system" principles still apply. Replace an accelerator pedal with a button and one still has to apply pressure to it carefully and reasoned. Anyone new to a button would be inclined to merrily slam their finger on it, as opposed to a pedal... now that's really pushing people's buttons! :guffaw:
     
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  18. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

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    I completely agree and it's not only space police but the trend to introduce guests and focus episodes on them, instead of going with what got them there in the first place, which was the main crew. Honestly, what's the point of an episode like Quality of Life that focuses more on two guest stars than the crew? They were guilty of this kind of stuff more and more in the later seasons. It's one thing to base episodes on main character such as Geordi (Aquiel) or Beverly (Remember Me), and many others, although too much of that can also be a problem, but when you start bringing in guest stars and reducing the role of the main cast, then that's when you have to reign it in. And don't get me started on overusing characters such as Q and Lwaxana.

    I honestly don't know what many of the writers were thinking in the later seasons. Yeah, let's turn Star Trek into a boring drama with the types of scripts that with a few modifications could have been the type of script written for any contemporary dramatic TV show at that time. Many of these episodes took the spirit of Star Trek out of Star Trek.
     
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  19. drt

    drt Commodore Commodore

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    Although occasionally it seems like they were just trying to fill a quota with the focus episodes. Like with “Suspicions”, why is Dr. Crusher organizing a scientific conference on shields and subspace, only to pivot halfway through to the medical mystery? The technology is much more of a Data or LaForge thing, I don’t know why the Ferengi scientist’s technology wasn’t biology-based, it would have worked better. Instead it comes across as, “Oops, we forgot to have our ‘Beverly’ episode for the season, let’s jam her haphazardly into this one.”
     
  20. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

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    It may or may not have been a formal quota but this is the problem with an ensemble show like Star Trek (after TOS). They had to find a way to showcase all of the main actors in some way. That's great for the actors but it results in a lot of potential chaff. We see this clearly in the later seasons on TNG.

    TOS was focused on three characters, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Everyone else was essentially background, although Scotty gets a bit more focus than the others. When watching TOS, the focus seems more on the story and not so much on how many of the crew they could cram into the episode. That's something that changed with later iterations of Star Trek. At least in the first couple of seasons of TNG, we see some of that TOS magic. Sadly, they moved away from that and then we are left with umpteen Lwaxana episodes :barf:and boring crap like Worf's human brother and god awful drek like Sub Rosa, Dark Page, True Q, Bloodlines, Eye of the Beholder, and many more.
     
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