Series Regulars: Can we determine who they are?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by DigificWriter, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hi, all. One thing that I've been wondering about, especially lately as we get closer and closer to the premiere of the series, is which of Discovery's announced cast/characters are going to be our Series Regulars, the characters/actors we follow on a week-to-week basis.

    I don't believe that this question has actually been answered by the people involved with the series, at least directly, and so I was wondering if, based on what we do know, there's any way for us as fans/audience members to determine who out of the announced cast is most likely to be part of that group besides Sonequa Martin-Green.

    Any thoughts/ideas/comments on this?
     
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  2. Cake

    Cake Commander Red Shirt

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    I think those are regulars characters in season 1:

    Michael Burnham
    Gabriel Lorca
    Saru
    Silvia Tilly
    Paul Stamets
    Ash Tyler
    Sarek

    They were all at the SDCC sitting at the panel and doing the interview rounds. Maybe Sarek won't be a regular, but I think the others will be. Shows generally send their regulars to the con. But maybe someone was missing and there are more regulars.
     
  3. Michael

    Michael So Fucking Cool Moderator

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    I think/hope the series won't follow the (Star Trek) tradition of ensemble casts and rather feature one central character (Michael Burnham) plus a large cast of recurring characters. Kind of like Game of Thrones (minus the “one central character” part), where you'd have a hard time naming any “series regulars”.
     
  4. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Captain Captain

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    I also would like to know this.

    Is Rekha Sharma's USS Discovery security chief Commander Landry a regular?

    She is apparently in every episode.
     
  5. tenmei

    tenmei Commodore Commodore

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    Judging by this tweet by Star Trek - you might be right ...

    https://twitter.com/StarTrek/status/898998217739829250
     
  6. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's actually not hard at all to name the Series Regulars on Game of Thrones, but that's a subject for elsewhere.

    The show sent a completely different group of actors to Star Trek Law Vegas than they sent to SDCC, so that's not really much help.

    I don't typically trust IMDB, but I looked at the site out of curiosity and they have the following actors/characters appearing in the entirety of Season 1:
    Sonequa Martin-Green
    Jason Isaacs
    Doug Jones
    Shazad Latif
    Malik Pancholy
    Anthony Rapp
    Michelle Yeoh

    It's possible that Terry Serpico, Rheka Sharma, Sam Vartholomeos, Mary Wiseman, and Damon Runyan are Regulars as well but are absent from the final two episodes of the season, but that's assuming that IMDB's info is right (and it might not be because it only lists James Frain as appearing in one episode even though I had previously heard that he was in 5 episodes).
     
  7. Michael

    Michael So Fucking Cool Moderator

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    I'm not entirely sure why there *must* be “series regulars” at all. :confused:
     
  8. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Premium Member

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    Because you can't tell a serialized story without them, good luck writing an arc when all of your actors could tell you they're leaving at any point during production.
     
  9. Michael

    Michael So Fucking Cool Moderator

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    Sure you can, when your series is focussing on the journey of *one* character, which is how this series was advertised at first. All the others can be recurring.
     
  10. Michael

    Michael So Fucking Cool Moderator

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    I think my problem with the notion of “series regulars” is just that it's a mindset that's so mired in the way preceding versions of Star Trek always had a captain, a first officers, science officer and so on, whereas this new version promised to be different in that it would do away with that notion and present the story from the perspective of one individual.
     
  11. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Television doesn't operate like that; you can't do a series (serialized or otherwise) if you only have one actor consistently and constantly under contract because you can't know who they're going to be interacting with week-to-week, which prevents you from actually writing anything.

    What you're talking about has nothing to do with the standard operating procedure of having Series Regulars versus Major Recurring Guest Stars/Minor Recurring Guest Stars/One-Off Guest Stars.

    The original Star Trek had 3 Series Regulars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForrest Kelly. Everyone else that made up the Enterprise's "core crew" was a Major Recurring Guest Star.

    Entertainment Weekly put Jones, SMG, Rapp, Wiseman, Isaacs, Latif, and Yeoh on their covers, and also listed Chris Obi as a Series Regular in their article(s), so it's looking more and more likely that those 8 are our Series Regulars... which, I think, makes Discovery the first Star Trek series to feature a non-Starfleet Klingon character in its "core" cast, the first to feature more than one character with the rank of Captain as part of its "core" cast, and the first to feature a "core" cast of characters who aren't assigned to a single ship or location, since Yeoh's Captain Georgiou is assigned to the Shenzou while everyone else is (or will be) assigned to the Discovery.
     
  12. Michael

    Michael So Fucking Cool Moderator

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    I guess I just don't see how it couldn't be just like that for Disocvery as well: Sonequa Martin-Green as the series regular; everyone else made up of Major Recurring Guest Stars. I think you are letting your preconceptions of how you think the show will play color the way you look at this. At this point we don't know anything about how this show will approach this and everything you and I are saying is just guesswork.
     
  13. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I already explained that. You can't run a television series where only one person is under consistent contract and everyone else is "interchangeable".

    With the original Star Trek, the series revolved around Kirk, Spock, and McCoy; they're the only characters who appeared in every single (or nearly every single) episode of the series, and are the characters through which nearly every single episode of the series was focused. The other characters occasionally got focus, which is how they became as beloved as they did, but the original series was, by and large, the "Kirk/Spock/McCoy" Show, and it didn't matter whether or not the other characters were present.

    Let's take a look at a couple of hypothetical scenarios based on your idea of SMG being the only "Series Regular" and everybody else being "Major Recurring Guest Stars":
    - We're introduced to, for example, the following characters in the Pilot: Burnham, Lorca, Stamets, Saru, Tilly, Culber, Tyler, Yeoh, Nambue, Connor, Anderson, T'Kuvma, Kol, L'Rell, and Sarek, and the show sets up both the Shenzou and Discovery as being intimately involved in a conflict with the Klingon Empire. However, in the next episode, only Isaacs, Jones, Serpico, and Frain are available. You'd be left with an episode in which you can't actually progress the story since the only characters you'd be able to have Burnham interact with would be Lorca, Saru, Anderson, and Sarek.

    - You have the actors/characters listed above available for the first two episodes of the series because they're shot back-to-back, but when it comes time to shoot Episode 3, suddenly only SMG, Obi, and Chieffo are available, leaving Burnham as the only Starfleet character you can show, so unless you have her be captured by the Klingons and ignore wherever Episode 2 left off, you can't actually write anything because you don't have anybody to join her in crewing either the Discovery or the Shenzou.

    Having Series Regulars allows you to actually operate a television series; it determines what ACTORS you have available to you on a week-to-week basis, which in turn determines the CHARACTERS you have available to you on a week-to-week basis, although it's not always as "cut-and-dry". Going back to Game of Thrones, here's a listing of every Series Regular for the first 7 seasons:
    Season 1
    Season 2
    Season 3
    Season 4
     
  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Season 5


    Season 6

    Season 7
    Not every one of those characters has appeared in every single episode of each season, but having them all under "Series Regular" contract allows the producers to let the story determine which characters they need while knowing that they'll be able to get the actor(s) playing said characters onscreen because they're not taking other gigs that would make them unavailable.
     
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  15. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Only having SMG as a Series Regular for Discovery would mean that she would be the only actor (and consequently the only character) who would be guaranteed to appear in every episode. However, the writers and producers wouldn't be able to actually do anything with her because they would have no idea of knowing which actors/characters - of the ones they wanted to have her interact with over the course of the story they wanted to tell - would actually be available week-to-week because said actors would be able to take other gigs, which would impair their availability and reliability.
     
  16. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Premium Member

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    I misunderstood, I thought you meant no regulars at all.
    Of course a show with just one regular is a possibility (like Murder she wrote for example) but I think that's better suited to a procedural. A serialized story more likely requires certain characters to be around at specific points and it makes sense to sign those to a contract as series regulars to ensure their abailability.

    Every Star Trek from TNG to Enterprise certainly had more regulars than necessary, the regular casts could have been cut down to three members per series and it wouldn't have made much of a difference.

    For TNG: Picard, Data, Troi (I can already hear people saying Troi WTF?! but she could have been the McCoy to Data's Spock, just less cranky).

    For DS9: Kira, Odo, O'Brien

    For Voyager: Janeway, the Doctor, Seven

    For Enterprise: Trip, T'Pol ... okay, just two for Enterprise.
     
  17. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    DS9 and Voyager were designed as Ensemble series (although Voyager didn't always stick to this formula quite as well as they ought to have, particularly in the latter seasons), so paring down their Regular Casts to just 3 characters/actors wouldn't actually have worked.

    Enterprise could've gotten away with only Archer, Trip, and T'Pol as Series Regulars, but that's because they formed a Kirk/Spock/McCoy triumvirate from the beginning.

    Also, Murder She Wrote, while being focused primarily through the POV of Angela Lansbury's character, would not have worked with her as the only Series Regular because of the logistical issues I outlined in my massive 3-post dissertation.
     
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  18. tenmei

    tenmei Commodore Commodore

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    Arguably the MSW main cast could be paired down to Jessica Fletcher - even in the Cabot Cove episodes, most of the characters were interchangeable (though there was some good continuity with key figures, especially in earlier seasons) and the show's 'Big 3' didn't even really come together until the second season (it's only really Jessica and Amos in the first season, with Seth coming in during the second season, and then Mort replacing Amos later on) and whilst you might consider Grady a regular in some respects, he's easily replaced by any number of Jessica's many nephews/nieces and god-children.

    As an example - Jessica was in all 263 episodes of the show, Seth was the most regular of any of the other characters and was in 49. Less than a fifth of the series - and perhaps only four or five episodes a year.
     
  19. Michael

    Michael So Fucking Cool Moderator

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    I think we are talking past each other. And I think I might be confounding all those terms like “series regulars” and “recurring guest stars”, and for that I'm sorry. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I don't believe Discovery will feature an ensemble cast in the sense that every week the story's focus might be on someone else, like with practically every incarnation of Star Trek since The Next Generation. Instead it will have one single main character that's central to the plot and to every episode. All the other characters might be “series regulars” in the sense that their actors have contracts to appear in the whole season, but they will *not* be main characters. For example, you might have Carice van Houten's “Melisandre” as a series regular on Game of Thrones, but you would never call her a main character. I just think (and again, hope, really) that Michael Burnham will be the single focus of Disovery, like Walter White and Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, Clay Jensen on 13 Reasons Why or Sherlock and Watson on Sherlock.
     
  20. Long Syntax

    Long Syntax Captain Captain

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    I think there's a danger to having the focus be only one character. Take, for example, Brent Spiner's character of Data from TNG. Of course Data became a beloved character over the course of the series, however there were quite a few people that disliked the Pinocchio storyline and therefore disliked that character, although these same viewers had the opportunity to be engaged in the show through the rest of the ensemble cast, where another character might apeal to them. Having SMGs character be the sole focus, and everything being from that perspective, increases the risk that a segment of viewers could drop off early on in the series if there are no other regular character options.

    Of course the stories could carry the day and make it successful with a single character focus, but as I said, it increases risk.