*Why* are TNG Seasons 1 & 2 Bad?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Emperor Norton, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    Let me say that I am not disagreeing with the assessment that the early seasons of TNG are not the best. Their episodes range from lackluster to outright bad. And season 1 is likely the worst culprit. However, my question is exactly why are they bad? I have trouble putting the problems into words. There are problems with the stories, but there is also something fundamentally different and deeper compared to later seasons. It is a certain undefined quality I cannot put into words. It's something in the way characters act and interact and what they say, and how this fictional world feels.
     
  2. woodstock

    woodstock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The musical scores seemed weird, the pacing slow and the production values low (campy, maybe?)
     
  3. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    I think a major problem is the characters. The characterization is superficial. Everyone is just one character of the perfect person. And that one character may be a doctor or a captain, but it is only one character. Any details of that character are nothing more than words that have no bearing on them. It is like a Justice League of America comic book from the 50s. They wear a different costume but it is all just the same person of "superhero man" who agrees with everyone else and has no uniqueness. The dialogue is also horrendous, awkward, and expositional. Nothing feels natural.
     
  4. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    #1...The writing (with exception) just flat-out sucks.
     
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  5. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    I would also say another problem was there was no character depth and yet there were waaay too many characters at the start. The first officer was a totally separate position, you had Tasha Yar and Worf at the same time, there was an engineer-of-the-week instead of using the main cast (Geordi), and there was Wesley Crusher. So too many characters with no character to them, who are written badly each week with bad dialogue (@Tosk), and too much superfluous content. And a lot of them did not have anything to do. So it was good to consolidate them, to have Worf take over that position, and to put Geordi LaForge in engineering. That cut out the fat by having a main cast member be the person in that position instead of having to interact with Central Casting, gave the character something to do, and let that character develop.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  6. CommanderTrip

    CommanderTrip Captain Captain

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    Simple Answer: Michael Piller didn't start working on the show until Season 3, and helped put together the writing staff consisting of Behr/Braga/Moore/Echevarria/Shankar that made the bulk of Season 3-7 episodes.
     
  7. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    That is the explanation for the change, but I'm more interested in defining that je ne sais quoi of badness.
     
  8. Coco Pops 1967

    Coco Pops 1967 Cruising the stars and the heavens Premium Member

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    I had to wonder in season 1 if Troi just "lucky guesses" most of her stuff and is a bit of a fraud? I just felt that way, the way she was played in season 1.
     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Main reason as others have said is just writing.

    If you need specific bullet points.

    1) They hadn't figured out how to be utopian without being sanctimonious yet. They meet other cultures and treat them as quaint vestiges of the human past to be managed.

    2) He Who Shuts Up. He was basically magic. They made the grown ups dumb to make him be smart.

    3) Overly paradigmatic behavior. Anyone not in the main cast acted with no self awareness and seemed incapable of any consideration outside their personal theme.

    4) Selective valuation of life. Some lives were a tragedy to lose and others were laughed off. An ambassador was murdered and asked to be prepared as food and it was treated as a gag.
     
  10. Catarina

    Catarina Commodore Commodore

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    correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't that frequent in them all? Or are we not talking about the same 'others'. I'm thinking the extras. "scenery".



    I'm going to second the bad musical score and visual affects like that lattice work that was chasing down The Enterprise (by Q) (wtf)
     
  11. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's a "stilted" feel to a lot of the acting in the early days, and the lines given are often very formal (Data isn't the only one failing to use contractions!) and contain Roddenberry's desire to use a wide vocabulary (lots of "Space Station Epsilon Theta Nine-Four" when "Starbase 28" would be easier on the actors to pronounce and remember).
     
  12. JonVP

    JonVP Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    TNG was my first real introduction to Star Trek. Fell in love with the show from the very start. I think they tried to find their own unique voice, making it stand out from TOS which was less cerebral and more action adventure orientated. I believe the biggest problem during the first two seasons was that it focused more on the plot of the day rather than the show's characters. That changed S3 onwards, making TNG a more complete space drama.
     
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Seasons one and two of TNG are my favorites from all the spinoffs. I never considered them "bad".
     
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  14. Vger23

    Vger23 Captain Captain

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    I actually believe that the first 2 seasons of TNG are unique in their feel and execution, but I don't view them as "bad." It was a different kind of show with a different focus in those first 2 years.

    I actually really like the first 2 seasons of TNG. There's a quaint nostalgia about them that I find very endearing and comforting. I actually find them much more re-watchable than some of the bland crap from S6 and S7. Those later seasons often remind me of really bad Voyager episodes rather than good TNG.
     
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  15. Coco Pops 1967

    Coco Pops 1967 Cruising the stars and the heavens Premium Member

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    Does that count for the terrible way they treated those 20th Century humans they found in the space capsule in The Neutral Zone?
     
  16. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The starry in-episode musical scores were great in those first seasons. Very neo-TOS. It's a pity that wasn't retained throughout the run. But they had a bust up with Mr. Jones and we got burdened with those terrible plodding in-episode scores.

    I liked the first two seasons. Almost any episode that was bad was also hilarious. Datalore for example. When Lore gets switched on, it's just pure comedy all the way through.

    Aesthetically the 2nd season is a good agreement between the first seasons and what later went on -- although I prefer the stories in the 3rd and 4th season episodes.
     
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  17. Vger23

    Vger23 Captain Captain

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    Datalore is one of the worst episodes of the entire franchise. Absolutely, positively dreadful.
     
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  18. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    You could make a drinking game of every time a normal thing gets mentioned and they respond how the perfect future is perfect and has no need of normal thing, with another shot if they show disgust at the very idea. Bonus shot for every instance of "as you know...", "of course" exposition. Headaches and animal meat don't exist in the future ... even though they later totally exist in the future. There's no security locks on the Enterprise because all the crew are the best ... even though there are later security precautions on the Enterprise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  19. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    I will say I like how 80s-tastic season 1 and 2 tend to feel.
     
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  20. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Simply put, they aren't.
     
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