Poll Would it be better if TNG's later seasons didn't always end in a cliffhanger?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Unimatrix Q, Jul 9, 2020.

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Do you prefer seasons ending with a single episode or by a cliffhanger?

  1. Single episode

    3 vote(s)
    12.5%
  2. Cliffhanger

    7 vote(s)
    29.2%
  3. Depends on the show

    16 vote(s)
    66.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Everything looked and felt kind of the same after Season 3, with only small differences.

    I love the big changes between the first
    three seasons. Wish they did it the same way during the later ones, instead of letting them always end with cliffhangers. Which prevented changing things bigtime.
     
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  2. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Season 3 did set a precedent, which worked so it make sense they'd keep it as long as possible. But how does a scriptwriter or team really know when the proven formula gets stale or stale enough? Regardless of ratings being high enough or high or even low since low ratings only means few people saw it, ratings are simply not necessarily indicative of episode quality. But are absolutely indicative of relative popularity. (As TNG went on, there were cliffhanger episodes I liked or disliked or liked some ideas or scenes in despite disliking the episode.)

    Maybe random season-enders going between standalone and cliffhangers?
     
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  3. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, it would have been a good idea to end Season 5 with a standalone episode instead of doing "Times Arrow, Part 1" at that time. They could have done the twoparter either at an earlier point of the season or make it in Season 6.

    By the way what would you have changed at that point, if Season 5 ended in a standalone episode and you were the showrunner?

    Changed sets? Another round of new uniforms? The lighting? Other positions and/or ranks for some crewmembers? Changing the tone of the show?

    It's fascinating to think about the possibilities.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  4. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Premium Member

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    Why did it need changes? I for one think it's comforting that the show didn't try to re-invent its own formula every season, I very much doubt I'd like it the way I do if every season was radically different from the previous one. That being said, some of the season finale cliffhangers were meh to me, but that's more because of the writing, not the basic idea of a cliffhanger at the end of a season.
     
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  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think the problem is the cliffhangers; I think the problem is the quality of the episodes themselves. If they were mid-season instead, they still would have been problematic.
     
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  6. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem with Season 6 and 7, actually beginning in 5, was that TNG became kind of bland imo. The producers didn't take risks anymore, beside what they did with Picard and Jellico in "Chains of Command". But then, after these episodes, everything was dialed back to the status quo and no one ever talked about the events.

    Maybe some big changes at the start of the last two seasons would have given the show new life and made it more exciting again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  7. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Depends if the story calls for a 2 parter. I have no problem with Cliffhangers Leaves the season on a high note, and wanting more.
    CW does a variation of this alot with there Hero shows, they finish up, then the last 5-10 minutes they set up the next season with a cliffhanger of whats going to happen.
     
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  8. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So glad I'm sober right now... :razz::devil::guffaw:

    My impression/inference of TNG's paradigm shift appears to stem from season 4, and is likely one of two more likely possibilities: Tthat they were running out of steam for the current format. Or they found something new with more controversial topics to cash in on (e.g. mandatory suicide, gender swaps, et cetera, which were deemed popular). It's far more likely the latter as the following season (5) went even more into controversial topics - while also becoming remarkably one-sided on some of them (Masterpiece Society, Ethics, etc) and the best Trek tackles issues with respect to both major viewpoints.

    What might I have changed? Going back in time and applying for script editor, I'd tone down some of the more one-sided aspects of the later seasons and add in multiple viewpoints with and within reason. Doing it right could lead to more 2-part stories that would leave the audience hooked and wanting to come back, and while TNG did do that, they could have done it more often and succeed. But I digress, especially as "Birthright" was two separate stories loosely sewn together as one. "Ethics" had a great (if not parochial in scope) discussion of assisted suicide, but the surrounding issue of medical procedures clearly needed some work to balance both viewpoints and both ARE valid and realistic. The episode screams its flaws when going out of its way to paint the guest doctor as forcibly as possible to be eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil and they're insulting the audience. Heck, Crusher can be on her soapbox and guest doctor could have retorted "Then why don't you have more staff to try to lick this problem sooner so more don't die?" But then that would make Crusher look bad. Granted, such plotting is easier to do if one side is more morally clear but the episode wasn't talking about "murder is bad", it was talking about research and medical treatments and the number of variables doesn't make for neat and tidy television, as this is not "The Brady Bunch". The ending where Worf has numerous brain stems that magically activate was outright bull manure because they scripted themselves into the most obvious corner in wanting to eke out as much "draaaaaaaaaaama" in Worf's death. If Michael Dorn wanted out, then do it right. Otherwise, to pull the trope of "Main cast member dies... or not" then they really need to add some gravitas. The whole episode just couldn't do it. Heck, TOS couldn't and a third of its main characters died in one episode or another too. "The Enterprise Incident" was the closest to getting it right on every level (drama, cliffhanger, resolution, and how they sidestepped it.)

    The biggest issue they did do is still an easy one to not do instead: While Rick Berman has the occasionally great ideas and a lot of good ones, replacing TNG's music palette/tonal range with what can be described only as "a bucket of mud that has frogs farting in it after eating a ton of beans because it didn't matter how good the story otherwise was (e.g. 'Powerplay', the music slathered onto it often dragged it down)" did the worst disservice. I'm still amazed they allowed "The Next Phase" to have any quality of music whatsoever because that episode is a great reminder of how great TNG could be. (the episode knew its flaws and knew how to sidestep them to still make something great. No easy task...)

    So that's what I'd change; keep the music style and flesh out some of the mid/latter-era storylines a bit more.

    That said, I stand by season 7 and its returning to out-there sci-fi ideas despite some and others feeling worn out - by then DS9 was getting the line's share of the time anyway.
     
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  9. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    I thought the conclusions were never satisfying; another drawn out story which could've been told in one episode.
     
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  10. ananta

    ananta Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The problem wasn’t so much the cliffhangers themselves, but the fact the writers rarely seemed to have much idea of how to resolve them. As a result, the season premieres of virtually the entire latter half of TNG’s run were uniformly weak. I mean, they weren’t all bad (“Descent Part II” is the only one I’d call legitimately awful), but they very much had the sense of “shit, we did all this in part one, how do we now undo all that and get everything reset by the end of the episode?!“ that’s a most unsatisfying modus operandi for starting off a new season, which is probably why the premieres tended to feel unsatisfying and lazy. I think DS9 had a much better approach — predominantly self-contained season finales that nevertheless had a kind of cliffhanger hook that set up the start of the next season without tying them down.
     
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  11. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, but what was missing was the sense of wonder from the first two seasons. That's one reason why i prefer them to 7.

    Another one is of course Ron Jones. Firing him was Rick Bermans worst mistake imho.
    If there was only this wallpaper "music" from the beginning of the show, i guess i would have never fallen in love with TNG like i did.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  12. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree. A lot of people bag on seasons 1 and 2, especially 1 but that sense of wonder is what makes those seasons fun for me.
     
  13. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Depends on whether or not the cliffhanger and conclusion is any good.
     
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  14. amp

    amp Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    If I recall correctly, Michael Piller would not allow the writers to plot out the entire story. So they would write the first episode for the season ender, and then after the break they would come back and try do figure out how to get out of the predicament they wrote themselves into.

    It worked well enough for BoBW, but I think all the other season spanning two-parters suffered for it.
     
  15. JesterFace

    JesterFace Commodore Commodore

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    This. Very many talk about changing TNG, "they should've changed many things" and all that. I'm glad they didn't change too much, some things changed but not too much. TNG was one solid product. There aren't certain "eras" in the series, different episodes can be watched in the order one wishes.
     
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  16. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trek usually had a problem with this when it came to the opponents of our heroes. The Klingons/Romulans/Cardassians had to be evil empires, they could not be in opposition to the Federation for sound and good reasons.

    There can be two valid sides to a coin.

    The Undiscovered County really suffered from this, and was less of a movie because of it.
     
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  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Howso? I felt TUC may have been one of the first times that the Klingons as a race were portrayed in a sympathetic manner.
     
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  18. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Times Arrow just shouldn't be a two parter it's the only one even as a kid I remember disliking. I'd rather have Masks be the two parter.
     
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  19. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Give the Starfleet officers who opposed trusting the Klingons understandable reasons for their stance. So the audience could look at both sides and feel that both had merit.

    A moral contest of equal positions
     
  20. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I would think TOS and TSFS provided ample justification for people not trusting Klingons...

    The novelization does go into this further, with recent Klingon attacks on outposts and such (IIRC performed in part by the cloaked BoP), one of which critically injures Carol Marcus. Whether that's needed or not is an exercise left to the audience.