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  #151  
Old 09-22-2013, 03:13 AM
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kevin kevin is offline
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I think that is indeed why 'Lower Decks' worked because we can all relate to being on the bottom rung and wondering what happens when our own bosses go into meetings that we never know the content of in full. It's a very relatable premise.

But then again in Trek we're used to spending time with those that all the action happens to. But it's like the Enterprise problem..............not all the excitement happens on the Enterprise (of any version) at all and other starships must have their own adventures to tell.

You own idea of a freighter series would feature the John and Jane Does of the Federation itself, albiet in a setting we've never seen before. So, I think there are avenues that could be considered, although not all of them would end up good TV shows. I do tend to believe soap opera elements would be unavoidable in the end as Star Trek is itself in my opinion Space Opera anyway and all the shows have soapy elements sooner or later.

But anyway, it would be interesting from an experimental perspective just to see if the 'City on the Edge of Forever' script would play using each subsequent show and each subsequent Captain/Commander just to see if it would have the same effect as the TOS version.
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  #152  
Old 09-22-2013, 03:20 AM
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I think also cutting the episode numbers would also help on the business side as well, mind. Modern era Trek was always very generously funded for production values that were the best their times offered and the costs of making that kind of sci-fi haven't gone down greatly.

I can't comment on 'Dr Who' though, I could never get into it and I always seemed to pick a bad episode to try. I don't imagine they're all bad though. Probably just my luck.
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  #153  
Old 09-22-2013, 03:33 AM
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I agree that ordinary people doing ordinary things is enjoyable on a soap opera level yet can also easily become problematic. I guess that's why DS9 featured not so ordinary people (and worked because of that?) and why Lower Decks ended with a not so ordinary, heroic sacrifice.

Talking about ordinary people, I think it was McCoy bringing common sense and the voice of an ordinary guy into the discussion which made TOS work so well character-wise.
TNG either presented an ideal, technocrats who, unlike real-world technocrats, are competent and make difficult decisions, or a more TOS-ish situation in which ironically the robot asks naive questions or acts in the most human way (Pen Pals) and thus makes us question the technocratic consensus.

It is a complicated issue and I think my initial point was wrong, good stories can very well flow out of well-written and -played characters.

About the number of episodes, I agree that more than 20 40-45 min episodes per year is too much and that around 10-15 would be better for the "supply side" reasons you mentioned but also to avoid "demand side" problems like oversaturation.
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  #154  
Old 09-22-2013, 04:27 AM
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I've never agreed with the "They should have done a Captain Sulu series and 'everyone' knows it" sentiment either. I certainly wouldn't have minded seeing it, however there was nothing defective about the shows we got instead at the pre-conception stage. Which implies that everything or anything which eventually did turn out defective, once each of the latter series went into active production, would have happened just as quickly with a Captain Sulu series or any other concept which fans might have pushed forward. There's no reason to assume that the administration in charge would have handled a Captain Sulu series according to any different set of priorities than the ended up handling the Voyager and Enterprise series. I also don't know how many people follow Bakula (as opposed to Takei) on Facebook, and I wouldn't care.

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Originally Posted by kevin View Post
If you had fewer episodes to fill to start with, it's possible you could reduce the number of duds and mediocre episodes you had along the way. That's an idea with genuine merit.
This has always been my belief as well. I think certainly it holds true with the first season of BSG over its longer and more meandering subsequent seasons. I can't speak for whether it's held true with Doctor Who or not, as I'm not currently watching that show. But writers should at least have the option of collaborating to put out more focused content if they weren't working under a 22-plus episode requirement every season. And to address Horatio's apples-and-oranges point, I don't see that it matters if you agree that both series overstayed their welcome by a season-and-a-half (although this might be a harder point to make in the case of TNG where the numbers really do -unfortunately- show that the larger audience was still watching when episodes like 'Dark Page' and 'Attached' were being aired).

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I thought that the "there can be only one" TOS purists died out somewhen after 1987 but it looks like the one show radicals are still among us.
Let me take the ridiculous notion that all Trek is bound to TOS seriously just for argument's sake. If this were so, if the child were forever tied to its parents, it would be hardly a surprise that Trek reached a threshold which it cannot cross. Thankfully it is not like this, Trek changes and evolves. Not always into the direction one likes (I do for example not like the current direction but I would never claim that TNG, my favourite Trek show, should be the eternal benchmark of the franchise; you cannot and should not repeat the past) but that is still better than stagnation.
It has nothing to do with being a TOS purist. There hasn't been a ST yet whose success didn't require familiarity with at least the existence of the original series, regardless of whether it was something you actually watched or merely thought of as being source to a lot of really hokey pop culture catchphrases. In that respect, the child IS forever tied to its parents. On a completely separate note, I agree that Trek needs to change and evolve, I disagree that it has always done so. If you subtract the number of viewers watching Enterprise in its final season from the number of viewers who watched TNG in its day (and here's where those graphs actually do come in handy), you get the number of people (fans) who do feel that ST already reached that stagnation threshold you speak of at some point between those two events.
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  #155  
Old 09-22-2013, 05:02 AM
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Ratings merely capture a tiny part of the total audience. Shows are rerun, shown in foreign countries, there are DVD sales and so on.
If we followed your ratings logic and applied it consistently TOS, ENT and Firefly would suck big time. After the commercial failure of TOS, the self-fulfilling prophecy of the third season (if you want a show just neglect it business-wise and it will fail) and the subsequent cancellation Trek fans should really know better than repeat such nonsense about how ratings and business success reveal anything about the quality of art ad infinitum.

About your other point, I have watched Trek for more than 10 years until I actually watched TOS (i.e. really watched it, not some random and badly into German translated episodes). So it looks like Trek can very well be enjoyed and be successful (I bought quite some stuff in these 10 years) without any familiarity with the first show.
This holds for all show, you do e.g. not need to have watched TNG to watch DS9 or VOY.
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  #156  
Old 09-22-2013, 05:50 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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Any more that you need to have actually watched any ST at all prior to watching the current films. Whether the STs require [direct] familiarity with each other was never the point, if you've read the post I was originally responding to.

As for ratings, fans are likewise living in a cloud if they think those numbers can be dismissed entirely as not reflective of quality. You can't compare a show that probably never found its audience with a branded property that has dropped to one sixth of its average former viewership. What would the numbers of the re-runs and DVD sales show if you had easy access to that information? Do ENT DVDs sell more than one-sixth as many copies as TNG DVDs? I'd be curious to know. However if there are a (significant) number of people who had every intention of catching up on ENT eventually, but just not when it was on the air and in need of some higher numbers, then I'm really sorry to hear that. I find it unlikely though.
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  #157  
Old 09-22-2013, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
This has always been my belief as well. I think certainly it holds true with the first season of BSG over its longer and more meandering subsequent seasons. I can't speak for whether it's held true with Doctor Who or not, as I'm not currently watching that show. But writers should at least have the option of collaborating to put out more focused content if they weren't working under a 22-plus episode requirement every season.
The first season of BSG is a good example of small episode order and focused storytelling resulting in almost no underperforming episodes that season. Later seasons had issues, yep, but that first one was tight.

And there's precedence in TNG's production history for the problem of 26 episodes a year raising it's head. I would have to look back through 'The Continuing Mission' book but back in late 1991 (I think, it was certainly during production of the fifth season) the core group of writers at that time were running dry and ended up taking a collective vacation to try and get some fresh ideas working outwith the environment of the studio and the production offices.

It then went on to yield a run of good season 5 shows (I think including 'Power Play', 'Conundrum' and several others in that mid-season batch) but they had to get away from the place first to actually get some headspace to feel creative again for a while.
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  #158  
Old 09-22-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
Any more that you need to have actually watched any ST at all prior to watching the current films. Whether the STs require [direct] familiarity with each other was never the point, if you've read the post I was originally responding to.

As for ratings, fans are likewise living in a cloud if they think those numbers can be dismissed entirely as not reflective of quality. You can't compare a show that probably never found its audience with a branded property that has dropped to one sixth of its average former viewership. What would the numbers of the re-runs and DVD sales show if you had easy access to that information? Do ENT DVDs sell more than one-sixth as many copies as TNG DVDs? I'd be curious to know. However if there are a (significant) number of people who had every intention of catching up on ENT eventually, but just not when it was on the air and in need of some higher numbers, then I'm really sorry to hear that. I find it unlikely though.
Sigh. Just compare the initial audience of TOS (Anybody here on the board saw TOS when it first aired?) with the total audience of TOS. The show got canceled yet it is still popular so there vanishes your high ratings equal quality nonsense. If you applied it consistently which you obviously do not want to you would have to say the same thing about Firefly and TOS as about ENT. It got cancelled, nobody watched it, it is crap!
The stupid ratings during the first run are utterly irrelevant and tell you nothing about how many people will watch the show over decades in several places because the stupid ratings are limited to one place and one time.

But even if we had total viewership numbers over space and time it would be irrelevant (unless you own Viacom stocks and care about how much money the company makes ... but then you care about capital income and not about product quality). Millions of people eat at McDonalds. Doesn't mean the food is anything but utter crap. If there is any correlation between $$$ and quality it is a negative one. Pop music sells better than classical music, junk food sells better than good food, Michael Bay flicks sell better than Bergman movies and so on.
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  #159  
Old 09-22-2013, 11:56 AM
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Ratings and quality don't 100% of the time reflect each other..............but what you appear to be dismissing is that sometimes they are. Sometimes shows with bad ratings are actually bad TV shows, just as sometimes movies which flop are bad movies.

And, sometimes a franchise which shows a steady declination in general viewership over a measurable period of time just might have had that declination because there were issues with what was being produced. I think it's clearly part of the discussion for Star Trek as a whole, although other factors can also be argued to be involved.
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Last edited by kevin : 09-22-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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  #160  
Old 09-22-2013, 12:49 PM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Sigh. Just compare the initial audience of TOS (Anybody here on the board saw TOS when it first aired?) with the total audience of TOS. The show got canceled yet it is still popular so there vanishes your high ratings equal quality nonsense. If you applied it consistently which you obviously do not want to you would have to say the same thing about Firefly and TOS as about ENT. It got cancelled, nobody watched it, it is crap!
The stupid ratings during the first run are utterly irrelevant and tell you nothing about how many people will watch the show over decades in several places because the stupid ratings are limited to one place and one time.

But even if we had total viewership numbers over space and time it would be irrelevant (unless you own Viacom stocks and care about how much money the company makes ... but then you care about capital income and not about product quality). Millions of people eat at McDonalds. Doesn't mean the food is anything but utter crap. If there is any correlation between $$$ and quality it is a negative one. Pop music sells better than classical music, junk food sells better than good food, Michael Bay flicks sell better than Bergman movies and so on.
First of all, 'crap' is your choice of words here and not mine. I've never dismissed ENT as 'crap' because it got canceled. I don't think it's crap. I am currently in the process of watching the BluRays, which I believe I have mentioned previously on this very thread.

(On a partially-related note, you have on more than one prior occasion said you would be "first to concede" that most of VOY and the first three seasons of ENT were, again in your words, "crap." So I don't get it. However this is not really relevant. But I don't get it.)

We are not comparing pop music to classical music, Michael Bay to Bergman, junk food to good food, or even Classic Trek (which is a whole generation apart) to Berman Trek (a term which I do not employ in derogatory fashion). We are comparing Berman Trek to Berman Trek. Berman Trek was on for eighteen consecutive years, and what happened to its audience during that span of time is as relevant as anything that's happened to it since. I never said those numbers were the final word on the subject, or that there couldn't have been other contributing factors to those numbers over their eighteen-year span, however they ARE relevant. Eighty-three percent of viewers, for whatever reason, left the franchise at various points between 'All Good Things' and 'These Are the Voyages'.
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