First Look & Excerpts From SFX TNG Issue – Frakes on Fighting For Riker/Troi, Moore on ‘Weak’ 1st Season + more | TrekMovie.com
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First Look & Excerpts From SFX TNG Issue – Frakes on Fighting For Riker/Troi, Moore on ‘Weak’ 1st Season + more May 29, 2012

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: History,TNG , trackback

Tomorrow SFX magazine hits the stands with a new issue featuring a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. TrekMovie got an early look and we have some exclusive previews of the magazine, including excerpts of Ron Moore talking about TNG’s shaky start, Brannon Braga on his favorite characters, Jonathan Frakes on fighting for Troi/Riker and more.

 

SFX Magazine Celebrates 25 years of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Issue 223 of SFX magazine features a huge celebration of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s 25 year journey. It has a special gold-foil cover and 17 pages covering the creation and success of the TV show. There are also rare on-set pictures and with writer/producers Brannon Braga and Ron Moore, Rod Roddenberry, Jonathan Frakes, and more.

Here are some excerpts:

Writer/producer Ron Moore on TNG’s shaky start:

“I was watching the first first season as a fan, and I watched it religiously and recorded every single one. And even I was going, ‘This is kind of weak. It’s not working.’ You could kind of see the show trying to figure out what it was, how close it was gonna be to the original series and how different. They even repeated an episode from the original series when they did ‘The Naked Now’ in the first season. That was a shakedown cruise for the Enterprise for those first couple of years. It was extraordinary that the audience was willing to give it time.”

Brannon Braga on his writing preferences

“I didn’t like writing for Picard. He was hard to do. He had to be so articulate and masterful and knowledgeable, and all the things I don’t feel on a typical day. So he was a challenge. And Patrick Stewart, god bless him, could make anything sound good. Even the most mediocre writing he could bring to life. I liked to focus on the characters that didn’t get a lot of attention, like Riker and Geordi.”


TNG writers talk about working on the show in new issue of SFX magazine

TNG star Jonathan Frakes talked about the fight to keep the Troi/Riker love story going:

I think prior to the pilot we were told there was a huge, deep, important relationship between Troi and Riker. They hinted at it in the pilot where we had fantastic moments where we read each other’s feelings and minds. And then to free us up, I suppose for alien affairs, they swept it under the carpet. Marina and I refused to do that because we thought it was wonderful that we had this relationship and yet we were supposed to be working together and couldn’t be involved.

Writer and story editor Naren Shankar on the technobabble:

“It was probably the worst thing about Next Generation. I still cringe to this day when I see stuff like that. Because it went on and on – ‘Dephase this’ and ‘Decouple that’. But the great thing was that it was internally consistent. The show stayed true to its own principles.”


Mike Okuda talks about designing for TNG in new issue of SFX

SFX Star Trek TNG Issue available Wednesday on newsstands and digitally

There is much more in the latest issue of SFX, which goes on sale May 30th in the UK. It will be on US newstands by mid June. You will be able to order it directly (starting Wednesday) from MyFavouriteMagazines. It will also be available digitally at Zinio, the Apple Newsstand and for Nook Reader.

Comments

1. rm10019 - May 29, 2012

TNG had some great moments, and I hope they get the chance for a proper goodbye with a quality project!

2. Elias Javalis - May 29, 2012

God, i loved the show!

3. THX-1138 - May 29, 2012

That’s the thing about the technobabble. For the longest time I didn’t realize that it was an issue. Because I sort of understood what they were talking about, to some extent. And all of that is because they were consistent with their application of it. I’m not scientific at all so I just went with their explanations of things, sort of the same way I go with it when I read Arthur Clarke or Larry Niven, two authors that feature quite a bit of scientific problem solving (technobabble?) in their work.

4. Nick Cook - May 29, 2012

I don’t usually buy these sort of magazines anymore, but think I’ll make an exception for this one. Digital edition here I come. :)

5. Damian - May 29, 2012

3–I never even realized it was technobabble at the time. I just accepted what they were saying, and like you, I had a general idea of what it was they were trying to convey. I always thought that was what separated Star Trek from Star Wars. In Star Wars, no one cares about why something works. In Star Trek, they try to add a certain realism to it.

I always said when Rick Sternbach explains how things work on the ships he helped design, he almost makes it sound like you can build a warp core or a transporter out in the garage.

6. CmdrR - May 29, 2012

Totally agree that TNG season 1 was enough to kill mere mortal tv shows. Season 2 was better, but not really great yet. We didn’t get great until seasons 3 and 4, then a smattering thereafter.

7. Danpaine - May 29, 2012

“I didn’t like writing for Picard. He was hard to do. He had to be so articulate and masterful and knowledgeable, and all the things I don’t feel on a typical day…”

I like that. So true for most of us.

8. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - May 29, 2012

The First season was ok. At the time it was on first run Tng was the greatest because it was new Star Trek. Then when Eps like Skin of Evil and The Neautral Zone and Conspiriacy came on. That is when I knew that this was going to be someting special.

9. Magic_Al - May 29, 2012

^1. “All Good Things” was the proper goodbye, I think, and it doesn’t stop being so just because we saw the characters again after that.

10. Whalien - May 29, 2012

#9 — Agreed!! First Contact was great, but did we REALLY need that story? I don’t think so. It didn’t add much or change TNG in any significant way. Worth seeing…best of the TNG films…

The other TNG films were worthless, unnecessary, and frankly…boring!!!

11. DavidJ - May 29, 2012

The technobabble only got really bad in the last couple seasons, and in crap episodes like Interface or Force of Nature where there wasn’t a whole lot else going on.

When they actually had a good, worthwhile story to tell, the technobabble was usually kept to a minimum, it felt to me.

Voyager on the other hand, really DID go completely overboard with the stuff.

12. BrF - May 29, 2012

It’s amazing how much better the show got when they hit season 3. It’s like a switch was thrown.

And, yes, the technobabble! It’s strange how familiar some of it became to me by the end of the show’s run. I feel like I almost know what a tachyon pulse actually is. Well, maybe not. But I know it’s damn consequential.

13. Smike - May 29, 2012

#1+10: I don’t understand all that negativity surrounding the NextGen movies. Yeah, they are far from perfect and turning Picard from a wise philosopher into an action-hero to fight supervillains with mass destructive weapons might not have been a clever choice…But nonetheless, all four movie had so many beautiful moments.
Right…I definitely prefer the way they fleshed out the TOS movies back in the 80s…but still…
While they may have been a bit too one-dimensional for Star Trek villains, Shinzon and Soran are charismatic baddies (portrayed by absolutely marvellous actors)…

As for Season 1…I think it is one of the best Star Trek seasons yet and the only one that really tried to fulfill the promise of exploring “strange new worlds”!!! I simply love the attempts at creating alien plants by colorful studio sets and stage fog…
I loved Seasons 4+5+6 as well, but lots of episodes in the later years of the show were simply based on mysteries and riddles, that, once solved, take away a lot from the original suspense. Lots of these episodes a not as rewatchable as some Season 1 efforts…

14. Smike - May 29, 2012

#13: It didn’t get so much better…it just got different. While there are many wonderful episodes in later seasons, they lack a lot of the original sense of wonder due to a multitude of reasons. They got rid of the great Ron Jones scores, replacing those by monotonous sonic wallpapers. They avoided to show alien surfaces in favour of ship-based mysteries, that once unveiled, lose a lot of their original thrill…
Look…”Night Terrors”, “Identity Crisis”, “Future Imperfect”, “Remember Me”, “Conundrum”, “Cause and Effect”, “The Next Phase”, “Timescape” and many more…great episodes the first time round but once you know the answer to the riddle, they are done for. And there were many fillers as well…The seventh season was the worst of all…One relative of the crew after another pops up after another…and so many fillers…I don’t know… I simply prefer the adventurous, out-of-this-world feeling of the first two seasons, when they used to waltz down on alien planets every other week…

15. Jon - May 29, 2012

Purely FYI: Amazon has now matched WalMart’s lower price for the TNG Blu-ray set (at $78.86).

I pre-ordered to lock it in now…and maybe it’ll go down some more in the interim (and Amazon does lower the price to match if this does happen, even if you’ve already pre-ordered :) ) .

Jon

16. Craiger - May 29, 2012

I wonder what would have happened if TNG got cancelled after season 1 or 2? How long would they have put Trek to bed and get it out again? Would Abrams have found Trek and told Paramount he wanted to reboot it in 2009 anyway?

17. Craiger - May 29, 2012

I also didn’t like the 1701-D at first it looked strange with that huge saucer sections but it grew on me.

18. Jim - May 29, 2012

Hey Anthony,
They will be airing Star Trek 09 this sunday, june 3th over here in Germany! The networks name is Pro7, airing time is 8.15 pm.

19. THX-1138 - May 29, 2012

#18

I know. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it when I first saw it, and I know soooo many people hate it. But I absolutely love the design. The first Enterprise was a radical departure from typical science fiction ships and the D was a further departure. When they started to do things like the EE it started to look like a drag racer in space. I don’t like that ship one bit.

20. Vultan - May 29, 2012

It’s funny when I see this criticism of Picard being turned into an action hero for the movies. Yes, they did push it too much, but it wasn’t entirely outside his character from the series. See the episode “Starship Mine,” where he essentially becomes John McClane fighting space robbers, because he has no other choice. And there are a few other examples here and there.

Maybe if Riker hadn’t been written as such a worry-wart when it came to his captain’s safety….

21. Christopher Roberts - May 29, 2012

TNG was already a huge hit in the States, by the time the BBC began showing it here in Britain. I think it had been on satelite television but on the whole, it wasn’t talked about among my friends at school, until maybe 1990 or 1991. Star Trek was still Kirk and Spock. A couple of episodes like “Q Who” and “Time Squared” made an impact. Season 3 was when it got suddenly noticed and consistantly great, week after week. That was the turning point, where more and more began to turn around, admitting it was as good as, or better than the Original.

22. Christopher Roberts - May 29, 2012

God, it feels like TV was less cutthroat in those days. Shows have subsequently come and gone, in the time it took The Next Generation to build up steam. I think that was probably true of DS9 and Voyager too. Certainly Enterprise. Something that defines each version of Star Trek and the characters suddenly click.

I hope whatever the future of Star Trek is, much more of the teething problems are sorted out before it begins. Firm backstories for all the characters and how they should interact. A whole history already mapped out on paper, to mine for episode ideas without ever faltering or having to change or add to the line-up.

23. Chain of Command - May 29, 2012

I recently started watching TNG season one again. I remember watching it when it first ran and it was just all over the place in terms of quality. Some episodes were totally cool (Where no one has gone before, The Big Goodbye, 11001001, Heart of Glory, Conspiracy etc) but then there were others (Like “Haven”, Justice, Angel One, etc) that just made me cringe. It was such a haphazard season.

The second season, when it started, was so completely different in tone and characterization that it didn’t even seem like the same show anymore (And that was a good thing). In my opinion, I always thought the second season was when TNG started to find its’ legs. Season Three just picked up the reigns from season two and went to town.

There are things I like about the early seasons though that are far superior to the later seasons. Visually and auditorially, the early seasons had a much better atmosphere.

My biggest pet peaves with the later seasons (5-7) were the scripts laced with 60 to 70 percent technobabble, flat camera work and totally boring Jay Chattaway “eee, ahhhh, ooo/” atonal music.

Still love the show, but I think the early seasons had some qualities that were pretty good and should have been kept.

24. DavidJ - May 29, 2012

20.

Actually I thought Picard running around the ship like John McClain looked cheesy as hell in Starship Mine, and I was disappointed to see it carried over to the movies as well.

It smacks of nothing more than Patrick Stewart wanting to run around and play the hunky “action hero,” even though it’s the furthest thing from who Picard was.

Throwing a punch or firing a phaser is one thing, but climbing around the rafters like he’s in a Die Hard movie was just taking it too far.

25. VZX - May 29, 2012

I’m one of the few that actually liked the technobabble and wish they had more of it. I always dug how it mostly made sense. I also got a kick out of being able to tell when the actors had no idea what they were saying. Levar Burton and Wil Wheaton did a pretty good job, but Brent Spiner and the entire Voyager cast were just reading lines, it was so obvious.

26. Vultan - May 29, 2012

#24

Like Kirk, Picard was partly based on Horatio Hornblower—hardly a man of peace. But I liked that it put him in a place where he couldn’t depend on his precious Number One or Data or Worf to do the hard work.

Remember also “The High Ground.” A terrorist appears on the bridge next to Picard. Picard promptly decks him and knocks him to the floor. Like a boss.

27. rm10019 - May 29, 2012

24 I agree with this, and the movies never truly caught the genius of the Picard character. They never did a really ‘smart’ movie, though FC is not bad at all.

Why does every single TNG movie end with old people fighting on scaffoling??

28. Battle-scarred Sciatica - May 29, 2012

@21 Christopher Roberts

I remember going to “Starship Video” (yep that was the name of the shop) in Norwich and hiring out the TNG episode videos. They came out way before it was shown on satellite TV in the UK when it started.

My mate and I would sit down and watch them repeatedly. I think there was 2 or 3 episodes on the cassette. I remember the excitement of waiting days for the next latest release.

Even though they were reasonably dull, they were new and they were expanding the Star Trek universe. It was very exciting at the time.

Cool days

29. Orb of Wisdom - May 29, 2012

Star Trek: Nemesis has one redeeming quality: it helped launch Tom Hardy into the public eye to become one of today’s huge stars. Everytime I see someone fangirling over Tom Hardy but they hate old Star Trek (old Star Trek meaning before JJ’s time) I point them to Nemesis and then grin Phlox-style as they are shocked that Tom Hardy was in it. LOL It should have had more explanation of how the Romulans got Picards DNA in the first place (presumably from the Yesterday’s Enterprise Tasha Yar) and voila, had I been a writer on that movie, I’d have designed a subplot revealing that Sela was a genetically altered Tasha Yar and NOT her daughter, that was on an undercover mission for Section 31 and somewhere along the way, The Romulans blcoked out her Tasha Yar memories and implanted an alternate life in her mind to make her the Sela we knew. A substitute for Donatra too in Nemesis.

30. cj - May 29, 2012

If Shankar thinks the technobabble on TNG was bad, what was Voyager?

31. Marvin the Martian - May 29, 2012

I’m probably one of the few Trek fans who actually LIKE the first season. Yes, there are some cringe-worthy episodes like “Code of Honor” and “Justice” or sleep-inducers like “Too Short A Season,” but there are several memorable moments from the series as a whole that are in Season One:

*Picard’s conversation with his mother in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” set to some incredibly moving music

*Riker’s date with Minuet in “11001001”

*The holodeck characters discover that they’re actually not real in “The Long Goodbye”

*Wesley’s realization that his life-or death decision was a surprise test in “Coming of Age”

*The view of the world through Geordi’s visor in “Heart of Glory”

*Picard and Crusher’s argument over the Prime Directive in “Symbiosis”

*Picard saving Crusher from dying in “The Arsenal of Freedom”

*The exploding body in “Conspiracy”

and the one that’s still powerful to this day…

*Tasha Yar’s goodbye message in “Skin of Evil,” which still makes me choke up

There’s a lot to like about Season One, and it gets a really bad rap. With the exception of “All Good Things…” (which was genius), I could watch most of Season One far more often than any single episode from Season Seven.

32. Marvin the Martian - May 29, 2012

Uh, that’s “Where No One Has Gone Before.” Sorry… TOS on the brain.

33. Marvin the Martian - May 29, 2012

If you had to pick the worst season of TNG, it’s a battle between Season Two and Season Seven.

“Shades of Gray.” Need I say more?

34. Thorny - May 29, 2012

29… Tom Hardy’s a huge star? “Warrior” flopped (its good though). “This Means War” flopped (it sucked.) Does anyone even remember who he was in “Inception”, the only big hit movie he’s been in?

35. Thorny - May 29, 2012

33… I think Season 2 is better than 1 and about the same as 7. “Shades of Grey” was awful, but Season 1 had “Code of Honor”, “Justice” and “Homesoil” which together outweigh it on the awfulness scale. Season 2 gave us “Q Who?” which is by far the best episode of the first two seasons, IMHO. And best of all, Season 2 gave us no Gates McFadden and her talent-free acting.

36. Sebastian S. - May 29, 2012

Wow.
Has it really been 25 years?!? Holy cow… :-o

I still remember buying a special Sony ‘gold’ quality T-120 videocassette to record the pilot episode (which I much later burned to a DVD) on the premiere night in September of 1987.

I remember my first impression of ST-TNG being largely disappointment from week-to-week. There was some particularly bad acting (from Marina Sirtis and ironically, from Patrick Stewart; although he later ‘found’ the character in subsequent episodes).

“Encounter at Farpoint” was really shaky as pilot episodes go. Some of the FX looked like Saturday morning kid-vid stuff (very ‘videotape’ looking), the sets were off-putting and cheesy as well (kind of “Buck Rogers” looking most of the time). None of the cast really seemed to have a handle on their characters (except for Brent Spiner’s Data; he was the big favorite of mine from the night I first saw the pilot). Frankly, it wasn’t until season 3 that (for me) the show became real ‘must-see’ viewing.

Sadly, of late I’ve kind of ‘outgrown’ ST-TNG (the new BSG spoiled my palette; plus, I was always more of a TOS and DS9 person, really), but I still have very fond memories of watching TNG in it’s early days (even if the episodes are not really my thing anymore). It was just kind of cool having new ST episodes every week (no matter how dodgy their quality was in those days).

To paraphrase ST movie producer Harve Bennett, those early days of TNG were “the turkey sandwiches in between the Thanksgivings.”

;-)

37. Sebastian S. - May 29, 2012

# 35.

Thanks Thorny~

I thought I was the only one who couldn’t stand McFadden’s Dr Crusher. She was badly written and badly acted. Even in First Contact, she ‘loses’ her patient (whom she promised Picard she would ‘keep sedated’). Even Nurse Chapel would’ve made a better CMO, really (as she was a doctor too, in ST-TMP). But McFadden’s Crusher was, along with Troi, an embarrassingly badly written female character. She had a handful of decent episodes much later on, but I never believed her as a competent physician (in part due to the actresses’ ineffectiveness).

For ST-TNG’s season 2, I liked Pulaski much better. Too bad she was never given a fair shake…

38. Nachum - May 29, 2012

I remember when I first saw that photo in Time Magazine, summer of 1987 (note: no Worf), and spent a while trying to figure out who was who.

39. Dr Beckett - May 30, 2012

I concur with #1. TNG deserves a proper sendoff, most of the cast have aged considerably well and could still pull it off. The original cast got a proper sendoff in 1991, which also happened to be in their 25th anniversary.

40. CmdrR - May 30, 2012

Wish they had brought Dr. Pulaski back for a few guest eps.
Would have been cool to see her and Dr. Crusher duke it out over something or other. Could have been Pulaski in the one where Worf breaks his back. THAT would have made that a good ep, instead of a so-so one.

And I do think season 2 had several episodes that were both good and proved that better stuff was on the way.

41. Trek Or Treat - May 30, 2012

I was in high school when TNG came out. I guess I didn’t really notice how weak some of the earlier episodes were because I was too thrilled that Trek was back on TV. I replayed those first episodes over and over on my VCR. But when season 3 began I noticed a marked difference. Everything was coming together and when we got to the Best of Both Worlds cliffhanger, I was out of my seat shouting at the TV for more.

I didn’t really notice any decline in quality until season 7. That’s when I remember thinking, maybe it’s time to put this series to bed. True, there were weaker episodes before that. I’ll never understand why anyone thinks Time’s Arrow was anything but blah.

But to this day TNG is my favorite of the series. I watched it RELIGIOUSLY. I consider myself a huge Trek fan, but I remember sort of “slogging through” parts of DS9, VOY and ENT. I’ve since change my mind about the later 3 series, especially DS9. I now love them all, but TNG will always be at the top of my list.

42. Scott - May 30, 2012

The technobabble worked because it WAS internally consistent. After all, we’re watching a storyline about starships moving at multiple times the speed of light. That’s the first part of the suspension of disbelief.

43. Enterprisingguy - May 30, 2012

Dr. Pulaski was just the foil that Picard needed. Up until then he was surrounded by yes-men/women who never questioned him when he needed it. I knew that I would love the character when she opted to get right to work when she came on board rather than bow to stuffy protocol. You could see that the captain was miffed and she didn’t care!

Best of all: A whole season without a single doe-eyed utterance of….

“….Ohhh Jean-Luc!”

44. Damian - May 30, 2012

Part of the reason for “action hero” Picard was Patrick Stewart himself. He liked being more action oriented in Generations and First Contact and wanted more of that. I didn’t necessarily have a problem with that in and of itself, it was just that they seemed to sacrifice some of his characters strengths. We got a glimpse of the old Picard in Nemesis when he is dining with Schinzon and said that nothing would make him prouder than to take his hand in friendship. A little bit of the old, high ideals Picard snuck through there.

As for Season 1, at the time it was showing, I wasn’t really shore about TNG. I was a new Trekkie at the time, about a year. I thought, how can you have Star Trek without Kirk, Spock and McCoy. But something about TNG kept me coming back each week. It seemed they would have a cheesy episode, then a good one. I think “Conspiracy” was when I really thought the show had a chance. I agree with another poster, Season 2 had a different feel to it.

45. Jack - May 30, 2012

I never likedthe technobabble, and I think it became a serious problem later, especially with voyager where it started to dominate the scripts. It became magic — a tachyon pulse or an adjustment of phase variance could do anything they needed.

Some of the flaws from early TNG — the technobabble deus ex machina and the pointless B-story — became a regular part of Voyager plots.

I watched it all, even when it was weak (although I gave up on TNG after that clip episode that ended season two — I was away at college and didn’t bother to watch it… and then I just happened to catch the first part of Best of Both Worlds on a friday night, and I was hooked).

I do agreetnat it was amazing they were kept alive to find their footing.

46. CaptainDonovin - May 30, 2012

Loved TNG, it’s the show that brought me into the Trek universe for good. There was a TNG marathon on prior to the start of Descent, pt. 2 & that was it for me, I never looked back from there. The techobabble was part of the magic of the show for me, gavel it that feel that oh yah, this is the future.

47. BaronByng - May 30, 2012

Season 1 was definitely a bit of an experiment.
The cinematography and lighting was very TV-conventional for the period – very flat, 2D staging, overbright TV lights with flat modeling (very Dynasty), some obvious soundstages-as-alien-worlds.

Compare that to later seasons, where it was clear they were using smaller, more mobile cameras / steadicams, doing more location work, and using slightly better film stock – things started to get a bit more cinematic.

I remember Season 1 mostly for its ‘in the future, everyone will wear really shiny metallic fabrics!” / ‘everyone has the same clothes and haircut on our world’ trope, but that carried through all the post-TNG series.

In terms of the writing, it seemed they really hadn’t found Picard’s voice yet. At times he seemed over-stern and cold, other times strangely voluble. And there was that whole dislike of children thing which was never fully explored, and in other settings (the Nexus, for instance) seemingly reversed completely.

48. captain_neill - May 30, 2012

Will pick it up, there is an advert of the blu ray set and an interview with the guy doing the features, going to be really detailed in the features and the story will all come together through all seven seasons.

49. Jack - May 30, 2012

47. “I remember Season 1 mostly for its ‘in the future, everyone will wear really shiny metallic fabrics!” / ‘everyone has the same clothes and haircut on our world’ trope, but that carried through all the post-TNG series.”

God, yeah. I was sad the first time I saw the shiny bedsheets on TNG — it all seemed very Buck Rogers (the 80s Universal show). Same with the tights for off-duty wear. I wanted a little imagination (same with props, furniture and set decoration — what’s super modern/trendy at the time of filming won’t be futuristic in 200 years, or 3 years — which is why I loved those china cups and those Enterprise blankets in Trev VI)

I’m still not a fan of the same haircut/same outfit club. I wonder if someone rationalized that, “heck, businessmen all wear the same stuff?” I still don’t buy that every single person on Romulus and Vulcan would have that same wiggy Caesar cut. Or that elected/appointed officials all wear matching outfits.

50. Damian - May 30, 2012

49–Part of the sameness might be by design. For instance, Starfleet is still a military organization so some things would naturally be uniform.

As for alien cultures, like the Romulan Empire, they are a totalitarian government and individuality would be frowned upon.

But for the first season or 2, they probably weren’t too creative because they were still finding their feet. All the spinoff’s seemed to take until about season 3 to find their place. It makes me wonder what might have been with Enterprise given a season 5. There was a vast improvement with season 4. Manny Coto gave Enterprise new life, it’s a shame it was cut short.

51. boxker - May 30, 2012

My main and only problems with TNG (and the shows after) are:

1. The music cues from Dennis McCarthy (after season 3 I think) was absolutely mundane and boring.
2. Too much technobabble. Sometimes it seemed to overtake the episodes.
3. The Enterprise wasn’t revered enough. (in my opinion.)

52. Gregory McNeill - May 30, 2012

I have to agree. I must admit that TNG had its problems during the first season. Episodes like Skin of Evil, Conspiracy, and Datalore had proven to me that this show was going to surpass the original.

When I saw Part 1 of the Best of Both Worlds in Season 3, I knew that I was right. TNG is still one of my all time favorite sci-fi shows.

53. Whalien - May 30, 2012

#49 — I’m convinced that had TOS continued, it would have eventually devolved into that Buck Rogers or Logans Run TV series look with regard to production values.

I agree about the look of early TNG.

54. James T. West - May 30, 2012

1st season WAS weak…but it was innovative! I was 16, and able to see brand new weekly Star Trek first run! Best episode? 11001001!

Even weaker was the sub-par season 2! BUT, we got the beard!

55. Trek Or Treat - May 30, 2012

52. Gregory McNeill – May 30, 2012

I have to agree. I must admit that TNG had its problems during the first season. Episodes like Skin of Evil, Conspiracy, and Datalore had proven to me that this show was going to surpass the original.

Funny that you should mention Datalore. I always thought that was one of the weaker season 1 eps. Especially the whole bit with Wesley being the only one to realize Lore had switched places with Data. He couldn’t even get anyone but his mom to come down to Data’s quarters to see him unconscious!

IMHO of course.

56. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 30, 2012

Technobabble was often the deus ex machina of TNG episodes, and a symptom of lazy writing at times. When they couldn’t think of a clever way out of a situation, they just tossed in some technobabble and BAM! things worked out.

That will happen when you have nearly two hundred episodes of a series to write, and only so much time to write them.

I gave up on TNG sometime during the first season, didn’t watch any of season two, but for some reason started again with season three, and kept watching from then on. It certainly had its wretched episodes, but the good ones were more than reason enough to keep watching.

57. Obsidian - May 30, 2012

The technobabble never bothered me. Of course a starship in the 24th century is going to be technical! Most of the tech talk was fairly understandable. I thought.

One of my favorite TNG episodes was called “Below Decks” if I remember right. A story about a group of lower rank newbies adjusting to life on the Enterprise. It was fantastic.

I think it’s a great idea for a series. Focus the story on a “below decks” group of crewmembers. Sure, the captain and higher officers will be featured, but each story would involve the core group of “below deckers.”

It could be set in any ST era, the JJverse, or TOS, TNG, etc. Doesn’t matter. What do you think?

58. alec grimes - May 30, 2012

The next generation movies, all but First contact wasn’t that good. I found Insurrection to be the worst of them all because it was bascially a television episode. There was nothing great about the camera shots and angels. And the story ? Meh ! I mean, really ?! A fountain of youths, and a couple of spoiled brats want revenge on their kin? There wasn’t any scope to The next generation movies. Even I found first contact lacking in scope. One borg ship ? Come on now. Star Trek: The Motion Picture, say what you will about it being boring, but it had SCOPE and a nice story as well. JJ Abram’s Trek got some of the scope right. Not so much with the enterprise herself, except for the awesome emerging from saturn’s rings. If they could get The star trek movies on the scope of Star Wars…it would be awesome…of course…story first.

59. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 30, 2012

Generations had a good start. Picard’s scene with Troi as he’s looking through his photo album is heartbreaking. A fantastic job of acting from Patrick Stewart. Something Shatner could never do.

60. MJ - May 31, 2012

@59. How about Shat in the scene at the beginning of Trek III when Sarek does the mind meld with Kirk — come on, that was as heartbreaking as the Picard scene you mentioned…when Kirk whisper’s “Spock,” and said,”there wasn’t time” and then insisits “he would have found a way.” I can’t come up with any Picard scene in TNG which surpasses that scene. Come on???

Sheesh, here I am defending Shat? But, seriously, including TOS and the first three Trek movies, I love the guy’s performances as Kirk. Before he became the bufoonish Shat of the past 15 years, he was one hell of a Captain Kirk, and Stewart never equaled him as Picard.

61. MJ - May 31, 2012

@56 “Technobabble was often the deus ex machina of TNG episodes, and a symptom of lazy writing at times. When they couldn’t think of a clever way out of a situation, they just tossed in some technobabble and BAM! things worked out.”

By far the worst example of all of this was the horrid Holodeck. I remember groaning on every episode when the holodeck was used.

62. MJ - May 31, 2012

@43 “Dr. Pulaski was just the foil that Picard needed. Up until then he was surrounded by yes-men/women who never questioned him when he needed it. I knew that I would love the character when she opted to get right to work when she came on board rather than bow to stuffy protocol. You could see that the captain was miffed and she didn’t care!”

Conceptually, I agree with you that that the idea of this could have worked, but that prune-faced actress just did not pull it off, nor did the writers give here much to work with. Let’s admit it, the female actresses in general in TNG were fairly weak after Crosby departed, and the writers didn’t help them out much.

Case in point, when they finally brought in a really good actress, Michelle Forbes, in a strongly written female character, we fans cryed out for more of Ro Laren, because we were so sick of the whiney McFadden, and the misued (by the writers) Deanna Troi character (Marina Sirtis is a good actress, but the writers never could figure out the role for the ill-conceived Ship’s Conselor concept).

63. Damian - May 31, 2012

60–I never really compared Picard to Kirk. Picard was never intended to be like Kirk. They were both great for different reasons and both had vastly different character traits that worked.

61–I always liked the holodeck, though there were some episodes that made me cringe. I liked “The Big Goodbye” and “Elementary, Dear Data” for example. Less impressive were episodes like Voyagers “Fair Haven.” It all depended on how they used the holodeck.

58–Agree on Insurrection. On my list of Star Trek movies, it is only one above Star Trek V. I liked it in as much as I liked all 11 movies. It probably would have been ok as an episode of the TV series, but as a movie, it seemed a wasted opportunity. At that time, the Federation was deep in the Dominion War. I really was hoping for a movie involving the Enterprise in the war. I know they didn’t want to make a movie requiring you to see and know DS9, but I think there were creative ways to write a Dominion War movie without requiring you to know the background of the conflict. I just think it was a wasted opportunity.

64. SoonerDave - May 31, 2012

I remember watching “The Naked Now,” and saying to myself, “Good grief, they’ve literally redone the *exact* same episode from the original series.” And it wasn’t the only one redone, but perhaps the worst offender.

Glad to know someone on the production realized how horrendous the Treknobabble was.

The problem with Treknobabble was that it belied the degree to which the writers, on an ongoing basis, had so little faith in the underlying storytelling base. For me, as a series weakness, Treknobabble was only slightly ahead of the infuriating and non-credible sterility of the TNG Enterprise. It looked like a Flying Marriott, but that’s another discussion.

I believe it was David Gerrold in the old “Making of Star Trek” book talking about Treknobabble (although it wasn’t called that), and warned of the dangers of explaining everything to death in your fake technology universe. He likened it to a cop show where a guy pulls out a gun and shoots it – you don’t need ten minutes of dialog explaining how pulling the trigger ignites the explosion that expels the bullet. You just accept that it works. And that was *precisely* where TNG went off the rails with its constant story devices of “aligning the phase generators” or constantly running “level 1 diagnostics” or “frammulating the glorpinators” just before Wesley saved the ship.

TNG was a good show, at times a great show, but sometimes it was hard to overlook its conspicuous weaknesses. Treknobabble was chief among them.

65. Rick Sternbach - May 31, 2012

#5 – Thanks for the thumbs-up. Tried to keep things sounding real, even if they were 24th century. I was never an advocate of mouthfuls of tech terms, but if we needed to explain something, I always thought we should have tech lines that made sense coupled with a simpler translation, within a natural dialogue patter. Funny thing, and this isn’t meant to knock the “modern era” TNG/DS9/Voy stuff, but Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis seemed to make tech a lot more audience-friendly. Perhaps they learned a thing or two from us and adapted. :)

I don’t know how many have been following the thread over on Facebook, but I’ve been telling people that I think I can now field-strip a Klingon Bird of Prey wing disruptor, blindfolded. Been tearing into the BOP for the new Haynes workshop manual; tons of fun.

66. Red Dead Ryan - May 31, 2012

#65.

1. I seem to recall that DS9 had the least technobabble of the three 24th century spinoffs.

2. You’re doing a new Haynes manual featuring the BoP? Cool!

67. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

60. MJ – May 31, 2012
@59. How about Shat in the scene at the beginning of Trek III when Sarek does the mind meld with Kirk — come on, that was as heartbreaking as the Picard scene you mentioned…when Kirk whisper’s “Spock,” and said,”there wasn’t time” and then insisits “he would have found a way.” I can’t come up with any Picard scene in TNG which surpasses that scene. Come on???

That was indeed a great moment, MJ, but I still think Stewart had better moments. Only my opinion. I agree with you that Shat lost it after the first three movies.

And the holodeck! Yes, I grew tired of holodeck episodes. Voyager was even more dependent on them.

68. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

66. Red Dead Ryan – Maybe the lower amount of technobabble was one of the reasons DS9 is my favorite Trek series.

69. Red Dead Ryan - May 31, 2012

It made some sense for TNG to use the holodeck. It provided a number of uses, like recreation, and sometimes to solve problems.

On “Voyager” it made little sense. They were supposed to conserve energy during their long journey home. Using the holodeck obviously used up a lot of the ship’s reserve energy supplies. Apart from “The Killing Game” most of “Voyager”s holodeck episodes were lame.

At least TNG had a number of good holodeck episodes. Such as “The Big Goodbye” and the Sherlock Holmes ones.

#68.

“Deep Space Nine” is my favorite show too! I had always used to put TOS and TNG ahead while thinking DS9 was just below, but I eventually came to realize that DS9 was (subconsciously at least) my favorite of the whole franchise.

70. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

69. Red Dead Ryan – Like TNG, it took me a while to get used to DS9, especially Avery Brooks. He seemed very stilted in the role for quite a while. Strangely enough, he really seemed to come alive once he shaved his head. Whatever it was, he became my favorite captain. As with any Trek series, it had its terrible episodes, but overall I feel it was more consistently awesome. Once DS9 ended, Trek ended for me. I never warmed up to Voyager (though I wanted to warm up to 7 of 9, if you know what I mean), and Enterprise never did it for me either.

We need a new series, that’s all there is to it. A movie every four years? That’s not how you develop characters and keep people interested, no matter how good they are, and I DID like Trek09.

71. Jack - May 31, 2012

65. Mr. Sternbach, the good thing about the tech terms on Trek is that you folks did a fantastic job at keeping it consistent. And the detail was amazing. And it was a believable universe. But in practice, it sometimes replaced storytelling. And meaningful dialogue.

TOS omitted a lot of details (on tech and on future life in general, including the exact year), but it was also a believable universe (and Star Wars, at least in the movie series alone, got into almost no detail on the tech). Of course, TOS had the luxury of only being around for three years — after 18 years, it’s a lot tougher to leave the details to the imagination.

Did the established tech ever limit story possibilities — or did some writers just ignore it when necessary?

Of course, it’s easy in retrospect to focus on and blame the technobabble — in the beginning it was there to make things believable.

72. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

65. Rick Sternbach – Hey, man, thanks for coming here to talk! While I’ve expressed some disdain for technobabble, it was in they way it was used to solve story problems, and not in the logic of it within the Trek universe. Your terms and concepts were brilliantly logical in the milieu of Trek, and I applaud your linguistic ingenuity!

73. Red Dead Ryan - May 31, 2012

#70.

I agree with you about Avery Brooks/Sisko. The actor seemed a bit stiff early on, and Sisko felt like a character who was struggling to not be in the shadow of Picard. Once the Defiant showed up, and even more after he shaved his head, did Sisko toughen up, and Brooks become relaxed in the role.

I think the show got a big boost when TNG ended. There was no longer the big shadow that hovered over DS9. I felt that the writers of DS9 were under more pressure when TNG was still going. Once TNG came to an end, I think the producers of DS9 felt free to go in new directions.

74. MJ - May 31, 2012

Yea, DS9 is my favorite, save TOS. TNG is 3rd. All three of those I like, then it is a deep drop to Voyager and Enterprise.

75. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

73. Red Dead Ryan – Exactly. And SOME of those directions had never been done in Star Trek. They got away with a lesbian scene that religious groups would have screamed about if it weren’t in a science fiction show. I think the episode was “Rejoined” but I’m not sure and am too lazy to look it up.

Either way, it was a damned good episode, and totally ignored by those who would normally be offended. I love it. And The Visitor was amazing, heartbreaking, incredibly acted.

They did a lot of stuff like that. They went where no Trek Series had gone before. And I liked that. I thought Voyager would be the same, but well, no, they went to the holodeck all the time, and met the Borg so often that I expected them to start borrowing each other’s lawn mowers and shit.

76. Jack - May 31, 2012

Although, wasn’t the titillating TV lesbian kiss stuff already a little trendy by the time they did that? They certainly weren’t ready for it with Crusher and the female Kevin Sorbo…

77. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

76. Jack – I don’t honestly remember whether it was trendy then. I remember being surprised at the time, and wondering if anything would be said about it. But I truly believe if it had been done on some primetime drama, there would have been some kind of notice. This went completely unrecognized, neither praised nor damned. I still think that quite odd, and product of it being within the context of a science fiction show.

Lastly, I must plead ignorance. “Crusher and the female Kevin Sorbo?” I don’t now the reference, but it sounds hilarious anyway.

78. Red Dead Ryan - May 31, 2012

#74.

Yes, the episode was called “Rejoined”. And totally agreed about “The Visitor”, which was sort of DS9’s version of “The Inner Light”.

#76.

Wasn’t there a lesbian kiss on “Xena” between Xena and Gabrielle?

Funny how it was groundbreaking back then but is now a cynical shock-value device….at least in terms of lesbian kisses!

Ah well!

79. Red Dead Ryan - May 31, 2012

#77.

Jack was mentioning the events of the TNG episode “The Host”. That one had Dr.Crusher developing feelings for a Trill symbiont inside a male host. Once the host died, the symbiont was briefly transferred to Riker before another permanent host was found. That permanent host was female, and the doctor felt uncomfortable with continuing a relationship with the now female-oriented symbiont.

80. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - May 31, 2012

79. Red Dead Ryan – Thanks! I remember the episode. The creative description went over my head. You know your Trek well.

81. MJ - May 31, 2012

@78 “Xena and Gabrielle?”

God, that brings back some fond memories — was always hoping those two would…….

;-)

82. 790 - June 1, 2012

How exciting, another Next Gen anniversary.

Yawn, double yawn,,,

83. Damian - June 1, 2012

79–What was interesting about Crusher’s reaction in “The Host” was that she was having a hard time handling all the changes, not so much that the new host was female. Her problem was that she just wasn’t able to adapt. Of course, society today tends to focus on the if your gay, your gay. Sometimes we forget the flip side is true, if you were born straight, your straight, so I’m sure that played into Crusher’s reaction as well.

I never got the feeling “The Host” was a knock on gays.

84. Rick Sternbach - June 1, 2012

#71 – I’m not sure that the tech ever limited the writing, except perhaps in wanting to get ships from one distant location to another a lot faster than was plausible within the technical boundaries we set up. Well, more like general “guidelines.” :) We wrote memos and gave clear bits of information on specific bits of hardware, materials, processes, and in the end it was up to the writers to boil it down into natural dialogue. Which didn’t always happen, but we got what we got. Some of the writer/producer folks were terrific listeners, like Jeri Taylor, and I will never have enough good things to say about her. She got it.

I want to mention Stargate again, simply because their characters were able, even if it meant ridiculing the “technobabble” aspect as Jack O’Neill was wont to do, to make the tech come out a lot more naturally. David Hewlett’s Dr. McKay was very, very good at slinging plausible-sounding terminology around, as well as dropping into more natural quips about things that were happening (or were about to happen!). “Modern era” Trek needed a lot more of that, though DS9 certainly had a more natural feel than either TNG or Voyager.

85. Rick Sternbach - June 1, 2012

#72 – Thanks for the thumbs-up. We worked the tech out as best we could, and it was up to the writer folk to weave it into compelling stories. Even with a few “technobabble” fumbles, most of which could have been fixed easily, we still have a rather large collection of episodes to be proud of.

86. Damian - June 1, 2012

85–It was good that guys like you, John Eaves and Doug Drexler, among others, tried to make sure everything on the ship had a purpose (even if that didn’t reflect in the story itself). After all, you never know when that plasma conduit running along the bulk head might cause trouble in a later episode and lead to a warp core failure.

As much as I liked Star Trek (2009), my one main pet peeve was the set design. I don’t necessary need “technobabble” explained on screen, but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason. On the prior shows back to the original series, at least everything in the ship seemed to have a purpose and you can make out some of how things worked. On the new Enterprise, it took me until the 5th time watching before I even figured out what the warp core was.

87. Rick Sternbach - June 1, 2012

#86 – Well, *most* everything we drew or made tech notes about had a purpose. Some of it was just plain cool. :) But the story-specific stuff we tried to nail properly within the 24th century context. If a writer asked for something to happen with such-and-such a system, we really did try to work it out logically. A lot of the writers were good about keeping certain tech things in mind, so we didn’t have just any old crazy thing happen with the engines or weapons or planets, etc. Some had to be reminded about the “If the engine can do *this*, that means that…” sort of flow of thought. They weren’t all tech-savvy, and that’s okay. They didn’t need to be. But it did get a little nuts when they sprinkled their own tech terms in there, like with all of the isogenic-this and inverse-that stuff. That wasn’t me or Okuda.

88. Jack - June 1, 2012

83 “I never got the feeling “The Host” was a knock on gays.”

My only point (unclear) was that I vaguely remember Gates McFadden saying somewhere that she’d thought it would make sense for her to kiss the female whatever his name was, to say goodbye… and they basically told her we can’t do that on television.

89. Jack - June 1, 2012

By the way, the Kevin Sorbo thing wasn’t a clever joke — all these years I’d honestly remembered that being Kevin Sorbo as Odan in that episode. I just checked it and, of course, I’m wrong.

90. ML31 - June 2, 2012

I agree with Moore. That first season was pretty bad. The show did get better once, and this happened with the original show as well, Roddenberry’s influence was lessened.

I can totally believe that Braga said about writing for Picard. The character was an awfully boring one too. Major kudos to Stewart as his massive acting chops made a bland character watchable. In fact, it was Patrick Stewart who made the bad episodes (and there were a lot of them) watchable.

91. MJ - June 3, 2012

@90 “I agree with Moore. That first season was pretty bad. The show did get better once, and this happened with the original show as well, Roddenberry’s influence was lessened.”

Given the first season of TOS is generally considered the best, I am not sure how you can draw that conclusion about Rodenberry? In fact, the exact opposite is true — Rodenberry was least involved in the 3rd season, which was by far the worst.

I recommend you read up more on the history of Star Trek so that you can better familarize yourself with how the original show was developed and produced. Start with The Making of Star Trek, and then read The World of Star Trek.

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