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Compare and Contrast: The Orville, the Star Treks, the Stargates, the Battlestars... and the rest

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It looks like @SilverStormm originally started the lost THE COMPARISON ELEMENTS OF THE ORVILLE VS. THE REAL MCCOY (AND THE REAL KIRK, THE REAL SPOCK, ETC.) AND OTHER FANTASY GENRES thread.

FWIW, thanks to the Internet Archive, from season 1:

And, as @SilverStormm originally said, "Discuss!"

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I am a huge sci fi fan and have always been but could never get into Farscape an can’t esxplain why.  I found it deeply stupid.   Don’t get me wrong this show is deeply stupid...for example Gordon is so much a waste and I could so do without him but other then that the show has so much potential when it finds the right balance between comedy and drama.

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If Seth likes him some Star Trek TNG, having the actress playing the security chief leave the show, with only two female regular characters remaining, is about as good as a TNG homage as you can get. At least he didn't kill off Alara a la Tasha Yar.

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12 hours ago, Quickbeam said:

Wow, she’s my favorite character. I wasn’t expecting them to Tasha Yar her. I liked the episode but feeling sad she won’t be in the cast.

Unlike Tasha where TNG was very serious in proclaiming look at female is the ass kicker before abruptly replacing her with an alien ass kicker Alera being the cutest on the ship was always part of the joke.

"The military" reminds me of LT. Reed on Enterprise when the MACOs were introduced and Sarak being sort of ashamed of Spock choosing Starfleet 

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13 minutes ago, Raja said:

Unlike Tasha where TNG was very serious in proclaiming look at female is the ass kicker before abruptly replacing her with an alien ass kicker Alera being the cutest on the ship was always part of the joke.

"The military" reminds me of LT. Reed on Enterprise when the MACOs were introduced and Sarak being sort of ashamed of Spock choosing Starfleet 

The way Halston Sage left also leaves the door open to easily bring her back in the future. TNG had to figure out a way to get Denise Crosby back on the show and only once as her original character (Yesterday's Enterprise). 

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7 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

The return of Robert Picardo's character and John Billingsley as well?  And they both share the screen a lot?!  I do love that!  Now, they just need to find roles for Alexander Siddig and Gates McFadden, and all of the living actors who played Star Trek doctors can join the party!

I haven't paid much attention to any behind the scene stuff, so I'm surprised that it looks like Alara is gone for good.  It sounded like she was a pretty popular character, but I guess Halston Sage didn't want to stick around anymore?  Or is all of this temporary and she'll be back?  Either way, I guess it kind of follows suite with the whole "homage" to The Next Generation, with the original Security Chief existing early on in the run.  But I will miss her.  And while I generally love Patrick Warburton, I wasn't feeling his character.  Just seems like another immature doofus like Gordon, only he's an alien.

I actually didn't mind the episode overall, because, again, it felt exactly like similar episodes from various character-centric Star Trek episodes.

The effects to create Xelaya were fantastic.  For once, I agree with Gordon!

ST:TNG also didn't have a consistent Chief Engineer until the second season, like the Orville. 

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I like that The Orville has become the modern geek version of The Love Boat or Fantasy Island as far as having regular guest appearances of sci-fi and comedy actors.  I have a feeling McFarlane has a pretty deep bench of actors going "oooh, me!  me!  pick me for a random weird alien part!"

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1 hour ago, SmithW6079 said:

That's because "The Orville" is not a comedy.

I didn't read any press prior to the show other than Seth is going a live action show about space. I never thought of it as a comedy. It's actually a really character driven show, and I think this episode really underscored that. I thought it was an exceptional hour of television tbh. I liked the religion episode because they did have a point to it, but this might be their best effort. Obviously it helped because they cast exceptional actors that 'get' the genre.

1 hour ago, Driad said:

Hoping you will expand on this in the "Compare and Contrast" thread. Thanks!

Trek is the best of the best and everyone is the finest person ever. I like Trek overall, but I'm not a trekkie, and sometimes it just turns be off because it's antiseptic. Then they go the opposite way and make everyone awful. There never was really much nuance to me. 

B5 had real people to me. The security chief was a recovering alcoholic. The commander had ptsd and the chief called bs on him. The uniforms had pockets. They weren't the best people, but they tried to do their best.

Ed isn't the best captain, but he's genuinely trying. The pilot is a fuck up but he's still good at his job and is loyal to Ed. The engineer hid his talents because he was afraid of failing. Alara's character arc is riddled with self-doubt. People are funny because they're funny in real life. 

These are real people to me. This show is seriously underrated because everyone thinks "oh it's Peter Griffin in space."  

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1 hour ago, ganesh said:

This show is seriously underrated because everyone thinks "oh it's Peter Griffin in space."  

Heh, sometimes it is.

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1 hour ago, ganesh said:

I didn't read any press prior to the show other than Seth is going a live action show about space. I never thought of it as a comedy. It's actually a really character driven show, and I think this episode really underscored that. I thought it was an exceptional hour of television tbh. I liked the religion episode because they did have a point to it, but this might be their best effort. Obviously it helped because they cast exceptional actors that 'get' the genre.

Trek is the best of the best and everyone is the finest person ever. I like Trek overall, but I'm not a trekkie, and sometimes it just turns be off because it's antiseptic. Then they go the opposite way and make everyone awful. There never was really much nuance to me. 

B5 had real people to me. The security chief was a recovering alcoholic. The commander had ptsd and the chief called bs on him. The uniforms had pockets. They weren't the best people, but they tried to do their best.

Ed isn't the best captain, but he's genuinely trying. The pilot is a fuck up but he's still good at his job and is loyal to Ed. The engineer hid his talents because he was afraid of failing. Alara's character arc is riddled with self-doubt. People are funny because they're funny in real life. 

These are real people to me. This show is seriously underrated because everyone thinks "oh it's Peter Griffin in space."  

Exactly. Seth himself has repeatedly said that he never intended the show to be a straight-up comedy, and Fox mis-marketed it as such during the run-up to the premiere last year.  His vision for the show has always been a mix of sci-fi/drama interspersed with comedy, and it's been a very difficult balance to maintain, but I think Seth has managed to pull it off brilliantly.

I also agree with you that one of the things that set this show apart from Trek (especially TNG, upon which Seth very deliberately modeled the show) is that its characters are allowed to be flawed and to make mistakes that have actual consequences. Trek rarely, if ever, allowed its characters that luxury, particularly its human characters -- they were almost always held up as perfect models of behavior who never screwed up or made things worse under the false impression of "doing the right thing."  Picard in particular could be downright insufferable at times with his completely sanitary approach to life and his borderline pompous, self-righteous attitude.

Let me put it this way: while I'd trust the crews of the Orville, the Enterprise, DS9, and the Voyager all to have my back in a crisis, I'd have much more fun and probably learn more from hanging out with the Orville's crew on a daily basis, simply because I feel we'd have so much more in common.

Edited by legaleagle53
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It's not that they need to be suffering or dark, but being in the command staff meeting and making piss jokes or having a day drink brings more of a dimension. 

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7 hours ago, ganesh said:

B5 had real people to me. The security chief was a recovering alcoholic. The commander had ptsd and the chief called bs on him. The uniforms had pockets. They weren't the best people, but they tried to do their best.

Ed isn't the best captain, but he's genuinely trying. The pilot is a fuck up but he's still good at his job and is loyal to Ed. The engineer hid his talents because he was afraid of failing. Alara's character arc is riddled with self-doubt. People are funny because they're funny in real life. 

These are real people to me. This show is seriously underrated because everyone thinks "oh it's Peter Griffin in space."  

Pockets!  Yes!  I remember being shocked (shocked!  I say) when on Voyager B'lana started wearing a swing jacket (hiding the actor's pregnancy in real life) that had a breast pocket with little engineering tools sticking out - sort of a space age pocket protector.  No one has pockets in these shows.  I know they don't need keys with automatic doors and all, and money doesn't exist so no change to carry around, but no one ever needs chapstick, or a tissue, or a tampon?

Oh, and don't get me started on uniforms that zip up the back - seriously, are there hidden valets & ladies' maids on every ship helping these people get dressed every day?

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11 hours ago, ketose said:

ST:TNG also didn't have a consistent Chief Engineer until the second season, like the Orville. 

And like Picard's Enterprise the engineer came from the guy on the bridge. Only instead of the helmsman/pilot  it was his partner navigator on the Orville.

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On 1/12/2019 at 10:15 PM, chaifan said:

 

Oh, and don't get me started on uniforms that zip up the back - seriously, are there hidden valets & ladies' maids on every ship helping these people get dressed every day?

House elves. The secret shame of the Federation. 

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On 12/01/2019 at 4:51 PM, legaleagle53 said:

I also agree with you that one of the things that set this show apart from Trek (especially TNG, upon which Seth very deliberately modeled the show) is that its characters are allowed to be flawed and to make mistakes that have actual consequences. Trek rarely, if ever, allowed its characters that luxury, particularly its human characters -- they were almost always held up as perfect models of behavior who never screwed up or made things worse under the false impression of "doing the right thing."  Picard in particular could be downright insufferable at times with his completely sanitary approach to life and his borderline pompous, self-righteous attitude.

Keep in mind that the trend of flawed, "barely heroic" characters really only picked up steam in the 1990s. Hollywood, until the 1960s, had been dominated by the Hays Code, which essentially required characters be fit cleanly into "good" and "bad" roles. What this usually meant is that, in a single protagonist feature, the hero could be flawed to begin with but would have an "enlightening" that gives him the answer to his problems and makes him feel like he's a "moral authority" for having figured this out. In ensembles, there was always that one character who was "the moral authority" and had "the answer for everything", and usually- but not always- this character was in a leadership position, because it reinforced the idea that "one should always respect their leaders".

Even when the Code started getting challenged in the 1950s and '60s, you still had a lot of producers- and a good chunk of the viewing public- who preferred stories that operated under at least some parts of the Code, and that line of thinking held a lot of sway right into the 1980s, because change in Hollywood takes a lot of time (since studio execs are averse to risks).

I mean, it was popular in the 1990s to have a sweeps episode where two women kissed on screen, done purely for shock value as a way of "challenging the status quo". Now, as we've seen on this very show a few weeks ago, Bortus kissed another male without that aspect of it being the issue.

So, while I would agree that Captains Kirk and Picard were written pretty flatly (brought more to life by their actors), I see them more as products of their time, in that the shows required them to be the "moral centres" of the show and thus there couldn't be any ambiguity about their moral authority. At least, when it comes to Picard, when the movies came out we were better able to explore his emotions and how he missed having a family to call his own (Generations, I think). Late, but better than never.

To me, it feels kind of unfair to criticize the Star Trek writers for Kirk and Picard, in that they likely didn't have a choice in how to write them. I'm pretty sure that if Kirk and Picard debuted today they'd be more rounded characters because producers aren't afraid of having their chief protagonists being deeply flawed individuals (in fact, today's audiences prefer that kind of character). The '60s and '80s were different creatures altogether.

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10 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Keep in mind that the trend of flawed, "barely heroic" characters really only picked up steam in the 1990s. Hollywood, until the 1960s, had been dominated by the Hays Code, which essentially required characters be fit cleanly into "good" and "bad" roles. What this usually meant is that, in a single protagonist feature, the hero could be flawed to begin with but would have an "enlightening" that gives him the answer to his problems and makes him feel like he's a "moral authority" for having figured this out. In ensembles, there was always that one character who was "the moral authority" and had "the answer for everything", and usually- but not always- this character was in a leadership position, because it reinforced the idea that "one should always respect their leaders".

Even when the Code started getting challenged in the 1950s and '60s, you still had a lot of producers- and a good chunk of the viewing public- who preferred stories that operated under at least some parts of the Code, and that line of thinking held a lot of sway right into the 1980s, because change in Hollywood takes a lot of time (since studio execs are averse to risks).

I mean, it was popular in the 1990s to have a sweeps episode where two women kissed on screen, done purely for shock value as a way of "challenging the status quo". Now, as we've seen on this very show a few weeks ago, Bortus kissed another male without that aspect of it being the issue.

So, while I would agree that Captains Kirk and Picard were written pretty flatly (brought more to life by their actors), I see them more as products of their time, in that the shows required them to be the "moral centres" of the show and thus there couldn't be any ambiguity about their moral authority. At least, when it comes to Picard, when the movies came out we were better able to explore his emotions and how he missed having a family to call his own (Generations, I think). Late, but better than never.

To me, it feels kind of unfair to criticize the Star Trek writers for Kirk and Picard, in that they likely didn't have a choice in how to write them. I'm pretty sure that if Kirk and Picard debuted today they'd be more rounded characters because producers aren't afraid of having their chief protagonists being deeply flawed individuals (in fact, today's audiences prefer that kind of character). The '60s and '80s were different creatures altogether.

Janeway, Sisko, and Archer weren't much better, though. Janeway in particular could get as insufferably self-righteous as Picard at times, and even though she would occasionally be challenged and even called out on her self-righteous attitude, in the end, she somehow always ended up being vindicated regardless of what the actual consequences of her decisions were.  And Archer's the-end-justifies-the-means approach to problem-solving always irritated me as well because it made him come across as something of an uncaring bully. And even though Sisko started out as broken because he hadn't yet been able to move on from his wife's death, it never really led him to make the hard, morally questionable choices until the Federation was well into the Dominion War and he was forced to orchestrate the assassination of a Romulan Senator in order to push the Romulans into finally entering the war as allies to the Federation against the Founders.

Edited by legaleagle53

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3 hours ago, legaleagle53 said:

Janeway, Sisko, and Archer weren't much better, though. Janeway in particular could get as insufferably self-righteous as Picard at times, and even though she would occasionally be challenged and even called out on her self-righteous attitude, in the end, she somehow always ended up being vindicated regardless of what the actual consequences of her decisions were.  And Archer's the-end-justifies-the-means approach to problem-solving always irritated me as well because it made him come across as something of an uncaring bully. And even though Sisko started out as broken because he hadn't yet been able to move on from his wife's death, it never really led him to make the hard, morally questionable choices until the Federation was well into the Dominion War and he was forced to orchestrate the assassination of a Romulan Senator in order to push the Romulans into finally entering the war as allies to the Federation against the Founders.

I would say Captain Sisko had already made that leap when he went after the Maquis and traitorous Commander Eddington 

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6 hours ago, legaleagle53 said:

Janeway, Sisko, and Archer weren't much better, though.

That may be true, but two things:

  1. Given how popular Kirk and Picard were with audiences, and given that Star Trek was a cash cow in the 1990s, I would imagine Paramount would have been loathed to allow their captains to be written in any other way. It probably took the relative failure of Enterprise and Nemesis for Paramount to change its ways of thinking in this regard.
  2. Captain Janeway is a special case, because she's not just a woman but the first female captain of a Star Trek show. Studio thinking, even now, is that a "strong, female character" is a character who is biologically a woman and is effortlessly capable at anything she does. Part of that thinking may be how poorly received the "damsel in distress" or "the girlfriend" roles are these days, and another part of it may simply be that studio execs think male audience members won't accept a female character in a leadership position even if she displays the slightest bit of weakness.

Now, with regards to these points, I'm not saying they're necessarily ideally written characters (I'm particularly loathed of Point #2 myself, because it's a downright boring character), but I always think of the context when evaluating a show. Uhura may have been a character who did nothing, but just the idea of a woman on the bridge was revolutionary at the time. Same thing with Tasha Yar and giving her the "badass" role. So, for me, Janeway being the first captain who is female allows me to gloss over her faults to a degree (it also helps that Kate Mulgrew absolutely slayed the role), simply because at the time she was one of a kind, not just in Trek but elsewhere on TV...so there isn't much to compare her to. If she were debuting today it would be a different matter, since we see a lot of women in leadership positions in movies and TV and no one bats an eye (I tend to think studios are overdoing the "female leader" thing because they're trying too hard to appear "progressive" but that's not a debate for here).

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6 hours ago, ganesh said:

I never understood why they (Star Trek)

didn't have fighters and just kind of slugged away.

From the big battle Identity II thread. basically because the way Star Trek tech worked a fighter could not have a big enough engine to power its phasers to do anything about the other ships shields. Even torpedos were ineffective until other shields were  weakened meanwhile the fighter along with not having phaser power did not have shield strength.

So Trek battles were basically WWI Battle of Jutland in space with the smallest ships, Defiant and Klingon Birds of Prey being  battle cruiser or maybe  destroyer equivalents. Their being a bit more maneuverable in a fight with heavy cruisers and battleships but not able to generate enough shielding to take many hits. Any fighter types would have been a Sopwith Camel equivalent with a light machine-gun until you got up at least to the DS9 Runabout or Voyager's Delta Flyer being more like a PT Boat that might get lucky with a torpedo against a real armored battleship without Trek type shielding but was more likely to get the crew killed like President Kennedy almost was when they were used in fleet fights and not going after coastal convoys. 

Edited by Raja

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28 minutes ago, TVSpectator said:
21 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I too have thought Kaylons=Cylons, 
but I wondered if that was just my frame of reference as a rabid fan of BSG when the reimagined series aired, 
and having only watched most of the Treks after the first as reruns.
So I defer to the group of more knowledgeable posters WRT the writers' likely prototype for the Kaylons. 
Of course, Kaylons look nothing like Six so far

1

I know that most of the inspiration for the show comes from Star Trek, especially the TNG era but overall, the Kaylons never remind me of the Borg or even the Founders. They seem to be something more along the lines of robots rising up and killing their creators and every other living being in the universe trope. That is why they reminded me more of the Cylons (and that Kaylons also sound a lot like Cylons and they are not a combination of a living organism being assimilated into a collective).

Of course, the Kaylons don't look like the human Cylons (like Ones, Twos, Threes, Sixes, Sevens, and Eights) but the way they talk about wanting to eliminate all biological life and that all biological life is just like their creators would, in my mind, put them much closer to the BSG Cylons. 

They're different from the robot Cylons too:
T300.png
--which is odd to me, because I thought we'd seen these droids before, heh:
isaac-the-orville-318x274.jpg

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11 minutes ago, EllenB said:

I think I've finally figured out another part of the inspiration for this show.  This is "MASH" mixed with "Stripes" in space.  They're goofballs who are actually good at their jobs but who stay goofballs otherwise.  I was in the military decades ago, and military movies always turned me off because they were SO SERIOUS ALL. THE. TIME.  "MASH" and "Stripes" were the two movies that reminded me of the people I worked and lived with, and "The Orville" has that same vibe.

Good point about the possible military comedy inspirations. 

BTW, I was pretty hasty in naming this thread.
We could have the mods change the title.

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To me the Kaylon story especialy once you deal with the most recent season two episodes Identity 1 & 2 resembles the Terminator plot if you remove The Connor family.   If Judment Day had succeeded.  

Edited by Chaos Theory

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Any thoughts on how the Quantum Drive works? I’m assuming it has something to do with Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Computing. Does a Quantum Drive require antimatter or some other very powerful and plentiful form of energy?

I don’t think a Quantum Drive and a warp drive is quite the same thing. You mileage may literally vary.

 (This may have been discussed in Season One, but that forum disappeared into a Black Hole)

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On 3/14/2019 at 2:04 PM, marinw said:

Any thoughts on how the Quantum Drive works? I’m assuming it has something to do with Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Computing. Does a Quantum Drive require antimatter or some other very powerful and plentiful form of energy?

I don’t think a Quantum Drive and a warp drive is quite the same thing. You mileage may literally vary.

 (This may have been discussed in Season One, but that forum disappeared into a Black Hole)

I think they had a container for anti-matter in "The Blood of Patriots" so it may be a version of a warp drive.

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1 hour ago, Danielg342 said:

I have a feeling FOX forced that upon him. The show began with no one they could use to "sell" the show except Seth McFarlane so Seth was thrust into the role. I do think as the series has progressed Seth has, in practice, relinquished the "lead" role and let his other cast members shine. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Seth has been a true lead in any episode this season, and none arguably since "Cupid's Dagger", which was really the Rob Lowe show anyway.

Seth has been the lead in almost everything he's done. Most of the time, it's animated in some way, but he's the lead voice in those cases. Star Trek was also an ensemble show, but Shatner's ego on TOS kind of made him the star.

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On 5/1/2019 at 10:30 AM, Ottis said:

Did the head of stellar cartography report directly to Picard? I suspect no, but don't actually know. If she didn't, them dating would be awkward for others, and dangerous for Picard, but it's much different than Ed and Kelly.

And then there is that.

I would be super happy if we never had to talk about Ed and Kelly dating again. It's so unnecessary to the show.

In Star Trek terms only the senior staff officers reported directly to the ship captain.  Everybody else worked for an intermediary, Mr Data but the ship captain, Captain Picard sat on top of the chain of command in that particular case

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There was also Picard's friendship-with-some-benefits with Beverely. The Chief Medical Officer falls outside the formal chain of command, although Bev's side hustles included running the ship during the odd night shift.

I like that Starfleet (and the Union) doesn't forbide romantic relationships between captian and his/her crew. Forbidding romantic relationships is paternalistic and impossible to enforce anyway.

Edited by marinw

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6 minutes ago, marinw said:

There was also Picard's friendship-with-some-benefits with Beverely. The Chief Medical Officer falls outside the formal chain of command, although Bev's side hustles included running the ship during the odd night shift.

I like that Starfleet (and the Union) doesn't forbide romantic relationships between captian and his/her crew. Forbidding romantic relationships is paternalistic and impossible to enforce anyway.

I was happy that TNG really didn't go there with Beverly and Picard. They kind of did in at least one episode. But none of the Orville style angst. Both shows do like to shove moralistic crap down our throats.

I've watched all of Stargate, including the movies. Just recently re-watched all seasons of Babylon 5. Oh, and Firefly. The show I haven't watched is Battlestar.
 

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On 5/10/2019 at 10:59 PM, ketose said:

Star Trek was also an ensemble show, but Shatner's ego on TOS kind of made him the star.

I disagree. TOS was never an ensemble show, nor was it intended to be. It had a strong lead character with two important supporting characters - the star and co-stars, if you will. Shatner's being cast in the lead role is what made him the star. The other regulars, however much we love them now, were not deeply developed, and they could be left out of an episode without raising any questions.

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3 hours ago, nokat said:

The show I haven't watched is Battlestar.

I maintain that the original BSG was waaaaay ahead of it's time. Here is a great into:

https://youtu.be/Af6wuq0h6Fc

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13 hours ago, k2p2 said:

I disagree. TOS was never an ensemble show, nor was it intended to be. It had a strong lead character with two important supporting characters - the star and co-stars, if you will. Shatner's being cast in the lead role is what made him the star. The other regulars, however much we love them now, were not deeply developed, and they could be left out of an episode without raising any questions.

That's true. There's a reason that William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley were the only ones listed in the opening title credits and everyone else (including the other regulars) was relegated to the closing credits. The show and the first six movies were always first and foremost about the triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

Edited by legaleagle53

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