The Age Old Question: Which Star Trek is Better?

WARNING: If you don’t know anything about Star Trek, you’re about to get really lost.  And I’m about to reveal quite a lot of my geek cred.  I beg forgiveness, and I’ll try to return to more inclusive topics later.

So yeah, Star Trek.

I started watching Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) at the age of 4 or 5, thanks to my mother.  I was raised watching both shows, and loved every second of it.  I was 8 yrs old when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) started, and I watched that incarnation of the show even more devotedly than my mother did.  By the time Star Trek: Voyager had started my mother and I had finally gotten my younger brother to watch the show, so Voyager-watching became a family event.

I’ll admit up front that I’ve only see about 1/3 of Star Trek: Enterprise some episodes were decent, and Archer was a good character, but overall, I just couldn’t get into it.  However, while I was leery of the new movie, I was pleasantly surprised by how absolutely fantastic it is.

I guess what I’m getting at, is I’ve got plenty of opinions of Star Trek.  I’m not as bad as some full-blown Trekkies.  I’ve never tried to learn Klingon, and I’ve never even been a convention (mostly because there’s never been one anywhere near me and I’m broke, but still…).  But I still know the show very well and could talk about it for hours.  I knew that if I was going to talk about tv shows at all, I HAD to talk about Star Trek.  Question is: which series, what aspect, what topic?  Etc.

So I’ve decided to enter into an age-old argument in Star Trek: TOS vs. TNG vs. DS9.

cast of The Original Series

Let me begin by saying: while I love TOS for nostalgic reasons, when it comes right down to it, it really wasn’t all that well-made.  Even for the 60’s it’s cheesy and clumsy, relying on many Shakespearian stage actors for side-characters who did not translate well to television, and using some really ridiculous plot devices.  TNG had the benefit of more experience, a larger group of good actors, and more time to develop the writing style and universe (though even the first couple seasons of TNG were pretty clumsy and cheesy at times).

The writing as a whole was far better in TNG than it was in TOS.  But TNG really came into its own with season 3 finale: “Best of Both Worlds.”  While the big-bad of the series, The Borg, had been introduced in a season 1 episode, it wasn’t into “Best of Both Worlds” that they really become the major problem they are for the rest of the series (and all the way through 1 of the movies and quite a bit of Voyager).  They are a fleshed-out, powerful enemy with grand schemes and unblinking determination.  While most the show retained its stand-alone, new-adventure-every-week episodes, the Borg became an overarching plot-line through the series.  And it was one of the best things the show ever did.

Cast of The Next Generation

However, the biggest difference between TOS and TNG is the character development.  For instance, Capt. Jean-luc Picard is, quite frankly, a much better-written character than Kirk (my mother would smack me if she was reading this).  Kirk was a womanizer and a hot-head and a loyal friend; obviously, I’m simplifying here, but the writing never develops the character as much as it should.  Jean-luc Picard is serious, controlled, logical, loyal, diplomatic… but he also had a wild youth, he’s uncomfortable around children but secretly wants them, he likes mystery novels and he knows how to samba, he’s not the Don Juan type, but often gets the woman despite himself. I could go on…

And Picard is not the only character so finely developed.  They all are.  All of the main cast characters (and even a few who started out as small side characters) are thoroughly developed, with detailed histories, nuanced personalities, and complex interactions with other characters.

My biggest complaint with TNG is that the writers had a tendency to start plot arcs that they would then forget about.  The biggest example of this is a plot that was begun in the first season: alien parasites had taken control of several high-ranking members of Starfleet, Picard and Riker managed to kill them, but not before one had time to send a signal into space, presumably as a beacon to lead someone/thing to Earth.  This plot was never resolves, and was apparently forgotten.  I absolutely hate it when writers introduce some plot element in a series (tv show or book series) and then never resolve it.  Drives me NUTS.

That being said, the episodes “The Inner Light” and “Chain of Command” Pts 1 and 2 are honest-to-God masterpieces, which EVERYONE should see at least once.

So, how about Star Trek: DS9?  Many Trek fans didn’t like DS9 because it took place on a space station rather than a ship and was quite a bit darker and therefore very different from TOS and TNG.  I understand that “different” causes problems (it’s part of why I had trouble watching Enterprise, though I think the writing was sub-par on that show as well).  However, once you get past the jolt of something so different, you quickly realize that DS9 had all the same things that made TNG so amazing.  Plus, possibly, a tiny bit more.

Cast of Deep Space 9

DS9, like TNG, had a host of amazing, complex, nuanced characters who really made the show what it was.  With a different cast of characters (and a less talented group of actors to portray them) it would have been a much different show.  Cmdr. Benjamin Sisko, was the first black commanding officer to be portrayed in the Star Trek shows, and he was a fantastic character cool and controlled in ways similar to Picard, but more light-hearted, joking, and with a son, making him very much his own person.  Security Chief Odo was, obviously, DS9’s answer to the very popular TNG character Data, but as the show developed Odo became a more complex and interesting character than the original writing would have suggested.  You also had the very angry ex-rebel Bajoran Kira Nerys and one of my personal favorites: the secretly genetically-engineered genius Doctor Julian Bashir, as just a few of the complicated, often conflicted characters that inhabited the space station.  And Garak!  An ex-spy turned tailor with conflicted loyalties and outwardly cheerful personality.  One of the best characters in Star Trek: period.

This focus on character and some very well-written individual episodes put DS9 right on par with TNG.  However, DS9 quickly moved away from completely episodic stand-alone episodes and moved toward large over-arching plots that developed from episode to episode as the war with the shape-shifting Dominion and their brutal warriors the Jem’Hadar begins in season 3. Like any tv show, there are still stand-alone episodes mixed in with the episodes that move the main plot along, but unlike TNG whose over-arching plots lasted only a few episodes here or there, The Dominion War plot line lasted from the beginning of Season 3 up through the ending of the series in season 7.  This took serious attention to detail, continuity, character development, tension and tone.  This focus on one large plot (with many complex sub-plots intertwined) and its darker themes about war, revenge, racism, imperialism, etc, made this series intense and brilliant.

This is not to say that DS9 didn’t have some bad episodes, because it did.  The worst one EVER is “Trials and Tribble-ations” in which Sisko and a few others go back in time to Kirk’s Enterprise to help find a bomb that is disguised as a tribble.  (And if you don’t know what a tribble is: tribble wikipedia page).  Yeah…

For just a couple of really fantastic episodes: “In the Pale Moonlight” and “Hard Time,” which are both pretty dark but extremely human and intense.  Also, the series finale “What You Leave Behind” Pt 1 and 2 ‘cause seriously, one thing the Star Trek writers do extremely well are finales.

I’m going to put my life on the line here, and say I do think DS9 was a slightly better-written show.  But at the same time, there is a fun light-hearted optimism to TNG that many believe more accurately reflects creator Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy in life, and which DS9 often lacks.  So, really it just depends on what mood you’re in: fun and optimistic or dark and intense.  I honestly love them all.  (And you’ll notice, I didn’t even get into Voyager.  It’s brilliant, and that would have just made this too messy.)

Okay, I could go on about this for a very long time, as you might be able to tell by now.  But I’ve gone long enough as it is, so I’ll call it quits here.  If you’re not a Star Trek fan, I hope some of the other shows I talk about later will be more to your liking.

If you are a Star Trek fan, what do you think of my assessment?  Which incarnation is your favorite (if you can choose)? What are your favorite episodes?  Favorite characters?  Let’s get some Trekkie talk up in here, people! Come on!

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32 thoughts on “The Age Old Question: Which Star Trek is Better?

  1. Hm, always dangerous ground. TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager all had their high points and issues (I won’t even mention the later marketing experiment that “Slid” out of production). I’ve found the the answer to which is best is generally based on the age and personality of the one answering. So just for me, 40’s and generally positive, I’d have to go with TNG.

    For movies, the most recent one, Star Trek, is the ultimate. Wonderfully written.

    Incredibly detail breakdown Amanda, nicely done 🙂

    • Yeah, I agree that the favorite is generally based on age and personality. I love dark and intense plots, so I really love that about DS9. However, I will always love TNG because it was the one I watched the most with my mother when I was little. And Picard is just plain AWESOME, which helps.

      Thanks so much for the comment. I’m glad you liked the post.

  2. For me, it’s a toss up between Voyager and TOS. I used to watch taped reruns of TOS with my dad, so my Trekkie start was pretty young. Voyager was the first one I got to watch regularly, and in order, so I grew attached to most of the characters, and even managed to claim the television for the series finale (I don’t think I should go into that. There was a lot of awesome stuff in that episode, but also a lot to complain about.)

    I also agree with Gene, new movie was the best.

    • Voyager is fantastic (though the last couple seasons started to get pretty cheesy and awkward), and it definitely helps that that’s the one you really watched regularly. The series finale was great in a lot of ways, but I agree, there were some major problems with it also.

      And yes, the new movie was DEFINITELY awesome, especially considering I went into it with very mixed feelings and I came out loving it.

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  4. DS9 always bored me, and Enterprise never really caught my attention.

    There will always be a special place in my heart for TOS, especially because what they didn’t have the budget for in the series they were able to flesh out in the films. Also, Spock will always be the first alien I ever loved. (Han Solo doesn’t count, he has no “alien” characteristics even if technically everyone in that ‘verse is alien)

    TNG will probably always be my favorite simply because I want so much of the tech. A holodeck? Are you KIDDING me? WANT WANT WANT. Plus, big raging crush on Data. Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here…

    As for the new film… I think it’s brilliant. It honors the past while making everything fresh and new at the same time. The acting was evocative of TOS without being too campy. And the most important character (in my mind), the U.S.S. Enterprise, was as beautiful and majestic as ever.

    • DS9 bored you? That makes me sad. I’m not saying it has to be everyone’s favorite, but it makes me sad that you think it was boring. T___T

      But yes, TNG is awesome, and I too want a holodeck very very badly. That is probably the biggest single thing out of the series that I would kill for. And Spock was the first alien I ever loved too. The only Star Trek books I ever really read, except for Shatner’s series, were the Spock-centric ones. ^__^

  5. Let me start by saying that, for me, TOS and TNG are in a virtual neck and neck tie as my favorite Star Trek series. I do think it’s very difficult to be entirely objective when judging TOS unless you were around to see it in its first run on network TV.

    When compared to other similar shows of the time (and there weren’t many) it stood up quite well and did not come across as cheesy or clumsy. Certainly the writing, acting, and production values were as good or better than shows like Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Man From U.N.C.L.E., etc. It suffered most when, after its second season, the production budget was slashed rather drastically and even Gene Roddenberry began distancing himself from it. IMHO, the same type of change was evident in TNG after The Great Bird of the Galaxy passed on 1991.

    I didn’t care as much for DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise – although I don’t dislike them. For me, Roddenberry’s vision for the series is just much more evident in the first two.

    Since you were interested in getting some Trek talk going, I’d be more than happy to qualify any of the statements I made here. In any case, I enjoyed your post.

    LLAP

    • Oh believe me, I understand that for the times TOS was a very good show. However, I still think it suffered from Roddenberry’s (or some casting director’s) penchant for hiring Shakespearean stage actors. The main cast was good, for the most part. But most of the guest stars and such they had each episode were often painful to watch.

      I think for me, TNG and DS9 are pretty much tied. TNG was the one I really grew up with, so there is a certain nostalgia there. And it was definitely a fantastic show. But I have trouble understanding how people CAN’T like DS9 and Voyager. They were admittedly darker than TOS and TNG but I don’t believe for a moment that they completely lost Roddenberry’s original vision. I think the biggest elements of Roddenberry’s vision were about exploration, and equality, and in TOS he often focused on the consequences of war and violence and prejudice. Admittedly, he rarely showed the war/violence itself, instead focusing on what has happened to some society or person after the fact. So while DS9 and Voyager (and later seasons of TNG) could be accused of “giving in” to audience demands for more violence and flashy battle scenes purely for the sake of entertainment and money, as well as being “too dark” and therefore losing Roddenberry’s more optimistic vision of the future, I believe the writing still kept these elements firmly within Roddenberry’s vision of showing the negative effects of violence, war, etc. While also being somewhat more realistic and little less blantantly didactic at the same time.

      Come to think of it (and this really just popped into my head) I think that the biggest thing that TOS lacked was subtlety, and that’s what the later series often brought to the show.

  6. Well, I certainly can’t argue with any of your points. Too bad, right – since this was supposed to be about an age old “argument”. LOL!

    One of the things that all iterations of Star Trek have in common that makes them all utterly enjoyable is the good storytelling based around (mostly) believable characters. As I said, I don’t dislike DS9 or Voyager. For some reason, I just never found myself as interested in them as in the earlier series.

    One thing I am curious about though (and I’m not trying to nitpick – just genuinely curious): My memory of guest stars on TOS is that they were primarily character actors who had made their living doing similar guest appearances on other TV shows. To which Shakespearean stage actors do you refer?

    Anyway, regardless of which series is your fave, it’s great to find yet another Trek out there. Glad to have the opportunity to engage you in conversation.

    LLAP

  7. I pretty much agree with you. Generally, I enjoy TNG – there are many ways that it falls a bit short, but I still love it. TOS is good for what it is. I wish it was more, but it isn’t. The writing is mediocre, the acting is poor, the budget is low, and all in all, the series fails to deliver its promise. That said, it is still innovative and interesting. IT changed the entire Sci-Fi genre and inspired millions upon millions to strive for a better future.

    All in all, I like watching TNG more, but TOS was more important. Voyager was ok, but not something that I ‘had to see’ and DS9 i watched a few episodes and just never fell into it. Even more true with Enterprise.

    I consider myself a bit of a trekkie, in the sense that I enjoy it immensely, but the truth is, when i really think about it, I’m not.

  8. Hmm…well I suppose we can heat up the “argument” here a little bit to keep the thread interesting. I can’t agree with Stephen’s comments above that TOS had “mediocre writing” and “poor acting”. The series in its original run was nominated for 11 Emmy’s several of which were for Best Dramatic Series and/or Best Acting of one variety or another. In addition, Star Trek (TOS) has been nominated for, and won, multiple Hugo Awards, and the Writers Guild of America Award.

    Were there some episodes that were “lacking” in the quality of their writing or acting? Sure… but that’s true of just about every dramatic television series. For the most part though, the episodes were very well acted and very well written.

    As for the budget, it is true that it was drastically slashed in the third season. Nevertheless, the producers of TOS did an admirable job given what they had to work with. Their opticals were also top-notch for the time period thanks to the houses they used – Westheimer and Van Der Veer to name just two.

    All in all, it has been my experience that folks who have experienced any of the newer ST series before (or concurrently with) their first exposure to TOS generally don’t care for it as much as they might otherwise had they seen it in its original network run.

  9. I have to disagree with the Tribble episode. I love it. Totally cracked me up. but otherwise very much agree with your overview.

    My favorite was, and still is, Voyager.

  10. Ridiculous to claim that TOS series had “poor” writing and acting. As already mentioned, it won several awards. For me, none of the other shows will ever top TOS. You just can’t do better than Capt. Kirk and Mr, Spock. Not to mention McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov, etc.

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  12. Deep Space 9 was the best of the Treks. It started slowly, despite having a really interesting concept and cast of characters. What hurt it initially, I think, was the darker atmosphere, the static location and the Commander finding his feet. Quickly though they found answers to those problems and developed a brilliant cast, including several very well defined back-up characters who later became more and more involved in the storylines. Without doubt though, DS9 started overtaking TNG generation for me when they embarked on their multi-episode arcs, brought Worf to the station, let Avery Brooks shave his head and grow his goatee, give Sisko the Defiant and introduced the Shapeshifters and the Jem’Hadar. Suddenly the plots were rich with intrigue, adventure, action and wonderfully realised relationships. The characters seemed more interconnected than they did in TNG and none of the relationships were so rich as the Chief and the Doctor: wonderfully written friendship or Sisko and his son Jake.

    Anyway that’s my two cents worth.

  13. Greetings and felicitations! (That’s a line from TOS episode “Squire of Gothos.”) I read your post on TOS vs TNG with great interest and I must say that even though we are diametrically opposed, I find your arguments, as Mr. Spock would say, fascinating.

    I can’t detail all my arguments here, but please read my posting on the subject on brianoverland.com. Again, we’re diametrically opposed; yin and yang, black and white, but I will mention a couple of things. “Penchant for hiring Shakespearean actors?” TOS? Really? TNG played that card by hiring Patrick Stewart. Whatever else I may think of him, he’s a better Shakespearean than Shatner. In my post, I concede to Shatner’s occasional overacting. He’s no Olivier. Yet I think Capt Kirk was an extraordinary case of actor and role coming together.

    That Kirk was too much the Don Juan I’ll readily concede. There were other offenses too. TNG was unquestionably the more “politically correct” program, esp. by the standards of the 1980s. But in correcting some of the offenses of TOS, in my opinion TNG lost the adventuring spirit that made TOS the best show ever put on television. TOS was not the best because it was politically incorrect, but in spite of it.

    TOS used the sci-fi settings to explore deep issues of the human condition. That the writing was vastly superior is attested to by the outstanding writers they recruited (Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, and others). TNG and all the other spinoffs had a vastly bigger budget, sure, but in my opinion were too enamored of their technology. I was just too aware that these are “sci fi” shows. Unlike the best of TOS, these other shows only occasionally succeeded in saying much that is relevant about our lives here and now.

    As for the holodeck? I hate it as a story-telling device, because it undermines the whole premise of the show. Why go out exploring space if everything is already available in the holodeck? Everyone would stay on Earth and construct even better holodecks! Who would need a ship? The problem with the holodeck was that it was much TOO good. And the fact that you want it, doesn’t thereby make for good drama.

    Well! We obviously see things differently but I welcome the debate. Please check out my posting on brianoverland.com. My best to you… or rather, live long and prosper.

    • Thank you for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking response. I haven’t looked back at these older blog posts in a while. And I’ll readily admit that my opinions about the Star Trek series’ shift year by year, week by week. You make some very good points, though in the end I’ll still say I prefer TNG over TOS. Of course, in the end, I love them all, and I guess that’s the mean thing. Thank you again for commenting!

  14. For me, it’s TOS all the way. TOS was exciting. The Enterprise always went up against seemingly impossible odds. Khan, The Doomsday Machine, The Planet Killer, VGER, Klingons, Romulans, etc. The Borg in TNG were boring and I never got a sense fear when they came up. They really only became dangerous in Voyager and First Contact. The villains in TOS always wanted to conquer worlds or had amazing powers. TNG villains never had such grand ambitions or powers.

    And I personally like Kirk over Picard. In TNG, I would ask myself, “which crew member is Picard going to ask to help? Who is going to step up with the technobabble solution?” Picard is a thinker. Kirk took action. He didn’t think. He acted. And he always won. Picard carefully thought out every course of action.

    TOS also had a better cast. The trio of Kirk, Bones, and Spock cannot be beaten. Scotty didn’t explain how he was going to do it; he just did it. Geordi always had a explanation and solution. TOS didn’t have to explain they lived in a better society. We just knew it. TNG always tried to remind us they were better people. And Uhura was hotter than Troi (may be sexist but still).

    In all, there was too much talking in TNG. It was more of an intellectual show. It followed a script. The characters of TOS were unpredictable and I never knew how they would resolve the situation. As I’m watching Wrath of Khan on Syfy, another point came to me. In The Motion Picture, they showed the Enterprise traveling through the different layers of VGER and the same with Spock. In Wrath of Kahn, they spent a whole minute showing the Enterprise leaving space dock. This inspires emotions you rarely see in TNG. So, yeah. TOS over TNG all day for me!

    • I watched a little of the TNG marathon on SyFi (used to be Sci-Fi channel) and I’ll admit that it was moderately interesting… in a leisurely, drawing-room sort of way, as if you’re reliving your college days having discussions on arcane aspects of philosophy and history in the graduate student lounge. So yes, Eric, I understand what you mean by “too much talking” and “intellectual.” Typically, TNG shows had some kind of intellectual puzzle to be unraveled… but too often it came down to a “technobabble” or rather “Trekno-babble” solution, so I was frequently disappointed by the last 5 minutes.

      But TOS, despite its flaws, was always written as a drama pitched at a very high level of tension. I mean, even in the more average episodes, Kirk or Spock had a difficult decision to make, and they had to take bold risks in the face of very high stakes. Example: flying jellyfish creatures have invaded a star base, and the Enterprise must either euthanize five million people or risk letting the creatures infect billions of others someday. Another: Kirk must let the woman he loves die or cause all of subsequent history to change–for the worse. Yet another: to save the Enterprise and his mission, Kirk must purge benevolent spores that have invaded human bodies but cause people to experience perfect health and inner peace — in short, paradise. The price of freedom, then, is to give up guaranteed happiness.

      The point is that these are choices with great meaning for our lives today, in 2013, as they were for us in 1967. They are perennial, like “Hamlet.” And yes, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the crew had to (after possibly debating for a short while) take strong action. Even the worst episodes were dramatic ones, in which a moderate amount of talking was augmented by a lot of heart-renching decision-making and action.

      So I agree with much of what you’re saying. Check out my S.T. posting, if you would, on brianoverland.com.

  15. Wow, you are way off base. Saying the stale next generation was better written, especially the main characters? And the Shakespearian guest stars didn’t work? They did work, kid. The real Star Trek relied on imagination and big ideas, not the boring, plodding small plot lines in the next gen. The latter was best when it was personal dramas unconnected to science fiction. Plus, that show had horrible special effects, much worse than Star Trek, it’s as if special effects regressed over 20 years. The actors on the real Star Trek are a million times better actors than those tv johns on the follow-up.

  16. I think what TNG had going for it besides Patrick Stewart was an amazing interpersonal chemistry between the primary cast actors who have become best friends over the years, and who bonded early on in the series to the point that they truly enjoyed each other’s company and looked forward to working together. The overall acting and writing got better with time and the backstories emerged to round out the characters as people we could embrace, I wished it had happened sooner. The overall talent level of actors was really very good and I enjoyed watching them craft their characters.
    I am just getting into the first season of DS9 but already am enyoying the diversity of characters and all the ways that it differs from TOS and TNG. Sisko has some of the qualities of Picard but he is definitely his own person, less aloof, more approachable. Both of them have great leadership qualities. I think it’s okay that the two series are different. I can enjoy aspects of each series without the need to make critical comparisons. Picard and Data are my favorite Trek characters but I am already becoming fond of the DS9 crew as the story enfolds.

  17. After thinking about this for another year, I think I can put the case for TOS succinctly. First, consider the writing. TOS had some of the best sci-fi writers of the day working for the show (Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon), and even the non-famous writers were superb. It’s easy to make fun of the rock-bottom worst episodes (Spock’s Brain, The Way to Eden) but even those episodes had moments of fine writing. I mean, you really have to dig very deep to find a TOS episode that didn’t have its moments.

    What do I like about TOS writing? It followed the classical principles of good writing, especially the criterion of high stakes. Every episode of TOS had life-or-death stakes… with the occasional humorous whimsical or humorous moment to provide much needed–but quite brief–comic relief. TNG, by contrast, had plenty of throw-away goofball plots like “Data learns to tell a joke” or “Deanna and Wolf argue about their relationship.” Ho-hum. I mean, Kirk admittedly chased too many “alien babe forms” but it was always in the context of a story with high stakes.

    As for the acting, TOS had one advantage: the cast did not yet know they were creating iconic characters. They were hired as ACTORS who felt, if anything, the sci-fi setting made it harder to sell the believability of the characters, and so they played against the artificiality of the format but emphasizing real, believable human moments. (And yeah, Shatner overacted sometimes but other times he was excellent.) The problem for TNG, and all the spinoffs, was that they were overly aware of how “important” they were by being part of this iconic franchise, and therefore their acting tended to be stiff.

  18. Pretty much agree completely with your assessment. I always never understood the whole tribble fascination. They’re fun episodes, but nothing that I would consider great.

    I would like to add that Enterprise Season’s 3 and 4 are some of the best Trek out there. If Enterprise wasn’t cancelled, I think it would have turned out to be the best Star Trek Series. Unfortunately, the first couple of seasons were so terrible it turned off a lot of fans like myself before the show had a chance to get it’s feet wet.

  19. “Fascinating”, reading all the comments here. Another vote for TOS. First, like mentioned above, none of the other shows matched it for dramatic tension. Character development? Kirk and Spock are tops in that department, and here’s why.

    Kirk: So he chases alien chicks, so what? The world is full of men like that and why should all of
    character’s traits be good? We all have faults. Now, I’m not attributing this to good writing,
    as much as daring, but we’ve seen Kirk not only brave, heroic, decisive and compassion-
    ate, but also lustful (the Enemy Within), petty (the Ultimate Computer), embarassingly weak
    (Dagger of the Mind) and disgustingly humiliated (Plato’s Stepchildren) and bombastic (pick
    an episode) to a degree we’ve never seen in a TV protagonist. How’s that for deep?

    Spock: Soooo much more to him as a character than some lame, sci-fi back-story and prosthetic
    bumps on the nose to match some contrived, alien customs. A man who’s desire to be
    something is at war with who he actually is. That’s deep stuff for any ’60s TV character
    but in what was virtually an experimental type of TV sci-fi for the times? Also, his person-
    ality clash with McCoy wasn’t based on some nerdy plot device; it was about 2 people
    who JUST DIDN”T CLICK, and some of TOS’ best episodes revolved around this.

    Now, I risk sounding a little snotty, but if one is the kind of Trekkie who needs to “get a life” the raw frankness of stories like “Space Seed”, where watching Khan gain psychological dominance over Marla McGivers could be a training film for wannabe pimps, or “Charlie X” with his adolescent awkwardness, not to mention the hateful lusts of the dark-side Kirk in “the Enemy Within” (I was actually embarrassed for my parents during the scene where he attempts to rape Janice Rand),
    such grittiness is going to go right over his head.

    Though many of the episodic FX and sets were low budget by today’s standards, the master shots of the Enterprise cruising the stars and the optical effects were second to none and hold up well even today. And, let’s not forget the unique, memorable music. At times subliminally evoking the image of ancient Mongolian warriors, it lent serious impact to the stories, as opposed to the somnolent buzzing ever prevalent in the newer shows.

    But, I carry on too long. I’ll continue in another comment.

  20. Odd, part of my previous comment seems to have come out in verse?? But, to continue, I think it’s great that TNG has its own atmosphere, and the cast is arguably more talented in some cases, but, bear in mind that TNG had an ensemble cast, while TOS had 3 stars and several “regular extras”. I really appreciate Patrick Stewart. What made TNG, to me, was that Roddenberry didn’t try to make lightning strike twice, but crewed the Enterprise D in a manner diametrically opposed to TOS, yet, the show still shined as obviously Trek, and I do enjoy it for what it is. However, if it was to have had the same impact as TOS, it should have been handled like the re-boot of “Battlestar Galactica”, and, if Roddenberry hadn’t been so blinded by his notion of a totally nice-to-the-point-of-blandness Federation, it could have been, years ahead of “Galactica”.

    I think my 2nd fav is Voyager. I stopped watching it half way through season 2, it having gotten so lame after a terrific beginning, but, after the introduction of Seven of Nine, it became really good (There’s an episode in season 6 that was clearly ripped off by the movie “Interstellar”). I think her character was just the catalyst needed to really bring out the interactions of all the other characters. Even Neelix became less annoying, even likeable, and the Doctor, who I used to find equally annoying, actually became a favorite. As in TOS, they became a likeable team.

    Always found DS9 dull, Sisco seemed just a black version of Picard, Quark was Trek’s answer to Doctor Smith of “Lost in Space”, Dax was a good idea executed so dreadfully flat, Odo seemed to be trying to emote through a panty hose, Kira’s supposed “militancy” came across more like a spoiled millennial, and Bashir was the only one I liked because he was so gleefully annoying. No working as a unit, bland sets, few new environments, and this concept had been done before with “Babylon 5”. “Enterprise”, the couple of eps I caught had to do with them meeting races from TNG and forgetting (huh?) and I could never get past that godawful opening song.

    However, I read a previous comment that compared the introduction of Worf to DS9 to the addition of Seven of Nine to Voyager, so I’m going to open my mind to it and get the last 4 seasons.as well as the last 2 of Enterprise (as fans seem to think it was starting to hit its stride). But, a show should start out good, not take 2 or 3 seasons to “hit its stride” (that makes for an awful lot of bad episodes), so I’ll just skip the early years.. It’s still Trek, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy them, in spite of Rick Berman’s attempt to destroy Trek by melding it all into one generic soup. Hopefully, the new web series won’t feel like yet another spin-off of TNG. I can say this: each of these shows (don’t know about Enterprise, though) have had their moments when they were fully the equal of TOS.

    In closing, it gratifies me to see that most here really liked the new Star Trek reboot films. Abrams did a terrific job of recreating the atmosphere of the original while re-defining it at the same time.

  21. You are perfectly entitled to be wrong. TOS is the best by far. You remind me of the folks who don’t like classic “Doctor Who” based solely upon the lack of production values, bad special effects, or what you perceive to be “cheese or camp”. You are totally ignoring the most important aspects of a sci-fi/fantasy show. Good writing, well developed characters, atmosphere, chemistry, and a strong narrative that is engaging and which draws you in. That is why people adore Star Trek TOS and 1970’s Doctor Who.

  22. Okay…. I’m happy to read all the opinions here. And okay, there is something to be said about each one. And yeah, I’ll admit to the occasional TNG that ain’t half bad. I like the one where the Klingon Jesus reappears after 2,000 years or so (I’m not making this up), but Worf gets disillusioned because the guy turns out to be a clone. Then he accepts the guy. What was it called? “Lawful Heir” or something like that?

    But in general there is no comparison!!! the best of the TOS are classic stories that have stood the test of time. Watching them now is liking is like watching Casablanca or Citizen Kane.

    And here is the case, succinctly put… TNG suffers from an annoying excess of “Treknobabble”… that is, first 55 minutes of the show, get the ship into some impossible danger in which there seems to be no way out. THEN in the last 5 minutes, someone suggests that they rewire the yadda yadda yadd engines and hot-wire the anti-matter pods into order to do a cold reboot of the engines, or some other such meaningless bullsh*t that is just Writer-Speak for “The writer couldn’t find a convincing ending so we’re going to go, yet again, with another stupid Deus Ex Machina.”

    Another problem with TNG is the one that I learned about in Bill Shatner’s documentary on TNG. (Yes, I realize the source is incredibly biased, but still.) Roddenberry had this idea that the human race had evolved to a state of perfection. Plus, EVEN THE KLINGONS WERE NICE NOW. The problem was, Where the hell was conflict and real drama supposed to come from? It turns out they went through dozens of writers in the first couple of years alone, because no one could write to that format!!!!

    As a result, so many TNG scripts were D.O.A. Dumb on Arrival.

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