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Enterprise? Sophmore slump?

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Enterprise? Sophmore slump?

Old 12-30-02, 09:58 AM
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Enterprise? Sophmore slump?

Saw this on Thefutoncritic.com:

The sophomore slump

As promised I'll spend today going over your responses to our previous rant about the slumps and successes of the various sophomore series on network television out there. First off, let me preface this by saying when I write that a show is doing "bad" or "good" it's not an attack on the show itself or the fans of the show, it's simply a look at how the show stacks up according to the numbers. Personally I don't think "Enterprise" is the worst sophomore series, but the numbers say that in year-to-year comparisons, its ratings have seen the biggest slip out of all second-year series. There's no debating that, it's simply a fact whether I like the show or not. So on that note, on with the show:

CYRUS writes: "I thought you were a little unfair to "Enterprise". The post TNG Star Trek spin-off series usually get large number of viewers during the first few weeks of their premiere, as a lot of people who are fans of previous series just check it out (with the premiere episode itself getting really good ratings) before the show settles down. If you compare Enterprise ratings this season to the ratings for the show during February thru May of last season, it has not really changed that much."

"Of course TV audiences tend to fall off somewhat during the second half of the season. So at the end of the season, if you compare the second half results of this season vs last season, then you would have a better view of how much decline has happened with "Enterprise."

Is he right about the post-TNG "Star Trek" series? We did a little research ourselves:

TNG (season 1) after 11 episodes: 11.29 rating
TNG (season 2) after 11 episodes: 10.70 rating
TNG change: -5.22%

DS9 (season 1) after 11 episodes: 12.55 rating
DS9 (season 2) after 11 episodes: 9.22 rating
DS9 change: -26.53%

VOY (season 1) after 11 episodes: 8.22 rating
VOY (season 2) after 11 episodes: 6.00 rating
VOY change: -27.00%

ENT (season 1) after 11 episodes: 4.93 rating
ENT (season 2) after 11 episodes: 3.24 rating
ENT change: -34.28%

Indeed the post-TNG "Star Trek" series have suffered slumps from their first to second seasons. But as you'll no doubt notice, that slump has gotten progressively worse over the years (as has "Star Trek's" viewership overall). Certainly the television climate was different when each of these series bowed however one can't help but be disappointed that almost two-thirds of "Trek's" audience has disappeared in the last 15 years.


My guess, is, that it just needs a better writing staff. Nuff said.
Old 12-30-02, 10:24 AM
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Ratings-wise, of course it is in a sophomore slump.

Quality-wise, it wasn't that good last year so I really have not noticed a dip in quality. It really has nowhere to go but up.
Old 12-30-02, 02:02 PM
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"that it just needs a better writing staff."

Could not have said it better myself. Berman needs to be shown the door if Star Trek as a franchise hopes to survive. I am sure Berman has not done all the writing for Enterprise, but since he took the helm of this franchise I for one have been utterly disgusted with Star Trek.
Old 12-30-02, 05:47 PM
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I started watching Season 1 of Babylon 5 over the weekend and am catching up on Season 3 of Farscape.
Enterprise cant get near these shows in quality. I wish it were good but it's not.
Old 12-30-02, 11:14 PM
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Hmm...I hadn't realized that season ONE had elevated the show to a point where it'd be possible to "slump".

Oh well.
This is the FIRST Trek show i've made a conscious effort NOT to watch.
Old 12-31-02, 08:15 AM
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Originally posted by Rogue588

This is the FIRST Trek show i've made a conscious effort NOT to watch.
Me too. *sigh*
Old 12-31-02, 11:53 AM
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You get to slowly watch Rick Berman and his cronies take a crap all over Star Trek, dismantling it piece by piece.

If you see a movie or a TV show in place of that image, you're in denial.
Old 12-31-02, 01:18 PM
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Originally posted by Rogue588
Hmm...I hadn't realized that season ONE had elevated the show to a point where it'd be possible to "slump".


A “sophomore slump” is just a denial in progress. Or a catch phrase to explain away why the numbers for Year Two of Program X are not doing as well as Year One. It’s a bunch of BS. IMHO, of course.

I would be more interested in seeing a season-by-season ratings list. I bet that could tell quite a tale.

However, the numbers in the first post are interesting. TNG was a highly-anticipated series that many, if not all, Trek fans hoped for, prayed for, and/or masturbated about for almost a generation. It’s interesting that DS9 pulled in a higher rating for the first season, perhaps due to the new generation of fans then enjoying TNG? And Voyager’s initial ratings seem respectable.

I wonder what could make for such a huge ratings slump between Voyager and that bastard stepchild that is currently showing? For me, I noticed a night-and-day shift in the quality of the show immediately after the introduction of Seven of Nine. Things started to smell bad. [I’ll leave it to the historians in the diminishing crowd to suggest if there was a change in the “creative” staff at that time that might account for this.] In spite of being a Star Trek Whore, I recall losing interest to the point of uttering the apostasy of, “Well, I’ll catch it during the reruns.” Maybe this could explain why folks have stayed away in droves, in spite of the “origins of Trek” hype that Paramount dangled like a fetid carrot before the few remaining loyal fans.

If this drivel was produced by a studio that had no vested interest in the “network” that is showing it, I would be willing to bet a small [profitable] farm that we would not be having this discussion. In any case, I’m confident that B&B&Co. will be branded with the label “The A**holes Who Killed Trek.” And, if there is a God, Gene will finally be able to rest secure in the knowledge that the words “They’ll never work in this town again” will boldly go in the cover letters of their future résumés.
Old 12-31-02, 01:34 PM
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Re: Enterprise? Sophmore slump?

Originally posted by cooper2000
TNG (season 2) after 11 episodes: 10.70 rating
...
ENT (season 2) after 11 episodes: 3.24 rating
Holy. Freaking. Crap.

How much in denial can Paramount be when they have access to numbers like this?

Obviously, the TV landscape is different in 2002 than it was in 1988, but still... Can it get any more clear that Trek is in need of a rest/revitalization?

Not to mention that Nemesis will be lucky to break $40 million in domestic box office. How can B&B still be employeed?
Old 12-31-02, 06:26 PM
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I think B&B's days are numbered, unless Paramount totally has its corporate head up its corporate arse.
Old 01-01-03, 06:07 PM
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I didn't have the chance to watch Voyager so I'm not as jaded yet as many of you but I've certainly been disappointed by the total lack of original thought put into the Enterprise scripts. It is far too early to be recycling plotlines and themes from the three "current" series. Perhaps if there had been a few decades of lag time such as between the original series and the next generation things wouldn't seem as stale.

If you've ever watched episodes of season 1 of TNG back-to-back with season 7 it's easy to see how comfortable the actors had gotten with their characters. I keep hoping something like that will develop with Enterprise but there seems to be a distinct lack of effort.

Unless they pull something out of their magic trick box Enterprise won't last 7 seasons, not in the current syndication environment. And at this rate that may not be a bad thing..

*goes back to waiting for his TNG episodes on DVD to arrive, all 7 seasons worth..*
Old 01-01-03, 10:09 PM
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I don't really think the Berman bashing is on target. At least not all of it. I think you need to go back and have a look at the first couple of seasons of TNG, and see how truly bland and wretched it often was. If the likes of Maurice Hurley, Tracy Torme and Gene's warmed-over staff from the first season had been allowed to continue to run the show, it would have forever sullied the name of the franchise. It was about as bad as the Salkind Superboy.

TNG and DS9 are the high points of the franchise. Many people ignored and berated DS9 only to wake up one day and figure out how truly great it was.

Importing Seven to Voyager was kind of a Pyrric victory. Quite a few good episodes emerged from her character, especially her running battles w/ Janeway, but other vibrant and interesting characters (Torres, chiefly), were ignored or put on the back burner. Also, the essentially tunnel-vision setting of the show (We Must Get Back To The Alpha Quadrant) got old again after a while. Giving the go-ahead for that was Berman's first big mistake. His second was allowing that bland script for Insurrection to go ahead. Just say "No", next time.

His final and most egregious mistake was in going backwards in time. Stupid. It's was a mistake when they thought of it, and I'm stunned it made it as far as production. That franchise has never been about going backward.

Finally, please let's get over the "What would Gene think?" vibe. Gene would try to take credit for the good ideas and blame someone else for the bad ones. That's what Gene would do. I've had people who are too into Gene's "Vision" try and tell me "In the Pale Moonlight", the single best DS9 episode, and one of the high points in the whole Federation saga, was a mistake, because Gene wouldn't like... blah blah blah... Gene's dead, folks. Accept it.

If Berman can't get his head out of his can, he'll be out, deservedly. Irrespective of his great past services.
Old 01-01-03, 11:23 PM
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Yeah the first two seasons of TNG were bland but they have had many years to find out what works and what doesnt and I think the learning curve is up.
Voyager did have some good episodes about the Seven character but like you said, after she was created, many other charaters where esentially ignored and the writing really showed a lack of creativity.
There are many different ways they could have gone with the Voyager concept and like Enterprise, they said they were starting with a clean slate with the show was created but quickly fell back on the same ol' plot devices.
Writing is to blame and the complacency of the creative team.
They really need to get some creative people in there and quick. Who's fault is is if it isnt Berman and Braga and Paramount.
Paramount has been using this franchise as the big cash cow for years but I think, you have to give out to get back and they just arent doing it.
Enterprise is just the same old retread Trek that doesnt take any chances and I think that people are just not willing to accept sub-par Sci Fi anymore.
Other fans will just watch the show because it's in the Trek Universe even though they think it's just, OK?
What happened to Early Federation development? Like Voyager, Clean slate but they havent dont anything with it.
They have instead fallen back, Already, to Bra and Underwear shots and rub down scenes.
Not working.
Old 01-02-03, 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by Buck Turgidson
I think you need to go back and have a look at the first couple of seasons of TNG, and see how truly bland and wretched it often was.
I actually just finished both of these on DVD (and am now about halfway through Season 3). While there were more than a few awkward moments in the first couple of TNG seasons, I think that there are significantly better than any season of Voyager or Enterprise.

The first season gave us "Conspiracy", "Datalore", and other enjoyable shows. And the second season gave us "Q Who", "Contagion", and one of the best episodes of any Star Trek show, "The Measure of a Man".

There were definitely bumps in the road and a few missteps along the way, but it was pretty clear even from the first season that they were on to something. The cast had chemistry and some (but admitedly, not all) of the episodes showed some really strong writing and imagination.

You want bland and wretched? Watch pretty much any episode of Enterprise...
Old 01-02-03, 05:04 PM
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I have come to the conclusion that people must be missing the caves.

Live long and spelunk!
Old 01-02-03, 05:27 PM
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Originally posted by bboisvert
I actually just finished both of these on DVD (and am now about halfway through Season 3). While there were more than a few awkward moments in the first couple of TNG seasons, I think that there are significantly better than any season of Voyager or Enterprise.

The first season gave us "Conspiracy", "Datalore", and other enjoyable shows. And the second season gave us "Q Who", "Contagion", and one of the best episodes of any Star Trek show, "The Measure of a Man".

There were definitely bumps in the road and a few missteps along the way, but it was pretty clear even from the first season that they were on to something. The cast had chemistry and some (but admitedly, not all) of the episodes showed some really strong writing and imagination.

You want bland and wretched? Watch pretty much any episode of Enterprise...
I have no real quarrel with anything you've written here (although I'd rate a lot of Voyager higher than a lot of the first two TNG seasons.) There were quite a few solid eps in those seasons (@ 5-10 1st Season and 10-15 in the 2nd), there was just a pervasive atmosphere of cheapness that screamed "Syndicated Show". I know a lot of this was Paramount's fault for not investing proper money in the franchise, but the original series labored under similar constratints and did much better. I think Hurley et al, would have been satisfied with a Time Trax-level of quality, and I think the show wouldn't have climbed to the heights it later did with them at the helm.

I don't have a UPN station available to me (I have a dish), so I can't comment on Enterprise. Like I wrote, I think going backward is a bad idea in the abstract, and I'm not pleased that they've effectively messed with ship development continuity for the sake of this one show.
Old 01-03-03, 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by Buck Turgidson
I don't have a UPN station available to me (I have a dish), so I can't comment on Enterprise.
Couldn't the switch to UPN be a significant part of the ratings drop-off from the earlier shows?
Old 01-03-03, 04:33 PM
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Originally posted by ten41
Couldn't the switch to UPN be a significant part of the ratings drop-off from the earlier shows?
Possibly (and this was partly the reason for my comment about the TV landscape being different now).

But, TNG and DS9 were both syndicated, which means random stations and random timeslots that differ from region to region. Seems to me that it would be more difficult to build and maintain an audience in that situation, rather than on a (small) network with a consistent timeslot and advertising campaign.

But, maybe I just don't have a clue how these things work...
Old 01-04-03, 01:24 AM
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I'm wondering if TNG and DS9 actually reached more viewers in syndication than UPN does now? This could be The Suits' justification for keeping it going in spite of the ratings.

I'm still surprised at how many folks can't get UPN these days.
Old 01-04-03, 05:01 AM
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Most of the cable companies around here carry UPN and The WB both. One of my online pals has Dish Network and has access to (multiple) WB and UPN stations. I guess it's just those of us who have the (otherwise complete and quite excellent) DirecTV setup that are SOL as regards UPN.

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