Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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AlexMcpherson79
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Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by AlexMcpherson79 »

TOS, TNG and VOY all pretty much suffer from a disease I call Episodicitis, that is that due to being constructed as each episode being self-contained, and that by episodes end, the status quo had to be back in place, we couldn't really get proper arcs.
DS9 was the black sheep for obvious reasons, and also in my opinion, the best series for it, though it had its problems as they still were semi-stuck in the thought processes that come from episodicitis.


What if ENT really took DS9' "series-spanning arcs" idea and each episode was more of a chapter in the story? I look at Heroes Season 1 which is more 'Volume 1' and split into 23 chapters, and if anything, you had to start at the beginning (murder for 'out of order airing syndication' then, which is how I got TNG here in the UK when I was a kid... and Snooker wasn't on. Or Tennis. Or F1. and only when the BBC decided to actually show it on BBC 2.)

I'm not talking about "mission of the week" here, 'oh there's a plot, this guy who befriended archer is actually a CRIMINAL' Or whatever that episode was where Archer got his a$$ handed to him in the desert. (cough which time)

No, I'm thinking that Each character would have their 'overall character development arc', the idea that we start with 'this' character, and end the show where they are now 'this' person, and its a steady transition. Archer starts out as idealistic, but slowly becomes bitter at how the galaxy they're exploring is less wonder and more war and terror, he just doesn't *get* the Klingons and their culture, (a bad first contact onward?), and his part in the creation of the Federation was if anything, his desire to change things for the better, so his *bad* development (as in he kind of becomes an asshole, not as in badly-written development) had a *positive* outcome in the long run.

Hoshi... okay after what I said in the UT topic in the ds9 subforum, I'm thinking she'd have a run of starting out kind of useless as an *officer*, though we learn quickly that she wasn't part of starfleet pre-NX-01, her commission was due to Archer just wanting one of his friends who happens to be really good at languages aboard (and did NOT get on with any of the actual applicants!) so she immediately starts the show with major inadequacy issues, she doesnt get how to be an officer, doesn't like spending practically all her time aboard ship (lack of officer training results in not away team mission qualified), and early on lots of problems translating things for the crew (because she's not allowed off ship until she finishes her on-the-job officer training qualifications)

But the Hoshi after the end of the series (of a 7-year run or 'end the show at the creation of the federation')... Hoshi is now a full-on Ambassador for the United Federation of Planets... and her scopes of diplomacy is The Klingon Empire. Maybe even the Vulcans be the ones who insisted she be the Federations' first Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, on account of that despite her diminutive stature (especially compared to Klingons who average AT least six foot?) she has not just learned the language and culture, but is quite able to talk down even quite hostile Klingons, and the Vulcans attribute that Pre-Federation, Humanity and the Klingons aren't at war.... even though there has been 'many' instances where the Klingons sense of honor would have allowed them to declare war anyway. Mis-steps in Humanities reach into the galaxy situations.

Hoshi at series beginning and end are practically two entirely different characters... and we've got like seven years to get from A to B, (*whisper* while also making it so that Q decides the UFP need the Universal Translator, because most linguists in the UFP are useless, Hoshi as JUST a linguist was useless, but what Hoshi Became scares him and doesn't want another Hoshi 'I can talk the Klingons Who Venerate Not Just War but A Just War out of a Very Just War' Sato)


Is that not an epic-sounding character arc?

What do you guys think? Ideas for the others? (Travis especially!)
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by Graham Kennedy »

What you're describing is actually Babylon 5. The show is really noticeable in how the characters grew and evolved over the years, not just in their attitudes but their jobs. Realistically it's kind of ridiculous that Picard was Captain of the Stargazer for like 20 years, and the E-D for like eight. B5 went through three different commanders, and by the end of the show I don't think there was a single character who wasn't in a different job. Usually not just "promoted to the next level" either, but radical stuff - Sheridan ended up President, Ivanova ended up the head Ranger, Garibaldi ended up a billionaire businessman, etc, etc.

For Enterprise... honestly I'd have Mayweather quit Starfleet and captain a ship. I'd say there was a new generation of Warp 4 cargo ships rolling out of the shipyards and he was taking one over. So not taking years to get anywhere and growing up in space, but rather visiting new planets all over. He just never fit much into the show, so I think it would be fitting to return him to his roots.

Trip, I think I'd make his the chief engineer on the project to design the Daedalus class ships. And maybe the Captain of one of the first ones.

Reed I'd make a weapons designer of some sort.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by bladela »

Graham Kennedy wrote:What you're describing is actually Babylon 5. The show is really noticeable in how the characters grew and evolved over the years, not just in their attitudes but their jobs. Realistically it's kind of ridiculous that Picard was Captain of the Stargazer for like 20 years, and the E-D for like eight. B5 went through three different commanders, and by the end of the show I don't think there was a single character who wasn't in a different job. Usually not just "promoted to the next level" either, but radical stuff - Sheridan ended up President, Ivanova ended up the head Ranger, Garibaldi ended up a billionaire businessman, etc, etc.
in the real world i don't think anyone will remain captain for that long...
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by McAvoy »

bladela wrote:
Graham Kennedy wrote:What you're describing is actually Babylon 5. The show is really noticeable in how the characters grew and evolved over the years, not just in their attitudes but their jobs. Realistically it's kind of ridiculous that Picard was Captain of the Stargazer for like 20 years, and the E-D for like eight. B5 went through three different commanders, and by the end of the show I don't think there was a single character who wasn't in a different job. Usually not just "promoted to the next level" either, but radical stuff - Sheridan ended up President, Ivanova ended up the head Ranger, Garibaldi ended up a billionaire businessman, etc, etc.
in the real world i don't think anyone will remain captain for that long...
No they don't. As is the case with new Top Gun movie coming out, they don't retain captains that long. Either they get promoted or they are pushed out.

However Star Trek follows more of the old sailing days of naval advancement. You could be a captain of a ship for a long time due to the long distances and slow speeds to cross distances.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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I always viewed it as an ever-expanding fleet - They promoted Captains to Admirals as needed, but for most, Captain is the Goal. Picard came across as already knowing that - he seemed too old to not yet be an admiral, but probably had put off the promotion just like Riker had put off transfers from The Enterprise. That though he did want to eventually be a captain, he was far far too comfortable to just suddenly accept a promotion and transfer. I don't think its coincidence that he finally accepted one when he was finally getting married to Deanna. (He wanted to stay on the same ship as his old squeeze! Maybe her answer to the question 'will you marry me' was 'only if you finally accept a promotion, Really Will, you've been stuck in a rut as First Officer, Moving on will be good for you!)

So in the end you have captains who spend longer as a captain than they did as anything else, combined. Look at Kirk - how old was he when he was given command of the Enterprise? He accepted a promotion to Admiral after five years, so for "admiral = endgoal" officers, that sounds to me like the right length of time in grade, but he realised that he missed the chair too much hence why, even as an admiral, we had TMP and TWOK with Kirk in Command. Then post-TVH's end-of-movie trial his demotion to captain basically had the klingons go "Uh, making him a captain is not punishing him!". So really, I view his captaincy as stretching from TOS through to TUC, spanning what, two decades?
2263 to 2293, so thirty years. When he joined in what, 2250, graduated 2254? so 2254-2263, nine years... so forty-odd years in starfleet, three quarters of it in command of a starship, near enough.

In my view, Starfleet is always expanding, but in the early years of the federation, there actually wouldn't be much expansion of the fleet. So, lets take the progression from this series, enterprise.

Season 1 to 3, there is only the NX-01 as an explorer. The Intrepid and one other are short-range defensive, it feels like anyway. The NX-01 was built alone, but after launch, they began to build the next one, which took three years, but by then they had finished another shipyard, so would be building two, maybe staggered so every year and half a ship launches, except no because they're building shipyards too, but they're limited in personnel draw. So that's why Admiral Forrest was the only admiral I actually think was around in Ent, (maybe the "klingot" guy from Broken Bow was an admiral, IDK, but I dont think another admiral was shown. And why would there be loads, Starfleet in the show was a handful of ships and one cruiser, the NX-01, which itself is only a small ship compared to *everyone else*.

... more thoughts but loosing track now, *scratching head*
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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It's clear that Starfleet really has a very different culture to current military forces in several ways. Their policy seems to be that if somebody is good at a job and happy in it, they can keep it for as long as they like. Hell in Tapestry Picard was still a Lieutenant jg at the age of 64! One promotion in an entire 40+ year career, and nobody seemed to have a problem with it. Hell, even if you do get a promotion it's purely voluntary - you can turn it down and just stay in your current job for as long as you like.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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Graham Kennedy wrote:Hell in Tapestry Picard was still a Lieutenant jg at the age of 64! One promotion in an entire 40+ year career, and nobody seemed to have a problem with it.
That's nothing - as McAvoy said, Starfleet's career structure is more akin to the Napoleonic era. Take this guy for example - stayed a lieutenant for half a century.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by Teaos »

It’s about finding something you like and are good at and doing it. Very few people are ambitious or skilled enough to climb the ranks. Not that we see it, but maybe star fleet has stupidly hard officer exams, so many just choose not to.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by McAvoy »

Captain Seafort wrote:
Graham Kennedy wrote:Hell in Tapestry Picard was still a Lieutenant jg at the age of 64! One promotion in an entire 40+ year career, and nobody seemed to have a problem with it.
That's nothing - as McAvoy said, Starfleet's career structure is more akin to the Napoleonic era. Take this guy for example - stayed a lieutenant for half a century.
Modern command structures have commanding officers cycled every 18-36 months. This works because of how fast we can travel now and having more than enough officers in rank to do it. You won't get some cowboy either because those got weeded out.

Like I said, space is vast and as fast as Warp Drive is, it is like traveling between continents with a sailing ship. To me it makes sense for captains to stay in command of a ship for years or decades due to their missions.

In fact, TOS Enterprise cycling new captains after each five year mission is a more modern concept.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by 00111010 01000100 »

And modern military has what called a higher-tenior (have to look up the correct spelling). It only allows personnel to stay in the military for so long at a specific rank. If they do not get promoted, they are discharged from the service. (Please remember that my experience is solely U.S. based so may not be applicable to any or all others).
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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00111010 01000100 wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:01 am And modern military has what called a higher-tenior (have to look up the correct spelling). It only allows personnel to stay in the military for so long at a specific rank. If they do not get promoted, they are discharged from the service. (Please remember that my experience is solely U.S. based so may not be applicable to any or all others).
High year tenure.

Exactly. This was implemented due to making the fleet smaller. Obviously Starfleet either needs to keep as many people as possible to fill the needs of the fleet or advancing in rank isn't necessarily career driven.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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00111010 01000100 wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:01 am And modern military has what called a higher-tenior (have to look up the correct spelling). It only allows personnel to stay in the military for so long at a specific rank. If they do not get promoted, they are discharged from the service. (Please remember that my experience is solely U.S. based so may not be applicable to any or all others).
One issue with that is it means that potentially, you promote everyone to the point where they're not competent to do the job they're in and so advance no further, and leave them there for years before kicking them out.

Starfleet seems to take the view that if a guy is good at his job but unable to go further, why get rid of him? Just let him do what he's good at.

Though I had to laugh at LieutenantJG Picard, whose job seemed to be to carry reports to people. In a time where everyone has easy access to what amounts to an iPad. Can they not just email this stuff to one another? Nope, got to have make-work for Picard!
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by AlexMcpherson79 »

Actually some people only sign up for say, 9 years of service (minimum for RAF I think?), and maybe that means they're still a lieutenant in the navy when they leave at the end of their contracted service (whatever the military calls it). Those who sign up for continued service do so for a few years at a time knowing that there is such a thing as maximum time in rank AND that there are a limited number of officer slots and, I think I have this correct, promotion is not from time-in-rank seniority but by review AND then by "yeah sorry dude youve got next slot but gotta wait for either someone to croak, discharge for whatever reason or retire." So theoretically at least, people could end up in a rank for say, a year longer than they should despite being approved for promotion because the rank they're waiting to be promoted to has too many and no one in that rank has died, been discharged or retired... and if they reach the maximum time in rank...
my guess is placed on Active Reserve?

But not everyone who signs up as an officer and is capable of the duties that come with the next promotion up, sticks out past... ensign/LT JG/LT/LT CMDR/CMDR/Captain anyway. Like say... had I actually served in the navy, say theoretically I had the chops to go up to Commander rank, aka first officer of a large ship or commanding officer of a smaller one, though not necessarily up to the responsibilities that comes with Captain rank (command of a large ship). I believe there ARE ship captains of the Commander Rank in the Navy - frigates etc. But at the rank of Lt Commander (XO of a small ship or ranking officer beneath a XO/Commander) I get told I've been approved for promotion, but I gotta wait as there's no small boats needing a Cap, nor large boats needing an XO... and I have the option of spending the next year in current role, or perhaps going into the reserve lists with priority for promotion, or retiring (and those two options open my slot in the LT Commander ranks for a Lt to be promoted)...


The worlds navy's hit that issue of, there's just only so much water, and material to build and resources of various kinds to support ships... and money. can't forget that one.

Star Trek's Starfleet is basically in the situation of, the borders are always expanding - either territorial border, limit of explored space border and so on and so on, they're in the situation that they ALWAYS need more ships than they have. And They're ALWAYS relearning that ship-density within federation space is too goddamn low. 39 ships responding to the borg threat during TNG's BOBW taught them that, and as a result, a fleet of a mere 110 ships or so (season 6) was considered "good", yet again, the Dominion taught them 'yaaa no. you gonna need a bigger fleet'.

With The dominion war basically all but declared when they started sending fleets into cardassian space (basically I'm using when Garak and Worf went into the GQ to find enabran tain and found Martok was still alive and oh yeah the bashir on DS9 they left was actually a shapeshifter duplicate, and whilst in the prison dukat revealed the whole 'cardassia is joining dominion!) ... how long before open conflict? long enough for starfleet to gather fleets... probably longer given the whole Fed vs Kli thing from season 4 and 5. I mean, no Khitomer Accords during those two years. how much conflict elsewhere do you think began to happen between the two powers? (not just centred on the 'but cardassia=dominion infiltrated!)...
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

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High year tenure is meant basically to make room for people who may or may not have high aspersions then you do. You could be deadwood to the organization and just taking up a spot someone else better could fill. This works when the organization is not expanding but contracting.

Starfleet is obviously expanding constantly. They probably need all the people they can get their hands on.

Itd like that episode in Voyager where they are talking about misfits on the ship. They were implying these misfits would not have been kicked out but moved somewhere else. Where their talent or lack of it could be used better.

With the exception of the smug theorist. He was on an enlistment and would have left once it ended. Which for me, was a refreshing view of service. The dude was an ass but he did show not everyone wanted to be in the fleet but had to do it out of neccesity.
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Re: Series-Spanning Character Arc Ideas

Post by 00111010 01000100 »

To McAvoy-> Thank you for fixing the spelling of my misspelling :) Yes, it’s a great motivator to inspire those who wish to achieve something more, to do so. It can also be a hinder to those who’s rate is over-bloated to the degree of requiring a advancement score of 98% to move up in rank (this can happen frequently in rates which have loads of service members who stay in for 20+years, billets for the total allowed ranks e.g. E4 through E9 are at maximum. The navy will only promote the allocated positions or necessity. I served with an E5 Mess specialist (cook) whom was approaching his high year of 20 years (the navy has reduced that number significantly since then). He would’ve been discharged the next year but was command advanced to E6, individual commands can do this with 3 lower ranked - exemplary individuals per year. So while the cook wasn’t exactly a super star, his desire to remain in the service was considered a factor in the promotion.

A side note: AlexMcpherson79, I am prior navy enlisted, so what you’ve mentioned, yeah, that’s how it is for the us navy as well. Traditions and formalities were created and carried through the centuries, if they aren’t broke, keep using them. :)
Most if not all vessels are captained by Commanders (WW2 ships were capt. by Lt. Cmdr since there weren’t enough commanders for all the ships (and they had a lot of ships that needed captains).

I would love to expand on these topics further and keep the feedbacks and responses flowing, but we could end up being in the thread for years if we did so! I really appreciate the knowledge and info all of you have towards military organization, ranking, guidelines, and so on! Simply awesome.
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