This is year of course marks the fiftieth anniversay of Star Trek, so I wanted to do something to celebrate it. I don’t have the original series yet, but I did recently acquire The Next Generation on Blu-Ray so I figured I would just watch that and post… not really reviews but just random thoughts and things about each episode. This is the Star Trek series I grew up with and the one I’ve the most fond memories of And Picard, Geordi, Data, Worf and all some of my most beloved characters. I will also post links to the Star Trek site Memory Alpha so you can read a proper synopsis of each episode, if you want.
So here we go. I’m ready to relive my childhood and get stuck into one of the greatest TV shows of all time, aaand…
It’s bad. It’s really bad. Oh, gawd it’s awful. Why am I subjecting myself to this? It’s destroying my childhood memories. Why, Gene, whyyy?!
Okay, okay… settle down. I do recall from the past and from numerous fan sites that the first season or so of TNG really wasn’t that great (they were still finding their footing, and the end of this season and the start of season 2 were affected by a writers strike at the time). If I bear with it I’ll eventually get to some good stuff, but there was no way to tell from this first episode that this series would go on to be a hit. The story, dialogue and acting is all kind of hokey, and the end… the most vomit inducing melodramatic crap ever. The only joy and gratitude I feel is that at least now it’s over.
And Troi… why? Why are you there? Why does the ships counsellor have a seat on the bridge next to the captain? I get her empathic abilities might be useful in some situations, but if Picard is a responsible Captain then why hasn’t he insisted she get the appropriate bridge officer training? Why is it not until season six or whatever that she actually becomes qualified to be there? Why? I guess without her, the only main female character on the bridge would be Tasha Yar and SPOILER ALERT… she isn’t long for this world.
Okay… it isn’t actually all bad. Patrick Stewart is as great an actor as he’s always been, and John De Lancie… if there was an audiobook of John De Lancie reading Twilight, I would listen. I would play it through earphones and fall asleep to it every night.
Anyway, it’s over. Things can only get better from here on, right?
This episode is pretty much just a copy… sorry, I meant ‘homage’ (that’s what professional writers call it when they copy something)… to the original series episode ‘The Naked Time’, which is referenced in this episode. Although the only thing from this episode ever referenced again is Datas fully functional fling with Tasha.
It’s kind of glossed over how Data could possibly be infected as well. He says some guff paraphrasing the words of the great Klingon bard, Chang, but when we see Data’s innards in future episodes there’s no sign of any kind of substitute for blood or organic components. But as I mentioned, it’ll never be brought up again anyway.
There’s obviously a serious deficiency in Star Fleet’s engineering training program, as this episode introduces us to the first in a line of chief engineers who are all completely bloody useless. Eventually Geordi La Forge gets the job and manages to go a week without letting Wesley Crusher take over the ship, so gets to keep it. Bit of a deficiency in Star Fleet security as well, but I’m sure there’ll plenty of opportunity to talk about their gross incompetence in the future.
Tasha Yar: I think you should know that there is no physical training anywhere that matches Star Fleet. Especially its security people.
Me: Really? Because, what I’ve seen, is you guys getting your asses kicked by just about every alien species you run into.
Anyway, in order to stop a plague from spreading the Enterprise travels to Ligon II to get a vaccine, a world obviously far less technologically advanced than the Federation, whose inhabitants are still bound by primitive practices, codes and rituals earthlings long ago evolved out of. Also, they look like this:
Yeah… for all its lauded for being progressive and inclusive and promoting equality, Trek could be a little naïve to people’s sensibilities sometimes. The decision to cast all black-american actors with costumes and sets that seemed very stereotypically African led to this becoming known as the racist episode (Picard’s lecturing about the Prime Directive can come across a little smug and imperialistic sometimes as well). Had they not done that though, like maybe cast a mix instead, it could have been a decent episode.
That aside, the most important thing learnt from this episode is that by the 24th century, the French language is dead. I knew all those lessons in school were a waste of time.