Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Next Generation: Season One

Finally got to The Next Generation, my favorite Star Trek series. Going into this year I received many comments about how TNGs first few seasons are harder to watch and it really only gets good by the middle of season three. I have never watched TNG in order. I watched from season 4 through 7 in order as it aired, but every other viewing was in syndication. I was pleasantly surprised when some of my favorite episodes were in season one. There were some episodes that just didn't age well (if they were even considered decent when they aired) but the adcting on average was pretty good and there were some good introductory stories.

This season introduced a lot of things that are common themes throughout all series that followed. They introduce what Klingon culture is like. The Motion Picture and Search for Spock re-introduce the Klingons with their new look but we don't really get into their history or what makes them tick until TNG. The Ferengi are a new alien we see that become a reoccurring species in TNG and a regular in DS9.

This season also introduces the holodeck and what they are capable of. In The Animated Series they show a holodeck but it is a simple with environment only as is the one we see in Star Trek: Enterprise. TNG introduces the idea that characters can be introduced that act and feel like real people. There was no time travel in this episode, which is a good thing. I think every season of TNG going forward does have at least one and Voyager is horrible for it.


Worf starts as a minor role, a backup bridge officer who can't control his anger. He doesn't really have a specific job which is even mentioned in one of the episodes. It isn't until Lt. Yar's death that defines his purpose on the show. In this season he wears a gold baldric that looks exactly like the one we see in The Original Series episode Errand of Mercy which gets replaced in season two.

Wesley Crusher

Wesley is the annoying character that isn't well acted that people didn't like about TNG, the Jar-Jar Binks of Star Trek. And this was his worst season. As he grew as an actor and got older I found his character to be more likable (until his last episode where he acted like a jerk the whole time). Thankfully he only had a minor to non-existing part in most of this season.

Deanna Troi

A counselor as a bridge officer is something new to Star Trek. I don't even know if it is normal in the Federation or something that Picard explicitly was looking for. Voyager for instance didn't have a counselor on the bridge that I know of, even before being flung into the Delta Quadrant. Her telepathic abilities let her help the crew deal with unknown or hostile beings. They were smart to keep her from being too powerful by making her half human so she can only feel emotions and not read actual thoughts like her mother.

Gordi La Forge

In season one he was assigned as a helmsman. The choice to not have a fixed chief engineer was odd, and I does feel weird watching Gordi not play his part. He does have episodes where he shows his technical aptitude though which makes his lead into chief engineer believable. His friendship with Data starts right in season one. There is even an episode where Data is learning to paint creatively and Gordi is helping him.

Tasha Yar

Tasha's run in Star Trek was a short one. While her actor will be back a few more times to play an alternate Tasha and her half Romulan daughter, her actual character was cut short in the episode Skin of Evil. I was never a real fan of her character and thought Worf was a great replacement, but the episode where she died was actually a really good episode with a very emotional ending.

Doctor Crusher

The romance between Doctor Crusher and Captain Picard started right at the second episode. It felt odd given that Picard was the one that gave the order that got her husband killed. The pretext that goes on in the whole season that really doesn't go anywhere until the movies is at times uncomfortable. There were a few episodes where her medical abilities were the main plot, but I found her better seasons are yet to come.

Lt. Commander Data

My favorite character. Data's child like attitude, while being really intelligent and his quest to be more human. It is a perfect combination. In season one I felt that Brent Spiner was still learning his part and there were times where you could see emotion spill out of his character. But after the first few episodes he starts nailing the part.


Beardless, brash, he is always a main character that tries to be like Kirk but generally forgettable. I felt that in most episodes even though he was leading the away team, Picard still felt like the lead character.


Even from the first episode it is obvious that Patrick Stewart is an accomplished actor. Everyone else is trying to get their footing and you could believe that he was on the bridge for three seasons before this. His character is very different from Kirk's. After just one season I can definitely say I prefer Picard.

Red Shirts

TNG did a flip, making gold shirts for security and engineering and converting command shirts to red. This means I should expect to see less red shirts die. Interestingly enough this is true. The count is Red 1, Blue 0 and Gold 4.

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