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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Next Generation: Season Two


Second season down, five more to go. The second season of The Next Generation started with a writers strike. This left the season four episode short of the 26 each other season had. It also had the show runners scrambling to find stories to use while the strike was settled. Some of the episodes including the first one The Child was actually pulled from the scripts written for Star Trek: Phase II, a series that was planned for the late 70s but instead got turned into The Motion Picture. The season went out with a bang followed by a little whimper. The last few episodes were some of my favorites while the last was a clip show. Why?

Chief O'Brien

In season one the actor that plays Chief O'Brien did play in a few episodes but none as O'Brien. This season he was brought in, given a name and was put in charge of the transporter. While he wasn't in every episode, he did have a significant presence.

Worf

In season two Worf still is a fairly one dimensional character but now he is in a fixed position where we can watch him grow. There were a few episodes that dealt with Klingon traditions that focused on Worf but there were also episodes such as Peak Performance and The Dauphin where he got to show his character more.

Wesley Crusher

Since Gates McFadden left the show for season two, Wesley's character was changed slightly. He now wears what more appears like a uniform instead of a tacky sweater. But he also seems to have matured more since the first season. He stayed on the Enterprise chaperoned by Commander Riker but all the bridge staff take on duties to help him in his studies and well, life. He hasn't hit his peak on the show yet (the next Traveler episode I think is that point) but he was only told to "shut up" once all season, and ironically by Guinan.

Deanna Troi

There were some powerful performances given by Marina Sirtis this season. The episode where she had an alien child showed her as someone who won't let anyone else live her life while her dealings with her mother shows it isn't an easy struggle. She still played mostly a background role used by the Captain as a crutch to solve problems, but I look forward to seeing her stories in future seasons where I know she is given more room to grow as a character.

Geordi La Forge

Ahh, Geordi is finally chief engineer. In season one there were episodes where you saw him rushing to engineering to solve some problem, but now that is his spot. I found he had less screen time by not being on as many away missions or even on the bridge as often (though when the action starts, you usually see him come up to the bridge and activate the engineering station).

Doctor Pulaski

We only see her for one season, but it is a season that will be well remembered. I have always preferred Doctor Pulaski to Doctor Crusher and it will be sad to see her go.

Lt. Commander Data

Probably Data's weakest season. While Brent Spiner is getting the hang of the character, there weren't many episodes centered around him and even when they were, it was Picard that got center stage. Measure of a Man was about Picard defending Data's rights. Pen Pals was about Picard and the rest of the bridge officers trying to fix Data's mistake. These episodes even showed Data in the background looking at everything playing itself out as a child would be watching it's parents. I look forward to future seasons where Data gets a girlfriend or makes his daughter.

Riker

Riker has his beard, everything is good now. Though not much ever changes with his character, he continues to be the leader of every away team and his beard leads the way to great Next Generation episodes.

Red Shirts

Lots of peopled died this season, but almost all were off screen. Only one death we saw where I could give a tally mark to one of the categories, and in this case it was the ensign helmsan who wore red that was killed by Nagilum.

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