Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, January 25, 2016

ST:TNG, Season One, Episode One: "Encounter at Farpoint" (Part 1)

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season One, Episode One: "Encounter at Farpoint" (Part 1)
Air Order: 1
Original Air Date: September 26, 1987

"Wait, aren't we supposed to be on the fifth movie this week?"
We sure are. That's why we're doing the first season and first episode (part one) of TNG.
"LOL, whut?"
Okay, lemme explain: unlike viewing the TOS episodes in production order (which was done to eliminate continuity error complaints, and which most fans view in that order anyway), I've set it up so that the remainder of the blog will review each Star Trek production by way in which they were presented to the viewing public. (And as far as I can tell, Next Gen episodes do not differ between production order and air order. They were filmed and then shown in the same order.)
This means two things:
Firstly, it means that we will take a pause in our films, as approximately one and half seasons of TNG were shown before Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was released in theaters. (And thank Zod for small favors there, because that movie is shit.) I'll cover that movie between episodes 18 and 19 of season two of TNG, just to keep with the chronology of release dates.

Secondly, it means I'll have to do some fancy footwork where Next Gen, DS9, and Voyager overlap. (Voyager did not quite overlap with Enterprise, as Voyager ended in the summer of 2001, and Enterprise began in the fall of that same year, missing each other by a matter of months.)

Thirdly (and most of all), it means that I've come to the decision to spend the rest of my natural life writing this God-forsaken blog. I had been waffling about whether I was going to go ahead and just do TOS productions, or to do the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Doing just TOS would have meant that this blog would have ended in a matter of weeks, and I could have gone back to my life without having to continue to share my woes with my friends Phil and Casey, who write the ALF and Perfect Strangers blogs, respectively.
Doing the entire catalog on a weekly basis was once added up by my friends, who put the run-time of this blog at approximately ten years... if JJ Abrams stopped making AU films. But here we are, staring down a third film, and the promise of another series from the same set of writers, and I wonder if I'm setting myself up for a lifetime writing project.
Oh, well. Writing on a weekly basis is good practice.
Plus, it's almost a year before I have to deal with Kirk's shit again, and that makes me relatively happy.

When we last left of in our IRL saga, Gene Rod had been kind of reduced to a guy in an office on the studio set who had a nice title and pay bracket, but also no say in his own films. Paramount wanted to do another show. Gene wanted to retire.
"Fine, retire," said Paramount. "We'll do the show without you."
Paramount owned the rights to Star Trek, but Gene still had creative control over the thing, so they were kind of at an impasse.
"It's not Star Trek without me," he countered, and that's pretty much how he got roped into doing another series.
(There's actually a fairly good documentary hosted by The Shat that covers this time period. It's called "Chaos on the Bridge" and it's available on Netflix right now.)
So they went 'round a few times about doing a one-hour pilot or a two-hour pilot. Gene wanted one. The studio wanted a splashier two. DC Fontana was brought in to write the pilot, but told Gene that she couldn't write a two-hour pilot in a two-week timeframe, so she came up with enough material for one, and Gene rewrote bits, adding in the character of Q to pad out the pilot. The pilot now had a slightly different outcome, the proper run-time, and a memorable character who would play recurring roles on TNG, DS9, and Voyager.


New show, new opening.

It took me forever to figure this out (embarrassingly so), but the planets they move around in this first season opener are from our own solar system, sans a few. There's the sun, the Earth and it's moon, plus Mars and Saturn. Suspiciously absent: Mercury and Venus between the sun and Earth, and Jupiter between Mars and Saturn. Also, the moons for those other planets. Maybe they figured we weren't smart enough to catch that? I dunno. But if we were that close to the sun, we'd fry. Just sayin.'
And this is our new ship, the NCC-1701-D Enterprise.
Pretty sexy, though I'm not sure why the glowing blue target. Whatever.

Patrick Stewart does the opening "Space: the final frontier" speech.
Also, new font. I like the A's.

We get a bit of a introductory shot of the new ship here, where it approaches from the front and rolls up over the front of the saucer. I can't really call it a loveletter shot, as they're not so much wooing the audience with shots of the beloved ship, as they are showing them how cool and sleek the new design is. And bigger, too. TOS Enterprise held approximately 43 crew members, but because the E-D is a Galaxy-class ship that holds both crew and their families alike, the number of souls aboard is more than 1000. (Also, I'm never calling it the E-D again. Sorry for that. Did not mean to associate a starship with erectile dysfunction. Okay, unless it leads to a funny joke. Maybe then.)

Picard's Log 41153.7: "Going to Deneb IV. Some poetic stuff about space exploration. We're going to check out Farpoint station."

Right away, you get the feeling that this show is going to be different. Our initial shot of Picard as he gives his voice-over log are of him stepping out of the dark, and only partially into the light. He's older than Kirk was on TOS. But he's capable-looking. Not "young and virile", but the sort of guy you can trust not to fuck up a diplomatic mission. Plus, he's British, and to American ears, any British accent that's not Cockney automatically means "smart as hell."

There's a marked difference between Kirk and Picard, which is interesting because they're both based on Horatio Hornblower, and to a certain extent, Gene Rod. Twenty years earlier, Gene had wanted to be the swashbuckling womanizer, so he wrote Kirk. Now, he wanted to be older, wiser caretaker of the future, so he wrote Picard.
"Tell me about this dude," says Sir Stew to Gene.
And Gene pushes a stack of Horatio Hornblower books at him. "This is what you need to know about Picard."
This is both risky and brilliant. Risky because, what if Patrick Stewart had selected some character trait of Hornblower that Gene didn't like, and chose to accentuate that in his performance? But brilliant because a good actor can see what will work for a character and expand upon it, making it something bigger than it was before. Look at all of the times that Leonard Nimoy made Spock a thousand times better than expected, simply because he knew that character so well.

Picard moves into engineering, and we get a shot of the warp core in all it's glorious beauty, a glowing, throbbing blue, the same color as the sonic screwdriver of Doctor number Ten. I love that blue. 

The captain boards a tiny lift (I've never seen those outside of engineering, so I think they're only used on the upper and lower floors around the warp core) and proceeds to the bridge. He's continuing his log as he goes, talking about getting used to the sheer size and volume of the Galaxy-class ship, so you're assuming that's why he seems to have detoured through engineering.
But you'd be wrong for a hilarious reason: the studio told Gene that they weren't going to build any sets for any part of the ship that didn't appear in the pilot, and knowing that he'd need the engineering section at a later date, Gene rushed back to his script and added the bit about Picard walking through there on his way to the bridge, so the studio would have no choice but to design and build an engineering set.

Picard then goes on to say that they are still missing some people on their crew, which they are going to pick up, including a first officer. An expository conversation with Data on the bridge reveals that, while there are people at Farpoint station who run it, those people did not create the area. So the E's mission is to not only negotiate with the squatters for use of the station, it's to also find out who made the area in the first place.

Let's real quick dive into some costumes here: firstly, you'll remember that the costume designers for the films wanted to move away from the PJ look that the TOS uniforms had, which is why they messed around with the uniforms on the films. But now we're back to PJ's again. My best guess for that is budget - neither show had money, whereas the films were practically swimming in cash. 
Secondly, the three primary colors have been retained for the different sections, but swapped a bit. Red is now Command, gold is Ops. Deanna Troi, ship's counselor, is in medical blue, but that blue is now closer to teal, as the colors used have drifted toward jewel tones.
I like the little dip upward of black into the color swatch, as it sort of pays homage to the insignia of TOS, and I'm enjoying the color block scheme, the modified insignia that remains the same for everyone, and the fact that the sleeve bands indicating rank have been replaced by collar pips.
 I have only two complaints. One is that barely-perceptible colored piping near the shoulders, which says sailor suit to me, but not like a regular sailor... like a kid in a sailor's uniform. That same piping appears around the lower hem of the pants. No thanks.

My other complaint concerns Worf's hair. It looks terrible short like that. His pageboy cut in later seasons isn't any better. I prefer the long, wavy style in late TNG and Deep Space 9, but we have a way to go until then, so I'll just sigh in irritation to myself.

Also, check out Marina Sirtis' hair. Between that, her modified uniform, and those go-go boots, it's no wonder the designers thought she looked like "a cheerleader from space." However, let's thank the sci-fi gods that the writers decided against giving her four breasts. Like seriously, no.

Okay, enough about that crap.
Picard uses the word "snoop," which is unfamiliar to Data, and the captain reveals that the second officer is an android. Data begins listing synonyms, but he's interrupted by Deanna, who is getting a bad feeling, maybe channeled through that god-awful gold headband they put in her hair. Holy crap, dude. Did they assign her to the Enterprise straight out of high school?

She says she senses "a powerful mind" and then I think the ship puts itself on red alert? No, I guess it's a proximity detector, but it makes the same sound as red alert. Hey, show. Pick a different sound, okay?
Some electric fence goes up in front of the ship.
Oh, fuck me. It better not be the Tholians again. I'd be so pissed. So not dealing with their unconnected web crap.

We actually spend a few minutes with this web-fence thing, scanning and trying to figure out what it is. Picard yells at the helmsman to turn of the proximity alarm and just go to yellow alert, which I guess has no alarm.
Suddenly, there's a flash of bright light, and this douchebag appears on the bridge. Now, we don't know this guy yet, but he's dressed vaguely like Christopher Columbus, and at this point in time, everybody knows that Columbus was a complete douchebag, so we can guess that this guy is too.

"GTFO," this guy tells Picard, though he uses a bunch of "thous" and "thines."
"Dude, WTF are you?" demands Picard, because some guy doesn't just randomly beam onto your ship from nowhere. This guy is most definitely a "what."
"We're the Q. You can call me that also." And he strolls around the bridge like he owns the joint, blocking some entering gold shirts on the lift with another one of those web things, then freezing the navigator when he pulls out his phaser to stun the intruder.

"You dick!" says Picard. "He wasn't gonna hurt you! He was only going to stun you!"
"No way," says Q. "Now leave, or you're gonna die."
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Lt Torres went to sick bay to be thawed out. But what do I do with the guy with the crummy fashion sense and insane powers?"

So Q was only dressed like Columbus because he figured dressing like a captain would make an impression on Picard and get him to leave. So he goes through a few costume changes.

He actually tells them to go back to Earth to "fight the Commies." Behind the
times much, dude?

"What the hell?" asks Picard.
Apparently, Q thinks that humans are a dangerous child-race, and accuses them of killing their own over the centuries over stupid stuff.
"We're over that," Picard argues. "Have been for a long time."
Then Q switches into another costume, one that the E crew clearly knows about but which leaves the audience completely in the dark. His dropped hints talk about the human race previously controlling their armies with drugs.
Sick bay calls the bridge to say that Torres will be fine. Everyone seems relieved. Q makes fun of them for giving a shit about Torres.

Yar and Worf both respectfully request of Picard that they be able to rip Q a new one. Picard turns them down.
Q and Picard get into it, and Picard calls Q "self-righteous" and that it really sucks when they encounter life-forms that are there to "prosecute and judge" others. Unfortunately, this gives Q a fabulous idea. Then he disappears again.
Worf and Yar are both eager to hunt Q down at the playground to beat his ass. Deanna thinks Q is too powerful, and recommends avoiding him at all costs.
I feel like I miss something here, but Picard starts barking orders and about going out to find "them" at maximum speed, so I guess he's going with Worf and Yar's suggestion? He also wants to know about saucer separation, and we all know why. It's because the writers invented a new toy, and they want to show it off. It won't actually have that much of a practical application here.
Worf goes down to engineering so that they can use that set again, and also so that we can see there's a Vulcan science officer down there. Dude only appears for a split-second, and gets no lines, but I'm sure someone felt better seeing that.

Picard intends to turn the ship around and warp the hell out of there at an ungodly speed, which they do. Unfortunately, the web-thing folds in on itself, forming a ball, and warps after them. Yar reports that "the hostile is now giving chase." They've past the point of safety at 9.4, but the ball is catching up, and Picard asks Troi for her best guess.
"It's like, beyond what we would call a life-form," she replies.
When it's obvious that they can't run any faster and will be overtaken, Picard orders emergency saucer separation. Everybody turns and stares gape-mouthed at him.
He puts Worf in charge of the saucer section. Worf immediately bitches about how he's Klingon, and Klingons don't run from a fight. Dude wants to go with the drive section.
"Just fucking do it," barks Picard. He's annoyed now, and isn't gonna brook any honor crap from Worf.
He takes Troi, Data and Yar, and transfers his command to the "battle bridge."
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log 41153.7: "Moving all of the families and non-essential personnel to the saucer section so they can get away safely."

Droves of people with children and other ship's crew are shown flooding the corridors and making their way quickly in one direction. It's like an orderly fire drill.

Picard, Yar, Data, and Troi enter the battle bridge and are joined by Colm Meany, who is wearing red and doesn't have a name or character yet. He's just a warm body in the nav position of the battle bridge.

The plan is to fire torpedoes at the ball, blinding it to the fact that the saucer is leaving, and then to back away quickly from the saucer, so that it can make a get-away before the ball has noticed. There's a count-down to separation, and everyone is tense, but then when they actually separate, the ship looks like it's on a pleasure cruise in the stars.
The separation is shown from multiple angles, and we get the rollicking theme music again.
Here, I made some lyrics to go with this scene:
at this ship,
what it does right now.
It's just the coolest thing
you've ever seeeeeen.
at this ship,
and this thing it does.
The old ship never did this thing -
isn't it greaaat?"

Look at this thing I do! Loooovve meeee!

The rollicking music continues, and it juxtaposes oddly with the faces of the crewmen on the battle bridge, who all look terrified as hell that this isn't going to work.

Pretty sure Tasha's about to piss herself.

The drive section turns and heads back to the place where they detonated the torpedoes, then comes to a stop, waiting. Yar is on edge, wanting to know if they intend to fight. Picard asks what she has in mind. She clearly wasn't expecting that, and admits that she doesn't have a plan. Then she pauses to suggest that they distract the ball to keep it from going after the saucer.
The ball approaches, and Picard tells "Commander" to signal their surrender to the ball-thing. Everyone looks apprehensive at the order and what it will mean, but I'm left wondering who he's talking to. Though the subtitles label Colm Meany as "O'Brien," I'm pretty sure they're relying on future episodes to tell them that, as Picard refers to him as simply "conn" - his current position. And he doesn't have enough pips on his collar that I can see. Data is a Lt commander, Yar is a lieutenant, Troi is a Lt commander. Yet Troi is the one who replies, "aye, sir" and relays the message.
The ball overtakes the drive section and surrounds it in that web-thing.

But then there's bright light, and the battle bridge crew (minus Colm Meany) are suddenly in a room with stands full of crowds. Some kind of security guard (wearing that soldier-drug suit that Q was wearing earlier) fires a machine gun into the air and the crowd quiets. A man steps forward and commands that "all prisoners must stand," meaning the seated Data and Troi. Instead, Picard motions for himself and Yar to sit.
The crowd, in that annoying way they do, all go, "Ooooh!"

Apparently, they're in some kind of mid-21st century Earth courtroom, which Picard labels as being "post-atomic horror" and which Data labels as being "very, very accurate." Troi warns them quietly that what they are seeing is real and not an illusion.

Everyone is supposed to stand for the judge, and oh gee, guess who it is?
Q comes in on this throne thing that's attached to some kind of platform. It's not obvious what's pushing the platform forward, as it appears to be levitating, but it's clearly being pushed somehow.
And you know, I honestly didn't think he could be dressed any douchier than in that earlier scene, but it turns out that I couldn't be more wrong.

The soldier guy steps forward and yells at the E crew to stand, but they just stare at him blankly. So he fires off his machine gun into the air and yells again. Again, they do nothing. He fires at the floor. Tasha Yar loses her cool and rushes forward to beat his ass, which the crowd seems to enjoy.

She succeeds in flipping him to the ground. Q declares the guard to be out of order, and the dude takes a hit off his drug suit before another guard steps forward and fills him full of lead.
Then Q tells the other guards that none of the prisoners will be harmed until found guilty. Picard asks if the trial will be a fair one.
Look around, dude. No.
"Oh, totes," says Q.
The bailiff steps forward and declares that the four E crew members are being put on trial for the crimes of humanity.
Data stands and objects, as the United Earth government  of 2036 had declared it illegal to make any one person responsible for crimes committed by the whole of humanity.
"Yeah," waves off Q. "But this is 2079, and United Earth stuff no longer applies."
Tasha is fucking done. Though human, she yells that grew up on a world where bullshit courts like this were the norm, and she isn't putting up with it.

Q waves his hand and freezes Tasha.
"The fuck?" demands Picard. "You said this trial would be fair, and that you wouldn't harm the prisoners!"
After some quick bickering, Q waves his hand again, and unfreezes her, much to the disappointment of the courtroom spectators.
Picard says he recognizes this court system as being the one that agrees with the Shakespeare quote "Kill all the lawyers," and carried the notion of everyone being guilty until confirmed to be innocent. Q says they are being charged with the "grievous crimes" of humanity.
Picard argues that that term is too broad, and that he won't participate unless they are charged with something specific. When he's given the charges to read, he declares that he can't find anything that pertains to them individually.
Q tells the soldiers to shoot the prisoners if they plead anything but guilty.

With his crew in danger of being shot, Picard pleads "guilty... provisionally."
Q is intrigued.
"You say we're savages," states Picard. "We say we're not. I think you should give us some time, watch how we handle things, then judge us."
"Okaaaay," agrees Q. "But I won't have to watch very long.  Farpoint has more than you've bargained for."
There's another flash of bright light, and they find themselves back on the battle bridge. Troi and Yar exchange "did that just happen?" looks while Data stares at Colm Meany. Colm, for his part, is simply pushing buttons casually on the conn. Tra-la-la, hangin' out on the battle bridge.
"Sooo, hey, Conn. What are we doing again?" asks Picard.
"Going to Farpoint," replies Colm cheerfully. He sort of gives Picard a fleeting, weird look for standing right in front of the viewscreen, but seems otherwise unfazed.

Riker's Personal Log 41153.7: "Hanging out at Farpoint, waiting for my new ship to arrive. Been asked to visit Groppler Zorn, the guy in charge."

Riker enters the office of the groppler. He's young, but polite, friendly and professional. But holy crap, does Jonathan Frakes have a baby face. Like, I'll admit that I don't like beards, but some dudes just gotta have 'em. Jonathan Frakes is one.

So Riker and Zorn make space station small talk about construction of the station and geo-thermal energy, blah blah blah, and and when Riker mentions that the station went up quickly and is perfectly suited to Starfleet's needs, Zorn deflects the comment by offering Riker a bowl of "Earth delicacies" - fruit that we've seen on his desk a few times. You don't even notice the bowl there unless you've rewound the footage a few times.
"Maybe an apple," says Riker, but realizes that there are none in the bowl. "Oh, well."
Zorn apologizes for not having the fruit Riker wants, but when Riker glances back, there's now a second bowl... full of apples.

Dude, do not eat that suspicious fruit.
He does, anyway.
Zorn steers things back to Starfleet setting up shop at Farpoint Station, and some fancy footwork has Riker agreeing with him. They part on good terms, and Zorn closes the door.
"Dude, I thought I told you not to do that," he tells the empty room. "We're gonna lose the fucking contract with Starfleet, and it'll be your fault."
There isn't anyone else there, so I can only assume that he's talking to Tony, the alien who lives in his mouth and tells him not to play with little girl ghosts. He probably does, anyway. Groppler Zorn looks like he runs a cult in the desert. Ohh, Brother.

Riker meets the Crushers near some kind of marketplace. Beverly Crusher is hesitant around Riker, who she just met, but the teenaged Wes is bouncing around excitedly. They walk through the marketplace, and Riker suggests that they hang out and get to know one another until the ship arrives.
"So, hey," says Riker. "This planet is kind of fucking weird. Have you noticed? We could do some sleuthing."
She looks at some pink fabric, and remarks out loud that it would be nice with gold.
"Piss off," says Beverly. "I'm shopping, and you just want to suck up to Jean-Luc before you meet him."
But when they glance back at the fabric, it's suddenly patterned with gold flowers.
"This place magically has everything you want," Riker tells her.
Weirded out, Beverly tells the merchant that she wants the whole bolt of fabric (no, seriously: that's a shit-ton of fabric), then to have it sent to the E when it arrives, and to have it charged to Dr Crusher.
(Oh, hey, TNG - I thought we were pretending that money doesn't exist? Gene Rod was pretty insistent in movie #4 that it didn't.)

They walk away from the creeper merchant (who looks at Wes like trying to figure out what quart stockpot to boil him in), and Riker notes that Dr Crusher said "Jean-Luc" rather than "Picard" or "the captain."
"Do you know him?"
"Yeah, he brought my dad's body home," says Wes nonchalantly.
Wow, way to be morbid with a stranger, Wes. Not "he and my dad served together" or "he and my dad were besties." Nope. It's "he brought my dad's body home."
The Crushers leave, and Riker tells the effervescent Wes that he'll see him on board.
Riker is immediately approached by Lt Geordi LaForge, who tells him that the Enterprise has arrived... but only the drive section. 
"The captain wants you onboard ASAP," Geordi finishes.

"Okay, cool," says Riker.
He steps away from the crowd and calls the E for a beam-up.
There isn't any real reason for this next photo. It's just beautiful. Also, look how freaking weird the E looks without the saucer section. Like someone cut of its head, or something.

Yar meets him in the transporter room and introduces herself. They hop in the lift, and he asks why they arrived without the saucer. She brushes him off.
When they reach the battle bridge, Picard remains in his chair and barely turns to look at Riker. Picard tells Yar to set Riker up nearby with a viewscreen before dismissing them both. Data and Colm Meany's character exchange a look.
Riker ends up watching bits of that first scene between the bridge crew and Q, using that technique that Star Trek has of convincing us that old footage is actually recordings of situations that occurred onboard the ship. It does, of course, end before they attend their trial.

So along with a second bridge, the ship has a second "ready room" for the captain as well. Interesting, as we haven't seen the main one yet, and this appears to be a new concept. It certainly wasn't in TOS or any of the films, which had crew members meeting with the captain in his own quarters.
Picard has asked Riker to meet him in the ready room when he is done with the video. Post-video, Riker turns slowly and makes a great WTF? face.

He enters the ready room, where Picard finally looks him full in the face and announces that Q has put them on trial for the crimes of humanity. They're on probation right now while Q watches them for signs that they suck as a race. Data calls Picard to let him know that the saucer has arrived, and Picard answers that back that that's awesome, because Riker is going to manually dock the parts together. Riker is confused as to why he's being asked to do this, but he agrees anyway.
I know why. It's because 25 minutes ago, the ship did a cool thing, and they wanted to remind you of that cool thing this new ship does. They can explain it away and say that Picard is testing his new officer, but let's just own the fact that we're showing off our cherry new ride, mmmkay?

With that test passed, Picard tells Riker that he did a good job, but now he wants to know some stuff about Riker's record, specifically the part where Riker would not let a previous captain go on an away mission. Picard takes the defensive approach and asks Riker if the captain's rank means so little to him.
"No," says Riker. "The captain is more important than myself, and he is too much to risk in a dangerous situation."
OMIGOD, FUCKING THANK YOU. Could no one on TOS have pulled Kirk aside and asked him what the fuck he thought he was doing, going on all of those away missions? If I recall correctly, he was only challenged like twice, and one of those times, it was the damn computer that did it.
Picard argues with him for a moment, but is satisfied. Then he asks that Riker make sure that he doesn't look like a total a-hole in front of kids, because kids are really not his thing, and Starfleet has given him a ship full of them.
He finally smiles for the first time since we've met him and he officially welcomes Riker on board.

And Riker smiles back like he's just been offered a spot in his favorite sorority at the end of Pledge Week. He's the prettiest girl at the ball, y'all.

Now we go down to sick bay to officially meet Geordi, the blind guy who flies the ship with the help of a banana clip that he wears over his eyes. The writers have decided to drop Geordi's situation into expository conversation between him and Dr Crusher. So the things we learn here are:
- Geordi was born blind;
- he's worn the VISOR (it's an acronym) pretty much his whole life;
- as long as he's worn the VISOR, it's been slightly painful;
- the pain he experiences probably comes from him using his other senses in unique ways to compensate;
- the VISOR is an "amazing piece of technology," but he's tired of hearing people rave about it.
This scene would feel less clunky if Geordi didn't tell Crusher that he's had that pain his whole life. If he's always had it, then why is he down in sick bay complaining about it? Is it different than the normal pain he feels from it? Doesn't seem like it.
She tells him that she can give him painkillers (which would affect how the VISOR works), or do exploratory surgery to "desensitize those areas of the brain" (which would give a similar effect as the painkillers). He vetoes both, puts his VISOR back on, and leaves let down. Come on, Geordi. If you've always had this pain, then you've probably had this convo with other doctors. Why did you think the options would be different this time?

Riker goes to the bridge to locate Data, and Worf tells him that Data is on special assignment, escorting an admiral over to another ship via shuttlecraft. Apparently, this admiral has been on board all day overseeing the medical facilities. Riker asks why said admiral didn't just beam over, and -

You're killing me, Star Trek.

Bones tells Data that it's a new ship, "but she's got the right name."
"Treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home."

Fucking dead.

So far, this episode has some good stuff and some crap. Now, I'm pretty biased, because as I've said previously, I'm a TNG girl all the way. I'm less likely to think badly of this particular show. Most fans will say that seasons one and two are no good, but that the seasons afterward are pretty good. I've never really noticed much difference, but I haven't really been paying much attention to it in this way, either. My viewings of TNG go one of two ways: I either tell Netflix that I want to watch a shit-ton of Next Gen, and start it from the beginning to run in the background; or I search through the episodes for my favorites. It wasn't until recently that I took note of which ones I normally want to watch, but it turns out that none of the ones I go for are from the first two seasons.

The storyline with Q is pretty interesting. We don't quite know how it fits in with the Farpoint story, but I guess we'll have to wait until next week to find out.
The introduction of characters was a mixed bag. I like that they waited until several acts in to introduce Geordi, Riker and the Crushers. It was fewer characters to get used to at once, and now they each have a slightly different story to tell concerning the beginning of the Farpoint story. Geordi's backstory was necessary (and kind of fascinating), but handled awkwardly. I didn't quite get enough of Worf, besides to note that the Klingon Empire is no longer at loggerheads with the Federation.
At this point, my biggest beef with this episode is the over-the-top feeling of the saucer separation and re-connection. Each scene lasted several minutes, which was several minutes too long. A lot was made of the fact that one should not separate the ship at high speeds, then they went ahead and did so. Seems like they'd done this before, but then they were super-awed by the process. It was a bit heavy-handed.

The scene with Bones and Data is really sweet, though. It was nice to see that kind of torch-passing, even though they'll make two more TOS movies before doing another torch-passing, this time in film.

Fun Facts:

- Like TOS, TNG had a crap budget. This was partly due (at least at first) to The Shat not wanting to do movie #4, and them having to offer him more money to do it. Where did said money come from? TNG, of course.
- Speaking of Star Trek cheapness, Denise Crosby (Lt Yar) remarked that the kraft services table on TNG was so lacking that she would often steal food from the kraft services set on "Cheers." She also notes that their dressing trailers were dilapidated old Airstream-type trailers that hadn't been used in decades, and which had no water hook-ups or bathroom facilities. Patrick Stewart corroborated this.
- De Kelley only asked for scale pay for this role. "Scale pay" is what actors would normally be paid by the Screen Actor's Guild. He could have asked for quite a bit more money, but requested scale pay instead.
- Gene, an atheist, was always interested in his crews "meeting God" and used the idea multiple times in his shows and films, but all dressed in some other way so that one could not really claim that these productions were about meeting God, which the studio claimed was "blasphemous." For "Encounter at Farpoint," Gene created the character of Q, who in many ways, is God.
- The Shakespeare play that's referenced as being the basis of Q's court system is Henry VI, Part II.
- The scenes involving Q were filmed in the second half of production, as John DeLancie was doing a play and was not available earlier. The producers really wanted him for Q, and agreed to the later schedule.
- Geordi was named after George LaForge, a handicapped Trek fan.


Roomie brought home two new teas that I had never seen before, so of course I stole one. Stash Tea's Mango Passionfruit is a really lovely herbal. It tastes like a bubble tea without the jellies, which is nice if you dislike the jelly bits. Along with the mango and passionfruit, it also includes orange peel, rosehips, lemongrass, hibiscus, safflower,and a bit of licorice.
It appears to be also available in those little K-cup things, if that's what you're into.

 August 1999- Jan 25, 2016


  1. Yay! So happy this blog will continue; it's been one of my Monday morning highlights for years, now!

  2. Yay for this blog continuing. I like TNG/DS9 more than TOS.

    By the way, TNG season 1 didn't air in anything close to production order. See Memory Alpha.