Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TNG 1x01, 1x02 Encounter at Farpoint

The Enterprise on it's first mission to investigate a world offering Starfleet use of a technologically advanced starbase with almost magical properties.

They are interrupted by a malevolent and powerful superbeing, the Q, who accuses the human race of greiviously savage crimes and demands that their expansion throughout the galaxy be put to an end.

In short the pilot worked, although it's loaded with a clunky "mystery" B story, the A story with Q hits a home run very quickly by pushing all the right trek buttons and showing an insight into the human condition.

A mind boggling amount of 'future history' is provided here with allusions to an actual atomic war and it's after affects transforming large swaths of the population into destitute and uncivilised.

It is in short, shocking, especially after Picard protests that even in the late 20th century we had already started to make rapid progress, Q pulls the rug out from under his argument with his reference to drug dependant militias and kangaroo courts.

This whole sequence is one of the reasons Roddenberry was able to sell his vision, in the 60s of course, you only had to watch the news to see the turmoil and unrest in society, in the 80s the problems (for the west) were much more distant and the times were much more peaceful, on it's own Roddenberry's vision of utopia probably wouldn't hold much stick with the general audience, so he pulled a masterful stunt and gave us one of the most horrible depictions of the future ever seen in sci-fi. Remember that one of Star Trek's tropes has been it undeniably positive outlook on the human future, in opposition to almost all other sci-fi which paints a much bleaker vision (think Blade Runner, Soylent Green, 1984 etc) with this Roddenberry told his audience, it's gonna get worse before it gets better, after that moment, I for one was fully invested.

The introductions of the crew were also handled well with a few exceptions, but overall the idea of splitting the crew into two halves worked well and gave each character some decent screen time.

The scene between Data and Dr McCoy, absolutely legendary and totally unexpected, McCoy was almost unrecognisable under that makeup, but once he spoke you knew it was him.

The Holodeck, who else wanted a holodeck after this? With the advent of the Nintendo Wii, video games appear to be moving in that general direction, after seeing this I was motivated to try out that VR game with the pterodactyl that you have to shoot, not as good as the holodeck folks!


Most any time Troi opened her mouth, ditto for Yar. Sirtis was trying too hard to emote whereas Crosby was just trying too hard full stop, it didn’t help that the dialogue written for both women was awful. Troi was written as Captain Obvious telegraphing every new twist in the story, whereas Yar was given an unholy amount of exposition and when she wasn’t bitching about her past she was making wild nonsensical suggestions on how to defend the ship! Worf was given absolutely nothing to do other than stand there and look angry but it turned out to be a good thing – Worf was big mystery for the first season of this show, we didn’t even know what the hell his role on the bridge was! But it also made him more intriguing I think!


A solid first outing and one that attracted me from the get go – we can almost certainly attribute this to the first 10 minutes as after that it starts to drag and gives a truer indication of the show’s first season, a solid if not spectacular beginning.

3 stars (the appearance of Q and Admiral McCoy brings this up from an unspectacular two)

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