The SmarK DVD Rant for Star Trek The Next Generation – Season One (Blu-Ray)
(2012 Scott sez: I have been anxiously awaiting the delivery of this one since the initial announcement. Basically, CBS/Paramount has gone back and repaired the film stock frame-by-frame, converting it to high definition 1080P, albeit still in the original full frame presentation. Much like the original Star Trek’s conversion, it’s obviously a labor of love for the people involved.
Luckily, I had already reviewed all 7 seasons many years ago…)
And now, we go flying back in time to the beginning of one of the greatest sci-fi series in TV history, as Gene Roddenberry took a shoestring budget from Paramount in 1987 and created a monster. It was a pretty unlikely story, too, for those who know the whole backstory with Star Trek: Phase II and the problems that spawned from that (covered in a GREAT book for Trekkies of the same name). In short, Star Trek was supposed to be reborn in the late 70s, with Kirk at the helm again in a new Enterprise, albeit Spock-less (he was to be replaced with an emotionless full Vulcan named Xon) and with a new first officer – William Decker. Eventually the project was scrapped without even a pilot and turned into Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but the idea of a new Trek series was floating around for several years afterward.
Fast forward to 1987, as Roddenberry finally convinces the studio to pony up approximately $1 million per episode (not a lot in hour-long drama terms) for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which would feature an all-new cast based loosely on the original scripts for Phase II. Decker becomes Riker, Xon becomes Data. Problems beset the production from the start – writing strikes and a total upheaval of the writing team in year two changed the entire dynamic of the show, for instance – but even in the primitive form that was the first year, the seeds of greatness were there. You had to look REALLY close, but there they were.
People who haven’t really caught the old eps in reruns (they aren’t generally shown on TNN) (Or Spike TV as it’s now known) might find some significant changes. LaForge and Worf are only Junior-Grade Lieutenants (one silver pip and one black pip) and have command red while working at Ops. Riker is clean-shaven. The Chief Engineer is a rotating job amongst bit players. And the uniforms have no collars.
There’s also more annoying style differences that are REALLY noticeable in the early episodes – the music is closer to original Star Trek than what would be produced for the later episodes of Next Generation; a kind of mixture of cheesy orchestral and synths. It’s also mixed further to the front and sounds like a Perils of Penelope serial drama at times. The camera angles are bizarre, as extreme close-ups are used for false drama at key moments and fake zooms are cropped in via post-production when one dramatic stare just isn’t enough to carry the commercial break. Also, there’s a kind of forced familiar banter that just shouldn’t be there in a professional starship crew, let alone one that’s only been together for a few months at that point. Responses are glibly given to direct questions from a superior officer (“Report, Number One…what’s down there?” “Trouble.”), and people refer to each other by first name on the bridge in order to pound names into the viewers’ minds. It’s stuff you didn’t notice the first time through, but is very obvious after watching hours and hours straight of the slickly-produced later seasons.
This set contains all 23 original episodes (The first one only counts as one) in original production order (a few are changed in broadcast), and are arranged as follows…
Encounter at Farpoint.
This is of course the famous pilot episode sold to syndication, and it still sucks as bad today as it did 15 years ago. It was originally written as a standalone one-hour pilot with the Farpoint story about the alien creature being the centerpiece, until Paramount demanded a two-hour debut instead, and Roddenberry was forced to create another 40 minutes of material in the form of Q’s trial of humanity. The stories feel welded together rather than two parts of the same whole, and neither one is particularly great. However, it did introduce the world to Q.
The Naked Now.
One episode in and they’re already stuck for ideas, and ripping off the original series. In this case, they run across a ship with the same virus from The Naked Time, they look up the antidote, and Wesley saves the ship again. Oh, wait, sorry, this was the debut of the Deus Ex Wesley ending. Notable for Data being “fully functional” with Tasha Yar and not much else. The “solution” to the problem is even lamer than the problem – Crusher’s original formula from Enterprise’s 75-year old logs doesn’t work, so she tries a “broader base” formula, and it works. Zowie. This one does begin a couple of funny running gags – Picard’s total disdain for Wesley (referring to him only as “the boy” and barring him from the bridge) and Data’s problems with colloquial human expressions.
Code of Honor.
Love those generic titles. A group of half-naked black dudes kidnap Tasha, but Picard can’t open a can of bald whoop-ass because they have the only antidote to a deadly plague and he has to play nice with them. So he asks politely, but the head dude is all “Yo, G, I’m in love with this bitch” and suddenly his wife is challenging Yar to a boxing match…TO THE DEATH. Everything’s gotta be to the death or it’s not dramatic, apparently. I wasn’t even sure what the POINT of this one was, even though they spend 45 minutes going on about SOMETHING because I guess the poor writers were given a 5-minute plot and then held at gunpoint until they stretched it into broadcast length (the story is effectively wrapped up halfway through). I think the lesson is that black people are savage and backwards, but then I was never good with symbolism.
The Last Outpost.
Yes, history is made as the Enterprise makes shaky first contact with a mysterious race called the Ferengi. Funny story – originally, the Ferengi were gonna be the badass supervillains of the quadrant, until someone thought up the Borg. Just try to picture Quark as the #1 heel on Star Trek. (He ended up being a pretty damn good heel on Buffy, though.) Anyway, speaking of which Armin Shimerman makes his first guest appearance, playing said Ferengi captain, as both the good guys and the bad guys are held captive by an entire planet. Luckily, both Riker and the 600,000 year old alien intelligence are fans of Sun Tzu. No, really. Have I mentioned how bad this first season was?
Where No One Has Gone Before.
Another 10-minute subplot stretched into an entire episode sees an arrogant engineering tech and his nameless “assistant” doing modifications on the Enterprise’s engines that accidentally takes them 8 billion light years away from home. Whoops. Luckily, unlike Janeway, Picard DOESN’T decide to start taking the long way back, and instead tries to figure out how the hell they got to the edge of the universe in 10 seconds flat to begin with. Aha, but being at the edge of the universe apparently makes everyone insane and we get the standard Braga hallucinations (4 years before he came along, luckily). Oh, and Wesley Crusher may be God. And you thought HHH got a huge push. Another pointless meandering metaphysical piece of tripe about how opening your mind is good and all that stupid shit. Trust me, when Picard gives a general order for everyone on the ship to cast good vibes towards the Traveler and Troi then reports that the ship is a really groovy place to be, baby, you’ll be puking up your granola and LSD in no time. (This one was actually voted by fans as a favorite and given a theatrical release this year. I don’t understand nerds sometimes, either.)
Lonely Among Us.
Okay, this is a bit better, mainly because it’s written by DC Fontana, who actually knows what she’s doing. While flying by an alien cloud, some sort of intelligence starts taking over the crew and eventually Picard. But in the end, it just wants to go home. Okay, so they recycled that basic plot 18 times afterwards, but this was the FIRST. The subplot with the giant dogs and lizards that are trying to kill each other on the way to the peace conference is pretty funny, as is the debut of Data’s obsession with Sherlock Holmes and the first hints of Picard’s obsession with Dixon Hill.
While visiting a sex-crazed world, Wesley accidentally steps on a flower and is CONDEMNED TO DIE. You’d think Riker would be too busy taking it to the hole on alien chicks to care, but no, it begins a big moral debate between Picard and God (no really, although God is a talking spaceship, kind of an intergalactic KITT, which I guess makes Michael Knight into the apostle or something), which is solved when the writers completely wuss out on any resolution and the aliens get screwed over. I WANTED WESLEY TO DIE, DAMMIT! God is unfair, indeed.
The Ferengi return, even less ferocious than the first time but more scheming, as one of their ships brings a gift for Picard in tow…the Stargazer, presumed destroyed nine years previous. However, this sets off the 24th century equivalent of Vietnam flashbacks for Picard, as he begins reliving the epic battle that ended his first command, while suffering from REALLY bad headaches. Of course, more is going on than meets the eye, and soon Picard is on the bridge of the old ship and attacking the Enterprise with the dreaded Picard Maneuver (also introduced for the first time in this episode). This one kinda caught me by surprise because I barely even remember seeing it back when I was 13 and it was a really well-built episode considering the early portion of the season.
Hide And Q.
Speaking of returns, Q comes back for the first time, with his character already redefined as a cosmic huckster more than an omnipotent god, and this time he has a deal: He’ll leave humanity alone if Riker can pass up the chance to be given the power of the Q Continuum. This one suffers from the same problem a lot of the first-season eps do, when pacing was still an issue: The premise and conflict are laid out and basically resolved by 30 minutes in, and then there’s 15 minutes left to fill so they talk and talk and TAAAAALLLLLK. In particular the final sequence where Riker offers gifts to all the crew members drags on like roadkill caught on a bumper all for the point of “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Well, DUH. Picard and Q exchanging Shakespeare is pretty cool stuff, though. And as the bard would say, this one was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Originally aired fifth but intended for placement here, you can see why they moved it up so drastically upon original run of the show. Deanna Troi is betrothed to “genetic bonding mate” Wyatt, and the whirlwind that is Lwaxana Troi is unleashed on the world for the first time as the wedding ceremony is to be held on the Enterprise. Now, up until this point, Deanna was little more than a background character, but with the introduction of her mother she was suddenly fleshed out into a pretty full character, and in another historic first, Deanna Gets Hysterical halfway through as a result of her mother’s insane bickering with Wyatt’s parents. Majel Barrett takes a little while to get into the swing of things, but by the time Mr. Homm is bombed out of his gourd and ringing the chimes every time Lwaxana takes a bite of dinner while Data hovers over the table with a grin on his face observing everything, it’s HOWLINGLY funny stuff. The main plot about cosmic lepers invading a paradise planet is strictly throwaway stuff to get the groom off the ship at the end with a plot device, so ignore it. Definitely an essential episode from the early run. (Some people really hate this episode because of the broad comedy. Different strokes and all that.)
The Big Goodbye.
Another one of those early eps that’s important for introducing details that would come into play later, but kinda suck on its own. This is the first Dixon Hill episode, as Picard takes a much-needed mini-vacation into the “newly upgraded” Holodeck, which now features fully interactive modes instead of the static backgrounds that had been used up until that point. This is of course a hugely effective storytelling device for the writers that is used millions of times later on in every other series that follows. And in another first, Something Goes Wrong On the Holodeck, as a friendly scan from an alien turns off the safety features and Picard’s team of detective wannabes (including Data, chewing the scenery as a hard-boiled gangster, as you might expect) is stuck in there while in the middle of something out of the Maltese Falcon. And of course, Wesley Saves The Ship. This time they didn’t even bother to explain how he did it, or why a 13-year old kid would be allowed to poke around the newly upgraded mechanisms while a highly-trained team of engineers stands around picking their noses, but that’s Wesley for ya. A lot of the minor details were done wrong here – Picard has lipstick remaining from a kiss when he leaves at one point, and when the villains walk out the door they take a minute or so to fade (for dramatic effect), but most of the ground rules are set here. Unfortunately, this one is all potential (like Picard being interrogated and having the time of his life) and no payoff, as once again things grind to a halt at the 30 minute mark and everyone literally stands around and talks for 15 minutes once all the plot developments have been used up. And when one of the holodeck characters asks Picard if he’ll die when the program ends, in a heartfelt way, Picard’s response is basically “Hmm, good question. Well, see ya.” Thankfully they’d address that particular philosophical puzzle in much better fashion starting with the Moriarty episodes, but to all things a beginning, as they say.
Now, while you don’t often see season one episodes floating around in syndication or on TNN (Spike TV!) these days, this is one of the few that you DO, and for a damn good reason: It’s the best of the inaugural season and one of the best in the run of the show, comparatively speaking. The concept is nicely simple – Data and the crew find another android on his home planet, who turns out to be named Lore. Except he’s evil and uses contractions. The old switcheroo occurs, and the Enterprise is left to discover who’s screwing who over in time to save themselves from destruction via the same Crystalline Entity that wiped out the colonists on Data’s home world 25 years previous. (Check out the CGI redo on the Entity here! BEAUTIFUL!) Sadly, Wesley Saves the Ship again, but at least you get to hear both Picard and Beverly tell him to shut up while he’s running his mouth at the wrong time. I take small pleasures when I can find them. Lore would go on to become one of the great recurring villains of the series. (This was the other one chosen for theatrical release. I approve of that one.)
Yes, it’s another one of those episodes where the Enterprise preaches to a backwards planet about not violating the Prime Directive and then spends the whole episode interfering. In this case, they travel to a world where women run the show and men are treated as sex objects, in search of a lost escape pod. Riker the Man-Whore proceeds to start dressing like a slut and attempting to score with the leader of the planet, while meanwhile the ship is struck down by a nasty strain of the common cold. (Even though Wesley commented in Datalore that people “used” to get colds, but not anymore.) As thrilling as it sounds. Nothing WRONG with it, but it’s just not a story that lends itself to repeat viewings.
A truly unique title (binary for 201) for once sees the ship in dock to repair the holodeck (last seen damaged in The Big Goodbye), and strange aliens who operate in pairs fixing the computer. While everyone is off having fun on starbase, Riker hangs out in a seedy New Orleans bar on the new improved holodeck and meets Minuet (played by Carolyn McCormack, who became Elizabeth Olivet on Law & Order). However, the Binars turn out to have plans of their own regarding the ship. Again, not really exciting, but an interesting idea that would be fleshed out in FAR more sinister and dark manner with “Starship Mine” in the sixth season.
Too Short a Season.
No, it’s not talking about the strike-shortened second season. Admiral Mark Jameson uses the Enterprise as a taxi service to a suspicious hostage negotiation on another planet, where his old enemy is in charge of things. Things get weird when the 85-year old Admiral (with a REALLY obvious aging makeup job) starts getting…younger? A heavy-handed moral lesson finishes things off by the end.
When The Bough Breaks.
This is one of those ones with an interesting premise where the entire conflict could have been avoided if everyone involved stopped for five seconds and thought up a better solution. The Enterprise parks in front of a cloaked world and gets to meet a legendary ancient race, but soon their hospitality goes bad when they kidnap 6 of the Enterprise’s children (including Wesley, of course) because everyone on the planet is sterile and thus unable to have any of their own. The Enterprise can’t just beam them back because there’s a giant shield around the planet, but then they start piling on unnecessary plot points in order to explain away the plot holes. For instance, the planet is controlled by a supercomputer that does all the thinking for them, leaving their super-advanced scientists unable to determine that simple radiation poisoning from the sun is killing their sperm. Of course, Beverly figures this out in mere hours after a tricorder scan. But they can’t figure out how to get through the shield. Right. And no one stops to ask “Hey, why not just ask the PARENTS if they want to stay down on the surface, too?” All that aside, it’s a pretty good ep and Picard’s uncomfortable interaction with the children after saving them is classic stuff.
This one is kind of a misdirection ploy, as it starts out as a detective story and then turns into an exercise in saving money on special effects. While visiting a terraforming colony, the crew is witness to a scientist getting carved up with a laser knife by accident, and foul play is immediately suspected once the same thing nearly happens to Data. The investigation of the other three team members begins, and then suddenly the episode takes a turn into left field as they find microscopic life forms on the supposedly-dead planet and beam it up to Sickbay. In classic high-tech Star Trek manner, the alien is a small light bulb flashing on and off inside a bell jar. No, really. And then it starts reproducing (doubling the production budget from one light bulb to two), leading them to think it might be alive. And then it starts taking over the ship (as seems to happen a lot with alien intelligence, as though no one in the universe has anything better to do than take over the ship – doesn’t anyone READ or eat lunch or anything?) and we get thrilling scenes of people standing around on the bridge and talking while little light bulbs flash at them. SMELL THE TENSION! Of course, the miracle of the Universal Translator saves the writers from having to think up anything original again, and everyone makes nice and goes their separate ways. Of course, the alien intelligence brutally murdered someone with a LASER SAW, but apparently “let bygones be bygones” is part of the Prime Directive in the 24th century, too.
Coming of Age.
Oh, goodie, a whole show dedicated to Wesley Crusher. Sort of. Wesley goes to a planet for his first attempt at entering Starfleet Academy and meets a Benzite – an alien with an inhaler attached to its chest. There they go through rigorous testing doing what looks like playing Tetris and playing “name the alien” in the hallways. Meanwhile, on the ship, there’s CONSPIRACY afoot and Starfleet is investigating Picard for something, but not really. Ooh, this one’s money, baby. In the end, Wesley is a failure. Well, at least it has a happy ending.
Heart of Glory.
The first proto-Klingon episode, as the Enterprise finds a freighter drifting in space with 3 Klingons aboard. Worf immediately bonds with them and gives us our first look at this backstory by relating the Kittimer attack and his adoption by farmers. His brother is even mentioned. We establish that he’s never been to Q’onos before, and soon his Klingon blood starts boiling with the need to kill stuff and howl skyward when one of his comrades is killed. I’ve gotta wonder – is howling to the skies while in space like praying towards Mecca for Muslims, where you have to follow complex charts to figure out what direction to point? Because Klingons aren’t the brightest race to begin with. Anyway, Worf’s loyalties are teased, but in the end he chooses Starfleet. The seeds of the later storylines are sewn here, though, even if all the Klingon stuff is pretty weak and superficial on the first attempt at it.
The Arsenal of Freedom.
Despite the increasingly tired trips to the same planetary set (redressed with a different climate each time they go there), this one kinda rocks. The Enterprise stumbles upon a planet that is the ultimate in commercial enterprise (no pun intended) – an intergalactic weapons dealer, making death and destruction for whichever species is the highest bidder. One problem – everyone on the planet is long dead and the system is running on autopilot. The away team beams down to deal with it and soon finds themselves battling sentry units that automatically adjust to their tactics and fire on them in new ways as a result. Meanwhile, Geordi is left in charge of the ship and finds himself getting his ass kicked by another sentry ship in the atmosphere. The special effects are a joke and the set looks as fake as Beverly’s dye-job, but it’s a cool story idea and it’s pulled off about as well as the $10 or so afforded by the budget could handle. If this one had been done in season six, it would have cost $3 million and been a two-parter.
Apparently Gene Roddenberry had a drug conviction in his past he was trying to atone for (at least that’s my theory), because this is the most preachy, heavy-handed anti-drug episode humanly possible without having Wesley himself get hooked on crack. The crew finds a freighter floating in the atmosphere of a planet and on the way down, and apparently piloted by Rob Van Dam (Sample dialogue when informed that Enterprise will try a rescue: “Uh, yeah, sounds great.”). Upon rescuing four of the survivors, it is revealed that there’s two groups of people, fighting over “medicine” to fight a plague on one of the worlds. One group makes the “medicine”, the other buys the “medicine”, and the two worlds have maintained that relationship for hundreds of years. Of course, Beverly discovers that there’s not really a plague and the medicine is actually a narcotic. This prompts Tasha Yar to bring the episode to a SCREECHING halt and make a 5-minute long condescending speech at Wesley about how dumb you have to be to do drugs. Picard, thankfully, remembers that he’s bound by the Prime Directive not to interfere with the drug trafficking scam, no matter how hysterical Beverly gets, and his solution to the problem is, while less than elegant, a clever way around that restriction. Two notable inside jokes to watch for: Merritt Butrick (Kirk’s idiot son David Marcus in the second and third movies) and Judson Earney Scott (Khan’s idiot son Joaqin in the second movie) playing opposite each other, as well as an “easter egg” of sorts. The egg comes at the end, when Picard and Crusher are leaving the cargo bay – look behind them into the closing doors, and you can see Tasha Yar acting totally out of character by waving goodbye to everyone. This episode was actually shot AFTER the one following, and that was Denise Crosby’s way of getting the last word in after her character’s death. Oops, spoiled it.
Skin of Evil.
Yes, in a double whammy, they not only kill off Tasha Yar in senseless fashion, but it’s also one of the worst Star Trek episodes I can remember. Here’s the plot: Troi’s shuttle crashes on a planet (the crash isn’t seen because this one is all about the money). The Enterprise crew investigates, finds the OIL SLICK OF DEATH patrolling the place (apparently that Exxon-Valdez disaster has spread to other WORLDS now), Tasha is killed out of nowhere, they talk to the creature, Troi talks to the creature (poor bastard), Picard talks to the creature, the creature talks to them, the creature talks to himself, Picard talks to the crew, Troi talks to Picard, Riker gets sucked into the creature and probably scores with it because it’s Riker, Picard talks at the funeral, Tasha talks at the funeral from beyond the grave, people cry, I’m bored, the end. Given the task of killing a major character, THIS is what they came up with. And don’t think I’m not pissed off that given the same task for Nemesis the best they could do to kill off my favorite Star Trek character of all time was rip off the second movie. (There was many reasons to be pissed off with Nemesis, but at least the reboot fixed a lot of those problems, plus gave us LENS FLARE!) Anyway, this episode is RIPE for chances to mock it, from the numerous repeated shots to save money (count the number of times that the oil slick covers and uncovers the shuttle, or the guy in the slick rises up dramatically from different angles) to the unintentionally hilarious funeral speech that can be easily augmented with a few well-timed lines, to Troi being Troi. This was horrible, rushed sci-fi garbage at its worst.
We’ll Always Have Paris.
Things start to get weird, as the Enterprise travels to visit a famous scientist with bizarre theories on time-space relationships. As they get close, people start having dйjа vu and events repeat themselves. At the same time, Picard yearns to see his former love, whom he stood up in Paris before joining Starfleet, and who just happens to be married to that scientist. With the scientist dying and space-time falling apart as a result of his experiments, Data is called on to save the day. The time problems provide for plotholes galore, and in fact one very troubling moral issue: There’s a scene where Picard, Riker and Data are getting onto a turbolift, but time repeats and we see another version of them getting onto the same turbolift, while sharing the space with the originals. However, they decide not to get on and the camera follows them instead of the originals. So what happened to the past versions of Picard, Riker and Data? Did they just vanish from existence? Isn’t that kind of cruel? For some reason that one particular scene really bothered me and kind of freaked me out. Of course, Brannon Braga probably would have had the duplicates continue to exist and join the Maquis or something.
As the title suggests, this is like something out of the X-Files. The paranoid admiral and his aide (last seen in “Coming of Age”) return for another go-around, as various Starfleet captains are convinced that SOMETHING is wrong within Starfleet Command and Picard needs to investigate. After getting Data to scope out the last 6 months of orders from Command, a pattern is discovered that leads the Enterprise back to Earth to personally look into things. Once there, they meet the admiral again, but this time he isn’t what he seems. In fact, many people aren’t, leading to a very creepy climax featuring parasitic bug-creatures trying to invade the Federation from within. The Harryhausen-ish special effects for the bugs aside, this one is like a template for what Chris Carter did with the X-Files. Unfortunately, the entire writing team was purged in between the first and second seasons, and a major plot thread about a homing device left on Earth for the rest of the bugs was never mentioned again in the Star Trek universe.
The Neutral Zone.
The first season finishes with a bang, as the Romulans are back on the block and entire outposts are mysteriously being wiped off the face of the planet. While that particular mystery was never directly resolved (again, due to the writing team change) most assume that it was the Borg. The main plotline for this one revolves around the Enterprise’s discovery of a cryonic ship from the 20th century, carrying three bottom-feeders who now have to adjust to life in 2364. No real big conflict here, just a general sense of foreboding leading up to a staredown with a Romulan warbird, thus reintroducing a MAJOR villain back into the Trek universe to replace the failed Ferengi.
Overall, the first season was undoubtedly the weakest compared to the others that followed – none of the episodes are really “classics” (except maybe Datalore) and people were still struggling to get their head around the characters, but the groundwork was there in most cases. They had to start fresh in the second season anyway, as all the writers were replaced and Michael Piller took over as head writer. (He unfortunately died a few years ago.) For most people, you want to start with the third season, definitely.
Audio & Video
Oh my. When they went back and fixed the show for Blu-Ray, they went back and FIXED it. The CGI effects are now on par with some of the theatrical releases, colors are BOLD and jump off the screen…the dark and murky backgrounds are now bright and clear, it’s amazing overall. Easily just as good as the original series redo. I can’t even overstate how much better this looks and how much work would have been needed to change it from the original videotape resolution into full HD. Plus it’s now in full 7.1 DTS surround, although this isn’t exactly the season to show that off.
Still no commentaries, but they have carried over all the original features from the original DVD release, plus new HD features about the restoration, and a 90 minute documentary on disc six about the beginning of the series. The feature on disc one, Energized, is about the painstaking detail behind converting to HD and it’s amazing. The comparison shots will make you appreciate the work and love that went into this. It also explains why the show hasn’t been altered in 16x9, and shows what the original effects shot would look like if it was moved to widescreen (spoiler: NOT GOOD!), and you can actually see the unwanted light stands and negative scratches on the sides if they opened up the filmed matte. It’s all one breathtaking labor of love and now my well-loved original DVD sets can find a new home.
Quality issues of the actual show aside, this set is worth buying because the HD conversion gives the show new life and allows you watch for all sorts of details you couldn’t see before. Plus it’s still a fun show and one of my favorites of all-time. Highest recommendation!
Yeah I don't like the first season of TNG at all. Now when Q shows up in the second season and introduces the Borg, THAT was when the series became amazing.ReplyDelete
Holy shit I almost called Q "Discord" there.
Any chance we get a smark dvd rant for the original twilight zone series??ReplyDelete
TNG Season 1 is terrible. Almost unwatchable. Why anyone would buy it, let alone on Blu Ray, is hard to imagine.ReplyDelete
I recently watched Nemesis for the first time in a while and it wasn't as bad as I remember. Here's the thing: about 45 minutes of content was left on the cutting room floor to get the film under two hours, hopefully making it more pleasing to the masses. But here's the problem: while it wasn't necessary to the plot, what got cut was 100 percent FAN SERVICE. That movie ultimately would have been more well regarded if they left it all in. Talk about movies that are in desperate need of an extended cut...ReplyDelete
"Roddenberry warned me that I had no idea what I was getting into with Star Trek. Someone should have warned me about My Little Pony! Egads!" -- John DeLancie, on the perils of fandomReplyDelete
That was incredibly random.ReplyDelete
It was really cool of De Lancie to embrace the MLP fandom like that I have to admit. Too bad the more "eccentric" fans screw up everything but I guess that's true in all forms of entertainment.ReplyDelete
U stated that this is one of the best sci fi shows of all time, which randomly made me think about my fav sci fi show of all timeReplyDelete
Full disclosure: DS9 fan.ReplyDelete
Oh man I'm glad you copped to just how much this season sucked. I still can't get over them thinking the ferengi would be the badass villain to carry them through. Now, you say the writing staff was purged, but the showrunner stayed the same, correct?
Avery Brooks is a national treasure.ReplyDelete
"Of course, the alien intelligence brutally murdered someone with a LASER SAW, but apparently “let bygones be bygones” is part of the Prime Directive in the 24th century, too."ReplyDelete
Well, how do you convict a lightbulb?
And according to Frakes, EVERYONE hated "Code Of Honor" (and it's probably not a coincidence that Michael Dorn doesn't appear in the episode) and was well aware of how racist it was. Many of the problems could have been solved by diversifying the Ligons a bit (and they were in the original script), but I guess Russ Mayberry (the director) had his own agenda. It's also interesting that Roddenberry "fired" Mayberry halfway through production but still let the episode air with all the offensive elements intact. Looking back, it's a miracle that TNG made it to Season Two at all.
And speaking of failed villains, I suspect that any plans for Q to be the ultimate nemesis of TNG was scuttled by John de Lancie's over-the-top performance in "Encounter at Farpoint". While de Lancie is a talented actor in many ways, he just can't pull off "menacing" or "dangerous". So making him a "cosmic huckster" was probably one of the few things they did right during that first year.ReplyDelete
Scott- I remeber back in the old (I think Rantsylvania, but I could be wrong) days you were doing reviews of DS9, but I don't think you ever did the final two seasons- considering how badass they were (I like TNG a lot, but DS9 was always my favorite) I was hoping you might consider a review at some point.ReplyDelete
I remember as an 11 year old thinking this show was going to be The Wesley Crusher show and I stopped watching for years. I caught most of these on Spike TV after my dad died in 2003.ReplyDelete
Season One actually has some good episodes in it, but you almost need to watch them out of order to really enjoy the good episodes from this season. The pilot is still strange to watch due to Riker/Troi and Picard/Crusher, although they somewhat kept elements of Riker/Troi going on throughout the series and finally let that come to its conclusion in the movies.
It's hard to watch Picard/Crusher because you know the writers were setting up the whole "Carol Marcus/Jim Kirk" thing again with them, with Wesley being their son. Somebody got smart and killed that near the end of the first season by establishing that Jack Crusher actually existed (in Conspiracy). When McFadden came back in Season 3 - they made sure Jack Crusher was an established character (albeit dead), and not a figment invented by his mom to cover up an affair with Picard.
As Scott said, the series didn't really get good until the third season. It had established itself as a its own series after that season. Wesley got downplayed a lot by then, which was a good thing because he really didn't fit on the show. In Season One they forced him in almost every episode. Once they got to Wesley at the academy, I gave up watching because I thought they cared more about some kid than the ship (and I was a 10-11 year old kid myself and I disliked this kid). At the same time, I was one of those TOS guys that would have rather seen another Star Trek movie in 1987, as I felt this show would never find its own voice. By 1989, I was surprised it was still on - but liked they had stopped doing Wesley episodes for the most part.