Monday, September 24, 2007

Star Trek: The Next Generation

20 years ago it began…and the Trekkers were skeptical. I am, of course, talking about Star Trek: The Next Generation. When STNG (as it shall be abbreviated from here on in) debuted those of us who had been fans of the original Star Trek series (of which I was one from the very beginning) were dubious that another series…with another Enterprise and a bald Captain…would fly (see what I did there? :-)

We were wrong.

Granted STNG didn’t really hit its stride until the 3rd season but right from the beginning you could see that there was real potential. And when the first episode featured an aged (VERY aged) Bones McCoy passing the proverbial torch to the…well…next generation, it seemed to promise that our hopes for something special could possibly be met.

And so they were.

We came to appreciate the wondrous cast of characters: the gently-imperial Captain Picard, the puckish Commander Riker, the noble Klingon Worf, the inquisitive android Data, the beautiful empathy Deanna Troi, the enterprising (pun intended) engineer Geordi LaForge, the learned Doctors Crusher and Pulaski, the precocious Wesley Crusher, the impish all-powerful scoundrel Q, the enigmatic Guinan, the feisty Tasha Yar.

STNG turned into a wonderful science fiction TV show. Was each episode a gem? Nah…but when they were on their game, the actors, writers, and directors made some sweet sci-fi magic.

Entertainment Weekly has a special 20th anniversary insert (a cool little 26-page booklet) in their September 28th issue which lists their picks for the 10 best STNG episodes of the 7 year run. Their picks:

1) “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (Season 3)

(Time is warped and the Enterprise comes into contact with the long-lost Enterprise C)

2) “The Best of Both Worlds (Parts 1 & 2)” (Seasons 3 & 4)

(The action-packed 2-parter in which Captain Picard is captured by the Borg and transformed into Locutus)

3) “The Inner Light” (Season 5)

(Picard lives an entire alternate life in less than an hour after being hit with a beam from an mysterious probe)

4) “Tapestry” (Season 6)

(Q takes Picard back to relive the events that lead to him needing a heart-replacement)

5) “All Good Things…” (Season 7 – the series finale)

(The past, the present, and a possible future come together thanks to Q and the end of the series.)

6) “The Measure of a Man” (Season 2)

(Picard has to defend Data from a Starfleet officer who wants to dismantle the android for study.)

7) “Sins of the Father” (Season 3)

(Worf must battle Klingon politics in order to try to clear his father’s name)

8) “First Contact” (Season 4)

(Riker goes undercover to find out if a developing world is ready for full-fledged Federation interaction)

9) “The First Duty” (Season 5)

(Wesley Crusher and the other members of his Starfleet cadet squadron face an inquiry into the accidental death of one of their teammates.)

10) “Chain of Command (Part 2)” (Season 6)

(Picard, captured while on an undercover mission, is tortured by a Cardassian interrogator)

Interesting choices…though I’m sure every STNG could list favorites of their own which aren’t on this list.

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