I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation over the weekend. By the time the show premiered in 1987, I had already been anticipating it for at least 10 years, ever since the rumors of a Star Trek II TV series (which eventually became Star Trek: the Motion Picture started. It didn’t grab me right off the bat. Far from it. I kept waiting for that one episode I would recognize from the first time I saw it my all-time favorite. I would wait until the third season until there was even a candidate. As a matter of opinion, ST:TNG didn’t “grow balls” until season four when Captain Piracrd was transformed into Locutus of the Borg.

Those first three seasons still had an effect on me. I was out of college by the time the show began. Little did I know, my future wife was in high at the time watching them, too. I’ve seen most of them several times, but I doubt I’ve watched them at all since the mid-90s. I don’t think Tracy has, either. I know for a fact neither of us has watched them since we’ve been married, and that’s been over 17 years. So now we’re committed to watching them then some 30 years after they first aired (which strikes me as odd because the show had been off the air “only” some 20 years when ST;TNG debuted.) Those first 20 seemed a lot longer to me at the time than the last 30 seems to me now.

One thing I was aware of at the time is the number of fans who complained that ST:TNG was “ripping off” TOS. Some stories bore certain similarities, to be sure, but I didn’t consider them to be rip-offs even then. I do remember that, for most episodes, I could pick an original series episode to be “paired with.” I’ll try to make note of those as I go along.

I initially wasn’t going to start a thread for this project but I changed my mind. I’m not going to do plot synopses, however. I expect anyone following this discussion will either a) watch along with me, or b) be familiar enough with the episodes to follow along on his own. Besides, synopses are readily available online. I will be watching the episodes in broadcast (rather than production) order. I’ll start tomorrow.

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THE BONDING: A crew member is killed on an away mission leaving a son behind. It is a “touchy-feely” episode dealing with death and coping with loss, significant because it is the first time in Star Trek that the death of a “redshirt” was given more than lip service (apart from Tasha Yar, who doesn’t really count). The thing I dislike most about this episode is that it has no long-term ramifications to continuity. There’s no reason it should except for the Klingon “bonding” ritual of the title. Worf essentially “adopts” young Jeremy, yet we are never to see him again.

PAIR WITH: “Metamorphosis” (because an alien entity takes the body/appearance of a deceased human. Yes, I know I paired “Metemorphosis” with “The Survivors” just two episodes back, but the fact is TNG is growing into its own in season three and is no longer recycling TOS scenarios to the extent it did in the first two seasons. I was watching by habit at this point and I don’t know if I realized the show was getting steadily better. I was still waiting for that one episode I would know immediately would be a favorite. (It’s coming, it’s coming…)

BOOBY TRAP: In order to get the Enterprise out of an emergency situation, Geordi creates a holographic representation of one of the ship’s designers, Leah Brahms… then crushes on it. We learn this episode that Geordi had no business giving Wesley romantic advice back in “The Dauphin.” Unlike “The Bonding,” this episode does have ramifications to later continuity when Geordi meets the real Dr. Leah Brahms.

PAIR WITH: I think I’m going to drop this aspect of my posts (unless there is something really obvious). I never planned to keep it up beyond the third season, anyway.

I always found that aspect of the holodeck a little bit creepy.  Your crush doesn't like you back?  Whip up a holodeck version of them and use them however you like. I'm sure there's safeguards built into the system to prevent that. I'm equally sure that a gifted technician - the ship's engineer, say - could work out a way around those safeguards.

I always wondered about holodeck versions of real people. Does the holodeck somehow endow them with the knowledge, intelligence and imagination of the real (generally deceased) person? How? Based upon their writings? Would that really recreate people and their abilities?

As for your crush not behaving like a hooker, IIRC there was at least one episode in either STNG or one of the spin-offs in which that did happen. 

Barclay's version of Troi, if not actually hooker-like, was definitely "interested" in him.

THE ENEMY: The third Romulan episode. The fact that only Worf’s blood can save the Romulan survivor smacks of plot contrivance. What about one of the (at least) several Vulcan’s serving aboard Enterprise? Worf’s isn’t even the right color. NOTE: Worf refuses to provide a transfusion and the Romulan dies.

THE PRICE: A love affair episode for Troi as she encounters and unscrupulous negotiator with a conflict of interest. The negotiations are over a seemingly stable wormhole. Two ferengi get stuck on the other side of it.

THE VENGEANCE FACTOR: A love affair episode for Riker as he encounters a seemingly sympathetic servant who ends up being an assassin. He kills her unnecessarily in the end.

THE DEFECTOR: A low-ranking Romulan defector crosses the Neutral Zone seeking asylum. He is really an admiral who seeks to prevent a war, but it turns out he was fed disinformation. A quite good episode, really.

THE HUNTED: An alien super-soldier leads a rebellion against the society who first created him and his kind, then turned their backs on them. He outmaneuvers Picard and his crew at almost every turn, and Picard’s solution (he simply dumps the mess in the lap of the alien government) is very “Captain Kirk.” The soldier eludes security on a chase through the Enterprise displaying knowledge of its systems and layout he could not possibly have, but otherwise a good episode.

PAIR WITH: "A Town Called Mercy"

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE HUNTED: An alien super-soldier leads a rebellion against the society who first created him and his kind, then turned their backs on them. He outmaneuvers Picard and his crew at almost every turn, and Picard’s solution (he simply dumps the mess in the lap of the alien government) is very “Captain Kirk.” The soldier eludes security on a chase through the Enterprise displaying knowledge of its systems and layout he could not possibly have, but otherwise a good episode.

THE HIGH GROUND: A terrorist kidnaps Dr. Crusher. Bad timing airing this episode back-to-back with “The Hunted.”

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