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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Yes, I am still working my way through ST:TNG (in case anyone was wondering), but I’ve been too busy lately to post reactions (as brief as they might be). Right now I am well into the seventh season, 14 episodes behind in my posts. Let’s see how many I can knock out in a single go, shall we?

LESSONS: In this episode, Picard learns the lesson “Don’t get your meat where you get your bread.”

THE CHASE: The Daleks see the Doctor as their mortal enemy and pursue the TARDIS through time and space to destroy him. No, waitaminute… that’s not right. The Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians and humans must come together to solve a puzzle. Reminiscent of “The Preservers” of TOS, this episode seems to lay the groundwork for “intelligent design” within the Star Trek universe. PAIR WITH: “The Paradise Syndrome”

FRAME OF MIND: Riker awakens in a mental institution. No, wait… he’s in a play aboard the enterprise about being confined in a mental institution. Reality keeps shifting back and forth until he is unsure what’s real and what’s fantasy. Excellent performance by Jonathan Frakes.

SUSPICIONS: A Ferngi designs a multiphasic shield and the Enterprise helps him to test it.

RIGHTFUL HEIR: The historical Klingon figure Kahless returns, throwing Klingon culture into an uproar. Then, Kahless is revealed to be a clone. A commentary on religion and belief.

SECOND CHANCES: The Enterprise discovers that a freak transporter accident eight years ago created duplicate Rikers, stranding one on the planet. No one ever looked for him because they didn’t know he was “missing.” Our Riker went on to become Commander and first officer of the Enterprise while the other one, obviously, remained a Lieutenant. Now, a very different Riker from the one we are used to comes aboard, and the two Rikers don’t get along at all. For one thing, Lt. Riker hopes to pick up with Troi where he left off eight years ago. Eventually, Lt. Riker adapts the name “Tom” (William’s middle name) and leaves the Enterprise. we’ll see him again on DS9.

TIMESCAPE: Troi, Picard, Data and La Forge find themselves caught in a temporal phenomenon. PAIR WITH: “Wink of an Eye”

DESCENT I/II: The results of Picard’s decision to return “Hugh” to the Borg collective come back to bite him on the ass. Lore appears. Data gets an emotion chip, but does not install it at this time. Stephen Hawking appears.

That’s nine down, five more to go until I’m caught up.

LIASONS: Three Lyaaran ambassadors: one who likes chocolate and desserts, another who likes picking fight with Klingons. The third apparently dies enroute to their home planet with Picard, who finds himself marooned with an unstable female who “falls in love” with him.

INTERFACE: The grandson of Levar Burtun’s character in Roots plays his father here; his character’s wife plays his mother.

GAMBIT I/II: Picard and Riker, both undercover, end up as antagonists on the same alien ship.

PHANTASMS: Most episodes of ST:TNG have an “A” plot and a “B” plot. This one has two “B” plots. The first “B” plot deals with Data’s dream progam acting up again. The other “B” plot deals with propulsion problems the Enterprise is having while Picard hopes to avoid a boring Starfleet function. Seldom does the whole of a Star Trek episode exceed the sum of its parts, but such as the case here. When the two “B” plots are revealed to be connected (which almost never happens), it produces a single “A” plot.

Okay, that’s the 14 episodes I was down. While it is true that I have seen the episodes of seasons six and seven less often than those of seasons one through four, I found that I recalled the episodes of season six quite well. Perhaps it is only the later episodes of season seven I don’t recall as well. There is still one episode in particular I find myself looking forward to, but I have no idea which one it is. As I promised before, I’ll let you know when I get to it.

DARK PAGE: A Luxwana Troi episode, but an unusual one. Also an EYKIW in that it is revealed that Deanna had a sister who dies in childhood. Kirsten Dunst guest stars.

ATTATCHED: Setting aside the contrived plot convention which serves as the story’s springboard, Picard and Crusher spend the episode able to read each other’s minds. I would like this one more if something had come of it, but the status returns to quo in the end.

FORCE OF NATURE: An environmental protection allegory. While not about global warming specifically, it’s impossible to view this episode in 2019 outside that context. Going forward, the Enterprise (and, indeed, all space-faring races) need to reduce carbon emissions limit ship speed to warp five.

I always thought was a dumb, contrived idea.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

FORCE OF NATURE: An environmental protection allegory. While not about global warming specifically, it’s impossible to view this episode in 2019 outside that context. Going forward, the Enterprise (and, indeed, all space-faring races) need to reduce carbon emissions limit ship speed to warp five.

"I always thought was a dumb, contrived idea."

Apparently it had been shelved and reworked numerous times.

INHERITANCE: Data discovers a “relative” he didn’t know he had: his “mother,” Noonian Soong’s wife… but all is not as it seems. The various episode with Data’s “family” (his “father,” mother,” “brother” and “daughter”) would make a good themed binge.

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