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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SUB ROSA: Dr. Crusher is visited by a ghost/alien which has been “haunting” the women of her family for 800 years. It’s chock full of gothic clichés and is easily my least favorite episode of TNG. Amusingly, two of the headstones in the cemetery are “McFly” and “Vader.”

LOWER DECKS: Four ensigns are under review and up for promotion. The most interesting of the four (to me, anyway) is Sita Jaxa, who was involved in the accident in Wesley Crusher’s squadron at Starfleet Acadamy in “The First Duty.”

THINE OWN SELF: Data as Frankenstein’s monster. Also, Troi studies for her bridge officer’s exam. It is a pastiche of tropes from earlier episodes, enjoyable but not very original.

MASKS: Data is “possessed” by an alien artifact and develops “the android equivalent of multiple personalities.”

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: This episode would have us believe that three unsolved murders occurred aboard the Enterprise while it was still under construction. The psychic-whatever causes one crewman to commit suicide, then it affects Troi. The Troi/Worf relationship is pushed forward… but only sort of because it occurs only in her mind. Not one of my favorite episodes.

GENESIS: The crew devolves into lower forms of life. Apparently, Barclay is descended from spiders. Is this Star Trek or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea?

JOURNEY’S END: Wesley returns and acts like an ass. Then the Traveler shows up and shows him his destiny. This episode is almost too science-fantastic for me, as Wesley develops time-travel “super-powers.” I really would have like to have seen this development explored in a true “next generation” show featuring Wesley, Worf’s son Alexander, Sisko’s son Jake, etc.

I liked this episode. I always did like transformation stories.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

GENESIS: The crew devolves into lower forms of life. Apparently, Barclay is descended from spiders. Is this Star Trek or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea?

It's another one that advances the Troi/Worf relationship... but only "sort of" because the crew are certainly not themselves. Both Worf and riker killed crew memebers while in their devolved states, but nothing ever came of it. Before Crusher devolved, she was sprayed in the face by Worf's acid sacs and it was said she would require reconstructive surgery, yet by the end of the episode her face is fully restored. I guess the process of "un-de-evolving" also cured her...? Meh. There are some fun moments, I admit, but this episode is too problematical for mhy tastes. Horseraces, I guess.

"I really would have like to have seen this development explored in a true “next generation” show featuring Wesley, Worf’s son Alexander, Sisko’s son Jake, etc."

...and Nog.

FIRSTBORN: Worf tries to interest Alexander in Klingon culture. A “family friend” arrives to assist, but (shades of “Yesteryear”) ends up being Alexander from 40 years in the future. I would have liked to have seen the time-travel aspect of the plot expanded upon a bit. Quark and the Duras sisters appear.

BLOODLINES: Picard’s season one nemesis, the Ferengi Daimon Bok, shows up again seeking revenge. This time, his plan to to kill the son Picard didn’t know he had. (Turns out to be a hoax.)

PAIR WITH: “The Battle”

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