Today I was SO worn out, I did something I can hardly believe...  With very few exceptions, I have not watched STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION since it was first-run (24 YEARS ago).  So far today, I have just watched the first 14 episodes in a row!!!
 
    You know what's funny?  The show is actually fun to watch in a sort-of tacky way.  Some of the character quirks are amusing, before they became really annoying.  And I'm reminded of some of the early relationship dynamics, which, it seems to me, got totally screwed over the longer the show was on the air.
 
    Like-- it's obvious Picard & Beverly are attracted to each other.  WHY did they spend most of the run not having this go anywhere?  Then there's Will Riker & Deanna Troi, who the moment they meet are like a really bad, awkward retread of Will Decker & Ilia.  They're so stiff at first it's unbelieveable.  I think all the acting got 10 times better after the 2-hour pilot.  Anyway, the story that introduces Lwaxana was a hoot, and also showed that, despite whatever the hell the problem is, Will & Deanna do somehow care for each other deeply.  So... WHY didn't it EVER go anywhere (until the 2nd feature film?).  Both Wesley & Data are far less annoying here than they later became.
 
    Strange but true:  while I saw the show from the first episode (and taped every single one of them), my Mom never saw it until somewhere in the 3rd or 4th season.  And when she did, she got HOOKED, big-time.  She started watching it every time it was on.  Since they got to running the stories twice a week, that means, while I saw each story ONCE, she saw each one FOUR TIMES!!!
 
    At some point, she got around to seeing reruns of the 1st season.  I always remember walking thru the dining room, where she spent most of her time sitting watching the small tv on the table, and noting she was watching the 2-hour pilot.  And she looked at me and says, "This is the DUMBEST story I've ever seen!"  That's after having seen dozens (maybe a hundred or more) later ones.
 
    I've noted I have a lot more tolerance for "bad" films when I can't sleep, and that may account for my being able to sit thru so much of this today.
 
    It's a shame that my favorite woman on the show's 1st season, Tasha, got killed off suddenly when Denise Crosby announced she wanted to quit the show.  She may not have been my favorite kind of woman as far as face or personality, but I have a feeling I might have gotten along with her.  By the episode "Angel One", she seemed to be loosening up a lot.  I can't understand the complaint about her "not having enough to do".  Her movie career sure didn't take off...  (Doesn't that seem to be a running thing in the 80's and beyond?  People quitting successful shows and then regretting it?)
 
    A few times early-on, I found myself thinking how this might have gone if Paramount hadn't been so cheap.  After the tremendous success of STAR TREK IV, the push was on to finally do a new tv series.  But because the actors' salaries kept getting bigger and bigger by then, the decision was made, purely monetary, to do an entirely new series, with CHEAPER actors.
 
    What stands out is the thought that the "cruise ship" version of the Enterprise was said to be a brand-new ship fresh out of dry dock (just like at the end of ST4).  And the "battle bridge" seen in Ep.1 was clearly the bridge from the movies.
 
    I liked how about 10 episodes in, you finally saw a rectangular hallway (like on the old show).  Those octogonal vertical halls from the movies get on my nerves.

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"Day of the Dove"...wasn't that the Michael Ansara story of the red whirligig that fed off hostility and kept the Klingons and Humans at each other's throats through re-annimation and creating weapons for them to fight with?
Yes, but the reason I think it would serve better as a final episode than “Turnabout Intruder” did is that it’s forward-looking and puts forth the possibility that the Federation and the Empire might become allies someday.
I agree.  I agree whole heartedly, I agree.
"Begone! We need no urging to hate humans!"

Wasn't it Chekov who said in the Mark of Gideon, "I conquer...I whole heartedly conquer!" when they decided to deactivate the self-destruct at the last moment and he's querried by the computer if he conquers?

Would that have been "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" ?  ("The Mark Of Gideon" was the one about over-population.)

 

The actor who played the chief minister in "...Gideon" later turned up as the cook in the 1977 NERO WOLFE!

Oops!  You are absolutely right.  The Black/White planet was Charon.  You're right on the title.

I  always thought the addition of a SELF-DESTRUCT device was uncalled for.  In earlier episodes, Kirk bluffed an enemy into believing Federation ships had a self-destruct device, and, at another point, Scotty had to go thru a lot of trouble to jury-rig a self-destruct device.  But in "...BATTLEFIELD", they have one incorporated into the ship's design!!  I just think it's insane. And of course, this last time when I watched the entire series in production order, it really hit me when I got to this one... this was what led to STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK and it's wrong-headed decision to blow up the ship-- for a publicity stunt.  "The LAST Voyage of the Starship Enterprise!!!"

 

I'll tell you what... I'm pretty damn sure the Jupiter 2 doesn't have one of those! (They have enough trouble holding the ship together without one.)

 

 

Lou Antonio, who played the "criminal" in that episode, soon switched over from acting to directing!  His name cropped up on a lot of shows in the 70's, including McCLOUD.  (I think I also saw him appear on an episode or two of THE FUGITIVE.)

Well, it has been common practice for captains to scuttle their ships to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy, so a self-destruct capability is just a step on from that.  This would be even more important when your ship is loaded with futuristic technology that your enemies mightn't have, not to mention loads of sensitive info and data in the computer banks.

 

I guess scuttling the Enterprise in ST III was so that the franchise could move on past Kirk, Spock and co.  The fans had to be shown the ship blowing up in order for them to accept a new ship or a new crew.

 

In-story, I can't remember if the Old Girl's demise was sufficiently justified or not, though. 

"Destruct sequence 1, code 1-1A."

"Destruct sequence 2, code 1-1A-2B."

"Destruct sequence 3, code 1B-2B-3."

"Destruct sequence completed and engaged. Awaiting final code for one-minute countdown."

"Code Zero Zero Zero. Destruct. Zero."

"In-story, I can't remember if the Old Girl's demise was sufficiently justified or not, though"

 

Not in the long run, as far as I'm concerned. But they were making it up as they went.  First Leonard Nimoy wanted to quit, so they killed him off.  But before they finished filming, he changed his mind.  So they they had to figure how to bring him back. Etc. The situation with the crew being stranded on the planet after the ship blew up, by the way, struck me as a SWIPE of the 3rd-season-ending cliffhanger of BLAKE'S 7.  (Just as the season-ending cliffhanger on "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" was a SWIPE of the 2nd-season cliffhanger ending of BLAKE'S 7.)

 

Someone online pointed out something I hadn't really noticed before... In the first 5 ST films in a row, you never see The Enterprise & crew in a "normal" situation.  The 1st movie had the ship completely rebuilt/refitted and a conflict between 2 people for Command (the latter bit a tribute to RUN SILENT RUN DEEP).  The 2nd film had a crew of cadets on a training mission (and at least partly out of their depth).  The 3rd film had the STILL-damaged ship operated by a skeleton crew by a very shaky remote control.  The 4th had the same people operating a Klingon ship!!  And then, the 5th had the newly-built ship, fresh from a "shakedown" cruise, desperately in need of a tune-up.  You didn't get to see The Enterprise & crew in peak condition until ST6.

 

Something I hadn't really thought about before, but which crossed my mind now watching these in sequence... In the wake of ST4, with the crew given a brand-new Enterprise, the next thing we got was ST:TNG, in which we see an apparently "brand-new" Enterprise, fresh from drydock. I was just reading how with the success of ST2, 3 & 4, Paramount was finally eager to do a new TV series... but the lead actors' salaries on the last couple films had gotten so big, they made a purely-economic decison to do an entirely new show instead, so they could hire CHEAPER actors.

I always wished they had jumped almost 100 years down the timeline (“Encounter at Farpoint” being 100 years later than “Where No Man Has Gone Before”). It wasn’t really “the next generation, was it? More like the generation after next. I would have preferred the new Star Trek TV show to have followed the crew of the Excelsior under the command of Captain Sulu. They could have still told the same stories and introduced new crew members, but set them in the late 23rd century rather than the 24th.

The "Big Three" could have then been brought in (or not) for special occasions.

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