Monday, March 5, 2012
Blog #10: TNG Seasons 1 & 2
This was originally posted on my 'Random Nerdness' blog before I created my 'Trek1701' blog, so I wanted to include this blog in my Trek blog.
Star Trek: The Next Generation:
I didn't watch TNG until it was in it's third season. At first I was a little critical of this new series. Captain Kirk was my Captain, his crew was the only crew I wanted to see. Being a 7 year old kid I just didn't understand why they couldn't do a new TV series with the original cast. Also at that time my family lived in an area where TNG was not available on the air waves. But when we moved to our acreage in 1989 I was able to start watching TNG, now in it's third season, for the first time. I soon forgot my misgivings of them not using the original cast and quickly embraced this new cast of intergalactic travellers.
It was easy for me to get hooked into this series having watched it for the first time in it's third season, because in retrospect it was probably the series best season. Some of the finest episodes ever made in Star Trek can be found in the 3rd season of TNG. I'll break down each individual season and give you my take on each:
Season 1: Is probably the worst season this series did. it had many bad episodes and had this show not been on syndication it probably would have been cancelled. It definitely would have been cancelled by today's TV standards. Gene Roddenberry was tapped to re-create the magic that is Star Trek. Problem is although Roddenberry created the original series he was not the one who made it what it was. In fact in this writers opinion Roddenberry penned some of the worst Trek stories ever done. The pilot episode 'Encounter At Farpoint' , written by Roddenberry is the worst Trek pilot ever made. The only shining light in that pilot episode was John De'Lancie as the god-like 'Q', which was really a rip-off of the original series character 'Trelane' from the TOS episode 'The Squire Of Gothos'. Also Roddenberry ripped-off his own character ideas from 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture', as the characters of Riker and Troi were almost exactly like Decker and Ilia from the film. The entire first season was filled with bad scripts, bad special effects, bad sets. The only thing that saved this show, beside it being in syndication, was the actors and make-up artists. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner and the rest of the cast by the end of the season had stepped into their roles and were starting to work well together. However the death of Denise Crosby's character 'Tasha Yar' in no way affected the series in my opinion. She added nothing to the show and her death made way for Worf to step up and Michael Dorn too. Before that Dorn/Worf was just a background character.
Season 2: This season was a little better than the first. actually it was a lot better in many ways. Levar Burton's character was promoted from being ship navigator to being Chief Engineer, a very important position in the original series made famous by Scotty. Why Roddenberry didn't have a member of the main cast be the chief engineer in the first season is very odd to me. But things got set right when Geordi was made the Chief Engineer. Doctor Crusher, played by Gates McFadden was replaced in season 2 by Dr Pulaski played by Dianne Mulder. She was an older woman set in her ways much like Dr. McCoy from the original series. Again it appeared as though Roddenberry didn't have an original idea to use in TNG. Despite her crankiness and her constant putting down of 'Data', I actually liked the Dr Pulaski character and I know I probably am the only one who does like that character. Season 2 also saw Whoopi Goldberg join the cast as a regular guest star as the '10 Forward' bartender 'Guinan'. This was an original idea I liked. Goldberg is a very funny lady and I loved seeing her in every episode she did on the series. Season 2 had some high points like seeing the 'Romulans' appear and the introduction of the Borg. Season 2 had the weakest finales ever in television as it was essentially a 'flashback' episode from Rikers perspective. Season 2 was better, the characters started falling into place as far as the roles they would be playing. But they were still in the shadow of the original series at this point, but they would come into their own in season 3...