Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Blog #12: TNG Seasons 6 & 7
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.
Season 6: This was another solid season. Star Trek: Deep Space 9 launched mid-season and TNG viewers saw guest star Colm Meaney (Transporter Chief O'Brien) and his family transfer to DS9. Season 6 also marked the end of Whoopi Goldberg's tenure on the TNG series. She only appeared on 3 episodes and never returned. Her character made no official exit and I to this day I am not sure why she never returned to TNG in season 7. TNG needed a shake-up and they got it in the great 2 part episode 'Chain Of Command' with Picard being transferred and Ronny cox coming on board as 'Captain Edward Jellico'. Jellico was a very strict commanding officer who was hard to please and this created great drama for the actors, especially Rikers epic confrontation with Jellico. Also in that 2 parter Picard was captured by Cardassians and actor Patrick Stewart got to play one of his best performances as Picard. Also James Doohan from the original series returned as 'Scotty' in the great episode 'Relics'. Despite having such a great season it ended with TNG's worst cliffhanger episode, 'Descent' which featured the lame return of the Borg and Data's evil brother 'Lore'. It would prove to be a preview of things to come in season 7...
Season 7: Aside from season 1 and 2, season 7 proved to be one of the worst in TNG. There were not many good episodes this season and sadly it would be their last as TNG was being groomed for the silver screen and 'Star Trek: Voyager' was being prepped for launch on the upcoming 'UPN' network. TNG just suffered extremely creatively this season. I'm not sure if the fact that DS9 was running and Voyager was being prepped that TNG didn'treceive the creative attention it needed. There were more bad episodes than good ones, and many plotlines that had been building for several seasons were not resolved by the end of the show. The series finale 'All Good Things' proved to be a terrible send off for the TNG series as the events in that episode didn't really happen. TNG should have gone out in a blaze of glory, but it didn't.
Despite all the growing pains TNG had, it still is tied with DS9 as being my favourite Trek series. Besides certain creative people holding the show back, I think what held TNG back was that it was limited by the era in which it was created. TNG was the first series in modern television that tried to do the things it did, but it was held back by the limitations of the time. Special effects were very costly and time consuming to produce which is why there were very few big battle scenes and the TNG crew often talked their way out of battles or just missed them (Wolf 359). Cheaper computer generated special effects really did not become the standard until the 4th season of DS9, 1995 or so. But I feel these limitations just made the writers work hard and thus TNG has several of the best Trek franchise episodes. TNG is a great series and is worth watching, but beware of seasons 1, 2 and 7 which are the worst of the series.