Mini reviews of Television seasons old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional bunnies.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1 (1987-88)

I remember people saying it was a ridiculous idea making a new Trek, that it was an insult to The Original Series (TOS), but I think having Gene Roddenberry as creator helped smooth the transition for a lot of them. I was too young to feel the nostalgia burn (I was 11), so I embraced TNG 100%.

The pilot episode is very Roddenberry. It’s easy to imagine TOS crew in place of TNG crew. However, from Ep 2 things change. It’s amazing how quickly it settled into a new and unique identity. The actors seemed to bond and a very real sense of camaraderie surfaced. It still paid homage to TOS (Deanna Troi in her "cosmic cheerleader" outfit, and orange skies on alien worlds, etc) but at heart it became a series of quality sci-fi scripts wrapped in a shiny new Trek aesthetic.

Patrick Stewart is a fine actor. His Shakespearean demeanour gave the show a new angle from which to approach drama. Kirk was the action everyman, the lover, the fighter, etc. Picard was the thinker, the confident delegator and the symbolic father figure (albeit one that felt awkward around children).

The second greatest addition to the show was the android Data, played by Brent Spiner. He was inspired by the masterful Russian born author Isaac Asimov. Data enabled the writers to critique the human condition from a point constitutionally more interesting than the typical alien of the week idea.

Without those two men at the forefront of the action, I think the show would've struggled to distance itself from the crushing preconceptions that surrounded it. In the end, it became my favourite Trek series. I never tire of its cheesy charms.

26 episodes, approx 44 minutes each.

4 spine destroying romper suits out of 5

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