^ Riker has always been my favorite character on the show. You tend to not notice him, but when you think a bit about it, he's had a surprisingly large number of really solid episodes in the series. Kind of in the way how superficially the big things in Best of Both Worlds are the Borg and Locutus, but really when it gets down to it, it's a Riker story. He forms the emotional core of that story and Frakes delivers a damn fine performance.
He's always been my favourite next gen character too. I think probably because he reminds me of Kirk.
It's funny, I used to always think Riker was incredibly stiff and boring early on. But watching the first season again I can totally see the stoic, "Gary Cooper" vibe Gene was going for with the character.
Frakes pulls that off really well, and it's a shame he didn't appreciate it more than he did. Because that Riker actually seems kinda cool