2) I loved the extended Measure of a Man, and the only scene I would have cut would have been the fencing scene, because it kind of put Riker in a different light that kind of loses the point of the episode. Riker was treating this as competition but the original episode showed him guilty pretty much the entire way through, making the final scene much more poignant. I did like Picard in this scene though, and to bring back his Fencing from We'll Always Have Paris was nice, but I'm not sure in the long run if this scene would have worked to the episode's strengths. The show, even with the extended footage is still a classic though
I actually liked that scene a lot. To me it wasn't Riker getting into the competition as much as he was trying to figure out how to play his role. If he doesn't give it his all, Data loses. If he does give it his all, Data could lose. If he can't stand up to his Captain and take him on, head to head, Data Loses. It's a no win scenario for Riker. In this time of confusion, he goes to his Captain, but because of the Captain's position in this situation, all he can say is essentially "Bring it on!"
All he can do is what he's done his whole career, do the job he's been assigned. He left Troi because of that drive, perhaps it was the thought that no matter what he did, he'd either lose the respect of his Captain, the friendship of his crew mates and maybe even the ability to remain an effective First Officer of the Enterprise
. Data's life was on the line in this episode, but Riker was very much in the hot seat too.
There was one thing I didn't like and that was losing a lot of respect for Marina Sirtis during the Cast reunion. It was when she said "With apologies to the other series, TNG was the flagship show". Hey, Mrs. Ditsy chick who couldn't act until First Contact and Voyager, SHUT UP. TNG was not the flagship show, Star Trek was. Have some respect to the series that came before, and the series you were even on that came after. The look on Brent Spiner's face said it all, Sirtis was full of bull shit who should "Know her role". I'm sorry if this pisses off all the troi fans, and I love TNG, but her comment was ridiculous. If anyone wishes to clarify her statement because I sound harsh, please do. I feel like I took all I needed to know and understood it perfectly.
I think she stated it poorly, and granted we only saw glimpses of the final product, but there is some accuracy of it.
TNG got movies, DS9 and Voyager didn't.
People are far more likely to know who the crew of TNG is over the rest. People may know Seven or The Doctor, or Phlox or Odo, but by en large somebody would be more likely to know Geordi and wouldn't know who Chakotay is.
If there hadn't been the thing about her admitting her own acting flaws, I might have seen this differently, but she basically said that she stunk in the pilot. So it's not that she lacks humility.
Of the modern Trek series, TNG was the most successful and the rest of the series were measured against it.
I love all of the series but it's not a crime to think that TNG stands above the others in some ways. (and doesn't in others)