I always thought it was a mistake to write the character of Riker into the position of being offered captaincy as early as season two. Granted he was a fine officer of great potential, but if we accept the timeline put forth in "Pegasus," in the sixth production season Riker's commissioned career was only into it's twelfth year! That means when he was offered the Aries
, he was only seven years a commissioned officer--not plausible when you consider it in that frame of reference.
It also put the writers into the conundrum of having to maintain that Riker still held the promise of being a great captain and yet have to "knock Riker down a peg" every so often to seemingly justify why Starfleet wouldn't force him to either take a captaincy--given he had turned that down at least three times--or involuntarily move him to some other assignment (perhaps on a Starbase) to open up the XO position for another promising officer who was nearly as ready--and more willing--to eventually become a captain (think Shelby).
Because the character was mishandled in the second season, it inhibited the character through the rest of the series and into the movies.
JT Perfecthair wrote:
Watching Jellico and Riker go at it makes it clear that one is Captain of a Starship and one is not. There would be a lot of "Jellico's" at the higher levels of Starfleet with which Riker would have been equally as successful with.
A great example of the "knock Riker down a peg" syndrome.