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Old May 26 2011, 10:18 AM   #1
DeafPoet
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"Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

It's been a long time since I've started a thread in a Trek forum. I'd sort of become disillusioned with things around these parts. But I've been catching a lot of episodes from all series in syndication lately, and I just happened upon TNG's "Family" tonight.

What a magnificent piece of writing this is! I think it's probably Ron Moore's first truly awesome script. We get a really good idea of who Worf is when he's not defending his honour. We get a good look at Beverly and Wesley. And more importantly, I think it's the first time that we really get a handle on who Picard is. Picard's defined later on, but I don't think it's ever more clear than here.

It's easy to say, during the TV renaissance we're in during the 2000's that the easy choice should be to put Picard in his home town at some point. That was a less obvious choice in 1990. And then we're going to split the story three ways and there's going to be NO action. Pretty courageous indeed.

Whoopi saves the Worf story and Wil Wheaton's written a blog about how he phoned in his portion of the episode. I still ennjoy those parts though.

What really gets me is when Robert goads Picard into running away. And he stalks him, taunting him mercilessly about shit he'd rather forget. It's Picard as vulnerable; something the show had never attempted before.

And then they fight and Picard breaks the fuck down. I don't think that a Star Trek character, let alone an iconic captain was ever more human. Picard made his peace with the horrible shit that happened to him and found a friend in his brother.

Star Trek was never better than this, as far as emotional honesty goes.
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Old May 26 2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

I live powerful, character episodes with good, honesst drama in them.
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Old May 26 2011, 10:42 AM   #3
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

^

Me too. DS9 is my favourite Trek and I think that it, in general, blows TNG away. And yet, I can't think of anything DS9 that's quite as immediately moving as "Family."

DS9 has its superlative episodes, but they just don't ring quite as true as "Family", IMO
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Old May 26 2011, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

It was good. "City On The Edge Of Forever" was far better.
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Old May 26 2011, 04:17 PM   #5
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

I'm always reluctant to name an atypical episode as the best ever, even though I applaud series for stepping out of their comfort zone occasionally. "Family" was well done, but if I wanted to cite an ep that showed NextGen at its best, I wouldn't choose one that's not at all representative of what the show was usually like. Shouldn't the "best" TNG ep be more like a TNG ep?

Ditto for, say, DS9 and "Far Beyond The Stars," or BUFFY and "The Body." They're all great episodes, and welcome changes of pace, but it's kind of odd to assert that the best episode of each series is the one that's nothing like all the others!
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Old May 26 2011, 04:21 PM   #6
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

yeah, it's a cool episode, but nowhere near the best. It was good that the writers pushed for this as a follow-up to BOBW, it makes the Trekverse more "realistic" to show Picard's not "back to normal" the week after his trauma at the hands of the Borg.


wasn't it a disappointment ratings-wise, though?
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Old May 26 2011, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I'm always reluctant to name an atypical episode as the best ever, even though I applaud series for stepping out of their comfort zone occasionally. "Family" was well done, but if I wanted to cite an ep that showed NextGen at its best, I wouldn't choose one that's not at all representative of what the show was usually like. Shouldn't the "best" TNG ep be more like a TNG ep?

Ditto for, say, DS9 and "Far Beyond The Stars," or BUFFY and "The Body." They're all great episodes, and welcome changes of pace, but it's kind of odd to assert that the best of each series is the one that's nothing like all the others!
That is why I always say "The Wounded" or "Darmok" is the best of TNG, as they are typical episodes and darn fine...
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Old May 26 2011, 04:26 PM   #8
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Ditto for, say, DS9 and "Far Beyond The Stars," or BUFFY and "The Body." They're all great episodes, and welcome changes of pace, but it's kind of odd to assert that the best of each series is the one that's nothing like all the others!
That's a real good point.

Aside from my unremitting boosterism for "City" I'm a lot more comfortable with "favorites" than "bests."
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Old May 26 2011, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

Um, everyone knows that Sub Rosa was the best thing Star Trek ever did. Ever.
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Old May 26 2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

Family was a nice wrap-up to The Best of Both Worlds, but a middle of the pack episode when compared with the all of the Star Trek episodes.
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Old May 26 2011, 09:51 PM   #11
Greg Cox
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

Dennis wrote: View Post
Aside from my unremitting boosterism for "City" I'm a lot more comfortable with "favorites" than "bests."

Agreed. The problem with "best lists" is that people often feel obliged to recite the Accepted Canon. "City," "Tribbles," "Best of Both Worlds," etc.

"Favorite" lists tend to be more idiosyncratic and interesting.
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Old May 26 2011, 10:00 PM   #12
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

It gets overshadowed by BOBW, and especially if you're watching it right after BOBW on DVD then it's kind of a lurch in mood, but it really stands out in Trek lore because we actually had our characters dealing with the fallout of a major event. It doesn't come to mind when compiling "best of" lists, but it's certainly one of the most important Trek stories made.
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Old May 28 2011, 08:26 AM   #13
DeafPoet
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I'm always reluctant to name an atypical episode as the best ever, even though I applaud series for stepping out of their comfort zone occasionally. "Family" was well done, but if I wanted to cite an ep that showed NextGen at its best, I wouldn't choose one that's not at all representative of what the show was usually like. Shouldn't the "best" TNG ep be more like a TNG ep?
I get what you're saying, but I disagree. The thing about your average TNG ep is that there wasn't much "there" there. But there were tons of little character beats in there. So when they finally relented and did "Family", it was great.

Should a great TNG ep look like a TNG ep? Well I guess that depends on your tastes. By that definition, it would probably be something like "Yesterday's Enterprise" or "Cause and Effect." Those are stock TNG episodes that are really good.

But I'll take "Family" any day because it takes the characters we actually deal with on a weekly basis and makes them deal with something. It's not perfect, but it's ambitious and it succeeds WAY more often than it fails.
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Old May 28 2011, 12:58 PM   #14
JarodRussell
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

DeafPoet wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I'm always reluctant to name an atypical episode as the best ever, even though I applaud series for stepping out of their comfort zone occasionally. "Family" was well done, but if I wanted to cite an ep that showed NextGen at its best, I wouldn't choose one that's not at all representative of what the show was usually like. Shouldn't the "best" TNG ep be more like a TNG ep?
I get what you're saying, but I disagree. The thing about your average TNG ep is that there wasn't much "there" there. But there were tons of little character beats in there. So when they finally relented and did "Family", it was great.

Should a great TNG ep look like a TNG ep? Well I guess that depends on your tastes. By that definition, it would probably be something like "Yesterday's Enterprise" or "Cause and Effect." Those are stock TNG episodes that are really good.

But I'll take "Family" any day because it takes the characters we actually deal with on a weekly basis and makes them deal with something. It's not perfect, but it's ambitious and it succeeds WAY more often than it fails.
Yesterday's Enterprise is in no way a stock TNG episode.
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Old May 28 2011, 03:05 PM   #15
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Re: "Family" is the best thing Star Trek ever did. Discuss.

"Family" is a good episode, but it stand out because TNG didn't do that kind of episode very often. DS9 had the same kind of quality character scenes on a regular basis.
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