Why no Captain Riker.

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by T'Girl, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Picard could have been an example to Riker in another way. I get the impression that at that point in his career, Picard could have advanced to the admiralty whenever he was willing to, but he kept commanding starships because that's what he really wanted to do.
     
  2. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    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.

    A great example of the "knock Riker down a peg" syndrome.
     
  3. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    ^It's worse than that...they'd already established in Season 1 that he'd turned down a command to serve on the Enterprise. The Aries was the second offer. I agree, it was a mistake to turn this into a syndrome so soon. The Drake reference in Season 1 was unnecessary...the captain could have simply been and old friend of Riker's without that. And the Aries offer was featured in one of the crappiest episodes of TNG...we could have done without the whole thing. It would have worked if the Melbourne was the first offer and Riker was more genuinely torn...finally having the chance to realize his ambition, but liking his gig on the Enterprise too much to give it up too readily.
     
  4. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^^Definitely my thinking as well. It certianly was plausible to think that Riker would turn down a small command to be XO of the Federation flagship. However, that has the look of something that started as an afterthough, throwaway type line that morphed into something that came back to haunt the writing staff.
    It is worth remembering that Patrick Stewart was a controversial choice as Captain and that there was no guarantee he would be back for season 4. It's almost like there was an assumption that Stewart wouldn't last and all of a sudden everyone was scrambling to catch up when it turned out otherwise.
     
  5. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed generally that the "Riker is so awesome he gets offered a command but then turns it down" reference in S1 was a bad idea.

    I think "The Icarus Factor" really answers some of these questions. On the surface, it looks like Riker bucks promotion simply to piss off his Dad... but I think actually what happens there is Riker realizes he'd been to some extent living to spite his Dad while also living the life his Dad wanted him to live.

    In other words, the choice Riker makes for staying on the Enterprise is his choice, whereas he may've accepted promotion and been the opportunistic Shelby-type prior to this because of his father's expectations. "Dammit, I am good enough, Dad, and I'm going to prove it." All that changed, IMO, in "Icarus."

    Fitting Picard into that, as the The Old Mixer suggests, Riker may've found strength/inspiration from this from Picard as a surrogate father figure. Consider Picard's offer to become Starfleet Academy Commandant in "Coming of Age" which was apparently premature and due to Admiral Quinn's fear of invasion, but Picard still chose to turn down.

    If one is cynical, one seems to get the impression that in the 24th century Starfleet is in the habit of assigning officers and then almost immediately afterward trying to transfer/promote them elsewhere! :rommie:
     
  6. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Pretty quick ascension up the ranks there, and wasnt there more than one episode where characters said that most officers desired to sit in the chair. I think even Eddington said as much before he realised his place was with security, for that time I guess Riker found his place to be as the XO to the best Captain in the fleet serving on the best ship with the best crew.

    If he was eligible to make Captain in only 7 years I wonder how often this happens, or is it only rare examples such as Picard and Kirk in whichever reality for whatever reason who make Captain young.

    Maybe Pikes "You could be an officer in four years. You could have your own ship in eight." in ST09 is more than just recruitment spiel?
     
  7. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I completely missed the references to Riker's only being an officer for 7 years. In that case, the idea that he might have turned down a command makes some sense if he figures he needs more seasoning, or he would rather just have a shot at building his resume by being XO on the flagship. You have to figure that such a junior officer would get a much less significant command than he would get after a few years on the flagship. Still doesn't change the fact that they overdid the reluctance to take a command early on.