TNG revisited

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Start Wreck, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've opened up my DVD sets and am going to watch the whole series again. It's been a while since I've watched any of these - probably 4 or 5 years, so it's kinda exciting. Anyway, I thought I'd share the experiences by doing a small write-up for each episode as I watch them.

    Encounter at Farpoint
    The most immediately notable thing about this viewing is how bad the image quality is. I know it was mastered on analogue tape at the time but the quality is quite shocking. The starfields have blue glowing edges, everything is fuzzy and indistinct; a lot of the text in the closing credits isn't even legible. Upscaled on a big TV, it does not look nice at all. I am, of course, maintaining the original aspect ratio.

    The series starts without any teaser, straight into the intro sequence. It's a rare treat to see the beginnings of a show and I embrace it fully. The captain's log is accompanied by a fairly rare shot of the front of the Enterprise-D coming into frame, followed by the captain standing by the window looking out.

    There are a lot of 'firsts' in this episode, and I appreciate the writing skill in featuring situations that introduce characters and locations without seeming forced in somehow (Holodeck aside). Splitting the crew into two groups makes for some natural introductions and gives all the characters enough screen time to be featured properly. Worf gets to show his bravery, Troi gets to use her empathic powers, Data gets to show off his strength and mental abilities. We get a look at the holodeck, have a chat with the computer, see the first ever saucer separation, use of the transporter, phasers, people tapping their comm badges (a lot more than normal); this episode, as a pilot, introduces an awful lot of things and is quite enjoyable because of it. There's even time for a DeForest Kelley cameo, which is a very touching scene with a nice piece of music to accompany it. Early TNG did some good things with music and mood, very apparent here.

    There are really two stories in one in Encounter at Farpoint, and while I'm not so fond of Q as a plot point, I do like the Farpoint/alien side of the story, as it's an interesting sci-fi concept. Being split across a double-episode length gives enough time for both stories to come together without feeling rushed. In fact the pacing is rather good. There's some pretty good directing here as well, lots of low angle close-up shots on faces.

    Early TNG may have dated more than the rest of the show, but as with many pilot episodes, it stands up quite well, certainly better than most of season 1 does.


    Noteworthy things:

    - Zorn namedrops the Ferengi in this episode. The first time they're ever mentioned!

    - Troi calls Riker 'Imzadi', and he reads her mind, not the other way around. This is unsual when it's not between two Betazoids, isn't it? It's never really been followed up, and the whole Imzadi thing is kinda dropped eventually.

    - The show's main theme is used in the episode (saucer separation sequence). I believe this is the only time it ever happens.

    - Accents are all over the place. Troi sounds, I dunno, 'exotic'. Compare her accent to her much later appearance in the TNG movies and it's night and day! (I like the old uniform, though. Much better than the purple suit thing she starts wearing.) Picard has weird Americanisms in his accent, pronouncing it "commAnder" and "clAss". I'm sure this gets gradually phased out over time.

    - Men wearing skirts! Oh my goodness! :lol:

    - The background corridors of the ship/station/alien jellyfish interior are actually painted wall set extensions. I never noticed them before now. Damn you, pin-sharp television!! *shakes fist*

    ----

    I'm not going to do grades or scores 'cos they're for lazy people who don't want to read. :p
    Stay tuned for the next write-up. I'll be watching The Naked Now within the next couple of days.

    Yes, this will take a while...
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  2. Cheapjack

    Cheapjack Fleet Captain

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    May 12, 2007
    Amazing!

    Someone who actually LIKES Encounter at Farpoint!!

    That makes two of us! Three, if you include Gene Roddenberry!
     
  3. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    She's broadcasting into his mind, he's not reading hers. Presumably that's what she taught him.

    That's Sirtis' fault for not bothering in later seasons. It gradually lessens over the course of the series, to the point where she isn't even trying to act in the films and her Voyager appearances.

    Not an exclusively American trait, as anyone from the north of England can testify! Stewart is a Yorkshireman, so it would he his natural way of speaking. I've never really paid attention in interviews to see what he says. Possibly the RSC beat it out of him.
     
  4. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Naked Now
    The Naked Now is a fairly disappointing episode after the pilot. While the characters have started settling into their roles, the story is a lazy rehash of an early TOS episode, The Naked Time. Not shameful about it, it does reference the original episode and provides a handy link for our heroes to save themselves. Sadly, given the choice between Wesley Crusher holding the ship hostage, or O'Riley, I'd have to choose the latter - at least he sang. :)

    Quite honestly, though, I don't think much of either. It's mildly amusing to see Picard and beverly fall under the intoxicating effects of the infection, and to see Data stumble and fall over on the bridge, but I don't think the show had been going long enough to have 'comedy' episode just yet - and I use the term loosely.

    The worst part of the episode is the 'boy wonder says the day' conclusion. In fact, anything to do with young Wesley is cringeworthy in season 1, but this takes the biscuit. The crew seem to be inept at their jobs, the engineer staff in particular, and Dr. Crusher for not properly quarantining the infected LaForge right away.

    A few nice character moments with Geordi and Yar can't save this otherwise lame episode.

    Noteworthy things:

    - Kirk's Enterprise is referred to as 'Constitution class' for the very first time.

    - Two episodes in and there have been two TOS references already. I thought they were keen to distance the show from the original! I'm not complaining, mind.

    - Data uses at least one contraction in speech in this episode, since this is prior to establishing that he can't use them.

    - Geordi not being the engineer is weeeeeird. There are no 'main' characters down in engineering. The balance seems wrong. I can see why they changed it for season 2. I honestly don't even remember engineer whatshername doing anything noteworthy in the whole season.

    - "If you prick me, do I not... leak?" :)
     
  5. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not having an engineer is especially bizarre when you consider that Worf didn't have a defined role until after Yar died. He was just a general spare, sometimes at the conn, usually standing around at the back pointlessly. Then they made Wesley acting ensign, so he'd be on the bridge too.
     
  6. Canuck69

    Canuck69 Commander Red Shirt

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    I actually like it too. I always thought it was an entertaining episode and I have no problems sitting down and watching it time and time again!
     
  7. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Men have worn "skirts" throughout history. What I like about those outfits is that they're creative. They remind us that this is the future. They're not us and they aren't going to dress like us.
     
  8. Opus

    Opus Commodore Commodore

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    I am also a fan of Encounter at Farpoint.
     
  9. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well exactly, it's evidence humanity had ditched the fairly bizarre social attitudes towards various items of clothing. Or else it could be some crazy alien fashion that was all the rage in the mid 24th century.

    Personally I think Roddenberry/Theiss did it to make up for the girls' miniskirts in TOS.
     
  10. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I did like them having Geordi as the Helmsman, for the intended irony of a blind man driving the ship.
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I liked 'EaF' too. I still like watching it.

    Agreed.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    I love the first season of TNG. But the picture and audio quality of the first season DVD's are just brutal, making it tough to enjoy. :(
     
  13. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think that the first season had some really great mood-setting lighting... even if the picture quality doesn't do it justice.
     
  14. Michael

    Michael *:・゚✧ . ゜・ Moderator

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    Like most of the time, I wholeheartedly agree with you, J. Just yesterday I watched Heart of Glory. What an incredibly dull episode, but the lighting is just superb. Like later on Deep Space Nine, there's much more use of shadow and unusual camera angles. Also, the music in season one is terrific. At least it is to me.

    Start Wreck, I really enjoy your reviews. Keep 'em coming.

    And J., eventually I'll answer you PMs. :(
     
  15. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I was watching "Lonely Among Us" the other night, and it almost felt like watching a horror movie - I was struck by how dark the ship seemed. Coincidentally, perhaps, I've been watching some Season One DS9 of late. Even early DS9 seemed darker than later DS9, visually.

    (And I know you'll get around to PM'ing me back one day. I'm patient, just glad to know you're still around. And, nice new av. :D)
     
  16. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    I just finished (literally five minutes ago) watching the last episode of season 1. Seasons 1 & 2 have gotten a bad rap as being boring or bad seasons but after watching the entire season I have to say I really liked a lot of the episodes and I was impressed.

    Now it's on to season 2.
     
  17. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The mind-reading thing seems to be popular with the Imzadi fans, there's loads of it in the fanfiction. I wouldn't call myself an Imzadi fan myself, but I do kinda like the telepathy between Riker and Troi and I think it would have been nice if they'd kept it. I think this scene though, if they'd carried it on, would have lead to a full-on, intense relationship and I'm glad that it went the way it did. Still, the telepathy between them would have been good, I think, and there are still kinda moments where it's hinted at again, mainly, I think, in the acting rather than the writing.
     
  18. TheKeeper

    TheKeeper Commander Red Shirt

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    I was an adult Trek fan when TNG was first broadcast, and I remember the mix of excitement and dread we had during Season 1. There was a consensus that TNG just needed plenty of shakedown time in order to improve. Watching those earliest episodes was like a beloved child coming home with a bad report card - we know they can do better, we want to help but we know we have to be patient.

    I think "Farpoint" and "Naked Now" are better than their reputation among fans today. Looking forward to reading the rest of your reviews!
     
  19. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Encounter isnt a BADD episode..it had good intentions. Its a bit overlong, suffers from teething pains with the script, and had a few poor performances...but in the end, its a passable episode. Its understandable how it met with mixed reviews at the time and left people skeptical for the rest of the series...it didn't knock the story out of the park and wow us.

    RAMA
     
  20. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    I watched my first STNG episode in a very long time the other day...I showed "The Masterpiece Society" to my wife and she told me it was thought provoking. I agreed with her, and although I always liked the episode, I enjoyed it more than ever...17 years after it first aired. Love that about STNG!

    RAMA
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010