Encounter at Farpoint

Just started watching TNG – inspired by the Star Trek noob posts http://www.autostraddle.com/star-trek-n00b-episode-10-dagger-of-the-mind-space-insane-asylum-222910/ I thought I might offer some thoughts on each of them seen through the lens of the past 27 years (in real time – I think – I’m going to try not to do any fact checking here because down that line lies madness but as far as I remember TNG started in 1987 so 27 years ago). Though in continuity it’s only 21 (ST has got up to 2385 and Encounter at Farpoint was set in 2364). I’m not sure how relevant the original timeline Star Trek is any more to most people, indicated by my phone insisting that when I typed in Cardassians I really meant Kardashians, but it’s still the real one to me.

Firstly, opening scenes, it’s a sense of how much has changed. Different Enterprise –  crew members now dead (Yar and Data) others now married (Crusher and Picard, Troi and Riker) – it is really a shock to the system how young they all look. And yet, the opening shots of the Enterprise in the credits, still recalls how exciting it was that for the first time in (15?) years I think TAS ended in 1972 – resists temptation to check) Star Trek was back on TV. And weird to think that the gap between the old and the new then, is only about half the gap between the new then and now. This is where it all started again 🙂

Lots of great stuff in here I’d forgotten were here – Miles O’Brien in a supporting role – almost dramatic irony when you realise what a key member he was going to be. The Ferengi get a mention, but then they had a recurring role in this season. There’s some cheesy stuff – Tasha Yar seeming to get all emotional with very little reason, Worf pulling his phaser on a hologram – these people seem very undisciplined and ill-trained. A tense bit between Riker and Picard for no reason. And there’s loads of stern faces as they separate the saucer and reunite it, a manoeuvre that has the dramatic tension of watching someone park. (Well slightly less if you were watching me park). It’s as if – knowing there wasn’t really much happening they randomly ramp up the acting to try and con us into thinking it’s exciting. But totally forgot also how great the music was. There’s an orchestral / film level of sophistication to it that doesn;t happen in stuff today. Shit isn’t Wil Wheaton young? I’d forgotten the short skirts and shorts, (and I’d forgotten Marina Sirtis’s legs, how did I do that?) Also does a great job of laying down a lot of the basic story backgrounds – Riker and Troi’s history, Picard a Crusher’s, Geordi’s visor, Wesley’s dad. And of course, Patrick Stewart’s acting is superb. All in all, some shaky bits, but enough in there to suggest the greatness ahead.

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