Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star Trek – The Next Generation

After finishing the Original Series on Netflix, I charged into The Next Generation with a lot of excitement. Sure Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were no longer going to be in the show (well, no Kirk for some reason), but I was ready for more Star Trek. So I sat back, relaxed, and got the show rolling, ready for a new crew, new adventures, and a new Enterprise. Netflix, Warp 6, …Engage!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, my captain has hair, but that doesn’t mean Picard is any less great. Far more the patient, calculating man, Jean-Luc Picard was a very good captain. He trusted his crew, kept his cool, and was unafraid to admit when he was wrong, and even, when he was helpless. Where Kirk may jump to action before finding out other options, Picard thought his way through problems, relying on others to aid when needed. Plus he loved history. Let me rephrase that. He respected history and what he could learn from it immensely, thus showing growth and maturity of character who’s lived life well, but not necessarily always come out on top. Picard was a great leader, and the perfect second act to follow Kirk.
Not as many ladies as Kirk, but at least he didn't use his psychic powers to get them.
A captain is only as good as his second in command. Kirk had Spock, which allowed him to be a little more cavalier. Picard had Riker. I wasn’t sure what to make of Riker at first. He was very much like Kirk, had some McCoy mixed in, and a splash of Spock. This helped set him apart from most other characters in Star Trek. Riker was very protective of his captain and the crew, and made sure that he went out of his way to protect them. This allowed Picard to be measured, as more often than not Riker was buying him time. As the show went on, it began to feel like it revolved around Riker’s personal growth more than anyone else, but honestly that would be selling the other characters a little short.
So who to focus on next? Should I write about the logically impressive Data? What about the primordial Worf? The short lived but personal favorite Tasha Yar? Either of the Crushers? Love struck La Forge? Or Deanna Troi? How about the characters who showed up every now and then like nerves of steel Ro Laren, the ever insightful Guinan, or the always great Reginald Barclay? And that’s when it hit me. The Next Generation had a crew of depth. They weren’t all on the bridge. They were behind the scenes, running their day to day ops. They were integral, not necessarily on screen, but they added so much character to the crew. This show was more than just the away team commanded by its captain, it's also the people who made sure the away team made it home to a safe and secure ship. They were all important, and I could not limit the crew to just a single third entry.
And what of O'Brien, Gowron and the ever great Q?
Finally, let me talk of the most important part of the show, the Enterprise D. This ship was cool. From holodecks to Ten Forward to detachable saucer sections, the Enterprise D was a true upgrade to the original show’s Enterprise. It was huge, had families living in it, a crew of many species, races, and ethnicities living within, and the ship complimented them all nicely. The Enterprise may hold a very special place in my heart, but the Enterprise D showed a very cool, and very natural evolution of a beloved ship.
Star Trek the Next Generation was great. Its cast gave the show a level of respect to the mythos, while maintaining a level of light heartedness that was needed for a prime time sci-fi show. It was fun, emotional, and questioned not just human to human relations, but how we, as a species, fair in a universe where there are many different species all trying to exist within the same plane. It was the logical next step from the Original Series, and I think Jim Kirk would be very proud of the Enterprise D’s captain and her crew. So what’s next? I guess it time to travel Deep, into Space. 9! … Get it? It’s Deep Space 9 time.
Well captain, I await your adventures in space.

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