Sarah Watches TNG: Part 1

I officially began my Star Trek: The Next Generation watch through last week and I’ve made it through the first five episodes. Which, let’s be honest, if this show was airing today the network would have cancelled the show before all five of these episodes even made it to air. (Thank goodness network execs were a lot more forgiving in the late 80s/early 90s!) But I promised I’d push through, so while you read my thoughts on these first few episodes, I’m off to watch the next batch.

TNG 1.1 Encounter at Farpoint

Here we go! Starting with the pilot episode (that is really two episodes in one, but let’s not quibble over semantics) it’s interesting to see that even though the Enterprise appears to be starting a brand new mission, Riker and Dr. Crusher are the only two newcomers (I’m sure this won’t come into play at all in the future).

farpoint

After the ship is forced to split into two sections (which was pretty cool), we meet Q for the first time. He seems rather interesting, if not incredibly ridiculous, and I’m told he reappears at some point. I’m looking forward to that. However he brings the officers to trial for their supposed crimes and oh joy, it looks like we have terrifying trials in some sort of “post-atomic horror court” by the late 21st century. So, we’ve got that to look forward to?

Q

And now there are space jellyfish? Giant space jellyfish. What is with sci-fi shows and their need to put sea creatures in space? At least one of them is pink and one is blue so we are very clear on the fact that one is A Female and one is A Male?

Final thought, Is Wesley a Mary Sue? (Seriously, no way he’s actually that competent at ship things.) Discuss.

Grade: 4/10 This was a weak pilot, but I’m intrigued enough by the characters and I’ve been promised that it gets better so I’ll keep watching.

TNG 1.2 The Naked Now

Honestly, I should have been prepared from the beginning just based on the title. But I pushed forward anyway and here we go. My thoughts are in list form this time because I really couldn’t put them together into any sort of coherent kind of way.

  • Let’s be real, Is the second episode of a new show really the best time to pull the “people act out of character and it’s suspicious” trope? ESPECIALLY WHEN WE DON’T KNOW HOW THEY ACT IN CHARACTER YET.
  • Yar is seducing Data and now I’m convinced that Data is a super fancy sexbot. Is this incorrect?
  • Picard keeps referring to Riker as “Number 1” and while Lauren has informed me that this means “First Officer,” in my head I’ve decided that Picard is simply ranking his crew. (Wesley would obviously be last.)
  • “Did he say Wesley, the boy?” Nope, he was referring to Wesley the chimpanzee who has snuck on board the Enterprise.

tasha

Grade: 3/10 While this episode was rife for mocking, it didn’t have much substance or apparent value to the series.

TNG 1.3 Code of Honor

I just…what the ever-loving hell did I just watch? I’m not even sure I can put my thoughts down because they are either a) THIS IS TERRIBLE THIS IS TERRIBLE on a loop in my brain or b) so incredibly foul-mouthed that even I’m slightly ashamed. I want to rant over the horrible racist and sexist elements of this episode, but I honestly don’t even know where to begin. So let’s just agree to pretend that I gave my thoughts, you all agreed it was terrible, and then we never, ever speak of this episode again? Deal?

Now excuse me while I try to find my brain bleach.

Grade: Is there anything worse than 0?

TNG 1.4 The Last Outpost

Ohhh so this is the episode where we first meet the Ferengi, I’ve actually heard of them! Though, the extent of my knowledge is that Principal Snyder from Buffy is one (and makes his first appearance in this episode, so yay?) But I’ve been told that they are actually pretty gross and kinda skeevy, so maybe I shouldn’t be excited that this is a thing that I know?

Overall this episode felt really boring to me, most of it was the crew standing around discussing what to do rather than actually doing the thing. Even the encounter with the portal was all talk and little action (with the exception of the Ferengi jumping around like creepy little monkeys). But I totally chuckled when Data got his fingers stuck in one of those Chinese finger puzzle toys.

datafinger

Speaking of the Ferengi jumping around like creepy monkeys, I cannot take them seriously. Which I’m learning is apparently is not unique to me as I’ve been told that they were supposed to be the “big bad aliens,” of the season but were eventually relegated to simply comic relief. I’m not sure keeping them for comic relief was the best choice either just based on this one episode, but maybe I’ll change my mind as we go.

Riker’s trolling at the end though, where he asked to beam a box of Data’s Chinese finger toys over to the Ferengi. That was amazing. And Picard’s simple response of, “Make it so.” Perfection.

Grade: 3/10 Again, another episode meant for mocking, not for taking seriously.

TNG 1.5 Where No One Has Gone Before

So, a “propulsion specialist” and his assistant have beamed onboard in order to increase the efficiency of the engine and the warp drive? Got it. He does not endear himself to any one right off, but he brought his somewhat creepy assistant The Traveler so I’m sure that’s a win.

I already like this episode because it feels more science fiction-y and less hokey than the previous eps. I’m starting to get a good sense of who the characters are and how they all fit/work together on the ship. Riker in particular was excellent as he faced down against the incredibly arrogant Kosinski. And my heart broke a little for Picard when he has to face his long dead mother with the realization that it’s all in his head and he can’t actually see her.

I really could have done without Wesley being the one to discover that it was The Traveler who was controlling the speed and not Kosinski. It felt too forced and like someone was beating us over over the head with the fact that Wesley Is Smart. Do we really need that? (DEAR GOD WESLEY what is that shirt you are wearing? It is orange and frilly and a world of nope, even in the future where I am sure fashion choices are somewhat different.)

wesleysweater

I still don’t understand The Traveler’s weird interest in Wesley. It’s odd. And did he really have to tell the captain to encourage Wesley’s genius? And did Picard really need to make him an “acting ensign,” or was this simply an excuse for the writers to have Wesley on the bridge or in engineering going forward? But why?

Grade: 6/10 I might have been a bit ore generous, but Wesley really annoys me and a story where he is featured prominently is not going to be high on my list.

BONUS

This was an actual conversation that we had over text while watching episodes four and five:

Lauren: Man, S1 TNG, you really loaded up on the questionable episodes right at the beginning
Teija: Yeah :/
Sarah: They reeeeaallly did
Lauren: I prooooomise it gets better
Teija: I second this promise
Sarah: side eyes you both mmmmhmmm
Teija: WOULD WE LIE

It remains to be seen if they are telling the truth or not.

2 thoughts on “Sarah Watches TNG: Part 1

  1. I just recently re-watched the whole series (for the dozenth time or so), so I feel your S1 pain. I can only promise you, as well, that it gets better. Even season 1 has its “great” moments, though you are as likely to be punished for your enjoyment in the very next episode by as yet unimaginable sexist and/or racist garbage. And you should thank god that Picard does make Wesley (the boy) an acting ensign, as it gets him out of those horrendous sweaters he is so fond of. Keep at it.

    • Hah, anything to keep him out of the horrendous sweaters! But, I promise that I will absolutely stick with this through season 1 and into season 2. The moments that have been good so far, I’ve really enjoyed. So, I have faith that these characters will be enough to get me through!

      -S

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