This week I am going to look at one of my favourite TV shows and because of that, one of my favourite podcasts also. Star Trek the Next Generation was released in 1987 and against the odds managed to become as popular as the TV show that comes before it, Star Trek The Original Series. In 2018 I personally think it’s the most important show in Star Trek history because it helped bridge the gap (no pun intended) between The Original Series and Deep Space Nine and everything that came after it. Aesthetically this show is very pleasing and I will say it has aged very well. I was a fan of 80s décor though myself and would happily move into the Enterprise living quarters today. Anyway, the show managed to run for seven seasons, totaling 178 episodes which is pretty outstanding. Some die-hard fans of the original show thought it would not survive a single season. It was and will always be my Star Trek so that brings me to the podcast. Mission Log is a Roddenberry Entertainment podcast with the sole purpose of exploring the Star Trek universe, one episode at a time. For the last seven years just like the show itself, Ken Ray and John Champion have released a podcast for each episode. I did listen when they covered The Original Series, The Animated Series and the films starring the original cast but it was their visit to the Next Generation that I have enjoyed the most. I have learned so much; however, it really was a big undertaking. I am glad I found this podcast though. It gives you information about how the show was made; also it gives you the messages, morals, and meanings of the show and to see if the episode holds up today. I thought I would celebrate the end of The Next Generation on Mission Log by picking an episode I love from each season and discuss why. If you like The Next Generation and would like to learn more about it, I would definitely advise you to go back and have a listen to them. Right, let’s have a look the episodes I have chosen, to be honest, this has been pretty difficult because I enjoy them all. Let’s just say the ones I have chosen really stood out to me today.
Skin of Evil. First US Airdate: 25/4/88
Tragedy strikes the Enterprise as Tasha Yar is killed rescuing Deanna Troi from a crashed shuttlecraft. This may not be everyone’s favourite episode but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the practical effects used when Commander Riker is dragged into the tar-like puddle that is Armus, it still impresses me how they managed to get Jonathan Frakes to agree to do it; also how they managed to achieve it. Its iconic in the fact we lose Denise Crosby in the first season of the show. Gene Roddenberry wanted to show the dangers of a security officer in Starfleet is real. The main thing I enjoy about this episode is that Armus is just evil, sometimes in life, we will come across that and have to deal with it. I also did wonder sometimes what it would be like to trapped on a shuttle on an unknown planet, you all did right?
The Measure of a Man. Season Two First US Airdate: 13/2/89
The right of Data as a sentient being is decided in a passionate tribunal hearing. This episode is probably more significant now than it was in 1989. What is life and who gets to decide that? Artificial Intelligence is all around us now; also when it becomes more advanced we will we have to ask the very same questions. I think this was The Next Generation at its very best, making you question your own views on what life is? Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner both gave great performances but it was Brian Brophy as Commander Bruce Maddox what made me believe in that episode. The way he treated Data as a machine throughout the episode right up until the very end was very realistic. You also can’t forget how Riker had to stand against Data in the hearing and felt nothing but guilt, well until Data tells him that his action was an act of self-sacrifice that gave Data the chance to win his freedom.
The Defector. Season Three First US Airdate: 1/1/90
A Romulan Admiral defects with the information that his Empire is looking to start another war with the Federation. This makes it on here because I think the story is so unique to see the character Admiral Jarok actually becoming the hero in this episode. Romulan’s are not to be trusted or so it seemed. it takes Picard a very long time to trust him only to find out that Jarok has been used simply as a pawn. I really felt for Jarok at this point and he is one of my favorite characters from this episode. Later the crew finds that Jarok has committed suicide leaving behind a note for his family, later Picard comments on Jarok’s strength of conviction for change to end the Federation-Romulan conflict. No matter if he was used a pawn if people hear of his bravery and inspires others then his mission had been a success. I really do love the Romulan shoulder pads also.
Clues. Season Four First US Airdate: 11/2/91
A whole day has been lost by the crew of the Enterprise and Data appears to be hiding something from them. As I said earlier, I don’t think these episodes are the greatest from The Next Generation but they are episodes I still enjoy watching. I remember watching this for the first time and thought it was a really good plot twist that Data knew something; however Picard had ordered him not to tell them. Starting with Dr. Crusher’s moss samples growing fully all the way to Worf’s damaged wrist this is a very satisfying episode for me. So it turns out a race called the Paxans which have now taken over the body of Counselor Troi came up with the plan; furthermore, its because they don’t want any interference with other species. Picard makes a plea for a second deal saying that a good mystery is what people love: hence, if they are to take away all the previous clues they would be fine. after the second attempt is successful the crew are completely unaware of the previous encounters and you see Data really pleased with himself as they leave the area.
Darmok. Season Five First US Airdate: 30/9/91
Picard is kidnapped by the Children of Tama, a bizarre alien race who communicate through metaphor. I think this episode is so amazingly clever and It kind of shows people’s fears when they don’t understand each other. The episode finds Captain Picard on a strange planet with a Tamarian Captain heading towards him with two knives. On the Enterprise, Riker finds himself in a battle with the Tamarian ship as they have blocked all ways of transporting Picard back. If you’re watching this for the first time then your first instinct is that they are ready to attack both the Enterprise and Captain Picard. On the surface, Picard slowly starts to realise that Dathon is not a threat. Dathon speaks about Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra and later Picard realises that by facing a common enemy, the two sides could learn to understand one another and bring the two species closer together. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost as Dathon is killed and I will be honest it still upsets me today. It’s also extremely touching when Picard offers Dathon’s knife to the Tamarian officer once Picard is back on the Enterprise, but the Tamarian insists that Picard keep it. Brilliant episode.
Tapestry. Season Six First US Airdate: 13/12/93
Captain Picard is killed in a gunfight and finds himself in the afterlife. Instead of St. Peter at the gates of heaven, he meets Q. The character Q was only written into The Next Generation because they wanted the first episode of season one to be a two-hour show. Also, Q was created by main man himself Gene Roddenberry. Q played by John de Lancie is a great addition to the Star Trek universe and the relationship between him and Picard is very special viewing. Picard has been given a special chance by Q to go back in his life and put right any wrong decisions he thinks he has made. Throughout the episode, Picard starts to meddle with the timeline of his life only to find himself as an ensign after all those changes. Realising the error of his ways, Picard pleads with Q to take him back to the start which sees the Captain laughing as he is stabbed through the heart in a bar fight. The main message I get from this show is to try to learn from your mistakes; furthermore not try to change them, which is impossible. Experience in life will always make you the person that you are today.
All Good Things. Season Seven First US Airdate: 21/5/94
Captain Picard is inexplicably jumping through time, sometimes he is in the past and sometimes the future. In all cases, he is drawn to the Devron system where something mysterious is taking place. Again, an episode featuring Q and the last time we get to see the crew of the Enterprise on Television forever. This two-hour episode was shot just before the filming of Star Trek Generations and I would have preferred to see this story on the big screen to be honest, it has everything. We get to see Picard return to the start of season one; also we see how his crew are doing in the future. Eventually, it all comes down to Picard proving that humanity still has something to offer to Q in the courtroom as seen in Encounter at Farpoint. I think this show explains the value of friendship and the trust Picard had with his crew when it comes to them putting their own lives in jeopardy, a very emotional episode. Even extra emotional when Picard joins the rest of the crew to play Poker expressing his regret that he had not done so before.
Well if you are still reading this then thank you. Also, I’m guessing you must be a Star Trek fan? Well, Mission Log are starting to look at Star Trek Deep Space Nine for another seven years and I am looking forward to it. The link to their website is below and they are on iTunes. I find it’s a good way for me to view episodes now because I watch the show then listen to the podcast, you learn so much and it is quite funny also.
Thank you for reading, it really is appreciated as I’m quite new to the blogging world, if you did enjoy this blog do leave me a like or comment, if you decide you would like to follow me, I will follow you right back, enjoy your time people.