Sunday, December 4, 2011

Encounter At Farpoint

Christmas shopping is well underway and I’m keeping the gifts for myself to a minimum. I have always been the type of person who can justify buying myself a gift or reward for something positive that has happened but no longer. (well mostly). The completion of my Star Trek collection was a gift to myself but it is nearly my birthday and I deserved that. Speaking of birthdays I am for some reason in the middle of the “pre-birthday blues”. Every year it happens the week before the big day. I guess birthdays are a time when we take a look at the past year and see what we have accomplished, what we haven’t accomplished, what we have and what we don’t have. This has been a big year for me and I must remind myself that each time I start feeling blue because a lot has happened this year. I’d like to share a some of the list with you all.
1-      I came out to my parents, something I had been putting off for far too long!
2-      I went to college and earned a certificate in Autism!
3-      I was in the play Nunsense and earned praise from friends and audience members for my performance
4-      I have widened my circle of friends over the past year and I can’t picture my life without some of those people
5-      I lost 30 pounds!
6-      I still have a job that I love and live in a house that I loe
Really it has been a pretty good year and I wouldn’t change a thing that has happened over the last 12 months.
So this is the first blog post for Star Trek: The Next Generation! I didn’t end up working out today because I’ve decided to start a new tradition that goes along with the remaining Star Trek series. TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise all started and ended with a 2 hour “movie” episode and since I don’t plan on walking for two straight hours I will simply watch the episodes as a break from the workout. I am very excited to get into The Next Generation shows and see where they started out. Since there are 7 full seasons, I’m estimating that I will be doing TNG posts until about September of 2012!
Encounter At Farpoint
With this episode we are introduced the new Enterprise-D and its crew of Starfleet offices out to explore the galaxy where “No ONE Has Gone Before”. The opening shots introduce Captain Jean-Luc Picard the commander of the Enterprise. The Enterprise is on its first mission and is en route to the newly built Farpoint Station to pick up the remaining officers and to investigate the station for Starfleet use. While on their way the crew encounters a strange energy field blocking their way and very peculiar life form who calls himself Q. Q informs Picard and the rest of the crew that they are to turn back because they have ventured to far out into the galaxy. Picard runs from the energy field and separates the ship into two its two sections to help keep the crew and passengers safe. While heading back to intercept the Q creature with the Stardrive portion of the ship. Once intercepted Q brings Picard, Data, Yar and Troi to a strange courtroom from hundreds of years in Earth’s past to hold them accountable for all of humanities crimes as a people. It is here we learn an insight into Tasha Yar’s past as a child who grew up on a failed Federation colony that declined into war and poverty. Q charges them guilty but Picard asks that humanity be allowed to be tested to see if they have changed in the past few hundred years. Q allows the Farpoint mission to serve as this test.
The Enterprise arrives at Farpoint station where we meet the remainder of the senior staff including Riker, Crusher, and LaForge. Riker and Crusher begin to notice strange occurrences of items materializing out of thin air but there always seems to be an excuse or justification. Riker wants to impress Picard and he starts trying to investigate the station and asks Dr. Crusher to help but she feels it to be a waste of time. We them meet her son Wesley Crusher and learn that his father used to serve as Captain Picard’s first officer until he died in service. There is obvious tension between Picard and Crusher which is used in various ways throughout the episode.  Upon beam up Riker and Picard have a bit of a cold welcoming and Picard orders Riker to dock the ship pieces together manually instead of with computer support. The entire crew, now in one piece, begins to investigate the station. While under the station Troi, who is an empath, starts to feel strong emotions like anger, pain, and loneliness but she can’t tell who it is coming from. About this time a mysterious ship appears and begins to attack the city located next to the station. Q shows up basically to piss everyone off and get the crew to perform poorly. A landing party beams aboard the mysterious ship and learns that it appears to be made of the same material as the station. Quickly Picard puts two and two together when the ships rematerializes as a gigantic space jelly fish. He quickly orders a power beam to provide the station with energy. The station ends up being another one of these creatures and was enslaved by the Bandi who inhabit the planet.
The two aliens are reunited in the end and Q is stubbornly satisfied with the performance of the Enterprise crew and he leaves. Before Q leaves though, he warns the crew that he will be back in the future to check in on them.

What an interesting first show! It was good but not great. I would love to go back in time and watch this episode for the first time and see what it was like through the eyes of a Trekkie who has been waiting for years for Trek to return to TV. I’m guess there was some joy and some WTF thoughts happening.  We get to meet a new cast and truly get a first glance at everyone along with some key back story elements. This is a major difference between this series and the original series. In the original series we truly didn’t learn much about the crew initially and were just thrown into a crew that was well established. The show tries to maintain elements of nostalgia from the original series. This time Picard says the famous “Space The Final Frontier…” speech to open the show and his take is much less dramatic than Shatner’s, which is a nice change. The shots of the Enterprise orbiting a planet are very similar to the ones used in the original series. The biggest piece of nostalgia that was attempted to be incorporated was the use of the female skirt uniform. In this show though, not all the women wore the skirts only some of them. The skirt was a bit longer than the original and it featured short sleeves. We didn’t really see this uniform much after the first episode which is a good thing. I can’t picture the skirt playing fondly into the 1980’s women’s liberation attitudes. The really funny thing though is that there were guys running around in those skirts,, granted the skirts were just a little longer for the guys. Another huge reflection on the decade this was made is the fact that there was a counselor on the ship and even more that she was put on the bridge and sat right next to the captain. In a time known as the “me” decade where everyone

1 comment:

  1. Paul, glad to have you in my life too. Though I feel bad for not trying to keep i touch as often I should (and vice-versa :P) I often say to myself, we live in the same freakin state and yet we dont have time for each other...soon my friend! and another confession, I didnt start reading your blog until now. Must say, I am excited for your blog. Keep it up dear friend..Love ya!