This is the third part in a series of blogs
looking at the TV shows, books and Films that made me
the geek I am today.
Part 1, Masters of the Universe: http://chud.com/articles/blogs/2627/Anatomy-of-a-Geek.html
Part 2, Ghostbusters: http://chud.com/articles/blogs/2630/Anatomy-of-a-Geek-Part-2.html
There is an episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer describes Lister as a Fried Egg sandwich with Chilly sauce and Chutney. What he means by this is that despite all the parts of the whole being wrong it somehow works, that my friends is also a perfect analogy of Star Trek the Next Generation.
TNG (as I shall call it from now on) should not work. Star Trek was such a classic that any attempt to remake it should have fallen flat on its ass, however it got passed a very shakey first season and went to become as good a series in its own right. It still shared the core values of the original but explored them in a different way, one that felt just as relevant to the 80’s as the Original did in the 60’s.
TNG was my introduction to the world of Trek, it was also the first series I ever watched in order from start to finish. I had just joined secondary school* when it started and was in my final year when it finished, so you could argue that it was one of the biggest influences on me growing up. And lets be honest a show that at it’s heart teaches you to better yourself is a pretty good role model.
Data and Picard where (and still are) my favorite characters and I don’t think that should come as any surprise given the fact they were the two best actors on the show. Thats not to say the other characters didn’t have merritt it’s just that when you have Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner stealing every scene they are in it’s hard for anyone else to even come close. In fact the only person that could was John de Lancie’s Q who also happens to be one of my favorite villains**.
Q himself is another reason I love this show, when you have a character that is basically a god and can do anything using him sparingly and in clever ways is no small feat. The many writers of TNG managed this perfectly and he only really became overused when he was added into Voyager***
But the main reason this show worked for me was the stories it told. You had action based ones like Best of Both world, character based ones like The Inner Light and of course the moral dilemma style, of which The High Ground**** is one of the best examples. TNG did just as well as it’s predecessor in terms of storytelling (if you ask me) which is something that quite often gets forgotten in favor of jokes about the beige bridge.
While we are on the subject of stories I think it also had one of the best endings to any TV show. I dare you to watch All Good Things again and disagree, that final scene of them playing cards is as perfect a send off to a cast of characters that you ever likely to see. In fact if I had my way that would have been the last time we saw the characters, as much as I love the show I kind of hate pretty much all the movies (save First Contact). But they do prove perfectly that you can have to much of a good thing, so at least there is that.
Like all things geek the debate will rage on and on about which series was the best. Some love the original, some love DS9 or Voyager and the truly mad love Enterprise, but for me it’s always going to be about TNG.
And with that, like the series itself all good things must come to an end….
*High School for the American readers
** I’ve just realized he should have made it into my B list villains blog dammit!
*** The same can be said for the Borg, in fact screw Voyager it ruined everything.
****Fun fact this episode was actually banned in the UK for a while due to it’s parallels with the the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In fact it was not shown in an unedited format on the BBC till 2007, (Until then we had a cut version).