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TNG episode #01-#02: Encounter at Farpoint

 
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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:40 pm    Post subject: TNG episode #01-#02: Encounter at Farpoint Reply with quote

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Though we didn't know it when this first aired, this double-length pilot episode of TNG would eventually form a bookend with the final episode, All Good Things...



We were introduced to the new Enterprise-D in this episode and its new captain, the experienced Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). They did a few things right in this start-up; there was a sense of this new beginning (the ship had just been built, Picard had just been assigned, a crew was just beginning to work together) in this first episode, of an anticipation to begin exploring areas not yet encountered.



But it was a bit rough. Picard's first discussions with Data (Brent Spiner) the android came across like a roughdraft in need of fine-tuning. Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) and Troi (Marina Sirtis) ranged from amateurish to insipid as played by the actresses. Worf (Michael Dorn) was so very one-note. And Geordi (LeVar Burton) seemed very hidden behind that visor.



This was also the first appearance of the holodeck. Riker meets Data in some wilderness setting in the holodeck, and Wesley has his first goofy scene there — but keep in mind that there was a version of this technology in the Animated Series episode Practical Joker way back in '73. There was some explanation of how this mind-blowing tech works, as it's presented as almost new in this episode.

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In the plot, Riker (Jonathan Frakes as the first officer), Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) and her son (Wil Wheaton as Wesley) were not yet aboard. They were waiting for the ship to pick them up at Farpoint Station, a backwards yet oddly advanced little community resembling a mall, where strange little things were being noticed. But the Enterprise was waylaid by Q (John de Lancie), a cosmic trickster with unlimited power who utilizes some sort of handy energy web.

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This first episode may have caused a problem for the remainder of the first season. Roddenberry and his crew may have shot their load for the first year with the intro of the 'anything-goes' Q entity, so that most of the other 1st season shows would look pedestrian in comparison.

Even so, this was a bit slow — sort of too talky and even repetitive (Enterprise gets away from Q, he chases it down, ho-hum).

Q became a little tiresome to me somewhere near the midpoint, ranting about mankind's crimes in that weird courtroom set-up. In the TOS episode, The Squire of Gothos, the short court scene was set up as a bad joke; here everyone takes it very seriously and drags it out.

Still, the introductions of all involved made this one of the better first season offerings (which isn't saying all that much Rolling Eyes). The revelation towards the end about giant lifeforms was always a bit strange to me . . . how was the character of Zorn (Michael Bell) able to capture and keep one of these as his slave? This seems far beyond his capabilities . . . but, never mind. I guess things had to be big all around in the first episode.

BoG's Score: 6 out of 10




BELOW: FX by George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic FX shop in San Rafael!





TNG Trivia: This featured the first separation-of-the-saucer-scene for the ship.

~ There's also a DeForest Kelley cameo in an early scene as a very elderly McCoy, now an admiral I wonder if he changed careers, say, 40 years prior, and switched to the command section of Starfleet; he certainly had time — maybe he made this decision when he hit his 100th birthday Idea.



BoG
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Bogmeister was a little rough on the TNG pilot, but I agree with many of his objections.

I actually watched this episode today while preparing Bogmeister's review to post on All Sci-Fi, and I felt the same misgivings about the episode I've had since first seeing it in 1987.

I'm not dismissing this episode completely, I'm just saying that it suffers from the same pretentiousness that plagued the entire first season.

All Sci-Fi member Brent Gair has stated that he dislikes TOS because he feels it frequently tried to deliver lectures on moral issues. Even though I don't quite agree with him that TOS did that, I do think the first season of TNG was guilty of this! Shocked

On a more positive note, the scene in which Riker enters the holodeck and meets Data for the first time is flawless. The forest location is gorgeous, it's beautifully filmed, and the moment when Data shows Riker that they're actually standing right next to one of the holodeck's walls (by throwing a rock at it and causing a disruption in the image) is very convincing. Very Happy

In short, this episode has some wonderful moments, in spite of it's occasional flaws.


___________________ Data on the Holodeck


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Krel
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This episode shows precisely why you would not bring family's on an exploratory ship.

A disappointing thing was the saucer separation. It should have been a big event, but it was just a throwaway scene, because people had been asking about it for years, so they decided to get it out the way.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
A disappointing thing was the saucer separation. It should have been a big event, but it was just a throwaway scene . . .

I got the same feeling when I watched the episode a few days ago, although i didn't quit realize why it bother me, and
you did a good job of articulating the reason I had that reaction.

I also feel you have a strong point about the families aboard the ship. Perhaps the idea was that the Enterprise was supposed to be like an overseas military base which is within missile and bombing range of America's enemies. The families are there to allow the personnel to live normal lives with ample social interactions. But if the base is ever attacked, those children and civilian personnel (male and female) will be in deadly danger.

Thinking of the Enterprise that way has never occurred to me before, David. What do you think?

On an entirely unrelated note, the few brief scenes we see of several big, burly crewmen walking along the corridors wearing those damn dresses look absolutely ridiculous! Rolling Eyes

It makes me wonder if it was supposed to be Roddenberry's misguided apology for making the TOS ladies parade around in those sexy (sexiest?) mini-skirts!

Or did those guys in the dresses just loss a bet they made in one of the ship's regular poker games! Laughing

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Eadie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could it be that in case of a catastrophe to the Earth that each ship has the seeds to rebuild the human species? As in Robert A. Heinlein's "Don't keep your 'eggs' in one basket!"?
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Pow
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun Facts for "Encounter At Farpoint,"(09/28/1987) } Originally it was to be a simian race called the Annol, later the Annae, which captured the alien life form. They constructed an orbiting gun platform around the creature in order to keep it captive while utilizing the alien for their dreams of expansion.

The Federation Star Ship USS Starseeker arrived with the USS Enterprise to the planet but was destroyed by the Annol.

Troi makes telepathic contact with the creature and convinces it to crash-land on the planet, where the Enterprise crew who are captives will lead a slave revolt and free the alien.

Gene Roddenberry wanted to have DeForest Kelly do a cameo but expected Kelly to refuse. Instead, Kelly said he would be honored & only took the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) regular scale payment when he could have demanded a lot more money.

The scene in the holodeck by the stream was filmed in Griffith Park.

Part of the Klingon Bird of Prey sickbay from Star Trek III was revamped and became the Zorn's council room wall.

The Battle Bridge was a modified bridge set from ST:TMP.

The circular floor lenses of the Transporter from the original 1966~'69 Star Trek series became the ceiling lenses for the Transporter set for ST:TNG.

Early designs for the Communicator for the show were a wrist-communicator device. That was changed so that the communicator became the badge worn on the crew's uniforms.

Gene Roddenberry added the omnipotent Q to the script when it became a 2~hour pilot episode.

Flawed but entertaining first intro to the cast of the new Enterprise.

At times Patrick Stewart poses and delivers his lines as though he's doing a dramatic (and sometimes melodramatic) stage play. Which was his backgroung back in England.

Here it comes off as odd and not natural at all.

Have any of you noticed that with many sci~fi TV shows
everyone acts like they are doing a serious play? Little humor.

Sci~fi shows approach their series like a Broadway Play. When you look at such shows at Hill Street Blues, St.Elsewhere, The West Wing, The Newsroom, people are far more natural with the way they move & talk. Like real folks.

I think Babylon 5 & Firefly were a couple of the earliest instances where the casts acted like everyday people to me.

I enjoyed ST:TNG. Sure, it's a mixed bag at times & it really took 'em the first 3 seasons before they really hit their stride. But it is a worthy successor to ST:TOS.
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Krel
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
The Battle Bridge was a modified bridge set from ST:TMP.

This caused problems for William Shatner when he directed ST-5. Paramount wasn't sure that they wanted to do anymore original cast movies, and cut the budget. They also told William Shatner that he would have to use a big chunk of his reduced budget to build a new bridge set. He was told he couldn't use the existing set, because the NextGen may need it.

David.
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johnnybear
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TNG took a while to get with it as they say and one of the worst things they did was to proclaim the Ferengi as the new Klingons of the series! By the time the rascals finally showed up it was quite obvious that they would be played more for laughs than be an actual threat to the worlds of the Federation and hence the Borg in season two!
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I've always felt that the Ferengi were simply annoying and too funny-looking to be taken seriously. As a race they didn't inspire fear or loathing, they just seemed to be begging ti gave their silly ears boxed back! Rolling Eyes

But Quark on DS9 played the role with so much charm, dignity, and non-Ferengi behavior that he was the notable exception to the rule. Very Happy


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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

True Bud, the Ferengi can be a bit annoying, BUT I remember visiting Quark's Bar and Grill at the Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 80's and I must say Quark was a great host!









He visited with all the customers and kept in full character the whole time!





My family got to interact with Klingons, Bajorans and Andorians as well as other Ferengi as we ate our Gach (a Klingon delicacy made of live bloodworms -- in our case beef stew over egg noodles). We interacted with a Klingon captain singing Klingon Opera with him at our table.









The whole experience made me feel completely immersed in the Star Trek New Generation experience!





Too bad it's gone now....I'd invite all All Scifiers to meet me there for a cold one!

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Those are some beautiful pictures, Gord. I envy you and your family for being able to have such a wonderful experience. Very Happy

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