Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 1)

release year: 1987-88
genre: sci-fi drama TV
viewing setting: home Bluray, 9/8/16 to 10/13/16

synopsis: In the year 2364, a century after the Enterprise of Captain Kirk and company, a new ship and its untested crew head out into space on a variety of missions.

impressions: In 1987, this was what Star Trek fans had been wanting for almost two decades. In the spirit of my old reviews of the original series, Here are capsule reviews of each of the 26 (really 25 since the pilot was a 2-parter) episodes in this first season:

(1-2) Encounter at Farpoint
home Bluray, 9/7/16
summary: A new Enterprise with a new captain and crew heads out to begin its voyage of exploration. Unfortunately, the already-challenging first mission is further complicated by a powerful alien being that feels the need to judge humanity.
thoughts: My full review of this one can be found in a separate page.
rating: fair

(3) The Naked Now
home Bluray, 9/8/16
summary: Insanity virus is brought back from ship full of dead people while nearby star is about to die.
thoughts: They need to overhaul their quarantine procedures.
rating: fair

(4) Code of Honor
home Bluray, 9/9/16
summary: Negotiations for vaccine to save millions stall when primitive culture possessing the vaccine steals Yar for mating purposes.
thoughts: This is why the Federation's rules don't always make sense - to save a great number of lives, the vaccine should have just been taken by force, bypassing the silly courtship rituals and games of the locals.
rating: fair

(5) The Last Outpost
home Bluray, 9/10/16
summary: Both the Enterprise and a hostile alien ship become captive to an energy-draining planet left by a long-dead civilization.
thoughts: Good premise, but silly aliens (Ferengi) and resolution between alien and Riker didn't make any sense. This was an "almost" episode.
rating: fair+

(6) Where No One Has Gone Before
home Bluray, 9/11/16
summary: An arrogant scientist gets approval to experiment on the ship's engines, which ends up accidentally sending them to another galaxy, at which point they find that there's more going on than is apparent.
thoughts: Solid science-fiction, although it's the third episode out of the first five to feature a super-powerful alien. It's also the episode that marks a turning point for Wesley, as he's revealed to be something special.
rating: good

(7) Lonely Among Us
home Bluray, 9/11/16
summary: While on a mission, the ship diverts through a strange energy-cloud and picks up some sort of alien which causes delays and problems.
thoughts: First, this is why you don't divert from your mission to investigate strange things. Second, after this episode it would seem that anyone who's ever been beamed anywhere can be brought back alive and well, no matter what happens to them after being beamed.
rating: fair

(8) Justice
home Bluray, 9/11/16
summary: The ship investigates a happy, carefree planet, but Wesley inadvertently breaks a silly law and gets sentenced to death.
thoughts: This one had me wondering what the point of the Prime Directive is, if they can contact a new civilization but then not challenge its laws. Further, there's another super-powerful entity hanging around - the fourth in the first seven episodes so far.
rating: fair

(9) The Battle
home Bluray, 9/11/16
summary: A seemingly peaceful meeting with the Ferengi goes wrong, as their captain seeks revenge on Picard for something that happened many years ago.
thoughts: Logic errors. First, how did the headaches get beamed across space and time specifically to a single target? Second, how did the Ferengi captain beam away when the shields were up? Also, there should have been some sort of retaliation or trial at the end - the villain got away too easy.
rating: fair

(10) Hide and Q
home Bluray, 9/12/16
summary: The super-powerful alien "Q" appears again, plotting to test the inferior humans by offering one of them god-like power and seeing if it changes him.
thoughts: This was better than the first appearance of this "Q" character, and made a little more sense, but really...would a far superior being really act like this? Hypocrisy. At least this time, apparently, others of his kind realized it and dealt with him. Super-powerful being count is now five in the first ten episodes, by the way.
rating: fair

(11) Haven
home Bluray, 9/18/16
summary: While dealing with a possible threat to a peaceful planet, the crew must also deal with the sudden marriage of one of its members.
thoughts: Two things I detest: arranged marriages and a pushy mother-in-law. Enough said. Young suitor Wyatt is played by a young Robert Knepper.
rating: fair

(12) The Big Goodbye
home Bluray, 9/18/16
summary: En route to an important meeting with an alien race, Picard gets stuck in the malfunctioning and now-potentially-lethal holodeck.
thoughts: This one was different, and entertaining; most of it was set in 1940s San Francisco and was a detective story of sorts. Fun but not great - another "almost" episode.
rating: fair+

(13) Datalore
home Bluray, 9/19/16
summary: The ship stops at Data's home planet, and learns something of his origin, as well as his evil twin brother.
thoughts: This was a good example of the Enterprise leadership being too trusting, and (as much as I hate to take his side) not listening to Wesley. They didn't even thank him in the end, plus it's not clear what happened to the evil twin, plus the crystal entity just left and no one cares even though it is known to consume living beings? Loose ends, anyone? Another "almost" episode.
rating: fair+

(14) Angel One
home Bluray, 9/20/16
summary: The ship looks for another ship's survivors, years too late, on a planet run by women.
thoughts: Crash-landed males in hiding...a big secret...and Riker makes the move on the woman in charge (who apparently never locks her door.) Decent drama, not so much sci-fi.
rating: fair

(15) 11001001
home Bluray, 9/21/16
summary: An upgrade of the ship's computers goes wrong.
thoughts: This one was interesting, both because of the main problem and also because of the side plot within the holodeck (where, apparently, red alerts cannot be heard.) I liked the big starbase too. This one was entertaining but not quite to the "good" level. And it's a little creepy how into the holodeck some people can be.
rating: fair+

(16) Too Short a Season
home Bluray, 9/25/16
summary: An old admiral had to play peacemaker, but there are two complications: all is not as it seems, and he's getting younger as they approach the crisis.
thoughts: The basic plot was good, but I'd think the Enterprise would have a better approach to deal with terrorists. But they used the Prime Directive to somehow avoid that sort of thing. This episode was probably more about the pointlessness of trying to recapture one's youth.
rating: fair

(17) When the Bough Breaks
home Bluray, 10/6/16
summary: A dying but powerful race decides to take some children from the Enterprise to avoid extinction.
thoughts: How exactly was this supposed to work? The kids would grow up and mate and produce offspring who...had nothing to do with the actual continuty of the planet's inhabitants? This one was kind of creepy, especially the way some of the aliens looked at the children. Ugh.
rating: fair

(18) Home Soil
home Bluray, 10/7/16
summary: The ship visits a terraforming station whose small crew doesn't want to be bothered.
thoughts: This was sort of a mystery, and at first I was convinced that there was something controlling the terraformers. Overall a fairly solid episode. Walter Gotell, who played the Russian version of "M" in several James Bond movies, was the leader of the terraformers here.
rating: fair

(19) Coming of Age
home Bluray, 10/9/16
summary: While Wesley competes with three other young superstars to get a single spot in Starfleet Academy, an admiral and old friend of Picard shows up to inspect the ship for reasons he won't reveal.
thoughts: This was a Wesley episode, and it worked. As for the other plotline: the other officer leading the's hard to believe a guy like that would ever get into Starfleet, let alone become an officer. This episode also introduced a major (and interesting) plot element that was followed up on later in the season.
rating: good

(20) Heart of Glory
home Bluray, 10/9/16
summary: The ship picks up some Klingons who want things to go back to the way they used to be.
thoughts: This was the Worf episode, and was really good for developing his character and also giving him a chance to make some important decisions. There were also other Klingons!
rating: good

(21) The Arsenal of Freedom
home Bluray, 10/9/16
summary: The Enterprise goes to a planet of weapons dealers to find a missing starship.
thoughts: This one was pretty good, and had a lot going on. The people who beamed down had to solve a mystery while figuring out how to survive, and LaForge got to be in command and face challenge. Vincent Schiavelli guest-starred as a (holographic) weapons salesman, and Julia Nickson (best known as the female rebel fighter in Rambo: First Blood part 2) was a young ensign who had to step up in a crisis.
rating: good

(22) Symbiosis
home Bluray, 10/10/16
summary: While venturing a little too close to a flaring star, the Enterprise gets involved in a dispute between two worlds, that is more than it apepars.
thoughts: I really hate to spoil this one's plot hook, but let's just say that Picard uses the Prime Directive as the double-edged sword that it is. Of note: two actors who both appeared in The Wrath of Khan.
rating: fair+

(23) Skin of Evil
home Bluray, 10/10/16
summary: While trying to rescue a crashed shuttlecraft, the crew must deal with a powerful, evil pile of tar.
thoughts: This episode marked the death of a major character, but it also had plot holes. Armus was a little too powerful (in addition to its physical properties, it also had telekinesis and teleportation, and could apparently reach out into space and draw ships to it.) They should have destroyed the planet after they got away. Tasha's post-death messages to the other main crew were well-done and touching.
rating: good

(24) We'll Always Have Paris
home Bluray, 10/11/16
summary: The ship responds to a distress call from a scientist who may have started the universe on the path to unraveling, and whose wife is a former love of Picard's.
thoughts: High threat level here, because the only thing maybe worse than space unraveling is time unraveling. Maybe at the end, the guy needed to take a second look at what he was doing, since he should have learned a lesson here. The holodeck comes into play again, and it still seems weird. Casting notes: the old love was played by a singer from the Mamas and the Papas, and the scientist was played by the guy who was Sigmund Freud in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
rating: fair

(25) Conspiracy
home Bluray, 10/12/16
summary: Some other captains secretly warn Picard that something's wrong in the Federation, and it turns out to be true.
thoughts: This, of all episodes I ever watched or glanced at in the late 1980s, is the one I remembered. The revelation of the alien parasites was the coolest thing I had ever seen on TV, or so I thought at the time. The episode wasn't perfect, but it was cool. Too bad that in six more seasons, they never continued this plotline...
rating: good

(26) The Neutral Zone
home Bluray, 10/13/16
summary: After rescuing three cryogenically frozen people from the 20th century, the ship investigates destroyed outposts near Romulan territory.
thoughts: Two plotlines going on here: the fish-out-of-water effect from the three guests, and the reappearance of the Romulans. It was all very entertaining. The business-savvy cryo-survivor was the same actor who played the asshole teacher in Friday the 13th part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan just in case you were wondering.
rating: good

acting: I'm going to avoid an in-depth summary of the lead actors, but they all solidified their roles by the end of this first season. For me, the most thought-provoking character was Data; he's a robot who's more human-like than any other robot, but not yet as human as he wants to be. The mixture of robotic behavior and human behavior is always fun to watch.

final word: After a slow start and a lot of mediocre-plot episodes, this season ended strong.

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