Star Trek: The Next Generation - Encounter at Farpoint (2-hour pilot episode)

release year: 1987
genre: sci-fi drama TV pilot
viewing setting: home Bluray, 9/7/16

synopsis: 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.

impressions: The main plot (the situation at Farpoint) was perfectly acceptable science fiction. The tangential "Q" plot (which my research shows got added on at the demand of the producers, to make a longer pilot episode) seems contrived and weak. I personally would have preferred a first episode containing more aliens, space battles, and truly unknown unknowns. This...was something less. It got the job done, but was a bit disappointing, much as I remember from 1987. Some cool things: separation of saucer section, giant energy barrier in space, giant alien jellyfish in space.

acting: I realize that all of these characters were later fleshed out more, so I'm just going to state my initial impressions after the pilot episode. Patrick Stewart is in command, and had one of the stronger performances in this pilot. Jonathan Frakes is the second-in-command and came across as decisive and competent, even this early in the series. Brent Spiner is the android who wants/tries to be more human, and also made a good first impression. Denise Crosby and Michael Dorn are both little more than aggressive security types at this point. LeVar Burton doesn't do much beyond scan things with his special visor. Marina Sirtis is a human-looking half-alien with powers of empathy, so she channels what others are feeling and shows us via facial expressions. Gates McFadden is the doctor who has some history with the captain. Wil Wheaton is her smart son, who's not too irritating at this point.

final word: Not perfect, but a pretty good start.

back to the main review page