The Rewatch 79: Encounter at Farpoint.

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: 1.01-2 Encounter at Farpoint (9-28-87) SERIES PREMIERE
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status:  0/0

Notable Guest Stars:
John De Lancie – Q.  Q is a major recurring character in TNG.  He has also appeared in Stargate SG-1 (my favorite franchise ever) and has contributed books to the Star Trek universe.
Michael Bell – Zorn.  He is a popular voice actor, and would appear on Star Trek multiple times.
Deforest Kelley – Admiral Leonard McCoy
Colm Meaney – Conn Ensign.  Eventually he will play Miles O’Brien and become a series regular, and a star of DS9, but for now he’s an unnamed officer.
Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa – Mandarin Balif.  He has recently had a role in the Amazon series Man From High Tower.
Tim Dang – Main Bridge Security. He provided voices for Avatar the Last Airbender
Evelyn Guerrero -computer ensign. She is known for her role in the Cheech and Chong films.

Review:

Encounter at Farpoint is not bad.  Its also not particularly good either.  You can tell it was the first time this group had acted together.  Not everything was in sync, within their own characters or how they worked as a group.  Writing was still a bit everywhere as it had yet to be completely settled.

In this episode we are introduced to wide array of characters.  We have the main cast, but we also have Q, who would be a reoccurring prescence, although mostly more comically annoying rather then the foe we see in this episode.  He is fascinated by humans, and Starfleet captains in particular.

This episode has Q passing judgement on how Picard and his fairly new (or brand new in some cases) crew react after finding out that the spacebase they had all found to be amazing was in fact in enslaved being.  Picard and the others end up surviving the ordeal but overall it was an awkward episode.

I’ve noticed by now that my least favorite episodes tend to have Gene Roddenberry rewriting parts of it.  Although I admit that I did like his inclusion of Q, a new race to which the Enterprise must interact.  However, this episode runs into continuity problems with TOS.  TNG’s first three seasons are notorious for continyity issues, especially in regards to Earth history to the point the show is based.

Patrick Stewart does a good job in this episode, although like I said before its obvious the familiarity of working with the other cast members is lacking in this episode.

Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden all are clearly still finding their character.  Riker as the show evolves tends to be rather laid back, but he’s a bit stickler for the rules in this episode.  Perhaps its because its his new command.  Troi is a bit more reactive then she tends to be later in the series, and Crusher seems almost a bit too aloof at times.

LaVar Barton and Brent Spiner seem comfortable in the roles, if not exactly figured out how that character relates to the others.  Wil Wheaton, oddly enough, seems to be the most fit into his character. Poor guy has to play the genius (and slightly annoying ) child, but in this episode he just seems like a normal fifteen year old boy.

From what I read neither Crusher nor Worf were meant to be much past this episode, so it makes sense why they may seem odd.  They didn’t have the build up for a major character that the others did. 

The sets and effects were also good, abit definitely eighties at times.  Its aged a little more gracefully then its predecessor TOS.

Interesting Notes:

  •  Written by D.C. Fontana (of TOS) and Gene Roddenberry
  • Directed by Corey Allen
  • Dude Bones is alive.  Still.  I swear he’s probably waiting till Spock dies ala John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
  • Marina Sirtis and Denise Crosby were hired for each other’s final parts.  Before they filmed the first episode, it was decided to switch them.
  • This episode was nominated for a Hugo award
  • This was DeForest Kelley’s last new TV appearance.  Archive footage was used for DS9.
  • This episode was syndicated in 2 episodes, but originally aired as one TV movie.

Pros:

  •  Admiral Leonard “Bones” McCoy.
  • The Enterprise-D is pretty awesome.  Though the color scheme is a bit odd
  • Male characters are seen wearing the Skort uniform type, which makes me happy.  It makes the uniform less sexist and more simply a choice by the wearer to wear.  I know Nichelle Nichols enjoyed the skirt uniform, but if it was seen as more of a choice instead of a gender-specific uniform, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much.  Well, I still think the outfit is not practical for working in, but *shrugs*

Cons:

  •  You can tell this episode people are still getting used to their character, and how the characters interact with each other. Patrick Stewart and John De Lancie seem the most secure in their role, but the others all seem to still be adjusting.  I can see why many of the actors dislike this episode.

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