My Star Trek education continues apace! You can read my introduction to this foolish scheme here.
It’s definitely been a Trek-filled month. I finished season two of Next Generation, got over halfway through season three PLUS delved into the Original Series and watched three more movies. It was a lot, but I had fun!
Not gonna lie though – getting through the latter half of TNG season two was tough. The second season, by my research, was heavily affected by a writers strike so I’ll give it some leeway but the episodes, as a whole, are not great (and the finale, “Shades of Grey”, was particularly terrible). There is, however, one truly excellent exception.
Yup, you know what I’m talking about! “Q Who”.
That’s right, I met the Borg (technically I’ve already met them in First Contact, but this is my first encounter with them on the show). They’re definitely the best villain TNG has produced so far (WAY better than the Ferengi) and having them in an episode with John de Lancie? Just fabulous. The Borg are genuinely creepy and their arrival represents TNG finally taking steps up in quality as it nears the end of the second season and cashing in on those vague hints dropped towards the end of the first. They certainly took their damn time but luckily it pays of exceptionally well.
Then I hit season three and the show started sprinting up those metaphorical steps. Dr. Beverly Crusher came back (she’s by far my favorite TNG character and her absence in season 2 was PAINFUL). The show really gets into gear and hits a streak of fantastic episodes. I’ve genuinely enjoyed most of the sixteen episodes I’ve watched so far and loved a fair few of them. Even those I did not particularly care for never reached the lows of the previous two seasons. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is probably my favorite episode to date. It’s excellently done on every level and gives a proper sendoff to the previously (and terribly) exited Tasha Yar while providing a new bar for future episodes to clear. It’s a game changing episode in what has so far been a game changing season.
But I haven’t just been flying around with the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D).
I’ve also been hanging out with the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701).
That’s right! As I mentioned earlier, I dove into some of the Original Series as well, which I am thoroughly enjoying. It’s nice to see where it all started and the different tone of the 60s show occasionally offers a refreshing change of pace.
I can also pinpoint the exact moment the Original Series won my heart. I give it to you in image form:
It is glorious and fluffy and ridiculous and I want one.
Apologies for the diversion but that was IMPORTANT.
In addition to the first eight episodes of TOS I also made some progress on the movies, blasting through the Original Motion Picture, Search for Spock and Voyage Home. I shall never be watching the first movie again. Those are two hours of my life I shall never retrieve (though seeing Stephen Collins from Jumpin’ Jack Flash, one of my favorite childhood movies was fun. YES, I’m aware he’s better known for other things but that’s what I know him from, okay?) I actually quite enjoyed Search for Spock but Voyage Home without a damn doubt takes the first place trophy of the TOS cast movies. Spock swearing is the best thing ever and crew wandering around 80s San Francisco is just comedy perfection.
A unifying thread with all versions of Star Trek is they push to be as progressive as possible for the time in which they are made. TOS has many problems from a modern perspective but there’s no denying it was revolutionary in the 60s. Just as TNG and its subsequent spinoffs were in the 80s and 90s. Hopefully the new show coming in January will continue to push those limits.
The more I watch of Star Trek the more I appreciate it and wish I had stepped into its wonderful universe sooner. It has an undeniable charm—another unifying factor between all the movies and shows of the franchise.
So here’s where I currently stand in terms of what I have watched:
Original Series: Season 1, Episodes 1-8 & 22)
Next Generation: Season 1. Season 2. Season 3 (Episodes 1 – 16)
Deep Space Nine: Pilot
Movies (TOS): The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, Voyage Home
Movies (TNG): Generations, First Contact, Insurrection
Movies (Reboot): Star Trek, Into Darkness
Check in next month to see what progress I make in May! And I’m tweeting all about it under #Trekification on Twitter so follow along – I’d love to hear from you!
EDIT: Read the next update (for May) here!