Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988) – 11001001, and Too Short a Season

Captain’s log: stardate 41365.9

11001001 was written by Maurice Hurley and Robert Lewin and is one of the high points of the first season. Airing on 1 February, 1988, the story sees the Enterprise arriving at a space station for a computer update (Here’s where I have one of my only real problems with the episode. The space station is exactly the same model used in Trek III and IV and the Enterprise A smaller than the D barely fit through the doors. The size of this thing must be massive, but it’s exactly the same model, and doesn’t look to be adjusted as such. It’s a little thing that has bothered me for years).

Anyway. While in dock Riker (Jonathan Frakes) elects to remain aboard and enjoy the holodeck while the Bynars, a technologically linked race conduct the upgrade. Picard (Patrick Stewart) remains aboard as well but refuses to intrude on Riker’s holodeck program.

Inside the program, Riker encounters Minuet (Carolyn McCormick) who seems perfectly designed for him, and who he admits he could fall in love with. This allows the episode to pontificate on the nature of love even as the Binars hijack the ship for their own needs.

The holodeck is used not only for dramatic but emotional purpose this time around, and is done incredibly well – and this time around it doesn’t really malfunction.

The cast performs exceptionally well, and it’s obvious at this point, that the series is beginning to realise what they can do, and are beginning to play to their actor’s strengths. The characters are being filled out a little more, we learn about Riker’s affection for jazz, we hear about parrises squares, and the character beats with Tasha (Denise Crosby), Worf (Michael Dorn), Geordi (LeVar Burton) and Data (Brent Spiner) add to the reality of the show.

tng_11001001

Captain’s log: stardate 41309.5

Too Short a Season first aired on 8 February, 1988, and was written by D.C. Fontana and Michael Michaelian from a story by Michaelian.

Yet another haphazard early adventure. The Enterprise is transporting Admiral Jameson (Clayton Rohner) to Mordan IV. There is a hostage crisis underway, and Jameson has had similar dealings in the past with the planet’s leader, Karnas (Michael Pataki).

We learn through the course of the episode that Jameson and Karnas have a darker history, and Jameson has a plan for the confrontation. He is taking an anti-aging drug of alien origin.

Before the truth comes out, phasers will be fired, lives put at risk, and the drug is going to take its toll on Jameson.

While it’s interesting to see some action beats in the series, since they are in a lacklustre episode it doesn’t make them as engaging as one would want. There is a discourse in here about growing old together, but yesterday’s episode of The Twilight Zone, The Trade-Ins did that part better.

Oh well, each episode brings us closer to the show hitting its stride, which I’m glad it was allowed to do. To be clear a lot of these early episodes aren’t necessarily terrible, but they do suffer from bad storytelling, and haven’t aged as well as the later seasons.

Next week, the Human Adventure continues…

tooshort

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