Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988) – Conspiracy, and The Neutral Zone

Captain’s log: stardate 41775.5

Conspiracy is a strange one, and one of my favourite episodes from the first season. It’s darker than Trek usually is, and begged for a sequel which we never got sadly.

This episode first aired on 9 May, 1988.

Written by Tracy Torme from a story by Robert Sabaroff, the Enterprise finds itself caught up in a web of conspiracy that threatens not only Starfleet and the Federation, but the entire galaxy.

Picard (Patrick Stewart) is summoned to a private meeting with some fellow captains, who hint at something dark happening within the command structure of Starfleet. When those same captains start turning up dead, the Enterprise returns to Earth to investigate the allegations.

There they encounter Remmick (Robert Schenkkan) and Admiral Quinn (Ward Costello) again and trouble ensues. There is an infestation, a takeover of the highest positions in Starfleet by a parasitic species, and the Enterprise command crew may be all that stands between them and control of the galaxy.

This one is dark, violent and is still begging for a follow-up. If this had been the season finale, fans would have demanded the story to continue but this one was set aside, despite its ending.

This is where I’ll share a personal tidbit – I started writing a Trek novel that would have continued this storyline, it was mostly a Star Trek: Voyager story with cameos by Next Generation characters. It was just as dark as this original episode but also, inherently Star Trek.


Captain’s log: stardate 41986.0

The Neutral Zone. Not exactly the best way to end the season, it’s a mixed bag. I love some of it, hate the rest of it.

Debuting on 16 May, 1988 this episode was written by Maurice Hurley from a story by Deborah McIntyre and Mona Clee.

The Enterprise comes across an ancient Earth capsule, and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) lets Data (Brent Spiner) investigate it. He comes back with three people cryogenically frozen from the 20th century. They are woken, and try to deal with arriving in the 24th century.

All of this takes place while Picard and the Enterprise are summoned to the Romulan Neutral Zone where something seems to be brewing. They are there to establish diplomatic relations with the Romulans, and that is going to be very cool, because at this point, we haven’t seen the Romulans since the original series.

The stuff with the 20th century survivors is rather dull, and I didn’t much care for any of it. I get that they are there to show how different our time is from the 24th century, but viewers already know this, that’s why they watch it.

I would have preferred an episode that simply built up the tension of the upcoming Romulan encounter without these 20th century tagalongs. Not to mention that there are hints of something else going on with the Romulans…

Oh well.

And with that, the first season, shaky at best, comes to its conclusion. But the Human Adventure would continue, and will on Thursday…


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