Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990) – Yesterday’s Enterprise, and The Offspring

Captain’s log: stardate 43625.2

Yesterday’s Enterprise penned by Ira Steven Behr, Richard Manning, Hans Beimler and Ronald D. Moore from a story by Trent Christopher Ganino and Eric A. Stillwell became an instant classic when it aired on 19 February, 1990.

A spatial-temporal rift causes changes in the 24th century when it spits out the Enterprise C. Instantaneously we see the Enterprise D, Picard (Patrick Stewart) and its crew change, including the return of Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) as the starship’s security chief.

The Federation has been engaged in a long drawn out war with the Klingons and defeat seems inevitable, all because of the Enterprise C, her crew, and her fate.

Taking advice from Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), who senses the change in history but cannot place it, Picard, Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Tasha come up with a way to save the timeline, even if it costs the loves of Enterprises C and D in this timeline (‘Let’s make sure history never forgets the name Enterprise.’).

It’s smart, allows us a look at an alternate timeline which allows characters to be killed off, and brings Yar back in a fantastic way, and allows her a far more noble ending than she was permitted in Skin of Evil.

This and a few other episodes have left an indelible mark on me. I remember exactly where I was when I saw it.  I was at home in Kingston, watching the episode with my parents and sister – this was something we did together, no matter our personal issues with one another on a day to day basis.

I love all the subtle changes, the uniforms, the bridge – all the sets got a little tweak. It also introduced Worf (Michael Dorn) to prune juice, and is the first time we see Wesley (Wil Wheaton) in a Starfleet uniform. The Enterprise C crew wear Original Series film uniforms, sans sweaters and their bridge is a reuse of the Battle Bridge, which in turn is a reuse of the film sets.

The episode is dark, cinematic, and in all ways, a fantastic moment in Trek storytelling.

I love this one!

yesterdays_enterprise_hd_323

Captain’s log: stardate 43657.0

Jonathan Frakes steps behind the camera (Riker is away for a large portion of the episode on assignment) to direct this Data (Brent Spiner) story written by Rene Echevarria.

Airing on 12 March, 1990, Data returns from cybernetics conference and is ‘inspired’ to create life, based on his own existence. Troi (Marina Sirtis), Geordi (LeVar Burton), and Wesley are the first to be introduced to Data’s child, Lal (Hallie Todd).

Picard is troubled at the revelation that Data has done this, and it brings up all manner of questions on what makes up family, parenting, life, and who (if anyone) should have a say in it.

These points are brought up by the arrival of Admiral Haftel (Nicolas Coster), although there is some debate brought up between Troi and Picard, not to mention discussion between Picard and Data that are poignant, and important.

The story comes to its emotional conclusion, and, like the best of Star Trek stories inspires thought and discussion. It’s a beautiful episode.

First time director, Frakes, handles the episode well, and shows that he can tell Trek stories in solid and engaging ways. This episode really plays to the strengths of the Picard-Data friendship that becomes an iconic signature of the series.

The Human Adventure continues…

the offspring

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