Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991/1992) – A Matter of Time, and New Ground

Captain’s log: stardate 45349.1

Airing on 18 November, 1991, A Matter of Time, written by Rick Berman was the last Next Generation episode to air before Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was released to theatres.

Matt Frewer guest stars as a would-be time traveller and historian from the future, Berlinghoff Rasmussen.

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the Enterprise pick up Rasmussen, and are also trying to deal with the havoc left by an asteroid on the planet Panthara IV. While Picard and company try to save lives, Rasmussen watches, clucks, makes notes, and plays his part.

But is he all that he seems?

Honestly, I always had a fun time watching this one. Frewer’s performance is delightful, and it plays nicely with the usual version of Trek time travel, which, for the most part, the series has in large part avoided.

I find it interesting that even Data (Brent Spiner) the android even asks after events in the future, wanting to know if he is still operating then.

Meanwhile Picard, Geordi (LeVar Burton) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) are struggling to find a way to save the people of Panthara IV, all of which Rasmussen hints has some major importance.

Riker and the others all raise questions about temporal travellers as well as what defines progress. It’s nicely done, as it plays with things we see in Trek but in a new way.

And of course, when the truth comes out and the reality of who Rasmussen is comes out, it brings the story to a just conclusion.

a-matter-of-time-hd-337

Captain’s log: stardate 45376.3

The first episode of 1992 aired on 6 January and was written by Grant Rosenberg from a story by Sara B. Cooper and Stuart Charno. This one always feels like the marriage of two b-stories.

It is both a Geordi story as he experiments with a new propulsion method, soliton waves and a Worf (Michael Dorn) story. Worf’s mother, Helena (Georgia Brown) arrives on the Enterprise with news that she and her husband can no longer tend to Worf’s son, Alexander (Brian Bonsall).

While the engineering experiment goes awry, Worf deals with becoming both a father and an actual parent. This story and character arc was never quite carved out to my personal satisfaction, and need to be filled out a bit more. It does shows how unprepared Worf is to be parent, but that he is also going to make the effort. Consequently there are some recognisable parental moments that prove to be fairly entertaining.

It could have been a stronger episode.

As a note of continuity I love the fact that Geordi mentions how iconic the moment is going to be with the new propulsion, saying it is akin to see Zefram Cochrane engage warp drive for the first time… something he will actually be there to see.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday…

TNG New Ground

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