Star Trek: The Next Generation
Wow, it's finally over. Last December I undertook the task of watching The Next Generation in it's entirety, a task which is both daunting and insignificant at the same time. It's not often an entire series is consumed like this; perhaps a season or two to get caught up, but nothing of this magnitude. 178 episodes in total, spread over seven seasons. I won't go into much detail with my history of the show, as I did in a previous post (well worth the read, by the way). Think of this post as more of a braggart taking his dues, a badge of accomplishment that I bathe in. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't difficult either. Almost every episode brought back memories of watching it randomly over the past twenty years, either when I was a child, or on a business trip and catching it on the hotel television. Or the period of time a few years back where I would rush home every day from the office to catch (at least) the last half of the episode.
What can I walk away with from this adventure? Star Trek TNG had its ups and downs, and there are definitely episodes that were very poor. There are great episodes, of course, and memorable scenes. But most of the show is just filler, as is any other hour long drama. Every time an episode that revolved around Crusher came along, I cringed and sat through it, although I kept myself distracted for the most part. The worst would be one of the last, where Beverly goes back home and finds her family has been haunted by a "ghost" throughout generations. All the Data episodes are great, of course, as is anything else. Poor Geordi is always trying to find love in all the wrong places, and Worf takes hold of perhaps the longest and most far reaching storyline through the series. Worf's journey through dishonour and regaining his family name went on much longer than I thought, and of all the characters, perhaps showed the most depth and growth overall. Riker was being teased with promotion so long that it was absurd he gave it up so many times. They make for interesting episodes but leave the character flat in the long run.
All the enemies were relatively top-notch, aside from the Cardassians, who I felt just showed up randomly and were weird throughout. But I have to keep in mind that DS9 premiered during this time, and that there were two Star Trek's out there for us to enjoy. With no Trek on at all right now, that seems like a weird and glorious time. There was also a lot less Borg than I remember, perhaps because they're so memorable. Lor even brings them back, and they feel like an afterthought - and quite weak.
Would I recommend doing what I did? I'm not that big of a fan of Star Trek that I ate each episode up. In truth, I watched them with my laptop in play, surfing the internet during dull moments. Things got out of hand when the show was on a roll, taking in three or four episodes a day. It was the perfect show to unwind to after coming home from work, and to wind down (further) just before bed. And now, a few days later I find a great void in my viewing, as I browse my collection of shows. TNG was this perfect blend of lightness and interesting content that it fit in all kinds of scenarios, where other, heavier shows would not. I loved the self contained episodes, which is a break now from our mega serials and unnecessary cliffhangers.
Is Deep Space Nine next? Definitely, although I will take a short breather.