Patrick Stewart was perfect as Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard, while Marina Sirtis struggled with a wretched hair bun and an ill-defined character, eventually blessing Counselor Troi with delicate nuance. Denise Crosby made a strong but underutilized impression as Security Chief Tasha Yar, and left the series before season's end, allowing writers to develop Klingon Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn) into a fan favorite. Brent Spiner transcended Spock comparisons with his triumphant portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data; and while Jonathan Frakes was accepted as First Officer Will Riker, fans ultimately rejected Wil Wheaton as ensign Wesley Crusher, the teenaged son of the ship's doctor (Gates McFadden). Still, these 25 episodes laid a firm foundation for subsequent seasons, and highlights include the Raymond Chandleresque "holo- novel" of "The Big Goodbye," Data's backstory in "Datalore," the Klingon rituals of "Heart of Glory," and a Romulan encounter in "The Neutral Zone." The DVD supplements (all on the seventh disc) are good enough to make anyone wish for more: four featurettes recall myriad first-season challenges, filled with insider perspective and enough NextGen trivia to satiate all but the most obsessive Trekkers back on Earth. Looking back, it's easy to see why NextGen lived long and prospered. --Jeff Shannon
My favorite episodes:
Encounter at Farpoint, The Naked Now, Where No One Has Gone Before, The Battle, Hide and Q, The Big Goodbye, Datalore, 11001001, Coming of Age, Arsenal of Freedom, Skin of Evil, Conspiracy, and The Neutral Zone.
While the first ten or so episodes are a bit lukewarm and strongly lacking in special effects, they are different from the rest of the season. Sometimes ("Haven") it's better, but mostly ("The Battle," "The Naked Now," "Justice") it's just not that good. Everything picks up, though, with episodes like "The Big Goodbye," "Datalore," "Coming of Age," "Symbiosis," "Hide and Q," "Conspiracy," and "The Neutral Zone."
The season does not feel consistent through most episodes, but the cast feels comfortable in their parts. What lied ahead for this crew would turn out to be the best "Star Trek" series yet, and a few good movies, too!
ENCOUNTER AT FARPOINT: As a pilot, this episode does... Read more