1.01: Encounter At Farpoint

markpud

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#1
Just watched this again thanks to the wonder of DVD, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts...

Firstly I thought it was great, very atmospheric, and similar in tone to the old series, although much better production quality.

The most glaring thing from this episode is Troi's telepathic communication with Riker, which never comes up again. Although after watching it carefully, it is never actually confirmed, only implied, that Riker can hear the thoughts she projects to him.

Interesting that when Picard first sees Wesley (soaking wet coming off the holodeck with Riker and Data) that he doesn't recognise him, but Wesley scurries off to get a towel to mop up the wet floor from the water he's fallen into on the holodeck.

That brings us back to the old chesnut about matter created on the holodeck... In this episode they state that if a transporter can covert humans to energy and back, then similar technology can be used to create items on the holodeck. They are creted from energy patterns stored in the computer, but when materialised, are in fact solid matter (or liquid in this case). So therefore the water that Wesley falls into can come with him off the holodeck, as can the snowballs that are thrown out in a later S1 episode. But the inconsistencies come into play later, with Moriarty (sp) as a book disappears instantly that it is thrown through the holodeck door in that episode, as do any characters that attempt to leave the holodeck...

But back to Farpoint... The premise of the station being an alien life-form is obvious to our Trek-saturated minds these days, but was new ground I think back then. It certainly served well in this episode, allowing the differing abilities of the crew to come into play - Troi reading the strong emotions, Geordi the human tricorder (he didn't seem ot have a fixed role in this episode, although he soon becomes the helm officer) scanning the station with his visor, Riker taking charge of the away missions and showing leadership skills and that he would stand up to his captain as required, Data's strength was shown, and his desire to be human (pinocchio references from Riker), Crusher showed her medical skills to a lesser degree, and the annoying Wesley got his first trip to the bridge, where he received the perimeter alert from the captain's chair! Also small and similar roles for Yar and Worf, "let's attack" etc..

Picard was written well in this episode, it was important to set him up as a strong powerful man, but with his weaknesses, and emotions that will come through when necessary.

Q was well, Q. Always a pleasure, although they dilutted his character later, especially on Voyager. He was excellent in this episode, he played the TOS-style mysterious powerful alien, with a TNG twist. He appears in a 15th Centur-ish outfit (I'm no historian!), a WWII US soldiers uniform, a 21st Century police/enforcer type and a Starfleet Captain (he evidently didn't promote himself to Admiral just yet).

The episode was probably slower paced than we've come to expect, but TNG always hung on Picards monologues, he could deliver them much more elequently and powerfully than any of the other captain's, before or after him.
 

Dave

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#2
It is a little harsh to judge a pilot episode on the things that change later, especially this one as the expectations it had to live up to were so high. I agree with all your points, but I think the series was better for the changes. One thing it does show is that all the people who write about 'continuity' changes have short memories.

Personally, I didn't think much of the story itself at the time, and I don't rate it as the best series pilot. Compared to 'Emissary', 'Caretaker' and 'Broken Bow' it is rather lackluste. I did like the way that 'All Good Things..." bookended with 'Encounter at Farpoint' though, that was clever.
 

Tabitha

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#3
I agree that in retrospect "Encounter at Farpoint" is made much better by its relation to "All Good things", I find it hard to separate them now.

Also, at this distance it is odd how the production actually has more in common with TOS than with it's descendants!
 

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