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A (slightly inebriated) foray into Star Trek, part 1

As a self-proclaimed nerd, it had long been a mark of shame to admittedly know nearly nothing about Star Trek. Growing up, I'd picked up through cultural osmosis certain names, terms, and concepts. Picard, Kirk, and Spock; the holodeck and docking; phasers set to stun and various beamings up and down. However, the closest I'd ever been to Star Trek proper was having the J. J. Abrams movie on in the background while I had lunch at a friend's house.

And so, one Sunday night, while enjoying more bourbon than I probably should have, I pestered Giant Bomb Infinite's chat (God bless their patience with drunk me) to ask: what is Star Trek, and how should I jump in? Most responses pointed to hopping in with The Next Generation, with many pointing out that it starts off rough and refines itself 2 or 3 seasons in. There were also explanations of the various series involved, who certain key characters were, and whether or not the franchise was like Power Rangers or various anime series/franchises.

With this in mind (and far too much bourbon in the bloodstream), I began the endeavor to jump headlong into Star Trek. And so, here are my thoughts and takeaways of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 1, Episode 1 (and one day more may follow):

  • Hah, this CG is kinda corny but in a way I can appreciate.
  • Data's schtick isn't very funny. Maybe it was funnier at the time?
  • I've heard the name Q before, he seems like kind of a dick.
  • Humanity is kinda shitty, I get it. I feel like I don't need a TV show to remind me of this.
  • Of course the trial is completely nonsensical. I don't actually get the Shakespeare reference, but I'm sure it's clever. Picard seems to have to face a ton of tough decisions early on.
  • Wow Q is a dick.
  • Riker is neat. I'm assuming he acts like a second protagonist.
  • Does he have the hots for Crusher?
  • This Will is a dork. Like a 12-year-old me, but fortunately I was never put into television.
  • Gaining some respect for Riker. He seems very upright, putting his duty above the letter of the law.
  • What is with some of these outfits? This guy in the short tunic must've felt really silly back then.
  • I kinda respect what they're doing with CG. Definitely silly by now, but it was probably legit back in the day.
  • Wait is there a thing between Crusher and Picard? Also Will is a bozo. Shut up.
  • Jordy seems cool. I also really dig whatever he's wearing on his face.
  • Man, Q really really sucks.
  • OK the holodeck seems like a Danger Room but it can be used for whatever? Why is Data using one if he's assigned to a task?
  • There are names and locations that I do not have the mental capacity to care about or remember right now. I have a feeling this won't get any better.
  • It seems like the entire thing boils down to Picard figuring out what's really going on and making the right decision. Not quite like a whodunnit, but he's still solving the mystery and letting things play out the way he finds to be right.
  • So... Is the entire episode about 2 cosmic jellyfish getting it on?

And now for the questions raised:

  • How much focus does this series have on romances? It seems to be setting up Picard + Crusher and Riker + Troy, and they seem fine (except William is a pain and I wish he wasn't a part of this).
  • Is there going to be a common theme with the Enterprise getting involved with more powerful beings?
  • Is a phaser just a remote control? Is the phaser scalable from personal stunning to siege bombardment?

And last but not least, some of the thoughts that I guess they wanted us to take away from the episode:

  • Should anyone have to bear the sins of their predecessors? Is making amends/reparations our responsibility?
  • Where is humanity headed?
  • Are our concepts of right and wrong objective truths or just what we find convenient?

Anyways, in the end, this first episode was cool. I think I get why Star Trek as a franchise has persisted throughout the years, and I hope to watch more and enjoy more. Just please, tone down Will and Q.

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