Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) will always be “Star Trek” to me. However it was only on for 3 seasons. I can only watch those episodes so many times. So I’ve started to venture on over to Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), which is also on Netflix. 7 seasons….more than enough to keep me occupied!
I’ll be the first to admit, Star Trek TNG is a better show than TOS on almost every level: the writing, the set designs, the character development. With that being said, there is a LOT going on when you compare it to TOS. In that way, TNG seems like a soap opera. And while TOS overall had a cornier feel too it, some episode of TNG are downright silly. To the point where you are like, “Ok, please give me back those wasted 35 minutes of my life, please!”. But it is still a wonderful show…especially when you compare it to what is on television now.
I never really watched the show so much back in the late 80s/early 90s. I was too busy being an awkward adolescent to care much about prime-time sci-fi. Since Spock is my favorite TOS character, I wasn’t so surprised that I liked Commander Data. But what did shock me is that Data is not my fave….but rather it is Lt. Worf! Don’t get me wrong…I’m not ready to start learning Klingon or anything, but I light up whenever he gets on screen.
I’ll tell you why….and give some blurbs about the rest of the characters…
Lt. Worf - He’s Klingon…but then he isn’t. I don’t care how tolerant and accepting the future is suppossed to be; I don’t doubt for a moment that Worf has had to fight constantly for respect, deal with constant culture clashes, and wrestles with the question, “Where do I belong” all the time. On top of that, he has friends yes, but no one really, truly is close to him. Hands down, I can relate to him more than any other character on that big ol’ starship.
Cmdr. Data - Data as a character is fascinating. He offers objective insight and balances everyone else’s irrationality. But unlike Spock, his struggle with humanity is not to overcome or reconcile it….but to attain it. My biggest gripe with Data is that all too often he is the “go to” character for when the writers just don’t have any good ideas. Like that episode where Data gets possessed by 1,000 alien personalities; or that episode where Data’s malfunction caused him to be ALL of the bad guys in the old western holodeck; or that episode where he starts having crazy nightmares and becomes murderous; grrrr….you get the idea. :-)
Giordi (<sp?) LaForge- I never thought I would appreciate my Reading Rainbow buddy in this show….but I do. He’s surprisingly very good! Very different than Scotty in his approach (which was highlighted in the episode where Scotty was trapped in the transporter beam, and comes aboard the ‘new’ Enterprise). I’ve seen interviews where he admits that he was very uncomfortable with all the technical jargon on the show. But I honestly can’t tell. He seems very believable. And it’s awesome that he’s disabled…and Black (although in the idealistic 90s, this was hardly a problem).
Captain Jean-Luc Picard -J.T. Kirk is still my favorite captain. But if it makes any sense at all, Picard is a better man. He’s smarter, wiser, more considerate…all that. He really makes that show; even if he does seem to fade into the background on the deck next to Riker, Data and Worf. Poor guy. But whatever…he’s known to the latest generation as Professor X, so he hasn’t totally slipped into obscurity (like the rest of the subsequent Star Trek captains)!
Riker - He’s like Kirk-lite. Seriously. I think he was an easy answer to how to make a captain different (read: “older & wiser”) than Kirk, but still have some youthful, hunky, excitment on the show. Yeah….that’s what he’s there for.
Dr. Crusher - A nice touch….but yeah right! Her position as Picard’s unrequited crush is awkward. She seems to miss a LOT of things when diagnosing people (you get the feeling she would be handicapped without her tricorder). Being with her son made her multi-faceted, but after he left, it was a struggle to watch her….she’s like a third wheel or something. Pretty lady though (with the oddest female name ever….”Gates”).
Ensign Ro- LOVED her! I wished she would have become a bigger character than she was. She was badass…
Counselor Troi - Pointless…really. If they would have combined her character with Dr. Crusher’s, then there would have been a well-rounded female lead. I didn’t understand her playing around (and vice-versa too) with Riker. But I did like how it when she and Worf hooked up. Yeah, that was nice while it lasted!
Gyna (<sp?) - I guess this was Whoopi’s training for The View. I liked her on TNG. But it was a shame she was so one-dimensional. I was always hoping for her and Picard to act on all their mushy compliments and flirting….but nope, never happened!
Miles (?) - I think that’s his name. The Irish/Scottish transporter dude who is in the token, socially-acceptable-by-90s-standards interracial relationship (his wife is Asian). Nice enough guy. I wish they would have made him more handsome and likeable all-around though :-/
Wesley Crusher & every other regularly appearing kid on TNG - What brats…seriously! There have been some great episodes with kids as guest appearances though. I LOVED the one where the crew were turned into little kids….some great acting on that one!
So there it is! Opinions on Star Trek: TNG characters from a wannabe Trekkie! :-D