Wednesday, May 4, 2016

TNG Re-Watch: Celebrating The Sophomore Season

I'm a couple of episodes into Season Two now but I can tell you that within the first five minutes of the first episode, this show is already 9000% better than it was the first season. That's to be expected with just about any show, I think. Freshman seasons are unsteady. No one knows what to say or where to put their hands or where Biology 101 is. They have a lot of potential but their mouths are dry and their palms are sweaty and they're mostly just really worried about being rejected at every turn.

But here we are in Season Two. So much more confident. So much more secure in the knowledge that they might just fit in and be the kid they ought to be instead of just trying to simply ape what their popular, sexy, colorful older brother did. They can feel ok about being the quieter, nerdier, wordier show they really ought to be.

Ok, before I labor this metaphor anymore than it can handle, here are a few of the things that helped turn the ship in season two:

1- Riker's beard:
Yes. Riker 2.0 is immediately, inherently better than the first edition. I love Riker's beard so much I made a whole Captain's Vlog about it back in the first year of this project.

2- Dr Pulaski:
Katherine Pulaski is a character you either love or hate--or love to hate. When I was a kid, and the whole time I was growing up, I hated her. But then one day I realized her value and I was sad I'd never seen it before. Again, I wrote a whole post about it.

3- Guinan:
It is impossible not to love Guinan. For one thing, Whoopi Goldberg, has legit acting chops. Secondly, the Whoopi/Guinan combination brings a certain quiet sophistication and intelligence that TNG wanted and needed.

4- Geordi's Promotion:
WTF?! Why the hell did anyone working on TNG think they didn't need a Chief Engineer? I mean, I get it. There had only been one Star Trek and they didn't really know the magic recipe and I guess I shouldn't go casting blame around. Anyway, they corrected their mistake. Geordi was the perfect Chief Engineer--he NEEDED that yellow shirt--and that's how we all still think of him. 

So, back to the high school thing: Riker is the kid who grew into his feet over the summer and figured out that maybe taking showers was a great idea. Dr Pulaski is the new girl who's smarter and sassier than a lot of folks are comfortable with and maybe she's not super tactful but that's ok with her because she'll probably end up transferring to a magnet school next year. Guinan is the new girl who is just so fucking chill and cool and mysterious and stylish that everyone loves her--she'll eventually take valedictorian and most popular and no one signs her yearbook with, "Have a good summer!" Geordi is the kid who went to science camp over the summer and tested out of 10th grade so now he's actually a junior. He's a little socially awkward and he still has trouble with the ladies but he has a robot best friend and a vibrant online life with his MMO guild.

Four strangers with nothing in common--except each other. Cue the music.

1 comment:

  1. A pretty concise explanation of why the second season was as desperately needed, perhaps more so, than the third, which is the one everyone claims saved the series.


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