Encounter at Farpoint

I’m doing the Trek Trek thing a little out of order, because my coworker Mike lent me his sampler of the remastered Next Generation Blu-rays. This marks the first time I’ve watched the pilot episode, “Encounter at Farpoint,” in about 15 years.

Guys, it’s really terrible.

Also, what the hell, Patrick Stewart was only 10 years older than I am in this episode? Some people just never look young, I guess.

Even though “Farpoint” kicks off with an alien encounter and chase sequence, it lacks the slightest scrap of tension or excitement. I know, I’m spoiled by modern television and effects, but yeesh. Splashing red light across a bunch of people in space-age uniforms as they sit around in what looks like a hotel lobby and read off data on the threat at hand ain’t exactly gripping.

Also, I know it’s stupid and nerdy, but it really bugs me that the numbers they’re rattling off during the chase sequence don’t make any sense. “Captain, we’re at warp 9.4… and they’re at 9.7! If we stop and sit still in space they’ll catch up with us in minutes.” But… but isn’t warp a logarithmic scale!? Where each tenth of a point represents a doubling of speed!?

Someday, someone will write a science fiction and actually pay attention to their own rules. And it will probably be even more boring than “Encounter at Farpoint.”

On the plus side, it’s pretty rad to see The Fear exchanging tense pleasantries (and fruit) with Commander Riker. Remember, Commander, if you let the fruit go bad and then drop it on the ground, you can get a stamina-based victory when he comes down from the tree to eat it!

8 thoughts on “Encounter at Farpoint

  1. How was the HD presentation? Worth the eventual asking price? I’m curious as I already own the entire series on DVD.

    • It’s nice, and the revamped effects only occasionally seem too computer-y. Still, in all honesty 1987-vintage TV sets and costuming are probably best not seen in HD.

    • You might want to “acquire” the three episodes they put out as a sneak preview of the HD, it’s EaF, The Inner Light, and that earlier one with Worf and his brother.

      I liked them. I look forward to “acquire”ing the sets as the come out.

      There’s also going to be a theatrical showing of the HDs of Datalore and Where No One Has Gone Before coming up through the people who do the Rifftrax theater things.

  2. I always liked that poignant cameo from a decrepit Dr McCoy. Shame the rest of “Encounter” is so excruciating to watch.

    Even though I must’ve seen it numerous times over the years, it wasn’t till I saw the Blu-Ray version that I noticed the hilarious bit when Tasha Yar’s stunt double comes on to do a badly choreographed fight sequence, and it is really obviously some guy decked out in an ill-fitting grey wig. It’s one of those things that, once noticed, can’t ever be unnoticed.

  3. First season TNG has its moments but that’s about all you can say about it. “Where No One Has Gone Before” and “11001001” are the only keepers in the whole lot. It’s a real feat when later episodes manage to make some of the events of season one, like Data and Tasha’s hook-up, seem like poignant pieces of character development.

  4. Conspiracy is the best first season TNG episode because it’s so completely atypical.

    Also we get to see a Starfleet officer explode.

    The season finale has some interesting bit with Romulans buried beneath a metric ton of distilled horribleness.

    • The great thing about “Conspiracy” is that those mind-scanner aliens were the prototype Borg but looked so stupid that the creators went back to the drawing board and designed them as the biomechanical zombies we know and love.

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