Here’s a tightly packed tape of Star Trek The Next Generation from Sky One, where I was clearly watching them live, and removing ads. Nothing here but episodes.
First it’s The Loss. Starting with a crewmember talking to Deanna about how she’s handling the loss of her husband some time ago. It’s the kind of scene that would have bored me in 1993, but it’s making me cry now.
But after this scene, it falls down a bit, as a sensor glitch coincides with Deanna having some kind of mental attack. They do like assaulting Deanna, don’t they?
Deanna loses her empathic powers, and doesn’t handle the loss well. At least Riker is there to help with a hug.
She thinks about resigning as ship’s counsellor, against Picard’s recommendation.
In the B-story, a cosmic string fragment is attracting a swarm of creatures, and the Enterprise is caught between them, being drawn towards the fragment. They have to find a way to communicate with the swarm, and do so including help from Deanna, demonstrating that despite her loss of empathic power, her insights and knowledge are still just as valuable as any crew members.
Next, in Data’s Day, Data is narrating in the form of a message to Commander Maddox, the man who wanted to disassemble Data to find out how he works in The Measure of a Man. He’s describing what his day is like. So we get loads of Data not understanding human emotion. I’ve never really taken to this aspect of Data’s character. It would be different if the misunderstandings were funnier, but I just get bored with Data drily enumerating his logical reasoning of other peoples’ mental states. It’s very 1950s sci fi.
Among the things happening are the arrival of a shifty-seeming vulcan dignitary on a mission to the Neutral Zone.
Chief O’Brien and Keiko are about to be married and Keiko is getting cold feet (for no very apparent reason). Data doesn’t help by misreading the situation at each turn.
There’s a birth.
And Dr Crusher (Gates McFadden) gets to demonstrate her considerable dancing abilities by tap dancing with Data. As we saw quite a while ago in this blog, Gates McFadden has another career as a choreographer, and worked on Labyrinth.
The Vulcan ambassador is seemingly killed in a transporter accident, but Data does some sleuthing and surmises she was actually taken by the Romulan ship. When they confront the Romulans, the truth comes out – the Vulcan was a Romulan spy, and has returned to her people.
And, of course, the wedding goes ahead as planned, and Data gets to give away the bride.
Next it’s The Wounded. The Enterprise is facing off against a Cardassian ship, despite a peace treaty. They are retaliating for the destruction of their outpost by an apparently rogue starfleet captain.
The Cardassians wear the stupidest headgear. I think these were dropped for all subsequent appearances of the characters.
The Rogue captain, Ben Maxwell, has a grudge against the Cardassians. O’Brien served under him, and tells Picard that there must be a good reason for Maxwell’s behaviour, destroying multiple Cardassian ships.
He tells Picard that the Cardassians are arming for war, the truce is a subterfuge, and the survey ships he destroyed were carrying arms. But Picard refuses to board and search one of the ships, and tells Maxwell that he’ll fire on him if he tries to fire on the Cardassians. O’Brien transports over to Maxwell’s ship, and persuades him to stand down. “I’m not going to win this one, am I?” he asks. It’s a good performance by Bob Gunton, one of those great character actors you can rely on.
It’s a nice resolution to the story, solving the problem by talking. And Picard doesn’t let the Cardassians off either. He knows they were lying, and arming, but his job was to preserve the piece, that day. I love the diplomacy aspect of The Next Generation.
The last episode here is Devil’s Due. It starts with Data cosplaying Ebeneezer Scrooge.
A planet’s population believe that they’ve sold their souls to the devil. And when she turns up, called Ardra, Picard has to negotiate.
She also has other guises, like a Klingon devil.
Ardra has a contract with the people of the planet, saying that she owns the whole planet after so Data has to speed read it. Meanwhile, Picard is deeply skeptical of Ardra’s claims to be the actual devil, so he goes full on Mythbusters.
There’s an amusing scene where Ardra tries to seduce Picard while he’s in his jim-jams.
Geordi tracks the source of her powers to a cloaked ship, allowing Picard to turn he magic powers to his own benefit, and prove she’s not the Ardra of myth.
A fun episode, albeit with some very dodgy ideas of jurisprudence.
After this, the recording stops. I was brutal with ad breaks sometimes.