For this week’s episode, I am talking all about Star Trek: The Next Generation, which may be my favorite show of all time. I don’t know, this week it feels that way, at least. It could change next week. Not because I don’t love this show, but because I am fickle like that. I’m not including the script this week for the liner notes for this episode, mainly because I tried something different with the script, and it was more of an outline, which makes it less readable as a blog post.
Day number three brings us the first television character on the list. It was so hard for me to narrow my list down to just 30 characters, because there are so many great characters throughout all of film and TV and books and comics. It was especially hard with TV, because there are so many shows I enjoy, and a lot of that has to do with the characters on the show. I hope you have enjoyed the first two days of the list, and I hope you will continue to come back each day and see the newest addition. Remember to join in as well with your own list on social media using the hashtag #30Days30Characters and tag me- @thegeekymormon.
When people ask what the difference is between Salt Lake Comic Con and its FanX event, the only real answer you can give is the size. Part of the Salt Palace space is closed off and so there are much fewer artists and vendors. There are also fewer attendees, so when it comes to fighting crowds it’s much less of a hassle.
The new Star Trek movies have been big box office hits. It looks as though rebooting the property and adding more action was just what the franchise needed to be more desirable for the mainstream crowds. Some might argue whether they needed to make it more desirable for the mainstream public. I would argue that since movie studios are out to make as much money as possible, then yes they did need to reboot the franchise and start from scratch. It seems to me that there certain characters or movies that should not be rebooted or redone. Prior to 2009’s Star Trek I would put James T. Kirk and the rest of the original Enterprise crew in that category. Hollywood, however has now proven that they will reboot anything to make a buck. Considering that, I am stuck wondering if they will ever give TNG the reboot treatment. I hope not, but who knows? I think people would flock to go see that in theaters, if they got the right people to take over the bridge of the Enterprise-D. Then I thought, that might just make an interesting blog entry. So, here it is, my ideas for who they could cast in a TNG reboot. To be clear, this is all in fun, and I have heard no rumors or even hints of rumors that any of this would actually happen. These are just my thoughts.
Captain Jean Luc Picard
Probably the most important casting of the whole show. The original TNG’s success completely hinged on how well Picard went over with the fans. Patrick Stewart pulled it off, as we know, swimmingly. We would need a pretty good actor to step in and fill those shoes. I think martin Freeman could be our guy. There’s nothing says that Picard needs to be played by a Brit. In fact, the character is from France. The precedent, however has been set by Stewart, and I think it would be a nice nod to have the remake go in that direction as well. When I first came upon the idea to cast Freeman in the reboot, my first thought was that he was too young. Patrick Stewart was in his late 40 when he began playing Jean-Luc. Freeman will be 44 this year, so he is in the same age range. I know the hair thing might be a big deal, but I think we could get over that. I think Freeman can play that great mix of stern and compassion that Picard requires as a starship captain. We know he can play diplomatic after seeing his work on Sherlock where he has to be the peacemaker in each episode. If he can deal with Sherlock and be his best friend, he should have no problem taking on Romulans and Klingons.
Commander William Riker
Jonathan Frakes should be involved somehow with the reboot. Maybe as a director. The guy knows how to direct Star Trek, at least in the traditional sense, and although he has aged well, his time as Number 1 would definitely be over. For our first officer, I think Zachary Levi would be a great choice. He has grown up a lot since Chuck, but he hasn’t lost that charm, which would be key for the role. I think he could really pull it off, brining his own touch to the character. He would play well opposite Freeman’s Picard. He looks younger, but not too young, and I think the crew would have no problem following him while Picard went inevitably missing. And, let’s face it, Levi hasn’t been overly busy since Chuck, which is too bad. We need to get him back into a starring role. Another role that would just add to his geek cred. I mean look at this guy- wouldn’t he look good in the Star Fleet Uniform? Like he was born to wear it.
Lt. Commander Data
Ok, this might be a little type casting here, since you could argue that Sheldon is almost an android, especially in the first few seasons of TBBT. That’s true, what can I say? I really think Parsons could pull off the Data character in a classic way. almost as well as Brent Spiner pulled it off. I mean, no one could really replace Spiner as Data. He just nailed the lack of emotion, yet still curious and inquisitive Data. Always striving to be more human and to understand living beings. He was just amazing, and no one would ever do it better. Parsons, though, I think could do it as well. He knows how to play quirky and inquisitive, and let’s face it, TBBT is all about Sheldon trying to figure out people. It would be a smooth transition from that character into Data’s shoes. He could bring the same touching emotional moments that Spiner did, making him the heart of the show.
Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge
I think LaForge was probably LeVar Burton’s second most well-known Television role. Hosting Reading Rainbow was probably his most well-known role. I always thought it was so cool that he was on both, and I loved the episode of Reading Rainbow where the visited the set of TNG and talked about it. It was so awesome. Of course, i thought I was the only person in the world who was smart enough to figure out that he was the same guy. Obviously, I wasn’t really that smart at all. Donald Glover doesn’t have hosting a children’s Television show to his credit, but he has had a number of roles that display his depth and range as an actor. I think he could fit in well as our chief engineer. He also has a great smile, which I think is necessary for Geordi’s character. The only question is whether he would have to wear the visor or if they would just go straight to the implants. I think it would be cool if they went with the visor, but you don’t have to take my word for it…
Worf is the Klingon Chief of Security with the big heart. He may be Klingon on the outside, but he was raised by humans, and even though he doesn’t like to show it, that means he is just a big softy on the inside. We would need an imposing figure who could also play the big heart. David Ramsey is a great choice for that. He plays that every week on Arrow. I mean, where would Ollie be without Diggle? Lost in the pursuit of vengeance, that’s where. I think Ramsey could easily move from one franchise to the next and step into the role of everyone’s favorite Klingon. He would look imposing for sure, but look at the guy, he is obviously really a softy at heart. Now just picture him with a really bumpy forehead and a Klingon scowl. Now you’re seeing it, right? Trust me, it would work.
Deanna Troi, the counselor aboard the Enterprise. Before TNG I had no idea that starships came with a counselor. She was there for the emotional needs of the crew members, and somehow that meant that she needed to sit on the bridge, right next to the captain. She was also involved in all the bridge crew meetings and a part of every major decision. Apparently, in the future, being a counselor has a lot more clout than today. In any case, my choice for the role would be Alexandra Daddario. You might not recognize her name right off, but chances are you have seen her onscreen before. She has had roles in the Percy Jackson movies, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, True Detective, The New Girl and many more. This could be the role, though, that becomes her signature role. I mean, who had heard of Marina Sirtis before TNG? Now, she is loved by Trek fans throughout the world.
Dr. Beverly Crusher
Beverly Crusher had to deal with all the pressures of being the Chief Medical officer of the Federation’s largest starship and being a single mom of a teenage boy. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with, but she handled it well and was able to balance it all. The role would require someone who could pull all of that off just as well. Erika Christensen may just be the right fit. She is best known for her role on the television series Parenthood, in which she plays a woman who is balancing a career as a lawyer and her responsibilities as a mother (at least as far as I know, I have only seen the first few episodes). I think lawyer is pretty stressful, probably up there with Chief Medical Officer of a starship. I think she could do it. She’s not a redhead like Gates McFadden, but I don’t think that Beverly Crusher has to have red hair. If they really wanted her to have it, then they have ways of making that happen.
Well there you have it. At least the “bridge crew.” What do you think? Would you watch this crew step onto the bridge of the Enterprise D? Or, am I way off? Who would you cast in a TNG reboot? I know I didn’t include Wesley, so who would you pick for that role? It’s always fun to think about what a reboot of the series would like, and to wonder if they would do it as a TV series or if they would reboot it as a movie. The series premiered 28 years ago, so it is probably due for a reboot, because that’s all Hollywood does anymore.
I am back with another review of a classic Star Trek: TNG episode. I didn’t know how to approach this series at first. The first entry, I just picked an episode I had always enjoyed and wrote about it. I didn’t know how long I could do that, or if I should try to review them in order or what, so I decided to do it randomly. And to assure that it is completely random, I have gone to a random number generator on the internet. Here’s how it works: First I enter the range 1-7, for the 7 seasons of the series. Once that number is generated, i put in the range of the number of episodes in that season, like 1-25. This gives me a result like season 3, episode 14. That’s the episode I will watch, and then I will write about it here. I will keep track of the episodes that I have already discussed, so if the number generator spits out the same result again, I will regenerate until it is an episode we have not discussed. If it is a two-part episode, either the first part or the second, then I will watch both parts and review them here as one episode, for example Best of Both Worlds would be discussed as one episode, instead of two. I think this will be a fun way to rediscover the series I loved so much. For today’s entry, the number generator produced season 7, episode 10, which is entitled “Inheritance.”
In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise is sent to help a planet that is having some seismic issues and they need to help them solve it or the planet is going to be destroyed. Don’t worry too much about the details of that, because, believe it or not, that is the secondary storyline of this episode. One of the scientists from the plane who is helping with this seismic issue is a human named Julianna. Once she and the other scientists meet with Captain Picard and the other senior officers, she hangs back to speak with Data. She asks if he remembers her or recognizes her. He doesn’t and she mentions that it is because he memory had been erased, and that she was there from the beginning, that she was married to Dr. Soong and had helped him build Data. She was essentially his mother. And that’s only the first bombshell here.
The first half of the episode involves Data researching records to validate her story. He had previously been unaware that Soong had been married to anyone, so he had no idea that this mother figure existed. In his research he is able to confirm what she has told him, so he accepts that she is his mother, and decides to try to get to know her a little better. They visit in 10 Forward and she tells him about his “childhood,” from her stories we learn that Data started out very rude, demonstrating a need for a politeness protocol to be added to his programming. We also learn that he was a little nudist, refusing to put on clothing because he did not need protection from the elements. This meant they had to add a modesty program as well. During this “getting to know you” phase, Data, his mother, and LaForge are all working on drilling some magma pockets into the planet’s surface using phasers. Data is of course doing the heavy lifting in the calculating department, but at one point, a correction needs to be made, and his mother is able to do it on the fly, showing she is one smart cookie. This raises Data’s suspicions, to the point that he requests to see her medical records, which Dr. Crusher refuses to let him do.
Data and his mother are sent down to the planet to work on setting some kind of stabilization up in the magma pockets to save the planet. The pockets are becoming unsafe, so the two of them are sent down to work quickly to finish the set up. While down there they experience an earthquake type event and quickly finish up and head back to where they need to be to beam back up to the ship. Their field generators have fallen off a ledge, and they need them to be able to beam back. At this point, Data is pretty certain about his assumption, so he suggests that the two of them jump down. He grabs her arm and they both leap off the ledge. Data is fine, but Julianna’s arm has come off, revealing that she is an android, just like Data.
Once they are back on the ship, they inspect this new android very closely, and find she is much more complex than Data. She has emotions, and tear ducts, and sweat glands, and puts out bio signs as if she were human. She even ages like a human. While looking inside her android head, they find an info module that has a holographic interface. Data takes it the holodeck and the image is Doctor Soong. He explains to Data why she was an android, how she had been injured during the attack by the crystalline entity, and she didn’t recover and died. So he took her memories and turned her into an android. He then asks Data not to tell her the truth, to let her live out her “life” still believing that she is a human being. Data is torn. On the one hand, if he tells her then they will have that in common and he won’t be alone in the universe. on the other, she has what he has always strived for: she lives as a human, and he is not sure he can take that away.
This is a great Data episode as he continues to define what life truly is, and how artificial life can fit in with the rest of the universe. Obviously, this is in season 7 so he is much further along in this process than he would be in say, season 1 or 2. It was always interesting to me to watch the “Data” episodes, because his exploration of what our life is is a reflection of our exploration of our own lives. It helps us to kind of step outside and look at ourselves differently. Because this is so Data centric, we see mainly just Data in this episode, with the other members of the crew popping in from time to time to remind us that they are still there.
I didn’t really remember this episode that well when it came up in the generator, so it was fun to watch it again and experience it again. I am not a Data guy. I enjoy the character, but if I am going to look for specific character episodes to watch, I would be more likely drawn to a Picard or Worf episode, so it was fun to experience a Data episode again. I would recommend this one, if you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix, check it out.