|A captain in the shadows...|
|..a hero emerges in the light.|
In fact, many of us in 1987 had dreamed of just such a thing; of living inside the Star Trek world of optimism, brotherhood, and peace, and charting our own starship’s course for adventure and knowledge. It’s wonderful that, without it seeming like a gimmick, the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation pays heed to this deepest wish. It’s a lovely visual touch and one aimed right at Trekkers who had grown up with the franchise and come to respect Star Trek's philosophy.
This scene represents a promise to the fans too. The new show is going to treat the franchise like a lady as well, this moment seems to promise. In other words, the dream is in good hands…
|Treat her like a lady, and the Enterprise will always bring you home.|
But in “Encounter at Farpoint,” Troi looks like a “space cheerleader” and acts like an emotional basket case. At every development of the story, Sirtis over-emotes as Troi, suggesting a dangerous personal instability. She cries, she gasps, she grimaces…she’s way over-the-top.
And the dialogue doesn’t help the actress out a lick. After Q freezes a crewman on the bridge and we clearly register that he is frozen, Troi runs up to him and declares, dumb-founded “He’s frozen!” In other words, she’s declaring the obvious, and thus comes across as stupid...again playing into the space cheerleader cliché.
It is bold in the way that it critiques 1980s America, with Q appearing as Colonel Oliver North, essentially, and yet timid in the very concept that underlines Q: a Star Trek “God” rerun. In Star Trek, man is always being tested, it seems...
Similarly, "Encounter at Farpoint" is bold in the way it attempts to move the Star Trek mythos forward with new characters, yet timid in the way many new characters seem like Mr. Spock, only dissected. Data (outsider), Troi (with special powers of the mind) and Riker (as first officer) all seem like little slices of the half-Vulcan character. About all you can say here is that each character grows into a full-fledged and unique individual over time.