September 1987 also saw the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wow. I watched it every Sunday afternoon, the encore showing from the previous week when it was on during church (missed so much Sunday evening TV in my childhood). My mom would often watch with me (and she shared a first name with Counselor Troi, not a common name). It was my introduction to the world of Star Trek, but mostly it was a science fiction show that was a good character drama. When I moved in with roommates my junior year in college, we would gather and watch every week.
Now for my geeky confessions: I may have taken it a bit far. I collected action figures and made a model of the enterprise and read the novels and comics. I was all in. My first Mac Performa was called “Worf” and my first laptop was “Data.” My first few years teaching, the opening of my syllabus riffed on the “boldly go” speech, and I kept the action figures in my classroom on top of a file cabinet. I had to check daily to make sure they weren’t placed in compromising positions. Two of my students found my high school senior picture in a brother’s yearbook and had it put on a mug with a Klingon face overlaying the photo and presented it to me for my birthday. Yep. That much of a geek.
Again, I was a little disappointed, especially in the later years, with how little they used their women. It started well with three women in the main cast, but they were pretty well side-lined (and Security Chief Tasha Yar killed off unceremoniously) as time went on. I don’t think the writers knew what to do with them when they weren’t being love interests. 25 years was a long time ago, and it was a start; there were two women on the bridge and they weren’t the receptionist. Dr. Crusher was always my favorite, and what could have been and started out to be a really strong character, was really shunted to the side and made into Picard’s unconsummated love interest in later years. I was never a Picard/Crusher shipper, so I didn’t care for that direction or the way I thought it diminished what her character could have been.
I have 6 of the 7 seasons on DVD and will eventually get the seventh. I’ll resist the blu-rays. The character development of Data alone makes it a show worth watching. It has some fine moments, great characters, and strong plots. I think seasons 3-5 are particularly compelling.