Sunday, November 11, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 Archive & Reflection


Images Source: TrekCore

After the uneven road through Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 I thought I would instantly find Season 2 to be smooth sailing. Not so much.  As rocky as Season 1 was, you at least can laugh at the over the top acting or specific call backs to The Original Series, but with Season 2 it takes a different turn and although they do find their footing pretty quickly, it's a little too even-keeled.  Especially the start Season 2 which gives us several episodes that are heavily centred on the stories surrounding guest stars, definitely not my fave, and made it not that interesting to begin with.  Who knew the zaniness of Season 1 would be more endearing than the 'normalness' of Season 2?  That being said there still is lots to enjoy.



You can see the differences right away with Riker sporting a beard (I didn't realized that was so soon in the series!), and both Geordi and Worf being promoted and move out of red shirts in to yellow and Wesley gets to sport his unique grey duds.  We also new additions to the cast of Dr. Pulaski and Guinan; plus O'Brien's role becomes stronger and stronger as a season rolls on to becomes a solid supporting role by the end.  We also have the introduction of Ten-Forward as a new location on the ship, although it's feels like it's always been there.



With additions come a few losses, and I did miss the absence of Beverly on this season, even though I was really enjoyed Dr. Pulaski much more than I expected; I think when I first watched the show I was in shock of the change that I didn't give her a chance but she's one smart cookie and getting to see that was great. I especially enjoyed her unexpected friendship with Worf. Although there are no main character deaths this season, there is a lot of drama including of the family variety starting with Deanna's surprizing pregnancy, birth and loss of her child in 2.01 The Child, then her mother visiting and looking to marry in 2.19 Manhunt.  We also get a visit from Riker's father in 2.14 The Icarus Factor which shows a rocky past between them.  We also have non-traditional families with The Crew stepping up to for Worf to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his age of ascension in 2.14 The Icarus Factor. Love pops up in this season too as Wesley falls for an alien in 2.10 The Dauphin and Worf gets heated with K'Ehleyr in 2.20 The Emissary



Even with the rocky start, the season does hold some of my favourite episodes, especially when it comes to for introducing ideas I had never thought about.  I remember being totally freaked out when a future Picard appears in 2.13 Time Squared, the fascinating idea of a mediator with a chorus with Riva in 2.05 Loud as a Whisper, and the idea of changing your goal when you 'lose' to something different to continue to move forward in 2.21 Peak Performance.   All three of those episodes had a strong impact on how I saw things, and I really enjoyed revisiting them.



Although the series was rampant with guest stars, it was 2 series regulars that stuck with me the most, and not even necessarily for anything new that they did but just seeing them with new eyes..  First was Riker, who I've continued to be impressed with and had quite the challenging season but I was impressed with his enthusiasm and sense of adventure like when he goings on the exchange program aboard the Klingon ship in 2.08 A Matter of Honor or woos Guinan to show Wesley how it's done in 2.10 The Dauphin. He also turns down the offer of command in 2.14 The Icarus Factor, but takes it temporarily for war games in 2.21 Peak Performance.  And of course if you are a fan of Riker you get to see the Riker clip show that is the Season 2 finale 2.22 Shades of Gray.  



The second character I've begun to see differently is Deanna. Previously, I had always thought of the emotionally attuned role, especially if it feels like it's defaulted cast as a woman, is kinda of lame.  But, this season I've re-thought Troi as an advisor; akin to the type of character you see in fantasy novels that advise the King or Queen, often an oracle or magic-centred character.  Deanna fills this role here, stepping in at times of diplomacy as well as advising when deception or risk arises, even if the information is vague her cautions are always warranted. We see it clearly in 2.17 Samaritan Snare aka the "Geordi makes it go" episode, when the seemingly slow Pakleds quickly take advantage and harm Geordi, when no one (save Worf) thinks they are even capable of such.  I think seeing Deanna in a different light was is the most dramatic change I've found in the re-watching so far.



It's been really fun to continue to do the episode run downs through Season 2, and I've realized that I've only seen the first and final season in episode-order, so I have no sense of what the flavour of each season is like or even if there is overarching themes per seasons. There are some hints to the future with the tale of a Nausicaans fight in 2.17 Samaritan Snare, the introduction of Moriarty in 2.03 Elementary, Dear Data and The Borg in 2.16 Q Who, but in terms of what's going to happen next, I have no idea..  And I'm totally cool with that as I am enjoying the journey as it unfolds. Especially with a tea of Earl Grey, Hot; which makes it first appearance (in the form of a flower!) in season 2, along with dress uniform and...fun fur. Ah well, it can only get better!



Archive of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Two Posts
2.01 The Child
2.02 Where Silence Has Lease
2.03 Elementary, Dear Data
2.04 The Outrageous Okona
2.05 Loud as a Whisper
2.06 The Schizoid Man
2.07 Unnatural Selection
2.08 A Matter of Honor
2.09 The Measure of a Man
2.10 The Dauphin
2.11 Contagion
2.12 The Royale
2.13 Time Squared
2.14 The Icarus Factor
2.15 Pen Pals
2.16 Q Who
2.17 Samaritan Snare
2.18 Up the Long Ladder
2.19 Manhunt
2.20 The Emissary
2.21 Peak Performance
2.22 Shades of Gray

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 in Pictures

Images Source: TrekCore

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