I'm stunned; one of the longtime pillars of my pop-cultural worldview crumbled last night. I watched ``Encounter at Farpoint,'' debut episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and found that it was ... good. Not ``good enough for restarting Star Trek,'' not ``it lead to something good,'' not ``not so terrible after all,'' but just good.
All the characters are established in their first scenes, in dialogue and action. All the scenes -- except the heartwarming cameo by DeForest Kelly -- tie in to one plot thread or the other (even the Riker/Data scene in the holodeck explains the space jellyfish, and does so correctly, justifying their magic by explaining something else). Wesley isn't one-hundredth as annoying as his reputation suggests (granted, nobody but Neelix could be). And Picard is great, right out of the gate: thoughtful, harsh, sensitive, thoughtful, as appropriate, and he tops everyone's dialogue in every scene, particularly against the disguised Autobot Prowl who leads the planet. And it ends as great Trek does, with transcendence rather than explosions.
I've taken it for granted the episode was a dull mess for so long it's startling to realize I was wrong. I can't imagine what's next.
I didn't see anyone else from the department today -- I didn't even see lights in their offices. I hope I didn't miss an announcement of something fun.
Trivia: Deke Slayton's proposed crew assignment for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was himself as commander, Jack Swigert as Command Module pilot, and Vance Brand as Docking Module pilot. Source: Deke! Deke Slayton, Michael Cassutt.
Currently Reading: Toyman, E C Tubb.