Lonely Among Us
The Enterprise is carrying delegations from two warring races to a neutral planet for negotiations. They may as well not be there though. The REAL story is that energy cloud the Enterprise skimmed along the way. What was in it? And did something come out of it? Find out when we put Lonely Among Us in the Mission Log.
Tags: The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 1
Season One Publicity Picture used for the Fan Club Magazine Cover
John, in reply to what you said about wondering why TNG Season 1 often suffers unfairly harsh criticism…
I used to be one of those people who had absolutely no use for TNG Season 1. From the time of its original airing up until a few years ago, I never got any joy or value out of TNG Season 1 and found much or most of it literally unwatchable. Then, a few years ago, something just clicked with me and I’ve been able to enjoy TNG Season 1—for what it is, taking into account that it’s the first season of a new show that was still finding its way but would eventually become fantastic—ever since. Analyzing myself and my own reactions to TNG Season 1, my best guess is that there are two main problems that people have with it:
(1) The pacing. The storytelling is not as tight as TNG would eventually become gradually throughout Season 2 and finally hitting its stride in Season 3. I remember my younger self becoming easily bored with Season 1 and just not connecting with the narrative style.
(2) Target audience. I struggle to find the right words to express what I mean here, but my gut feeling is that Season 1 was written with a somewhat older, more mature audience in mind than Season 3 onward. The pacing, the emotional beats, the way that the episodes (like “Justice”) are very theme-centered like TOS episodes…it all seems to require the patience of a more mature viewer.
I’m not suggesting that Season 1 is superior to any other season of TNG, but there’s a lot more value in it than many people, including my younger self, give it credit for. Episodes like “Code of Honor” I still skip over; but I’m actually able to appreciate, for example, “Skin of Evil,” for what it is and what the writers were going for. If you can look past the goofiness of the Tar Monster and the arbitrariness of Tasha’s death (as a way of eliminating a character), the main theme of the story, as played out by the hateful, lonely Tar Monster, is actually interesting and meaningful and indeed allegorical. And the way that the crew react to Tasha’s death, with Data pointing out that it’s really her friends that are suffering for her absence, is touching and again meaningful.
An additional reason that people tend to be so harsh on Season 1, I think, is that TNG got so much better as it went on. So, Season 1 suffers from comparison to all subsequent seasons, all of which were substantially better. And, on a personal note, the lack of new Trek supply since ENT has simply resulted in increased demand from me. Also, my disappointment with the BR Trek movies, particularly with how shallow, superficial and lacking in meaning they are, has made me re-evaluate what actually makes good Trek. And hence I have more appreciation for attempts to be meaningful, even if there are obvious flaws in its execution—and that’s what episodes like “Justice” and “Lonely Among Us” are.
Finally, as I’ve taken to watching Indie/Fan Trek productions, I’ve gained new appreciation for how many things actually were done well in TNG Season 1, things that I’d theretofore taken for granted. And again, like many other people, I got spoiled on TNG Seasons 3 onward, and Season 1 suffers by comparison.
TNG- Season One was a a little slower in pacing compared to the rest of the series, but then again, with these two ( Gene & Bob ) @ the helm, what’s that saying – a little older, a little slower ? OK – maybe a little more mature……
I *liked* Lt Singh! He seemed like a guy who was friendly and affable (in his non-condescending attitude towards Wesley) while remaining competent at his job.
As for the Anticans and Selay: I haven’t seen this in years, but in my head, at the end when Yar announced that it looks like the Anticans have killed one of the Selay delegates and want the body cooked, and Picard leaves Riker to clean up the mess, I could hear the old TOS music whenever they wound up one of their episodes on a whimsy. Dude, there’s been a murder on your ship! The murder of a delegate! And this is how they coda the story?
I never found Wesley to be annoying, of course, I was a teenager at the time, so it was awesome to see a teenager that was smart and had responsibility and was treated like an adult with respect. In other words, I believe I was the target demo for having a teenager as a main character and it worked for me, otherwise, I probably would have considered it just another one of my parents’ boring shows. So, I’m thinking people that were older were apparently annoyed at him, but not me.
Interesting discussion on “cultural relativism.” I plan to go into the foreign service and this is a huge thorn in the side of political and social diplomacy. When do we have a moral obligation to state (even argue) our values and when is silence the appropriate price for a peaceful and productive relationship? It’s a fine line to walk.
I did not understand Picard in this episode. I think we are supposed to believe he chose to bail on his duty and crew to go explore with an alien but that is completely antithetical to the Picard we’ve gotten to know so far. Picard is not a flake or a reckless dreamer.
If he was unconsenting, then this episode was okay. If he elected to beam out then I think it was bad.