Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Random thoughts of a Tennessee fan on life, sports and more TV shows than any one person should be allowed to watch.
About me
Name: Michael
Location: Nashville, TN
E-mail me!

View My Complete Profile
100 Things About Me
My Facebook Profile
My Wish List
Syndicate Big Orange Michael

The Latest News on the Vols


Also For Your Reading Pleasure
The Rocky Top Brigade
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

For Your Listening Pleasure (Podcasts)
Slice of SciFi
PodCulture
Two Insane Fans: The Statler and Waldorf of Doctor Who commentaries

Archives
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010
02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010
03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010
04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010
07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011
01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011
02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011
03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011
06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012
05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012
06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012
08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012
09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012
08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013


Monday, September 24, 2007
Star Trek: TNG Top 10: #1: The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1
What "City on the Edge of Forever" was to classic Trek, "The Best of Both Worlds" is to Next Generation. It's that one episode that transcends the series and the franchise as a whole. The first part is one of those classic hours of television in which every element, every nuance and every last detail is, quite simply, perfect.

All that and it features the greatest season-ending cliffhanger in television history. Three simple words, "Mr. Worf, fire" and then the music builds to a crescendo as it goes to black and says "To Be Continued..."

If you were a Star Trek fan in June of 1990 when this first aired, you probably vividly recall where you were when you first saw this epiosde and the cliffhanger in question. I know I do...

I spent a lot of time in the summer of 1990 watching and re-watching this episode, trying to figure out just how in the hell they'd get out of this one. I had a paper route and at least once a week while folding papers, I'd rewind the tape, watching this one again, looking for clues, details, elements, something that would tell me how the cliffhanger would be resolved. I'd sit down with my list of episodes from season three, mapping out how long until the season-premiere came and then lamenting--dammit, it just wasn't soon enough. I think the word you're looking for here is obsession. But you know, when an episode is this good, you can almost overlook that.

Had it just been the cliffhanger to end part one, this one might have been top five...definitely top ten. But it's the way everything came together in such a great way that pushed this up as not only the best hour of Next Generation to ever grace the airwaves, but also one of the top five hours of television of all-time.

Written by executive producer Michael Piller, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part One" has it all. The Enterprise is sent out to a planet that has clearly been attacked and destroyed by the Borg, indicating the Borg have reached Federation space. Commander Elizabeth Shelby is brought in to verify this. Turns out Shelby is something of a Borg expert--and also on the fast-tract to comand. She's the new rising star of Starfleet and has her eyes firmly set on Riker's job. Seems Riker's been offered his own command--the third time now in the three years of the series. But he's torn. He pushed himself hard to get to the Enterprise, but now that he's here, he likes where he is. He still has his ambitions, but to put his career is not longer the single motivating force in his life. Because of this, he comes into conflict with Shelby and is accused of "playing it safe."

The character story for Riker reflects where writer Michael Piller was at the time. He'd risen to the second-in-command of Next Generation and appeared ready to head out and run his own show. But he was happy with his role on the Next Gen staff and wanted to stay, but he realized there was a bright pool of talent coming in behind him. I'm guessing Ron Moore and company weren't doing end-runs around Piller to Rick Berman's office, but you can see how Piller might have felt he was a crossroads of his career. Thankfully for Star Trek fans, he decided to stay and keep working on Trek, crafting the next few seasons and seeing the creation of the best modern Trek, Deep Space Nine.

In between the Riker/Shelby conflicts, we discover the Borg are coming. The Enterprise receives a distress call and heads out to investigate..and are met by the Borg. The Borg hail the Enterprise and demand Picard surrender to them. Confused by their sudden interest in Picard, the ship fights back and then goes to hide in a nearby nebula. Picard figures that by keeping the Borg occupied looking for him, it will give Starfleet time to get a force together to take on the Borg ship. Meanwhile, the crew tries to come up with ways to defend themselves and the ship against the Borg.

The Borg eventually tire of waiting and force the Enterprise out of hiding. The Enterprise tries to draw them away from Federation space at full warp, but the Borg overtake the ship. They beam on board and take Picard hostage. Riker is now in command and pursuit of the Borg ship begins...and they're on a path that will lead them into the heart of Federation space.

Meanwhile, Geordi, Sheby and the engineering staff are working against time on a weapon that will use the deflector dish to channel energy through it and possibly destroy or disable the Borg ship. Only problem--it will require all the Enterprise's power to do it. They have to get the ship out of warp.

An away team, lead by Shelby beams over to the Borg ship to try and get the ship out of warp (the Borg ignore things that aren't perceived as a threat) and maybe rescue Picard. They take out a few energy nodes, dropping the ship from warp. Geordi readies the weapon. The away team encounters resistance after taking out a few energy nodes...and in the midst of battle, sees Picard. Except he's been transformed by the Borg. The away team beams back and heads to the bridge.

The weapon is ready. This is their shot as the Borg ship is repairing and ready to head back to warp. Shelby argues they can sabotage the ship again if they need to but they should wait and try to get Picard back. Riker says there is no time and tells Geordi to be prepare to fire. The Borg ship hails and Picard appears on screen--he's now Locutus of Borg. He's been assimiliated and tells the crew they will be as well.

All eyes are on Riker...the music swells and Riker says three little words, "Mr. Worf, fire."

And that's it for a long, long, long hot summer. (I've included a video of the final three minutes of part one here for you to re-live the greatness that is this episode).



Every single thing about this episode is perfect. Performances are A-plus. The Borg are still menacing and scary. When the Enterprise heads to answer the distress call and we see the Borg ship appear on screen, it's a chilling moment. Battle sequences are great, the personal conflicts are superb and the quiet scene of Picard touring the ship before heading into battle was a clear signal they might just kill off the captain of the Enterprise. And then, the musical score....it's perfect. It is memorable, it sets the mood and it's sweeping. I'd put it on par with some of the work of the great John Williams for how well it captures the mood of this episode. The build up to a crescendo at episode's end....just fantastic.

And then, as I've said before--that cliffhanger.

The interesting thing was writer Michael Piller wrote part one and had no idea how part two would go. So while Trek fans spent all summer wondering if Picard would die or if Q might somehow intervene to save the crew, Piller apparently had no more idea than we did how it would all end.

And that explains "Part Two" which is good and paired with part one it's a great two-hour television movie. But after a summer of speculation, wonder and worry, it could never compare. In subsequent viewings, it's gone up a lot in my estimation and the "sleep" subroutine to shutdown the Borg doesn't feel as much like a cheat as it did on the first viewing. But still, "Part Two" isn't quite the nirvana that "Part One" is. It does have some great moments, such as the Enterprise seeing the destroyed remnants of the fleet at Wolf 359 (we'll later see the battle in the premiere of Deep Space Nine) and we do rescue Picard. We also have a nicely done little plan by Riker to play on Picard's knowledge that is being used by the Borg.

But you know, for four months in the summer of 1990, Next Generation owned me. This episode owned me....and it's part of that fuels my fondness. And then, all the other parts that came together to make what may be the perfect episode of Star Trek--not just Next Generation but the franchise as a whole. It's an episode that when I surf past and it's on, I will watch from wherever I wander in....reciting dialogue as it goes. I've lost count of how many times I've seen this one...but you know, thinking about it for this list, I'm ready to see it all over again.

Labels:



posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/24/2007 10:20:00 AM | |
Comments: Post a Comment
Widget_logo


Follow me on Twitter!




    Follow me on Twitter!

    www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from bigorangemichael. Make your own badge here.

    Recent Comments
    Awards


    Best Middle Tennessee Blogs



    Web Sites I Visit
    CrossWalk.com
    Daily News Journal
    Doctor Who News
    Go Vols
    Go Titans
    The Tennessean
    The Tennessean's Titans Coverage
    Trek Today
    TV Guide On-Line
    Washington Post Redskins Coverage
    USA Today

    2007 Team Schedules
    Tennessee Vols
    Tennessee Titans
    Washington Redskins

    Favorite Authors on the Web
    Orson Scott Card
    Peter David's Blog
    Keith R.A. DeCandido's Blog
    Neil Gaiman
    Elizabeth George
    Philip Gulley
    Stephen King
    Donald Miller
    Lisa Samson's Blog
    Robert Whitlow

    Musical Links
    Carolyn Arends
    Sherrie Austin
    Cherryholmes
    Lee Domann
    Dust And Ashes
    Fleming & John
    Sara Groves
    Jennifer Knapp
    Jars of Clay
    Carolyn Dawn Johnson
    Cindy Morgan
    The Monkees
    Nickel Creek
    Nothin' Fancy
    Rebecca St. JamesRay Stevens
    Steep Canyon Rangers
    Williams and Clark Expedition
    Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
    Jaci Velasquez

    Blogging Links

    Powered by Blogger Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Listed on Blogwise
    << ? Blogaholics Anonymous # >>

    My Blog Chalk

    Michael/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Tennessee/Smyrna, speaks English. Eye color is brown. I am in shape. I am also creative. My interests are Reading/Swimming laps.
    This is my blogchalk:
    United States, Tennessee, Smyrna, English, Michael, Male, 31-35, Reading, Swimming laps.



    You Are Visitor

    Free Web Counter


    Looking For Something Specific?
    Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

    Site search Web search


    Blogskins
    Powered by Blogger