– by Mark MacDonald, Staff Writer –
Greater than the debate between Brady and Manning or LeBron vs Jordan is the age-old question: Original Crew or The Next Generation?
This list of indictments committed by TNG should put any doubts to rest…
1. The Holodeck
Despite endangering the Enterprise and/or members of its crew a dozen times*, the crew of The Next Generation cannot help but indulge themselves in the 3D simulated entertainment offered in the ship’s holodeck. If it’s not Jean Luc ensnared in a 1940s San Francisco simulation, it’s Riker being played by the Binars via a sultry hologram vixen set in New Orleans. Let’s just forget that Worf’s arm was broken and his son’s life threatened while playing in the Wild Wild West, or that a simulation of Moriarty, created to challenge Data’s intellect, became self-aware and took control of the entire ship! But hey, I guess there aren’t more important things to do like, I don’t know, exploring new worlds and seeking out new life and civilizations?
*[Episodes 11, 14, 28, 68, 133, 137]
2. Riker is a Murderer
“I grabbed a phaser and I defended my Captain!” proclaims First Officer William Riker in Episode 163 “The Pegasus.” What he is referring to is his conduct while serving as helmsman under then Captain Pressman on the USS Pegasus. While performing a secret (and illegal) experiment in phased cloaking, something went wrong. Feeling the ship was being put in unnecessary jeopardy, the First Officer of the Pegasus, along with the majority of the crew, mutinied against Pressman. Riker, on the other hand, defended “his Captain” and together they abandoned ship, dooming the crew that remained onboard. Riker helped cover up the incident for 12 years before the Pegasus was discovered by the Enterprise and the experiment revealed. I don’t know about you, but where I come from, murdering Starfleet officers whose only intent was to stop an illegal experiment and save lives is unforgivable.
3. Geordi is a Creep
Episode 138 “Aquiel”: The Enterprise is sent to resupply an outpost near the Klingon border, finding the station abandoned. Assuming Lt. Aquiel Unari, stationed onboard, must be dead (though a shuttle was pointedly missing) Geordi La Forge settles into her room, takes ownership of her dog and begins combing through her personal logs, reading her books, even having a taste of her favorite childhood drink. In Geordi’s own words, he was “up all night looking at personal logs.” Of course, Lt. Unari is NOT dead, and returns to the station under suspicious circumstances. Sure, Geordi fesses up, sure they have a romance and yes, they use a Kanar during intimacy, but does that make any of this appropriate? Why couldn’t Data have looked at the logs? It would have taken him all of 10 seconds.
4. Picard Blubbers
Some say it takes a man to cry; well that may be, but not a Starfleet Captain. James Tiberius Kirk lost his only son, murdered by a Klingon as he listened in. Did he cry? No, he sat down in his chair, yelled, “You Klingon bastard, you killed my son!” and got to the business at hand. Captain Jean Luc Picard, however, upon hearing of his nephew’s tragic death, full on breaks down*. It’s one thing to let a tear slide down your cheek, or to choke up while giving a eulogy to your best friend who died to save the Enterprise, but this? Then again what do you expect from a man who spells knife with an “n”**?
*[Star Trek: Generations]
5. Wolf 359
Perhaps the most damning indictment of The Next Generation has to be their catastrophic failures leading up to the slaughter of 39 Starfleet ships at Wolf 359. Let’s not forget that the only reason the Borg travelled over 7,000 light years to find the Federation was an encounter with Picard that would never have happened had Jean Luc accepted Q’s proposal to join the Enterprise’s crew*. I have no idea why having a semi-omnipotent being on your ship would be a bad thing, but instead Captain Picard’s snub leads the Enterprise to the Borg, some 7,000 light years away. 18 people die, Picard grovels to Q and the Enterprise is saved. But now the Borg want Earth and, two years later, they arrive, calling Picard out by name, clearly looking to assimilate him and steal his knowledge. Of course, Picard doesn’t clue in on this and he is subsequently nabbed, escorted to the mainframe and borgified. There go all the tactics Starfleet devised, there goes the USS Melbourne, the USS Chekov, the USS Princeton, three dozen other starships and the lives of over 10,000 Starfleet officers. Ever heard of cyanide Jean Luc? They had it in WW2, you might remember that from your adventures in the holodeck. [Editor’s note: Meow!]