Personal Log: 35 Years of TNG
On this day in 1987, the course of science fiction was changed forever with the broadcast of the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Today is the 35th anniversary of “Encounter at Farpoint” airing, a milestone for which I find the chief significance is that it reminds me how impossibly old I’ve become! I have a great deal of fondness about watching those first episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and as well as nostalgia for the show and its cast. It’s something I’ve amply revisited in the episode WAMs, and will continue to do so. But I also have great nostalgia for how I watched TNG when it first came out. For amazingly, I did not see that first episode on television at all, but rather as a videocassette rental from our local convenience store, where my family would visit about once a week in order to choose something to supplement the rather meagre pickings of broadcast television. In the UK in 1987, that was a mere three channels!
I remember being especially excited about getting to see a new Star Trek show, not only because I was a big fan of the classic show, which I’d seen again and again at that point (even though I was only fifteen at the time!), but also because in the days before having access to the internet, sci-fi magazines like Starlog served to whet my appetite for what was to be coming down the pipe in the near future. If the Enterprise-D design didn’t exactly wow me at the time (I was not a fan of the more rounded design), I loved the look of the crew and couldn’t wait to discover their stories!
As a family show, it was fitting that that entire first season was watched with my family… this also meant I got to enjoy my late father’s sense of humour, for he had quite a laugh on him, and was more than willing to be snarky about the excesses of early TNG (as the WAM for “Symbiosis” will mention, in six week’s time!). But I remember us enjoying these episodes for the most part, and I was always excited when another videocassette appeared in the rental store.
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