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Encounter at Farpoint 

On the maiden mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), an omnipotent being known as Q challenges the crew to discover the secret of a mysterious base in an advanced and civilized fashion.

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Q
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Battle Bridge Conn
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Mandarin Bailiff (as Cary-Hiroyuki)
Timothy Dang ...
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Storyline

In the 24th Century, Captain Jean-Luc Picard assumes command of the Federation's state of the earth, more luxurious flagship, the fifth U.S.S. Enterprise, and its new crew, with more non-humans, such as psychic counselor Deanna Troi, a former of lover of the first officer, commander William T. Riker. Medical chief Beverly Crusher comes with her bright, inquisitive adolescent son, Wesley. On their maiden voyage, to Farpoint space station, on the primitive Bandi planet, they come under the apparently inescapable control of alien Q, representative of a technologically superior civilization. He calls humanity backward savages, but accepts to put them to the test at the station. Bandi leader Zorn offers full use of the apparently adequate facilities, but no answers to the key questions, how the station was built, and what agonized feelings Troi is picking up. Written by KGF Vissers

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TV-PG | See all certifications »
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26 September 1987 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wil Wheaton recalled that Corey Allen's direction for him was to look at Picard "as if he controls the sky". See more »

Goofs

When Data first stands up on the bridge (at 4:00), the chair at his console has clearly been stabilised with a square of carpet jammed under one corner. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Captain's log, stardate 41153.7 - Our destination is planet Deneb IV, beyond which lies the great, unexplored mass of the galaxy. My orders are to examine Farpoint, a starbase built there by the inhabitants of that world. Meanwhile, I am becoming better acquainted with my new command, this Galaxy-class USS Enterprise. I am still somewhat in awe of its size and complexity. As for my crew, we are short in several key positions, most notably a first officer. But I'm informed that a ...
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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
(uncredited)
Written by Jerry Goldsmith & Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

A half-good, half-bad beginning to a good sci-fi series
9 May 2013 | by (Ohio/PA border) – See all my reviews

Star Trek: The Next Generation's pilot episode is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there's a decent cast and everything LOOKS better than the original series -- the spacecrafts, F/X, costumes and sets -- but, on the other, half of the story is goofy and awkwardly implemented into the main story.

The "goofy" part is the character of Q, an omniscient being, who suddenly appears on the Bridge of the Enterprise and then instantaneously transports most of the Bridge crew to some absurd trial with a bunch of barbarians as the audience. This part of the story was written by Gene Roddenberry and he was pressured to add it to D.C. Fontana's script to make "Encounter at Farpoint" a double episode.

The problem with the Q subplot is that it's premature. The purpose of a pilot episode is to establish the characters and the basic tone of the series. Fontana's story about the cast grouping together and their experiences at the Farpoint station accomplish this, but Roddenberry's Q story seems tacked-on, outlandish and premature.

Sure, the character of Q was based on Trelane from the original series episode "The Squire of Gothos," but (1.) that episode wasn't introduced until the second half of the first season when the serious tone of the series was well established, and (2.) Trelane was presented in a believable way despite his goofy antics. It's called good writing.

In "Encounter at Farpoint," by contrast, it's not 8 minutes into the story -- the very first episode of the series -- and this goofball character suddenly appears on the Bridge and proceeds to instantaneously kidnap the Bridge crew and take them to some bizarre trial in the midst of a bunch of uncouth barbarians. This entire sequence takes place in the first half hour and it just mars the seriousness and credible-ness of the rest of the episode.

Thankfully, everything else is like the original series, just better, at least as far as appearances go. The writing wouldn't catch up till the third and fourth seasons, although there are some gems here & there in the first two.


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