6.9/10
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Encounter at Farpoint 

On the maiden mission of a new Enterprise, the God-like being known as Q challenges the crew to discover the secret of a mysterious base in a truly intelligent & 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

All scenes involving Q were filmed during the last two weeks of the four-week production schedule, since John de Lancie was involved in a theatrical play, and could only be available from mid-June onwards. Gene Roddenberry and Robert H. Justman were both keen on having de Lancie play the part, and were willing to adjust the schedule in order to accommodate the actor. See more »

Goofs

When Q appears on the bridge as a 20th-century US military officer, he is wearing the rank insignia of a Captain, probably in an attempt to portray Picard's rank. However, in the branch it is supposed to depict, Captain is equivalent to a full Lieutenant, since Starfleet uses the Navy's rank system, not the Marines' or Army's. 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: The Next Generation: Q Who (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Pop! Goes the Weasel
(uncredited)
Written by Traditional
Performed by Brent Spiner & Jonathan Frakes
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User Reviews

 
C+: Good, but not great.
29 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Encounter At Farpoint' is the double-length pilot episode of The Next Generation and introduces us to the characters, the ship and... the writers, who at this point were the weakest link.

The two main plots are engaging enough. Going on commentary from Roddenberry, the Q entity was written in later at Paramount's behest but, to me, is the most amusing part of this outing. Q almost represents the studio's viewpoint - in the show, the whole human race is on trial, in reality, the entire TNG concept was on trial. His presence is a definite highlight and he would go on to be one of the most memorable characters of any Star Trek incarnation. Q's presence interweaves comfortably with 'the trial' itself which is the unravelling an enigma: how did an obviously technologically deficient race build a frontier outpost of high-technology to service the Federation, and can the mystery be solved without resorting to violent methods thereby proving Q correct in his definition of the human race as barbaric and child-like?

From a technical standpoint this episode is respectable. For particular commendation I would single out Industrial Light and Magic's excellent special effects work. The models of the Enterprise-D and the alien spacecraft(s) set a high watermark which remains, for me, an engrossing aspect of the show to this day. We now take complex and expensive shots like these for granted in television shows, but until TNG it wasn't all that common.

As for the performances, the cast are still tentative within their new roles, finding their comfort zones and strengths. Some of the dialogue allows them chances to connect with their characters and therefore with the audience, other sections would be better delivered tongue-in-cheek rather than with deadly earnestness, or omitted entirely. My own assumption is that at this point Roddenberry was working towards the strengths of the old cast, whom he was familiar with, expecting them to be partial clones of Kirk and crew instead of relying on his new actors to take Star Trek in interesting new directions. When he stepped down as Executive Producer and handed more responsibility to Braga (who, sadly, would go on to lose his deft touch while in control of Voyager) many of the problems were ironed out.

'Encounter At Farpoint: Parts I and II' represent some of the best moments of the first season but not necessarily the entire Next Generation run or the four films that would follow. It is abundantly obvious that the premise has great promise, but it would not be until late into the second season that consistency would improve and truly great stories would be added to the Star Trek canon.


11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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