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SYFY WIRE Warp Factor

Angry Picard, captive space jellyfish, and skants kicked off Star Trek: The Next Generation [Warp Factor 2.1]

By Brian Silliman

Picard shouting, Riker with no beard, uniforms that look like wetsuits, and skants all over the place? Throw in Q putting humanity on trial and there's only one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that you could be talking about: the pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint."

It is a truly bizarre two hours of television, especially compared with the glory of future seasons. Jean-Luc Picard (and Patrick Stewart himself) is not having much fun, the designs are dark and odd, and the story of a huge shape-shifting space entity being forced into pretending to be a space station is incredibly trippy. Veteran Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana had a 90-minute version of this pilot all ready to engage, but when it was decided this should be a full two-hour affair, Gene Roddenberry created Q. He used him to create a frame around Fontana's story, and the rest is history.

This is not an ideal place to start watching Trek, but if you're already in the tank, it's a fun viewing experience. John DeLancie is always great as Q, and the general vibe of, well, everything here has a certain quality that is nothing short of fascinating. Riker would grow his beard, Deanna Troi would change her look, and Tasha Yar would die a meaningless death, but the journeys of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) begin here.

For more on this epic two hours of captive space jellyfish and the trials of humanity, watch the latest episode of SYFY WIRE's Warp Factor. Skants.