Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #94


Star Trek: The Next Generation

It literally took me years after it had ended to see all the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) when I decided to watch the series in the early 1990s. I remember what a big deal TNG was when it premiered this week 30 years ago in 1987 with there being news stories about the show and the first episode “Encounter at Farpoint” airing in primetime. I even remember that my dad who wasn’t at all into sci-fi was excited about TNG because of some nostalgia factor and we watched that first episode when it aired.

Some of the cast of TNG

And I think to a certain extent that’s why it took me so long to checkout TNG. If my dad was into TNG, then surly it was uncool.

It wasn’t easy when TNG was first running episodes to see it in my area. Much like with Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future where I lived TNG aired early Sunday mornings well into the 1990s. And since there was no way I was ever going to get up early on a Sunday morning unless I had to I missed a lot of years of TNG.

What finally got me interested in TNG was the debut of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1993 which I liked and got me interested in Star Trek in general as well. And when I started watching TNG which was still in its first run syndication then I really dug it.

However, watching older episodes of TNG that I had already missed then wasn’t an easy task. One good thing was that right when I started watching TNG was the time that Star Trek in general was undergoing a surge or popularity so older episodes of TNG would air at different times during the week alongside the new ones. So slowly, but surly I began catching older episodes of TNG that I had missed.

Here’s a drawing I did in 1997 celebrating the 10th anniversary of TNG

At some point I’d bought a Star Trek book that listed all the episodes each Star Trek series that had aired to that point. I still have it. In the guide I’d mark off each episode of TNG that I’d seen and would be on the lookout in the TV listings for any that I had missed. And because TNG was airing in syndication everyday and because I started taping these episodes off of TV while I was at school I quickly began marking off more and more episodes as I’d see them. For some reason 25 years later I still have all these VHS tapes of TNG episodes I’d recorded off of TV and watched once. I figured I was building a personal TNG episode collection — of course now with TNG being easily available via many streaming services and VHS being a relatively dead medium these tapes do little more than take up closet space these days.

Still, tapes and syndicated TNG or no there was still episodes of TNG that I never seemed to be able to catch. These episode always seemed to be from the first or second season, one of which I remember wanting to see badly was “Q Who” that featured the first appearance of the villainous Borg. In that case I ended up buying a copy of the episode on VHS — they used to do that, sell single episodes of popular TV series on VHS — just to be able to see that episode. Even later I joined the TNG Columbia House tape club where every month I’d receive one tape in the mail that contained two episodes of the series for something like $20 a month.

($4.95 is for the first tape — every tape after that was $19.95.)

Because of the expense and because more of the older episodes of TNG started turning up in syndication I didn’t do this long. But still, I have a drawer full of these tapes along side the ones I recorded off of TV too.

Some of the cast of TNG

I’d guess that sometime in the later 1990s I finally fulfilled my quest of seeing each and every episode of TNG and having marked off all those episodes in my book. At least I don’t think there’s any TNG out there that I haven’t seen, or at least I’ve never turned over to a random episode of TNG on TV and thought, “What’s this one!?”

Now that I think of it, even if I have seen all of TNG I certainly never saw the episodes in order. When I started watching the show in the early 1990s I would have seen any new ones in order. But as for the old ones I’d have seen them as they happened to air in syndication. And they didn’t always air in order. So my experience with TNG is a bit of a hodgepodge, with me seeing brand new episodes along older ones on TV along with whatever tape I’d get from Columbia House that month whenever I started doing that.

Now of course it couldn’t be easier to see every episode of TNG. The entire series can be bought on Blu-ray for something like $80 which is about 30% of what Columbia House was charging for a single season of the series on VHS and the series is also available via a few streaming services and aires in regular rotation on BBC America too.

The Good Place

The sitcom The Good Place returned to NBC for a second season last week and is as good as ever. This show about Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) who was supposed to go to the bad place after she died but accidentally was sent to the good was one of the bright spots on the networks last year that was filled with mostly ick.

Spoilers about the first season follow, so if you haven’t seen it you might want to skip the rest of this review. But trust me, if you’re not watching The Good Place you’re missing out.

At the end of the first season Eleanor came to the realization that she wasn’t mistakenly sent to the good place, she’s been in the bad place all along. And everything that’s been happening in what she thought was the good place was really a ploy by this bad place manager Michael (Ted Danson) to find new and unique ways to torture people there.

The second season starts right back where the first ended, with Eleanor and her group of fellow people who think they’re in the good place coming to the realization they’re in the bad, but Michael having reset everything to run his plan again with Eleanor and her group starting from scratch with them having no memory of what had come before.

Whereas the first season mostly followed Eleanor tying to become a better person to stay in what she thought was the good place, so far the second has followed Michael and his minions behind the scenes as it were trying to get his plan back on track but finding that even though Eleanor doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s still a formidable opponent.

The Punisher TV spot

The Reading List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1952: Christopher Reeve, Superman, is born
  • 1954: Linda Hamilton of Terminator, Terminator 2 and the TV series Beauty and the Beast is born
  • 1985: The TV series Amazing Stories debuts
  • 1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation premiers
  • 1995: The TV series Space: Above and Beyond premiers
  • 2001: Star Trek: Enterprise premiers
  • 2004: Shaun of the Dead opens in theaters
  • 2005: Serenity opens in theaters
  • 2013: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres