Star Trek: The Next Generation

“The Neutral Zone”

1.5 stars.

Air date: 5/16/1988
Teleplay by Maurice Hurley
Story by Deborah McIntyre & Mona Glee
Directed by James L. Conway

Review Text

Here's an episode that plays like the writers took two story pitches and simply filmed them, without bothering to develop a script for either one that would fulfill the requirements for an actual episode of television. To call "The Neutral Zone" half-baked would be an understatement. It's quarter-baked.

In story A, Data and Worf beam onto a drifting space relic and find three cryogenically frozen survivors from the 20th century. They bring them to the Enterprise and revive them. In story B, the recent mysterious devastation of Federation and Romulan outposts along the Neutral Zone prompt some new rumblings from the Romulan Empire. After a 50-year hiatus of having not come in contact with the Federation, indicators are that they might be returning as a possible cold-war threat. (Gee, what about the plot from "Angel One" where the Enterprise was supposed to rush off the Neutral Zone to ward off a Romulan attack?)

Neither of these plots is worth our time (and the point of putting them in the same episode escapes me, because they're incompatible). The Romulan storyline exists to tell us — and only tell us — that the Romulans are back from obscurity and available for future episodes. Beyond that, there's very little insight or point to any of this, except for Troi's scouting report about the Romulan persona — reported to be arrogant and more likely to test the enemy with mind games and vague threats before resorting to force. Unfortunately, this makes for a long setup to a non-payoff where the Romulans literally say, "We're back," and then turn around and leave.

The storyline involving 20th-century Americans waking up in the 24th century is even more of a nonstarter. We're given three characters who wake up and scarcely react to the new world that surrounds them. When they do react, their reactions are bland and obvious. The writers apparently thought it would be cool to try to use these characters as entry points with which we could identify. No such luck, because these are three exceptionally uninteresting guest characters. Better luck next season.

Previous episode: Consipracy
Next episode: The Child

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

Comment Section

146 comments on this post

    To true man. I recently decided to work my way through every star trek episode from first to last, and your reviews really help to put things into perspective. I'm glad this site exists.

    Great stuff on all these reviews...I like "The Neutral Zone" though. Putting aside that Romulan encounter from "Angel One", this episode does a great job of creating an ominous overtone to reintroduce the Romulans. The 20th century characters are used well too, adding some humor without taking away from the best part of the plot (the Romulans). I'm always impressed when TNG can do that.

    I have to echo my namesake. I really enjoyed The Neutral Zone as an episode.

    Thanks Jammer for working your way through NextGen. The first season has just arrived on the Sci-Fi channel out here in Asia. Haven't seen them since I was a teenager and they do not age very well. Cheap sets a la TOS, bad acting, flaccid writing etc etc. Only thing keeping me going is knowing it does get a lot better (and Troi's cleavage of course!). Cheers and keep up the good work. K

    Most of your reviews are spot-on, Jammer, although I would have been a little harsher on "The Naked Now" and "Home Soil" (especially Home Soil), and a little less harsh on "Where No One Has Gone Before," "When The Bough Breaks" (come on, you didn't get a HUGE laugh when Picard barked, "You have committed an act of UTTA BARBARITEH!"), and especially "The Neutral Zone" (a dopey but entertaining season finale).

    I am thirty now and started watching The Next Generation in between Seasons 4 and 5. I watched the first 4 seasons in the summer of 1991. By that point in time, I'd just finished watching all of the TOS episodes; it took further viewings of both series to realize how TNG was an uneasy mixture of recycled TOS themes (the God figure/punisher/lawgiver theme, the soapbox speeches about inequality) and "new" Trek themes and trappings (the holodeck, quite overused in season 1; the saucer separation; the more "cerebral" - read, surrender at the first opportunity - Captain).

    I think the first season of TNG is the worst trek ever. I have to admit that I have not seen many of TOS episodes but in all, this season was just utter crap from beginning to end. Voyager is a gem compared to this and even Enterprise had something worth watching on the first season. This is just one facepalm after another.

    Don't be too hard on these episodes, they're just extremely 1980's - and extremely funny in all their hairsprayed, spandex-clad corniness! ;)

    Plus, when you're 14 and the Internet is almost a decade away, even the blandest looking bad actresses look like super-sexy space godessess in their "spacy" 80's hairdos & costumes.

    Too bad I'm soon turning 40, married (not even to a space babe), and the 1980's are long gone :(

    But well, we'll always have TNG on DVD!

    This season why Roddenberry was a figurehead for the rest of his tenure.

    For the most part, this is a bad season. 16 of the 25 episodes range from just adequate to bland to terrible. The only good ones are:

    Encounter at Farpoint: mildly good, and Q is a pretty fun villain, but in order to see another episode where it doesn't feel like the writers are struggling to write a compelling episode (with how far they are varrying from episode to episode), a person watching them in order will have to wait ten more episodes, then they'll get a good episode followed immediately by a great episode

    The Big Goodbye: This is the good episode in question.

    Datalore: This is the great episode. Fascinating Data character development, though I could have done without Weasly being the only character who can figure out what's going on and the adults always replying "shut up Weasly". It makes the adults look both stupid and obnoxious.

    Some of the following five episodes have interesting-sounding premises that could have made the episodes good were it not for the characters still seeming largely like blank slates (see "Home Soil" for a prime example, as the idea of something that didn't seem to be turning out to be alive, though certainly done before in the original series, is still a pretty interesting premise, but the other characters still aren't interesting enough for me to care much). Then we get two more consecutive very good ones

    Coming Of Age: Good character development for Weasly, actually made me feel sorry for him when he felt bad about failing the test, and mentions the conspiracy within Starfleet that will be the plot of the season's penultimate episode.

    Heart of Glory: At last, some really good Worf character development!

    After that come the last six episodes of the season. The sixth-to-last and fifth-to-last are not bad, but aside from Kirk and Crusher's disagreement about the Prime Directive in the fifth-to-last one, there's nothing especially interesting about them either. Still, nice to see the Prime Directive actually matter instead of seemingly having no point other then being a rule to break like on the original series.

    The last four episdes are all pretty good.

    Skin of Evil: Tasha Yar's death would have meant so much more if she'd seemed like a real person and not a cardboard cutout. Other then that I enjoyed this episode, though I can't think of anything else to say about it.

    We'll Always Have Paris: Fairly interesting stuff about Captain Picard. This episode is bettr then the previous one.

    Conspiracy: Exciting action episode.

    The Neutral Zone: Both of the plots are interesting concepts and both are done pretty well here.

    I love this page, you like star trek but not insane nut, like some (alot actually).

    I agree with you mostly, but I have a couple nit-picks.

    Naked Now- I loved and still love that episode. I agree with one poster that it is a rip-off, but it acknowledges that in the first ten minutes, and it is a very fun episode. You are quite correct, the second episode is too early for fish out of the water, since we don't even know what the water is yet.

    When the bough Breaks & Symbiosis. I actually completely disagree with you on these two episodes. I think these two in particular are series favourites of mine, and I don't think they are as far-fetched as you imply. It is easy to be the viewer and say you wouldn't be fooled by the drug trade for instance, but then again since we have entire CITIES locked into very similar situations as the ornarans, I think it is a little pretentious to say it is a silly concept. On top of that, I think Symbiosis has bar none, the most interesting "prime directive" debate of the entire series, possibly all of star trek. Perhaps the resolution was a little too TV, but the set-up was thought provoking. As for When the bough breaks, I do not love it as much as Symbiosis, but I think it is a solid concept that had to fit in 45 minutes, as all treks, but this was the first time Picard asctually got pissed at something, which was satisfying. And btw, happened little after the 5th season.

    I agree with almost everyone else that you give short shift to the Neutral Zone, I thought the tension of the romulans was perfectly broken by the very likable and sympathetic 20th century folks. I think this one could easily have been a very popular 2 parter.

    I completely agree with you on everything else. 11011010, is one of the best of the series. So few give it the props it deserves.

    I love - no - I absolutely love 'Jammers Reviews'. They MUST be the most comprehensive reviews of ALL the star trek episodes that can be found on the internet at the moment. They are brilliantly produced and thoughtful in the right places. I hope you get around to finishing those later TNG episodes that still aren't done yet - I am looking forward to that.

    I agree mostly with the reviews on this first season. Of all the modern trek's first years (TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT) TNG'S is probably the worst by some stretch. Half the episodes (at least)of the season are mediocre or worse. The very best for me were 11001001, The Big Goodbye, Datalore, Conspiracy and Where No Man Has Gone Before. Encounter at Farpoint was quite good in places, especially scenes involving Q; It just wasn't a well executed episode and although felt fresh and and different, was evidently restrained by a background intention to help the show appeal to fans of TOS in the early stages of the series (which I surpose is understandable). However, DS9 tried to capture a TNG spirit in places during its first season and I think this damaged that show's first season as well; to a lessor extent than TNG suffered here, I'll admit. Voyager was also a culprit as well; trying to mix TNG and DS9 themes into one - quite successfully at times. ENT was bad throughout the first two seasons of existence as well trying to be like, yeah, like TNG and VOY again.

    I think its just a modern star trek trend for a trek series to either start badly, or attempt to recapture the essence of a previous incarnations. Or - in the case of TNG-S1 - Both.

    On the other-hand TOS's first year is generally regarded as its best and it's third year the worst - strange that. Although it did only have three seasons it still is a fact in my book regardless.

    Michael Piller would have loathed this season, I'm sure of that. Drama and character development is simply bad or non-existent most of the time. That's why the third season was so, so, so much better! It was like a new series that year, started anew! And nobody ever never looked back after that season.

    Have just begun reviewing TNG from first season for first time in decades and must agree with most of what Jammer has said about the episodes...easily the worst Star Trek I recall seeing! But in particular I want to bring up the final episode The Neutral Zone that I recall liking back in the day. It still held up due to its A and B storylines but the real problem I had with it was the reactions of the crew to these rescued people (and what's the deal about them being "dead?" Are we to believe that Federation medicine can revive dead people?) Totally arrogant and completely fact totally out of character so far as I can tell. Riker was even made that they were rescued...a robot had more compassion for these hapless people than he did! Then, as the episode progresses, everyone acts as if nothing is amiss...survivors from hundreds of years in the past and no one cares a wit about them. Where are the historians aboard the Enterprise? you'd think people would be falling all over themselves to get first hand accounts from a time period hundreds of years ago. And what's with the condescenion over television? You mean to tell me entertainment/information is no longer recorded for later visual broadcast in the future? Anyway, the whole attitude of Riker and Picard especially toward this incredible find was just plain bizarre! that said, I still kinda dig this episode!

    While I definitely agree that season 1 of TNG is quite bad, for some inexplicable reason I kinda like it. Yeah, the episodes are utter camp, plotting beyond silly, but I dunno... there is some unpredictable, campy sci-fi quality to it. It has a very pulpy feel to it, and as Quentin Tarantino will attest, that's not entirely bad :)

    I'd certainly rather watch season 1 than season 7 -- the latter is completely drowned in that patented TNG late-season beige blandness, while the first at least has an abundance of these silly out-of-the-left-field plots that are sometimes, at least as an idea, interesting.

    Am I crazy or are there others who think that way?

    Also, watching some early TNG, I noticed that the soundtrack is much better than in later seasons. Nothing particularly fancy mind you, but it does occasionaly stick out and it's not nearly as bad as that horrendous musical blandness (that word again!) of we're going to get.

    I have to take issue with at least one thing mentioned by Paul, ie you give pulp a bad name by associating with the mess that was season one!

    Hehe, but that's the point. Season 1 is so bad it's good! Elixirs of youth, invisible weapons that destroy whole civilizations, drunk crew destroying the ship!, stepping into flowers gets you killed!, etc, etc. However bad season 1 episodes are, they often have really hillarious concepts. Compare that to, for example, many Voyager or late season TNG episodes which are bad in that straightforward, dull and sterile way.

    I've reached mid season of season 3 so far in my reviewing and I've been trying to put my finger on just what it is about Trek that prevents me from wholeheartedly getting into it the way I later did with Bab 5 and I'm beginning to think that it's the fact that Trek is just so MANNERED. I think you touch on that in your comments regarding some of the end season episodes. The living room look of the bridge is a perfect visual example of that. The characters and Federation itself are often devoid of human foibles etc. The insufferable PC attitude of the show also doesn't help. I think that's why a show like Bab 5, despite its sometimes tone deaf dialogue and stiffness on the part of some of its actors, still landed like a depth charge amidst TV SF that was dominated by Trek at the time. Bab 5 had human beings behaving like real people, it had an ongoing, visceral threat, and its sets looked like real working envionments. When Trek had good episodes they worked but so far, there have been few of them.

    Ooh, I love Babylon 5, though I haven't watched Season 5 yet.

    Yeah, budget, acting and overall production values were not so great, but that show still had countless moments of great beauty. One has to be patient though and give B5 some time to really spread its wings both character- and plotwise. But once it gets there (mid S2), it's just great.

    I think Jammer would appreciate that show, warts and all (and there are some BIG warts), though I seem to remember he said once he hadn't watched it. Well, Jammer: watch it! Give B5 a chance. No reviewing necessary :), just check it out when you have the time.

    Have to admit some surprise that with all the reviews Jammer has done, there was no evidence on his site that he covered Bab 5...perhaps the most important SF tv show outside of Trek. What's up with that Jammer?

    Caveat to my last post: Bab 5 and Trek are most imporant star faring SF tv shows. Of course, the original Outer Limits was the most important SF tv show of all time!

    Having finally finished watching the entire TNG series over again after many years, my conclusion was the the show overall wasn't so hot...even the key episodes that once excited me so. I'll likely not bother watching this series again. By contrast, the classic series, even with its physical drawbacks, still holds up and is even refreshing after viewing Next Gen with its deadening load of PC. I suspect however that the franchise improved over the years and episodes I've seen of Enterprise I recall being more interesting.


    Unfortunately, I agree :(

    I've also just finished watching TNG after more than a decade, and I am sad to say that it is a pretty mediocre series. Seasons 3 and 4 are really good, Season 6 right behind them, but all the rest... not good. I am an SF junkie, so I enjoyed the time spent on this, but I have to admit that TNG is not a particularly good TV show

    This was not great Trek. Not even good Trek. But it was not bad Trek either. And it had a saving grace -- the Ferengi were an epic fail as villians and the Klingons were co-opted as allies. This let us know the Romulans were back. And that was a good thing.

    The story A with the frozen survivors was told way better by VOY ("The 37's" episode).

    This episode was so mediocre, the 20th century people could have been left out entirely for all they do in the overall scheme of things. And the Romulan threat felt empty for guys like me that barely knew anything about TOS prior to TNG. They should have made at least one episode (or situation within an episode) to introduce the Romulans as a powerful enemy. In the way they are presented, it feels more childish than anything else: "We're back". Oh yeah? And then you are...?

    It's even worse in hindsight, because they wouldn't have a relevant role until Season 3. It's like S2 didn't even exist for the Romulan empire.


    Now, regarding the season overall...What a disaster.

    Watching the show for the first time in 2012, I can't help to have a lot of preconceived ideas about what Star Trek can be: Bad acting, pathetic stories, ridiculous alien races, etc, etc.

    And S1 fails spectacularly as being good TV because it was exactly what I was expecting, which is terrible.

    And there's an overreliance on TOS stories and TOS past to make full sense of it.

    The overall feeling I got from S1 is that TNG was a terrible show with an insecure identity. On one hand it wanted to satisfy longtime TOS fans by ripping off stories or making references to things that happened before and all of that was done in such a bad way, it could be seen as an insult to the original. On the other hand, it was a catastrophic starting point for new fans.

    I don't get how this thing stayed in the air for an entire season. Were shows real bad that year? Or the Trek fans were so happy to see new Trek (any Trek) that they endured until it became better?

    With that said, it is true that TNG becomes much better in its third season. And S2 wasn't as bad as S1, either.

    @Rikko: With respect to how TNG stayed on the air its first year: That's actually an interesting story in the TV business. TNG was not carried by a network (nor was DS9 or Voyager after it). TNG was sold syndication style to individual TV stations, which for a show with its level of production was quite rare.

    Additionally, Paramount set the syndication deal (for the first season of TNG only) such that the stations that picked it up didn't have to pay anything to air it, provided Paramount could book a large percentage of the advertising. So Paramount had a basically guaranteed first season of 26 episodes. It couldn't be canceled because it didn't air on a network, and a syndicated show that cost the TV stations nothing but air time was a really good deal for those stations, which also got a portion of the advertising time to sell. The risk was all Paramount's -- whether the audience would be big enough to sell enough advertising to turn a profit on the show's production costs.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that, despite TNG's first season not being good, the viewership was there. In the end, the quality of those episodes was less important to the show continuing than the fact that enough people were watching it for it to be profitable in ad revenue.


    Do you really think that overall the first season of TNG was not good since it had several good episodes and not too many two star or lower, even by your ratings...wouldnt you rate it more as decent or average rther than flat out bad? Thanks

    I liked this episode. Not perfect certainly, but better than 1.5 stars (compare "Skin of Evil" or "The Outrageous Okona" - also rated 1.5, and those are just bad episodes).

    The A and B stories don't have much to do with each other, but they usually don't. Ideally they'll show similar themes, like how Wesley and Picard both deal with their future in "Coming of Age," but here there's not as much. I guess they both cover elements from the past coming forward and becoming relevant again, but the connection is not strong.

    I felt the real problem was that Picard's characterization was off. I can understand his irritation with the timing given the Romulan situation, but knowing Picard's interest in history, I would expect him to show more of an interest in the 370 year old humans, Romulans or no Romulans.

    As a result of the crew not attending to them properly, they spend most of their time virtually confined to quarters until Ralph figures out how to get them out. Picard should have assigned Troi to deal with the old-timers and Data or Worf to research the Romulans, giving more time to the acclimation and ideology conflicts and less to exposition about stuff everyone already knows.

    Despite all this, the old-timers still aren't totally wasted. Their purpose is to illustrate the differences between the attitudes of the 20th and 24th centuries and how much society would change during that time. Claire and Sonny have straightforward reactions that make sense. While not particularly exciting, they both show aspects of humanity that are actually timeless. Claire cares about her family (and establishes the sense of continuity that is one of the aspects of family most often stressed on TNG). Sonny demonstrates adaptability and shows us that even in the 24th century, people will still want to have fun. (One thing about TNG - the most fun they ever seem to have is performing Shakespeare - I think they could use a Sonny). He is almost slyly poking fun at the overall stuffiness of Trek, maybe showing some ways that modern-day life is actually better. Ralph shows the most contrast - like a less annoying version of "Time's Arrow's" Clemens. He even engages Picard in a debate over the nature of destiny, and wins. With Ralph, you see some ways humanity has improved over time, but also that something may have been lost, that humans are a little too accepting of fate and need a little challenge and encouragement to really do their best. One of the weaknesses in most utopian visions, Roddenberry's included, is that, when life is just so easy, what really DOES motivate people? Ralph forces Picard to try to answer this question. Unfortunately, the episode just doesn't spend enough time on these issues.

    I find that in general, I like the first two seasons of TNG more than most people, and I'd give this episode a solid 2.5 stars, 3 if it had been paced a little better.

    If nothing else, I think this episode deserves credit for inspiring "Futurama," whose "freezerdoodles" look exactly like these cryocanisters, whose power-outages gag echoes the explanation here of why they are in space, and the episode "Futurestock" which appears to be based on Ralph (or perhaps simply draws from the same stock 80's financier character).

    @Paul: "Season 1 is so bad it's good! Elixirs of youth, invisible weapons that destroy whole civilizations, drunk crew destroying the ship!"


    You've pretty much just described three of the last five movies.

    I'd have to slightly disagree with Jammer on this one. A 1.5 star rating is a bit *too* harsh. I agree it was a disjointed episode, but there are a few fun factors that add to the entertainment and watchability of this episode.

    - Watching the 20th century humans try to adapt to 24th century life, let alone life during a crisis, was amusing. Also, the set of the cryogenic chambers was well put together. It was probably my 2nd favorite away team set, with the 1st one being the transport ship from "Heart of Glory."

    - Seeing the Romulans on-screen "for the first time in 50 years" (but really 18 years since TOS was aired) was cool for its time. I also forgot about the Romulan attack that was supposedly taking place during "Angel One." It goes to show the writers didn't plan far ahead, haha.

    - Although no one knew it back then, this episode provided hints about the Borg's existence. Maybe it's this "future" knowledge which makes me think a little more highly about this episode.

    Compared to most of Season 1, this episode is definitely one of the better ones.

    My rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

    When TNG first came on the air in the 80s, I was a teenager. I watched a few episodes and decided I didn't like it. I was very disappointed with it. Yet, I've been impressed that it had such a long run and had so many fans. So this month I decided to watch it all.

    All the reasons I stopped watching it are very clear. Writing that is so bad, it hardens back to Ed Wood. Characters that really annoyed me, useless Troi, creepy Riker, shipsaving Will Crusher. TNG couldn't make the leap to full equality; females assigned only "nurturing" roles. (Tasha wasn't nurturing and got killed off. I remember really liking her.). DS9 also lost me in season 1, but I became a huge Voyager fan. I will go back and try DS9 too.

    Thanks for this web site. I really enjoy reading the reviews and comments.

    I'm going to have to disagree with Jammer on this one - sorry there bud. How WOULD 20th century humans react to how life is in the 24th century? I think that's an interesting sci-fi premise, and enjoyed the "Neutral Zone"'s take on this.

    I'm going to have to comment on Starfleet's atrocious security again - why does the turbolift allow mere passengers access to the bridge, a critical area of the ship? At the very least, only Starfleet personnel should be able to get the turbolift to the bridge.

    And come on you guys, you didn't like Picard's chiding of Data (which didn't happen much during the series) - "What more could have happened to them Data? They were already dead!" His attitude seems a bit odd, though, since he obviously loves history with his archaelogy hobby, here is history in the flesh, people who can give 1st hand accounts of life in the 20th century, and he isn't even the least bit curious?

    I did like the cryogenic ship set also. It was rather silly though, that not even a lowly midshipman was assigned to these people, just to explain how things work in the 24th century. But then we couldn't get the antics we got, so maybe that's OK.

    In any case, I would say this is a solid 3 star outing. You say "We'll always have Paris" is 2 stars, there's just no way that show is better than this one in my opinion. As an example, when re-watching episodes, I will sometimes skip watching "We'll always have Paris" but I never skip the "Neutral Zone", so that says something, I think.

    I actually think 1.5 stars is generous here -- I find the plight of these three characters from the 20th century painfully uninteresting, and the smugness with which the 24th century characters regard the 20th century types persistently annoying. Within universe, it's forgivable, I suppose -- I don't imagine that we would be all that kind to 17th century people demanding us to pay attention to their needs and values -- but the fact remains that this episode was written by 20th century writers, who are not above the same qualities which are so broadly ridiculed in the characters here. Of the three, only Clare is even marginally tolerable, and her entire story is "Clare is sad."

    The episode does get credit for introducing the Romulan warbird, which is pretty badass.

    Anyway, 1 star.

    As I just did on the page for s2, I will (for fun) list my ratings for s1, where they differ from Jammer's (I did a rewatch recently) -- note that these are all open to change over time. In parentheses are included the difference between my ratings and Jammer's.

    The Naked Now 1.5 (-1)
    The Last Outpost 1.5 (-0.5)
    Lonely Among Us 1.5 (-0.5)
    Hide and Q 2.5 (-0.5)
    The Big Goodbye 2.5 (+0.5)
    11001001 3.5 (-0.5)
    Too Short a Season 1 (-0.5)
    Coming of Age 3 (+0.5)
    The Arsenal of Freedom 2.5 (-0.5)
    Conspiracy 3 (-0.5)
    The Neutral Zone 1 (-0.5)

    There is little that needs to be said about s1 of TNG. It is actually amazing to me how bad this year is, and how radically it improves. It actually feels unfair using the same rating system for s1 as future seasons. I mean, can one really call both "Angel One" and "Manhunt" one star shows, when the latter's sin is boringness and the former's is -- I mean, I don't even know where to start? Obviously, Jammer does, and I agree with those ratings -- it's just that it is hard to even compare the two seasons. In context, "11001001" maybe does deserve four stars -- I mean, what a breath of fresh air it is; it is actually fairly incredible that that episode got produced, since it must be *much* harder to write an episode for characters who are poorly established and contradictory than for characters who are well established.

    But despite its low quality, I do admit to finding this year charming much of the time. It is exciting when threads are first introduced to be picked up later, and there is something amusing about the bright, anything-goes style, in which the writers, cast and crew are clearly throwing a lot of different things at the wall and waiting to see what sticks.

    I LIKED 'The Neutral Zone'! The new series (TNG) had to find some way to separate itself from TOS,and this episode makes a start. Using the same premise as 'Space Seed'-antiquarian, frozen humans- it spins the tale out in a decidedly different direction; instead of over-the-top, eugenically advanced Super Villians,we get more normal( i.e., grounded in everyday reality)humans.The one trump card TNG held over TOS was its psychological sublety vs. TOS (sometimes) heavyhanded commentary. place of Khan, hellbent on seizing control of a starship,presumably en route to conquering the (known) Universe, we get Ralph Offenhouse.Pushy, arrogant, used to getting his way he is,simply, an obnoxious Capitalist Pig;"do you at least have a Wall Street Journal?" he snaps at Will Riker. But is Offenhouse really all that simple? Although driven by the Profit Motive,seemingly, he shows surprising depth and feeling in his encounter with Jean-Luc;in fact,it is the Captain who comes across as more than a little smug,assured in his comfort zone that we've "grown out of our infancy". Offenhouse actually outpoints Picard when the Captain snorts at the notion Ralph posits that the power to "control your life, your destiny" is the ultimate object of the financier. "Such control is an illusion" he contends."Oh really?" Ralph replies,"I'm here,aren't I? I should be dead,but I'm NOT!" Tellingly,Jean-Luc has no answer ready for that one. Later, Offenhouse demonstates superior capabiltites by not only finding his way to the Command Deck, but by actually making an on-the-spot assessment of the Romulans which Picard concedes is accurate.ERGO: Clearly the writers were after a more rounded and nuanced characterization in Offenhouse than is found in TOS. And they got it. He's not loveable, but he's tantalizingly real.

    @Kevin, the contrast with "Space Seed" is the most interesting take on this episode I've ever heard, thank you.

    You're welcome, I'm sure. Of course, this episode DOES have SOME problems-chief of which is the implausibility(not to mention disputable utility) of a cryongenic capsule drifting out into deep space,light years away from earth. Let's log that one as a convenience of/for the writers,shall we? Ditto trouble with the Romulans and/or the Neutral Zone-which provides a crisis to distract Captain Picard & crew from their out-of-time passengers,thereby causing anxieties and conflicts to develop between them, which would ordinarily have been given some level of priority. However, these flaws do not detract from the greater points of interest; i.e., the differing responses of three ordinary humans who wake up 370 years in the future. Usually, anachronism is played for the Cheap Laugh, especially on TEEVEE: "Happy Days and "That 70s Show" being the best (and worst) examples.There's little of that here and, in fact, one of the more sophisticated yucks comes from the comparison of the Enterprise to the "Q.E.II". Although it is observed by Data that the C&W singer has adjusted most easily to the situation, I must point out that his "adjustment" involves the further pickling of his liver via prodigious consumption of martinis;picking up where he left off,back in the 21st Century.

    I agree with many of the commenters that this is a better episode than given credit here. This somewhat surprised me, as I don't think I liked it much back when I first saw it as a kid. Maybe it's just the knowledge that Season 1 is finally over and the show will get better, or maybe it's just the appearance of the Warbird. Or maybe it's just an actually decent episode. Not great, perhaps not even good, but decent enough.

    The tension over the Neutral Zone was built up quite well over the course of the episode I think, broken up only by the human popsicle scenes. The show tended to use more dramatic shots of the Enterprise, we had infighting on the bridge, and some good music as well to put us in the mood. It's a nice preview of what we'll get later in Season 3 with the Romulans; that feeling of foreboding doom around every corner and the need to carefully consider every step. Was it as well executed as in The Defector? No. But it still worked.

    Yeah, simply saying "we're back" was a bit cheesy, but it served as a way to keep Trek fans hopes up for the 2nd season, so why not. Yes, the crew was preachy yet again about how 24th century life was so superior, but at least the 20th century man defended himself adequately. I would have liked more of that, particularly at the end, but of course Roddenberry couldn't allow capitalism to be seen in a positive light. The financier was definitely the most interesting of the three survivors to me, and frankly I could have enjoyed a whole episode dealing with him. The southern guy was ok as comedy (although the accent was a bit grating). The lady was rather boring I thought, but perhaps necessary to put in the requisite family aspect.

    Some other good moments:

    - When Picard yells at the banker for using the intercom, banker asks him why there's no lockout if it's only to be used for official business. As someone who's been rolling my eyes at the lack of safeguards on the ship, it's nice to see someone call them out. Picard's answer (self-discipline) wasn't satisfactory enough either. Self discipline? On a ship with kids? Often used to transport other races? Is that seriously it?

    - The Warbird decloaking. Definitely one of the best designed ships in Trek. The camerawork making sure to put it in the foreground (thus very imposing compared to the Enterprise) was a nice touch.

    - The fact that the destroyed outposts were never resolved. It's nice to know not everything can be solved in 43 minutes.

    - Picard acting like a captain and taking control of the situation. After so many episodes of seeming like a doddering old fool compared to the super genius Wesley and totally Kirk-like Riker, it was nice to see him in command, choosing his own course of action and avoiding the rash suggestions of Riker and Worf.

    As an aside, one thing I noticed after rewatching the first season is just how much it improved over the course of the year. So many of the horrid images I had of the first season, like Code of Honor or Justice, were in the first half. Likewise, Wesley the Wunderkid, Grumpy Picard, Preachy Moralizing, Awful Second Halves, and all the other problems were reduced significantly as the season wore on. Also, the acting got so much better, particular Gates McFadden, who was acting more like an android than Brent Spiner in the beginning. She seemed to figure out her characterization as time wore on. The characters are so much more comfortable with each other and far more natural, so you can start to see the greatness that the series would become.

    Starting with Home Soil, there's a string of 9 episodes to end the season that, well, aren't bad. Some of them aren't good, of course, but none of them are Angel One or Code of Honor. Given that, it's a bit easier to see the improvements that will come in the 2nd Season.

    @SkepticalMI: I think you nailed it. The second half of the first season really is improved. I think "11001001" was the turning point. "When the Bough Breaks" sucks, but I've always thought "Too Short a Season" and "Coming of Age" were underrated. "Skin of Evil" was sort of necessitated by Denise Crosby wanting to leave the series. "Symbiosis" isn't good, but it feels less like the early episodes.

    One thing I would say is that the second season has some pretty bad episodes ("The Outrageous Okona" might be Trek's most pointless episode, if not its worst). I'd say the next jump in quality for TNG didn't really happen until season 3.

    I gotta make a comment towards all of the "How did the show even make it 1 season" talk.....Let's not forget, this was filmed in 1987, what were the GOOD shows in 1987? I have below the top 10 shows (some ties) for 1987-88. Now I am not saying TV is better or worse, just different, and I guess that much like TNG, if these shows were produced today, they would die pretty quick.

    The Cosby Show
    A Different World
    The Golden Girls
    Growing Pains
    Who's the Boss?
    Night Court
    60 Minutes
    Murder, She Wrote
    (tie) ALF
    (tie) The Wonder Years
    (tie) Moonlighting
    (tie) L.A. Law

    Sadly, Nick P, for viewers with a nostalgic bent, your list proves exactly the opposite of your point. Oh, what I would give to travel back in time to re-experience peak Night Court!

    Supposedly, Brent Spiner's Bob Wheeler was set to join the Night Court ensemble, but he got another job that year.

    I think it says something about the attitudes of the 1980's that the audience took such a blatant middle finger in their collective faces in stride and came back for more. Pretty much every episode of the first season had something along this theme, but the bulk of this episode puts it all together and drives home the message, "YOU, THE AUDIENCE, AS HUMAN BEINGS OF LATE 20TH CENTURY EARTH, WILL BE REMEMBERED AS SOME OF THE WORST PEOPLE IN GALACTIC HISTORY."

    About the only thing that explains that plot line to me is that the writer must have thought the series was cancelled, that this would be the last episode of TNG ever, and decided to use it as an opportunity to vent about everything he or she hated about the world of that day.

    I'm not sure if anyone mentioned it, but isn't it convenient that Riker answered the page using the room's comm unit instead of his communicator, just so the guests could later get on the comm and annoy Picard.

    One thing I do give the episode props for...the bit about TV going out of style seems visionary from a show about 8 years away from the popularity of the Internet itself, and about 10 years away from YouTube and DVRs


    Leftism at its best. Self hating. A lot of people are eternally apologising for everything, including their own existence. Trek would have picked them up hook line and sinker.

    One thing I do give the episode props for...the bit about TV going out of style seems visionary

    Say what?? TV is around more now than ever. And TV shows ON Youtube. Trek is trying to say that all TV entertainment is gone. Along with Rock music and a ton of other things. How have you possibly reached the conclusion that this is "visionary"???

    I agree with DLPB's statement about the self-apologizing, but other than that (and a stupid comment about homemakers), I actually like this episode. I like how it contrasts people of the past with people of an "idealistic" future. It's cheesy, but fun.

    Structurally, it fails a bit in that it feels like this is the missing chunk out of at least a three-episode storyline. It seems like there should have been a follow up episode to conclude something about conflict with the Romulans and the future of the 20th century people. This episode would be better if it didn't feel so chopped off.

    I've always enjoyed this episode. Both sub plots. I always thought that this episode contained the first appearance of the Borg. As I recall, the outposts were scooped up with no trace. Neither Star Fleet nor the Romulans knew why or were capable of doing this. So the purpose to me was so much more than just showing the Romulans were back. It was foreshadowing for the entrance of the Borg.

    For me, 3 1/2 stars out of four. The first of the Borg episodes. And kudos to the writers for the subtle foreshadowing and introduction of the greatest of Star Trek villains, the Borg. As for the other subplot, our greatest villains generally appear to us when we are focused elsewhere on something relatively banal and we are feeling superior and smug, like thinking how advanced we are relative to another group of people. Looks like pretty damn good writing to me and yet another reason I love Star Trek.

    Watch Q Who. Data states the Borg damage in that episode is "identical to what happened to the outposts along the neutral zone."

    The producers missed a golden opportunity to reintroduce the Romulans in dramatic fashion. This storyline with these 3 frozen people from the 20th century was just plain stupid, and had the mark of the old TOS writers and Roddenberry all over it. Why they thought storylines like this made for good sci-fi storytelling is quite puzzling. And that line by Crusher, "people feared dying, it terrified them"... give me a break already! First off, are the writers trying to claim that people in the 24th century have no fear whatsoever of dying? And let's face it, in the 20th century there are far more ways of dying when compared to what I'm sure will be great medical advancements in the 24th century... Dumb, dumber, and dumbest... Ugh!

    This episode inspired this blog post

    I'd agree that this is an uneasy merging of A and B story, but is not without its merits. Yes, the Buck Rogers style 'child out of time' set up is cliched, but at least give the opportunity to put out there the basic situation of 24th century life, which up to now hasn't really been explored.

    And the big Romulan MacGuffin actually pays off. You might say it takes the whole episode to build to a point where the Romulans say "we're back" - but come on, who didn't get a shiver of anticipation when they appeared. As a bridge into the next series, it works nicely. 2.5 stars.


    As to the series overall, I see that it averages out at 2.14 stars by my scoring - as according to the site scoring policy this straddles the line between fair and pretty bad, which feels about right. I only scored 5 episodes at 3 or above, which again shows there wasn't much in the way of standouts, and the run of 9 episodes in the middle of the series where 8 scored 2 or below was definitely a low point.

    But for the last 9 eps I scored all but one 2.5 or above, and even the exception was notable for Tasha Yar's death, so - as one might expect - my feeling that the series was starting to find its way by the last third seems to be borne out.

    I love the idea of this episode, but it was handled in such a clumsy fashion. I like the people from the 20th century, but the way the 24th-century people acted toward them was absolutely ridiculous.

    Tell me that nobody thought it might be a good idea to have Deanna present when the 20s were awakened? And oh yes, let's have Worf there to scare the crap out of them?

    I think Clare's story was handled all right (except it has to be the woman who is the only one to show emotion for all she has lost -- eyeroll), and Sonny and Data had a bit of fun, but the one I have the most empathy for is Ralph. He was a man of importance and power, and is suddenly here in this world where he is told to "go away and don't bother us." Now I don't like people like him today, but in this scenario I really felt for him. I understand that everyone was so busy with the Romulans, but it wasn't possible to assign a crewman to him to help him try and contact his people and answer his questions? And act like they weren't totally annoyed with him? I know that would make me feel bad--I can only imagine it would be worse for someone who was used to having people jump at his commands.

    His frustration leads him to the bridge as contact with the Romulans is made, and then it turns out he is not useless after all--he makes a very keen observation. I actually cheered, "You tell 'em, Ralph!" Now, it was pretty obvious the Romulans were clueless about the attackers, but still, I liked that moment when Ralph said out loud what everyone was thinking.

    I looked up the actor who played him, Peter Mark Richman. He is 88 years old, and his career began in 1953 and extended to 2011. I assume his age has prevented him acting the last few years, but I think he was an amazing character actor who elevated this episode. Seven decades of work! Wow.

    I assume the two security officers on the bridge were fired immediately after this. The Captain said, "Get that man off the bridge," and when Ralph said, "I'm not going," they replied, "Okay. We'll just stand here next to you. We're just security. It's okay that you don't want to leave, Ralph." Then when the whole situation is over, the Captain AGAIN orders them to remove him--but this time he is willing to go, so it works.

    That bit illustrated to me the main problem with this episode--sloppy writing. Sloppy way to introduce the 20s, sloppy way to deal with their challenges, sloppy way to keep Ralph on the Bridge.

    But it was very cool to see the Romulan vessel appear -- it did look scary!

    Every time I see Picard pick up an antique book for some leisurely reading, I think of this episode and how wrong it was.

    What does Picard care about? Space travel and exploration, clearly. Seeking out "new life and new civilizations", and learning, with an open mind, about other ways of being. Archeology. History. Old, archaic things. Shakespeare. Human history and progress. He and his friends have the technology to immersively simulate anywhere, any time, real or imagined, and what do they do? More often than not, visit 19th-20th century Earth.

    So, one day Picard comes across an ancient relic of Earth history and early space travel. What's more, there are *actual people* on board who can be revived. First-hand witnesses of history. What a find! And how does Picard react? Does he sit down with them, asking them questions, picking their brains for everything they can share about what it was *really* like back then? Does he proudly explain all the great advances of the human race, how things set in motion in their lifetimes gave fruit to this utopian world? Nope. Instead, he's just annoyed. "Come on, Data, why'd you have to go and revive them? Can't you see they were *already dead*?" He wants to get rid of them and forget about them ASAP. "We have no time for the past, we must move forward!" He has so many dusty old books to get back to reading...

    This was a weird episode.
    I think there are three distinct components:

    1. 3 corpsicles on what looks like a bargain basement version of Skylab are thawed out to reveal a soccer mum, Michael Douglas from Wall Street and Roscoe from The Dukes of Hazard.
    2. First evidence of a Borg incursion one assumes.
    3. The Romulans ,having been revealed a century ago in TOS Balance of Terror, are rather unconvicingly supposed to have become semi mythic again,having disappeared for 50 years.

    The first two components are eminently pointless and having the Borg reaching the edge of Federation Space at this point contradicts the rapidity of their advancement depicted a couple years on.

    The vanishing Romulans makes absolutely no sense in the political landscape we assume to be in place and witnessed quite clearly in the TOS movie era.
    So one day the Romulans have a resident ambassador on Earth and then within decades they have vanished.

    I know that the utopian society of the UFP as envisaged by Rodenberry may frown on such things but the Feds would have spies in their neighbour's systems and even if they didn't the Gorn and Orions would.
    Looking at the Vulcans' monitoring of the Andorians in Enterprise and later TNG storylines like Reunification clearly our chums in Starfleet would know what the Praetor had for breakfast a few hours after he left the dining table.

    It is this kind of failure to suspend disbelief that has typified virtually the whole of season 1.

    I really struggle to find nice things to say about Season 1 of TNG.

    The only thing is TNG eventually got better but first we had to get through season 2.
    I recall reading an opinion in in Starlog around the time of Season 3 to the effect that Star Trek TNG was the zenith for science fiction TV.
    Well, you would not have imagined that this show would generate that sort of plaudit in 1987.

    TNG Season 1:
    "Encounter at Farpoint"-2.5
    "The Naked Now"-1
    "Code of Honor"-0.5
    "The Last Outpost"-2
    "Where No One Has Gone Before"-3
    "Lonely Among Us"-1.5
    "The Battle"-2.5
    "Hide and Q"-1.5
    "The Big Goodbye"-2.5
    "Angel One"-0
    "Too Short A Season"-2
    "When the Bough Breaks"-3
    "Home Soil"-3
    "Coming of Age"-2
    "Heart of Glory"-3
    "The Arsenal of Freedom"-2.5
    "Skin of Evil"-1
    "We'll Always Have Paris"-2.5
    "The Neutral Zone"-2
    Overall: 2.12

    This is like "Balance of Terror" and "Space Seed" rolled into 1 poor episode. 2 TOS classics but poorly juxtaposed here. Not sure what contribution it makes to revive those 3 cryogenically frozen bodies - 3 annoying characters.
    The issue with the Romulans return - had it really been some 50+ years since last encountering them. The timeline doesn't make sense. Perhaps setting up the Romulans for future episodes as a Federation threat.
    Not much to say here - 1.5/4 stars for me. Season 1 TNG is pretty forgettable.

    Here's a line that deserves a little more:

    "Let's find us a couple of low mileage pit wolfies and help em build a memory. "


    3 stars. I liked this. Quite entertaining

    I loved the idea of the ship coming across this relic and I felt especially for the mother's plight of awakening to this new world without her family and having to adjust. I also enjoyed the insight into 24th century life and factoids the trio are informed of by The crew--tv going away, cure for cancer etc. The other two revived humans also added to the hour. The country singer added right level of down home humor and his interactions were great with Data--highlight "low mileage pit-woofies" lol. I also got a huge kick out of his tapping Beverly on her backside and Beveely taking it all in stride with her restrained reaction. And the rich guy's astute observation of the Romulans was a highlight

    The episode also did a good job building up to the reintroduction of the Romulans to the 24th century. The back n forth between Picard and the Romulans was interesting. The ominous note their encounter ended on was very effective along with the mystery of the destroyed colonies--which we later learn result of the Borg(and apparently Maurice Hurley interestingly enough planned on having the Borg feature more in season two ultimately leading to the Enterprise entering Romulan territory discovering the Empire was wiped out by the Borg). I also thought the new Romulan Warbird was a beautiful design with its rich vibrant green and sleek design

    This is a single episode later than Conspiracy and it's already clear they're setting up for the Borg invasion. I had heard lots of talk that the Borg were originally meant to be insectoid and that the parasites from Conspiracy were a lead-up to that until they decided to go another way. Watching this episode now I've decided there's no way. The parasites had a different MO, a different attitude than a race that would simply remove entire outposts. The queen parasite insisted that they wanted *peaceful coexistence* (i.e. they control humanity) and I believe she meant it. What we see in The Neutral Zone is a whole different animal. These are not the same threat.

    Another thing I'd forgotten all about is that Commander Tebok tells Picard that there had been no contact with the Romulans for decades because "matters more urgent caused our absence", and that in their absence they'd been negligent and allowed both the Borg attack as well as the Federation expansion. What in the world could have been going on for the Romulans between TOS and now? Civil war? Rebellion? War with another race (the Klingons)? It's an awfully curious tidbit to throw in that never gets any explanation that I know of. It's funny to even have Tebok say it because I don't think any audience members would have ever had the thought that the Romulans were conspicuously absent. There were TOS S3 eps with them, and now one in TNG S1, so it's not like there was an unexplained hiatus. But they decided to state that there had been one anyhow, and left it at that. Weird.

    I think the concept of this episode is fine. The execution was flawed, mainly in the script. They had some very odd/dismissive/haughty reactions from the crew toward the derelict ship and the three people aboard. Examples:

    -- Riker being dismissive of the "space junk" or whatever he called it. They are explorers and usually relish the thought of an encounter with history or any mystery.

    -- Picard being so dismissive of them altogether and seemingly think it fine to have just let their ship break up with no chance of revival.

    -- Grouping all three of them together as terrible examples of humanity. The woman didn't do anything but naturally be shocked and sad. She didn't even know that she would be frozen. Under the circumstances, I think she behaved admirably. The musician was overly homespun and country-ass, but otherwise he was reacting quite well to the situation. The only prick of the three was the financier, but he actually had some valid points himself.

    I'm not sure why they chose to throw in those random lines from the crew and take that approach. I think they could have achieved the same level of tension without the Enterprise crew being so cold and dismissive to their plight.

    As for the Romulan angle, HURRAY! The Ferengis were a flop and the Klingons somewhat neutered, so FINALLY some adversaries worthy of the name.

    I thought it was a great note to end the season with considering it wasn't an actual cliffhanger but more of a foreshadowing episode: "Our lives just got a whole lot more complicated," as Picard said.

    This and "Conspiracy" gave me hope for a better Season 2, and it was delivered.

    More thoughts on this:

    This is going in the opposite direction many would like, but this could have actually made a good two-parter on which to end the season.

    "Past and Future, Part 1":

    Opens like it did. Picard away at a conference. Enterprise waiting for rendezvous with Picard in five days. They find the derelict ship. It's been damaged in a meteor shower that the Enterprise easily passed through.

    Data and Worf go over to the ship. It's going to break up in hours, so urgent decision is to be made.

    They beam over four containers and unfreeze four people. Get a scene with Dr. Crusher with the containers and how to do this we didn't see before.

    We get the same three we had before plus a young, overeager dreamer who had himself frozen without even having an illness. He is a geeky, overeager, brilliant type (think a variation of early Dr. Bashir on DS9) who was convinced he'd see other species in space, etc.

    Crew is actually much more thoughtful and careful about how to handle them this time (giving something truly useful for Troi to do with her psychology and abilities), and each survivor kind of "attaches" to one of the crew.

    -- Data (and to some degree Dr. Crusher) and the musician (who is still homespun but has more backstory as a country musician who was riding high but crashing in his career and started drinking, etc.)

    -- Riker and the young overeager guy (Riker sees something of himself in the guy and is actually enjoying the four people in this version).

    -- Troi and the sad family woman.

    -- Worf and the financier, who sees more of himself in Worf than the 24th century humans. And Worf starts to respect his more combative view of life.

    The first two-thirds of the episode is about their adjustment, etc. The Enterprise heads off for a Starbase, knowing they have enough time to get there and back and meet Picard.

    About two-thirds of the way through, we see Picard for the first time at the conference. He expresses he's getting bored and ready to get back to the Enterprise (to some other captain) and glad its mostly over with just four days to go. He and she then get the urgent news about the Neutral Zone attacks from an admiral. Both captains want to go but the admiral says they'll send only the Enterprise. Other captain half-jokingly complains Picard and the Enterprise get all the fun.

    Picard contacts Enterprise. They must immediately divert away from Starbase and pick him up ASAP in shuttle. From there, they'll go to Neutral Zone.

    The foursome learn about this and are: anxious (woman), pissed-off (financier), musician takes it in stride and the overeager guy is naively excited about seeing Romulans and is too young to take in the gravity of the situation. They don't like being kept in the dark about the diversion.

    Picard meets up with team, they do debriefing on threat and Picard learns about the foursome. He's annoyed and says keep them out of his way. Troi says they are worried and he meets them briefly. Picard has the argument with the financier while Worf listens and sees both sides.

    The remaining Neutral Zone bases are being evacuated when possible, and a freighter will meet just long enough with the Enterprise for the frozen four to beam over to the freighter, which is headed back the Starbase in Federation space.

    Then, at the close of the episode, they hear the frantic call for help from the freighter before they disappear. Their static-laden last words implicate the Romulans. End of Part 1.

    "Past and Future, Part 2":

    Open on the bridge of a Romulan ship. They are investigating the disappearance of their bases on their side of the NZ. First Officer is sure it's the Federation at work. Captain isn't so sure and says they will investigate further. FO is clearly not happy but naturally has to go along. Captain: "If we go to war, I want to make sure we chose the right enemy."

    Then we flip back to the Enterprise with a more tense discussion that we had before. Worf and Riker wanting to take a more offensive approach. Geordi and Data are more cautious. Troi asks probing questions of both sides. Meanwhile, the four survivors contemplate their fates alone, wishing they had more info.

    Then the Romulan ship and the Enterprise both get another brief, crackly distress call from the last remaining Fed outpost. Romulan FO thinks Federation is attacking its own outposts to set a trap for the Romulans. Captain, again, isn't so sure.

    On Enterprise, another debate speculating about whether it's Romulans and tactics to use. Worf and financier have longer scene about Khitomer.

    Romulan ship and Enterprise converge at the outpost. Overeager guy and financier sneak up to the bridge for a longer, tenser face-off scene that comes closer to a weapons exchange than original episode did (with FO on Romulan ship attempting to fire a weapon. His captain kills him before the order is executed). Financier guy makes the observation about the Romulans that helps in the face-off while overeager guy witnesses the downside of space travel.

    Ends with the four frozens having one last talk with their Enterprise buddies as musician gives a little concert before getting new transport to Earth: Troi sends sad woman off to see her progeny. Riker encourages overeager guy to study and maybe apply to Starfleet. Worf and financier would like to meet again as they both adapt to worlds not their own. Musician sees hope for new career from Crush and Data and no longer tempted by booze, etc.

    Episode ends with crew speculating about the frozen four's new lives on Earth and if they'll adjust and the new reality of their own future lives: A Romulan Empire no longer in dormancy. "Whatever the future holds, our lives, just as theirs, have become a whole lot more complicated."

    So this episode now looks a philosophical masterpiece with the release of Discovery's first season. In Disco, the Federation meet the Klingon's again for the first time in decades. In "The Neutral Zone", the Federation meet the Romulans for the first time in decades. In Disco, the meeting is preceded by much chaos and even a mutiny on the bridge. In TNG, its preceded by some rational discussions on Romulan culture and tactics. The Romulans themselves are equally rational chessmasters.

    Running concurrently is a plot in which 20th century humans are revived. They continually harass the crew of the Enterprise, leading to a nice kind of tension; you really get a feel for how busy Picard is as a captain, constantly having to deal with Romulans, 20th century humans and other critical ship business. Picard is simply awesome in this episode, constantly juggling balls.

    And whilst Jammer and others deem the subplot with the revived humans as being "pointless", it (especially in the light of Disco) seems to me to be very crucial. These 21st century humans - drunks, sentimentalists, bankers and uber materialists - and their principles will not infect these newfound relations with the Federation and the Romulans. Here the series is at its most utopian, this episode functioning as a giant message to the then contemporary Soviet Union and United States. "Our mission is to go forward," Picard says at the episode's close, "and it's just begun. [...] There's still much to do. There's still so much to learn."

    Progress then - not just progress between Empires and nations - depends upon a breaking with the shackles of the past.

    To me there was an interesting paralel between the Romulan's arrogance and that of the two revived 20th century men, especially Ralph Offenhouse. Imagine doing something such as slapping Beverly on the butt. Funny perhaps but also poor and offensive behaviour. Personally, I will admit that reflecting on other people's questionable behaviour does make me a bit uneasy because although I like to think I do my best to be decent person I know I am not exactly perfect myself either, such being quick to point out things that bother me. Okay, enough about me, back to the episode:

    It was also nice see to the contrast between the Enterprise's crew and the people from the 20th century and their reactions to each other. Seeing the transition from being rather self-involved to actually apologizing, asking questions other than whining about personal issues, and being open to the idea of a new future was also nice.

    And that was my review of The Neutral Zone.

    While I don't always agree with the reviews and comments on this site, it is nice to read other people's opinions and to be able to use the comment section to add my own opinion as well. Thank you for your reviews and keeping this site running for so long, Jammer.

    Noticed a few comments regarding the lack of safeguards where you would expect them. It does seem like lazy writing at first, which it probably is in several cases. But could the argument be made that they aren’t really necessary under what would be considered normal circumstances in what is supposed to be a generally peaceful federation where people supposedly are more evolved than people from earlier centuries? A story about a normal day for an ordinary federation citizen would probably be considered dull and uninteresting to most people. This would mean that most of what we see in the average Star Trek episode would be about events (e.g. criminal behaviour that would warant safeguards) that are atypical for the federation. Perhaps I’m over thinking here?

    Oh, and while there is always room for improvement, I shouldn’t forget that I am not the only person trying to do his/her best.

    It seems I keep thinking of new things to add: yes, I too felt some sympathy for the three people who had suddenly (from their view point) been revived 3 centuries after they had been put in stasis. Must have been quite shock. Now try imaging what it must have been like for the Enterprise’s crew: three civilians who were (relatively) clueless about their current situation and still processing the fact that they needed to get up to date and move on. And while they may have been good at teaching, banking, and hedonism in their time, they weren’t even up to the level of cadets in terms of what would be expected from a crew member. It personally makes me ask myself what the consequences been if a crew member had for example butt slapped Beverly or used the comm panel for selfish reasons. A crew member probably would’ve been relieved of duty and get a stern warning.

    Again, it’s nice to be able to express my own thoughts here while also reflecting on what other people wrote here. Thanks.

    typo: (the consequences would have been)

    The Enterprise was right in the middle of a crisis with the Romulans. They probably would’ve been more lenient otherwise.

    I enjoyed this one. A little surprising how unsympathetic the crew was to the 3 humans found floating in space for 300 years. Ralph was played by long time actor Peter Mark Ritchman, who's career began in the 1950s!

    Leon Rippy, who played Sonny, also appeared in "The Patriot" alongside Mel Gibson in a movie about the Revolutionary War.

    And I have yet another belated comment to add:
    Did those people from the 20th century even stop to think about how they should be glad to even still be alive and cured of their illnesses at that.

    Yes, I will reiterate, what happened to them must have been a shock to them and letting go of the past is easier said that done.

    My, my I appear to have a lot to say, don’t I?

    Thank you to anyone who bothers to read this. Comments are welcome.

    Thanks for this wonderful site.

    I didn't read all of the comments, but one of my biggest problems with this issue is the fact that all of these outposts went missing via some super powerful force, but we just walk away from that fact and never seem to address it. The next episode, they've moved on to some other mission doing some other thing in season 2. The Romulan say, "We're back," and everyone just goes on their merry way without trying to figure out what the eff happened to these outposts! I'd have thought some serious and intense investigation would have gone into this. Maybe a two-parter as the Romulans and Enterprise work tensely together to solve the problem.

    On a production note. I mainly grew up on DS9, and was only really able to experience TNG through reruns and (eventually) Netflix. So it really jars me every time I see Gul Dukat playing some other character. He's one of the Romulan leaders in this episode, and the first Cardasian we encounter in another episode, but under another name!

    @TrekOrrTreat82 I vaguely recall hearing at one point that there was originally an intention to introduce the Borg at the end of Season 1. I don't know if the idea was that they destroyed the outposts and the writers just decided to hold off on revealing that, or if this was a "replacement" story for whatever the first Borg story otherwise would have been. It seems unlikely that the Borg would have been the ones destroying the outposts since they wouldn't have been anywhere near Federation space or the Neutral Zone at the time, unless they had some scout ships operating covertly.

    If I remember correctly, wasn't this meant to be the continuation of the alien threat from "Conspiracy"? Someone then supposedly decided that the horror angle wasn't what Trek was about, so they introduced the Borg.

    I think the the feud between TNG writers and ultimately, the writers strike was the main reason season 2 went in a different direction than was originally intended. Somebody else might provide better details. My info came from a recent PBS special hosted by William Shatner, which outlined the transition from Roddenberry to Michael Piller.

    Riker was a jerk in this episode.

    They find an ancient Earth spacecraft floating around, and his attitude is "let it float into enemy space, and it can be blown up."

    I didn't dislike this episode as much as others here. It did a successful job of building tension and anticipation, and it had a great score by Ron Jones. I could see what they were going for with the frozen people, and I thought Clare's story was perfectly serviceable. How do you react when you get a second chance at life, but 400 years in the future, when everything you hold dear is gone (and not even by your own choice)?

    However, many things were extremely irritating about the episode. Atrocious security on the Federation flagship really grates, of course (open access to comlinks and turbolifts, with no restricted areas for civilians). But also, something more egregious. I'm sure this is a general trend in Trek (and TNG) in general, but there is a serious case of "tell, don't show," going on here, especially in the characterization of Offenhouse (the stock market guy). He has lines of dialogue like:

    "It's never been about possessions, it's about power."

    Who admits this openly, even if they are aware that that is their motivation?

    "I am not willing to allow my fate to be decided by others!" he shouts, as he storms off to the bridge to see what the tense situation on the ship is all about. Who actually verbalizes things like that? It would have been far more realistic if he'd simply said only "I need to go see what's going on," (he did), but without this additional psychoanalysis of himself. Who is self-aware enough to realize that they are power-hungry control freaks, and yet openly admit to it and self-describe that way, without viewing it as a potential failing? The writers are having Offenhouse explicitly describe for us what they have decided his character traits are, instead of simply having him behave in accordance with them,

    [Regarding the destruction of outposts bordering the Neutral Zone]

    PICARD: "Do you think that we attacked your outposts?"
    TEBOK: "Once we realized the level of destruction, we knew it it could not have been you."


    Or at least, backhanded compliment. Impossible not to listen to Tebok and simply hear Gul Dukat, esp after just having rewatched most of DS9.

    It's also annoying that in Picard's first meeting with the survivors, he says that humanity is no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things, but he doesn't explicitly say that *money no longer exists.* Why wouldn't Picard be explicit so that it would be clear to Offenhouse that his bank in Geneva is gone, so that he would *shut up about it already?* Maybe this was intentionally vague so that the writers could hedge a bit, rather than committing to a detailed explanation of the Federation's post-scarcity economy. If they had said "everyone gets an equal allowance of Federation credits per month for an equitable allocation of the finite raw material used to replicate whatever they may want," this may have come across as too distastefully communist for the sensitive American audience. (For the record: given what we've seen of the resources of the Federation, I'm not sure such careful rationing would be necessary). Even so, at the end of the episode, Picard at least makes it clear that material needs are a thing of the past. But fundamentally this relies on there being sufficient mass-energy to replicate everything that everyone could possibly want, so there are still limits, in principle. Plus, some things (like dilithium) cannot be replicated.

    It's also a bit crazy that Picard rejects LaForge's suggestion that the Enterprise take the 20th-century humans to a starbase directly to find faster passage to Earth, since the Charleston will be taking a massive detour on the way to Earth. Picard's reasoning is that the extra journey of several months on the Charleston will give the relic people time to "acclimate." That may be true to an extent, but it doesn't show much compassion. The sterile environment of a starship in the endless vastness of space must be a disquieting place for these people. Picard shows no interest in getting them back to the comfort and familiarity of *the only planet they have ever known*. He comes across here as simply wanting these people off his ship as soon as possible. Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that Picard maintains a certain authoritative distance from the crew, that he is aloof, reserved, collected, cerebral, etc. But that doesn't mean he has to be a dick for no reason. And if he's intolerant of these people, then that's pretty hypocritical given the Federation values he espouses. It seems that there are remnants of "Grumpy Picard" even right at the end of season 1 (perhaps in season 2, I do not know).

    Nice observations, 11001001. I think they were still operating under the basic idea by this point that Picard was a curmudgeon, or at least Stewart was for reasons unknown. Maybe because he thought he was on a silly science fiction show? I think the character softened as the actor did, towards the other cast members. You can hear them tell about how they had to "work on him" to train him into being their friend.


    Well we had Love Boat and now we have a touch of Fantasy Island with the folks cryogenically frozen. I actually liked this Sci Fi premise and having grown up with Fantasy Island didn't mind the central casting characters: the house wife, the partying musician, the tycoon. It added some levity. Okay not a lot of levity but a bit. And as I said, I liked the premise that brought them here. Troi was helpful which was nice to see. Who wrote in the musician patting Dr Crusher's rear? The asshole producer who was the reason she was fired? Was this her last episode and that her last scene? He was an asshole!

    The Romulan interaction was actually a bit boring. Worf was ridiculous in his outburst. I guess he gets the crappy dialogue and behaviour now that Tasha is gone. Yes there was a bit of suspense but it was so obvious Picard was going to overrule Worf and Riker and go with the oh so wise watch and wait tactic.

    And lastly, I didn't get why they added the "We're back!" at the end from the Romulans. It didn't flow from the dialogue it was part of.

    Always felt the crew behaved very out of character in this episode in terms of how they reacted to the cyrogen folk. From Data saying that cryogenics was a fad that never lasted long, it’s clear that finding people like this isn’t exactly routine, which would partly explain the crew’s behaviour were it the case. Picard saying “they were already dead” is just not like him - if they were able to be revived, is it even really accurate?

    And then just the crew’s general disinterest. I mean think about it, if we revived someone from 16-1700’s America or Europe wouldn’t that be just about the most fascinating thing ever?? To understand how they saw events from their perspective and not coloured by history, to see how they reacted to the changes, to answer their questions, even to know what their accents sounded like... it would be so cool! Yet this episode had an aloofness around the whole thing that doesn’t scratch the surface of doing it justice. I mean their biggest concern being their stock portfolio? I just don’t buy it.

    1.5 stars...

    1. They check the atmosphere on the derelict after beaming aboard?!
    2. It has artificial gravity? My weren’t we fast inventing that one!
    3. Why send cryogenically frozen people into space? Ah, orbit? Wouldn’t orbit simply decay causing it to burn up?
    4. Data doesn’t know what homemakers are?
    5. He wanted to buy a “pit-what”?!

    I thought the low mileage comment was about taking the virginity of a couple of country music groupies lol.

    This one is decent, keeps my interest, and has some fun aspects as we watch our (relative) contemporaries try to deal with the 24th century.

    Pretty low key for a season ender, but the "we're back!!" from the Romulans was nice and ominous.

    As a whole, the ep seemed to have a "the more things change, the more they stay the same" message.

    Lots and lots of talk about the effects of the passage of time, on Earth's society, on Romulan technology, on Medical science, and more.

    But humans are still human, Romulans are still Romulans, and Claire's many times great grandson looks just like her husband Donald.

    Onward to Season 2.

    The reactions from the crew just seem bizarre, especially in light of things we will know about them later. They react like angelic aliens who view even the slightest of flaws in humans as grotesque. Yet we have seen them react like normal humans many times, even before this episode. They magically become these utterly alien paragons purely for the purpose of judging humans.

    Additionally, Picard is later revealed to have a reverence for archaeology, to the point that he considered a career as an archaeologist, and was a little tempted to become one again when offered that role by an old mentor. Yet he has zero interest in talking to what are essentially living museum pieces?

    @ Craig,

    You're not wrong. There are some other times in the series where I get the distinct idea that the Enterprise crew is somewhat elistist and doesn't really like talking with people or aliens who are 'less civilized' than them.


    This episode was a fan submitted script used due to the writers' strike so that explains why the characterizations are all off.

    In the writer's defense, whether Picard is interested in archaeology or not, he's still a Starfleet captain and handling looming aggression by the Romulans should be his top priority. It's not like he couldn't have a nice long chat with the cryo-hippies later.

    Re: original Borg plan

    The original idea was to open season two with the Enterprise discovering the Borg has destroyed the Romulan Empire and the crew discovering that the Romulans found a way to destroy the Borg cube

    The crew were to run into more Borg and would need to figure out how the Romulans destroyed the first cube

    I'm shocked to see that there are other watchers of this show who actually liked Offenhouse. I did, too, but I have little in common with the usual Trek fanbase.

    I don't think the writers meant to make him as interesting of a character as they did, but the positive characteristics he brings - aggression, some measure of self-awareness, a talent for analyzing the motivations and strategic positions of an opponent - are very realistic for a successful investor-class guy from the 20th century. His negatives, particularly the sense of entitlement, are understandable as well.

    I think Picard was a bit oblivious to his point of view, which means the writers were oblivious to some of their own material, but I love the irony: Picard basically dismisses the drive for empowerment and control, even as he commands a ship and engages in high-stakes talks with a rival. The men are very similar. If Offenhouse wanted a challenge, the next step would be for him to head off to Starfleet Academy.

    As someone born in the early 1990s I did not find the frozen people relatable at all. They just seemed greedy and self centered

    it was a bit thrown together, but the basic structure was interesting enough. The idea of these thawed-out relics of the 20th century turning up just at a time when the Enterprise was in a major crisis was a good one. But it could have been done a lot better.

    As a good few people have noted, it was right out of character to have Picard totally uninterested in the arrivals - it would have worked far better if he'd been totally fascinated by them, but iron-willed in his determination to set all that aside to focus on the big issue facing him. Which would have meant refusing to pay them any attention, so it would have come to the same thing so far as they were concerned.

    And the revived trio could have been done far better, especially Sonny. What it cried up for was to have him as a cameo appearance by a real singer - imagine Sonny replaced by say Willy Nelson or Bob Dylan.

    The stand-off with the Romulans was there to give a reason for picard and company to be so preoccupied, and to provide a threat and warning for future episodes, and it served well enough for that.
    Considering the whole series, having watched them in a few days I don't share the scorn evidently felt by a lot of posters here over the years. The plots were shaky, as were the sets often enough, but what mattered was the way the actors settled into their parts and developed the characters they inhabited. That was especially so with Picard, moving from a bit of a caricature of a grouchy captain to someone able to be comfortable in his wisdom. And the others did the same, especially Data and Worf.

    Looking back, that was what the first (and indeed much of the second) season was about, laying the foundations, and taking enough time to do so. Very much in tune with what became the Star Trek ethos. (And I was very happy to see that "Picard", the latest incarnation of Star Trek, which I've been watching over the past couple of months has kept faith with that readiness to take its time in building its ensemble.

    IF the people were "already dead" according to Crusher, how could they have been revived? I was not aware that Crusher had the power to resurrect the dead. Why not just say they were frozen before they died because they had life-threatening illnesses? Not a big problem unless the writers felt that it would be hard to support the idea that the technology would have been available to keep them alive in stasis for four hundred years. Also, I suppose that it would probably have been illegal to freeze someone who was still alive.

    Nothing improbable about reviving someone who has died. Depends on what you mean by death. When I had a cardiac arrest a few years ago, my heart stopped for some time, and that has generally be seen as defining the moment of death. But I¡m still here ten years later thanks to two strangers who gave me CPR until the paramedics arrived.

    I'm not sure what definition of death the cryonics people use, but they must use one in order to freeze people, because otherwise they'd be shut down.

    Where were you Gerontius when your heard stopped? If you were still here, then what died? If you weren't, then again - what died?

    Who knows? My body was, by some legal definitions dead for a while. Then I was alive by all legal definitions. I'm not sure that "here" is a appropriate term for whether I am alive or not. Is a car less here when it is switched off? Is a Television programme here when the TV is turned on. Am I here on this website when someone else reads what I have just written? In 30 seconds or five years?

    Did future TNG episodes ever elaborate on what caused all the Federation starbases to simply disappear? At one point there is a comment like "the station was ripped off the face of the planet", or some such. Did they ever explain what could do that?

    Was it the Romulans all along, murdering vast numbers of Federation citizens? It seems doubtful, since the Romulans said they had some disappearances on their side of the Neutral Zone too.

    Was this just a dangling thread that was left forever dangling? It's too early for the Borg to be the cause of it, so it must have been some other tremendously powerful entity.

    The matter is revisited in "Q Who?":

    DATA: There is a system of roads on this planet, which indicates a highly industrialised civilisation. But where there should be cities there are only great rips in the surface.
    WORF: It is as though some great force just scooped all the machine elements off the face of the planet.
    DATA: It is identical to what happened to the outposts along the Neutral Zone.

    The intention is that it was the Borg. Nothing comes of the informal Romulan/Federation pact on the topic, however.

    Early Borg incursions. Gul Dukat as a Romulan. A gorgeous new Romulan warbird, Data being instantly adopted by the fun loving musician, and no forced action insert. A good use of Troi. Nice ensemble moments.

    "Much obliged."

    Again, BORG BABY, BORG! What's not to love?

    I rate this one higher than Jammer, but I’m not saying it’s spectacular.

    But the Offenhouse/Picard psychological duel is nifty, and Offenhouse delivers one hell of a zinger to Picard, and when Offenhouse backs down, it’s believable.

    The frozen lady’s work with Deanna is effective and believable, as is the guitar dude with Data. Nothing to write home about, but interesting.

    The weirdest wart here is Picard’s offhand “they were already dead” to Data about bringing these ALIVE HUMANS BACK from this spacecraft. Considering you can let half a fart in this world and create a new life form, that’s rather weird and awkward.

    The Romulan appearance is very effective and Worf’s reaction is hair raising. Offenhouse’s reaction here is interesting— it evokes Gary Seven. Nothing was to come of that, but the intrigue laid here is solid, and would later be shown to be the Borg.

    I don’t know if it’s canon, but Offenhouse would later become the Federation ambassador to Ferenganar

    Agreed on this episode. Except I wouldn't even call the 20th century survivors reactions to their situation "obvious". More like "oblivious". Especially sir Offenhaus who is told by a space ship captain that they are in a dangerous situation and thinks his 400 year old stocks from a non-existent nation state are more pertinent. Worse yet, no one even thinks to ask if there is such a thing as a nation state... or a phone for that matter! Nearly 400 years into the future and Offenhaus absurdly asks to make a phone call!

    I've been getting into Star Trek over the last six or so months and I've been enjoying going here to read the discussion after each episode. I saw this episode a few days ago and I keep thinking about it because there's so much I take issue with so I feel the need to vent some thoughts.

    Where to even start with this one? How about... why wasn't the first and immediate action to run the thawed out people through a crash course in history from the 20th century to the 24th? This Enterprise has facilities specifically for education, right? And while it's not the same teaching adults as kids, I should know I'm a grade school teacher, I'm sure whoever teaches history on the Enterprise could give a decent crash course. In fact, they would probably be delighted! Imagine being a history teacher and then getting to meet people who were alive during the renaissance and getting to tell them about all that's happened, that would be roughly equivalent I believe.

    Actually, strike that. First order of business should have been to establish some dos and don'ts on the Enterprise as guests. Don't act so shocked when your guests try to use the intercom to call you, you didn't tell them how and who to turn to with questions. You've had unruly guests before, the dog and snake aliens come to mind, these people are at least not malicious to you or eachother.

    What's up with everyone acting so weird around the thawed out people? Why are Riker and Picard muttering and sighing about the "primitive people"? You're THE public relations vessel, you regularly encounter absurd and sometimes hostile cultures and you always try to be civil and courteous and try to see things from their perspective. Why are you so anti towards these people? They've been thrown into a time and context entirely alien to them, have some understanding.

    I have to acknowledge a legitimate high point of the episode which is when mr Moneybags tells Picard "look, I'm sorry I'm used to being in control and now I'm not" and Picard accepts and sympathizes with his position. That's great.

    Back to the bad things! "We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions." Picard what the actual fuck are you talking about? Didn't people buy and sell things on Farpoint? Didn't you exchange gifts with the Ligonians in Code of Honor? Didn't Troi's mom have a big honking coffert of things you had to carry? Didn't you go to a café in Paris when you were younger and did they not charge for their surfaces? Don't most everyone on the ship have different things in their quarters? Don't your engines require fuel? Don't the ferengi exist (and you weren't baffled by the concept of mercantilism? And if we look back at ToS, we have merchants in the federation selling tribbles and shit, grain to be delivered to hungering planets, ore to be mined, land to be owned and exploited. What, did all that go away in under a hundred years?

    Actually what is this idea of no personal possessions? Oh my God, is this why I hear some people say that the federation is communist? I hope this idea is dropped in later seasons because it would make the setting basically unworkable.

    To not end on a negative note I want to say that I did like the time displaced guests. Music Man was fun, he felt like a stereotypical American who wasn't presented as all good or all bad, just as a person colored by his home culture. I liked the bits with Troi and Ladywoman looking for her ancestors, while the idea isn't really explored it's interesting just to present the idea of being frozen in time and wake up to find your kids had kids and their kids had kids and there's a whole family tree branching out from you. Finally, I really liked when mr Moneybags just straight up told everyone the Romulans were full of shit and didn't know jack. Good stuff.

    @Bob the answer to why the guests are treated so poorly is because this is the first season, where according to Gene, Humans have "evolved out of their infancy" and become self-righteous pricks with no empathy or patience.

    As to your sixth paragraph , "'We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions.' Picard what the actual fuck are you talking about? Didn't people buy and sell things on Farpoint?"

    I think you misunderstand. This is a post-scarcity society with replicators and nearly unlimited energy. That's why there's (nominally) no money in the Federation. With no scarcity there's no reason for a medium to allocate scarce resources. Yes people have possessions, but there's no longer a materialistic drive for accumulating said possessions. If anyone can have them, there's no exclusivity or pretension, no keeping up with the Jones'. Instead that drive is turned towards self-improvement and fulfillment through other means. Generally when they do bring up money it's when exchanging with cultures outside the Federation, such as the Ferengi or the Bandi (Farpoint).

    "Didn't you exchange gifts with the Ligonians in Code of Honor?"

    It was a symbolic gesture of friendship and cooperation. That has nothing to do with materialism.

    "Didn't Troi's mom have a big honking coffert of things you had to carry?"

    Clothes and wigs and personal effects? That's not really relevant either. It's just about comfort while traveling.

    "Didn't you go to a café in Paris when you were younger and did they not charge for their surfaces?"

    Services. And from what we know about the universe, no, they very likely did not charge anything. Again, post-scarcity. The waiter or chef could be living just as well as a nuclear physicist in such a society, because their job doesn't determine their wages (since wages don't exist) or housing or anything else. Now, the question becomes, who would want to be a waiter at a cafe in such a society, or a janitor, or any number of other jobs? But some people find those things fulfilling and they would gravitate towards them. Maybe there'd be way fewer, or they'd only work a handful of hours per week, or whatever.

    "Don't most everyone on the ship have different things in their quarters?"

    Like I said before, just having things is not the same as needing to accumulate things to feel validated or worthy or to impress other people.

    "Don't your engines require fuel?"

    Sure, so what?

    "Don't the ferengi exist (and you weren't baffled by the concept of mercantilism?"

    Yes but the Ferengi aren't part of the Federation. They weren't baffled by mercantilism because they studied history and/or are familiar with the workings of other cultures. Picard's pronouncements are all Human/Federation-centric, they obviously don't apply to all species.

    "And if we look back at ToS, we have merchants in the federation selling tribbles and shit, grain to be delivered to hungering planets, ore to be mined, land to be owned and exploited. What, did all that go away in under a hundred years?"

    Possibly. TOS was much more the wild west than TNG. They may have been well on their way in TOS but just hadn't gotten there yet. The Soviet Union, for good or ill, sprang up, made far-reaching comprehensive economic and societal changes, and collapsed, all in roughly the same 70-year time period. Imagine how much change could happen in a society so much more technologically advanced, which also had contact with numerous alien species.

    "I think you misunderstand. This is a post-scarcity society with replicators and nearly unlimited energy. That's why there's (nominally) no money in the Federation. With no scarcity there's no reason for a medium to allocate scarce resources. Yes people have possessions, but there's no longer a materialistic drive for accumulating said possessions. If anyone can have them, there's no exclusivity or pretension, no keeping up with the Jones'. Instead that drive is turned towards self-improvement and fulfillment through other means. Generally when they do bring up money it's when exchanging with cultures outside the Federation, such as the Ferengi or the Bandi (Farpoint)."

    Hmmm... what culture was Turkana IV again? Ferengi?

    I always thought Tasha's home world was an odd anachronism. I mean ya, not every human world is creepy sewer rape gangland - but these are *humans* no? Same species as Picard. Where does Picard get off with his mankind has evolved BS? Maybe he should talk to Tasha.

    I mean today we have states like Sweden where most everyone lives pretty well while states like Somalia are not so enlightened. Can the Swedes just wall themselves off from the rest of the world and declare *mankind* evolved because Sweden is a paradise? What about the first world generally? If nobody starves in Canada does that mean Canada is as good as the Federation?

    @ Jason R.,

    I think part of the deal of the Federation post-scarcity society would have to be rationing. They did hint from time to time of 'replicator rations', and in TOS they did refer to receiving pay (which in later Treks was specified to be Federation credits). The credits are certainly a type of currency, but unlike our modern currencies are undoubtedly only to be used to withdraw from the common resource pool and for no other purpose. There would be no 'investing' your credits to accumulate more or anything like that. They never said this directly but I also imagine that being in Starfleet for instance gets you more credit than just being some civilian on Earth. No doubt that you have to save up your credits or pool them to get a big thing like a shuttle or small starship on a private basis.

    So the only way Canada's economy would resemble this would be if everyone was not only on a UBI (which would be a starting point), but additionally if private investment and wealth generation was removed from the picture. So the UBI (or its later equivalent) would not only be a safety net but in fact would be someone's entire ration to use each pay period - I don't think there could be any other source of income for such a system to work. Nor could there be any other source of income if all credits are electronically distributed by the Federation; no one would be able to start a for-profit business, for example, to try to charge other people for their credits and have them exchange hands. If they could do that then you'd be right back to square one in a regular 2020 economy with people accumulating vast amounts of credits, being rich, etc etc. Other than they would still get their UBI, but the wealth disparity would certainly still exist. So I don't think it could work like that, and therefore even if Canada currently has done away with starvation in particular, I still don't think it resembles what a Federation economy would have to look like.

    Did I actually write "surfaces" instead of "services"? lmao

    @Jeffrey Jakucyk see, I don't know that I buy that the federation actually is post scarcity. Maybe a few planets are there but the simple fact that goods are transported sort of pokes holes in that. I brought up ship fuel because fuel is a resource needed to operate the space vessels. Maybe there's unlimited fuel produced at star bases and federation planets but I have a lot of trouble wrapping my head around that idea as well. There's a lot I don't understand about replicators and transporters either. Can they create literally anything with enough battery charge? Do you need to mine dilithium crystals or can you just replicate them? Could a space ship refuel itself just by sitting in sunlight and converting radiation energy to fuel?

    Maybe I took Picard's statement to be too broad because I didn't think he was talking about materialism nescessarily, he made it sound like no one has a desire for possessions and that's why I bring up things like mama Troi's luggage and the crew's personal effects. Clearly, people want to have things, they're still people. Perhaps the desire for possessions has become more about emotional or sentimental value than anything else but there is still a desire to own things. We humans of the 21st century still have a lot of behaviors developed over many generations of evolution that are arguably obsolete, I think the desire to have would take many thousands of years to truly be gone from the human psyche, if ever. Which is also why I can't understand why someone would run a café in France, or anywhere, without demanding some manner of compensation for services. I love my job but it's often hard and I wouldn't want to go through the effort for nothing in return.

    I mean, yes. A lot of things can happen in a hundred years. There's also a real possibility of hardly anything happening for a hundred years though this is admittadley less likely in a society where technology is continuously being improved. Nothing has tubocharged cultural change here on Earth quite like the march of technological progression. I don't know, maybe it's just me having trouble adapting to this new world of TNG. Maybe I'm DeForest Kelley in heavy age makeup in the first episode of TNG.

    @Jason R. Funny you should mention Sweden! I'm born, raised and currently living in Sweden! And you know, while the idea of most everyone living decent lives is a lot less true today than it was in the 80's, the idea of blocking off the rest of the world is something I'm sure several Swedes would like. There's most definitely people who take great issue with immigrants, maybe they see them the same way the Enterprise D crew sees the frozen people? Regardless, Sweden today is just another reason why I'm having trouble accepting the rapid cultural change in the federation. You have Swedes today dreaming of the days of the Swedish Empire, of the days when we fought the Dane tooth and nail out of our country, of the days of exploring the world's oceans and pillaging, raping and murdering whatever we found. Culture is made by people and people are flawed, I don't think there's such a thing as humanity growing out of its infancy. Oh well, I guess I'll just keep watching the funny robot man trying to figure out how comedy works.

    @ Bob,

    I think it's made pretty clear over a few Treks that materialism is not only alleviated but is outright obsolete. Maybe Picard oversells the idea that all humans are evolved to the point he is, but I think it's almost self-evident that if you eliminate wealth you will eliminate along with it people trying to own everything they see, and also that feeling of measuring yourself based on how much stuff you have. There is nothing to brag about if you are at the same 'economic level' as your neighbor and literally cannot do anything to rise above him financially. Right now, especially in America, people define themselves by the social strata of their work and how much money it makes. Mostly it's about the money. "What do you do?" is a first question asked most of the time, and it's more or less interchangeable with "how much money do you make". The idea is that in the Federation self-worth isn't defined in these terms. I think there is a psychological truth to this: take away the mechanism and you take away the idea. Even if you didn't magically develop all kinds of virtue, if you found yourself in a place where there was simply no such thing as making more money than someone else and having a fancy house and car, you would quickly divest yourself of the idea of trying to be better than him on these grounds.

    True, people might end up being competitive in other ways, and especially narcissists might try to look better than others in some way or another. Maybe you created more art than the next guy, or invented something that gave you fame. I would imagine that prestige would replace wealth as a commodity to fight for, so that respected positions (e.g. within the Federation) would be the object of desire rather than wealth accumulation for people not satisfied with a humble life. That is 'economics' in the loose sense (i.e. the study of what people want) but not in the sense of it being about physical resources.

    @Peter I am only noting that even today there are pockets of relative "paradise" here on Earth where things like hunger and deprivation are largely eliminated. They may not be post scarcity societies but they are pretty good overall. Yet we don't say that *humanity* is evolved by arbitrarily ignoring the large parts of the world that are not so lucky.

    It seems to me inconsistent with Picard's claims that any human colony could be a dystopian nightmare. If that's true, then how is future human better than the one of today other than having fancier gadgets?

    @ Jason R,

    I agree about the supposed dystopian places. Like is Yar's home planet even part of the Federation at all? And there is another issue of colony vs member world. A human-colonized world would, I imagine, be privy to all advantages of a Federation world in terms of sharing resources, although perhaps with a small population they would only merit a single industrial replicator or something (which would affect 'build time', not resource availability). But many worlds that opt into the Federation no doubt still have a large leeway to govern their world however they want, and we don't really know anything about how much latitude that includes. Could a planet join the Federation but still prefer to operate their own local capitalistic society? I have no idea. Could a member world have a dictator, but because they're 'unified' they are eligible to join? I don't know what kind of humanitarian or moral standards the Federation has for membership, but I am guessing they have to be somewhat open-minded about that because after all many races would never join in they thought it meant being thought-policed into accepting human values.

    @Mostly it's about the money. "What do you do?" is a first question asked most of the time, and it's more or less interchangeable with "how much money do you make".

    That is an oversimplification. The "importance" or status of a job may be correlated strongly to remuneration but in my experience there is a distinction.

    >... why wasn't the first and immediate action to run the thawed out people through a crash course in history from the 20th century to the 24th?

    I would have thought the first thing to do would be to explain where the bathrooms are and how to use them. They would have never seen the 3 seashells.

    @Peter G. I think we're coming at the concept of property from philosophically different perspectives. See, I can understand the idea of people being concerned with comparing their wealth, the amount and quality of their possessions, to others but it's not something I care about myself. I still value personal property though, because my possessions have functions. I own books that I may read them, I own guitars that I may play them, I own a fairly expensive PC to use it for work, hobbies and recreation. I care about the things I own because they grant me the freedom to do things I enjoy.

    As for the question of "What do you do (for a living)?" I disagree with the notion that it's 9nly about money and wealth. It can be that too but when I personally ask that question it's usually because I think one's choice of profession speaks of character. I, for instance, am a teacher and telling that to people I expect them to draw some conclusions as to who I am. Likewise, I have friends who works construction, who program computers, who are self employed comission artists. I think it's entirely reasonable to draw conclusions or at least hypothesize about who a person might be from their selected career. This applies to Star Trek crews as well, we have certain expectations from a science officer or a medical officer or a chief of engineering. The career one chooses to be devoted to is a major piece of their person.

    @ Bob,

    I did specify that it was especially in America that wealth and financial success is tied to personal worth. I still think this would be true to an extent in any place with a competitive ecosystem, but if course if the environment is (for lack of a more descriptive term) better one can value more valuable things. If I transplanted you directly into the Federation you might even find your valuing of human choice amplified, or at least fitting in even more with the majority disposition. I think Jason R is at least right that the world right now is a spectrum, with some measures at least part of the way towards "Federation" to varying degrees depending on where you are. It pretty much has to be that way, else we'd have to conclude we hadn't advanced at all since the stone age...or worse, we might have to conclude that there is no advancing.

    The TNG cast's extreme pomposity is on full display here. Riker using a stockbroker, housewife and musician as the ultimate examples of why he's "surprised" their species survived the 20th Century? What a joke. Talk about the writers talking down to their audience. If you listen to Riker's quote completely out of context, you'd think they had just revived Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Pol Pot.

    The tacked on Romulan part of the story is the only redeeming element of this episode. The plot around the 20th century people is dull.

    Season 1 recap

    1. Encounter at Farpoint: 3/10
    2. The Naked Now: 1/10
    3. Code of Honor: 0/10
    4. The Last Outpost: 2/10
    5. Where No One Has Gone Before: 5/10
    6. Lonely Among Us: 4/10
    7. Justice: 2/10
    8. The Battle: 6/10
    9. Hide and Q: 4/10
    10. Haven: 2/10
    11. The Big Goodbye: 6/10
    12. Datalore: 5/10
    13. Angel One: 1/10
    14. 11001001: 6/10
    15. Too Short a Season: 3/10
    16. When the Bough Breaks: 3/10
    17. Home Soil: 4/10
    18. Coming of Age: 5/10
    19. Heart of Glory: 6/10
    20. The Arsenal of Freedom: 6/10
    21. Symbiosis: 5/10
    22. Skin of Evil: 5/10
    23. We'll Always Have Paris: 6/10
    24. Conspiracy: 8/10
    25. The Neutral Zone: 3/10

    Average final score: 4.0

    Just an absolute trainwreck of a season, although it gets a little better at the tail end, but that isn't saying much. Few episodes even manage to be above average, let alone good. So many crap outings, it's a miracle it lasted beyond its first season

    @Beard of Sisko

    Only a 3/10 for The Neutral Zone? I gave it an 8/10 on my last re-watch. Cryogenically frozen humans are a great sci-fi theme. Picard explaining the economics of the future was good world building.

    Haven't you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up in the future? All the questions you'd ask, learning about how society has progressed, wouldn't it be great? There would be down sides like realizing all your loved ones were dead but it's still a fascinating idea.

    "Only a 3/10 for The Neutral Zone? I gave it an 8/10 on my last re-watch. Cryogenically frozen humans are a great sci-fi theme. Picard explaining the economics of the future was good world building."

    Good concept, bad execution. They could've told the story without the condescension and self-righteousness, nor did they need Gordon Gekko to be so insufferable and obtuse.

    1.5 stars, Jammer? Uh? I vehemently disagree! I love this episode. I think the very different A and B stories mesh together more effectively than in many other episodes, and just somehow ‘work’.

    “It’s the same dance, just a different tune” has to be one of my favourite lines. The resuscitated humans represent three quite different aspects of 20th Century civilisation - the housewife (though even in the 80s, for her to be the only representative of women would have been rather “iffy”; by that time women like Laura Ashley and Anita Roddick had already formed massively successful businesses), the grasping financier, and the slightly dissolute but likeable pop star (neighbour of Dr McCoy?). I like the way the writers had each of them respond to the 2400s in different ways. Sonny’s fascination, then rapport, with Data was a nice touch.

    I thought the Romulans were not quite so convincing, but I liked how the ending left the story unresolved and opened the door for future series. I guess that the destroyed outposts must have been the work of the Borg? Can’t remember.

    There were enough good episodes in S1 to hold out hope that TNG would survive - I even thought Angel One wasn’t that bad. However there were some definite clunkers!

    As for the crew... Dr Crusher doesn’t come anywhere near McCoy, she is just too bland. Wesley is immensely irritating, as we all agree. Worf is so very un-Klingon like, but his back story explains that. Troi is a very 80s character but she is sometimes effective. Data... ah, Data... I do like him and he provides many moments of intentional comedy. However it often irritates me how human he is sometimes written. He’s a machine!

    Anyhoo, looking forward to revisiting Series 2..

    3 stars for The Neutral Zone.

    @Nick P

    Your dismissal of 80s TV included Cheers as a show that “if it were made now, would die pretty quick”. I’ve recently been revisiting my Cheers recordings and I am amazed how well they hold up: still hilarious, brilliantly written and acted. An all time classic.

    Just saw the part with the Romulans again last night and a couple of things came to mind. Peter G. touched on my exact same thoughts in Dec. 2017 — basically what have the Romulans been up to since “The Enterprise Incident” which is the last we meaningfully heard about them before this episode? I agree that it’s “an awfully curious tidbit to throw in” — and I too can’t come up with an explanation. But I put this down to questionable writing which plagued TNG big time in S1.

    What also bugged me is we got the 2 Romulans (Tebok played by Alaimo and the other guy). The other guy and Picard basically agree to share data on the destruction of the outposts — a promising gesture. But then Tebok immediately starts sabre-rattling and the Romulans warp off. So no cooperation will be made. What was the point of that? More questionable writing -- accomplishing something and then undoing it.

    It’s also weird that the Romulans say they’re back and yet S2 goes by and there’s no Romulan episodes — of course it begins in earnest in S3. Was a ball dropped here?

    And if the Borg are destroying outposts in the neutral zone, why does it take until the end of S3 for a full-on confrontation? “Q Who” basically gives the Federation an early heads-up of what is to come, but the Borg are, presumably from destroying the outposts, already planning on attacking the Federation and didn't need to be introduced to the Enterprise.

    I’ve always liked much more what Trek did with the Romulans than the Klingons — always found them to be more credible as adversaries with fewer holes in their make-up.

    @ Rahul,

    "It’s also weird that the Romulans say they’re back and yet S2 goes by and there’s no Romulan episodes — of course it begins in earnest in S3. Was a ball dropped here?"

    Good point. Maybe with the introduction of Pulaski and Guinan they felt they were soft rebooting TNG? Sort of like what was later the Ezri syndrome of the show deciding its current purpose was to introduce someone new, rather than develop story points.

    " “Q Who” basically gives the Federation an early heads-up of what is to come, but the Borg are, presumably from destroying the outposts, already planning on attacking the Federation and didn't need to be introduced to the Enterprise."

    I actually have a theory about this. While the script in Q Who does seem to indicate that humanity got an earlier-than-expected formal introduction to the Borg - and technically this is true since the Federation had no feedback from the destroyed outposts - we should remember what happened in Q Who. The Enterprise teleported across the galaxy to be nearby to a Borg cube, which maybe the Borg could write off as some kind of stealth technology, but then right at the moment of sure defeat for the Enterprise it magically teleports away again, nullifying their technology. It plays for us as a story point (Picard humbling himself for Q) but the literal story is that the Borg witness something far, far, beyond what they understand. My theory is that this ratcheted up the Federation's importance to them to a more urgent status.

    There is one Romulan episode in Season 2: "Contagion." It's true that there's no much sense of the Romulans plotting anything there, so much as being wrapped up in the flow of events.

    @Peter G.

    Yes, that's interesting that after "Q Who" the Borg would think that the Federation has this ability to teleport its ships across thousands of light years of space -- so they'd want to be all over that technology and would speed up their invasion. But they were coming anyway based on destroying the outposts -- I just don't get why basically 2 entire seasons go by until they truly attack.

    Yes S2 had the priorities of personnel changes Pulaski, Guinan, Geordi becoming chief engineer etc. But also S2 was just a random bunch of episodes with no real arcs starting (like they would in S3) so something about the Romulans or Borg would not have been out of place and probably would serve well in terms of bridging the overall Romulan and Borg arcs.

    One thing that came to mind in terms of what the Romulans were up to for those several decades -- they had the battle with the Klingons and Khitomer etc. So they became alienated as the Federation/Klingons became allies. Would be interesting to see a broad timeline of events from "The Enterprise Incident" to "The Neutral Zone" for the Romulans...

    @Top Hat

    Yes, good observation -- I had forgotten that about b/c I wouldn't call "Contagion" a Romulan episode -- as you say, they're just "wrapped up in the flow of events."

    @Rahul the Borg being behind the destruction of the colonies, which is referenced in Q Who, was a storytelling blunder. Even in Q Who it made no sense. They had to fly 7,000 light years to find a Borg ship yet the Borg were already in Federation space? And if they attacked entire colonies surely they knew about the Federation and Earth so what sense does Guinan's warning make at the end? And why in BOBW does Admiral Hanson believe they expected more lead time if Borg cubes were already hanging out in Federation space.

    Nonsense nonsense nonsense.

    @Jason R.

    Yes, it is a storytelling blunder. I vaguely remember something I believe Peter G. wrote about maybe the intent was tying the scooping up of colonies to the invasive species in "Conspiracy" and that species being the Borg but then TNG went in a different direction with the Borg -- something to that effect.

    So I guess it could/should be the species in "Conspiracy" that scooped up the colonies -- but even that is incongruent with what little we know about how they operated.

    According to Maurice Hurley, season 2 was supposed to be a Borg war arc with the Romulans as allies. The Neutral Zone was to be the introduction of this alliance, and the Borg (or whatever they were going to be called originally) were the bluegill aliens from the prior episode Conspiracy. Remember the ominous Morse code-like transmission playing over the closing scene of that episode? They were calling in reinforcements for as soon as the next episode.

    The 1988 Writers Guild strike put the kibosh on that plan though, so perhaps the plot with the frozen people was grafted in at the last minute from another script, and the Borg/Romulan setup was cut down to a faint shadow of what it was intended to be, which might explain the Romulan's weird turn at the end. So the disappearing colonies were a setup for the "wrong" Borg. When Q Who came around they had re-conceptualized the Borg, while doing their best to fit them into the setup that had already been done.

    I agree that Q's intervention may have been what really sparked the Borg's interest in Humans. Later in Voyager (or maybe in First Contact too?) the Borg Queen noted that Humans are pretty unremarkable physically and technologically as far as they're concerned. They probably sent scout/survey ships (still with impressive armament) to those outer Federation and Romulan colonies, which tend to be rather quaint and underdeveloped compared to a ship like the Enterprise or a warbird. The Borg probably didn't find much worth pursuing and went about their business, at least until Q delivered the Enterprise to them.

    "The Borg probably didn't find much worth pursuing and went about their business, at least until Q delivered the Enterprise to them."

    This isn't much of an explanation. Even a backwater town in the USA today would contain maps of the world, encyclopedias, all sorts of information about the USA, its military, its technology, its government, in any random public library and 1,000 other places not to mention the internet!

    Even a 2-bit colony would have this and more on the Federation. Ridiculous that they wouldn't learn plenty about the Federation. And the point is, the colonies weren't just destroyed they were "scooped up" suggesting a huge ship, probably a cube.

    The Borg retcon doesn't explain this idiocy. It was a problem right there in Q Who. Zero sense.

    That's fair, and like I said, they had a new concept of the Borg and had to work with the setups that were already done. One other thing to consider though is that the Borg as presented in Q Who are not the same as the ones we got in The Best of Both Worlds and the rest of the series. Remember that assimilation wasn't established until TBOBW, and it wasn't even until part 2 where we learned that they assimilated the mind and not just the body. Those first Borg also had babies and were presented as a single species.

    In Q Who the Borg say "if you defend yourselves, you will be punished," and Q says "The Borg is the ultimate user...They're simply interested in your ship, its technology. They've identified it as something they can consume." That somewhat explains the scooping up of colonies, with them literally consuming all the technological parts and pieces. If they had captured the Enterprise they would most likely have stripped it down and simply eliminated the Humans.

    Again, that doesn't fully gel, but it's not completely wackadoodle cuckoo bird as Maurice would say.

    @Jeffrey remember in Q Who the scene where the Borg drone plugs into the Enterprise computer. They are I think pretty obviously downloading from the Enterprise computer.

    If the colony they scooped up had an Encyclopedia Brittanica on CD Rom in the town library the Borg would know all about the Federation - even if they can't read minds by this point in the series.

    I’m kind of shocked at how little compassion the captain and crew (other than Troi and Data) had for these people.

    Picard and Riker treated them like crap, Beverly not much better.


    This is Season 1 TNG. The crew's pomposity means that these three people are the ultimate scum of humanity.

    Given the NG writers' and producers' wanting (as I've read) to distance their show from TOS (despite the plot of "The Naked Now" and the appearance of Leonard McCoy in "Encounter at Farpoint"), you’d think they wouldn’t do this episode because surely the people of the 24th century know what happened the last time a Starfleet ship thawed out frozen 20th-century people.

    I found this episode rude and mean and so snobby about "humans from the 20th century". Shish. What about them all blowing up aliens in the last episode. Riker has always been a self absorbed asshat, so he is acting like himself. But the rest of them, other than Data, are horrible. Was this Gene Roddenberry type of episode. One of them is a "homemaker"? Captain Picard was a jerk too. Ugh really did not like this one.

    I know it's the received wisdom that the destroyed outposts are the work of the Borg before the Federation knew of their existence, but doesn't it fit just as well with it being the work of the Crystalline Entity?

    Of course, they've seen the work of the Crystalline Entity more than once by the time of this episode, and should recognize it.

    So whether it's the Borg, or the Crystalline Entity, the writers messed up the continuity.

    The Crystalline Entity basically sucks up all the living matter while leaving the terrain mostly intact, if barren. What we see in the beginning of The Best of Both Worlds is a giant crater where the colony was scooped up, as described in this episode. That's not really the Crystalline Entity's M.O.

    @Beard of Sisko

    You could say that about the entire Trek franchise. Not just season 1 of Tng.

    They spend a lot of time talking down to its audience.

    "Leftism at its best. Self hating. A lot of people are eternally apologising for everything, including their own existence. Trek would have picked them up hook line and sinker."

    Well said. Absolutely true. And they're only getting worse. Leftist ideology is one giant authoritative circle jerk of victimhood and phony virtue signaling. It's all fake.

    I enjoyed this one. But it's pretty lame for a season finale. They should have put this in somewhere else and then made the conspiracy a two parter.

    @fluffysheap @ EVERYBODY Doesn't anyone else think the only bad episodes here were Code of Honors, Justice, and When the Boigh Breaks, and every other episode was good to BREST MARVELOUS ORIGINAL SCIENCE FICTION, with great new aliens and anomalies? What more does anyone want?? Anyone else love this season mostly like me..inthinkn2 was the only sort of weak season due to writers struck so it's unfinished..


    True, but usually when a Trek character speechifies about the dark days of humanity, they typically reference warlords, tyrants, genocidal maniacs, etc. People who committed real atrocities with few (if any) redeeming qualities. People who actually deserved condemnation. NOT people as inconsequential as stockbrokers, housewives, and drunk musicians.

    I agree Trek often talks down to its audience, but this particular example was ridiculous even by that standard.

    Submit a comment

    ◄ Season Index