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Old 2015-10-22, 05:05 PM   #45
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So it turns out that our "how long was Data in Starfleet" question was answered on-screen in Datalore.

Originally Posted by Memory Alpha
One of Data's first assignments after he graduated Starfleet Academy was aboard the USS Trieste. (TNG: "Clues") He spent three years as an ensign and twelve as a lieutenant before being promoted to lieutenant commander in 2360. (TNG: "Datalore") In 2364, he was assigned to the USS Enterprise-D as its second officer.
So apparently he was in Starfleet even longer than I'd thought, and he actually graduated from the Academy twelve years before Riker. It makes me wonder what kind of assignments he had before the Enterprise, to both rise so slowly and still be thought of highly enough to get the assignment as second officer.

Also Riker was something of a hotshot, apparently. He'd actually graduated at the same time as Geordi and only had seven years of experience by the time the series started. That doesn't really add up to me, given the job that he has and all the experiences he's said to have gone through. Also apparently Riker is almost a decade younger than the man playing him, which almost-but-not-quite works when he's a babyfaced skinny dude in season one. But by the time the finale rolls around he's the oldest-looking 35 year old in the galaxy.

Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
One that surprised me favourably, considering I got it remaindered from a pound shop and it's a game tie-in, was The Needs of the Many. Trek doesn't often do news or interview style narratives, and the Sisko framing gives it a coherent thread.
I've heard mixed reviews on that one, though part of the flak is probably that (as an ST:O tie-in) it doesn't follow the novel continuity that most of its' target market are familiar with. Considering where that continuity has gone in the last decade, though, that's not a bad thing.

On the other hand, it has that tool Martin's name on the cover, so I can't imagine spending more than $1 or so on it...

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Also, don't forget how it's Picard (the non-American in the group) who is made to feel guilty about the actions of his ancestors. And who needs North American history explained to him by Troi at one point.
Yeah, you'd think if they were going to guilt-trip anyone on the crew it'd be Riker, since he's the only person on the senior staff who's actually from North America. The connection that they drummed up for Picard was tenuous at best. Not to mention how silly it was that the colonists knew about it. I mean, how many people can tell you who their ancestors were and what they were doing in the 1700s now, let alone four hundred years in the future? Most branches of my family tree can't be traced much father back than the mid-1800s.

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Yeah, it's a shame the status quo is God thing came into effect. Curtis' Saavik was one of many Vulcans where the actor managed to confuse "Emotionless" with "Plank of wood" (mind, I saw her in a pre-Trek Knight Rider a few months ago and she almost made the Hoff look like an actor in it, so that may not have been a conscious choice).
Yeah, Robin Curtis wasn't great. She managed to make a Romulan equally wooden in TNG, didn't she?

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Shame she didn't come back for VI as planned (or that they didn't just have Kim Catrall be Saavik 3, notably bringing Curtis back doesn't seem to have been on anyone's radar) so that twist might have been slightly less obvious.
Agreed, it's a shame they didn't go in either of those directions. Random Vulcan Girl #2 is basically the same character, minus the audience's connection to Saavik.

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Sheliac as well IIRC. It may not seem a lot, but the entire aesthetic of TNG is clearly based on the Federation being in a long period of peace and stability (else dragging their families about and the general cruise ship in space feel really makes no sense), having all these bush fires doesn't really fit in with the feel of the show.
That's a fair assessment, especially when you consider the state of Starfleet at the time. The backbone of the fleet was the 2280s-vintage Excelsior, Constellation, Oberth and Miranda-class designs, and there seemed to have been very little design work or shipbuilding done between them and the Galaxy and Nebula classes in the 2360s.

The only design we actually see in service that debuted between those two generations was the Ambassador-class, and those seem to be relatively thin on the ground (a shame since they're the prettiest Starfleet ship design ever). A handful of others are mentioned but only ever seen as debris in the Wolf 359 ship graveyard, like the New Orleans-class, so they must have been equally (if not more) rare. The impression it leaves me with was that the Federation felt secure enough in their position that they were happy to leave the bulk of their defence duties to a collection of eight decade old relics while only adding a modest number of modern designs every once in a while.

It wasn't until the Borg and Dominion became real threats that the Federation actually seemed to put much effort into modernizing their fleet, although to be fair once it became a priority they really put themselves into it. We saw a bunch of new classes of starship make their debut within a couple years. The Defiant and Intrepid classes were both brand-new with they showed up in DS9 and Voyager respectively, and First Contact debuted the Sovereign, Akira, Steamrunner and Saber classes. By the time the Dominion War kicked off, all six classes were a common sight on the battlefield (though the show was understandably reluctant to have too many copies of "hero" ships popping up unless they were plot-relevant), so they must have built hundreds of new starships in a matter of years.

Of course, after a century of intense cold war with the Klingons, Romulans and Tholians, it's not hard to see why the Federation would see the occasional border dust-up with these second-tier races as nothing to worry about.

Actually, the most telling thing is that, in the midst of/right after those wars with the Cardassians, Tzenkethi and Sheliac, the only aliens that the Federation seemed to actually be worried about were the Ferengi. Who they hadn't even met yet, and who were exactly no threat at all. It certainly gives me the impression that they could have easily rolled over the races that were bothering them, even with their geriatric fleet, if they'd actually had any interest in conquest.

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Never got the Pulaski hate a lot of fandom has. Her arc with Data is a reaaaaaaally obvious one: That she'll initially dislike him and then come to respect and even love him. It's so clearly signposted all the "She's so mean to Data!" stuff seems silly. Especially as it's resolved early in the season, they clearly get on fine after Elementary, Dear Data (Fact: Geordi makes a better Watson with his strange James Mason impression than Martin Freeman).
Yeah, the Pulaski/Data stuff was obviously meant to echo Bones/Spock, with the obvious difference that Pulaski was shown as being wrong because it wasn't the 60s anymore. And like you say, it's resolved quickly and they both move on from it.

I was actually surprised on rewatch that they'd only done the Holmes thing twice, because it made such a huge impression on me. Spiner and Burton both did a great job at it.

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Jellico would probably have made him get into better shape as well. It's easy to joke about the weight gain, but Riker actually seems quite unhealthy in the later seasons. The odd walk gets odder and there's a bit in Silicon Avatar where he's clearly struggling to carry one of the colonists (more oddly Data also seems to be struggling when he has to take over, as if he's not really a super robot but a human actor with a bad back. Hmmm).
I know people (like me!) tend to joke about him being old and fat in the later seasons, but I don't think I ever quite realized how much weight Frakes put on between seasons 2 and 3 until recently. I think he looked a ton better with the more...bearlike physique in the middle seasons, but that's definitely a part of why he suddenly started looking his age. And yeah, like you say he'd packed on even more pounds by the time the last couple years rolled around.

You'd think Starfleet would have physical fitness requirements for starship duty, no? I mean if you want to get fat while you're working at a desk in San Francisco that's one thing, but if you're on front-line duty leading away teams you really should have to be in shape. Though this is the same organization that sent a starship crewed entirely by pensioners out to make peace with the Klingons, so...

Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Though oddly he looks much slimmer in Generations when he switches to the DS9 uniform, despite it not fitting properly (being forced to wear Avery Brooks' costume despite Frakes being a giant. Poor old Levar Burton is having to wear O'Brien's as well. Guess who were the only two actors to get specially made versions of the jumpsuits for the film?).
Not Sirtis and McFadden, since they apparently refused to wear the DS9 outfits at all since they were unflattering (funny, since Terry Ferrell looked great in hers...).

The fact that Riker's uniform jacket sleeves only come down to his elbows is downright hilarious, but I can't for the life of me figure out why the producers thought that was a good look. I mean, shit, couldn't you just keep him in the TNG outfit the whole time? What gets me, though, is that they didn't have at least one uniform in their inventory that fit him. I mean, they've got to have a ton on-hand in different sizes for the extras to wear, right? And they didn't have a single one in Extra Large?

Geordi fit his just fine in spite of it not being tailored for him, I thought.

Speaking of Geordi, was there ever any reason given for the move from the Visor to "artificial eye" contacts? Was it because of the trouble they had filming the thing for the big screen in Generations, or did Burton just finally get sick of wearing it after eight years?

I was also sort of confused with how he grew normal eyes in Insurrection, only to be back to the machine ones again in Nemesis. I'm not entirely sure why or how they would have "un-healed" themselves. Or, for that matter, why they couldn't have just cloned him working eyes in the first place. Or a new heart for Picard.
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