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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Captain’s Holiday (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

Captain’s Holiday is another one of those infamously troubled episodes from the third season that turned out fairly okay, considering all the meddling and tinkering unfolding in the background. That said, it’s more like Ensigns of Command than Yesterday’s Enterprise, but it’s still a watchable and entertaining episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also probably the strongest comedy episode so far.

Then again, when the show’s other comedy “highlights” include The Outrageous Okona and Manhunt, you can see why this might seem like damning with faint praise.

A hidden gem?

A hidden gem?

Captain’s Holiday originated as a very different story. Ira Steven Behr wanted to construct an episode focusing on the character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, exploring the character’s fears and insecurities:

It was simple. I created this planet called Risa, which was a pleasure planet. The captain was stressed out and needed a vacation. He went on this vacation and there was a holosuite there – or a holodeck – I guess a holosuite, we called it.

It was a holodeck.

Holodeck. It said, “Face Your Greatest Fear!” and it was like a carnival place. It wasn’t what it became, this sensual, open-sexuality place – Gene turned it into that! It was like this carnival atmosphere place; a true vacation resort. And he thought, “Oh, cool, this is going to put me in a good mood. What I need is to fight some Klingons without thinking about the repercussions of it, or go after some Romulans or whatever it is.”

And he goes into this holodeck, and it was all about the captain being promoted to admiral, and losing the Enterprise, and Riker being bumped up to captain of the Enterprise. Basically, though we never really hit it on the head, it’s about growing old. Not to grow old, but your time of life changing and suddenly you’re not going to be the guy going off on adventures, you’re going to be sitting at a desk somewhere, SENDING people on adventures. That’s his greatest fear.

Interestingly, Behr would get to do something similar with Captain Sisko in Behind the Lines on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. However, Captain’s Holiday would not end up anything as character-driven or insightful as Behr envisaged.

The hover ball's in your court...

The hover ball’s in your court…

The episode was shot down twice. Both Gene Roddenberry and Patrick Stewart made it clear that a show about Picard’s anxieties and insecurities would never make it to air. In the Resistance is Futile documentary, Behr recounted his conversation with Roddenberry on the episode:

Read this thing. We’re not doing it.


Captain Picard is John Wayne. And John Wayne is not afraid of growing old or becoming an admiral – he isn’t afraid of anything.

Hold on a second, Gene. I happen to be quite a fan of John Wayne, and I can show you tonnes of his best movies where he’s afraid, where he has doubts, where he’s conflicted…

No, no. That’s not the John Wayne I’m talking about. I’m talking about John Wayne. That’s who Picard is. There is no problem! If they made him an admiral, he’d just go, “Fine! I’m an admiral! And that’s just the way it is and I’m not gonna worry about it. And I’ll just do it! Everything’s good!” This story will never get done.


But I really like this pleasure planet idea! Here’s what I wanna see… We’re going to get him laid. And this is what I want. We’re going to get him laid and we’re going to really show this pleasure planet.

Behr cites the trouble he had with Captain’s Holiday as one of the reasons he opted not to return for the show’s fourth season, and it’s not too hard to see why that might be.

Picard does his best to chip in...

Picard does his best to chip in…

This conversation is ironic on a number of levels. Most obviously, the conversation between Roddenberry and Behr over Picard’s willingness to agree to whatever Starfleet wants recalls a similar disagreement between Roddenberry and Melinda Snodgrass concerning The Measure of a Man. In both cases, writers are trying to portray conflict for a central character, and in both cases Roddenberry is steadfastly refusing. In Snodgrass’ case, Roddenberry lost and we got The Measure of a Man. Which was a huge moment for the show. In Behr’s case, Roddenberry won, and we got Captain’s Holiday. Which is fairly okay, I guess.

It’s also fun to hear Roddenberry debating John Wayne with Behr. Behr has an incredible fondness for classic cinema, and a large part of the unique flavour of Deep Space Nine comes from Behr’s cinematic leans. Rules of Acquisition is Yentel with Ferengi. The Homecoming is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Profit and Loss is Casablanca. When Deep Space Nine used the holosuite, it was to wallow in cinematic nostalgia, with Vick Fontaine evoking the Rat Pack and Bashir playing Bond. Behr had including Picard’s “that’ll be the day” in Yesterday’s Enterprise as a “tip of the hat” to John Wayne. So he knows his Wayne.

I'm playing John Williams in my head...

I’m playing John Williams in my head…

So there’s a sense that Captain’s Holiday is really pulling back from the chance to get underneath Picard’s skin – it’s afraid to close the distance between the audience and the Enterprise’s stern commanding officer. There’s something very cautious about the set up, and it recalls the difficulties that Melinda Snodgrass faced as The Ensigns of Command went into production. She really wanted to do something challenging and brave with Data, but the producers pushed back and wanted something a lot safer and less controversial.

While Behr originally pitched the episode as a change to catch a glimpse into the mind of our lead character, Captain’s Holiday evolved into a “light” episode – a nice “fun” adventure that gave Patrick Stewart a chance to do something beyond seeming stern and distant. It treads similar ground to Allegiance, in that it gives the actor a wider range of material than usual, with a lighter tone. In fact, Captain’s Holiday feels a lot smoother than Allegiance – partially because it’s fun to watch the real Picard outside his comfort zone, and also because the episode feels like a conscious change of pace instead of an old Star Trek standard.

I'm sure they'll Risa to the occasion...

I’m sure they’ll Risa to the occasion…

Rather infamously, Patrick Stewart felt a little “confined” in the role of Picard, and was fond sharing his opinion with anybody who would listen. Ronald D. Moore is fond of sharing his own first meeting with Steward, popping on to the set of The Bonding. When Stewart asked what Moore planned next, Moore explained the plot of The Defector, prompting Stewart to share an insight:

He said, “Oh, wonderful! Just remember one thing – the captain doesn’t do nearly enough screwing and shooting on this show.” And then he just walked away. And that’s how I met Patrick.

It’s a rather wonderful image, helped by Moore’s charmingly quaint impression of Stewart’s distinctive accent. It’s also a fairly common story with Behr himself offering a less bowdlerised version of  Stewart’s complaints that Picard doesn’t do enough “f%$!ing and fighting.”

He's too sexy for his jumpsuit...

He’s too sexy for his jumpsuit…

And so Captain’s Holiday becomes a light run-around in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark or Romancing the Stone. It’s hardly the most innovative or compelling set-up imaginable, and it’s certainly less interesting than the original pitch for the episode, but it’s still quite fun. This something that The Next Generation hasn’t really done before. It’s something that feels at odds with the show’s somewhat stuffy and sterile atmosphere. Behr never quite gets the show to work – primarily because you’re dealing with a show with only so much money in the budget and so many sets – but it at least feels somewhat distinct.

Indeed, Captain’s Holiday – like Allegiance before it – opens following Picard’s involvement in some very serious business. It turns out that Picard has been brokering peace between warring factions on some alien world, and has succeeded. In Allegiance, the Enterprise managed to cure a deadly plague. These are very much standard Star Trek stories, so it’s interesting to see The Next Generation trying so hard to give the impression that the Enterprise is just constantly dealing with this standard Star Trek stuff, even when we’re not watching.

"Do you have any idea how much paperwork is involved with a Borg incursion?"

“Do you have any idea how much paperwork is involved with a Borg incursion?”

While Allegiance uses a standard Star Trek plot (deadly space virus!) as a tone-setting prelude to another standard Star Trek plot (doppelganger and experimenting aliens!), Captain’s Holiday uses a fairly routine Star Trek trope (negotiating peace on another world!) to lead into something decidedly less conventional. One of the great things about The Next Generation was the way that the cast developed into a family. It’s something that happened on all the Star Trek shows, but never quite to the same extent as it did between the characters on The Next Generation. So opening an episode with them chilling out after a mission is pretty cool.

It’s amazing how well the ensemble has settled into the show over the past year or so. The first season was traumatic, with the departure of both Denise Crosby and Gates McFadden. Then Diana Muldaur hung around for a year, seeming quite distant from the rest of the cast. Gates McFadden then returned for the third season. It’s been quite a tumultuous few years for the show, and so it’s impressive how comfortable the crew and characters seem to be at this point. Watching them go through a cliché sit-com plot feels a lot less uncomfortable than it really should.

With this  horga'hn, I thee jamaharon...

With this horga’hn, I thee jamaharon…

Parts of Captain’s Holiday are genuinely charming. It’s fun to watch the entire senior staff of the Enterprise engage in some sit-com plot to try to bully Picard into taking a vacation. It’s a sequence that just about works here, but would be impossible on any other Star Trek. Sisko would throw Bashir out an airlock if he tried to convince the captain to take a holiday using that “I’ve got a troubled crewmember” routine. Janeway would send Paris to scrub out the Jeffries’ Tubes if he recommended a sexual r-and-r for her. If Mayweather threatened to have his mother visit, Archer would wonder where that voice came from.

That sense of camaraderie is unique to Picard’s crew. Even Deep Space Nine, the other Star Trek show with the well-developed ensemble (arguably the better-developed ensemble), tended to cluster its cast members into cliques. While the Enterprise crew tended to play poker together and enjoy hanging out in a large group, pulling the whole cast of Deep Space Nine together for the “ensemble have a good time one last time” plot in Badda-Bing Badda-Bang feels a little stilted and awkward. So the decidedly sit-com-y “everyone tries to strong-arm Picard” sequence works a lot better than it might have otherwise.

Strange bedfellows...

Strange bedfellows…

The comedy in Captain’s Holiday is suitably broad, but Behr is sharp enough to root it in the characters themselves. Unlike Manhunt or The Outrageous Okona, there’s no sense that the show is outsourcing its comedy; it’s just exaggerating the recognisable traits of the cast in order to get a laugh. So Picard is cast as something of an overly serious grinch. When Crusher suggests a vacation, he responds, “Beverly, you know I loathe vacations.” When Crusher pushes the issue, he considers attending “a symposium on rogue star clusters.”

So the crew schemes to get him off the ship. Crusher talks about her troublesome patient in the third person. Riker suggests nearby holiday spots. Troi hints that her mother might be visiting the ship. These are all zany comedy scenes, and hardly what one might expect from a professional crew on a 24th century starship, but that’s part of the fun of Captain’s Holiday. It’s very much a show set between the “important” stuff. It’s an opportunity to see Picard (and the rest of the crew) in a more casual manner than we may be used to.

Picard really digs her...

Picard really digs her…

Behr’s script isn’t particularly tight. It aims for a broad style of comedy that occasionally feels a little loose. Captain’s Holiday walks a fine line, and it only avoids feeling a little too trite or too cliché by the fact that Picard is so incredibly deadpan about all of this; like the audience, he sees through all these lame attempts to cajole him into taking a holiday. “Tell me, Number One, is the entire crew aware of this little scheme to send me off on holiday?” he muses.

Comedy is not a genre that Star Trek is particularly good at; while the original Star Trek offered a few nice comedic diversions, the spin-offs always felt a bit uncomfortable with funny episodes. It’s probably something that stemmed from the weirdly “sterile” atmosphere on The Next Generation and the rest of the other Star Trek shows, a sense that this was all being taken very seriously. Which is an approach that paid off wonderfully, but also meant that the franchise’s attempts at humour often felt a little forced.

Picard meets some shady characters on Risa...

Picard meets some shady characters on Risa…

Behr would take his approach to comedy to Deep Space Nine, which is probably the spin-off that dealt best with comedy, but it was still wildly inconsistent; for every The Magnificent Ferengi or House of Quark, there was a Profit and Lace or Rivals. It’s still a better track record than Star Trek: Voyager or Star Trek: Enterprise, but it demonstrates the difficulty that Star Trek has with humour. Captain’s Holiday does feel a little awkward and forced, but it’s wry enough that the audience is willing to go along with it.

That said, Behr’s ridiculously sleazy take on Riker is the one part of the set-up sequence that plays perfectly. While Crusher’s conversation feels a little too “cutesy” and Deanna’s intervention is a little heavy-handed, Riker’s interactions with Picard are more in line with what we’ve come to expect from him. This is the character whose first instinct on meeting a new member of the crew in The Offspring was to flirt shamelessly, or who Wesley interrupts trying to randomly pick up female members of the crew in Ten Forward in Pen Pals.

Riker is very fond of showing the ladies his (h)orga'hn...

Riker is very fond of showing the ladies his (h)orga’hn…

So both Riker’s excitement over the sleazy sex paradise Risa and Picard’s sarcastic response to Riker’s enthusiasm are wonderful character moments. Extolling the virtues of the pleasure planet, Riker explains, “The place is called Risa, and believe me, Captain, it is a paradise. Warm tropical breezes, exotic food. Nothing to do but sit around all day and enjoy the quiet. And then…” Picard picks up on where the conversation is going quick enough to finish the sentence with him “… the women!” Picard mutters to himself, “Of course.”

Indeed, Behr’s portrayal of Riker is less than flattering, as if the writer has noticed the shadier aspects of Riker’s personality and decided to dial them all up to eleven for comedic effect. Riker tricks Picard into buying a sex idol in the hopes of getting his commanding officer laid. When Riker and Troi visit Picard’s quarters, Riker seems to have difficult understanding what Picard has packed for his trip down a planet populated by scantily-clad women. “Are you taking all these books?”

Guess whose back?

Guess whose back?

Picard very diplomatically responds, “To each his own, Number One.” Riker’s having none of that. He’d hate for Picard to miss out on all of that fun sex tourism. “Have I mentioned how imaginative the Risian women are, sir?” he clarifies. Picard chooses not to respond, but Troi – whose relationship to Riker is decidedly more complex than “ex-girlfriend” – replies, “Too often, Commander.” Stay classy, William T. Riker.

Once the episode gets to Risa, Behr sort of goes on auto-pilot. There’s a beautiful woman, a mysterious archaeological artefact, a few competing scams and a number of dodgy characters. Picard finds himself drawn into a wed of intrigue on his vacation, as in any number of classic films. He even utters the line “you have the wrong man” to a rather insistent Ferengi. Naturally, Picard’s vacation is anything except relaxing – turning even the title into a wry gag. This is very much a screw ball romantic comedic thriller thrown together with a great deal of affection for the conventions of classic Hollywood adventure romances.

Idol threats...

Idol threats…

There’s not too much going on here in terms of plotting, or even character work. Instead, Behr writes a perfectly serviceable light adventure that gives Picard a chance to cut loose. All the plot points seem just a little too convenient, in service of twists that aren’t too difficult to predict. (The aliens from the future aren’t who they claim to be! Vash is running a long con here!) It’s hardly the most water-tight plotting the show has ever done.

There’s a whole host of short-cuts taken in order to get the thing to hold together, from the “sounds ominous but not set up” reference to “Transporter code #14” (complete with ominous echo from Riker to make sure we know it’s serious) through to a closing gag which requires Riker to forget that Picard just ordered him to make something explode with the transporter. (Because all relaxing vacations end with a nice explosion.) And that’s avoiding all the typical plotting problems created by the time travelling villains. Why don’t they go back and steal it before it’s sent back? Why don’t they bother Vash instead? and so on.

I do love how Risa computers are perfectly eager to provide random people with the personal details of their guests...

I do love how Risa computers are perfectly eager to provide random people with the personal details of their guests…

Risa itself is also disappointingly cliché. It’s a tropical paradise inhabited by the sexually liberated, who seem to have nothing to do but wander around in their swimming trunks. As you do. It feels like an unfortunate throwback to first season episodes like Justice or Angel One, a decidedly retro approach to outer space storytelling that would feel much more comfortable on the original Star Trek than any of the spin-offs. As much as he enjoys the chance to get out of his Starfleet uniform, it is very hard to take Picard seriously while wearing is space-age speedo.

And yet, the show is good fun even if it’s not brilliant television. Patrick Stewart is having great fun playing outside the character’s comfort zone. Sure, all he really does is punch a Ferengi in the face and make out with a beautiful woman, but Stewart’s palpable enthusiasm is infectious. Like so many supporting Ferengi characters, Sovak is too goofy to accept as credible threat, but it’s hard not to enjoy Picard’s nifty attempt to disarm the Ferengi, including a totally unnecessary toss of the pistol from on hand to the other before bunching the bad guy right in the face.

Livening up the shoot...

Livening up the shoot…

Vash is also a rather wonderful creation, especially for a show that has had such trouble with its female characters. While Jennifer Hetrick is still eighteen years younger than Patrick Stewart, she was thirty-two when the show was filmed. It is nice that Captain’s Holiday didn’t go with a younger actress. Hetrick gives Vash a lot of charm, and she clearly drives the episode’s plot. Picard is mostly along for the ride, drawn into Vash’s scheme. (Even if Picard’s name is apparently the one that appears in the history books.)

Behr’s script does develop Vash quite well. She’s much more than just a token romantic interest. It’s easy enough to see why Picard might be drawn to her – she must seem very exotic to him. Captain’s Holiday makes it quite clear that Picard is the junior partner in this relationship – the one with the least experience and knowledge. He doesn’t even seem to question the Vorgans until Vash raises the issue, and doesn’t know the myth well enough to recognise the Vorgans were the bad guys in the whole thing.

Picard caves to public pressure and takes his vacation...

Picard caves to public pressure and takes his vacation…

When Picard expresses an interest in her work, she responds, “Look, the last thing I need is a partner.” It seems like a reference to the “I’m your goddamn partner!” line from Raiders of the Lost Ark. While Marion Ravenwood tagged along with Indiana Jones to recover the Ark of the Covenant, Vash has no such dependency; she is perfectly capable of engaging in her own archaeological adventures on her terms.

Indeed, the line suggests that she might see Picard as a burden. One of the better gags in the episode has Picard settling down to sleep in the cave, only to steal the blankets from a rather nonplussed Vash. Picard is apparently not only the one with less experience sharing a bed, but also less used to sleeping rough. While Picard does figure out Vash’s con at the end of the episode, he still seems to spend most of the adventure playing in her wheelhouse.

Nothing says "credible threat" like a Ferengi guest star...

Nothing says “credible threat” like a Ferengi guest star…

I also like how Behr makes Vash a capitalist without seeming unlikeable. The Next Generation tends to have a rather simplistic view of capitalists who dare to operate outside the Federation’s socialist utopia. The Ferengi exist as nothing more than a one-dimensional critique of political philosophy. The Price introduced us to the most horrible sleazy and smug love interest in the history of the franchise, with the implication that his douchebaggery was primarily down to his interest in financial transactions.

Here, Vash is very clearly in it for the money as much as the artefacts, but she remains charming and endearing throughout. When Picard wonders aloud whether Vash will actually “give” the device to the Daystrom Institute, she clarifies, “Well, maybe not give it. Five years is a huge investment, Jean-Luc. I deserve to make a reasonable profit.” While this is undoubtedly the wrong answer, the episode (and Picard) don’t condemn her for the crime of liking money.

I guess Picard should have checked his (arte)facts...

I guess Picard should have checked his (arte)facts…

The use of time travel is also interesting. It’s a nice twist on the old “artefact of note” to have the item in question come from the future rather than the past. It doesn’t make too much difference to the plot itself, seen as the device is a macguffin that is never used, but it is a clever twist on an old cliché. The idea of time travelling archaeologists (or, perhaps more accurately, scavengers) is pretty fascinating, even if it’s not anything the episode actually develops.

The episode’s final scene also plays with a recurring motif of time travel on The Next Generation. Time travel in classic Star Trek tended to be relatively linear, with things broken and subsequently fixed. Time travel in The Next Generation is more about possibilities and parallels. Yesterday’s Enterprise really made that clear, with the disappearance of the Enterprise-C altering history, but it also plays out across episodes like Cause and Effect and even alternate universe stories like Parallels.

He's going through a phase(r)...

He’s going through a phase(r)…

There’s a sense that the universe is constantly re-writing itself and that there’s an infinite spectrum of possibilities and outcomes. Yar remains alive because there’s some reality where she’s still on the Enterprise. (Indeed, her daughter exists because of some possible alternate universe where her mother didn’t die.) So there’s every possibility that the Vorgans might continually try to claim the Uthat for themselves, over and over again.

Ignoring the obvious logical questions raised by this possibility – surely they must get it at some point, right? – Picard’s last conversation with Vash suggests that the Vorgans’ decision to re-visit these moments in time will keep Vash and Picard together forever. When Vash wishes they had more time, Picard responds, “Perhaps we do. The Vorgons are time travellers. Now that they know where and when the Uthat can be found, they may very well come back and try for it again.” Vash asks, “So we may be doing this all over again?”

Foreign tongues...

Foreign tongues…

It’s hardly the most logical position, but it’s an interesting metaphysical quandary. Much like Tasha Yar can continue to exist in some alternate time stream, Picard and Vash might have all the time in the world on Risa – with each visit from the Vorgans re-writing history and affording the couple another chance to meet and fall in love. Of course, a cynical perspective on time travel would suggest that each encounter would over-write the last, so that only the final result matters. However, The Next Generation seems to embrace multitudes of possibilities – using time travel to afford the best outcome.

Again, this is consistent with how Cause and Effect re-wrote itself to afford the Enterprise another chance, and how Yesterday’s Enterprise featured another version of Yar to offer her a better death. In Time Squared, a visit from a future Picard allows his earlier self a second opportunity to save the ship. In The Next Generation, it would seem that time travel is a strangely benign entity. It affords us multiple chances to fix what went wrong. It’s hardly the focus of Captain’s Holiday (it’s more of an after-thought), but it’s an interesting idea.

In the future, there will be no sleeves...

In the future, there will be no sleeves…

Captain’s Holiday is far from perfect. It often feels a little too safe and cliché. At the same time, it does offer an attempt to do something a bit different, and a bit lighter. It doesn’t quite come off as well as it should, but the episode has enough charm to pull it through.

Read our reviews of the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation:

10 Responses

  1. Very insightful essay on this episode. I really like this entry and did not know about the problems that Behr faced when trying to get it greenlit.

    As it turns out, it’s light and amusing in a adventurous and exploratory way. So, I find the background info you provided very interesting indeed. (I love the John Wayne anecdote)

    Getting an episode done, logistically, seems like a huge undertaking sometimes.

    I really need to see that Doc you mentioned, as well. Good job!

    • Thanks Victor.

      The documentary is on the blu ray set and well worth a look. Enough time has passed since the production of the show that people are willing to speak somewhat candidly. (And, it seems, good-naturedly.) Behr in particular is torn between how frustrating it was to be on that staff at that time and how things were quickly turning around for the series.

      I am really looking forward to seeing Deep Space Nine get this treatment.

  2. Great review. It is interesting that Stewart wanted more fighting and romance for Picard. He is basically asking him to be more like Kirk. It is ironic because people have said they prefer Picard just for this very reason. He was more thoughtful and less impulsive. But I have often wondered if Roddenberry intentionally made him this way in reaction to criticisms from people about the original show.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • It’s very weird. Apparently Roddenberry was opposed to Stewart’s casting, which seems a little weird given how perfectly he embodies the Spock-as-Captain qualities that they seemed to want from Picard as the outset. And Roddenberry was apparently very strict about Picard-as-John-Wayne, which seems a little strange when – as you pointed out – the appeal of Picard is that he’s a heroic male authority figure who does more work with his brains and his wit than his fists or his phaser.

      With regards to Stewart, I do think there’s a lot more at work. For one thing, leading actors tend to love being dynamic. The wonderful phaser roll-and-shoot from Where No Man Has Gone Before was apparently improvised by Shatner, and adds so much to the scene. As great as delivering wonderful dialogue can be, there’s something undeniably appealing about being an action hero. (I think Liam Neeson has argued that Taken was a wonderful change of pace from the roles he was traditionally offered.)

      At the risk of putting on my pop psychologist hat, many of the interviews and stories about Stewart suggest that he didn’t like the idea that “old” was one of Picard’s defining characteristics – he didn’t like the idea that the character was presented as the grand old man of the cast. Don’t get me wrong, none of the stories I’ve ever heard suggest that Stewart was less than gracious to other actors, or in anyway jealous or insecure about their work – that would be Shatner’s modus operandi. Rather, Stewart seemed to love the idea that Picard could be just as energetic and exciting as Kirk or Riker. Just because you are over fifty doesn’t mean that you can’t be in good physical condition. (And, to be fair, it happens rarely enough on the show that I don’t mind. I love Starship Mine because of how absurdly out-of-character it is for Picard.)

      That’s why the movies emphasise his action sequences so much – reportedly they were his demands on signing up. The Nemesis dunebuggy sequence was added because Stewart wanted to be in a car chase.

  3. If they were thinking in terms of Vash as captialist is hard to say but it is a interesting point. As for time travel,it never seemed they tried to develop any consistent rules on how it could be used on this show. It was just whatever worked for the story that was written that week.

    • Yep. Although I think The Next Generation was more open to the idea of myriad alternatives than its predecessor. In Star Trek, other universes were deemed as faint echoes of the true Star Trek universe, which as defined as real and true. In contrast, The Next Generation was more comfortable suggesting valid alternatives and possibilities that bleed through from one reality to the next. But you’re right, it did vary from week-to-week. For example, Yesterday’s Enterprise is very clearly a “wrong” alternate universe in the style of Mirror, Mirror, at least until we meet Sela in The Mind’s Eye and it becomes clear that things bleed over.

      (Deep Space Nine, on the other hand, was very fond of the idea of time moving in circles and non-linear patterns, for better or worse. So you get Sisko-as-Gabriel-Bell, Cardassia ending the final season where Bajor began the first, Sisko’s mother being sent back in time to ensure that he is born. Not all of these were good ideas, but there was a semi-consistent philosophy at play.)

  4. ILove Star Trek. &Lost in Space. happy Hoildays. Thank yu, MS.Frances Yozawitz

  5. Patrick Stewart is a wonderful actor, but I have great trouble buying him as a romantic lead with a woman twenty years his junior, unless that woman were someone who admired him primarily for his mind, like a Vulcan. Picard seems kinda grumpy to me most of the time and rather stern. Shatner had his problems as a human being, but the man was able to ooze charm onscreen. Stewart … doesn’t.

    • That’s very fair, I think. I am willing to indulge Stewart his occasional ego trips during TNG. (I can take or leave Captain’s Holiday, but I kinda love the weirdness of Starship Mine.)

      That said, I have known quite a few people – straight women and gay men – who find Stewart very physically attractive and charming. What that says about my social circle, I don’t know.

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