Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 1

Encounter At Farpoint (1)

Aired Unknown Sep 28, 1987 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
369 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 41153.7 The new captain of the recently built U.S.S. Enterprise-D, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, takes the crew on their first mission: to discover the secret of Farpoint Station. During their journey, they encounter an omnipotent being known as Q, who accuses humanity of barbarism, and places them on trial. Jean-Luc must prove otherwise, or the human race will be annihilated.moreless

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Starfleet veteran Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew set out on the newly commissioned fifth Starship Enterprise to discover the secret of Farpoint Station.

    The new era in Star Trek history began on a positive note. That does not mean it was perfect, but it did present the viewer with a compelling and entertaining story. The episode did a good job in presenting a short back story for the main cast. It was done just right as to not overload the episode with too much information as other television pilots have done. The omnipotent being Q is quite interesting and makes a good adversary for Captain Picard. The main storyline of the mystery of Farpoint Station is well done also. There are a few stumbling blocks here however. The character of Wesley Crusher seems a little immature for his age. He acted like a kindergartener in his interactions with the rest of the crew. His scenes on the bridge and holodeck are good examples. I always thought Denise Crosby was stupid for leaving the show. Watching this episode again makes me think that she did all the viewers a favor. She is not a very good actress and her poor acting abilities show prominently here. That aside I think this episode still holds up as much today as when it premiered in 1987. Let's see what's out there!moreless
  • An Overarching Start

    The kick-off to The Next Generation is truly all mind-encompassing. It introduces us to beings which at first glance seem to squander our importance. I believe this truly defines TNG and sets the tone for the whole series as the crew forms together and explores the great unknown while the Q continuum ever diligently studies their trek through the stars.

    I will save the explanation of the entire plot and explain the themes we all need to take away from this episode among many other Star Trek episodes. Our problems are petty compared to the grand scope of the universe. We need to focus on the big problems, not the little ones. Think deep and not superficially, and most of all, be greater than the sum of your parts. Humans are an incredibly special species even among all other in the Trek world.

  • The maiden voyage of the starship Enterprise D introduces us to a new crew, which attempts to solve the mystery of Farpoint Station.

    Originally, this was considered a classic, but as the series began to improve and the years passed, the pilot began to look more dated. Certainly there are some growing pains present; the writing, the music, and the clothes can be a bit embarrassing at times. (Not that I'm complaining about Troi in her short skirt uniform. Unfortunately, some of the men are wearing the same thing.) But the episode also has a sweetness and an innocence. (It's morning again in Star Trek!) And it has a beautiful story. (It also introduces Q, an afterthought in the writing of the episode, and a homerun shot by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.) A few cringes and laughs aside, it's a great way to launch the series.moreless
  • Oh my. I can remember when I first watch it, I would have given it a 10!

    Well things change, as does our ability to criticise. I have no doubt that x years earlier, I would have marvelled at this. As it is, in todays age there are alot of laughable things about this episode. Namely the overuse of the extras in every bridge scene and the overuse of main characters in nearly every scene.

    I guess every show probably feels the need to overdo things at the start. Still worth watching for Q and to guage how far things changed in the last episodes of a truly great SF series.

    Would have got a 9.x if it were to have been made in todays age, with everything that has been learnt in the 3 spin-offs since and all the movie films!moreless
  • The crew of the newly commissioned USS Enterprise-D are sent to explore the mysterious Farpoint Station, but are interrupted when a mysterious omnipotent being called Q puts them on trail as representatives of humanity. Dated yes, but still a spectacle...moreless

    I've been, to varying degrees, a 'Star Trek' fan for all of my 33 years. I grew up watching reruns of the (already old) reruns of the classic Original with my father in the 1980s, and so when I heard in the late 1980s that there was to be a new incarnation, I couldn't wait to see it.

    As I say, I'm generally a life-long fan, but at the same time I appreciate them more just as interesting examples of TV sci-fi than being an uber-nerd, so will try to review this series for a balanced viewpoint.

    The series was a bit slow reaching UK shores by those days standards (often an imported US series would show up on UK terrestrial TV just a couple of months later); I recall it started in September 1990, within a couple of weeks of me starting secondary school. New school... new 'Star Trek' crew... somehow it worked in my young mind!

    It's interesting to think that when 'Encounter at Farpoint' first hit the US in 1987, it – and the first season – were generally hailed as wonderful storytelling, but nowadays, it is (lovingly) mocked. It's certainly true that this first season, and this Pilot in particular, have dated, but it's a product of it's time. Not to mention, in some ways – in essence if not in execution - I prefer these more adventurous tales of the first season or two, than some of the more 'relaxed' later instalments (good as most of them were).

    So here I am, visiting the entire series again on DVD – although I've seen reruns of many episodes, I haven't watched the series right through for some years now. Time to relive how we laughed at Data, how Dr. Crusher had a funny way of pronouncing her questions, and to remember how we all pretty much hated Wes! (And while I try not to bring such things into reviews, to ask myself why I didn't fancy Tasha Yar back then... yum!)

    It's amazing to think how something so shiny and new back then looks rather dated now. And this is certainly a quite different beast to 1960's 'Star Trek'. For one thing, the bridge looks very sparse – to this day when watching TNG, I miss the hustle-bustle of the Original Series' bridge. And how PC can you get – they even have a counsellor on the bridge! Of course, back then, there were endless "Kirk vs. Picard" debates everywhere. While I have grown to love Picard, I have to say I fall into the Kirk camp just for sheer knockabout intergalactic adventures.

    Although this is obviously the Pilot, so things are naturally a little slower as we get character introductions, it soon becomes apparent that TNG is a more relaxed-paced being than The Original Series generally was. While I love both versions, I did (and still do) often miss the sheer excitement of the originals.

    A number of concepts and actions that seem odd by later episode's standards. Picard's sudden announcement of surrender, just a few minutes in, with little to no fight for one. The saucer separation, while impressive, does reek slightly of "look what we can do" and serves little real purpose. Riker's "clip show" of what he missed on the ship is bizarre (this device was never used again from what I recall) and slows up the story. And some of the dialogue feels REALLY stilted, especially early on; this applies to Data in particular – he would become many fans' favourite character, but early on, especially with his "inquiries" and such, it feels as if Brent Spiner is still finding his handle on the character. Likewise, the extremities of Picard's sharpness with his crew would soon be toned down to a degree. There are other little glimpses of what might have been – for example, Riker's grinning "Wes... see you on the ship" hints at forthcoming mischief which (for better or for worse) never really happened.

    I love that they used 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture's rousing theme for TNG (another piece was originally planned but was dropped in favour of the movie theme), although I do find some of the in-episode score for this and other episodes of this period to sound horribly synthesised.

    Although rather slow and dated, I feel Part 1 of 'Encounter at Farpoint' is still an intriguing enough watch to merit a 9/10.

    Review continued on Part 2.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Denise Crosby

Denise Crosby

Tasha Yar

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Admiral Leonard McCoy

Guest Star

Michael Bell

Michael Bell

Groppler Zorn

Guest Star

Jimmy Ortega

Jimmy Ortega

Lt. Torres

Guest Star

John de Lancie

John de Lancie


Recurring Role

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Miles O'Brien

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • When the saucer separates, it is shown drifting away. On the viewscreen it goes a pretty far distance. However, when it changes screens, the saucer is closer to the ship then the viewscreen image.

    • When the camera shifts to showing civilians and Starfleet personnel moving about in the first 10 minutes of the episode, one Starfleet "red shirt" can be seen wearing a skirt, but the person wearing it is a male.

    • On the battle bridge, Data says it will take 51 minutes for them to meet up with the saucer right before Riker begins studying the whole encounter with Q. Riker was told to report to the Captain when finished. Q was on the Enterprise only five minutes, and Riker viewed an edited version of what happened. But right after Riker reported to the Captain, Data told them they were meeting the saucer. Why did it take Riker almost an hour to watch less than five minutes of footage?

    • If the saucer section doesn't have warp drive, how did it reach Farpoint Station after it separated from the lower section during the encounter with Q?

    • When Riker talks with Zorn, he refers to Farpoint Station as a "space" station, yet the station is firmly set on the surface of a planet.

    • TNG takes place in 2364, and the original series season 3 was 2270 (94 years difference). However if stardates really are 1000 per year, than the stardate here should be about 99000. "Turnabout Intruder", the last classic episode, was stardate 5928.8.

    • Data has been among humans for 26 years as of this episode, and has memorized a number of dictionaries - it seems kind of odd he doesn't know the meaning of the word "snoop."

    • Riker says he reviewed the logs of the encounter with Q, where the alien kidnaps Troi, Picard, Tasha, and Data. But later he's unaware that Troi is a member of the crew.

    • Why doesn't Riker just call up Data on his combadge instead of traipsing through the ship to find him?

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Picard: If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are.

    • Worf: I am a Klingon, sir. For me to seek escape while my captain goes into battle...
      Picard: You are a Starfleet officer, Lieutenant.
      Worf: Aye, sir.

    • Admiral McCoy: Have you got some reason you want my atoms scattered all over space, boy?

    • Picard: We had a little adventure on our way here.
      (Riker watches the encounter with Q)
      Riker: He calls that a little adventure?

    • Picard: You will agree, Data, that Starfleet's orders are difficult.
      Data: Difficult? Simply solve the mystery of Farpoint station.
      Picard: (sardonically) As simple as that.

    • Picard: We do exactly what we would do if this Q never existed. If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for who we really are!

    • Picard: (to Worf reacting to Q on the screen)) Lieutenant. Do you intend to blast a hole in the viewer?

    • McCoy: Well, This is a new ship, but she's got the right name. Now you remember that, you hear?
      Data: I will, sir.
      McCoy: You treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home.

    • Data: I thought it was generally accepted, sir, that Vulcans are an advanced and most honorable race.
      Admiral McCoy: They are, they are. Damned annoying at times.

    • Worf: (about Q) And now a personal request, sir. Permission to clean up the bridge?

    • Admiral McCoy: I don't see no points on your ears, boy, but you sound like a Vulcan!
      Data: No sir, I'm an android.
      Admiral McCoy: Almost as bad.

  • NOTES (24)

    • Due to Roddenberry's refluctance to include too many ties to the original series, Klingon Worf wasn't added to the cast until very late in the day before production began, and as a result, is not present in most of the publicity shots for the show taken before filming began.

    • Although it was only a bit role in this episode, the name "Lieutenant Torres" would later be reused for the Chief Engineer on Voyager.

    • Michael Bell appeared on DS9 as Borum in "The Homecoming" and as the Xepolite in "The Maquis."

    • Q's military uniform, which is that of a Marine Corps Captain, has the identical rank, ribbons, and badges of Lt. Col. Oliver North, when he testified at the Iran-Contra hearings, shortly before this went into production.

    • The filming of this episode (and the series itself) began on May 29, 1987.

    • This is the only episode in which the closing credits scroll.

    • Parts of Groppler Zorn's office were constructed from the Klingon Bird of Prey sickbay set from Star Trek IV, and the Enterprise Reactor Room from Star Trek II.

    • Colm Meaney (Chief O'Brien) and John de Lancie (Q) are the only actors, beside the regulars, to appear in both the pilot and finale of the series. Denise Crosby (Tasha), who left the series at the end of the first season (and was therefore not a regular at the time of the finale), also appeared in both episodes.

    • This is the only episode of this series to have the episode title consisting of all capital letters.

    • Miles O'Brien is only a helmsmen in this episode and also goes unnamed. He is only referred to as "Conn".

    • The scene after Data and Admiral McCoy part, which shows the starship Hood pulling away from the Enterprise is reused quite a few times throughout the series.

    • This the only Next Generation episode to play the entire main theme song during the show itself.

    • This episode would set the foundation for the rest of the first season and the second season to follow, which is basically a dramatic and space operatic tone, along with a stricter following of military protocol. Later seasons are much more subdued and casual.

    • In this episode and a few other very early Next Generation episodes, some members of the crew are seen wearing very revealing uniforms. They have almost no sleeves and don't extend much beyond the lower buttocks.

    • To keep DeForest Kelly's role as Admiral McCoy a secret, the character was never mentioned by name, either in the script or on screen. The original script only refered to McCoy as "The Admiral".

    • This episode occurred after Saturday July 24, 2363. That is the date the ship was commissioned (see "Data's Day").

    • This episode is really a feature length version, it is split into a two-parter, to be corporated into the usual 45-minute slot, but of course is 90 mins. All the other two-parters, except "All Good Things..." are meant to be two-parters, but this isn't (To prove this the video releases all show a feature-length version, but for other two-parters they all show two parts.)

    • At one point, the character of Wesley Crusher was a girl but Gene Roddenberry wanted a character named after his son.

    • Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) and Colm Meaney (Chief O'Brien) are the only actors to appear in both the pilots of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

    • Tim Russ (Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager) was one of two candidates chosen to play Geordi La Forge. He did not get the role but did remain good friends with the casting staff and the producers.

    • This episode sadly marks the final tv appearence of DeForest Kelley, who is best known around the world for his role on the first series as Dr. McCoy

    • The first of three appearances of the USS Enterprise-D's Battle Bridge. The battle bridge was originally built from the remains of the USS Enterprise bridge from the Star Trek films. A majority of the TNG sets, mainly the corridors, parts of the engine room, and the transporter room, were built originally for the first Star Trek feature films.

    • An alternate theme was to be used for the series, but was later changed to The Motion Picture's theme used now. The beginning was identical and then changed after the "Where No One Has Gone Before" line ends, it was very different after that. The BGM in the pilot is based on this main theme.

    • In the first season, Worf and Geordi were known as the rank JG, or Junior Grade. Later, Worf would become a Lt., and Geordi a Lt. Commander, and Chief of Engineering.


    • Riker and Troi These characters were partially based on Willard Decker and Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Riker and Troi's relationship and reactions upon being reunited in this episode mirror those of Decker and Ilia's in the movie.