Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trek Top 20: #14 Family

The TNG episode "Family" is something of an anomaly. It's basically the third part of the "Best of Both Worlds" two-parter, but it's really more of a "coda" than a trilogy. It is the only episode of TNG without Data. It doesn't really have a plot, it's just three small stories about Picard, Worf, and Wesley. It's so unusual for Trek, that SF Debris didn't even give it a rating when he reviewed it.

Now after BoBW they had to stop and take a break - it would have been dumb to rush into another big adventure while we're still catching our breath. (They did the same thing on DS9 during the Dominion War with the Worf/Dax marriage episode.)

The real power of this episode is how it "changed the game" on BoBW. If you watch those two without "Family," BoBW are Riker episodes. But everyone remembers them (see "I, Borg," Star Trek: First Contact) as Picard episodes, thanks to this episode.

BoBW is the zenith of the Riker character, who was essentially the show's main character -- until "Family," where Patrick Stewart stole not just a scene or an episode but the whole danged show from his younger co-star.


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