June 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm #1689
‘Star Trek’: The Story of the Most Daring Cliffhanger in ‘Next Generation’ History
In June 1990, many Trekkies considered the crew of the Enterprise-D pretenders to the throne.
Star Trek: The Next Generation was closing out its third season, and it was still struggling to step out of the shadow of Kirk’s (William Shatner) Enterprise. That was about to change thanks to a daring cliffhanger pulled off in an era of television in which shocking deaths and major plot twists weren’t par for the course.
When “Best of Both Worlds: Part I” aired 25 years ago this week, it was truly jarring to fans. The season three finale saw the return of The Borg, the seemingly unstoppable villain introduced a year earlier. The Borg captured Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and transformed him into Locutus of Borg, a de facto spokesperson for the collective consciousness. The episode ended with Picard’s No. 1 Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) giving shocking order (“Mr. Worf, fire.”) and the screen cutting to the words “To be continued…”, something it had never done.
Written by Michael Piller and directed by Cliff Bole, “Best of Both Worlds” is arguably the most influential arc in Next Generation history. Along with “Best of Both Worlds: Part II” and its aftermath episode “Family,” the story introduced layers of psychological complexity, bold storytelling and emotional depth the show had not yet explored.
“We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene KranzJune 21, 2015 at 6:39 pm #7935
Earl’s previous regenerationSpectator
As these potted internet mini-oral-histories go, that one’s okay, but the late Michael Piller spent so much time talking about BOBW that they could’ve roped in some archive quotes from him, as well as the late director Cliff Bole.
Man, why’s everyone gotta be dead? I have to remind myself that TNG wasn’t just “a few years ago”, but “running up on three decades ago”.June 25, 2015 at 12:01 am #7936
That’s completely mindblowing to me, to think about how long it’s been since the show was on the air. Just think, the final iteration of Trek on TV was what, 2004? It’d be nice if Paramount would get its act together and bring a new Trek back to the small screen, and not screw it up. But they’ve fractionalized their audience with the new continuity Trek movies, so who knows what “universe” it’d be set in.June 26, 2015 at 4:57 pm #7937
I remember watching the season three cliffhanger quite well. It’s etched in my memory, as a matter of fact.
A bunch of my friends decided to get together to watch the season finale for TNG. The last time we got together for TNG was for the series premiere a couple years earlier so it was sorta a special event (it was also the day I moved into my newly purchased house). We’ve gotten together for other events (Memorial day, Christmas, etc.) so it wasn’t that special. However, like I said, it was only the second time we watched TNG together as a group.
When the show started we were chatty and not paying too much attention to the show. And then the Borg made an appearance and the chatting stop: it got our attention. I remember our eyes were riveted to the TV set when Picard was captured and I remember being somewhat anxious when they tried to rescue him. When Riker said “…Fire!” and the screen fade to black and the “To be continued…” screen appeared, the whole room erupted with groans. I felt the same way I did when I watched Empire Strikes Back for the first time (“Lucas better not die in the next three years!” is what a friend of mine said as we exited the theater) and I knew the summer was going to suck while we waited. I don’t remember getting together for part 2; I think we all saw that episode individually at our homes.
I think we gathered only one more time for TNG and that was for the series finale. Memories are vague mostly because he series finale did not have any where near the emotional impact as “Best of Both Worlds Part 1” did.
Without a doubt “Best of Both Worlds” was the highlight of TNG for me. I don’t read many Star Trek histories or stories about TNG so I found this article interesting.
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