Monday, April 4, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation - ''The Icarus Factor''

Spoiler Level: High

Now this episode is what separates The Next Generation from Voyager.  It's a character episode from start to finish.  No alien life forms taking people over, no mysterious diseases, no red alerts.  Just pure, 100% character drama.

Riker is offered a command of his own for the second time, which (if he accepts) would take him to the remote Vega Omicron system for an extended mission.  His adviser on the assignment is his estranged father, who also just happens to be an old flame of Pulaski's.  Meanwhile, Wesley, Geordi and Data are trying to figure out what's got Worf so cranky, which turns out to be due to his reaching the tenth anniversary of his Age of Ascension and not having any other Klingons around to celebrate it with.

It's pure Trek space opera, with character development galore.  We get to learn more about the Klingons, we get to actually meet a parent of a main character, and we get a lot of great character moments (such as when Data tries to tell Worf he has friends who cares about him, and Worf belows "Begone! ...sir.")  What makes this episode work so well is the chemistry between the characters.

I don't want to turn this into a Voyager rag session, but its very format -- being stranded on the opposite side of the galaxy-- made it tougher to do episodes like this.  Sure, you could still do a story like Worf's (if anything, it might work better with it being impossible to be able to celebrate with other Klingons), but there's no chance for parents or old flames to come on the show, and thus help flesh the characters out.

I love Ron Jones's music.  Every time the musical score stands out to me, it turns out to be by Ron Jones.

So all in all, this is the kind of episode that makes Next Gen fun.

When setting up the links for this episode, I discovered there's entire soundtracks of Ron Jones's Trek music! I'll be buying this puppy.

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