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One of the best of the original series and a harbinger

  • Oct 13, 2003
  • by
There are two ways in which this is one of the best episodes in the original Star Trek series. The first is that the crew of the Enterprise encounters a creature (Trelane) that can command great power, and that considers the Enterprise crew to be playthings. This premise is a very interesting one, because it is so plausible. We humans are culturally conditioned to consider ourselves to be higher level beings, but the law of averages as played out in the universe dictates that we are most certainly not. Our foibles, nature and actions could very likely be a source of amusement for beings capable of easily moving planets.
The other way is that it sets the table for some of the best episodes of Star Trek, The Next Generation, as the Q character is obviously modeled from Trelane. "Encounter At Farpoint", the first episode of TNG, involves humanity being placed on trial, much like Trelane's placing Captain Kirk on trial in this episode. Trelane has studied Earth history, but somehow doesn't quite get it right. Q and the members of the continuum also never seem to quite be able to accurately solve the human equation, despite their ability to treat time and space like some of us use a television remote.
I went back and watched this episode again after viewing the TNG episodes that involved Q. The episode is so well acted and the repartee dialog so well written that I found myself enjoying it more than I ever had before. I found myself wishing that Trelane had made a second appearance in the original series.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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A real treat for long-haul Trekkers: "The Squire of Gothos" is an entertaining program in its own right and the obvious blueprint for "Encounter at Farpoint," Gene Roddenberry's pilot episode forStar Trek: The Next Generation. Guest star William Campbell plays Trelane, a bratty, impulsive alien given to wearing costumes appropriate for an 18th-century French aristocrat. Equipped with godlike powers that allow him to alter and manipulate the world around him, Trelane is the prototype ofThe Next Generation's beloved quasi villain, Q (John de Lancie). Like Q, Trelane regards the crew of theEnterpriseas playthings, and when Captain Kirk (William Shatner) disrupts his games, the omniscient boy-man puts humanity itself on trial. Great stuff.--Tom Keogh
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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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