Thursday, October 15, 2015

What If ... Star Trek: The Next Generation

As a dedicated listener of the podcast "Listen to the Prophets: A Star Trek Deep Space Nine Podcast", I have been re-watching Deep Space Nine so that I have some idea of what the hosts are talking about. In the first episode, we learn that Commander Sisko was at the infamous Battle of Wolf 359. That got me to thinking about the battle itself, or specifically the tail end where the Enterprise D comes in. This was detailed in the amazing two part episode, "The Best of Both Worlds", in which Picard is captured by The Borg and turned into Locutus. In the cliff hanger (which is responsible for all season ending cliff hangers on TV now-a-days), Riker issues the order to fire the new weapon that Commander Shelby has devised at the Borg cube. Spoiler: It doesn't work.

What if it did, though? What if, as intended, the weapon fired and destroyed the cube, killing Picard. We would then have an Enterprise D commanded by Captain William T. Riker. This two parter straddled the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4 of the show, and marked a distinct turning point, for me, anyway, where the show really took off.

What would have happened to the remaining seasons if Riker had been the captain? Would he have settled down to be more of a Picard and had Shelby (the new First Officer) be more of the action hero? We see some of that in this episode, but I think that Riker would have become more Kirk-like than he was to begin with. He would probably have gotten much more directly involved that Picard had and, for better or worse, made more direct decisions without consulting the committee of officers.

This would also have effected Deep Space Nine in some way, since Picard was integral in convincing Sisko to stay there. I'm sure Riker could have delivered the same speech, but I don't know if it would have had the same impact. Of course, Sisko might not have been such the tortured soul as the person responsible for his wife's death would have been killed at the battle.

What do you guys think? Would TNG have been a better or worse show if we had Captain Riker?

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  1. I don't think it would have been a better show, but it would have been very different. As great as Patrick Stewart was on that show, I would've watched it with Riker in command. I think he would've kept up the briefings, he was never too confident in command.

    1. If you go by this episode, though, Riker took to command pretty well. I think he was hesitant when Picard was still there as a safety net, but once command was thrust upon him, Riker became pretty much Kirk.

    2. True, he was able to step up, if they played up his lack of assuredness and built on it, you could make a season long arc of that character change.