Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Next Generation 1x3 "The Naked Now"


As the first regular episode of Next Generation, it may have been somewhat questionable to pattern "The Naked Now" after one of the more memorable episodes of the original series ("The Naked Time").  Although it's also a pretty bold move.  Aside from the fact that like many episodes from the first season of the series it doesn't age terrifically well, it does do exactly what it's supposed to, and further distance the new from the old crew.  The new one is more apt to look at a problem from a strictly analytic approach, whereas the old one usually ran by its emotions (yes, even Spock, because most of the time he had to deal with the questionable logic of his two friends, especially Bones).

Like many episodes of Enterprise, "The Naked Now" plays off of a familiar story, so there's at least a link to familiar material if you want to look at it that way.  There isn't an image quite as memorable as Sulu fencing on the bridge (which remains Sulu's definitive image from the TV incarnation of his crew, which says a lot about how important Sulu actually was), though Yar basically stripping in front of Data certainly comes close.

Actually, let me correct that.  Wesley Crusher, the controversial boy genius who was probably the biggest victim of the first season's baby steps, has a pretty infamous subplot in that he basically takes control of engineering, which is made easier by the fact that La Forge had not yet become chief engineer and so Next Generation left one of the original crew's most famous posts wide open and subject to some pretty weird developments.  This episode is the worst example of how that definitely did not work out.

La Forge does, however, get to emphasize the key characteristic everyone knows about him, that he needs artificial help in order to see (the awesome-looking VISOR up until First Contact that was one of the show's most distinctive elements).  There's also Picard and Crusher brushing on their theoretical romance that never quite played out but remained a recurring theme for both of them until the last episode, plus a tease of the Riker/Troi relationship that did happen and ended in a marriage (eventually).

It's Yar, though, who leaves the lasting impression, and while it's not Fencing Sulu it does provide Data with one of his earliest bonding moments, one that is left unexplained when it's referenced again later in the season (if you don't know what I'm talking about, and you're new to Next Generation, let's just say explaining would require a spoiler alert).

While far from a recommended episode, "The Naked Now" is not as horrible as most of the first season is in the eyes of most fans.  It's actually something of a lost gem (though the shine needs considerable buffing).

franchise * series * essential * character

Memory Alpha summary.


  1. I haven't seen this episode in a while, but it probably is dated. The scene with Data and Yar was incredible and had a long lasting affect on the series even though they never talked about it again. Some great character moments. Like you said, nothing on par with Sulu, but good ones.

    1. I'm glad that TNG evolved. But I can appreciate it for what it was when it wasn't to that level yet.

  2. I guess you have to kind of do a sliding scale since they didn't even understand the characters at first.


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