Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Next Generation 1x5 "The Last Outpost"


So this is the debut of the Ferengi.  The Ferengi were the worst screw-up of Next Generation's first season, but in a lot of ways, it's a screw-up that ultimately doesn't matter, much like the rest of the season.  Originally, the Ferengi were essentially to become the new Klingons.  As presented here they're complete jokes, of course.  And even when the series finally got them right, they're just not all that familiar to fans of Deep Space Nine.  It takes Voyager and Enterprise to reconcile the differences, if you must know.

Anyway, like much of the season, it's bafflingly bad (although Riker does get to notably bellow "Anybody?" off a cliff, which is where most of these episodes go).  Even the intriguing concept of the ancient civilization the Ferengi and Starfleet spar over is not even good as a pastiche of all the similar plots from the original series (and this season manages to do it better in "The Arsenal of Freedom").

So the story is forgettable and the Ferengi are laughable with their laser whips (with nary a Dolph Lundgren in sight).  Anything at all worth taking away from it?  Glad you asked!  Among the first actors to portray a Ferengi happens to be Armin Shimerman.  This is not even the only time he shows up in the season (see also: "Haven").  He's better known, of course, as Quark in Deep Space Nine, a far more respectable Ferengi (though anyone who knows him would beg to disagree, starting with his "pal" Odo).  That's a remarkable bit of fortuitous casting, and one of the big benefits of the franchise keeping tabs on its actors.

Anyway, as far as the Ferengi go, this is worth watching merely as their first appearance in the series.  All of it gets better.  Don't panic!

franchise * series * essential * character

Notable guest-stars:
Armin Shimerman

Memory Alpha summary.

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