Even the most diehard fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation — and, yes, you non-fans can just skip ahead now — recognize that the first season of the superlative sci-fi show was all too often… well… let’s just go with soul-crushingly awful, shall we? But what I hadn’t realized was that those episodes are also a profoundly rich source of gut-busting comedy. Said realization came via a friend and fellow Trekkie who sent me a link to a monthly series of reviews of ST: TNG Season 1 episodes that recently started over on AOL’s TV Squad, reviews written by none other than Wesley Crusher (pictured) himself, Wil Wheaton. And. They’re. Hilarious.
I knew Wheaton had his own blog of some considerable Web esteem (the archives go alllll the way back to 2001!), but I was not prepared for quite the level of geeked out, snarky-smart, slightly ribald brilliance Wheaton unleashes in these reviews. Here’s just one (rather tame) excerpt from a review of “Justice,” set on a libidinous, Edenic planet called Rubicun III, populated by a species called the Edo:
Before the Edo leaders will tell Riker how many people they can bring down from the Enterprise, they suggest that they “play at love.” Rivan, the woman, suggests that Worf play at love with her (Aside: if my memory serves me correctly, Michael Dorn and Brenda Bakke, who played Rivan, spent a little time, uh, playing, together during the production of this episode), while Liator looks at Riker, jams his true desires deep into the closet, and asks Troi if she’ll play with him. Just before Sexual Harassment Panda shows up, Wesley Crusher says, “Dude, this is bulls–t. Either hook me up with some fine Edo ass, or let me get away from you creepy middle-aged swingers and find it on my own.” Okay, maybe that’s not what he says, but it’s certainly what a certain actor who played Wesley Crusher was thinking at the time.
addCredit(“Wil Wheaton: Everett Collection”)
As you can see, Wheaton freely shares insider dish in these reviews. He even settles some old scores with certain ST: TNG writers who may have had it out for the young super-genius-pubescent-boy-who-always-seems-to-save-
the-Enterprise-at-the-last-minute-with-his-deep-knowledge-of-technobabble. Which is to say, highly entertaining reading, and a super-fantastic idea for a blog.
What other cast member of a bygone TV show would make a great, candid retrospective critic of the same show now? Keshia Knight Pulliam (a.k.a. Rudy) on The Cosby Show? Ron Howard (a.k.a. Opie) on The Andy Griffith Show? Do tell!