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(written from a Production point of view)
Encounter at Farpoint redirects here; for the novelization of this episode, please see Encounter at Farpoint (novel).

Captain Jean-Luc Picard leads the crew of the USS Enterprise-D on its maiden voyage, to examine a new planetary station for trade with the Federation. On the way, they encounter Q, an omnipotent extra-dimensional being, who challenges humanity as a barbaric, inferior species. Picard and his new crew must hold off Q's challenge and solve the puzzle of Farpoint station on Deneb IV, a base that is far more than it seems to be. (Series Premiere)

Summary Edit

Act One Edit

Jean Luc Picard 2364

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

"Captain's log, Stardate 41153.7. Our destination is Planet Deneb IV, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy. My orders are to examine Farpoint, a starbase built there by the inhabitants of that world. Meanwhile I'm becoming better acquainted with my new command – this Galaxy-class USS Enterprise. I'm still somewhat in awe of its size and complexity. As for my crew, we are short in several key positions, most notably a first officer, but I'm informed that a highly experienced man, one Commander William Riker, will be waiting to join the ship at our Deneb IV destination."

The year is 2364. Captain Jean-Luc Picard takes command of the new starship, the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise-D, the fifth Federation ship to bear the name Enterprise. The vessel is about to embark on its first mission to Deneb IV, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy. Picard, in his log, notes that he is impressed with the size and complexity of the ship as he walks through the Enterprise, surveying engineering, then finally enters the bridge, manned by tactical officer Lieutenant Natasha Yar, Lieutenant Worf, Counselor Deanna Troi and Lieutenant Commander Data. Picard continues with his log, in which he reports that the ship is en route to Farpoint Station and that the ship is short in several key positions, most notably a first officer, but Picard is informed that a very experienced officer, William T. Riker, will fill the position.

Picard looking out, 2364

Captain Picard looks out at the "great, unexplored mass of the galaxy."

Picard sits at his command chair and makes an off-hand comment on how Starfleet wants the crew of the Enterprise to "snoop" around Farpoint station, to which Data makes an inquiry into the definition of the word snoop. Picard wonders how Data, a complex android with encyclopedic knowledge does not know the meaning of a basic word like "snoop". Data responds that he possibly was not designed to emulate this type of Human behavior. Picard says that it means "to spy, to sneak." Data responds, "Ah, to seek covertly, to go stealthily, to slink, slither, creep, skulk, pussyfoot, gum..." "Yes" Picard interjects, to which Data finishes, "...shoe." Suddenly, Counselor Troi senses a powerful mind. The ship then goes to red alert, with the familiar alert sound blaring through the bridge.

Q forcefield

"It registers as solid, Captain."

Then, conn officer Lieutenant Torres reports that there is something strange on his detector circuit. A large field begins to appear in front of the Enterprise, which reads as solid. Picard calls for Yar to turn off "that damned noise!" and go to yellow alert. Picard orders helm to make the ship come to a full stop. Soon after controls read full stop, a white light shines on the bridge and a humanoid emerges, dressed from 16th century Europe. Picard asks the being to identify itself. The being notes that he is called "Q" and walks around the bridge, while Torres discreetly takes a small phaser out from the bottom of his console. Q, however senses this and freezes Torres before he can fire. Q, after showing his ability, warns the crew of the Enterprise to go back to Earth or they shall most certainly die.

Act TwoEdit

"Captain's Log, supplementary. The frozen form of Lieutenant Torres has been rushed to sickbay. The question now is the incredible power of the Q being. Do we dare oppose it?"
Q Marine Corps Captain

"There are no indications that humans will ever change."

Later, Q changes into many costumes of Earth's eras, including the late 20th century (1980s) in the guise of a United States Marine Corps captain: "Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. We must go back to your world and put an end to the commies. All it takes are a few good men." Picard tells Q that that kind of nonsense is centuries behind them. Q brings up that Picard cannot deny that Humans are a dangerous, savage child race, which Picard denies, saying that Humans have made rapid progress in only a few centuries.

Q then changes again, thinking Picard and his crew will be able to identify with the period that he next embodies, that of a soldier in the late 21st century, where Q notes that Humans learned to control their militaries through drugs. The other officers, not amused with Q's behavior, attempt to make him leave, but Q keeps on heaping disapproval on Humans, noting that when they finally reached deep space, they found enemies to fight out there as well, which Q says is "the same old story all over again." Picard says that Q is the same old story they have been seeing, self-righteous beings who prosecute and judge for things they can't understand nor tolerate. Q notes that "prosecute and judge" is an interesting concept. He then begins to leave, but notes that he will be back and will proceed the way Picard suggests.

Picard, who gets many suggestions from his senior staff, orders that no stations on the ship will make audio transmissions, only print-out, in an attempt to catch Q off guard, with Picard noting, "Let's see what this Galaxy-class starship can do." Picard orders Worf to head down to engineering and have them prepare for maximum acceleration. Picard also asks Data if it is possible to perform a saucer separation at a high warp velocity. Data notes that the separation is inadvisable at any warp speed, however, it is theoretically possible, but there can be no margin for error. Worf returns from engineering, with the report that the engine room is ready, and takes his position at the helm. Picard orders "Engage", the ship turns away from Q's force field and warps away.

Q forcefield pursuit

"Hostile is now beginning to overtake us, sir!"

The entire force field collapses into a ball and heads towards the Enterprise. The object is at high warp speed, at warp 9.6, and the Enterprise increases speed accordingly. However, the object is increasing speed. Data notes that the Enterprise may be able to match the object's 9.8 warp, but at extreme risk. However, the object reaches warp 9.9 while the Enterprise is only at warp 9.5. Picard, seeing no other alternative, calls out to the entire ship, "Now hear this, printout message, urgent, all stations, all decks, prepare for emergency saucer sep." The bridge officers are shocked at this new order. Picard orders Worf to command the saucer section, while Picard commands the battle section. Worf stands up from his conn station and tells Picard, "I am a Klingon, sir. For me to seek escape when my captain goes into battle...", to which Picard bluntly overrules him and reminds him that he is a Starfleet officer. Worf grudgingly agrees. Picard, along with Yar, Troi, and Data take the bridge's emergency turbolift to the battle bridge.

Act ThreeEdit

"Captain's Log, Stardate 41153.7. Preparing to detach saucer section so that families and the majority of the ship's company can seek relative safety while the vessel's stardrive containing the battle bridge and main armaments will turn back and confront the mystery that is threatening us."
USS Enterprise-D saucer separation

Saucer separation of the Enterprise-D

The Enterprise's corridors are filled with crewmembers and families leaving the stardrive section to the saucer section. Picard, Data, Yar and Troi enter the battle bridge, with Chief Miles O'Brien manning the conn. First, Picard orders that Yar fire photon torpedoes towards the object. Yar complies and the torpedoes are away. Shortly after, Picard orders that the countdown to saucer separation begin. Data counts down, and the ship separates while at warp. The stardrive section turns around and heads towards a confrontation with Q. The stardrive section arrives to see the torpedoes hit the object, however, it has no effect, the point being that the detonation of the torpedoes masked the getaway of the saucer section. Picard asks Troi to send out a message in all languages that they surrender.

Crew in Q court

"Careful, sir - this is not an illusion or a dream."

Then, the stardrive section is soon encompassed by a sphere-shaped force field and bright white light surrounds the battle bridge. Picard, Troi, Data and Yar are taken to a World War III-style courtroom, which Troi reveals that everything that is happening is real, even the soldiers with lethal weapons. The magistrate orders everyone in the courtroom to stand as the judge enters. The judge is revealed to be Q, who charges Humanity of being a grievously savage race, to which Yar is unable to control her anger and starts to berate Q, saying that she comes from a world where a similar "court" was commonplace, and that it took people like her Starfleet comrades to save her from such atrocities. Q then freezes Yar, the same way he did to Torres. Outraged, Picard demands that Q uphold his promise that "the prisoners would not be harmed" and thaw out Yar, which he does, much to the crowd's displeasure. Picard pleads not guilty to Q's charges. Q does not take kindly to this and has two soldiers aim their weapons at Data and Troi, ordering them to push the triggers if Picard says anything other than guilty.

Act FourEdit

Picard, forced into a tight spot, admits that there is indeed evidence to support the court's contention that Humans have been savage. Therefore, he asks Q to test the crew of the Enterprise to see if this is presently true of Humans. Q is fascinated by this idea and tells Picard that the Farpoint station will be an excellent site for this test. Picard, with his crew are transported back to the battle bridge, where O'Brien has been the entire time. O'Brien claims that he has heard that Farpoint is a rather dull place but Picard hears that it might be rather interesting.

"Personal Log, Commander William Riker, Stardate 41153.7. The USS Hood has dropped me off at Farpoint Station where I await the arrival of the new USS Enterprise to which I have been assigned as first officer. Meanwhile, I've been asked to visit the Farpoint administrator's office in the old city."
Riker and apples

"...I'll be damned."

On Deneb IV, Commander William T. Riker walks to Groppler Zorn's office. Riker has just been dropped off by the USS Hood for his new assignment. He talks with Zorn for a while, and Zorn asks him if he would like a piece of fruit off of his desk. Riker looks for an apple, but cannot find one. Then, a bowl of apples suddenly shows up on Zorn's desk, which Riker swears could not have been there two seconds ago. Zorn assures him that it has been there the whole time. Riker then leaves eating the apple, while Zorn, alone in his office, says "You have been told not to do that. It will arouse their suspicion, and if that happens, we will have to punish you. We will! I promise you!"

Meanwhile, at Farpoint Station, Riker meets up at Farpoint's mall with the beautiful Dr. Beverly Crusher and her son, Wesley, who is eagerly anticipating joining the Enterprise. Riker asks Dr. Crusher if there is something useful they can do while they wait for the ship to arrive. For example Riker tells Crusher about the apple incident at Zorn's office, which Dr. Crusher dismisses as Riker attempting to pull favor with the captain, as she is shopping. She sees a purple bolt and says that gold would look great on it, then five seconds later, a gold pattern appears on the fabric.

Crushers shopping at Farpoint Station

"Isn't it remarkable they happen to have exactly what you asked for?"

Dr. Crusher later apologizes to Riker and that she looks forward to meeting Picard, which Riker wonders if she knows the captain. Wesley solemnly tells Riker that when he was a child, Picard brought his father's body back to them. Dr. Crusher notes that it was a long time ago and ends the conversation. Riker tells Wesley that he'll see him on board.

Riker then meets up with blind Starfleet officer Lieutenant Geordi La Forge, who makes an official report that the Enterprise has arrived, but with the stardrive section only and that Captain Picard has requested his presence. Riker taps his combadge and is beamed up to the Enterprise.

Act FiveEdit

Riker directs reconnect

"They say you will be doing this... manually, sir?"

Once aboard, the commander is greeted by Lieutenant Yar, who escorts him to the battle bridge. Riker arrives and is not greeted warmly by Picard, who tells him to watch the video recording of Q, so he'll know what the ship is facing. Picard leaves the bridge for the ready room and asks Riker to enter once he is done watching the recording. Riker enters and Picard asks him to perform a manual docking of the stardrive section and the saucer section, a difficult task. The saucer section enters orbit of Deneb IV, ready for reconnection. Riker asks O'Brien to adjust the pitch angle, then assures, with the stardrive's velocity being zero, that its inertia should finish the job. Riker orders the lock up of the stardrive and saucer, and thus the Enterprise is successfully reconnected.

Welcome to Enterprise

"Welcome to the Enterprise, Commander Riker."

In the ship's conference lounge, Picard discusses with Riker during an incident on the planet Altair III, when he refused to let Captain Robert DeSoto of the USS Hood beam down to the planet, seeing that a captain's life could be in danger. Picard tests him by suggesting that Riker doesn't respect a captain's authority, which Riker denies, only to state that preserving a captain's life takes priority over obeying his orders. Picard asks him if he intends to back down from that policy. Riker confidently says "No, sir." Confident in Riker's loyalty, Picard proceeds to express his discomfort with the substantial number of families and particularly children aboard the Enterprise and orders Riker's assistance in ensuring Picard project the image of geniality expected of a starship Captain, to which Riker agrees. Then, Captain Picard formally welcomes Riker on board the Enterprise and shakes his hand.

Data and Leonard McCoy

Admiral McCoy tours the Enterprise-D with Data

Riker enters the bridge of the Enterprise for the first time, when he inquires to Lt. Worf as to the location of Lieutenant Commander Data. Worf reports that Data is on special assignment, escorting an admiral around the ship, who took a shuttle to the Enterprise to inspect the new vessel's medical layout. When asked why the admiral couldn't have just beamed over instead of taking a shuttle, Worf responds, "Well, I suppose he could, sir, but the admiral is a rather... remarkable man."

Admiral McCoy and Data

"You treat her like a lady... and she'll always bring you home."

In a corridor, Admiral Leonard McCoy, conducting an inspection, claims that Data wanted his atoms scattered all over space. However, Data claims that with his age, he should not have to bother with the time and trouble of a shuttlecraft. McCoy stops walking and asks Data "What about my age?" Data apologizes, if the subject of his age bothers McCoy. "Troubles me? What so damn troublesome about not having died?!", McCoy exclaims. The admiral then asks Data just how old he thinks he is. Data reports quickly that he is 137 years old, according to Starfleet records. McCoy wonders how he can remember that so exactly. Data replies that he remembers everything he is exposed to. McCoy sarcastically says that Data may not have pointed ears, but that he sounds like a Vulcan, only to claim that the actual fact that he is an android is "almost as bad," much to Data's puzzlement over his own perception of Vulcans as an advanced and respected race. McCoy replies, "They are, they are – and damn annoying at times." While continuing to walk down the corridor, McCoy tells Data to treat the Enterprise like a lady and that she will always bring him and the crew home.

Act SixEdit

Later, on the bridge, Q appears on the Enterprise's main viewscreen and tells Picard that his time is running out. Worf reacts by pointing a phaser at him, but Picard restrains him, pointing out that he would be shooting the viewscreen instead of Q himself. Picard states that they will proceed the same regardless of Q's involvement, stating that, "If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are."

"Personal Log, Stardate 41153.8. Of the 24 hours Q allotted us to prove ourselves 11 have now passed without incident and yet I cannot forget Q's prediction that we will face some critical test."

In Picard's ready room, Riker then tells the captain about objects appearing when thought of on the planet. Picard is a bit skeptical about Riker's observations and orders Counselor Troi to join him and Riker on an away mission, which results in an awkward reunion on the bridge between Troi and Riker, her Imzadi.

Pain and loneliness

"Pain. Loneliness. Terrible loneliness. Despair."

Picard meets Zorn, but Zorn immediately becomes fearful since there is a Betazoid at the meeting. Troi assures Zorn that she is only half-Betazoid and that she can only sense strong emotions in people. She then feels a strong flood of emotions coming from somewhere, namely pain and loneliness. Picard begins to leave, and tells Zorn that the Federation may not protect Farpoint anymore, to which Zorn says that the station may become vulnerable to species like the Ferengi, to which Picard replies, "Fine, let's hope they find you as tasty as they did their past associates."

Later, on the Enterprise-D, Riker finally meets Data in the ship's holodeck, where the android is in a forest program trying to whistle Pop Goes the Weasel. He requests Data's participation in the away mission, to which Data agrees. They then proceed to discuss Data's background and his studies at the Academy, with Data admitting that, while superior to humans in many ways, he would rather be human.

Act SevenEdit

Data and Riker in holodeck forest

Riker meets Data

As Riker and Data discuss the intricacies of the holodeck technology, Wesley enters the holodeck, excited about the potential of the technology, but accidentally falls into a pond, only to be rescued singlehandedly by Data. They exit as Picard is walking down a corridor, Riker stating that he is leading an away mission down to Deneb IV, and Wesley apologetically dripping water on the corridor carpet.

Riker then leads a team to explore more of Farpoint Station, with Yar, La Forge, Data and Troi. They go underground into tunnels, where Troi again senses great despair and pain.

Wesley asks his mother to let him see the bridge. Crusher hadn't met Picard since her husband died, and goes with Wesley to see him on the bridge. Taken aback, Picard lets Wesley in the bridge, though suddenly an unexpected ship appears.

Act Eight Edit

Zorn insists he does not know the ship or expect one. The ship scans the Enterprise and begins attacking the surface of Deneb IV, though only the Old Bandi City rather than the station. On the surface, the away team loses communication and exits the base into the city on hearing the attack.

The conspicuous targeted attack leads Picard to suggest that Zorn may have more information about the aliens than he is letting on and orders Riker to seize him (admittedly illegally) so that they may interrogate him further. After he confirms with Troi that attacking the ship will not violate the Prime Directive and orders phasers prepared, Q appears.

Act Nine Edit

Q says he expected force from Picard, when the motives of the ship should be clear. Picard orders the Enterprise in between the ship and the planet, but Worf says his control has been lost.

In the Bandi city, Riker and Data find Zorn, who is now willing to explain, however, he is transported out of his office while he screams in horror. Riker reports in to Picard about Zorn's abduction, speculating that Q might be responsible. Q mocks the crew for not knowing who abducted Zorn, but then Troi reports a feeling of satisfaction emanating from the alien vessel. Riker and Data return to the Enterprise. Q goads Picard into ordering an away team onto the vessel, which Picard resists, but Riker volunteers, independent of Q's mocking.

Act TenEdit

Old Bandi City streets

Attacked from orbit

Riker and the away team beam over to the entity and see that its corridors are exactly the same as the underground tunnels on Deneb IV. They find Zorn suspended in mid-air, being tortured. Riker and Data fire their phasers and free him. Suddenly, the ship pulses.

Picard attempts to beam the away team back from the entity, but is unsuccessful. Q returns, now wearing the uniform of a Starfleet captain, and informs him that the time of the test has expired. Picard begs Q to let him rescue his people, even to the point of promising to do whatever he says if he does so. At that exact moment, the away team is transported back to the Enterprise, and Q and Picard appear ready to honor that hastily made bargain. However, Troi points out that it was the entity, not Q, that returned the away team to the Enterprise.
Spaceborne entity unfurling

A spaceborne entity

Soon, the captain realizes the truth: the Bandi have captured an alien lifeform, a space-dwelling being, and have constructed Farpoint Station and its goods by feeding off its power; feeding it the energy it needs just enough to keep it alive so it can morph into any shape Farpoint wants. The ship in space is not actually a ship, but rather the alien life-form's mate. Picard assists the captured alien by using the Enterprise's phasers to deliver an energy beam to the entity allowing it to break free of its bonds, thus solving the mystery much to Q's dismay. Q then retreats, though he hints that it won't be the last time the crew sees him.

Jean-Luc Picard, early 2364

"Let's see what's out there. Engage."

"Captain's Log, Stardate 41174.2. The agreement for the rebuilding of Farpoint Station has been completed per my instructions."

With the Farpoint mission over, the crew settles in. Picard asks Riker if he has a problem. Riker replies that he wonders if all their missions will be like their first. Picard assures him that he doesn't think so – they should be much more interesting. Picard orders Lt. La Forge to set a course, "Let's see what's out there. Engage."

Log entries Edit

Memorable quotes Edit

"Would you agree, Mr. Data, that Starfleet's orders are difficult?"
"Difficult? Simply solve the mystery of Farpoint Station."
"Simple as that."

- Picard and Data, first spoken lines of the series (outside of the preceding captain's log entry)


"Farpoint Station. Even the name sounds mysterious."

- Troi


"Captain, I'm sensing a... a powerful mind!"

- Troi, sensing Q for the first time


"Shut off that damn noise! Go to yellow alert."

- Picard, after the red alert sounds for the first time


"Thou art notified that thy kind hath infiltrated the galaxy too far already. Thou art directed to return to thine own solar system immediately."
"That's quite a directive. Would you mind identifying what you are?"
"We call ourselves the Q. Or thou mayest call me that. It's all much the same thing. I present myself to thee as a fellow ship captain so that thou mayest understand me. Go back whence thou camest."

- Q and Picard


'Knowing Humans as thou dost, captain, wouldst thou be captured helpless by them?"

- Q


"Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must go back to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes is a few good men!"

- Q, in a 20th century United States military uniform


"He's frozen!"

- Troi, on Lieutenant Torres


"That nonsense is centuries behind us!"
"But you can't deny, captain, that you are still a dangerous, savage child race."
"Most certainly, I deny it. I agree we still were, when Humans wore costumes like that four hundred years ago."
"At which time you slaughtered millions in silly arguments about how to divide the resources of your little world. And four hundred years before that, you were murdering each other in quarrels over tribal god images. Since then, there has been no indication that Humans will ever change."

- Picard and Q


"But even when we wore costumes like that, we were still making rapid progress!"
"Oh yeah? You want to review your 'rapid progress?'"

- Picard and Q


"Sir, sickbay reports Lieutenant Torres' condition is better."
"Oh, concern for one's fellow comrade! How touching."

- Worf and Q


"And now a personal request, sir; permission to clean up the bridge!"
"Lieutenant Worf is right. As security chief, I can't just stand here and let – "
"Yes you can, Lieutenant Yar!"

- Worf, Yar, and Picard


"And later, on finally reaching deep space, Humans found enemies to fight out there, too. And to broaden those struggles, you again found allies for still more murdering! The same old story all over again!"
"No, the same old story is the one we're meeting now. Self-righteous lifeforms who are eager, not to learn but to prosecute, to judge anything they don't understand or can't tolerate." "What an interesting idea! Prosecute and judge! But suppose it turns out that we understand you Humans only too well."
"We have no fear what the true facts about us will reveal."
"Facts about you? Splendid, splendid, captain! You're a veritable fountain of ideas. There are preparations to make, but when we next meet, captain, we'll proceed exactly as you suggest."

- Q and Picard


"Let's see what this Galaxy-class starship can do!"

- Picard


"The prisoners will not be harmed... until they're found guilty."

- Q


"I grew up in a world that allowed things like this court! And it was people like these that saved me from it! This so-called court should get down on its knees to what Starfleet is! What it represents!"

- Yar


"I recognize this court as the one that agreed with that line from Shakespeare: 'Kill all the lawyers!' "
"Which was done."
"Leading to the rule: Guilty until proven innocent."
"Of course, bringing the innocent to trial would be unfair. You will now answer to the charge of being a grievously savage race!!"
"Grievously savage could mean anything. I will answer only specific charges."
"Are you certain you want a full disclosure of Human ugliness? So be it, fool."

- Picard and Q


"Criminal! You will read the charges to the court!"
(reads the charges silently) "I see no charges against us, Your Honor."

- Bailiff and Picard


"You have been told not to do that! Why can't you understand? It will arouse their suspicions, and if that happens, we will have to punish you! We will!! I promise you!!"

- Groppler Zorn


"Captain, the Ferengi would be very interested in a base like this!"
"Fine. Let's hope they find you as tasty as they did their past associates."

- Zorn and Picard


"Do you know anything about Farpoint Station, sir? Sounds like a fairly dull place."
"We've heard that we may find it rather interesting."

- Battle bridge conn and Jean-Luc Picard, after Q's trial


"He calls that a little adventure?"

- Riker, on Picard's description of the Enterprise-D's journey to Deneb IV


"Now hear this! Maximum, you're entitled to know, means we'll be pushing our engines well beyond safety limits. Our hope is to surprise whatever that is out there, to try and outrun it. Our only other option is to tuck tail between our legs and return to Earth as they demand."

- Picard


"Commander, signal the following in all languages and in all frequencies: we surrender."

- Picard


"What the hell? Children are not allowed on the bridge!"

- Picard, after seeing Wesley Crusher standing in a turbolift on the bridge


"You barbarian!"

- Deanna Troi, to Q after using his freezing power against Tasha Yar


"You will command the saucer section, lieutenant."
"I am a Klingon, sir. For me to seek escape when my captain goes into battle..."
"You are a Starfleet officer, lieutenant!"

- Picard and Worf


"A captain's rank means nothing to you."
"Rather the reverse, sir. But a captain's life means a great deal more to me."

- Picard and Riker


"A personal favor, I'd appreciate it if you could prevent me from making an ass of myself with children."
"Sir?"
"I'm not a family man, Riker, and yet Starfleet has seen fit to give me a ship with children aboard."
"Yes, sir."
"And I'm... not comfortable with children. But since a captain is supposed to project an image of geniality, you're to see that's what I project."
"Yes, sir."

- Picard and Riker, discussing the former's discomfort with the ship's population of children


"Welcome to the Enterprise, Commander Riker."

- Picard, finally giving Riker a proper welcome


"Where will I find Commander Data?"
"Commander Data is on special assignment, sir - he is using our shuttlecraft to transfer an admiral over to the Hood."
"An admiral?"
"He's been aboard all day, sir, checking over medical layouts..."
"Why a shuttlecraft? Why wouldn't he just beam over?"
"I suppose he could, sir, but the admiral is a rather... remarkable man."

- Riker and Worf


"Something's happening, sir!"

- Worf


"Have you got some reason why you want my atoms scattered all over space, boy?!"

- McCoy, to Data


"I don't see no points on your ears, boy, but you sound like a Vulcan!"
"No, sir. I am an android."
"Hmph. Almost as bad."

- McCoy and Data


"Well this is a new ship. But she's got the right name. Now you remember that, you hear?"
"I will sir."
"You treat her like a lady. And she'll always bring you home."

- McCoy and Data


"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are."

- Picard


"Do you consider yourself superior to Humans?"
"I am superior, sir, in many ways. But I would gladly give it up, to be Human."
"Nice to meet you, Pinocchio!"
(Data looks perplexed)
"A joke."
"Hmm. Intriguing.
"You're going to be an interesting companion, Mr. Data."

- Riker and Data


"Sir, maybe I should get something to wipe this water up."
"Good idea."

- Wesley and Picard


"Either leave or finish us!"
"Temper, temper mon capitaine, I'm merely trying to assist a pitiful species."

- Picard and Q


"I'll attend to my duty."
"To the bitter end?"
"I see nothing so bitter about that."

- Picard and Riker


"Perhaps you and I?"
"Tasha, you and the counselor. And Geordi, I want your eyes down there."

- Troi and Riker


"Would you object to your captain ordering a clearly illegal kidnapping?"

- Picard, trying to learn more about the spaceborne creature from Groppler Zorn


"Lucky guess. I see now that it was too simple a puzzle. Generosity has always been my... weakness."

- Q


"Send it to our starship when it arrives. Charge to Dr. Crusher."

- Beverly Crusher, speaking about a bolt of fabric


"Captain? Wonderful! A feeling of great joy and gratitude! Great joy and gratitude from both of them."

- Troi


"Some problem, Riker?"
"Just hoping this isn't the usual way our missions will go, sir."
"Oh no, Number One. I'm sure most will be much more interesting."

- Picard and Riker


"Let's see what's out there. Engage."

- Picard

Background information Edit

Production history Edit

Encounter at Farpoint production reports

The first two daily production reports from the making of this episode

Footnotes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 This date is according to the revised preproduction schedule which was issued on 30 December 1986. [1]
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 This information is according to the tentative post-production schedule which was issued on 16 March 1987. [2]
  3. This information is according to the episode's daily production reports.

Introduction Edit

Stewart, de Lancie and Allen

John de Lancie, Patrick Stewart, and Director Corey Allen filming a scene

Story and script Edit

  • In a press conference that announced a new Star Trek series on 10 October 1986, Paramount Television president Mel Harris declared that, in the fall of 1987, "a two-hour telefilm" would launch the upcoming series, which was already entitled Star Trek: The Next Generation. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 26 & 53)
  • At the first TNG meeting Rick Berman attended, the length of this then-forthcoming episode was the subject of heated debate between Gene Roddenberry and Paramount. Berman stated, "There was some contention, because the studio wanted a two-hour pilot and Roddenberry only wanted to do a one-hour pilot." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 48) The meeting was held in Roddenberry's office and, according to Berman, was "a big blustery argument." One of the debaters was President of Paramount Network Television John Pike. "The premiere episode we have to make a splash with," he recalled thinking, "and that must be a two-hour episode [....] I thought Gene was going to come across the table at me, 'We're not doing a two-hour and I'm not writing a two-hour.' And I said, 'Gene, quite frankly, if you do not do this, I will bar you from the lot. We are going forward with a two-hour.' I don't know who's going to write it, and now everybody is looking around the room and nobody is saying nothing." Pike was bluffing to Roddenberry. In reality, Pike was anxious that, with tens of millions of dollars at stake if Roddenberry refused to produce the episode as a two-hour pilot, he would decline to do so and simply leave instead. As an awkward silence descended on the room, Pike found no-one present was backing up his claim. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Although he had accompanied Pike to the meeting, Berman chose to totally stay out of the debate. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 16) Relaying Roddenberry's response, Pike noted, "He knew I was dead serious [....] He blinked." (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) However, the issue of this episode's duration became the subject of a long-running dispute. As a compromise, the studio even attempted to persuade Roddenberry to agree to do a ninety-minute pilot instead. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24) Commented Producer Robert Justman, "I know [...] we were having problems with the studio, which couldn't seem to make up its mind whether it was gonna be a two-hour pilot, an hour pilot, or a 90-minute. And so," he laughed, "we were going around and around with them." [8] Berman continued, "There was a lot of arguing, a lot of very high-level executives came in." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • The TNG creative staff began to focus their work on the details of this first episode after concentrating on the show's backstory. For the writers, the presold nature of this episode meant the pressure was on introducing the characters instead of trying to sell the show. However, the work of the writers was not any simpler as a result. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., pp. 21 & 24)
  • In a one-page memo Robert Justman wrote Gene Roddenberry about the Crusher family and their relationships with Picard (the memo was dated 11 November 1986), Justman concluded the document by expressing that the end of this initial episode could feature the departure of Beverly Crusher. He recommended, "In a bittersweet emotional love scene in the Captain's 'Ready Room,' Wesley's mother bids farewell to Picard and entreats him to protect and nurture her son. She leaves at the end of the premiere episode content only with the knowledge that Picard will be both mentor and surrogate father to her only child." [9] In hindsight, Justman exclaimed, "Well, that certainly didn't work out!" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 17)
  • Though Gene Roddenberry was recognized as the "creator" of Star Trek in general as well as Star Trek: The Next Generation in particular (in addition to the original Star Trek series), he needed to delegate some of his responsibilities in crafting this episode, as well as the series at large. For example, the producers needed guidance on a script for the pilot episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 55) In late 1986, Roddenberry called D.C. Fontana with an invite to work on the outing. She recalled, "I was asked to come in, by Gene, and he said, 'Would you write the pilot?'" (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Years after the incident, Fontana more specifically remembered that, in his phone call to her, Roddenberry's request was that she "create a story that would be the pilot." She was "intrigued and drawn into the process" because of the invite. [10] Fontana was hired to write the script, as a two-hour initial installment, by early December 1986. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 6) "So I was writing introduction of the new Enterprise, the new crew, the new captain obviously." (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Although she was hired to write the episode while the deadline for initiating preproduction on it was approaching, Fontana almost immediately ran into trouble because no-one seemed absolutely sure what she should do; as of December 1986, Paramount was yet to decide whether the episode should be two hours, ninety minutes, or an hour in length. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 30)
  • An early version of D.C. Fontana's first story outline, bearing the working title "Meeting at Farpoint" (and dated 5 December 1986), was more focused on action than the episode ultimately became and had several plot points and names that were also different from the final product. For instance, Groppler Zorn was named "Elzever". The captain of the Enterprise-D, which had just completed a successful mission, was Julien Picard instead of Jean-Luc Picard, first officer was Kyle Summers, and security chief was Macha Hernandez instead of Tasha Yar. Summers was promoted to captain and was scheduled to take over command of the science vessel Starseeker at Farpoint Station. While in orbit of that facility, crew transfers included Lieutenant Commander William Ryker, Lieutenant Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Leslie. Ryker and Data shared a deep friendship. Following the transfer, an alien vessel appeared near the planet and sent a message that all personnel had to beam to the planet or all would die. The captain of the Starseeker was preparing to have his ship fire photon torpedoes at the newly arrived vessel, but before he could do so, the Starseeker was destroyed. At Picard's orders, the crew of the Enterprise-D beamed to the surface and made contact with their enemy, the Annoi, an ape-like species with a high technology. The Annoi enslaved both the crew and the inhabitants of Farpoint, and forced them to mine the mineral balmine. An away team including Data, Ryker, Troi, and Hernandez got aboard the Annoi ship, and, with the help of Leslie Crusher's knowledge about the vessel's layout, Troi then learned that there was no engineering room aboard the ship – the "ship" was actually a lifeform. This lifeform had been enslaved by the Annoi and needed balmine to survive. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, pp. 64-65) Noted Fontana, "I did want the reveal at the end to be a true surprise, that it wasn't a mystical something, it was a creature." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • The series' first casting call, which was sent to talent agencies on 10 December 1986, predicted that the two-hour "TV movie" would start filming at the end of March 1987 but also noted there was no script yet available for the project. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 13)
  • DeForest Kelley's cameo as an aged McCoy was a late addition to the story and was devised by Gene Roddenberry. "It came about as a result of, I think, a meeting between him and De," remembered Robert Justman. "I think it had been on Gene's mind." The scene was written after Roddenberry sought Kelley's permission for it to go ahead. [11] It was written into a later version of the first draft story outline (dated 8 January 1987), while the episode was now called "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • In the same outline, the Annoi became the Annae, the people who were living at Farpoint. Data was described as looking eastern, and the story also featured Doctor Ansenzi, Dr. Crusher's predecessor as the Enterprise-D's chief medical officer.
  • Subsequently, D.C. Fontana submitted a revised draft of the outline (on 19 January 1987). (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 66)
  • Between submitting the two different drafts of the installment's story outline and receiving approval to proceed to the script stage, D.C. Fontana found that the running length of the pilot was still under review. "It had been decided between Roddenberry and Justman that the outline I had was enough for ninety minutes and that I should develop that material. As I began writing the script, and throughout the writing of the first draft, the length of the script kept bobbing up and down from two hours to an hour and a half to one hour and back up again," Fontana explained. "I was told that this was due to the fact that the decision had not been made as to whether the premiere would have a 'history of Star Trek' section, a behind-the-scenes section, or an extended preview section in addition to the dramatic story. Or whether it would be all story." Fontana was asked, every few days, by Roddenberry's attorney, Leonard Maizlish – who had started to come to the studio daily – about whether she thought the script might be an hour, an hour and a half, or two hours. While the episode's duration was undecided, Fontana was attempting to develop the outline, a task that proved extraordinarily difficult, since she didn't know how long the episode was intended to be. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 66)
  • Eventually, both Gene Roddenberry and Leonard Maizlish told D.C. Fontana to simply concentrate on writing a ninety-minute episode, even though Fontana's contract specified she would be given a bonus if she wrote a two-hour pilot. Heeding their instruction, she instead developed the installment to be ninety minutes long, missing out on her bonus. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 66)
  • In the first draft script, the people who were living on Farpoint were still named the Annae, although Leslie Crusher was renamed Wes Crusher. Data was still described as looking eastern, but Dr. Ansenzi was now described as Dr. Crusher's assistant aboard the Enterprise-D. The story started aboard the starship Belvedere. Ryker first met Geordi La Forge and Ensign Sawyer Markham at Farpoint. The Enterprise started a twenty-year mission to explore the galaxy and had to protect Farpoint Station from an alien vessel. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, pp. 66-70)
  • Gene Roddenberry and Leonard Maizlish finally revealed to D.C. Fontana that the episode would indeed be two hours in length. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 66) The studio had decided to make the episode two hours long so that it could be halved into a pair of hour segments for later broadcast. In the meantime, however, there were other issues which could potentially have an impact on the episode's pacing and duration. "By that time, we felt that our script was short for a two-hour," said Robert Justman, "plus the fact that by that time we knew who was going to direct it." Justman had previously worked on multiple occasions with the chosen director, Corey Allen, and therefore knew he usually paced scenes faster than any other director. This meant the production would definitely require a longer script than Fontana had written. [12]
  • According to TNG Research Consultant Richard Arnold, D.C. Fontana declined the opportunity to write the extra thirty minutes. "Gene wanted Dorothy to write the two-hour script," Arnold stated. "She said she couldn't do it. She said, 'I can't in less than two weeks.'" (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) However, Fontana herself recollected, "I was ready and willing to expand my story to encompass the additional half hour." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 67)
  • Instead, Gene Roddenberry chose to write the extra material himself. "Gene said, 'Don't worry about expanding your story. I'll put a frame on it, Dorothy,'" relayed David Gerrold. D.C. Fontana herself noted, "I was told that Roddenberry would write what came to be called 'the prequel.'" Gerrold added, "When Gene said he would put the frame on it, Dorothy said, 'There goes my bonus.' Gene said, 'Don't worry, we'll take care of you.'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 66-67) Gerrold retrospectively alleged, too, that the reason Roddenberry gave for arranging to do so much writing on the episode was actually dishonest. Explained Gerrold, "He says, 'I have to add thirty minutes to the script because the studio wants my name on the pilot,' which was a lie." Richard Arnold claimed that the real reason why Roddenberry took on the task of fleshing out the script was that, unlike Fontana, he was capable of writing extremely well under pressure. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Nonetheless, the situation reminded Fontana of an earlier scenario in which, while working together on Star Trek: The Animated Series, Roddenberry had caused her to lose out on money she was rightfully owed, due to a promotion in her career, while he sneakily acquired those finances for his own salary. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 67) Recalling what happened after she submitted the first draft of the "Encounter at Farpoint" teleplay, she noted, "The script was taken out of my hands and it was totally rewritten by Gene." (Star Trek Magazine issue 128, p. 47) According to the reference book Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon (p. 67), the first draft script was submitted on 17 February 1987. However, according to the book Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission (pp. 30 & 40), Fontana completed her work on the script in mid-March 1987, when she turned in "a revised draft of a ninety-minute version of 'Encounter at Farpoint'."
  • As Robert Justman remembered, the ship separation sequence was a late addition which helped flesh out the script from ninety minutes to two hours. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24) David Gerrold recollected, "When Dorothy wrote 'Encounter at Farpoint', and we had the ship split into two parts, one of the women crew members was left in charge. Next thing, when we get the script back, here's this Klingon head of security, named Worf [....] So, that's where Worf comes from. After months of Gene saying no, suddenly it gets written in." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) Both Worf and the saucer separation idea were introduced in the second draft of the script. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, p. 72) Despite identifying that draft as having been Roddenberry's rewrite of Fontana's script, Justman himself took credit for scripting the saucer separation sequence. The reason this plot point wasn't scripted until such a late draft of the teleplay was that the TNG creative staff needed to first seek Paramount's approval to have the Enterprise capable of saucer separation at all. By the time the studio allowed for that to be the case, the production crew was just about to start filming the episode. Justman explained, "I wrote it cut by cut, exactly what would happen while you're in the master scene. I wrote each individual cut to show the editors and the people who were making the photographic miniatures, compositing, what we needed, what else we needed." [13]
  • Gene Roddenberry's newly added framework introduced the character concept of Q. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 67) Originally, that character was instead meant to be introduced in a later entry of the forthcoming series. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 77) Although all the other members of the writing team very gently tried to advise Roddenberry that the Q subplot wasn't very good (immediately recognizing Q as clearly a direct copy of Trelane from TOS: "The Squire of Gothos"), he was adamant about writing it into this episode. "He said, 'Trust me, the way I'll do it, the fans will love it,'" recounted Gerrold. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 67)
  • Gene Roddenberry was working on the Q subplot when avid Star Trek fan Doug Drexler, who later worked extensively on the series himself, visited the TNG offices for the first time. During a chat with Edward K. Milkis and Robert Justman there, Drexler overheard a plot detail from this story. "While I was talking to Eddie and Bob, Roddenberry bursts into the room and says, 'I've got it! The captain stops the ship, turns around, and surrenders,'" Drexler recalled. "And Gene turns and looks at me and he sees a blank look on my face, and Bob says, 'Gene, you don't realize what you just did to this guy.'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 64)
  • Although Gene Roddenberry had recently been suffering from chronically lagging energy levels, Robert Justman was pleased that he was, by now, physically able to do so much work on the installment. "He finally hit his stride on the opening episode, on 'Farpoint', after Dorothy turned in her teleplay and made her revisions," Justman recalled. "Time was getting short, and Gene took it and rewrote it, and that's when he got up to speed, finally – that's when he really started cooking on all cylinders and turned in a terrific rewrite. I mean, he added the Q character and really, some elements that hadn't been there." [14]
  • Although he was baffled by what the story was about, John Pike was adamant about how little he would influence Gene Roddenberry in its writing. "There was no way in the world I was gonna give any notes whatsoever to Mr. Roddenberry," he emphasized. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)
  • According to the book Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon (p. 72), the Q subplot wasn't introduced into the script until the next "draft" after the one that first involved the saucer separation, which the book cited as the second draft of the teleplay. The book added that Q was also an aspect of all subsequent script drafts. However, at least one version of the second draft script did include Q. Picard surrendering the Enterprise was another element of that same script, in which Gene Roddenberry subsequently made numerous handwritten notes in preparation for creating the final draft of the script. According to Richard Arnold, the script that introduced Q was delivered by Roddenberry one week after D.C. Fontana finished her work on this entry. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)
  • The McCoy scene was kept secret, so much so that his name wasn't referenced in the script and isn't in the completed episode's dialogue either. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 78) The handwritten notes by Roddenberry obscured all references to "McCoy", changing them to "Admiral" instead. The final draft script described McCoy as 147 years old, rather than 137. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [15])
  • In the final draft script, the stardate was originally given as 42353.7. The other stardates were 42354.1, 42354.22, 42354.71, and 42372.5. [16]
  • The founding date of the New United Nations was given as 2016 in the shooting script, whereas the setting of Q's courtroom was given as 2049. These were changed to 2036 and 2079 respectively. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [17])
  • In the script, the frozen lieutenant's name was Graham. It was changed to Torres in the filmed episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [18])
Crosby frozen

Crosby "frozen" in court

  • Also, in the final draft script, Q froze both Tasha and Troi during the mock trial. Yet, in the episode, only Tasha gets frozen and eventually revived. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [19])
  • Another change was that the final draft script didn't have Picard's line, "Lets see what's out there." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • Because the pacing of many of the filmed scenes turned out to be insufficiently long (due to Corey Allen's very fast-paced filming style), Robert Justman wrote to Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman (on 10 June 1987) about the need for some additional scenes to be written to "pad out" the episode, in order to make the episode fill the two-hour airtime. Such scenes, the contents of which were suggested by Berman, were actually devised at essentially the last minute. They included the conversation between Crusher and La Forge in sickbay as well as Picard's more cordial reintroduction to Crusher shortly thereafter. [20](X)
  • Due to Gene Roddenberry's rewrite work on this installment, the episode went to the Writers' Guild of America for credits arbitration. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) As described by D.C. Fontana, this was an automatic and fairly usual process for any episodes whose development involved heavy revision or rewrite. [21] In a handwritten note from Fontana to David Gerrold about this episode's arbitration, she stated, "Needless to say, you never saw this. I'm in touch with the Guild on it." The Guild's conclusion was that the episode would have a split writers' credit between Roddenberry and Fontana. In hindsight, Gerrold remarked, "What he had done was jump her credit. He was now getting half the residuals for that episode, and that's in perpetuity." In Richard Arnold's opinion, though, the split credit was a fair summation of how Roddenberry and Fontana had devised the script. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)

Cast and characters Edit

Marina Sirtis with Bandi

Marina Sirtis with five background actors during filming

Brent Spiner, Denise Crosby, and Patrick Stewart

Brent Spiner, Denise Crosby, and Patrick Stewart share a light-hearted moment on the set

Sets and props Edit

Filming Encounter at Farpoint

The background actors on set

  • During Doug Drexler's first visit to the TNG offices while this installment was being written, none of the sets had yet been built. They were under construction by the time David Livingston arrived to serve as the production manager for the pilot, for a few weeks in February 1987. When Livingston arrived, Production Designer Herman Zimmerman had "three soundstages full of the most unbelievable sets you could imagine," in Livingston's words. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 64, 70 & 116) That month, Michael Okuda was also assigned to work on the main sets. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 29) The sets were still under construction as of mid-March 1987, while production loomed. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 30, 40 & 41)
  • During preproduction, the color of the walls proved to be a point of contention. "I had to go in on a weekend to discuss the color of sets for painting," David Livingston recalled. "All the creative people and producers were standing around on a weekend discussing the color of a wall. It was crazy. It wasn't necessary. To me, it was silly." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 70)
  • This episode ultimately debuted many sets which had been redressed from the aborted Star Trek: Phase II project. Among them were the corridor sets, which had previously been seen as the corridors of the refitted Enterprise (NCC-1701) in the first feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For the film, only the portion of the corridor set beginning just past the sickbay doors and ending just past the Engineering set – approximately three-quarters of the eventual set – had been constructed, ending at a T-junction (itself a freestanding wall which went on to be seen throughout the new series) just past sickbay. The corridors were not extended to the configuration seen in later seasons until the start of the second season. The metallic wall was also placed outside the holodeck doors on many occasions when it was necessary to see the Enterprise-D from within the simulation (it can be differentiated from the Stage 8 corridor complex by different lighting and the fact of those corridors having three segments on the wall opposite the holodeck door, versus the standalone wall, which has four segments).(citation needededit)
  • For the first season of the series, the metallic walls in the octagonal corridor outside the transporter room, as well as the three-segmented walls in the main corridors, were much more reflective than they came to be in later seasons. They had previously had this appearance in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and retained this appearance until the show's third season.(citation needededit)
  • In this episode, the holodeck door is seen directly opposite the blind corridor leading to the transporter room, where an alcove containing a turbolift appears later in the series. In this instance, the producers took advantage of the large open space behind the corridor walls to build a partial in-studio set of the simulated Earth forest. This was one of only several instances where the actors could step directly from the starship sets and into a simulated holodeck environment. This small set can also be seen in "11001001", "The Big Goodbye", and "Elementary, Dear Data", among other episodes.(citation needededit)
  • For most of its later appearances, when a crewmember activated a holoprogram and was seen entering or leaving the holodeck, the scene took place on a small section of the Enterprise-D corridor, specially erected outside a duplicate holodeck entrance. This had to be done because of space concerns – large sets, such as the simulated London from "Elementary, Dear Data", could not be placed behind the door in the Stage 8 corridor set, both because of limited space on the soundstage, as well as the more mundane problem of the turbolift placed behind the door just to the left of the holodeck entrance.(citation needededit)
  • The bird sculptures seen in Q's courtroom appeared again in the final episode "All Good Things...". The sculptures can also be seen in Karnas' office in the first season episode "Too Short a Season" and in the bar on Qualor II in the fifth season episode "Unification II".
  • The diamond-shaped chrome shelf unit in the Farpoint Mall set evidently came from Kirk's apartment in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It can be later seen in Tasha Yar's quarters in "The Naked Now" and at the Café des Artistes in "We'll Always Have Paris". [24]
  • This is one of a few episodes where the vertical blinds in Doctor Crusher's office in sickbay are opened and several windows with a starfield behind them can be seen. In later episodes when the blinds are opened (like "Man of the People" and "The Quality of Life"), a corridor with several doors can be seen behind the window. The sickbay set also appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, with Dr. Crusher's office playing the role of a medical lab; for that appearance, the blinds were open as well, offering another view of the corridor backing. In all cases, the corridor behind the blinds was realized by a re-use of a matte painting originally seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and later re-used for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in both cases extending a practical corridor set farther than was physically possible. In the first film, this painting was positioned outside the doors to main engineering, and can be seen from within the engine room; in the second, it was positioned outside a turbolift door. In this episode of The Next Generation, it can be seen in the final moments of Data's conversation with Admiral McCoy, replacing a turbolift door at the end of the blind corridor outside the transporter room.
  • In this episode only, the central biobed in sickbay is seen without a cushioned covering, similar to how it appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In later episodes, the transparent biobed surface is covered by a fabric cushion the size and shape of the biobed.(citation needededit)
  • On close inspection, the drug dispensers that Q and his fellow soldiers from World War III wear as part of their uniforms are labeled "Army R2D3PO-D", a reference to the Star Wars 'droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. [25]
  • Sections of the set constructed for the Klingon Bird-of-Prey in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home were reused for Groppler Zorn's office. Specifically, the hallway outside of Zorn's office was a reused section of the Bird-of-Prey's hallway, and the three yellow lights behind Zorn's desk were reused from the Bird-of-Prey's transporter room.(citation needededit)
  • One of the shelves from the Bandi marketplace at Farpoint Station appeared in the next episode, "The Naked Now", in Deanna Troi's quarters.(citation needededit)
  • This episode's workload included changes made to Paramount Stage 16. "For 'Encounter at Farpoint' I put a very large crater off to one side in a good portion of the stage," stated Herman Zimmerman. This allowed the shooting company to film below the level of the other sets by approximately twelve feet. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 26)

Production Edit

  • The production design of this installment was based on the episode's narrative. "Once the bits and pieces of the 'Farpoint' story really started to come together," offered Rick Sternbach,"that's when the memos and the sketches really started to go back and forth between the art department and the production office." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) When the new series production staff met for the first time as a full group on 18 February 1987, specific production issues stemming from Fontana's pilot script were discussed by the team. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 7)
  • As production manager for this episode in February 1987, David Livingston witnessed first-hand how the arrangements for the episode were developing. "I was in a trailer by myself," he explained. "The rest of the guys were in the writers' building, but they didn't have any space for the production. I was the only one in it for a couple of weeks while they were gearing up [....] They were doing some preproduction planning. They needed someone to come in and finalize the pilot as well as hire the crew. Shooting the pilot wasn't difficult [....] The only thing that stands out in my mind was the issue over the color of the walls. If that's the most profound thing I remember about a problem, then you can gather the pilot went over smoothly." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 70) On the contrary, Livingston also remarked, "Well, the pilot was really hard, because there was such a sense of wanting to have everything just right, perfect. You can't make it perfect, but there was such a desire to say let's really do this right, and no stone was left unturned." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Three: The Continuing Mission, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) In fact, Livingston was amazed by how much money Paramount was investing in the start of the making of a television pilot, later recalling, "At that time, when I saw the budget, I went, 'Wow. I mean, this is incredible that Paramount's willing to take this kind of financial risk.'" One of Livingston's responsibilities was to finalize a production budget for the pilot. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) He elaborated, "The way the pilot was written, we didn't have to make substantive changes to make a budget. We didn't film a budget, we filmed a pilot." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 117)
  • According to Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 42, illustrators Andrew Probert and Rick Sternbach, while working on this episode, developed a system whereby Probert usually designed ships and Sternbach mostly focused on designing props. However, both Farpoint Station and the spaceborne entity were designed by Sternbach. He created concept artwork of both elements. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 49 & 50)
Filming the first trial scene

Corey Allen directing a scene in the courtroom

  • Although production on this episode was at first planned (in such documents as a November 1986 schedule and the aforementioned casting call from December 1986) to begin in late March 1987, that month came and went without filming started. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 13; Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 48)
  • Corey Allen was extremely keen to direct this episode. He was particularly attracted by the "Q" storyline, interpreting the character of Q as a metaphorical representation of questions he believed are constantly asked, mentally, by each and every person, about oneself and their own worth. "I really believe that my understanding of that human questioning is what I brought to the episode," he noted. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 155-156) Allen was selected as the episode's director by Thursday 19 May 1987. His name was displayed on several clapperboards used on that date. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception & Part Two: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • Being very familiar with Corey Allen, Robert Justman expected difficulties with him directing "Encounter at Farpoint". Allen trusted Justman and they had a good friendship. However, the director had gotten in trouble shooting other shows because he employed a very demanding camera technique. Another issue was his aforementioned quick pacing. "And not only that, he would never hold onto the end of a scene – he'd chop it short," stated Justman. "And so there were these problems that I knew, and I knew there'd be some of these problems with Corey." [26]
DeForest Kelley, TNG screen test

DeForest Kelley's TNG screen test

  • Wardrobe and makeup tests of DeForest Kelley as an elderly McCoy were filmed on Wednesday 20 May 1987. Recalling the events of that day, D.C. Fontana said, "He came in to visit one day when we were prepping, and I handed him the scene and I said, 'Would you like to do that?' He said, 'Well, yeah, but will they let me?' And I said, 'Are you kidding?'" Fontana laughed "'You're DeForest Kelley.'" Although the camera tests demonstrated Kelley wearing a combination of makeup and grease paint on his face, appliances were instead used to depict McCoy in the episode, because he was meant to look older than what the tests showed. It was also decided that, whereas he was wearing a TOS movie-era Starfleet uniform in the camera test, Admiral McCoy should be portrayed wearing a civilian outfit. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Two: 8Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) The Farpoint set, on Paramount Stage 16, was the subject of similar camera tests a week later, on Wednesday 27 May 1987. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • According to Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 25, Costume Designer William Ware Theiss and Make-Up Supervisor Michael Westmore were "hard at work" while the pilot script "took shape." However, Westmore joined the production staff either on 27 or 28 May 1987, just a couple of working days before shooting started. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
  • Whereas TOS pilots "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" had been allowed much more time to evolve, the shooting company that worked on this episode knew, by the time the project entered production in May 1987, that it would need to be finished by September that year. This was because the episode's premiere airdate had already been tentatively scheduled for then. The company had approximately five weeks in which to produce the episode, a relatively very quick schedule. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 47-48)
  • Although Paramount was contractually obligated to deliver a full first season's worth of new Star Trek episodes to television networks, the crew and main cast members were under the impression, since the first season technically wasn't guaranteed, that this episode might be the only one the studio would produce. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 57)
  • The first footage to be shot was the scene where, at a holographic parkland and stream, Riker first meets Data and Wesley Crusher. Extremely nervous and insecure about filming TNG because he had had very little camera time, Patrick Stewart was glad that he didn't work the first day, when this footage was shot. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Two: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) The scene was filmed on Friday 29 May 1987, at Fern Dell Drive, Griffith Park, where the weather was clear during the location shoot. (Daily production reports from "Encounter at Farpoint") Gene Roddenberry drove to the location with his mistress and assistant Susan Sackett, and during their drive, Sackett suggested to him that Geordi La Forge's visual device might be called a "VISOR". ("Log Entry 37", Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry) Patrick Stewart, whose first scenes as Picard were due to be filmed on the next production day, also attended the location shoot, merely as an observer, because he felt it was all he could do to experience what the filming was like. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Two: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) After a crew call at 6 a.m. and a shooting call at 6:45 a.m., the first shot was taken at 7:28 a.m. From 12 p.m., the shooting company took half an hour to have lunch. They then returned to work, with filming resumed at 1:28 p.m. and concluded at 5:39 p.m. (Daily production reports from "Encounter at Farpoint") Stewart related, "Water, as I remember, played a big part in that day's filming." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Two: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • Production was continued after the weekend of 30 and 31 May 1987. On Monday 1 June 1987, the shooting company did their first on-set filming, using Paramount Stage 16 to shoot on the sets of both the "Farpoint foyer" and the "Farpoint mall". Following a crew call at 7 a.m. and a shooting call at 7:45 a.m., the first shot was captured at 9:45 a.m. (Daily production reports from "Encounter at Farpoint") Recalled Susan Sackett, "Fred Bronson, my mother and I were thrilled to accompany Gene as they filmed the first setup." The first of the Farpoint scenes to be prepared for filming was in the shopping mall, with Gates McFadden playing Dr. Crusher. Because McFadden wasn't completely settled into her role yet, she portrayed Crusher with an irritable attitude. ("Log Entry 37", Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry) Filming continued until 1 p.m., when the company took an hour-long lunch break. They returned to filming at 3:50 p.m., and the day's shoot finished at 7:59 p.m. (Daily production reports from "Encounter at Farpoint") After filming on Stage 16, the first promotional photographs and video were shot with the producers and cast (with Worf actor Michael Dorn absent, as he was not yet contracted to play Worf). As well as cast-only shots, they also gathered with Rick Berman, Robert Justman, and Gene Roddenberry on the caves set of Stage 16, soon to become known as "Planet Hell". [27](X)
  • On the call sheets, McCoy was referred to simply as "Admiral", and no indication was given in any way that this was to be McCoy. This was done to keep his appearance a secret until the episode's premiere on television. [28] The McCoy scene was filmed on Tuesday 2 June 1987. [29](X) That day's filming also included the first footage involving Patrick Stewart playing Picard.
  • On Friday 5 June 1987, the company filmed for the first time on the sets for engineering and the observation lounge. The first filming on the set of the Enterprise-D's main bridge followed on Monday 8 June. [30](X)
  • Corey Allen's very quick pacing began having a tangible effect on the production by Wednesday 10 June 1987. On that date, Robert Justman wrote to Allen with specific notes on how to get more out of what was yet to be filmed: the "Q courtroom" scenes and some footage on the set of the Enterprise's main bridge. [31](X)
  • On Friday 12 June 1987, the company filmed scenes involving Groppler Zorn suspended in midair aboard the angry spaceborne creature. Other scenes they shot that day included footage in the same alien's corridor-like internals. [32](X)
  • All scenes involving Q were filmed during the last two weeks of the four-week production schedule, since John de Lancie was involved in a theatrical play, and could only be available from mid-June onwards. Gene Roddenberry and Robert Justman were both keen on having de Lancie play the part, and were willing to adjust the schedule in order to accommodate the actor.(citation needededit)
  • The company undertook a four-day shoot on the "Q Courtroom" set on Paramount Stage 16. This period began on Monday 15 June 1987. [33](X)
  • The extra character scenes that were devised to "pad out" the episode were filmed on Friday 19 June 1987. [34](X)
  • The production shoot was scheduled to take twenty days and finish on Thursday 25 June 1987. The final scenes to go before the cameras were various bluescreen shots on the main bridge set. Overseen by Corey Allen, the filming wrapped on schedule. [35](X) According to Patrick Stewart, however, the episode's making took twenty-one and a half days. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 48)
  • The production of this episode is featured in the TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Beginning".

Visual effects and editing Edit

  • Before any of the visual effects footage could be shot, candidates for doing this work needed to bid against each other, even though the episode was meanwhile on a very tight schedule. Recalled Robert Justman, "I had to set dates [...] for when [the ship] would go to the various optical houses to bid on filming this stuff, [...] as to when it would be filmed, as to when the material would be delivered to us so we could put it together with the show and get it done in time so we could go on the air in September 1987." Fortunately, every scheduled date was met on time, and the bidders who responded included Industrial Light & Magic. To additionally prepare for the VFX to be shot, Justman and Edward K. Milkis wrote a shopping list of shots of the Enterprise that they felt were absolutely necessary, for both the pilot and the series at large. [36]
  • ILM did the special optical effects for this episode only, but was also credited for the rest of the series because footage was continuously reused. Noted Peter Lauritson, "The reality of the situation is that they did effects for the pilot, but even then they just did the raw material; our team composited them." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 12) Robert Legato added, "[ILM's workload] included about 40 ship shots and miniatures of creatures and villages. Then editor Ron Moore, associate Gary Hutzel, and I composited the shots at Paramount. We augmented what they did and didn't do." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 32-33) Under ILM artists Pat Sweeney and David Carson, the team filmed the fire and explosion scenes with the "Old Bandi City" model on 16 July 1987. ("The Beginning", TNG Season 1 DVD special feature)
  • Robert Justman pointed out that the saucer separation sequence was done precisely as he had written it. "It was filmed that way and it was cut that way, intact in the show as you see it today," he noted. [37]
  • A deleted scene from this episode included footage (filmed on 12 June 1987) of tentacles which reached out of a wall of the alien lifeform and grabbed Troi and Riker. Deciding these special effects looked too hokey, the producers removed the scene from the episode. [38](X)
  • Corey Allen's faster-than-usual scene pacing affected the editing of the episode. "As I had feared, the show was woefully short when we cut it together," explained Robert Justman. "In order to make the show two hours we had to skillfully edit it and cut it not as tight as we ordinarily would for pace." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • This episode contains no teaser, beginning instead with the opening credit sequence. For the syndicated version of this episode, a teaser is formed out of the first several minutes of the episode proper, ending with Q's "warning" of death to Picard and crew, should they not "go back" to Earth.

Soundtrack Edit

  • Once Gates McFadden better understood her character's emotional range, she re-recorded her lines in a studio, with her characterization greatly softened. The lines she re-recorded included at least some of those at the Farpoint mall. ("Log Entry 37", Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry)
  • This was the first of eleven TNG Season 1 episodes scored by Composer Dennis McCarthy. With its ninety-minute running length, the pilot required a lot of music, and the results would be vital to much of the series' success. "The main request was to keep it lush and romantic and to try to sound like a hundred players rather than the 38 that we used," McCarthy recalled. "I scored it in a romantic vein, instead of playing up the science fiction, and I used synthesizers to make the orchestra sound larger than it was." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 19, No. 3, p. 46)
  • According to the reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 78), the incidental music in this episode was based on a theme tune that was originally meant to be TNG's title music but was ultimately unused, replaced relatively late in the day by the main theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, by Jerry Goldsmith.
  • According to Dennis McCarthy, he originally used the TMP main theme a lot in this episode. "I tried to use the Goldsmith theme when I was first writing the pilot episode, but I felt I needed something a little softer, that I could stretch out a lot more," said McCarthy. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 19, No. 3, p. 46)
  • The scene depicting the Enterprise-D's saucer separation is the first instance since TOS: "The Cage" where a series' entire title theme was included in an episode. In this case, although the arrangement of the theme matches that of TNG's first several seasons, the actual orchestration does not match any theme music actually audible in the title sequence (it can be distinguished by bells which can be heard at 0:19 and 0:52). This music was not made a part of the commercially available soundtrack that was later released for this episode, although it did feature as part of 2016's Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection, as an alternate take on the series' season 1 theme.
  • For this episode's score, Dennis McCarthy made frequent use of the eight-note theme which had been previously used, by Alexander Courage, to represent the USS Enterprise. This was because he felt it important that audiences accept the Enterprise-D as the new starship Enterprise.(citation needededit)
  • The theme that is played when Q floats into the courtroom in his judge's chair was originally composed by Dennis McCarthy for "The Rescue", an episode of the 1984 series V. In that episode, it is played during the wedding of aliens Diana and Charles (played by Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr). The theme is heard again in the last episode of the series, "The Return", where it sounds shortly before a fake shuttle, used by the alien leader, is destroyed.

Credits sequences Edit

  • This episode is the only one with the credits scrolling up instead of the text fading, as was done in the other 177 episodes.
  • In its original airing, the main cast were credited only with their names and not alongside their character's credits as they were during the run of the series (as in "Starring Patrick Stewart" instead of "Starring Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard", etc.) This was done because, on its original airing, it was billed as a television movie. The syndicated version features the regular first season opening.
  • Unlike other episodes, this episode does not have the "Executive Producer Gene Roddenberry" credit at the end. However, in the edited two-part version, it does. In the original version, Roddenberry is credited as "Executive Producer" instead of "Created by" in the opening credits.

Reception Edit

  • Footage from this episode was originally unveiled in early August 1987. Mel Harris demonstrated the footage, via satellite, to the personnel of 170 television stations across the United States, which would initially air the new series. Harris did this as part of a large-scale promotional campaign to generate interest in the yet-unaired pilot and the subsequent series. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 22)
  • A completed version of this series opener wasn't available for the producers, cast, and crew of TNG to watch until a week before the episode was first broadcast. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 57) Then, the episode was given a screening at the Paramount Theater. "I remember watching the first episode at Paramount," offered Wesley Crusher actor Wil Wheaton, "and at the end of the opening credits, when the Enterprise sort of flies underneath the camera and you can see a little person walking in the conference room, I just got chills." The screening was followed by a party. However, extremely embarrassed about her performance in this episode, Marina Sirtis didn't attend the party. "I just grabbed my date and escaped!" she exclaimed. "We were in the middle of shooting [other episodes] and I was going to see everybody on Monday morning, but I just couldn't face them after the screening." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 19)
  • This episode was also screened in the executive conference room at Paramount. "All the hitters and everybody that was important [was there], and up we put on the big screen 'Encounter at Farpoint'" said John Pike. "Everybody looked at it and they were visually knocked out at how stunning the two-hour looked. As I assumed, everyone would look at it and go, 'What is this about?! What in the world is that thing that looks like a big jellyfish?!' It didn't really have an ending, and it was a smash!" Pike remains puzzled about the episode's story. He conceded, "To this day, I have no idea what that episode was about." (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)
  • D.C. Fontana's writing of this show delighted Paramount. "The studio was thrilled with her work on 'Encounter at Farpoint,'" noted David Gerrold. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 76) However, Fontana herself was unhappy with how the episode turned out, noting, "The whole Q storyline [...] I felt didn't fit with the other storyline [concerning Farpoint Station]." (Star Trek Magazine issue 128, p. 47) She clarified that her problem with the episode wasn't anything to do with John de Lancie's participation in it (on the contrary, she thought he did "a wonderful job"), but was merely about how the Q character was "thrust into that story." She went on to elaborate, "It was like, this is not what the story was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be about the mystery of Farpoint and putting this new crew together." (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Contrastingly, Fontana described McCoy's line, "You treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home," as "lovely." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Two: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • Rick Berman found that the Q plotline ended up as "the most interesting and exciting part of that episode." (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part One: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • Corey Allen thought very favorably of this episode. His enthusiasm regarding the pilot was inspired by his interpretation of the Q character as a metaphor for human questioning. "The script turned me on immediately [....] I think what Gene Roddenberry did was put two adversaries on the screen so they could effectively deal with those questions [....] [The Farpoint scenario] wasn't as important to me as the concepts we've been talking about," he remarked. "There had to be an issue for the Enterprise to face, and it was okay with me that that was the issue, but the best part for me was that at first we failed to see that there was sentience; that there are passionate beings other than those that resemble ourselves. I thought that was a very nice issue to raise. We don't always recognize other sentient beings and it's analogous of the way we treat each other [....] So I like the point it made, although it could have been any issue there." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 155-156)
  • Robert Justman noted that, due to the relatively "loose" editing of the episode, "at times that two hours drags a bit here and there. And that's strictly because we didn't have enough material. If we'd had enough material, we would have been pacier and of course it would have been written that way." However, Justman not only approved of Gene Roddenberry's adjustments to the episode's script, such as the addition of Q, but was also pleased that the saucer separation sequence was retained. He also held high regard for DeForest Kelley's cameo, remarking, "It was just great; it really got to me, the way he did it [the scene]. It really got to me; it was a beautiful, beautiful scene." [39]
  • In common with Justman, Richard Arnold thought Gene Roddenberry did a "brilliant job" with his work on the writing of this episode. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)
  • Maurice Hurley opined, "I thought the execution was herky-jerky, because it was the first show. Having, basically, God tell man you've come far enough; that everywhere you've come, everything you've touched, you've sullied. I love that. I thought that was just awesome. There were also a lot of little things in it that I loved. Beyond that, it has the problems of the first episode of any show." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 156)
  • Michael Piller stated, "I think the Q thing did come out of a time requirement, but there isn't any question in my mind that the best thing in the show is that Q story. If it had been only that other story, it would have been a disappointment. The other thing that comes out of 'Farpoint' is a vision of Roddenberry's where we have Picard arguing for the future of mankind, representing the advocate of humanity to this Q who puts humanity on trial. That's an extraordinary, philosophically ambitious idea, and it really helps to define why Star Trek is what it is. Without that, it would have been spaceships and monsters and special effects." Piller also liked how the story structure of "Encounter at Farpoint" doesn't introduce Riker, Crusher, and La Forge until later in the episode. He was so fond of that aspect of the narrative that, when writing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's pilot episode "Emissary", he chose to introduce Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir later in that episode in a similar way. Piller commented, "One of the tricks I learned from watching 'Encounter at Farpoint' again was that they didn't introduce Riker and Geordi and Crusher until two or three acts in." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 19)
  • This episode was initially aired during a period in the history of Star Trek's fanbase when disagreement was rife as to how successful the new series would be. "I vividly recall the anticipation and discord leading up to the premiere of The Next Generation," noted Ain't It Cool News film and TV critic Glen C. Oliver. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 53)
  • The pressure of whether this pilot episode would succeed equated to Marina Sirtis starting to feel very insecure. "It suddenly hit me a week before the pilot aired that if it didn't work out," she remarked, "we were going to be destroyed [....] If I had sat and thought about it logically, I would have known that wasn't going to happen." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 100)
  • Upon its debut airing, this episode garnered incredible ratings. (SciFiNow, issue 123, p. 034) It beat its prime-time network competition in Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Seattle. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 22; Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 57) The record-breaking ratings were achieved by ninety-eight independent television stations and 118 network affiliates that ran the episode. However, the cast, crew, and Paramount executives knew that, in reality, these massive ratings might just be the one-time result of viewer curiosity. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 57)
  • Despite the huge ratings this episode received, "Encounter at Farpoint" was just one of many bones of contention among the production staff at the time the installment first aired. (SciFiNow, issue 123, p. 034)
  • However, "Encounter at Farpoint" was well received by most critics and fans. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 19) The tactic of trying to keep the McCoy scene a secret was largely successful and led to the scene becoming a pleasant surprise to fans on premiere night. [40](X) The holodeck was also immediately popular, which Starburst magazine (issue 428, p. 26) speculated may have been due to the drenching of Wesley Crusher during this inaugural appearance of the holodeck. Another aspect of the episode that was popular with fans (as well as the writing staff) was John de Lancie's portrayal of Q. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 28)
  • In a review of this installment, Ed Bark of the Dallas Morning News, writing for the Knight-Ridder-Tribune service, commented that the episode "soared with the spirit of the original," representing a "fine redefining of a classic and a considerable breakthrough for non-network syndicated television." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 22)
  • Martha Bayles of the Wall Street Journal described this episode as a "cross between Masterpiece Theatre and an action cartoon – in other words, full-blown kitsch." (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 58)
  • John Carman of the San Francisco Chronicle was unimpressed by this installment but declared the series had "potential." (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 58)
  • Monica Collins of USA Today characterized the episode as "a fabulous meshing of story, character, and special effects," which "succeeds brilliantly." (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 58)
  • Don Merrill reviewed "Encounter at Farpoint" for TV Guide. He gave the episode and the forthcoming series a positive appraisal, particularly for its optimistic view of humanity's future. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 58)
  • Cinefantastique (Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 26) scored this episode two and a half out of four stars.
  • A mission report for this episode, by Robert Greenberger, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 1, p. 52-57.
  • This episode was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1988.
  • In their review reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (pp. 72-73), authors Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross each wrote a generally mixed review of this episode. Altman scored the episode two out of four stars, but was highly impressed with how "Encounter at Farpoint" managed to "reenergize" the Star Trek franchise. Gross rated the installment three out of four stars. Despite feeling that the installment borrowed too heavily from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (particularly the reunion scene between Riker and Troi being clearly similar to Decker and Ilia reuniting in that film), both Altman and Gross felt the episode still worked, primarily due to John de Lancie's performance as Q. Both writers also related that they found the McCoy scene to be another highlight, Altman describing it as "pure joy." On the other hand, however, he pointed to Roddenberry's conjecture about the existence of post-atomic courts in the 24th century as "one of Trek's less optimistic visions of the future." Gross considered "the Farpoint scenario" as "a bit tame" but approved of how its theme of looks being deceiving reflected thematic material in TOS. Gross was also not entirely happy with the performances of the main cast, remarking that although they, especially Patrick Stewart, demonstrated great potential, he did not think so highly of the portrayals of Deanna Troi and Natasha Yar. Altman summed up his opinion of the episode by commenting, "The pilot may do little more than get the franchise back on its feet, but that's really all it had to do and it does it competently." In conclusion, Gross referred to the episode as "An enjoyable first effort with spectacular effects."
  • In their reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (pp. 76 & 78), writers Mark Jones and Lance Parkin described "Encounter at Farpoint" as "an episode with a lot to introduce" and remarked it was "at pains to make clear" that, over the past 100 years since TOS, the Star Trek universe had evolved. The writers went on to comment, "The Farpoint plot is fairly light and unsatisfactory, but the Q stuff is more promising. Nowadays, the episode doesn't feel like The Next Generation at all and seems very slow. It's an OK start, not a brilliant one."
  • The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • In Empire magazine (issue 326, p. 26), critic Helen O'Hara referred to this episode as "far from a classic."
  • In his TNG rewatch, Keith R.A. DeCandido commented, "This two-hour premiere is bogged down a bit by a languid pace, way too much exposition, and a plot that isn't actually all that interesting. The acting from many of the regulars is stiff. The episode also spends a whole lot of time distancing itself from its predecessor [....] For all that, there are acknowledgments to the past [....] Where this pilot does work, though, is in the non-stiff performances. Patrick Stewart has a tremendous gravitas in the role of Jean-Luc Picard. You never doubt for a moment that he's in charge, and that he's twelve steps ahead of everyone else – even the omnipotent guy. Speaking of whom, John deLancie is a revelation, as the screen lights up when he's on it (and drags to a halt when he isn't). And Brent Spiner is delightful as the android Data. Plus, there's a guy walking around the corridors of the Enterprise in a minidress. Whole episode's worth it for that. It set up what was to come, but isn't a lot of fun to watch, especially when you know the show's going to do better." Ultimately, DeCandido rated the episode a score of four out of ten. [41]

Aftermath Edit

  • After completing his work on this episode, Edward K. Milkis left the series. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 55)
  • Conversely, the first airing of this episode marked the start of Rick Berman's long association with Star Trek. "It was the beginning of a journey of exploration... for Picard and his crew, and also for me," Berman mused. "My life was about to change in remarkable ways. I would soon undertake a progression of steps... a process of learning about Star Trek, but, more important, a process of learning how to open my mind and my imagination to the limitless possibilities of Gene Roddenberry's vision." (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. XI)
  • After their collaboration on this episode, Robert Justman didn't find out what the problem had been in the interpersonal relations between D.C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry but reckoned that it may have been because Fontana "didn't like being rewritten, on 'Farpoint'." [42]
  • When it seemed to Gene Roddenberry as though David Gerrold was about to file a lawsuit against him for not acknowledging Gerrold's role in creating TNG, Leonard Maizlish asked D.C. Fontana what sources she'd used when writing the pilot episode, to which Fontana remembered she'd been supplied with, firstly, a writers' guide and, secondly, memos which had addressed subjects that had not yet been featured in the writers' guide. (Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek, paperback ed., pp. 239-240)
  • Not long after the making of this episode, Gene Roddenberry and John de Lancie had a discussion in which Roddenberry gave the actor a memorable piece of advice. "[He] said I had no idea what I was getting into," de Lancie related. "I say those words with a sense of pride and a bit of glee in the same way he said them to me, but of course, I had no idea at the time." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 106-107)
  • Although filming in a pit lower than other sets would usually be prohibitively expensive for a one-camera TV series, the fact that a pit (in Paramount Stage 16) was dug for this episode meant it could be reused multiple times as the series progressed. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 26)

Continuity Edit

  • This episode is the first mention of the Ferengi Alliance on Star Trek. It is hinted at being a non-benevolent enemy of the Federation, and the Ferengi were intended to be the new villains for the TNG crew, because peace had been made with the Klingons. This idea was eventually abandoned, however, after the Ferengi made their first appearance and were not taken seriously by the actors and later writers. (Quark's Story, DS9 Season 2 DVD special feature) [43]
  • Picard can be heard using the phrase "Now hear this" repeatedly in the first part of the episode, preceding his orders to the entire ship's company. This is a fairly standard military protocol that is audible again in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • During Picard and Riker's formal first meeting on board the Enterprise-D, Riker mentions that Picard previously served as a first officer himself. However, no mention of Picard serving in this position is ever made again, and it is indicated that Picard was awarded command of the USS Stargazer after that ship's previous captain was killed and its first officer was severely injured.
  • In this episode, Data states that he graduated from Starfleet Academy in the Class of "'78", which, given TNG's establishment in the 24th century, could be either "2278" (meaning Data would have been in Starfleet for twenty-three years at the beginning of the 24th century) or "2378". However, this contradicts the dating that has since been established for TNG – Data himself specifically states in "The Neutral Zone" that the Earth year at that time was 2364. In addition, other episodes established that Data was not built until 2336 and that he graduated from the Academy in 2345. Data's "Class of '78" comment has thus been deemed a continuity error and it can only be speculated as to what it could mean from an in-universe perspective.
  • Also, Data uses a couple of verbal contractions in this episode ("We're right next to it," in reference to the holodeck wall, and "I can't see as well as Geordi, sir..."), something which is established later in the series as being beyond his abilities.
  • This is the only time in TNG and subsequent series that an additional captain's log entry is referred to as "supplementary", rather than the usual "supplemental".
USS Enterprise-D Crew, Farpoint Mission

In the episode's last scene, the crew assembles to leave Deneb, with Yar and Troi wearing the skirt style uniform

  • The final scene of this episode is the only time Tasha Yar appears wearing the skirt style uniform.
  • This episode marks the last time that Counselor Troi is seen in a Starfleet uniform until TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I" with the exception of TNG: "Future Imperfect", although in the latter case, Troi – as well as the entire events of that episode – turn out to be an illusion.
  • This episode marks the first time that a saucer separation is ever depicted on screen. While the Enterprise-D separated three more times (at least on screen, specifically in the TNG episodes "The Arsenal of Freedom", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", and the film Star Trek Generations), "Encounter at Farpoint" is the only time the reconnection process is ever shown in Star Trek. The reason why it is so rare to see the Enterprise-D separate is that writers discovered it slowed the particular story down (almost to a crawl). (Star Trek Encyclopedia)
  • Apparently at some point during this mission, Geordi La Forge told Data a joke, which the humorless android did not "get" until years later, when he activated his emotion chip during the events of Star Trek Generations.
  • Picard describes the facsimile 2079 court created by Q as "one that agreed with that line from Shakespeare: 'Kill all the lawyers.'" This is a line from Shakespeare's play Henry VI, Part II.
  • When Riker, Data, and Wesley leave the holodeck, Wesley is soaked in water, which drips on the floor, and he tells Captain Picard he'll get something to clean it up. However, as later established, the water should not have been able to leave the holodeck. This is the first of several times when incidental matter like water or ice leaves the holodeck despite it being established this isn't possible, at least not beyond a few moments.

Apocrypha Edit

  • When Groppler Zorn threatens to give access to Farpoint Station to the Ferengi Alliance, Picard remarks that he hopes the Ferengi find Zorn as tasty as they did their past associates. The novel The Buried Age establishes that the Ferengi's early reputation as a dangerous race was merely propaganda established by Zek because the Ferengi, after hearing early reports about the Federation and their moneyless economy, decided that the Federation might well be insane if they truly did not seek profit. Zek also threw funding into a large military buildup in order to preserve their appearance as a dangerous race and in order to defend themselves against the Federation, should it prove necessary.
  • The novel Provenance of Shadows establishes that, immediately after telling Data, "You treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home," McCoy thought to himself, "Except that wasn't so true for Jim, was it?" referring to Kirk's presumed death aboard the USS Enterprise-B.
  • Provenance of Shadows also establishes that McCoy's tour of the Enterprise was a birthday present arranged for him by his wife, Tonia Barrows.
  • The episode's novelization indicates that the manual docking performed by Riker and the battle bridge crew isn't a true manual docking, as there is still significant computer control involved. According to the novel, a real manual docking would have taken all day and half the night to accomplish. The novel also indicates that Riker had performed manual dockings as such, on the Hood and, before that, on the Lexington.
  • The novelization also indicates that Picard, if Riker had given any indication that he might actually back off from his position of not compromising Picard's safety, would have booted Riker immediately off the Enterprise and right back to the Hood but that he was very impressed with what Riker had to say.

Remastered version Edit

  • The remastered version of this episode greatly increased the quality of the shots, though one shot used in the composite "recap" sequence seems to have not been upgraded. The increase in quality incidentally corrected colors that had "smudged" together at the lower resolution. The most notable differences because of this are in shots of Farpoint Station and the Old Bandi City, where the "brown smudges" have become green trees and individual buildings, respectively. The windows on the Enterprise-D are also now clearly distinguishable from each other, and the planet has also benefited from the upgrade, as an atmosphere can now be seen between the planet and open space. Also, the location of the phaser energy beam was corrected to come from the phaser array instead of the captain's yacht. The shot also included a CGI version of the Enterprise-D, based on the original six foot model. The attacking spaceborne entity encountered by the Enterprise-D is also now clearly a shade of pink when compared to the blue one that was Farpoint Station.

Related merchandise Edit

Releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Special guest appearance by Edit

Leonard McCoy, 2364

Admiral of Starfleet Medical, "Bones" McCoy

Featuring Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

16th century; 20th century; 21st century; 2036; 2079; 2227; 2364; admiral; Altair III; android; apple; aquarium; army; Asian; avian; away team; baldric; banana; Bandi; barbarian; battle bridge; battle section; beard; bell; Betazoid; blindness; bridge; Calypso; captain; captain's chair; captain's log; captain's yacht; century; chair; chief medical officer (CMO); cigarette; combadge; command chair; command console; command division; commander; commie (Communism); communicator; conn station; Constellation-class; coral; couch; counselor; courtroom; Crusher, Jack; culture; Deneb IV; desk; DeSoto, Robert; detector circuit; docking latch; doctor; door; Earth; elevator; Emergency Manual Override station; emergency turbolift; empathy; EM spectrum; encyclopedia; energy beam; engineering; ensign; Enterprise (CVN-65), USS; Enterprise, USS; Enterprise-A, USS; Enterprise-B, USS; Enterprise-C, USS; Enterprise-D, USS; Enterprise dedication plaque; environment station; Excelsior-class; exobiology; exploratory surgery; fabric; Farpoint Station; feedback; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; fire; fish; flags and banners; force field grid; French language; fruit; galaxy; Galaxy-class; Galaxy-class decks; geothermal energy; gesture; Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works, The; grape; Groppler; gymnasium; headband; Henry VI, Part II; Henry VI, Part III; holodeck; hologram; holoprogram; Hood, USS; Human; Humanity; ice; impulse drive; imzadi; intercom; joke; judge; jury; Klingon; LCARS; lieutenant; lieutenant commander; lieutenant junior grade; lifeform; lion; lionfish; Livingston; low-gravity gymnasium; machine gun; main engineering; mall; Mandarin bailiff; maneuvering jet; medical scanning device; medical tricorder; merchant; military decorations; Milky Way Galaxy; mission status; model; mountain; MSD; narcotic; NCC-7100; necklace; necktie; Neptune; neural input; New United Nations; observation lounge; Old Bandi City; operations division; ops station; PADD; painting; patriotism; perimeter alert; phaser; prejudice; photon torpedo; Pinocchio; planet; "Pop Goes the Weasel"; post-atomic horror; primary hull; primate; Prime Directive; probability mechanics; Propulsion Systems station; Q Continuum; Q; ready room; red line; saucer section; saucer separation; sciences division; sculpture; secondary hull; security chief; Shakespeare, William; shields; shopkeeper; sickbay; skant; snoop; soldier; Sol system; spaceborne entity; space station; species; spoon; SS 433; starbase; stardate; stardrive section; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Central Medical; Starfleet uniform; starship; starship operations; star system; startime; statue; strawberry; stun setting; sword; table; tactical station; team leader; tear; throne; Tom; torpedo launcher; transporter; transporter chief; transporter console; transporter room; trial; tribe; tricorder; tritanium; Triton; Troi, Ian Andrew; turbolift; type 1 phaser; type 2 phaser; umbrella; United Earth; United Federation of Planets; United States of America; unnamed plants; unnamed type 7 shuttle; USMC; viewport; viewscreen; VISOR; Vulcan; warp; warp core; window; woodland pattern; World War III; year; yellow alert

Other references Edit

USS Enterprise dedication plaque: Chief of Staff; Design Engineer; Federation Space Systems; Mars; Probert, Andrew G.; Roddenberry, Gene; Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards

Unreferenced materialEdit

duraglass; Graham

External links Edit


Previous episode:
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Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
Next episode:
"The Naked Now"

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