When I met my wife eight years ago (oh my god how has it been that long) she was a certified, card-carrying Star Trek virgin. She knew about Captain Kirk and Spock and maybe Captain Picard but to my knowledge she had never seen a full episode of any series and had no plans to start.
Enter me – raised by Star Trek, molded by it (imagine you heard that in a mostly respectable Bane voice). I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit I used to recreate episodes like Disaster with my stuffed animals. The crew of the Enterprise D were my heroes. I soon decided that this was a part of my life that I wanted to share with my new romantic interest, but in a way that (1) got her legitimately invested and (2) wasn’t a complete nerdy turnoff.
Unfortunately, the main problem with STNG is that the first two seasons simply aren’t very good (Jesus, those jumpsuit uniforms). With few exceptions the episodes don’t have the same quality as those later in the run. I knew I probably only had one shot – I had to find an episode that wasn’t so far into the series that my wife wouldn’t understand what was going on without a ton of explanation, that would represent what I love about Star Trek, and most importantly, would make her want to watch the rest.
My first requirement basically narrowed my choices down to Season Three, which was fine, since it includes some of my very favorite episodes. But as cool as they are I couldn’t jump into Yesterday’s Enterprise and have to explain Tasha Yar, or The Best of Both Worlds and have to describe the threat of the Borg. Besides which, if I wanted to assimilate my wife into nerddom then I definitely didn’t want to start with the very best STNG had to offer.
All Good Things
Eventually all my consideration led me to choose what I consider an underrated episode – Who Watches The Watchers. A Federation anthropological team is studying a Bronze Age proto-Vulcan species when their holographic duck blind fails and the Enterprise comes to the rescue. The episode doesn’t rely on previous story knowledge, contains great character exposition and guest actors, and isn’t overly action oriented or technological. The Prime Directive is introduced and Picard does what he does best by balancing it with the need to save lives and deescalate a rapidly deteriorating situation.
Long story short, my wife loved it. We soon went through the entire series starting with the beginning of Season Three. We got to share Riker’s penchant for putting his leg on chairs and consoles, Geordi and Data’s adventures, and the unique laughs you get only from knowing the characters so well. And I avoided the facepalm of doom!
Shout out to Memory Alpha for hosting a buttload of useful Star Trek episode information and trivia. What episode(s) would you use to introduce someone to Star Trek for the first time? Feel free to post below!