Cardassians? What Cardassians?March 26th, 2010 at 21:25
So Best Friend and I watched two episodes of Next Generation tonight, as we always do after work, but today’s episodes were different. They made us think we’d somehow missed an entire season and started watching episodes in the middle of the 5th season tonight instead of the middle of the 4th season where we were supposed to be.
In the first episode, we followed Data around as he went about his day, helping to plan the wedding between a laughably stereotypical Japanese woman named Keiko (who Data has worked with for “a very long time” and knows very well, despite the fact that we’ve NEVER seen her before) and transporter chief O’Brien, who before now was a minor character who generally only had speaking parts so that he could say “yes, that person did transport down to the planet!” How the two of them were very madly in love, despite the fact that we’d never heard a word about any of this before their wedding, which apparently Data was so much a part of that he was taking the role of the father of the bride!
Leaves me to wonder “who is this person? Why is her wedding to a minor character suddenly a major plot point? Why can’t her own father be at her wedding?” and none of these things are explained.
Oh and there are Romulans. We knew of their existence, but they didn’t show up too often.
In the second episode, we’re faced with a rogue captain who is endangering our recent peace treaty with the Cardassians. Who? Putting myself in the place of someone who’s only seen the original series and the episodes thus far of Next Generation, I’ve never heard of the Cardassians. Apparently, we’ve been at war with them for a “very long time” and we signed the peace treaty a year ago. So… in the first and second seasons of Next Generation, the Federation was at war with the Cardassians? And the flagship was off exploring rather than helping in the war? I’m so confused.
Oh yeah, and O’Brien was a major character in this episode again. Honestly, when did he become important? He was never important before. In this episode, we got to laugh at him and his wife doing stereotypical things, like she eats seaweed for breakfast (like all Japanese people, right?) and he makes a face and says he’d rather have a nice potato casserole (you know, because he’s IRISH and Irish people eat nothing but potatoes).
Wait! I remember hearing that Deep Space 9 started at some point during Next Generation, so maybe their pilot episode was right before the one with Data, and it explained some of the background going on here! That must be it. Man, now we’ve gotta download those DS9 episodes and get a list of air dates so we can make sure we’re watching them in order.
Except that then I went and looked up a list of air dates, and it just proceeded to confuse me even further. Episode 85 of Next Generation titled “Data’s Day” original airdate: January 7th, 1991. Episode 1 of Deep Space 9 original airdate: January 3rd… 1993.
This really makes me feel like they were starting to write the scripts for DS9 and all of a sudden somebody was like “Crap! O’Brien is a major character in these scripts! And he’s married to a completely new character named Keiko! And they’re fighting these people called the Cardassians! Our viewers aren’t going to be able to follow this at all! We have to change Next Generation right away so that people will be used to these things by the time we show the pilot episode!”
I’m just confused. I feel like I’ve somehow missed a huge chunk of the story, but all of the information I’m seeing is telling me everything is fine. One moment, we’re concerned about Klingon-Federation relations, the next moment we’ve retroactively been at war and then signed a peace treaty with an empire we’ve never heard of before. And someone who was unimportant somehow finds a way to make himself a major figure in every episode just so that it won’t be weird later.