The Best Of Both Worlds Cliffhanger: A Fan View
Star Trek: The Next Generation fans who attended Fathom Events’ screenings last week of the feature-length version of “The Best of Both Worlds” were spared the dreaded words “To Be Continued.” And those fans who, starting tomorrow, purchase Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds on Blu-ray, will also be spared those words. But ask anyone who watched “Part I” back when it debuted in June, 1990, and the experience was painful. The episode was brilliant, of course, and, in true cliffhanger style, it left dangling any number of story threads and real-life questions: Would Picard survive? What would Riker do? Would Patrick Stewart be back? How far up the food chain would Shelby advance? Could the Borg be stopped? To celebrate the Blu-ray release of Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Best of Both Worlds, StarTrek.com invited several of our regular guest bloggers (David McDonnell, Dan Madsen and Dayton Ward), as well as Greg Kline, the longtime Trek fan we encountered at the Fathom screening last week in New Jersey, to recount their memories of that long wait between “The Best of Both Worlds, Part I” and “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II.” Here’s what they had to say:
Since I was then editing the Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine, I was provided by Paramount with "final" scripts weeks/sometimes months in advance of airdates (and, yes, I signed NDAs -- Non-Disclosure Agreements -- so I couldn't talk about them until afterwards). So, I actually had in my hot little hands the script of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" prior to its premiere --
and DIDN'T read it!
Why? Because I was, as almost always, too busy and I read the advance scripts before airdates infrequently, only when I had a special interest (like the Q episodes, "Relics" or "Sarek"). And, really, already knowing too much, I preferred, when possible, to know nothing and be surprised. So, despite that insider info at my fingertips, I was just as gobsmacked by the Locutus cliffhanger as every other Trek fan.
The cliffhanger was intense, with Picard as Locutus staring out from the viewscreen with that dead expression, and Riker setting his jaw as he gave the order to fire. On the one hand, it was Star Trek, so you figured the captain and star of the show was coming back in the fall. On the other hand, I'd heard the news that Patrick Stewart might be leaving due to a contract dispute. This was pre-Internet, so there wasn't the constant information streams we get now. I watched “Part II” in a barracks rec room with a group of Marines, and we all were wondering how it all would play out.
Some people found that fascinating, the long wait. I found that to be a huge groaner. I don't like waiting for anything. I had to wait all summer to find out what happened to Picard. I didn't find it scintillating. I found it... "nnnngggghhhhh." It was frustrating.
I clearly remember the first airing of “Best of Both Worlds Part I.” This was when I was running the Official Star Trek Fan Club. I had a Next Generation party and invited some friends over to watch. Because of the talk of Patrick not coming back, it was tense. The ending left all of us with our jaw dropped, wondering what was going to happen and in great distress to have to wait three months to find out. In all my 25 + years of running the Official Fan Club, this was one of the top two times when we were overwhelmed with fan mail and letters discussing the fate of Picard!
So, what are YOUR memories of “The Best of Both Worlds”? Click HERE TO pre-order Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds.