Star Trek 793: The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers

793. The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers


CREATORS: Phil Farrand

STARDATE: Covers Seasons 1 through 6 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Why not wait til Season 7? Everybody was striking while the iron was hot.)

SUBJECT MATTER: Phil Farrand takes great joy in finding all the mistakes on the first 6 seasons of Next Gen, separated into 4 categories - Plot Oversights are plot holes, plain and simple; Changed Premises are things that contradict each other from show to show; Equipment Oddities have to do with nonsense equipment flubs; and Continuity and Production Problems cover everything from bad editing to boom shadows, stock shots and costume malfunctions. For each episode, he also supplies a good synopsis and some "did you watch closely?" trivia questions. Add Great Moments, a couple of quizzes, fun top 10s, and lists of TNG clich├ęs (how many times is Data electrocuted? 5 times; how many times does Wesley come up with the solution? 7 times) and you get the full package.


DIVERGENCES: Tells you all of them.

SCREENSHOT OF THE WEEK - A favorite Nitpicker's catch (from Unification II)
REVIEW: I've seen reviews of this book that have called it "too nerdy". To their writers, I say "It's a book about nitpicking Star Trek, it may not be nerdy ENOUGH!" So obviously, I enjoyed the Nitpicker's Guide, and it's one of the reasons I know Star Trek so well. It got me looking at those reruns again and again (I may have a complete taped-from-tv collection still around somewhere) to spot the flubs and maybe even find new ones. And yes, I did become a member of the Nitpicker's Guild by finding an appropriate problem, though I don't think I was ever mentioned in the sequel. Because yes, there was one, covering Season 7, Generations and everything he missed the first time around, plus volumes for Classic Trek and 4 seasons of Deep Space 9. Sadly, Farrand never went any further, trying to jump on the ailing X-Files bandwagon before striking out in pure fiction (where I did not follow him). Too bad he never finished the project, but then, Voyager might have finished him.

Riffling through my Guide now, I see I left a certain number of notes in the margins, which I will share with you now. Because you're not a Nitpicker if you're not also anal and pedantic.
Encounter at Farpoint - PO/Picard makes a point of having all orders on print-out only to avoid Q over-hearing transmissions, then gives Worf the order to separate the saucer section vocally.
-CPP/Mutant gets shot repeatedly. No puncture marks.
Code of Honor - CP/Picard, an expert in archaeology, mistakes a 13th-century gift for a 14th-century one.
PO/Data has a "slip of the tongue"??!
The Last Outpost - Rumination/Picard says "merde". So they got "shit" on network tv.
Lonely Among Us - PO/At the end, we're told the lupine aliens asked the ship's cook to prepare one of the reptilians, but we were told earlier than they like to slaughter their own food. Just not cook them?
PO/And ship's cook? Does he get much business working against replicators?
Haven - CPP/In the first ready room scene, the doors have trouble closing after Riker.
CPP/When Lwaxana walks off the transporter, the second shot of her has own going down the same step a second time, and in a different direction.
11001001 - EO/In engineering, the computer suddenly has a male voice counting down field integrity.
Skin of Evil - CP/The chief engineer puts the matter/antimatter ratio at 25 to 1. Only 1 to 1 is possible.
Conspiracy - R/One of the reasons I think Riker's poo-pooing Ro's Bajoran earring is bollocks is that a crew woman in a yellow mini-skirt wears a bracelet.
PO/Is it standard policy for Dr. Crusher to wear a phaser on medical emergencies?
Where Silence Has No Lease - PO/Wasn't Nagilum able to perceive females in the crew before picking out Pulaski? Even if he was only watching the bridge, Troi was sitting there the whole time.
Elementary, Dear Data - R/Second "merde" for Picard.
PO/Why does Moriarty address the computer as Mister Computer when its voice is female?
CP/The opening log gives the Enterprise's position using only two coordinates.
EO/In the first trip, Geordi feezes program. The flames in the hearth continue to flicker.
CPP/Big nitpicking time! In a cold-free world, it's obvious La Forge (really, Burton) has a stuffy nose.
The Schizoid Man - PO/Graves claims to have taught Soong everything he knowsso we assume they must have met. How can he not realize Data is an android version of Soong?
The Defector - CP/Data is unable to reproduce Romulan ale because knowledge of Romulus is too limited, but later recreates the Valley of Challa so well, Jarok recognizes it instantly.
Yesterday's Enterprise - CPP/Picard asks Wesley to fire all phasers, but the fx shot shows only the saucer firing. 3 against 1 isn't the best time to misfire.
CPP/The captain's log seems to have been replaced by a military log in the alternate timeline. However, the captain's screen is still marked "captain's log".
The Best of Both Worlds, Part I - EO/The Borg can't see through the nebula, but the Enterprise can.
The Wounded - PO/A big deal is made about not giving the Cardassians the Phoenix' transponder codes because they could disable it, so why doesn't Picard use that tactic when Maxwell disobeys Starfleet orders at the end?
Devil's Due - PO/Shouldn't the Vantaxian guards be afraid of Ardra at the end of the show? Nobody from outside the room knows she's an imposter yet.
Night Terrors - CPP/Is it USS Brattain (as they say) or Brittain (as it says on the ship)?
PO/Troi asks Worf how he feels. (Girl, you don't even need empathy to read that guy.)
In Theory - CP/In Data's Day, Spot was a Somali cat. From now on he is a common house cat.
CPP/The outside view of the Mare Obscura is a thick pea soup... except in Picard's ready room, where it shows the usual star field.
CPP/Odd moment in engineering: After that guy gets zapped by a console, he falls on his back then looks like he's being pulled (by his legs?) back towards the console.
Redemption II - CPP/On B'ator's bed, Worf has his face in darkness. In another shot, red light hits it.
Darmok - EO/Phasers don't normally shoot out of torpedo bays.
Ensign Ro - CP/Why can't Ro wear her earring when Worf can wear his sash?
The Game - EO/Reprogramming a sonic shower to spit out mud seems ridiculously improbable. Sonics are not replicators.
Unification II - PO/A colony calls sickbay for help directly? Usually, distress calls go through Worf. I know, Crusher needed a line.
New Ground - CP/After repairs, the Enterprise sets a course for the soliton wave. The fx shot shows the ship significantly turning, but wasn't it following the wave already?
I Borg - CP/So the Borg don't know what names are, much less use them. Then what is "Locutus"?
Time's Arrow - EO/When someone crosses the phase field perimeter, a blink effect is visible... except for La Forge!

And there you have it, aren't you glad to stayed for that? Do I even agree with all of those anymore? Obviously, Farrand's own nits are much better expressed and with some humor. Check it out if you can! It'll make you look at Star Trek funny.


MOCK! said…
You just made me regret selling this to B&N last year....
De said…
Farrand's books were indeed fun (I'm also a member of the Nitpicker's Guild), but I feel it might have egged on the current "crybaby" faction of fandom a little too much.

During the entirety of Enterprise's run and now with the new film, I'm seeing not so much discussion of plots and ideas, but whether or not details match up with previous installments.
Anonymous said…
I own a copy of the Nitpickers guide for TOS, and have found that I notice much of the same nits as the book does. I am apprehensive though about whether I should get the guide of DS9 if I ever find it, for I don't want to look at DS9 the way I look at TOS 9some sausage making should never be seen).
Siskoid said…
The TOS book was less interesting to me because the episodes have been under watch for so long. Everyone knows the nits!

TNG and DS9 were more entertaining because these were spotted sometimes for the first time. And it's all written with enough levity that it doesn't become... um... sausage.
Jeff R. said…
I thought it was more of a "lawyers asked us politely to stop" thing than a "author lost interest" thing that stopped the second DS9 and the Voyager volumes from ever appearing...
LiamKav said…
From what I heard, there was another book that was asked to stop for copyright reasons, but the Nitpicker books were fine. However, the book company (was it Pocket? They were Titan over here in the UK like all Star Trek books) got nervous anyway and decided not to commission any more.
Siskoid said…
It was Dell over here.

There were a number of Star Trek books, then one on the X-Files, then poof, it was over. Don't know what project did him in, but there's also the fact he wanted to do fiction.