“On the maiden voyage of the new starship Enterprise, the crew explores the mystery surrounding the creation of Farpoint station on planet Deneb IV.”
The first episode of Star Trek The Next Generation! This is where they first encounter Q and puts the enterprise on trial for the crimes of humanity. If I may, I’d to add some context for this episode which was provided on the last episode of STNG, “All Good Things…”. In that episode we find that the trial never ended and in fact it’s on going. During the whole series the Enterprise and the crew are on trial by the Q.
With that little spoiler out of the way, I think it changes the whole series. There is the main mission of the Enterprise, but there is a hidden series plot not realized till the Final episode, that of being constantly evaluated by the Q, but more of that when we get to the series final. I find it’s important to put the series in to context.
This episode is important for world building. I enjoy how they use the trial to explore the past of Humanity, not just the history we know, but also the future we don’t. They give us a crash course in what happened from our present to their present.
Then they did something wonderful, they explained how humanity had progressed from that savage past to where Humanity is in their present. Picard talked about how Humanity was exploring space, to learn about other cultures and too expand humanity’s understanding of existence.
It’s almost like this episode is the hypothesis of a paper and every episode after is an attempt to prove the hypothesis. The promise of such a wonderful future, despite all the conflict in space, is a wonderful hope for humanity, one I bought into as a child and hope will come to pass as an adult.