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The 30-Year Engagement

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The Starship Enterprise was tasked with exploring the edges of space and the final frontier. Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

We at Metro believe in the importance of honoring the vets. Silicon Valley Comic Con attendees can also thank a few of the Starfleet doyens for celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A passel of the next generation sailors on the Enterprise are in town. On hand are Denise Crosby (the tough Tasha Yar, Russian by name, Irish by nature); Marina Sirtis, the ship's counselor Deanna Troi; chief medical officer Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden); Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander William Riker; Robert O'Reilly, who portrayed Klingon Chancellor Gowron; and Brent Spiner, the man behind Data—a character who embodied the hope that AI ultimately will be modest, helpful and fond of cats.

The TV networks, asking themselves what happened to an empire that seemed as solid, once, as the two-party system, might well consider the debut of ST: TNG as one of the first signs of the losing their grip. It came in the wake of Gene Roddenberry's busted attempt to revive Star Trek a few years previously, because of nervous executives. In syndication, and free from the network censors, the Enterprise sailed into new realms of fantasy for seven years.

Questions arose: if the guy's name is Q, how come he can't invent gadgets? Why does the captain have a French name and a British accent? Are those Ferengis supposed to be anti-Semitic caricatures or what? When Counselor Troi sashays by, can she hear the crew mentally leering at her? "Now, that's what I call a heavenly body! Crap, she can read my mind!"

As the show unfolded, the counselor was given a more modest wardrobe, but only Geordi LaForge's wraparound shades could have dimmed those magnificent eyes, as liquid and humid as a Great Lakes summer. The melting glance ended up as trouble for Lt. Worf and Commander Riker.

To say that Patrick Stewart's stature as an actor has increased since the show is an understatement. Unfortunately, the most aerodynamic actor of his age won't be on hand at this year's convention.

Stewart demonstrated the restlessness that gives way to brittleness—a neurotic streak that might have been due in part to impatience with the series' lesser scripts. The humane qualities of the captain made his sternness all the more commanding. In real life, Stewart has been an advocate for battered women, which he was candid enough to admit was because of his own past as the son of an abused mother. And he won more fans in his recent announcement that he was going to become an American citizen to help rid the body politic of Trump. Make it so! He and his brave crew never feared bullies.