Friday, September 02, 2016

Having not long ago finished watching and reviewing every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I took interest when I heard about a podcast doing the same thing: The Greatest Generation. From their very first episode, it was abundantly clear that the podcast was seeking to strike a very different tone.

The Greatest Generation is hosted by Adam Pranica and Ben Harrison, who bill themselves as "two guys who are a bit embarrassed to have a Star Trek podcast." It's abundantly clear that they love Star Trek (The Next Generation in particular), but they're not, shall we say, out-and-proud and ready to fly their geek flag. They loved the show as kids and are now mostly watching it for the first time since then, recapping and reviewing one Next Generation episode in each episode of their podcast.

Any embarrassment they feel channels into humor, which gives us all a reason to listen. At first, it seems like it might be humor along the lines of "I'm trying to be too cool for this, so I'm going to poke fun." But then, the first season of the series has a lot of average-at-best episodes in it, as I myself noted when I reviewed them (and any objective fan would agree). The podcast's humor very quickly proves to be coming from a place of "because I love you, I can point out the big booger hanging out of your nose."

And it's laugh out loud hilarious in almost every episode... if you're open to R-rated humor, and willing to come at the show with a little bit of irreverence. Some running gags, like the repeated references to Commander Riker's ponderous holodeck porn collection, don't push too far past the jokes you've probably made yourself. Others, like the ongoing insinuation that Picard is pursuing an untoward relationship with Wesley Crusher, might make you groan (but also maybe smile). But the whole concoction quickly reached a point for me where I was looking forward to each new episode -- the hosts' quips, their sidetracks, their beef with another Star Trek podcast, and their awarding of each episode's "Drunk Shimoda" award (bestowed upon the character who behaves must drunkenly/irrationally/hilariously, named in honor of the assistant chief engineer from "The Naked Now").

Even after I'd decided I was into the podcast, I didn't want to blog about it. As the hosts themselves acknowledged in their own show, it was possible that the humor was only possible when the episodes were less than great. I wanted to get to some quality episodes of The Next Generation and see if they could still bring the funny without clawing apart work that didn't deserve it. It turns out, they were kinder than I was to a handful of first season episodes. And when I listened to their episode about "The Measure of a Man," I knew it was time to talk about them. There were still plenty of great jokes, plus a few good "hey, but what about?" moments -- all while acknowledging this wasn't just great Star Trek, it was great television, period.

So I'm giving an A to The Greatest Generation. Whether you're a casual Star Trek fan or know each episode backward and forward, it's sure to entertain you.

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