excitement building up around the forthcoming ninth Star Trek
film, TV Zone takes a look back at the influential series,
focusing on episodes featuring Data. For more about episodes which
share similar themes to the the movie, see TV Zone #105.
his very first appearance, Brent Spiners Data has been one of
the most popular characters amongst The Next Generation
crew. Much like The Original Series Spock, Data has
provided viewers with a unique view of the universe, one unhindered
by human faults and dare it be said, emotions yet
gifted with a child-like innocence and an insatiable curiosity.
Throughout the seven seasons of The Next Generation, Data
has striven to become more human, and this effort, whilst endearing,
has often led to trouble. After considering, for 0.68 of a second,
whether to stand alongside the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First
Contact, the forthcoming Star Trek 9 finds Data
reverting to his most basic form of programming following an
incident. Similar experiences have plagued the android before
Brothers saw Data unwittingly take control of the Enterprise
following a message from his creator, Dr Noonian Soong. Soong had
hoped to install an emotion chip in his son, but his
transmission resulted not only in a delay to the Enterprises
urgent dash to Starbase 416, where a young boy named Willie Potts
required life-saving medical treatment, but also in Soongs own
death when his first android, Lore, responded to the same message.
showed that Datas programming was vulnerable to outside
influence, and that plotline was continued in the two-part episode,
Descent, in which Data experiences hatred whilst killing a
Borg. The emotion chip is revealed to be responsible, with Lore
using emotional blackmail to manipulate his brother into succumbing
to his orders. Ultimately, Datas natural qualities
re-assert themselves, and lead him to deactivate his own brother.
The emotion chip would next be seen in Generations.
One of Season
Sevens finest episodes, Thine Own Self, works in a
similar fashion to The Original Series This Side
of Paradise, in which Captain Kirk, suffering from amnesia,
begins a new life as Kirok amongst a colony of native American
Indians. In this instance, Datas memory is wiped by a power
surge as he recovers the remnants of a crashed space probe. After
stumbling into a village populated by a pre-industrial society, Data
soon begins a new life, unaware that radiation from the downed probe
is the cause of a severe illness amongst the villagers.
from memory loss, Data acts true to form and sets about searching
for a cure before he is eventually retrieved by his shipmates.
Although Datas immense strength and mental capabilities make
him an invaluable member of the Enterprise crew, his android body
and his own will are every bit as fallible to various weaknesses as
his flesh and bone crewmates.
In short, he is
For loads more Star Trek coverage, including an interview
with Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat), see TV Zone #105.