Reaching into the metaphorical mailbag

A reader of this webpage e-mailed me recently with the following observation:

How can you say Wesley Crusher replaced someone at the Enterprise’s helm and took their job? The person doing Wesley’s job in the first season was Geordi, and in the second season he became Chief Engineer, so the position was vacant and Picard could fill it with anyone and no one lost their job.

Yes, I will grant that the navigator of the Enterprise-D in Next Generation‘s first season was Geordi LaForge, and second season he became the ship’s permanent chief engineer. Yes, the position was vacant. Yes, Picard could fill it with whomever he chose. This does not mean, however, that Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher was the most qualified person aboard the Enterprise to serve as navigator. On the contrary, there would have been people aboard the Enterprise who had been to the Academy, who had trained in simulators and had actual field experience in piloting very large starships. What qualified Wesley to be the person on the bridge, piloting the Enterprise? I’ll be damned if I know, and I bet no one else does, either.

I have no objections to Wesley Crusher as a character. I feel he was a real missed opportunity for original storytelling, however. He was the first Trek civilian regular, until the writers and producers decided to make him just another member of the crew. My point is that Wesley should never have been just another crew member.

The judges of Pocket’s Strange New Worlds contest may think my premise is flawed. But deep down I know it’s not.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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