This is the cover for Memories of the Future, Volume One.
I looked at a bunch of different designs (and at least one of them may be a variant cover at some point) but when I saw the comp that ended up leading to this cover, I knew that this was the one I'd want to use, because I just love 1950s and 1960s pulp Sci-Fi covers. For me, they evoke a unique sense of nostalgia that is strangely timeless, and that's something I hope to do with the text in these books.
I asked my friend Will Hindmarch, who did the interior and cover design, to talk about the process a little bit, and here's what he had to say:
We went through a few cover designs before settling on this one. I see it as a mix between classic, pulpy Penguin covers and a bit of modern texture-driven design. The decision not to do an actual fake distressed cover, here, with ragged edges and all that, was deliberate. So it has some of that distressed texture, but it's cleaner than a beat-up, hand-me-down copy pulled out of an attic somewhere. This is some remarkably clean copy you found in a second-hand shop somewhere.
The thing also needed to intuitively evoke Star Trek memories without being too on-the-nose. I immediately latched on to that familiar uniform shape and did two or three variations on that idea. This is the one that Wil grabbed out of my various sketches. We wanted something that sort of looked back but was also sort of about the future, but we needed something that we could riff on for a series of books. So it's got a formula that we can tweak and alter as we move forward. I think, once we have two or three of these covers sitting next to each other, they'll interact in fun ways.
I'm already looking ahead to the imagery for volume two.
Memories of the Future should have been released already, but it was significantly delayed when I did a whole bunch of the "acting" part of the "Writer/Actor" multiclassing I've been doing for the last few levels. However, I took a giant leap toward release (wow, that sounds dirty) about 40 minutes ago, when I e-mailed the final bit of text off to the people who need it for the damn book to actually be published. (Yes, I have been the one log holding up this whole logjam. That's usually the way it works out around here.)
One of the things I needed to write and send was the introduction, which I thought I'd share here, now, because I think it's a great way to, you know, introduce the book. So when all your friends want to know what Memories of the Future is about (You have been relentlessly telling all of your friends about it several times a day, haven't you? That MAME cabinet Daddy needs for his office isn't going to buy itself, you know) you can point them to this post.
Introduction to Memories of the Future
In August 2006, Brad Hill, an editor at Weblogs, Inc., hired me to write humorous reviews of Star Trek: The Next Generation from my unique point of view as an actor and a fan of the show.
I started at the beginning of the first season, re-watching episodes that I hadn’t seen in a decade or longer, faithfully recording and sharing the memories they released. Along the way, I came up with some silly episode recaps, and an interesting perspective on the first season, twenty years after we brought it to life. The columns were very well-received, and tons of readers asked me if they’d be collected into a book. I didn’t plan on it originally, but AOL cut TV Squad’s budget before I’d even made it to the halfway point of the first year, and I decided that putting the entire season into a book wasn’t just a good way to finish the season, it was a moral imperative.
A few months after I began working on this book in earnest, at the 2009 Nebula awards dinner, I sat at a table with David Gerrold, who is best-known for writing the original series classic The Trouble With Tribbles. (Fun fact: David wrote and sold The Trouble with Tribbles when he was 19. My wife Anne asked him how he had the courage to do that, and David told her, "Because nobody told me I couldn't." That's so awesome, and everyone who is creative should commit that to memory.)
We were talking about all kinds of writerly stuff, and I mentioned to David that I was working on this book. As I started to describe it to him, I could see that he wasn't into it, but was too polite to tell me why.
After a minute, he said, "You have to be careful with your tell-all book…"
"Ah, that's why he wasn't into it." I thought.
"It's not a tell-all book. I hate those things," I said. "It's more like you're flipping through your high school yearbook with your friends."
I called on all my improv skills and held an imaginary book in my hands.
"It's like, 'Hey! I remember this, and I remember that, and did you know that this funny thing happened there, and … oh God … I can't believe I thought that was cool…'"
His face lit up. "That sounds like a book I'd like to read."
Here it is, David. I hope you enjoy it. (Additional fun fact: David Gerrold suggested me for the role of Wesley. If he hadn't done that, I don't know that I'd have ever voluntarily worn a pumpkin-colored sweater.
Despite that, though, I'm extremely grateful to David for convincing Bob Justman and Gene Roddenberry to take a chance on me.)
Volume One takes you from the pilot to Datalore. Volume Two will take you from Angel One to The Neutral Zone. During our journey together, we’ll certainly be going where no one has gone before, except those times when we go 20% to the left of where the original series went and talk about stuff a whole bunch without actually doing anything … but that’s part of what makes the first season so much fun to watch, especially knowing how great The Next Generation eventually became.
Put on your shoulder pads, set a course for 1987, emit an inverse-tacyon pulse into the heart of the anomaly, and engage! By Riker’s beard, you shall be avenged! (Um, as soon as Riker’s beard shows up, next season.)
Wil Wheaton Pasadena June 2009
Memories of the Future will be available very, very, very soon. I am doing everything I possibly can to ensure that it is worth the wait.
There are two ways that I can commemorate Patrick Stewart's birthday, today.
And the second, which comes in two parts. The first part should illustrate how awesome Patrick is, and why I like him so much. The second part should remove any lingering doubt.
This is from Chapter Seven of Just A Geek, which is titled A Sort of Homecoming. It recalls a convention appearance I did with Patrick, Jonathan and Brent in 2001. Wow, 2001 … was I really just 29 when I wrote this? I guess I was.
A deep, commanding voice bounced off the marble floor of the hallway, and filled the room before its creator crossed the threshold.
“Are there Star Trek people in this room?” it boomed, “I just love those Star Trek people!”
We all turned to the door, as Patrick Stewart walked in.
Patrick is one of the most disarming people I've ever met. If you only know him as Captain Picard, or Professor Xavier, his mirthful exuberance is shocking. Patrick is one of the most professional and talented actors I've ever known, but he's also one of the most fun.
“Bob Goulet? I haven't seen you in ages, man! You look great!” he said to Brent, and hugged him.
“Jonathan Frakes! I am a big fan,” he smiled at Jonny and hugged him to.
He turned to me. “Who are you? You look familiar, but . . . I can't place you.”
“Wil Wheaton, Mr. Stewart,” I said.
He looked thoughtful for a moment and shook his head. “I'm sorry, but it doesn't ring a bell.”
“I was Wesley on Next Generation,” I said.
“Get out! You were never that young!” he said.
“Oh, but I was, sir,” I replied, solemnly, “I believe we spent some time in a shuttlecraft together.”
He nodded slowly, but remained unconvinced. “Go on . . .”
“That's all I've got, man,” I laughed.
“Wil, darling, you look wonderful.” he said with a huge smile. He held his arms wide, and pulled me into a warm embrace. “I am so happy to see you!”
He held me at arm's length, and looked at me. Even though Patrick and I are the same height, I felt, like always, that he towered above me.
“You too,” I said.
This is also from Chapter 7 of Just a Geek. This excerpt picks up right as I’m about to wrap shooting on Nemesis.
The day is a blurred composite of images, and no matter how hard I try, I can't get my brain to separate them into individual memories. All I can clearly recall is how I spent the day spiraling around the Yin and Yang of joy and sorrow, until the director called cut on the final take.
"Thank you, everyone!" The First AD called out, "That is a company wrap for today, and picture wrap for Wil Wheaton!"
There was some polite applause from the crew, who really didn't know me, and some very genuine applause from Patrick and Gates, the only cast members who were still on the stage. They walked over, and embraced me. We knew that this was the real Journey's End for me and Wesley Crusher, but we didn't talk about it.
"I'm going to walk back," Patrick said to me. "Would you like to walk together?"
"I'd like that a lot," I said.
It was late, but not nearly as late as it had been the night before, and it was very cold as we walked through the "New York Street" area of the back lot.
"Remember when they built this for Bronx Zoo?" I said. "I used to come over here and pretend it was real."
Patrick slowed, then stopped. A huge arclight towered over us. Apple boxes and cables ran into the facade of a deli, and someone had left a styrofoam cup half-filled with coffee on the window ledge.
"When I first came here to audition for Next Generation," he said, "I didn't know if I'd ever get a chance to be on a backlot again, so I left the casting office, and spent nearly an hour's time walking round here."
He began to walk again.
"That's so weird," I said. "I mean . . . here you are, fifteen years later."
He smiled. "I know. I remember worrying that the security department would catch me, and I'd end up in a great deal of trouble!"
We laughed together.
"I've lost count of the number of times I had run-ins with the security department." I said. "Most of them involved dangerously speeding around the lot in a 'borrowed' golf cart, or playing music too loudly in my dressing room.
"I wish I'd been able to hang out with you guys when we were doing this every day," I said.
"Oh, my dear, you missed out on a great deal of fun!" His voice became excited. "The late Friday nights when we'd close down Nickodell's [A restaurant that used to be on Melrose, with a backdoor that opened right onto the Paramount lot. It was bulldozed for "progress" in the 1990s] were great!"
"Can I tell you something?" I said.
"Of course," he said.
"I really blew it when I was here before. I should have treasured the experience that I had working with you guys, and I didn't. I'm really sorry that I was such a dick when I was a teenager."
He stopped again, and put his hand on my shoulder. "Wil, my dear, you were a teenager. We all understood."
"Yes. And when we worked together, I always related to you as an actor, first, and you were a lovely actor. You know, I wasn't thrilled about working with a child, but working with you was a great pleasure."
What do you say to that? How do you respond, when it comes from the man who was, for all intents and purposes, a father figure, mentor, role model, and hero? If you're me, you say, "I'm so sad that this is over for me."
"So am I," he said we began to walk again. As we turned the corner and neared stages 8 and 9, I saw someone come out of the stage.
"Hey! That's Brad Yacobian!" I said.
"It is!" Patrick said. "Hello! Brad!"
Brad started as a First AD on Next Generation, and has worked on all the incarnations of Star Trek since then. He was working as the co-producer and unit production manager on Enterprise.
"Hey you guys," he said. "Are you just wrapping?"
"Oh yes. It's Thursday, you know." Patrick said. Brad smiled a knowing smile, and I laughed. See, production usually starts out with early calls on Monday, but the Screen Actor's Guild requires a 12 hour break for the actors between their release, and the next day's call time. So if we start at 8, but don't wrap until 10, we won't start until 10 the next day, and so on. This doesn't happen very often, because it's very expensive for the studios, and if a show isn't starting until the afternoon on Thursday, it usually means that the director is incompetent, the schedule is very complicated, or a little of both.
or schedule?" Brad said.
"Schedule," Patrick said. He pronounced it with a soft "ch" sound, like "shelf." I suppressed a giggle.
"Who's working tonight?" I asked, hoping the answer would be "Jolene Blalock, and she wants to see you without your pants in her trailer right now."
Brad looked at his call sheet. "I think Scott is still here –"
"Is he in his trailer?" Patrick asked.
"Yeah. You want to say hello?" Brad said.
Oh my god. I'm going to stand with Patrick while he talks to Scott Bakula!
"I'd like to, yes."
Brad walked us to Scott's trailer. It was in the same place where Patrick's trailer was so many years ago.
That's a little weird.
He rapped twice on the door, and from behind it, a muffled voice emerged. "Yeah?"
"Scott, it's Brad. I have someone here who wants to say 'hello.'"
I thought back to all the times I heard this when I was on the other side of that door, and felt a little uncomfortable. The door opened, and there was Scott Bakula, in that cool Enterprise jumpsuit.
"Hey, Patrick! How are you?" He said. Oh . . . they know each other. Interesting.
"I'm well," he said. "Scott, this is Wil Wheaton, he plays Wesley Crusher."
Plays Wesley, not played Wesley. That was cool.
He extended his hand and I shook it.
"It's really nice to meet you," I said. "How are you guys doing?"
"It's Thursday night," he said with a tired grin.
"Some things never change, I guess, " I said.
We all laughed.
"Listen, Scott," Patrick said. "I've been on and off the lot for several weeks now, and I should have come over much sooner to say hello to you."
"Thank you," Scott said. "I've seen you pass by several times, but I've always been too busy to say hello myself."
They talked for several minutes about the things that you talk about, I guess, when you're the captain of the Enterprise. I remember Patrick said, "You're doing a wonderful job," and I realized that he was having the conversation with Scott that Shatner should have had with him in 1987; he was passing the torch to — well, to the next generation.
I looked at Brad, and before either one of us could say anything, his walkie said, "We're ready for First Team on the bridge." How many times had I stood in this exact spot, and heard those exact words, over the years?
"Gotta go to work," he said. "I'm so glad you stopped by. I'll come over and visit you . . . are you on 16?"
"Shortly," Patrick said. "We're on 29 until tomorrow, then location."
Scott shook my hand. "It was nice to meet you."
"Have a good night, you guys," Brad said, as they walked into the stage. He keyed his walkie and said, "I have Scott, and we're walking . . . "
I turned to Patrick. "That was very cool, man."
Patrick just nodded.
We arrived back at the dressing rooms. My trailer was farther away than his, so I said, "I guess this is goodbye."
When I worked on TNG, I spent most of my free time doing two things: painting Warhammer 40K miniatures, and hanging out in the art department.
I loved the art department. From the very first time I walked into their workspace, Mike Okuda and Rick Sternbach let me look at their sketches, geek out about the science part of science fiction, and gave me a place to go every day where it was okay to be a huge nerd who loved science and design.
They became my friends, and like my other cow-orker Guy Vardaman (who was my stand-in), they nurtured my geeky side so much, I was never "at risk" like other teenage actors who bought into the myth that all young actors should party their lives away in Hollywood night clubs.
Michael Okuda has been selected
to receive one of NASA’s highest honors; the NASA Exceptional Public
Service Medal. “The award is granted only to individuals whose
distinguished accomplishments contributed substantially to the NASA
mission. The contribution must be so extraordinary that other forms of
recognition would be inadequate.” Mike and Denise will be going to the
Johnson Space Center next month to the NASA Honor Awards Ceremony. Go Hot dog! GO!
WOW! Congratulations, Mike. This is an award that is richly deserved.
Each entry in Memories of the Future is broken up into sections: the synopsis, some quotable dialog, the obligatory technobabble, a behind the scenes memory, the bottom line, and a final grade.
I'm striving to strike just the right balance among the main sections, and working very hard to be humors, reflective, and insightful in the appropriate places. I'm done with the synopses (the largest part of the book) and today and tomorrow I'm working on the behind the scenes and bottom line sections.
I've worked my way up to The Battle today, and I wanted to share its Behind The Scenes part:
I haven’t watched this episode in over a decade, but it’s probably one of the most important for me to see, because it clearly illustrates exactly why Wesley Crusher went from mildly annoying to vehemently hated character so quickly: First of all, acting ensign or not, having Wesley rush into the middle of the bridge and effectively tell Riker, “Hey, I figured this out before you all did because I’m so fucking smart” is quite possibly the worst way to help the audience accept that this kid is going to be part of the main crew. Having Wesley interrupt the ship’s first officer and then ignore the chain of command to tell another senior officer what to do is equally brilliant. Then the writers go for the win and have Wesley spout off some technobabble about being in Engineering and “playing around with boosting sensor output,” because everyone knows that “playing around” with something as important as the long range sensors is always a good idea.
Look, introducing Wesley – a teenager – as part of the main crew is like introducing a new product that consumers may not like. How the new product is framed and presented is incredibly important, because they must be convinced that the new product doesn’t threaten the things they are used to and love. I don’t think it is possible for the writers to have failed more spectacularly on any of those points than they did in this episode. We only get one chance to make a first impression, and what’s the first impression of Wesley as Acting Ensign Crusher? He “plays around” with things that are vital to the safety and operation of the ship, which implies a lack of respect for them. He barges onto the bridge, where Picard has made it very clear until the previous episode that he’s unwelcome, which implies a lack of respect for Picard. He interrupts and then ignores Riker, and breaks the chain of command to tell Geordi what to do.
Because that’s not bad enough, Wesley comes in at a crucial point in the third act, points out that he “glanced” at some brain scans which he doesn’t “really know anything about,” and magically deduced exactly what their origin is. To complete Wesley’s perfectly brilliant introduction to the audience, they actually have him make a snarky comment to himself after Troi and Dr. Crusher have left the scene. When they get back to the bridge, Troi – who is supposed to be an intelligent, qualified Starfleet officer – doesn’t even know what Wesley was talking about! Gosh, writers, what’s not to like?
The damage is done and it’s irreparable; we’ve made our first impression on an already skeptical audience (who, don’t forget, have had to endure some truly atrocious episodes) and we can’t ever take it back. After watching this episode, I finally understand – no, I grok – exactly why so many people hated Wesley so much. Hell, I played him for seven years and probably have more invested in him than anyone else in the world, and even I hated him while I watched this episode.
And, totally unrelated, in case you missed these two things on Twitter:
Me: OMG I'm trying to work, and the dogs are driving me nuts. Anne: With a little ship's wheel?
RT @AHGreenwood "…sometimes the best thing about following @wilw is Anne." It's also the best thing about BEING @wilw.
Anne and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in November. That's awesome.
Well, the most creatively demanding part is over. About an hour ago, I finished the first round of de-blogging, cutting and rewriting on Memories of the Future.
The next step is to take all the individual reviews (which are in their own files) and combine them into one big document so I can see how it all works together. Based on my first round of rewrites, I'll be watching for a few things:
* Duplicated jokes that need to be cut. The original
reviews were written months apart, so I used a few things – like "Bat
Country" – more than once without realizing it. That's forgivable
online, but it doesn't really work in a book.
* Places where I can examine something from Behind the Scenes a little bit more, or places where it's just not that interesting and can be cut out.
* How The Bottom Lines all interact with each other. They should reflect how the series and we who made it evolved and developed over the course of the first season, and I'm not entirely sure I accomplished that in the first draft. I have to make sure it's not repetitive, and that each one truly reflects something unique to the episode and when it first aired. (Yes, this is a very public NOTE TO SELF. Please enjoy it.)
Just to keep with the tradition of posting something from the book with each post, here's a little bit from The Big Goodbye. This is one of those episodes that's actually quite good, so the humor in the recap is entirely different from the humor in, say, The Naked Now's recap:
Picard decides that playtime is over, and it’s time to get back to work, but Dr. Crusher wants to check out his office. Any chance of that being a euphemism is reduced when Data and Whalen tag along. When they get to his office, the euphemism possibility is eliminated completely: Felix Leech, a Peter Lorre-esque hired goon, is waiting for them. With a gun. And he’s pissed.
There’s another great moment here where the gun comes out, and Picard and company all look at each other with this wide-eyed grin, like it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen. It’s one of the rare times on TNG when we in the audience feel genuine suspense, too, because we know that gun’s going to go off and someone is going to get hurt. Those of us who are longtime fans also know that, for the purposes of this holodeck program, the part of Ensign Ricky Redshirt will be played by the ship’s 20th-century literature expert Mr. Whalen, who dutifully takes a bullet in the gut from Leech. This leads to another great moment, when everyone realizes that, holy shit, Leech just shot Whalen. Like, for reals.
Dr. Crusher tells them that they have to get Whalen to Sickbay, Picard smacks around Leech, and they can’t get the computer to give them an exit. This is sort of a problem because Whalen is dying, and back in the real world the Jarada will be expecting the Captain to speak to them pretty soon. Just to make things a little more tense, tough guy Cyrus Redblock shows up with Leech and another hired goon. It turns out that Redblock hired Hill to find an “item,” which Hill hasn’t produced. Redblock and his goons intend to help Hill find it, using their guns. After Leech pistol-whips Picard, McNary arrives, and we’ve got ourselves what you could call “a situation.”
Picard tries to talk them out of the situation, using the old “Hey, man, we’re from another world” routine, but Redblock and company ain’t buying. Data tries the well-known, “Hey, man, these characters aren’t even real” line, which all of us actors perfected during years of Star Trek convention appearances. Unfortunately, Data’s effort meets with similar results.
This is so close to being finished, I'm almost ready to go pick out a bottle of Scotch to open when I'm done.
Remember when you had some huge project due in middle school, and you really didn’t want to do it, so you just kept putting it off? Then, when you finally get to work on it, it’s actually more fun than you thought it would be and you wonder why you didn’t want to work on it in the first place?
Welcome to me, working on The Last Outpost. Yes, the episode is still tedious and the Ferengi are so fucking lame if they were horses we’d have to put them down, but once I decided to just relax and not worry about making the damn thing something it’s incapable of being, I found some amusing bits.
Picard asks Troi is she’s sensing anything from the Ferengi ship. That’s good, since it’s kind of her whole job and everything. She says she’s sensing nothing, so maybe they can block their thoughts and emotions. That’s bad.
Data says that we don’t know that much about the Ferengi, which is bad, but we do know a few things about them that seem to be reliable, which is good. Data says the Frogurt is also cursed.
Riker tells Data to just get on with it already, so Data says Ferengi are like Yankee traders from 18th century America. This indicates that, in the 24th century, the traditional practice of using 400 year-old comparisons is still in vogue, like when you’re stuck in traffic on the freeway, and say, “Man, this is just like Vasco de Gama trying to go around the Cape of Good Hope!”
Tasha, Worf, Geordi, Data, and Riker all head to the transporter room, where the writers try to make us believe they’ll be in real danger on the planet, but we know it’s pretty safe when they beam down, unaccompanied by even a single Red Shirt.
The planet looks really cool, and it’s one of the first times we can see the difference in budgets and technologies available to the original series and the Next Generation. It’s misty and stormy, and other words that are not also stage names for strippers. We discover that energy in the atmosphere has messed up the transporter’s coordinates, and Riker’s been beamed down alone. He quickly finds Data, who again uses the word “intriguing” to describe things. He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.
Riker and Data scout around, and find Geordi suspended upside down when – oh! here come the Ferengi! Holy shit! The evil Ferengi! They’re finally here, in person! We can see more than just their moderately scary faces, and they are…uh…short. And bouncy. And they wave their hands over their heads a lot. And they don’t like loud noises. And they carry whips…and wear Ugg boots. Um. Wow. How…intriguing.
Oh, and one more bit, which – I’m not going to lie to you, Marge – was the part I had the most fun writing, for reasons which will reveal themselves momentarily:
Back on the Enterprise, we discover that, like the script, things have gone from bad to worse. The lights are out, the ship’s heating is nearly gone, and Picard has had the remaining power rerouted to the family decks, where he asks Doctor Crusher how Wesley is doing.
Now, listen, fan fiction writers: It’s not because Picard is actually Wesley’s father, as many of you will argue on Usenet over the coming seven years; it’s because Picard knows that Wesley could totally figure a way out of this, and he’s right. Off the top of my head, I can suggest that Wesley would generate some sort of Enterprise-enveloping control field with one of his science projects, using an electro plasma system energy converter, to reverse the polarity of the Navigational Deflector to emit an inverse tachyon pulse through a subspace beacon, while rerouting the power from the impulse engines through the Okuda conduits to the forward sensor array’s antimatter pod, using the auxiliary fusion generator to turn the power back on and save the day.
Sadly, we learn that Dr. Crusher left Wesley in their quarters to stare death in the face alone, without even the benefit of a sedative. Picard reassures her that leaving Wesley alone and fully conscious was great parenting, because he has the right to “meet death awake.” Legions of Trekkies agree, then curse Picard for getting their hopes up.
It truly is one of the most tedious episodes of the first season, but I realized while working on the rewrite that I’d somehow managed to spread some funny bits fairly evenly throughout the synopsis, so even though it’s not slap-your-knee funny, it’s not boring, which was my primary concern.
I don’t include many bits that aren’t in the synopsis, so here’s part The Bottom Line:
TNG’s struggle to find its way continues with this episode. Obviously, it fails spectacularly with its introduction of the Ferengi, who were intended to replace the Klingons as a terrifying and worthy adversary to the Federation, but were a total joke until Armin Shimmerman brought Quark to life on DS9, and repaired much – but not all – of the damage.
However, If you take away how outrageously lame the Ferengi are, this episode has some cool elements to it. The planet looks great, and the effects that lead to the revealing of the Portal, its point of view about itself, and its interaction with Riker are straight out of classic Star Trek. In fact, the entire story of the titular last outpost would have been a very strong one, had the Ferengi not been so weak and laughable. Imagine, for example, the relationship between Kirk and the Romulan Commander in Balance of Terror, and put them into this situation, where they are forced to cooperate.
See? It’s not all jokes and snark. I manage to sneak some semi- thoughtful stuff in there between the facepalms.
When I send this to Andrew, I’m done with the bulk of the work on this book. All that’s left is transcribing some interviews I did with friends from the show so I can include a few of their thoughts (I’m not saying who I talked to, nyahh nyahh) and then I have to put everything together in one big tile and read it all, looking for jokes or phrases that I repeated and areas in the behind the scenes stuff where I can add additional material.
I'm editing Memories of the Future, and … well, this bit from Hide & Q made me laugh:
Riker explains that, even though he's pretty much a golden god, he's still the same old lovable Riker they've known for ten episodes, and to show them how totally awesome he is, he's going to give some gifts to his friends.
He starts with Wesley (who he claims to know best of all, because of their friendship and long talks, and that one time Wesley brought his friend Dudley into Riker's bike shop.) Riker gives Wesley his greatest wish: the gift of being ten years older, turning him into a barrel-chested, blond-haired, blue-eyed dreamboat (coincidentally, having a barrel-chested, blond-haired, blue-eyed dreamboat to play with was the costume designer's greatest wish, as well.) Riker then turns to Data, but before he can turn Data into a real boy (a barrel-chested, blond-haired, blue-eyed dreamboat, no doubt) Data tells him that it would just be an illusion, and declines. Undeterred, Riker gives Geordi his sight, takes the banana clip off his face, and tells him that he doesn't have to answer to "Toby" any more . . . but Geordi also declines, so Riker turns his attention to Worf, giving him a Klingon whore who snarls and bares her teeth, which is apparently sexy by Klingon standards. Worf doesn't want the K'lap, so he gives his gift back too, followed by Wesley, then Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion.
It was so silly, Jonathan Frakes referenced this scene constantly. He cracked me up every single time I'd walk into a scene and he'd say to some unsuspecting guest star, "Ah, it's my good friend Wesley, who I know so well from all of our long talks, screenings of gladiator films, and visits to Turkish prisons."
Working on this book reminds me of how ridiculous most of the first season was, but it also reminds me how fun it was, and how much I love those guys.