I just came across something very, very interesting indeed. Huge Star Trek fan that I am, when I was growing up I used to watch The Next Generation again and again. It was on BBC 2 every Wednesday for years, repeated ad nauseam. I had always assumed I’d seen every episode of every season. However, I was messing around on Youtube earlier when I happened upon this video about the ten Star Trek episodes which pissed people off the most. In the number nine slot was an episode of TNG called The High Ground, which according to the video had the crew of the Enterprise visit a planet upon which a group of terrorists was conducting a campaign for independence. The episode was rather controversial in that it explored the terrorists’ motives, showing their side of the story. It was so controversial, in fact, that the episode had never been aired on either the BBC or RTE, particularly given that it was first released in the early nineties at the time of the troubles in Ireland. (The episode even refers to the troubles directly).
My curiosity, predictably, was too strong: Googling the episode’s season and episode number (Season 3 Episode 12) I headed straight for Netflix. What I found myself watching was a complex, nuanced and ambiguous piece of television. While it did not take the terrorist’s side, nor did it totally condemn them; both sides were shown to be at fault and capable of brutality. Perhaps most controversially of all, it went so far as to say terrorism could sometimes achieve it’s goals, for example even referring to it leading to Irish Unification in 2024. I could certainly see why the episode could be considered so politically sensitive and why the Beeb may have been so reluctant to screen it, especially when it was produced. At the same time, I thought it was a great, thought-provoking episode which reminded me why TNG was so ground-breaking; I’m really glad to have finally seen it.