I've always liked Wesley Crusher...

There I finally admitted it.

When TNG's run began I was a 13 year old boy completely obsessed with Star Trek. Wesley helped me feel like part of this universe. I didn't even realize that so many fans of the show disliked him until I was at a convention when I was 18 or so.

Okay, things didn't get off to a great start. Wesley in "The Naked Now" was well, let's say, not the best beginning for a character. But "Coming of Age" was and still is a great episode. It was a little sappy with the girl from Teen Wolf Too saying he was cute, but Riker stepping over the chair in the Ready Room was worse. (Yes, admitting that I've seen Teen Wolf Too is admitting that I wasted most of my childhood. Though... who am I kidding... I watched it again last week.)

Wesley continued to show up in episodes too numerous to list and I always (almost always, we'll skip "The Dauphin") enjoyed them. I particularly liked when he ordered that older guy to run an Isospectragram. You could feel the sense of command for the first time. It was quite good.

"Final Mission" was okay. But it didn't feel exactly right. Even with the presence of a great guest star, Nick Tate from Space 1999 fame. Then there was "The Game."

Ah, "The Game." Not a great episode to be sure. But that certainly didn't have anything to do with Wesley's presence. (Side Bar: I fell so completely in love with Ashley Judd in this episode it is not even funny. To whoever cast her: I salute you!)

Now, let's look at "First Duty." What an episode! Wil Wheaton delivered a performance that can only be described as a tour de force. Seriously, I remember watching this and being blown away. The high point for Wesley Crusher.

Wesley added to the show in many ways. But people won't admit it. Some lament, "But he was always saving the ship!" So what? It's a fantasy. What kid doesn't dream of saving the Enterprise? (Boring, uninteresting kids don't but enough of that.) If he hadn't been there the show would have been weaker.

Wesley was my window. I was able to see through his eyes and into a world bigger than myself. Wesley made me feel like I could fix the warp drive, build a tractor beam or even reach the stars.

You know you want to watch it now!


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