OKAY, THIS POST IS KIND OF A TRICK. This week I interviewed Zachary, the local author of A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a zine that is amazing and hilarious and sad and something that everyone should read. If you read the above headline and didn't immediately skip to the next post, chances are about 99.99 percent you'll want to pick up the zine. The interview's here, where there's also info about this weekend's release party, where you can get the zine. Snag Zachary's excellent memoir Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life while you're at it.
BUT THIS POST WAS NOT TOTALLY A TRICK, because it's true—I do have a new favorite character on Star Trek: The Next Generation! I was watching a Barclay episode last night, which is to say I was watching a boring episode that was making me angry, and so I started thinking a bit about a character I'd never paid much mind to before... and I soon learned plenty of other people have thought about him too! Have you figured out who it is?!
Here's a hint!
Okay, I'll just tell you who my new favorite character is!
You might not think it—I sure as fuck didn't when I googled "Picard fish name" at 2:30 this morning—but Livingston, "a lionfish kept by Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his ready room aboard the USS Enterprise-D," has had quite a few adventures! Here are some that I stole from Livingston's page on Memory Alpha. Yes, Livingston has his own Memory Alpha page! That's how you know you've made it.
The Borg Hugh examined Livingston very closely when he was beamed into the ready room in late 2368.
After being affected by Barclay's Protomorphosis Syndrome, William T. Riker attempted to break open Livingston's fish tank, possibly in order to consume him. Fortunately, he did not succeed.
In 2364, Lieutenant Commander Data examined Livingston's fish tank very closely with a magnification glass, as the android was implementing some of Sherlock Holmes' characteristics at the time.
Q thought Picard was probably worried about his fish as well as his ship and his crew after the captain saved humanity from the effects of an anti-time anomaly in the Devron system in 2370.
Livingston was given a much larger aquarium by 2371. Unfortunately, the Enterprise-D was soon destroyed, although Livingston's tank remained intact and survived the crash of the saucer section on Veridian III.
[Actor] Patrick Stewart hated Livingston's presence in the ready room, and constantly petitioned the producers to remove the fish. Stewart felt that it was inappropriate to have a captive animal in a series that valued the dignity of different species. [Actor Ronny] Cox—who agreed with Stewart—stated that Livingston's temporary removal in "Chain of Command" was thus a "sort of a bone they threw to Patrick."
Let's hear it for Livingston!
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!