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In the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Encounter at Farpoint", we have this dialog (and diapath):

TROI [OC]: Do you remember what I taught you, Imzadi? Can you still sense my thoughts?

TROI: A pleasure, Commander.

RIKER: Likewise, Counsellor.

PICARD: Have the two of you met before?

RIKER: We have, sir.

PICARD: Excellent. I consider it important for my key officers know each other's abilities.

(They step into the turbolift)

TROI: We do, sir. We do.

TROI [OC]: I, too, would never say goodbye, Imzadi.

And thereafter this is unceremoniously dropped. But there is still telepathy commonly, most notably between Troi and her mother.

Why did the producers abandon the link between Troi and Riker?

(I see no obvious reason this would be a hinderance to good storytelling, and in fact, I think it could have been a productive one.)

  • 2
    While Troi was using telepathy, there was never a clear indication Riker could receive her or send. – Tango Aug 17 '15 at 16:35
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    @Tango: Well, clearly at some point in time he could. And I don't believe that was the intent. I suppose you could argue a retcon on a technicality. – ThePopMachine Aug 18 '15 at 14:23
  • I think it was just one of the elements that sounded good while working on the series bible and throwing everything into the mix, but that it was just forgotten when it came to writing the actual stories. And it was probably early on, after several scripts were finalized, they realized if they started using it, it would leave events in earlier scripts unexplained. – Tango Aug 19 '15 at 16:24
  • I don't think we are given any indication that Riker actually "heard" her or responded back - since we only hear her voice. Given her powers as we know them over the course of the series, she may have just been responding to his emotions that she could sense. – NKCampbell Feb 17 '16 at 18:27
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    I'm not sure that their is any evidence of this actually getting dropped. It seemed like far too much of an intimate gesture for either to want to use when transitioning into their platonic relationship. As far as I am aware, they are still able to do this, but have had no reason to since they broke up. – Jonathon Feb 17 '16 at 19:18
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This may have simply been one of many pilot/season changes that get made when a show moves from a single pilot to a full season.

It is possible that the telepathy was simply deemed too confusing/strange/uninteresting to test audiences that they showrunners decided to let that idea drop in favor of other elements which had better responses.

As to Deanna/Lwaxana having telepathic conversations, this was more done to further note Lwaxana's disrespect for non-betazoids in social situations, further inflating the character's perceived ego. Deanna's insistence that she speak her words shows her desire to integrate with her crew, rather than her mother's worldview.

  • Regarding your first paragraph: Was the TNG pilot really filmed separately? I would have guessed that season one was commissioned as a whole. – user41473 Aug 17 '15 at 20:26
  • @StefanWalter according to the production list it wasn't. en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/1987_productions – Dreamwalker Aug 18 '15 at 12:39
  • @Dreamwalker: The pilot wasn't filmed or the season wasn't commissioned? Anyway, thanks for the link. It shows that there was no gap between the pilot and the rest of the season, and that's what I wanted to say. – user41473 Aug 18 '15 at 13:46
  • They filmed several episodes before airing and recorded the rest while airing. The pilot being one they recorded. – Dreamwalker Aug 18 '15 at 13:51

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