Ya know, folks, Geordi was the man! Not only did we get to see him rise in the ranks from Lt. Junior Grade peon all the way up to Chief Engineer, but he was one of the better developed characters on the show. While a lot of the 24th Century populace seemed to be a little too well rounded and confident, Geordi really came across as likable vulnerable and human, particularly in his self-conscious awkwardness around women and the way he embraced his handicap. Plus, I always found Geordi’s friendship with Data to be comfortable and believable. Hell, Geordi even got busted using the Holodeck for what we all know we’d use the Holodeck for if we had one. How uncomfortable was that, eh? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as Barclay’s endeavors, but still pretty embarrassing. Anyway, today I’m having a few belts of Jameson Aldebaran whiskey and celebrating the character with a look at some of Geordi’s various releases in the Playmates 4 ½” line. I’ve got four of them lined up here, so let’s start with his first appearance on the show…
Season One, Lt. Junior Grade Geordi LaForge. Conveniently, this is the only figure of the bunch that I have a packaged shot of, but once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Christ, look at all the explosions of text and excitement in this card. It’s like you just took your firewall down and visited a questionable file sharing site. Besides the gloriously colorful and animated style, the cardback just invades your senses with an inrush of information about the figure. Accessories! Skybox Collector Card! Individually numbered!! First time in this uniform!!! SKYBOX!!! Arghhh!
Let’s just go ahead and look at Season One and Chief Engineer LaForge together. I love the tunic-style uniforms from the later seasons, but seeing the characters in their Season One jumpsuit-pajamas really makes me feel nostalgic. Holy hell, we’re talking 25 years ago… when did The Next Generation become a subject for nostalgia? How did I get this old? Anyway, S1 LaForge is basically a repaint and slight re-sculpt of Chief Engineer LaForge. The only real change in the sculpt is his lack of the higher collar and the addition of the piping to his collar. Since it’s the same sculpt as the bulkier later season tunic, the skin-tight style of the earlier jumpsuits isn’t really conveyed well. Still, it works fine for me. Both figures come with the same stand, but different assortments of gear.
Next up is Geordi in his dress uniform. Yes, this is what he wears to go down to the Transporter and welcome the weekly alien dignitary on board. I voiced my dislike for these uniforms back when I featured the Starfleet Officer’s Set and I stand by that opinion. As expected, this figure is also basically just a repaint of those other figures too. Unfortunately, once I had Riker and Picard in their dress uniforms my OCD side committed me to buying all the dress uniform figures. Yes, I am my worst enemy. Either way, this figure has a nice sculpt, but unfortunately the VISOR is permanently attached to his noggin.
Dress uniform Geordi comes with a phaser, a computer console, a tricorder, and a case of his medals. The medals case is a new piece that I haven’t seen before, but it’s just a slab of plastic with a sticker on it. He also comes with a standard comm badge style figure stand.
Last up is the most pointless and ridiculous figure of the bunch. If you thought Hasbro was bad about releasing Star Wars figures based off characters that only appeared for a few seconds, well check this shit out. This figure is based off of one episode (“Identity Crisis”) where Geordi mutated into a Tarchanen alien and was seen in the last five minutes or so before being turned back by the miracle of 24th Century bullshit medicine. It truly is one of those releases that make you shake your head and wonder what sick, obsessed moron of a Trek fan would spend money on something like this? Oh wait, I did. In my defense I’m sure I got him as part of a lot of figures. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
The crazy thing about Tarchanen III Geordi is that he comes with one of the coolest figure stands of any Playmates Trek figure. It’s the United Federation of Planets emblem in blue and gold. Damn, I wish Playmates sold packs of these stands, I would have bought a ton of them.
And that’s my little Geordi tribute. I love Star Trek, I love Next Gen, and I love this character. I’m happy to have him well represented on my shelf, particularly if we toss in the Generations Geordi too. There are still a couple more versions of him floating around out there, but the biggest crime is that Playmates didn’t release a 4 ½” version of him as Dr. Watson. For that, you need to look to the larger scale. Considering all the Holodeck figures Playmates produced, it’s a shame that one didn’t make the cut.