This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is Geordi La Forge from TNG.
Geordi is a lieutenant commander who serves as Chief Engineer aboard the Enterprise under Captain Picard. Geordi earned the position by showing dedication and the willingness to work harder than everyone else around him. For example, Geordi stayed up all night fixing a shuttle to improve engine efficiency following an offhand remark by Picard on an inspection tour, which got Geordi a spot on Enterprise as a helmsman.
Geordi was born blind due to a birth defect, and he wears a VISOR from the age of five until the movies. The VISOR allows Geordi to "see" electromagnetic signals across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including infrared and ultraviolet light and beyond. This ability gives Geordi some advantages in detecting anomalies and problems where other engineers cannot. The VISOR is replaced with ocular implants during the movies.
Geordi attended Zefram Cochrane High School, and he was highly inspired by Cochrane and the first warp flight. He shares a close friendship with Data, which helps him overcome some hiccups in romance.
La Forge was named for a quadriplegic Star Trek fan named George La Forge. Tim Russ narrowly missed out on playing this role, but he ended up getting his own prominent role as Tuvok in Voyager.
The best episodes featuring Geordi include Booby Trap, Hero Worship, and I Borg:
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Booby Trap:
"I just don't get it, Guinan. I can field-strip a fusion reactor; I can
realign a power transfer tunnel. Why can't I make anything work with a
woman like Christy? It's like... I don't know what to do. I don't know
what to say."
Actor: Levar Burton played La Forge, and he is also known for starring on the kids show Reading Rainbow as well as a lead role on the miniseries Roots.
Until next time, live long and prosper...