I just finished Star Trek TNG

Star Trek is seemingly that thing everyone knew about but me. I would always hear references to characters and episodes and wouldn't be able to participate in the conversation. Even as an outsider I recognized Star Trek (mostly The Next Generation) is a zeitgeist. It's like The Simpsons in pretty much anyone on the street of a certain age can name you the entire main cast and probably list specific episodes as their favorites. Frankly speaking, I felt horribly out of touch. My dad is way into The Next Generation (TNG) and I would watch it in passing growing up, but to a six year old boy TNG is too dry.

I really enjoyed J.J. Abram's Star Trek and noticed immediately that this fictional universe is incredibly convincing. The idea of the most ideal capture of humanity's future was appealing to me. Star Trek has the rules that makes a consistent universe work. Finally on a February evening I took to plunge into TNG and now three months later I finished the 178 episode series along with all 4 movies. Overall outside of a painful first 2 seasons and Crusher banging a ghost, I fell in love with the series.

What Star Trek does best is the suspension of disbelief. It skips the bullshit of aliens would obviously speak another language, thus it would take decades for humans to actually establish meaningful contact. Everyone just speaks English! It allows to series to delve straight into the main elements of exploring new cultures and how those cultures interact with humans.

In no particular order here are my favorite episodes!

The Measure of a Man

Written by: Melinda Snodgradd

Directed by: Robert Scheerer

The terrible second season did have one redeeming episode that happened to not only be one of Data's (the android character) bests but also a weirdly accurate portrayal of dark American history. This is a perfect example that demonstrates why Star Trek works without giant space battles all the time.

Starfleet wants to disassemble Data to study in hopes of creating more androids. This procedure however has a high chance of killing Data. Captain Picard along with the android crew member opposes this.

A court case is set into motion to answer the question on whether or not Data is a person or Starfleet property. Tackling these moral dilemmas is why TNG is great. Riker (The Officer with the beard) has to play the unfortunate role of opposing Data as a sentient being. He tried to prove Data is just like any appliance to the court by easily removing Data's arm without harming him and in a bold move simply turns him off like any other machine.

Picard playing defense eventually wins the case demonstrating that Data has pride over Starfleet medals and has even been intimate with a human. He explains that if Data is considered property, he loses his basic rights. At that point, Starfleet would be slavers and eventually frowned upon by other civilizations and future generations. Data is not only the realization of his creator's dreams but is an entire new species and must be treated with the respect any other culture would receive. Starfleet's mission is to explore strange new worlds and discover new life. Picard pointed out Data is new life, he and any androids that may be created after him must be treated with dignity.

This parallels slavery in early America. There was a case in which a black slave in the South ran away and found himself in the free North. The slave was eventually captured by his master. There was a court case that was designed to figure out that if this black man was the property of the Slaver or could be considered a person so long as he was in the North. Unfortunately, this didn't end like Data's trial. The salve was considered property.

Dr. Marin Luther King also released a short book titled “A Measure of a Man” which illustrates his definition of political and social philosophy and non-violent activism.

Best of Both Worlds

Written by: Michael Piller

Directed by: Cliff Bole

This 2 part episode is so insane it ended up at my local theater last month! “Best of Both Worlds” is known for being the most action oriented episode of Star Trek and for what is argued as the most intense cliffhanger in TV history.

As a polar opposite of “A Measure of a Man”, this is about the giant space battle. The Federation has to tackle their ultimate nemesis, The Borg head-on. Picard has been assimilated into The Borg, becoming the antagonist.

There are some great dynamics between an up-and-coming female officer seeking Riker's job as First Officer of the Enterprise. She eventually gets her position but only at the expense of Picard's capture and Riker moving up to captain. Riker then struggles to let go of Picard and make the ship his own.

The Enterprise eventually saves their part of the galaxy from being enslaved. Picard however, is haunted and will spend the next episode, “Family”, struggling to cope with the fact he's responsible for thousands of deaths.

Inner Light

Written by: Morgan Gendel

Directed by: Peter Lauritson

In this episode, the Enterprise encounters an alien probe the knocks Picard unconscious. He wakes up on an unfamiliar planet, yet he is known in the community as Kamin and even has a wife. Picard immediately rejects this as an illusion but after years go by he embraces his wife and community. After he lives out an entire life , Picard reawakens on the Enterprise. It turns out he never left the ship and was only unconscious for 25 minutes. The probe turned out to be an artifact of an ancient civilization that preserved their culture for other beings to witness.

Picard is saddened. He lived an entire lifetime as another man and raised a family. Yet somehow he discovers the flute that he played for his wife and kids.

This is an amazing episode that went on to win the 1993 Hugo award for best dramatic presentation. It also did a fantastic job at showcasing Patrick Stewart's acting.

I, Borg

Written by: Rene Echevarria

Directed by: Robert Lederman

The Enterprise brings aboard an injured Borg, part of the race of enslaving cyborgs we talked about in Best of Both Worlds. Being in the anonymous race of collective consciousness this drone has the simple name of “Third of Five”. The Borg don't use first person and lack individuality. Instead of saying “I will destroy your race”, Third of Five would say, “We will destroy your race”.

Between Guinan and Picard being violently treated by the Borg in the past, there's an extreme prejudice aboard the Enterprise. Geordi La Forge (that guy with the visor) and Dr. Crusher (red headed female) are more open minded of helping this young boy despite the rest of the crew seeing “it” as a threat.

After some heartwarming interactions, Third of Five forms a relationship with Geordi. Some of the ship's crew starts identifying Third of Five as "he" instead of "it". The Borg drone eventually becomes “Hugh”, embracing the individuality of a real name and also starts speaking in first person.

Picard believes this to be a trick. He pretends to still be apart of the Borg and orders Hugh to assimilate (turn into Borg and enslave) the Enterprise crew. Hugh objects, even referring to himself as an individual. At that point Picard he must decide to take Hugh back to the Borg collective or to protect him and let his newly found individuality grow. Realizing the Borg would never stop hunting for him, Hugh opts to go back.

A moral dilemma arises. The crew realizes that Hugh's experiences will be downloaded into the Borg. Then the Borg will have a split second of experiencing individuality. Picard choses to do that instead of committing genocide with the proposed idea of infecting Hugh with a virus. The possibilities of the entire Borg seeing themselves as individuals, even for a short while, are endless.

The Enterprise understand the Borg are evil, but only as a collective. They understand sending Hugh back without a virus to infect the other Borg puts the galaxy at risk of genocide. However, Picard begins to see the Borg as a race of beings that if they had individuality they may choose to choose a different life path.

This episode was probably the most emotionally impactful for me. Not a lot of fiction really gets to me, but it was truly touching when Hugh refused to kill off the crew and found his individuality. Also has a lot of good messages about not making hasty judgements against people.

Other episodes I really loved opening every description with "The one where".

Frame of Mind: The one where Riker is in an insane asylum and is being told he isn't in Starfleet and is crazy.

Lower Decks: The one where the episode pays attention to lower ranking officers that aren't reoccurring characters and them struggling with career advancement.

All Good Things: The one where Picard is traveling between three different time periods. Must assure people he isn't crazy. It's the last episode. Also, Q.

Remember Me: The one where everyone on the Enterprise is disappearing, along with their memories besides Dr. Crusher. Has the best line ever, "There's nothing wrong with me, there's something wrong with the universe."

Family: The one where Picard goes home to France and spends time with his brother. Picard struggles to cope with murdering a bunch of people as a Borg.

-@stevenbeynon

33 Comments
33 Comments
Edited by RE_Player1

I, Borg is a classic.

Posted by The_Laughing_Man

Hugh makes a return later on. I do think its when Data's brother comes around.

Edited by HaltIamReptar

I just recently saw "The High Ground". When Star Trek really got down into it, they absolutely encapsulated the human condition. It's kind of eerie how much its theme of the nature of terrorism and oppression are still relevant today.

Edited by EpicSteve

Hugh makes a return later on. I do think its when Data's brother comes around.

Yeah. Data's brother took advantage of some of the Borg's individuality and tried to build an army.

...Not to sound like a giant Star Trek nerd. But the entire thing is still fresh in my mind.

Edited by Rorie

TNG is great. The later series would get kind of silly when they tried to push the real-world analogies (T'Pol on Enterprise gets Vulcan AIDS, for instance, and has to deal with the shame of being shunned by her people), and TNG could get a bit heavy-handed (the episode about warp speed ruining the space-time continuum was a bit stilted), but for the most part it hit a level of quality that few sci-fi shows have ever really tried to match. I like Deep Space Nine more as a space opera, but it's a different kind of beast.

Staff
Posted by The_Laughing_Man

@the_laughing_man said:

Hugh makes a return later on. I do think its when Data's brother comes around.

Yeah. Data's brother took advantage of some of the Borg's individuality and tried to build an army.

...Not to sound like a giant Star Trek nerd. But the entire thing is still fresh in my mind.

Then Data is allowed to feel emotions. The first one being anger.

Edited by villainy

@rorie: Having staff regularly posting on the forums (outside of bug reporting) is super weird but I'm really enjoying it. The fact that it's you, lover of games as well as TV/movies is fantastic!

Seeing this thread pop up I suddenly want to watch all of TNG again... What's the cheapest legal way to watch this stuff these days?

Edit: Oh god all 7 seasons are on Amazon Prime for a grand total of $0.00. Damn you @epicsteve for triggering the Star Trek portion of my brain!!

Edited by zFUBARz

TNG is a very well rounded show, and when the beard grew it got really good. Also all very excellent episodes mentioned. I've been rewatching them again on netflix this last year. I like a lot of DS9 as well but it's not nearly as good throughout.

Posted by Rorie

@epicsteve said:

@the_laughing_man said:

Hugh makes a return later on. I do think its when Data's brother comes around.

Yeah. Data's brother took advantage of some of the Borg's individuality and tried to build an army.

...Not to sound like a giant Star Trek nerd. But the entire thing is still fresh in my mind.

Then Data is allowed to feel emotions. The first one being anger.

And we all know where that leads.

Staff
Edited by The_Laughing_Man

@rorie said:

@the_laughing_man said:

@epicsteve said:

@the_laughing_man said:

Hugh makes a return later on. I do think its when Data's brother comes around.

Yeah. Data's brother took advantage of some of the Borg's individuality and tried to build an army.

...Not to sound like a giant Star Trek nerd. But the entire thing is still fresh in my mind.

Then Data is allowed to feel emotions. The first one being anger.

And we all know where that leads.

Heya Rorie. Nice to have you back dude.

Edited by zFUBARz

@rorie said:

@the_laughing_man said:

@epicsteve said:

@the_laughing_man said:

Hugh makes a return later on. I do think its when Data's brother comes around.

Yeah. Data's brother took advantage of some of the Borg's individuality and tried to build an army.

...Not to sound like a giant Star Trek nerd. But the entire thing is still fresh in my mind.

Then Data is allowed to feel emotions. The first one being anger.

And we all know where that leads.

You can't really blame Anakin, I'd have gone to the dark side in those circumstances as well.

Posted by Rorie

@villainy: Good to be here! I'm pretty sure they're all on Netflix, too.

Staff
Posted by iceman228433

If you can make it past those first 2 seasons that show is so amazing not DS9 good, but still dam good.

Posted by Rorie
Staff
Posted by Korwin

You missed The Drumhead, it's up there with The Measure of a Man as far as social/moral conundrums go (it's also incredibly relevant in today's world).

Edited by Korwin

@rorie said:

and TNG could get a bit heavy-handed (the episode about warp speed ruining the space-time continuum was a bit stilted),

What's funny is that episode was essentially the inspiration for the original overarching plot for Mass Effect :P

Edited by WesleyWyndam

My favorites:

S02E09 - The Measure Of A Man

S03E03 - The Survivors

S03E16 - The Offspring

S03E26 - The Best Of Both Worlds (1)

S04E01 - The Best Of Both Worlds (2)

S04E21 - The Drumhead

S05E25 - The Inner Light

S06E11 - Chain Of Command (2)

S06E15 - Tapestry

Posted by JasonR86

@epicsteve:

Fantastic picks. I enjoyed all of those too though I, Borg is kind of the weak link for me. But the Inner Light episode is awesome. When I saw Inception all I could think of was that episode. You know, for a second or two. BUT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT!

Online
Edited by McGhee

All the aliens don't speak English. Starfleet uses "universal translators" that are able to decipher and translate unknown alien languages on the fly.

Edited by zFUBARz

@mcghee said:

All the aliens don't speak English. Starfleet uses "universal translators" that are able to decipher and translate unknown alien languages on the fly.

Meh, serves the same purpose as what the OP stated, Allows for them to bypass the language barrier issue except for the few rare cases where they want to address it. Instead focusing on good storytelling and drama.

Edited by Noitwont

I am currently working my way through TNG as well. I am about midway through season 5 now, but I thought S03E03 - The Survivors was fantastic.

Posted by Skytylz

TNG is so good. I think I like it better than DS9 simply because it doesn't get bogged down in a constant war at the end like DS9. Every fucking episode of DS9 at the end was like: "Oh no the Jem hadar!" -> 10 episode build up -> fight!

Anyways, all the episodes you listed are so good. Inner light is some fantastic story telling.

Edited by EpicSteve

@rorie said:

@villainy: Good to be here! I'm pretty sure they're all on Netflix, too.

All the Star Trek is on Netflix, minus Generations and FIrst Contact.

Edited by MattyFTM

You need to watch Deep Space Nine next. DS9 is a masterpiece. It's very different to TNG, but it's awesome.

Voyager also has some great episodes, but there are a lot of bad ones to wade through to get to the good parts. In fact I'd maybe consider "Real Life" to be the best episode in any Star Trek series. It would be a close run contest between that and "The Visitor" from DS9, though.

Moderator
Edited by Seppli

I was always too cool for school when it came to TNG, back when it was on TV initially. It was Star Wars all the way for me. Eventually I caved to all the nerd love for it, and put down roughly a 1000$ for the whole series on DVD, sometime in the early 2000s. It was totally worth it. Can't quite name specific episodes, but the Borg and Data stuff is certainly amongst my favorites.

Posted by Fribain

@mattyftm: Yeah, DS9 is fantastic. Garak quickly became my favorite character out of all the shows . Too bad he wasn't in more episodes

Posted by Korwin

@rorie said:

@villainy: Good to be here! I'm pretty sure they're all on Netflix, too.

All the Star Trek is on Netflix, minus Generations and FIrst Contact.

Those are some rather large omissions.

Edited by WinterSnowblind

You should definitely watch DS9 next, if you haven't already. There's some really good character stuff in there, especially when they start dealing with the nature of war and how it effects people, not just the soldiers. I think it's dismissed by a lot of fans for departing from the typical "humans have evolved into infallible beings!" that the earlier seasons preached, but it's arguably an even better show than TNG.

It's such a shame Voyager and Enterprise utterly failed to live up to either of those shows.

Posted by damswedon

I like the episode where Scotty shows back up and they recreate the old Enterprise bridge in the holoroom.

Other than that I'm not a fan of The Next Generation, at that time I was growing up watching Red Dwarf instead so that set my standards for what I want from Sci-Fi.

Edited by Liquidus

I'm currently watching TNG for the first time too. I'm almost done Season 4 and I've really been enjoying it especially once I got into Season 3. Some of my favorite episodes so far would be The Measure of a Man(the only good thing in Season 2), Yesterday's Enterprise, Best of Both Worlds and pretty much any episode with Q, they're not always the best but they're typically pretty fun.

Edited by hawkinsn

@wesleywyndam said:

S02E09 - The Measure Of A Man

S03E16 - The Offspring

These are the two I always think of as well. I have a special connection with "The Offspring," because I convinced somebody who thought they could never like Star Trek: TNG to watch this episode with me. She loved it. I saw her last week after not having seen her since last year. She was wearing a Star Trek shirt.

Posted by Ben_H

I really like the episode in season 5 where they are caught in a time warp and keep experiencing the same thing over and over again, but get increasing feeling of deja vu until they eventually figure it out, and find out the ship that kept crashing into them was stuck in that rip in the space-time continuum for 80 years.

Also, the episode where Picard gets trapped on a planet with the captain of a race they couldn't communicate with using the Universal Translator. He realizes they speak in metaphors near the end. I found that one fascinating.

S04E03 is pretty good. I love all the insane stuff Data does while he hijacks the Enterprise so he can go see a dying Noonian Soong. I like pretty much everything that involves Data and Lore though. I always found that storyline interesting.

Posted by Dtat

TNG makes such good use of its somewhat humble production values. They build up so much tension with almost no action it's brilliant. A great example of this is in The Ensigns of Command. The central conflict is resolved through Picard's clever interpretation of a confusingly-written treaty. It's amazing that something like that is made to be exciting.

My personal favorite episode is Darmok. I love how in TNG people are willing to risk their lives for the possibility of establishing friendly ties with new races. So much more interesting than constant 'splosions and fights with the "bad aliens."